"Court Had It Comin'!" — The Ninth Circuit Gets Another Pimp Slap

The Ninth Circuit Court has now been overturned more often than Martha Stewart’s garden soil. Overturning the Ninth Circuit has become the national pastime of the high-court, just after baseball and eminent domain:

The case was Carey v. Musladin, where the Court held that a federal appeals court improperly overturned a state court ruling allowing a murder victim’s family to wear buttons depicting the victim’s face during a criminal trial. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated Mathew Musladin’s 32-year prison sentence for first-degree murder, asserting that the buttons deprived Musladin, who pleaded self-defense, of a fair trial by tacitly indicating that he acted as the instigator in the underlying shooting.

During trial, Musladin’s lawyer requested the judge ban the buttons, which family members wore in plain sight of the jury, and the Ninth Circuit ruled [text, PDF] that the buttons created an outside influence that impermissibly affected the jury and his right to a fair trial. The Supreme Court ruled that the Ninth Circuit exceeded its authority under 28 USC 2254(d)(1) [text] by finding that the state court’s decision “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law.”

The rest of the story is in The Jurist.

I’ve written much about the oft-overturned liber-wacky Ninth Circuit. Relatively recent examples are here and here. Why? Because it’s fun. They’re sort of like the Gilligan of Judicial Island, and I love slapstick.

“Court Had It Comin’!” — The Ninth Circuit Gets Another Pimp Slap

The Ninth Circuit Court has now been overturned more often than Martha Stewart’s garden soil. Overturning the Ninth Circuit has become the national pastime of the high-court, just after baseball and eminent domain:

The case was Carey v. Musladin, where the Court held that a federal appeals court improperly overturned a state court ruling allowing a murder victim’s family to wear buttons depicting the victim’s face during a criminal trial. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated Mathew Musladin’s 32-year prison sentence for first-degree murder, asserting that the buttons deprived Musladin, who pleaded self-defense, of a fair trial by tacitly indicating that he acted as the instigator in the underlying shooting.

During trial, Musladin’s lawyer requested the judge ban the buttons, which family members wore in plain sight of the jury, and the Ninth Circuit ruled [text, PDF] that the buttons created an outside influence that impermissibly affected the jury and his right to a fair trial. The Supreme Court ruled that the Ninth Circuit exceeded its authority under 28 USC 2254(d)(1) [text] by finding that the state court’s decision “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law.”

The rest of the story is in The Jurist.

I’ve written much about the oft-overturned liber-wacky Ninth Circuit. Relatively recent examples are here and here. Why? Because it’s fun. They’re sort of like the Gilligan of Judicial Island, and I love slapstick.

The Duke Rape Case, New DNA Evidence, and How To Handle Out-of-Control Prosecutors

As of this moment, we’re still unsure of all the facts in the Duke lacrosse “rape” case, particularly those of us whose only knowledge of the situation comes from news reports and the blogosphere. However, it is beginning to look like the accused players might be getting railroaded to the point where the prosecutor should provide them with “Union Pacific” t-shirts.

Every time we look at somebody who may be wrongly accused we should shudder and think, “there but for the grace of God,” and investigate fully.

Defense attorneys for the three men from Duke’s lacrosse team charged with raping a stripper at a party have filed a motion with the court, as DNA testing found genetic material in the accuser’s body and underwear, but none of it was from any of the three defendants.

Here’s the story.

This means either the accuser was with other men (willingly or unwillingly we don’t know), or did a feet-first Slip-n-Slide through the mens room at a football stadium. Either way, it’s not looking good for the prosecutor’s case, but he’s showing no signs of letting up. Why?

This case will play itself out, and not being a fly on the wall during any of this I can’t comment on the particulars, but I’d like to focus more on the prosecutorial end of things. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the accused are being used for some purpose other than the pursuit of justice. If it turns out to be the prosecutor who is continuing pursue increasingly discredited allegations, severe action needs to be taken.

District Attorney Mike Nifong has been accused of pursuing the case for political gain in a re-election year, and Republican Rep. Walter Jones wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Nifong’s conduct in the case.

In the meantime, here’s my modest proposal, and this would apply in general for any would-be out-of-control prosecutor: Let it be known going in that should solid evidence be found that a prosecutor pursued a false or grossly misleading case against any citizen, that said prosecutor be subject to the same sentence they sought to impose on the defendant.

Who knows how many people are in jail due to zealous prosecutors and their lofty goals that had little to do with the alleged crimes by the accused. In addition, prosecutors who have to seek re-election is a questionable way to run a system. On one hand, said prosecutor is directly responsible to the citizens who have a hand on the lever of their entire career, but on the other hand, the odds that a prosecutor will play to the prides and prejudices of the makeup of any given community at the expense of justice for the accused go way up. It sounds as if the latter could be what’s happening in the Duke case.

