July 19, 2011

-image-blog break

Well, as stated in the title, I’m taking a summer blog break. I’ll be back around the first week of August.

See you then, pippa!

July 17, 2011

A YouTube video I found on one of my favorite blogs, Advanced Style.

I’m kind of in love with this woman. The leather dress! The dress at the very end! She’s fabulous.

July 15, 2011

-image-the negotiator loses his mind

ksmallc.jpg
Another installment in the ongoing saga of my relationship with my new nephew, aka Banshee Boy, aka The Negotiator.

BANSHEE BOY: Tee Tee.
ME: Yes?
BB: Please to remember how I sed I vhas not moved by all your do-inks?
ME: Yeah, I remember.
BB: Vell …….
ME: “Vell”?
BB: Velll …………..
ME: “Vell,” what?
BB: Vell, I tek it all back! I eem VEDY moved by ALL your do-inks!
ME: Oh? Really?
BB: Yes, YES!
ME: That’s great, kid.
BB: I eem keptivitated by you!
ME: Oh, okay, good to know.
BB: I kennot control myself!
ME: Wow. Okay.
BB: I tink I feel de luf for you! I tink my head will splode vit de joy!
ME: Uhm, really, wow. This is getting embarrassing, Banshee Boy.
BB: I just speak de troot! Tee Tee! I luf you! I eem full of de luf for you!!
ME: Sheesh, kid. Get a grip.
BB: I do not vhant de grip!! Hold me, Tee Tee!! Please to hold me!
ME: Uhmm ……….. yeah, where’s your dad?
BB: Tee Teeeeeee!! I vill never not to feel de luf for you!!!
ME: (muttering) This is so undignified.
BB: Tee Teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

July 11, 2011

-image-“someone like you” ~ adele, again

Holy cow. This is almost unbearably brilliant. You know?

July 6, 2011

-image-the “duh” of the casey anthony verdict

Am I the only person in the world who knew Casey Anthony would be found not guilty? If so, is there some kind of prize involved?

The night before the verdict came in, MB and I were talking about the case, making our predictions.

MB said, “The jury is 7 women and 5 men. Those women are gonna find her guilty.”

“Nope,” I said.

“‘Nope’? Why not?”

“The forensic evidence just isn’t there. I think she did it, but the evidence doesn’t prove it. She walks. Not guilty.”

“That sucks. I think you’re wrong.”

“I think I’m right.”

“Guess we’ll see.”

“Yup.”

One thing I’m very familiar with through my time years ago studying court reporting is jury charges. Those are the long, wordy, boring instructions the judge gives the jurors before they begin deliberations. They’re literally just read from a book, most of the time, with case-specific names occasionally inserted. In real time an entire jury charge can take a judge anywhere from, oh, 20 to 40 minutes to read. They’re charge specific, too, meaning an embezzlement case will have one type of “charge”; a murder another. I have huge chunks of these things stored away in my brain mainly because I heard them so many times. It’s like how you have Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana” banging around in your head: overexposure to the mental contaminant. Jury charges are repetitive in nature to make sure people get it, get it, get it. In a way, they’re a bit of an insult to a person of above-average intelligence, but no juror can really argue that the instructions weren’t made abundantly, boringly clear. It’s the ultimate in legal CYA.

And one thing the jury in the Casey Anthony trial would have heard over and over and over would have been the phrase “reasonable doubt.” In explaining reasonable doubt, and I’m quoting from memory here, a jury charge might say:

(Italics mine)

The law presumes the defendant to be innocent of crime. The defendant, although accused, begins the trial with a “clean slate,” meaning with no evidence against him or her. And the law permits only legal evidence presented before the jury to be considered in support of any charge against the accused. So the presumption of innocence alone is sufficient to acquit the defendant, unless the jurors are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt after careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence in the case.

It is not required that the state prove guilt beyond all possible doubt. The test is one of reasonable doubt. A reasonable doubt is a doubt based upon reason and common sense; the kind of doubt that would make a reasonable person hesitate to act. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore, must be proof of such a convincing character that a reasonable person would not hesitate to rely and act upon it.

The jury must remember that a defendant is never to be convicted on mere suspicion or conjecture.

The burden is always on the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This burden never shifts to a defendant, for the law never imposes upon a defendant in a criminal case the burden or duty of calling any witnesses or producing any evidence.

