Thursday, January 29, 2009

Maybe You Are Wondering Where I Am.

I have not posted for nearly 10 days. I have a bad habit of going on "walkabout". I get the urge to write and then after a month or so, it goes away, I have little new to say or too little time to say it well.

I am in the second phase now. I have too little time to say what I want to say well. I am not sure who said it first, but I think it was Winston Churchill who said, " I am sorry for the long letter but I didn't have the time to write a short one." It takes time to write well. I do not write as well as others.

I have also been tied up with the case of the AGAPE WORLD INC. alleged Ponzi scheme. I am representing one of the Vice Presidents of the company and the man who called the authorities on behalf of his fellow VP's and employees of Agape World when he confirmed the President of Agape Nicholas Cosmo was stealing and running a Ponzi Scheme. I hope to have a lot to say on my blog this weekend on this matter. Meanwhile, I am thankful for the folks who follow me on Twitter and who call or send notes or e-mails wishing my client and I good fortune. I may add a few links later.

For anyone who is interested you can see me speak on Criminal Motion Practice at the Young Lawyer Section of the NYS Bar Association tomorrow from 9:30 to 10:30 in their CLE Bridge the Gap seminar. It is a highly attended seminar and I think you may enjoy it.

I will be back in a couple of days.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Our Sister Blog "Long Island (Criminal) Trial Law" : Why Wall Street White Collar Defendants Need Main Street Criminal Defense Lawyers

With the new administration, and the recent Drier and Madoff scandals leading the way, White Collar Prosecutions are sure to be on the rise. Over at Long Island (Criminal) Trial Law, we are discussing how Main Street Criminal Defense Lawyers are the right solution to Wall Street White Collar Defendant's problems.

The Start of a New World, The Week The Dream Comes True : Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Hussein Obama

I have so little to add to all that is being said on the air, in the main stream media and in all the blogs. This is the start of a new world. A world that I am sure many in my lifetime feared, and many more doubted. A world, where finally the promise that any man woman or child can be President of the United States is fulfilled.

From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, possibly the most revered land in the nation (other than a National Cemetery) Martin Luther King Jr. stood up to the powers that would liked never to see this week come and said:
"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

Tuesday is another huge step in achieving the MLK Dream. But it is not just his dream that is fulfilled this week. With the Inauguration of Barack Obama, we also fulfill the dreams of Ganhdi, and Lincoln, and Jesus Christ. King said in his speech:

"In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."

On Tuesday, we have an opportunity to show the world, that the concepts of peaceful protest, advocacy, education, and persistence can change the way the world works. War and killing doesn't have to be the way. In fact, war and killing usually just leads to more war and killing. Peaceful respectful disagreement will bring about permanent change. Discipline and Dignity... If that isn't a good description of our President-elect, nothing is. I don't know what he will do, or if it will work, or even if I will agree with him, but I already see he is a man, who exudes dignity and discipline.

There is a different feel in Washington DC. It is one of hope and renewal. There is a return of class to the city. People even speak of trust. I haven't heard the word trust in the city since 1969.

Obama is reaching out to the Republicans. He is seeking to work with the men in the middle. He may be saving the Republican party from itself by doing so. Brave Republicans like McCain and Graham understand that working in a genial environment is the only way to accomplish anything. Failure to do so will reign down anger from the people on the main streets of every city and town in the country. We cannot have 4 more years of nothing being accomplished in Washington DC.

Of course, such bi-partisanship will bring about rage from the neo-con right (or are they really left?) because, they will claim they cannot take pot shots at the President and the Democratic leadership if the moderate Republicans give them cover. Too bad. Rush and the idiotic blond bimbo who wishes she were he, will have to just shoot at each other for a change. They have been shooting the Republicans in the foot long enough. Liberals of the far out persuasion will have the same difficulties. If they want to accomplish anything in Washington DC without making their re-elections impossible, they will have to come to the middle with their social agenda, and maybe their economic agenda as well.

