Monday, November 22, 2010


Assume that you are not flying, but your daughter and her daughter (your six [6] year old granddaughter) are flying to the East coast. Would you want all passengers, or none, or some, to be subjected to the (scan or intrusive pat down)?

If you say “some,” can you spell out who they would be? If you say “none,” that simplifies the matter, but would you then want your daughter and the granddaughter to take the train instead of the plane?

If you say you do not want your daughter and granddaughter to be subjected to the scan or pat down option, would you extend that privacy protection to the other passengers? If so, you are then saying that no one should be subjected to the option. Let us say no one, except the suspicious ones. What do you have to lose by such a stance?

What you have to lose, is the additional protection (if any) against a terrorist attack that is afforded by the more intrusive search. Is there additional protection? Does the (scan or pat down) discover dangerous items or substances that the former x-ray and back-handed pat down would fail to discover? In other words, is the new procedure more effective than the former procedure in prevention of a terrorist attack?

Can we be sure that terrorists will not use children to carry dangerous items or substances aboard the plane? Religious persuasion? Coercion by threats to the child or family?

Thursday, March 05, 2009


The New Mexico legislature is in session, and due to end March 17th. One controversial bill would repeal the death penalty, even though we have executed only one person since 1960.

The Albuquerque Journal, in a recent editorial, has suggested that the penalty be retained at least for murder of a prison guard. The Journal was impressed by our experience in New Mexico’s prison riot of February, 1980. Twenty-nine prisoners were murdered by prisoners, and no guards were murdered, although the guards were at the mercy of the killers. At that time, the murder of a guard was punishable by death, while the murder of a prisoner was not. The Journal seems to believe that the death penalty needs to be retained as a deterrent to murder in the killing of such guards.

I suggest that we retain the death penalty, at least for one type of crime. That is the abduction, sexual assault and deliberate murder of a female child under thirteen years of age. If there is any deterrent in our admittedly flawed system, perhaps it will save some lives of some female children. The law should also provide for moderate punishment for the abduction and assault, if the female child victim is not killed. The criminal should not face a long prison sentence for conduct short of murder.

A proponent of repeal states that the death penalty is no deterrent, or does not deter. How is this known? The federal government keeps statistics of unlawful homicides, but does not isolate, or separate out, those of wilful, deliberate, first degree murder. There may be studies which tend to show that the death penalty does not deter such murders in the first degree. We invite comments with references to any such studies, and will try to keep an open mind.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Questions floating in my mind. No offense.

If Barack Obama was saved in the Trinity Church, with Reverend Wright officiating, was not Obama then 26 years old? In what religion did his folks raise him before he was 26? In the Southern Baptist religion, you can be converted (saved) as early as your 7th birthday, as the writer was.

Another question. We remember when isolationism was something the Republicans advocated. Why does John McCain want this country, outside of the United Nations, to have a presence in the Middle East? Why not just get out of the Middle East until the United Nations says go in with us?

Thursday, May 01, 2008


The Sean Bell case in New York has been in the news the last few days. In a bench trial (Judge, no jury), which lasted two months, the accused police officers were acquitted of unlawfully killing Mr. Bell, in an incident in which the police fired 50shots. The men who were shot did not fire any shots. Bell was killed. His two companions were wounded.

We have some general comments on the criminal procedure and practice, and we assume the accuracy of the newspaper reports.

In New Mexico, the State has a right to a jury trial, as well as the accused. If that is the case in New York, the question arises, did the District Attorney agree to waive the jury trial? If so, why?

The accused officers did not testify at the trial. The Judge is not allowed to infer guilt because of the silence of the accused. That rule was adopted by the Warren Court in 1965, in the case of Griffin v. California, and it was imposed on the States. This rule (no inference of guilt from silence) is contrary to common sense and fair play; but it is the law, because the Supreme Court has ruled.

In the New York trial, the Judge admitted into evidence the testimony of the accused officers given in front of the grand jury. Did the District Attorney fail to object (to the admission of that grand jury testimony), in the trial of the case to the Judge? Those statements were hearsay, and were objectionable.

If there had been an objection by the State and if the Judge had ruled correctly, those statements of the officers (grand jury testimony) would have been excluded. In such case, the accused might have been forced to take the stand and be subject to cross examination before the Judge who was trying the case.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


You have probably read of the lawsuit in which a man sued his tailor for millions over a lost pair of pants. Other cases appear occasionally in the news in which lawyers seem to vie for publicity by asking for astronomical damages. Such cases give lawyers a bad name and rub off on good lawyers.

Some jurisdictions, including New Mexico, have a rule that prohibits a lawyer from asking (praying)for money damages in a specific amount, and in such jurisdictions the prayer is for damages in an unspecified amount. "In such amount as the trier of fact may find." Or some such language.

Exceptions are allowed if one is pleading a jurisdictional amount ($25,000 to get into this Court, for example.) or if one is pleading a specific liquidated amount, such as the amount specified in a contract.

A young girl in New Mexico was rendered a paraplegic by a drunk driver a few years ago, and her lawyer unwittingly, in violation of the rule, prayed in his complaint for a million dollars in damages. The insurance defense lawyer cited the rule and demanded that the case be dismissed. It was nip and tuck, but the plaintiff's error was excused.

A wise person said "The law is common sense, put in good grammar." Rules can be helpful if not hyper-technical. Few lawyers are dishonest; and few are sharp practioners, is our experience.

Friday, September 21, 2007


“Before a single Democrat condemns MoveOn's ad, they should insist that George W. Bush and the Republican Party repudiate the anti-military smears on war heroes that have been the hallmark of Mr. Bush's political career.” This is a statement from Paul Begala, in a post on Huffingon Post today.

We do not think it is necessary for us to insist that President Bush repudiate earlier smears. Those smears were unjustified. Is this Move-On full page ad a smear? If so, it should be condemned, not defended. Not excused by the fact that the Republicans have smeared war heros.

Move-On asked the reader whether the reader thought that General Petreaus was betraying us (in a sense). Posing the thought as a question, Move-On left themselves wiggle room. However, the effect is to suggest that the General is about to betray us. The word should not have been used. Of course it was not intended literally, but that does not excuse its use.

Why hit below the belt? When you are on the high road, why slip or step into the ditch?

Thursday, August 30, 2007


People, including some in his own party, are demanding that United States Senator Larry Craig resign his seat in Congress. The reason is that what? He is gay? He is convicted of a petty misdemeanor based on his conduct in an airport restroom? Is that it?

Craig should do what Clinton should have done. He should have said that sex life is a private matter, and get out of people’s drawers! Get out of my underwear! If the people of Idaho want to fire me, that is their right. End of story for the present.

If I am a hypocrite about sex, is that a high crime? No; let my constituents decide my political fate. I will take the ultimate test, which is, how does my peccadillo render me unable to serve my country and people?