This country has enough trouble putting actual criminals in prison without using so much time and resource to manufacture cases against the people because some prosecutor wants to be re-elected.

There are few more heinous crimes than willingly ruining the life of an innocent person to gain political power, and this should be addressed by sentencing rogue prosecutors (and judges, and politicians, etc.) who are found to have willingly engaged in this act to the same sentences they sought for those they accused.

If this turns out to be the fact of the matter in the Duke case, we can call it “Nifong’s Law.” Having a law named after you is a good way to impress your cellmate while simultaneously helping out any would-be future victims of legal and/or political zealotry.

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Addendum: For more on the topic of a skunky justice system, David Usher, in the comments section for this post on MensNewsDaily, points us to a good article he wrote on the subject a while back which points out what can be done about it.

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The Democrats Moment of Terror

Earlier today, it was reported that South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat, suffered a stroke.

With the Democrats holding a one-vote margin in the Senate in the coming term, this was a major Maalox moment for the Dems, especially since South Dakota’s Republican governor would be choosing Johnson’s replacement if Johnson would have been unable to serve in January.

So, it turns out that Johnson didn’t have a stroke, but was hospitalized for dizzyness – which is the mandatory malady for about two-thirds of the Senate, as a matter of fact.

Ironically, as a result of Johnson’s scare, dozens of Senate Democrats more than likely did have a stoke. I think even Teddy had one, but it’s hard to tell the difference.

Update (Thursday 11 a.m. est): Now it appears that Johnson is in critical condition. Democrats, it’s okay to keep sweating.

The Fidel Exodus

The United States is planning for the possibility that the death of Fidel Castro could bring with it a greater rush of Cubans than the last time there was a casting call at Ricky Ricardo’s Club Babalu.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Coast Guard Rear Adm. David W. Kunkel, director of the Homeland Security Task Force Southeast, which led the two-day exercise, stressed that the U.S. government is not predicting that Castro’s death will destabilize Cuba and spark a massive wave of migration. But, he said, ”We don’t want to be caught flat-footed.”

A federal plan to contain a possible exodus from Cuba has been under review for 18 months and will need final approval from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. On Tuesday, federal officials declined to disclose many details of the plan, but said they are confident it will curb a wave of migration.

On the plus side, U.S. classic car and truck buffs could be in for some waterlogged treats.

The Swan Song of the Christmas Carol

As William Shakespeare wrote, “Farewell! Thou art too dear for my possessing.”

That’s the realization I’m coming to as it concerns any public mention (outside the church) of Jesus, or any song that even hints at His existence.

To be perfectly honest, I was naive enough to think my town was safe from the politically correct bandwagon that has been running over ”Christmas” until it looks like ”holidays,” at least for the time being, but on Monday night I could hear the engines approaching and the band tuning up to do some PC fiddling.

My daughter was singing with her school choir in the auditorium. Yes, it was still billed as a “Christmas concert.” Fortunately, I live in a city that is still, for the most part, about 40 years behind the curve as far as embracing political correctness goes.

My little town here in Michigan, in personal comparison to much larger cities I’ve been in, makes Mayberry look like New Jack City. Some days you can almost hear brush sounds from on high as Norman Rockwell busies himself putting this place to canvas. 

People here still wave at each other when their cars pass on the road and, for the most part, know each others names and the names of their kids. When we say “labs” we’re talking about dogs and not meth. There seems to be one church for every four residents. The police drive around giving out suckers on Halloween. There’s a real sense of community — if somebody’s sick and has no money, there’s a collection jar at every place of business. Ditto for kids raising money for their high school trip. People still even go Christmas caroling at times without being handed a temporary court order in response to Michael Newdow’s lawsuit to end the caroling and, just for good measure, re-title “Touched by an Angel” reruns as “Groped by a Figment of Your Imagination.”

Yes, off in the distance, a few hundred yards and down a hill from the window I sit in front of at this moment, is Interstate 96 — a constant reminder that the “real world” is just a stone’s throw away. I have a feeling that world will soon be visiting as it pertains to the area of the Christmas concert I mentioned a little while ago. Why? Well, there are three exits into our town off that Interstate, literally, and, unfortunately, figuratively.

Before the kids sang their final Christmas song, the choir director announced that she was retiring, and then said something that brought me to the realization I’m writing about today: She thanked the audience for allowing the kids to sing songs about Christmas and Jesus.