On the other hand, we all could go to a tax program allowing Americans to keep 90% of what they earn. I bet that stimulates the economy right away.

Finally, maybe the dreams of the man we honor on Monday, become fulfilled with the Inauguration he made possible of the man we entrust with our nation's well being on Tuesday. With great challenge, comes great opportunity. But with great opportunity, comes great responsibility not to squander that opportunity. The last eight years have been squandered opportunity. As a nation we have tired of that waste.

It will be an historic week. I will pray, it is an historic Presidency.Congratulations Dr. King, and welcome Mr. Obama, Mr. President. Welcome, and good luck.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Man Bites Dog: Victim Seeks Dismissal of Statutory Rape Charges Against Director Roman Polanski. Should It Matter?

The alleged victim in the Roman Polanski Statutory Rape case, joins with Polanski in seeking dismissal of the charges against him. Filing a separate affidavit, the victim accuses the former Judge and Prosecutor in her case of failures and misdeeds. She also claims that the prosecutors in the case now are seeking to cover up those misdeeds and that their failures are causing her unnecessary grief and embarrassment.

Ms. Geimer now 45 years old and a mother herself wants the case dismissed. Though not denying the facts behind the allegations, she feels that too much time has passed and that she has moved on in her life. She asserts that Prosecutors, who earlier this month used Grand Jury excerpts that gave vivid detail to the media about the accusations leveled at the Oscar winning director, are trudging the whole thing up to protect their office's good name at her expense.

Polanski was allegedly at the home of actor Jack Nicholson when he attacked the girl who was there alone to meet the famed director. Polanski lost his wife Sharon Tate a young actress and their yet to be born child in the Manson Murder spree.

Geimer's petition is an interesting one. Under her theory, as a victim she should have a say as to how the prosecution is handled and what should happen to the outcome of the case. This is essentially giving her veto power over the prosecutors office.

Nonetheless, Prosecutors and victim's rights advocates have been leading the charge to give victims more say in sentencing and other matters that, in the not so distant past have been the sole discretion of judges and lawyers. This would be fair turnaround. Often victims of crimes want to drop charges but are told that since they are not the prosecutor they have no say in what or how a case is handled. In cases where there are mandatory minimums, such as in many statutory rape situations, the victim's will is defeated.

If that were to happen in cases where a judge refused to go along with the victim, prosecutors rally to the victim's side and decry the jurist and often blame defense counsel as well. It feels like fair game to burn the prosecution at its own game. In fact, in Polanski's case it is even more than fair as the prosecutor went so far as to have ex-parte conversations with the court and it seems made a fair sentence for Polansky impossible. Griemer has a case it seems where the malfeasense of Prosecutors and the court now causes her more pain and suffering after the fact.

I suppose that I should look at this as a positive effect of Victim's rights. I don't. I see it as a furthering weakening of the criminal justice system and a further step away from what we should be properly doing, that is, establishing guilt and if there is guilt finding an appropriate sentence that will deter further misbehavior by the accused and return that person to society as soon as correction and rehabilitation has been established. It has nothing to do with victims. It isn't about their feelings or lack thereof. It isn't about vengence or hearing the victim's voice.
I am not against those things in the proper forum (ie a parole hearing or civil proceeding) I am against it when it comes to the job or the elected official and when it gets in the way of the goals of the system.

Whether Polansky should be allowed to attack his conviction while remaining in France is not my issue. Whether his conviction or plea should be allowed to be withdrawn is not my care now. Whether that decision should be left up to his victim, anymore than his sentence should be is the issue. I do not feel that it she has any say in this matter. It is for the District Attorney to decide how to enforce the laws of his state. I just think that it also has to be a two way street. If a victim cannot help an accused by being heard on her decision to prosecute, neither should she be able to assert her will on other issues in the criminal prosecurtion of the case in which she is not a party, but is a witness.

What are your thoughts on the role of victims in the Criminal Justice System? Let me know in the comments or by send them to me via Twitter

Friday, January 09, 2009

Govenor Palin Attacks Katie Couric: Sarah Still Doesn't Get Why She Cost McCain the Election.

