Blawgers Baseball: Vote Now

I've set up 2 blogpolls over on Blawgers Baseball. (Be forewarned: Blogpoll has changed their formatting a little bit, now you have to scroll through some crappy advertising to see poll results.)

It turns out that I can't even set up the Yahoo! league until I know what kind of league we want to have. So, it's decision time.

The 2 issues on the ballot are live draft v. auto draft and keeper league v. regular league. Vote Now or forever hold your Ps.

One vote per team manager, please.

The Lawyers' Turn

Alright, lawyers, I know you already read my previous post Testing the Waters, wherein your client is a:
45 year old man, never arrested for anything, at all, in his life. He is happily married, has two beautiful children, a good solid, but not overly lucrative, job.

He did exactly what you see on Dateline. He chatted online with what he believed to be a "13 year old girl." The subject matter of the chats was very explicit, and he sent explicit photographs of himself to her. After a number of chats, he set up a time to meet the girl. He brought condoms and lubricant. He was arrested by police at the meeting place.

Approximately 40-some blog-readers have already responded and told you what they think his sentence will be, and what they think it should be. Their responses ranged from "2 days community service" to "off with his head."

Now, it's our turn. This new client just came into your office and laid out these facts to you. When he says, "So, how bad is it? What's going to happen to me?" what do you tell him?

Or, prosecutors, you've just gotten this set of facts (and the corresponding evidence) from a detective. What kind of plea offer are you putting forth? What kind of sentence do you think the guy will ultimately get?

You can also say where you work if you want (it might give us some context), but you certainly don't have to.
If you want, you can share what you think should happen to him, but, again, you certainly don't have to. (I can see how it might be bad business for private attorneys to say, "I think he should fry.")

I'll post my thoughts either as an update here or in the comments within a couple of days.

If you're not a lawyer, please post your comments at Testing the Waters. That should make it easier to know who the comments are coming from, when so many people leave anonymous comments.

Blawgers Baseball

It is mid-February, and you know what that means.

Time to start talking about the Blawger Fantasy Baseball season.

Gideon has been kind enough to set up Blawgers Baseball, the blog. And to give us the full range of options for our league.

So, go weigh in. Then, once I get a feel for everyone's opinions, I can set up the Blawger Baseball League.

Britney Goes Bald!

You can see the video here, Britney's New Look Is Bald.

What is going on with kids these days? And what is up with these 24-hour rehab stints?

And how funny is it that the news reporter is "live" in front of the tattoo parlor that Britney previously visited? And then kisses her own arm to demonstrate, with lipstick, what kiss marks inside a wrist might look like?

What is this world coming to?


I missed last night's Gilmore Girls. Anyone want to fill me in or point me to a good Gilmore recap? TWOP only has a mini-recap so far, which, frankly, cut to the chase a little too quickly for my liking.

I don't know... I kind of liked Christopher better than Luke. Because I feel like there's something kind of nice about ultimately ending up with your baby daddy. But Luke is kind of shaping up to be a good guy, and Christopher is kind of shaping up to be a jerk.

And I am feeling impressed with Logan, he's certainly shaping up to be a nicer young man than I originally thought.

And I am the only one who doesn't give a crap about that pregnant girl and her airhead boyfriend or husband or whatever he is? I'll confess, I generally fast-forward through their scenes on my Tivo-brand recording device.

I Just Want To Go Home

If you watched the dog show tonight, you saw those Pedigree commercials.

Dogs in cages, with David Duchovny's voice-over:

I know how to sit.

How to fetch.

And how to roll-over.

What I don't know is how I ended up in here.

But I know that I am a good dog.

And I just want to go home.

Frickin' heart breaking, man.

When you buy Pedigree products, they'll make a donation to help dogs find loving homes. Or, you can donate to American Humane through the Pedigree site and Pedigree will match your donation.

Testing the Waters

A few years back, I was defending someone for failure to register as a sex offender. My client was required to registered because he had been convicted of a very nasty horrible disgusting tragic kind of rape. But, as far as his offense for "failure to register," he had a good defense, and I was thinking quite seriously about taking the case to trial.

I was concerned, though, that jurors, particularly women jurors, might have a hard time getting past the idea that my client was a "convicted sex offender. " I felt confident that the facts of that underlying rape case would never come out at trial, but I still worried that maybe jurors would have a difficult time acquitting a convicted sex offender, no matter what the circumstance.

While I was prepping the case, I was out to dinner with a few friends, who happened to be women of a very varied demographic - older, younger, mothers, married, single. Someone asked about how work was going, and I mentioned that I was working on this "failure to register as a sex offender" case. Right away, one of the women said that she didn't think it was such a big deal that my client was a sex offender. She said, "He could've just turned 18 before his high school girlfriend or something." And all of the other women agreed.

I thought to myself, "Wow, I really underestimated my jury pool." And, truthfully, they underestimated my client.