So, if the jury, after careful and impartial consideration of all of the evidence in the case, has a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the charge, it must acquit. If the jury views the evidence in the case as reasonably permitting either of two conclusions—one of innocence, the other of guilt—the jury should of course adopt the conclusion of innocence.

And, frankly, there you have it. Based on this kind of charge alone, the definition of reasonable doubt, Casey Anthony had to walk because of the utter lack of forensic evidence, and because, if the evidence takes you to two conclusions, you are charged to choose “not guilty.” But, really, that lack of hard forensic evidence alone creates a reasonable doubt. “A doubt for which you can give a reason,” some jury charges say. “Not a fanciful or capricious doubt.” A reasonable doubt.

Do I think she did it? Yeah, I do. I think she’s a despicable person and I have all kinds of emotional doubts about her. I even have a “gut feeling” she’s guilty. I mean, come on. If it was an “accident,” then everyone sure acted like psychos in the aftermath of said “accident.” Call 911 if she fell in the pool accidentally. Don’t wrap her body in a blanket and bags and bury her in the woods. Yes, all the circumstantial evidence is damning — the smelly car, the Internet searches about chloroform, her bizarre behavior while Caley was missing, her pathological lying. My mind and my heart utterly reject any notion that she is innocent. But that’s not what the jury is asked to find. Jurors are not charged to find her innocent; they’re charged to find her guilty or NOT guilty. Not guilty is not the same as innocent. It’s legalese that essentially means the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Not guilty is not necessarily innocent. Sometimes, it is. But in this case, no. I don’t think that’s what the jury is saying. They’re saying, “The lack of forensic evidence linking Casey to the crime gave us reasonable doubt. We were dutybound, legally, to find this verdict.” They jurors themselves may not even like that fact, but that’s their duty. It’s unpleasant, yes. Even horrible if you believe in your heart a murderer goes free.

But that’s reasonable doubt. That’s the standard of proof here.

And all these people going around calling it “the new O.J.”? I’m sorry. That’s just stupid. There’s a huge difference here. There was plenty of DNA evidence linking O.J. to those crimes and the jury came back not guilty in 4 hours?? No. That’s jury misconduct, in my opinion. They couldn’t have even begun to go through all the evidence before them in 4 hours. This jury spent almost triple that amount of time grappling with much lesser evidence.

Do I think it sucks that Casey Anthony walks free?

Yes, I do.

Do I think the jury had any other legal option?

No, I don’t.

I blame that bastard reasonable doubt.

July 5, 2011

-image-the negotiator again

ksmalla2.jpg
The Negotiator is a tough nut to crack.

BANSHEE BOY: Tee Tee.
ME: Yes?
BB: Please to not tink I eem moved by your do-inks.
ME: Uhmm …… I really don’t know what you meannn ……
BB: Please. Tee Tee. Let us speak de troot here.
ME: Uh, sure.
BB: I see you do-ink dat ting you are do-ink.
ME: You mean, looking at you?
BB: Tee Tee. No.
ME: You mean …… taking your picture?
BB: Tee Tee. Please to not pretend vit me.
ME: But —
BB: I see you do-ink dat ting vit your lips.
ME: What thing?
BB: Vhere you mek your lips become like de blubber.
ME: Blubber?
BB: And vhere dey move vedy fast.
ME: Oh, really? Hm.
BB: And vhere you mek de veird noise.
ME: There’s a noise?
BB: Yes! Tee Tee. Please speak de troot! You are tryink to mek me lef.
ME: “Lef”?
BB: Yes. De “ha ha ha” ting.
ME: Oh, I see.
BB: Yes! Tee Tee! And I eem not moved by your do-inks, hokay?
ME: Sure. Okay, Banshee Boy. Whatever you say. We’ll see.
BB: No! Ve vill not “see.”
ME: We’ll see if we’ll see.
BB: Please to mek sense, Tee Tee.
ME: That’s not how I roll, kid.
BB: Vell, den, I vill say dat ve vill see if ve vill see if ve vill see.
ME: All righty. So. Isn’t it your bedtime now?
BB: Yes. I find I grow veary, Tee Tee. Please to carry me to my crib.

July 4, 2011

-image-happy 4th, pippa!

Let’s not forget the sacred art to honor the holiday.

I will never not hate that.

But still, happy 4th, pippa!

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