Wow it feels like this was a huge week. Here I was in bucolic Woodloch Pines in the Poconos having the time of my life while the world was attacking freedoms and limiting liberty. So lets see what I missed:
1. Judge Okays an "Innocent Pedophile's" Right to Publish Clean Photo's of Children on His Blog.
This article from the ABA tells of how a good scare can completely destroy liberty among those that do not understand freedom.
Self-admitted pedophile Jack McClellan has been going around telling everyone he is ok with sex with little kids and that he is Sexually attracted to these kids... but there are no kids that have stepped up to admit being with him. Hence other than having weird thoughts he hasn't done anything wrong... except to scare the bejesus out of parents in Southern California.
Two parents of youngsters sought to restrain this otherwise homeless sycophant from coming near their children. They sought to stop him from loitering near places where kids gather, and to keep 30 feet away from children. They also sought to stop him from putting and publishing pictures of kids on his website. Now these were not pornographic pictures... these are ANY PICTURES.
I originally didn't think there was a problem with the 30 foot rule, but then again, I was barely awake when I first read this article. Not only is the restraint not limited to a specific child, but it also seems like a prior restraint which could basically keep this guy out of places to eat, receive health care, even use bathroom facilities. The guy sexually idealizes kids, but as far as we can tell hasn't acted on it. This order sets him up for being arrested.
Now the problem is...what if he does. Do you want to be the judge who said we couldn't stop him until he hurt someone?
Evidentially neither did the judge in this case, one Melvin Sandvig of the LA Superior court. The problem of course is that the fear of what this guy could do is juxtaposed against the right of his to both espouse his views and at the same time be allowed the same rights as anyone else with a controversial viewpoint.
What is to stop the Judges from ruling that people who favor guns and gun usage could be effectively banished because they may massacre kids in a school?
Unpopular ideas, even illegal ones, voiced, are not a crime. If we begin to criminalize thought and speech we could easily and quickly become a totalitarian state. Ask anyone who studies Nazi Germany.
This case is not so much about pedophilia as it is about a kind of terrorism. It is actually easier in many ways to defend the active pedophile than it is to go to bat for McClellan. I think the terror of what might happens makes it different. This guy doesn't have the money to oppose the ruling. I wonder if the ACLU will step up to defend his civil rights. It has got to be a tough one. Nevertheless if it were happening here, I would agree to do it. I wouldn't like it, but I'd do it as hard as I can. The constitution, and the law requires it.
Which leads me to my next headline:
2. ABA Journal Ethic's Piece Highlights the Struggle of a Lawyer Who Did the Ethical Thing.
Calling it "The Toughest Call" ABA Journal Editor Mark Hansen recounts the tail of Frank Armani and Francis Belge two assigned counsel who were called on to defend a mass murdering rapist, Robert Garrow.
In conversations with Garrow, the lawyers learned he had killed and raped others and that he knew where bodies of other decedents were. He told them and then they (having the duty to preserve the evidence) went and took pictures of the "graves" and of the dead.
They refused to reveal the information received by them in confidence. They were reviled by the press and by their friends and neighbors for their ethical decision.
Belge went on to leave the practice. Armani slowly rebuilt his reputation in the Syracuse area. Both suffered unfairly for what was clearly the toughest, but the only decision they could make.
This case caused a book "Privileged Information", and a movie "Sworn to Silence." Actor Peter Coyote retells the story of making the film on his website here. If you are interested in the real practice of law, or in ethics, or just want to see a great movie, rent this one. I understand the book (which appears to be out of print) is a fascinating read as well.
By the way, Kudo's on the ABA Journal website . I just found it and I love it!!! Great place to stay up on legal news.
3. House Democrats Wimp Out on FISA Bill: Will Anyone Stand Up and Save the Constitution???
The NY Times reports (here) that the democrat congress refused to stand up to the President once again and agreed to a bill amending the FISA court and to allow greater domestic spying by the executive branch without the benefit of judicial supervision.
The administration wants the right to eavesdrop on conversations that are routed through US routers. They already can eavesdrop on calls not routed through the US. They need a warrant to eavesdrop on calls wholly within the US. But internet calls outside of the US which happen by one of our ISP's are now eligible for warrantless eavesdropping.
Here's the thing. They do not have the ability to differentiate between terror calls and non terror calls. If they listen into non terror calls, they shouldn't be able to use the information, and it should not be stored. I don't trust Gonzoles and company to do that, and apparently neither does anybody else.
Here's another thing. The Dems know that it's unconstitutional, and they had the power to stop it by not bringing it to a vote, They had a bill that was a good one, but the President threatened to veto it. Well that means that the President will be able to go around saying the Democrats refused to act to keep America safe. So they caved in.
Ok maybe we are safe from terror... (maybe) but who will protect us from the Bushies???
4. The Truth About Pot, Weed, Marijuana.
I am not in favor of continuing a drug war which frankly we are losing. I would rather educate and teach, and then tax and let Darwin work out the rest.
In that vein, here and here are two articles that tell you why Pot is bad for you... (1 joint is equal to five cigarettes!!!) Read them. Then try to figure out why you are so suicidal you would introduce this crap into your body.
Consider yourself more educated.
Ok I am back from vacation, lets see if I can get a couple of posts out this week.