The case never went to trial, but that principle, that I don't always know exactly what regular people might think about a case, has stayed with me. That's one of the reasons that I often talk about my cases (generally, of course) with non-lawyer friends and family.

One of the things that we (criminal defense lawyers) talk about a lot is what "a case is worth." This is kind of the magical formula of taking the seriousness of the charge, together with the nature of the evidence (do they have you on tape or do they only have the word of a crackhead?), along with a person's criminal record or lack thereof, to determine whether a case is a good case for trial or what a fair plea would be.

It often surprises me what non-lawyer friends think a case is worth. Sometimes I'll tell a story, that ends with, "...and now he's doing 5 years" and people will react with shock and say, "You get 5 years for doing that???" Other times, I'll tell a story, and at the end people will say, "I bet he went to jail for a long time!" and I'll have to say, "No, he just did a one day anger management class."

This happens sometimes with clients too. I've had clients arrested for the first time, charged with something simple like shoplifting who will say, "I'm not going to prison, am I?" (Ummm, no, you're not. You can thank my amazing lawyering abilities.) And sometimes I'll have a jerk of a client, arrested for the 10,000th time, who will say, "Jail? Jail? It's not like I murdered someone!" (True, but no one ever said that you can only go to jail for murder, did they?)

All of this leads me to...

I wonder what you, my blog readers, think a case is worth.

I'll start with a fairly uncomplicated example. Here's the facts: 45 year old man, never arrested for anything, at all, in his life. He is happily married, has two beautiful children, a good solid, but not overly lucrative, job.

He did exactly what you see on Dateline. He chatted online with what he believed to be a "13 year old girl." The subject matter of the chats was very explicit, and he sent explicit photographs of himself to her. After a number of chats, he set up a time to meet the girl. He brought condoms and lubricant. He was arrested by police at the meeting place.

If you're a not a lawyer... What do you think would happen if he was completely cooperative with the police and wanted to plead guilty? What sentence do you think he would be likely to get? And, what sentence do you think would be fair? You can leave your comment below.

UPDATE: Lawyers are now invited to tell what they think this case is worth here (The Lawyers' Turn). I'd like to hear from the lawyers... What do you think the charges/sentence would be in your jurisdiction? I think it might also be interesting to see how this might vary across the country.

Non-lawyers, you might still like to read the "guesses" below (and leave your own guess, or thoughts, or whatever), before you go read the "answers" from the lawyers.

Best Super Bowl Ad

I can't be the only one who thought the best commercial of the night was for Flomax...

"Here's to guys who want to go less at night."
Ummm, go where?

"Will help problems like frequently waking up to go..."
I frequently wake up to go to work, will it help with that?

"...Going Often..."
Going where often? They're out camping. That kinda looks fun... you can't go camping often if you take this?

"...weak stream..."
They're OLD MEN KAYAKING! A weak stream is a good thing!

"...if you've had cataracts, tell your eye surgeon..."
Ohhhh, this whole thing was about eye medicine?

Man, those guys are drinking a lot of water. They're really going to have to stop and pee soon.

Believe me, if you had my commentary at your super bowl party, you would've agreed this was the funniest ad of the night.

She Can Turn The World On With Her Smile

I think about commercials a lot. I watch them, I discuss them, I read reviews of ads like Slate's Ad Report Card and the now-retiring Ad Jab. I don't often blog about them, but here goes...

There's a commercial for a bank that really bothers me. It starts with a young woman, probably about my age, working in a cubicle. Someone (her boss?) comes by and says her name and hands her something. She says, "Yes!" and he says, "Let me guess, first paycheck?" So, now we know, she has just been given her first paycheck.

Then we see her running down the street to the sounds of "Love is All Around." Next she's sitting in the bank, apparently opening a checking account. We know this because she very excitedly holds up her brand new check book.

She's looking at her phone, and she apparently has some sort of message from her bank. She's out with a guy at the movies (looking at her phone again, not a good sign on a date), she's out with her friends at a restaurant, and puts down her brand new debit card. And we know she's "gonna make it after all!"

Here's what bothers me: It appears that all this happens probably within the same weekend. They certainly don't show anything like pages flying off the calendar (the classic way of letting us know time has passed) or the change in seasons.

Because at my bank, my deposited check isn't available for days!

If that commercial was about me, you would see me sitting home all weekend, broke. You would see me out at a restaurant with my friends, saying "Can you guys spot me for a few days?"

I know, they want me to think that I should switch banks. But I'm not falling for it. I don't even have one of those banks near me - so how could I skip down the street with my paycheck in my hand? I would be skipping for hours!

Talk about false advertising.

Blawgers Baseball

To prove to you that I'm not the only one who sees February on the calendar and thinks baseball... and fantasy baseball... I present to you:

Blawgers Baseball, the blog.

AND check out my banner, over below my "WINNER 2006 Public Defender Blogger Awards" banner.