I repeat: She thanked the audience for allowing the kids to sing songs about Christmas and Jesus.

True, it’s nice that we can still do those things here, but this statement hit me like a bag filled with a ton of bricks and Rosie O’Donnell. There was a reason the choir director said this, and it’s most certainly not because she’s so happy that the trend is catching on everywhere. She seemed almost resigned to the fact that this wouldn’t be happening much longer. The emotion in her voice and expression on her face was one of frustrated and somewhat depressed resignation — one that I only imagine can be replicated by Ted Kennedy after hearing “last call.” 

Somehow I knew that we were witnessing the Swan Song of the Christmas Carol in our town.

Sure, the kids can still sing those songs, and they probably will next year, depending upon who the new choir director is, but when one is genuinely appreciative for still being “allowed” to sing Christmas songs, there’s trouble on the non-secular horizon.

I guess I should count our blessings while they last, but as I sit here looking at that highway off in the distance, I can see the big trucks from the “PC Moving Company” rolling toward the off-ramp, where they’ll careen downhill, lose control as they always do, and spill their contents all over our formerly nice little town.

The choir director can hear them coming, and now I can too. 

One of these years, the kids will be singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and the song is going to end with the ACLU maids a-milking a dozen lawsuits.

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Quick note for all my readers in Ireland (all one of you): At 12:45 p.m. eastern time, 5:45 p.m. Ireland time, I’ll be on the Scott Williams radio show on Q-102 in Dublin to talk about… well, I don’t really know, but it should be entertaining. If all else fails we’ll discuss my Irish heritage and put everybody to sleep at the wheel.

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Reuters Enrolls At Duke University

David Duke, former Grand Wizard (er, I’m sorry, “National Director“) for the Ku Klux Klan is described in this Reuters story, about the conference in Iran consisting of those who deny the Holocaust happened, as a “U.S. academic.”

Among the participants was U.S. academic David Duke, a former Louisiana Republican Representative. He praised Iran for hosting the event.

At what point did Duke, who the media has bashed with ferocity in the past, become an “academic”? Hmm. Must have been at some point during his flight from Louisiana to Teheran. It should come as no surprise. Hell, if the Menendez brothers sucked up to enemies of America, Reuters would refer to them as “expert marksmen.”

Don’t worry, if anybody doubts Duke is an “academic,” Reuters can simply Photoshop an impressive graduation cap on him.

H/T to the Say Anything Blog.

Iran Hosts Conference For Holocaust Deniers — David Duke Shows Up To Add Credibility

At the end of November, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote an “open letter to the American people.” In the letter, which sounds as if it could have been penned by any left-wing American politician, Ahmadinejad makes it clear that he thinks the Jews are responsible for everything from the misery inflicted upon the Palestinian people to the cancellation of The West Wing.

Nowhere in the lengthy note, however, does Ahmadinejad go on to say that the Holocaust never happened. That’s where this week’s conference in Iran comes in:

Iran hosted Holocaust deniers from around the world Monday at a conference examining whether the Nazi genocide took place, a meeting Israel’s prime minister condemned as a “sick phenomenon.”

The 67 participants from 30 countries included former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and Holocaust skeptics who have been prosecuted in Europe for questioning whether 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis or whether gas chambers were ever used.

Tonight the group will hold two evening sessions. The first is “Sir Isaac Newton and the Zionist gravity conspiracy,” and the second will be an awards ceremony for the conference participant who said “Zionist” the most times during the conference (my money’s on Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour — he’s on my wingnut fantasy league team).

As for David Duke, I’m guessing that if he denies that the Nazi’s killed millions of Jews in the Holocaust, it’s only because he thinks the blacks did it. 

Duke is a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan and Louisiana Representative. This is probably why, in comparison, nobody in that state seems to give a damn that William Jefferson stuffed bribe money in his freezer and explains not only his re-election, but also that of Ray Nagin. Louisiana seems to have become the home to a version of political anarchy, where anybody with power gets away with anything from idiocy to criminal behavior. It’s like Somalia with Cajun food.

Before the Holocaust denial conference closes, attendees will be shows the following sneak preview for Mel Gibson’s new movie Apocalypto:

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Holy Shiite, Nancy

Can we now finally dispense with the “Bush is dumb” stuff and move on to greener, more left-wing pastures?

The House Democrats will head the Intelligence Committee when they take control in January. Believe it or not, that’s not the entirely scary part.