Sarah Palin is the main subject of an upcoming documentary about the election. It is a documentary by John Zeigler, a Neo-conservative film maker who, from what I can see on the YouTube outtake from the movie, was tossing Palin softballs to hit out of the stadium. Unfortunately, Sarah struck out...again.

Palin acts snarky toward and jealous of Caroline Kennedy. Lets see, yes Caroline is wealthy. No Sarah, you do not go after a woman who is trying to enter public service (like you), whose family, whether you like them or not, has dedicated their lives to public service. Never forget Sarah that Caroline's father and Godfather were both assassinated on national television while she was a child because of their decision to serve the nation. She is a victim. You are not.

You also do not get to say you were being "flip" and were not taking questions seriously when you were asked what newspapers you read by Katie Couric.

(Paliin, when asked about Katie Couric's question in their disastrous interview about what newspapers she read, said that she thought Couric was trying to figure out what "they did up there" and that her answer was somewhat flippant and was meant to convey that she did all the same things and read all the same things as those of us in the lower 48.)

You said of Couric, "Katie, the world does not revolve around you." You are right, "the world" doesn't revolve around Couric, but on that day at that time, being the first time you had an opportunity to make an impression on the American electorate, your world should have "revolved" around Couric. What in the world made you think you could blow off a question because you thought it was flippant? What level of self importance do you harbor to think it was all about you? What it was about was showing the American people that you were a serious candidate who could step into the shoes of the President at a moments notice.

Palin also complained that McCain's handlers made her continue the interview after it was clear it went poorly. First off Ms. Palin, you are an adult. You could have said no. As for your decision to continue, it was said you couldn't get your act together, but you cannot cut and run when you are in charge of the free world. You could have prepared better. You could have even taken out those alleged pit bull teeth and polar bear nails and gone after Couric when she was being "unfair" to you. You cannot, however, cut and run. Not if you want to be our President. This is just further proof of your abject inabliity to be President.

As for the Tina Fey statements, who are you kidding? Of course it exploited you. That is what comedians do. You felt that the jokes and statements about your daughter's pregnancy were unfair? Too bad. You chose to thrust that child and her poor decision into the public view. You made her pregnancy an issue. You made her decision to keep the child and marry a boy who didn't want to get married seem shotgun-like. Here Boyfriend made the statements on Facebook that said he didn't want to get married. You announced their engagement. Fey's comment about unwilling children getting married because they got pregnant was vicious but it had a ring of truth to it. That is what made it funny. Your abject failure to recognize your complicity in the situation makes me question your judgement.

Here is the thing. You put yourself out there as a potential President. You decided you hate the intelligent, you are jealous of the successful and you act like a victim.

You are right, Ms. Palin, you are a victim. You are a victim of your own ego, lack of self esteem, petty jealousy, niavite, and, sadly, lack of "smarts". You keep trying to tell me how tough you are. Here is a lesson for you, Sarah. Tough guys don't have to tell people they are tough. They take on tough situations, handle them, and move on. They don't compare themselves to bears, pitbulls or any other animals. They just do their job.

If you need a tough guy to model after, look no further than John McCain. He makes no excuses, stands by his people (you included) and takes responsibility for his own statements failures and decisions.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Public Hypocrite #1: Sen.Arlen Spector Wants a Attorney General Who Can Say No To The President.

This is rich. Arlen Spector, Republican Senator from Pa. and former Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee has announced that although Attorney General Nominee Eric Holder has excellent academic and professional credentials he is "concerned" that Holder may not be able to say no to the President.

IS HE KIDDING???? This is the man who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Alberto Gonzalez as AG. Now I understand that Holder told President Clinton he had "no problem" with Clinton pardoning Marc Rich, but Gonzalez not only had no problem with Rendition, and torture, he actually approved of them with written memos. He approved the firing of US Attorneys because they wouldn't do Karl Rove's bidding.

Hey Arlen, can you say "I am a Hypocrite??" Probably not, politicians are just not that honest.

