Monthly Archives: March 2018

Trump Likely To Be Deposed

No, not like that, at least not yet.

Rather, odds are that Trump will have to answer questions in a deposition:

A New York State judge ruled on Tuesday that a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who has said President Trump made unwanted sexual advances could go forward, raising the possibility of a public airing of other allegations of sexual misconduct against the president.

The decision by Justice Jennifer Schecter of State Supreme Court in Manhattan paved the way for lawyers to seek depositions from several women who accused Mr. Trump of sexual harassment before he was elected and to subpoena Trump campaign records related to his female accusers.

Justice Schecter rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that a state court has no jurisdiction over a sitting president. She cited a United States Supreme Court ruling that allowed Paula Jones to bring a sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton.

Actually, the issue of whether the Paula Jones precedent should apply with full force in state court is not frivolous at all. I can imagine reasons why a court might hold that there is too much risk of interference with the President’s, ahem, affairs to allow just any court to make demands on his time. Then again, I can think of even more arguments why the state courts should be allowed to proceed — if only that surely a sitting President could get an injunction from a federal court if the state court were to misbehave in some way.

Posted in Law: Civil Procedure, Law: Reading the Constitution, The Scandals | Leave a comment

On Testilying

Joseph Goldstein has an interesting NYT article, ‘Testilying’ by Police: A Stubborn Problem, which updates a 1994 article which introduced me to the term.

TL/DR: Lots of NY cops lie in police reports and on the stand even about behavior that was recorded on camera.

The article does, however, leave two big questions unasked and unanswered. Unanswered is why is it (as the article reports) that NY courts routinely seal the evidence of cops lying? I’d like to know, because it could be that either a rule of court or other change might help reduce or eliminate the practice.

Unasked is why doesn’t the DA’s office have a zerohttp://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/22/us/new-york-police-often-lie-under-oath-report-says.html?pagewanted=all-tolerance policy for police making false statements on official documents, not to mention in court? Here, we can guess the likely answers: First, DAs think that because they have to work with police, they dare not anger them. Second, to the (partial) extent that testilying is designed to get around that pesky 4th Amendment, the police perjury is helping put away ‘bad guys’. Even so, the DA should be put to some prevarications.

And think about what terrible reason those two hypothesized justifications are: some of the perjury is about actual elements of the offense. In those cases, by their cowardice, the DA is allowing substantial numbers of innocent people to plead to, or be convicted of, offenses they did not commit.

As to the cases where the police perjury is about probable cause, it may be true that the victims are in some moral sense guilty of the underlying offense but even so the social consequences are not worth the candle: Police perjury breeds contempt for the Constitution and legal rules on behalf of the police (and the state’s lawyers), and fuels the belief of the arrested that the law is a sham, the police a unconstrained army. (And, worse, it’s only a step from planting evidence. Which I remind you could happen to anyone.) All this is very bad for the country at the best of times, and Trump’s America is not currently enjoying the best of times when it comes to lawfulness.

The rotting of the rule of law runs both up and down.

NOTE: Paragraph 2 above lightly edited for clarity

Posted in Law: Criminal Law | Leave a comment

When the Featured is the Whole Feature

I recently spent three minutes and forty-two seconds of my life that I will never get back listening to DJ Khaled – I Believe (from Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME) ft. Demi Lovato on YouTube. (In my defense, it autoplayed.)

I admit I totally don’t get the appeal of either artist, especially DJ Khaled–and not because of some non-existent aversion to rap either. But de gustibus non est disputandum and all that. So my question is not why does this basically uninteresting song have more than 1.6 million views — autoplay, right? or maybe movie tie-in — but rather, how can this possibly be called a song by DJ Khaled featuring Demi Lovato, when by my very rough count (I will not make myself play it again) he supplies the audio for less than 15 seconds and appears on the video doing his arm-wavy thing for at most a little more than that.

She does all the work, it’s his song with her ‘guest’ vocal?

By the way, Chloe x Halle’s Warrior from the same soundtrack, while in no way ground-breaking, is much nicer and the video also better-looking:

Yet as of this writing it has only under 400K views, less than a quarter of the other one.

Posted in Kultcha | 1 Comment

I Guess This Is Progress

Fusion Power is Only 15 Years Away, we’re told. I guess that’s progress since in just the last few years people have said its Always 50 Years Away, or maybe Always 30 Years Away, or maybe formely 30 years away, now its more like 50 years away, or maybe just forever 20 years away, or 13 Years Away.

So ten years away is progress, right? Then again three years ago it ten years away so maybe we’re going backwards?

Or maybe we’re looking at the wrong scientific advance here: what we really have is an odd form of time travel?

Posted in Sufficiently Advanced Technology | Leave a comment

Weird Al does Hamilton

The genius of Weird Al Yankovic is marrying sympathy for the material he parodies with a childish (sophomoric seems too grown up) comedic sensibility. His Hamilton medley featuring an accordion was I suppose inevitable.

Posted in Kultcha | Leave a comment