The man tapped by Nancy Pelosi to head the committee failed a pop quiz:

Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, who incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped to head the Intelligence Committee when the Democrats take over in January, failed a quiz of basic questions about al Qaeda and Hezbollah, two of the key terrorist organizations the intelligence community has focused on since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

When asked by CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein whether al Qaeda is one or the other of the two major branches of Islam — Sunni or Shiite — Reyes answered “they are probably both,” then ventured “Predominantly — probably Shiite.”

That is wrong. Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organization and views Shiites as heretics.

Reyes could also not answer questions put by Stein about Hezbollah, a Shiite group on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations that is based in Southern Lebanon.

Stein’s column about Reyes’ answers was published on CQ’s Web site Friday evening.

No word yet on whether or not Reyes thinks “euthenasia” are Chinese kids.

Farewell, Kofi Annan: U.N. Chief's Legacy Smeared in Oil, Food, Hypocrisy, Greed and Bureaucratic Twittery

Today, outgoing U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan delivered a “farewell” speech in Missouri, and he became one of the first Sec. Gen.’s in the U.N.’s long and bureaucratic history to be scathingly critical of a current president’s policies before leaving office.

Annan will no doubt go on to a lucrative career as a public speaker, and possibly Morgan Freeman’s stunt double, but should we heed Annan’s criticism, or laugh at it as empty rhetoric from an empty suit? Let’s first take a look at some of the “best of” the man who’s doing the sanctimonious finger-pointing.

Oil for Food

We all remember the “Oil-for-Food” scandal. The United Nations’ “Oil-for-Food” program, which began in 1996, permitted Saddam Hussein to sell oil, provided that the revenue went for food, medicine and other necessities. It was a deal between the world’s largest bureaucracy and one of the planet’s most crooked and ruthless dictators. What could possibly go wrong?

It wasn’t long before it was discovered that Hussein was skimming money off the top, and bottom for that matter. Skimming? More like building a dam. The General Accounting Office estimated that Hussein’s regime netted over $10 billion. The psychotic-yet-most-entrepreneurial mustachioed one who had a destiny with a spider hole was, with a lot of help, inflating prices on humanitarian imports, which allowed him to sell that much more oil and keep the extra for himself and whoever else was involved. High markups, high profits and skimming – Iraq had become a 172,000 square mile jewelry store run by Jimmy Hoffa.

(This is the part where Columbo walks toward the door, pauses, and turns around, and says:) “Oh yes, one more thing…Kofi Annan’s son was receiving money from a company monitoring the Oil-for-Food program.”

Iraq Invasion

In a move taken straight from the “Berkeley Guide To Politically Correct Dating,” the United Nations said, in essence, that it was okay for the United States to invade Iraq, provided the U.S. got Iraq’s permission first. “May I invade” is the chapter in the book just after “May I put my arm around you” and “May I unhook your bra?” 

Kofi Annan and the U.N. sat idly by as Saddam Hussein has rebuilt an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, committed countless atrocities, and used financial goodies and other perks to lure nuclear scientists into the country in efforts to develop atomic weapons, and the U.N. was cool with that because Saddam let them “inspect” (provided they didn’t look in the crawl space).

I’m willing to bet that there are still people meeting in out-of-the-way U.N. offices – like Japanese soldiers on remote South Pacific Islands in the 1950’s who didn’t know the war was over — who are still debating whether or not Saddam should be removed from power.

“Based in the U.S.” hypocrisy

Why would the United Nations and Annan even want the U.S. as a member state? They’re constantly whining about America owing them a ton of money (something I thought Ted Turner took care of with his billion-dollar donation, but from the sound of things, Turner changed his mind and instead decided to spend the money to have the world’s most expensive lobotomy).

Not only does the U.N. claim we owe them money, but they have the audacity to say how bad the U.S. is and then also be headquartered in this country? If I’m just a few days late on my gym membership dues, they don’t let me in the door, let alone move the entire operation into my house. Something doesn’t add up. But then, that’s the legacy of Kofi Annan’s United Nations.

When Hugo Chavez visited the United States a few weeks ago, he asked the U.N. to consider relocating their headquarters to Venezuela. It was one of those rare times when I agreed with Chavez: It’s time for the U.N. to move. This won’t happen at any time soon though, as the U.N. headquarters in New York recently received a $2 billion ”extreme home makeover: bureaucrat edition.” Like jurors sequestered in a Four Seasons, it could prove tough to get them out of there.

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Here are some other classic Kofi Annan conflicts of interest. If this is the same man who’s pointing a bony, crooked diplomatic finger at the United States for not doing things his way, we should take that as a compliment.

Oh, and if Kofi’s speech today should mention war crimes and other atrocities, let’s be sure to include those committed by U.N. “peacekeepers” in all parts of the world during the watch of Kofi Annan.

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