Police Use GPS and Google to Find a Kidnapped Child.

I spend a lot of time on this blog criticizing police and Prosecutors. It isn't that I don't like them. It is that I think that since they represent the "people" I think they need to be held to a higher standard of conduct than any individual person.

When they "get it right" (and they do get it right far more often than not) however, I think they deserve to be acknowledged. Athol Police Officer Todd Neale managed to track down the missing girl by obtaining coordinates of her cell phone from the phone’s carrier and using Google Maps and Google World to locate the motel where she was being held.

Nice Job Officer Neale.

Full story here

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Four Blog Posts You Should Read: An interesting Day in the Blogosphere

Some days the quality of posting is just really good.

Check these out:

Love and Marriage is not for the Funky Brown Chick. Interesting comments.

Note to self...don't sarcastically ask if after a day of yelling and fighting with your toddler is it ok to smother her, at least not on Twitter. Some humorless follower may call the cops.
Hattip: Spin me I Pulsate

Wow US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald says you're guilty of something and we don't even have to have a trial. Man the kangaroos are jumping in Illinois. Dissenting Justice Darren Hutchinson says NO WAY. At least he believes there ought to be a trial.

Keeping it real. An adult,orphaned in childhood, recounts being reunited with her family on her last Birthday. It will move you.It moved me. Read "Me..Being Anonymous". This lady has a story to tell.

A day filled with new voices and ideas.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Where the Hell is the Change Barack??? : Cabinet Choices are all Clinton Retreads

Short post:

Is it me or is the "Change President" who promised to bring new faces and ideas to Washington just bringing back the same old Democrats we tossed out for 8 years of Bushies (who were just old retreads of his father's failed administration.

Let's see we have

Eric Holder for Attorney General, deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration. RETREAD. I like Eric, but come on he is hardly a fresh breath of air.

Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. Uh the former first lady... Need we say more?

Bill Richardson for Commerce Secretary, I like Richardson. He is a fellow Jumbo. He is still a Clinton retread, former UN ambassador and Energy Secretary under "Uncle Bill."

UPDATE: Gov. Richardson has withdrawn from consideration.

Rahm Emanuel- Chief of Staff- Former Clinton Sr. Advisor on Policy and Strategy.

Leon Panetta for CIA- Clinton's Chief of Staff.

Where is the change?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Tony(c) Award for Best Criminal Law Blog for 2008 and an Honor: Professor Doug Berman Sentencing Law and Policy Blog

Thinking of words and phrases to describe out Tony(c) award winning Best Criminal Law Blog is easy: Informative, cutting edge, authoritative, well written, incisive, thought-provoking. The one I like the most is consistant.

The 2008 Tony(c)Award for Best Criminal Law Blog is Professor Doug Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy Blog. The reason for the award? This blog is consistantly the best place to go to begin to research the latest issues in Federal sentencing. Professor Berman is not only a blogger extrodinaire but his blog is cited to on a regular basis by courts and in briefs at the highest (read SCOTUS) levels of advocacy.

Doug is also a real giver. In addition to writing a blog that is a readers delight he also often authors briefs and amicus briefs on behalf of positions he believes in dealing with Sentencing law. Doug is generous with his time and is a frequent lecturer on all thing USSG and USSC. His insights have helped me over and over again in getting fair sentences for my clients. If a young practioner (or an old one for that matter) wants to learn the ins and outs of the USSG, get a copy of the USSG and then start reading the archives of Sentencing Law and Policy Blog.

An extra honor from me to Doug and his great Blog: This Tony(c)Award is being named for its winner. Hereinafter the Tony(c) Award for Best Criminal Law Blog will hereinafter be known as the "Prof. Doug Berman Memorial Tony(c)Award for Best Criminal Law Blog"

Thank you Professor for all you do.

Happy New Years to all of my readers.

Follow me on Twitter and get updates througout the day of the best legal blog posts and news articles addressing the criminal law, law practice management and Constitutional law on and around the blogosphere.