Random Friday Morning Thoughts

That was me recounting what had just happened in one of my misdemeanor jury trials.  There had been a giant ball of electrical smoke just blast straight up from my laptop keyboard while I was mid-sentence. It stopped me completely in my tracks. The prosecutor, Robert Carper, was withholding laughter as he grinned at me. And the now late Judge Cude was smiling at me from the bench with a "Whatcha gonna do now?" look since at that moment I had been using the laptop to project on the big TV screens -- screens which had now gone dark. Good times. 

  •  The Sheriff of Clay County, who I just mentioned for being part of Oath Keepers a couple of days ago, was arrested yesterday on a charge of Official Oppression. I'll admit this one is a little confusing to me because the charge is holding an inmate after 48 hours when there had been no finding of probable cause. 

    • The way it is supposed to work is that a person who has been arrested is supposed to be taken by "the person making the arrest or the person having custody of the person arrested [i.e. the Sheriff]" in front of a magistrate (normally a JP) for a determination of probable cause. If probable cause is found (and it is found in 99.99% of all cases), the magistrate then sets a bond. If the person has money, he posts a bond. If he is poor, he stays in jail. 
    • The indictment wording is interesting, It accuses him of holding someone after 48 hours "without a finding of probable cause." I didn't accuse him his only real job in the process which would be "failing to have the person arrested taken before a magistrate" to make a determination about  probable cause. Pure speculation on my part: I'm wondering if we have a situation of some Clay County deputy arrested two people on a wonky case, they were taken before the magistrate, the magistrate surprised everyone with a finding of no probable cause, and then the Sheriff got pissy and still didn't release them. Now that would get you indicted. 

    • The Sheriff actually posted a Facebook video here right after he got out of jail. Man, he's got a lot of Trump in him. After blaming the media, he said that he wanted the people of Clay County "to know exactly what's going on" and then didn't tell them a thing. But he did managed to admit that "there are truth to the thing" at the 40 second mark.  I'm sure his lawyer appreciates the admission. 
    • One weird thing that he said: "I normally set the misdemeanor bonds. I didn't do that in [my] case. We called Judge Campbell" (at 2:53) who then gave him a personal recognizance bond? Huh? What did it mean that he normally sets the misdemeanor bonds? A Sheriff doesn't have the authority to set bonds. Maybe that's the source of the problem here. 

  • An assistant DA in the Georgia Ahmaud Arbery trial got in big trouble yesterday for asking one of the the defense witnesses --just a neighbor who was just testifying about thefts in general -- if he thought those who was stole "deserved the death penalty" for it.   All the defense lawyers went nuts and the judge agreed. Honestly, I don't think that question is out of line. She's just asking, "If you thought Arbery was stealing, do you think he needed to be executed by these guys over my shoulder because of it?" On second thought, maybe that did go too far. 

  • MSNBC got banned by the judge from the courthouse in the Rittenhouse trial after one of their freelancers allegedly followed the jury out of the courthouse and tried to take their picture.  Here's a hot opinion: I think there's a huge First Amendment question about the right to do that outside of the courthouse. I'm not saying it's a good thing, I'm saying it's a huge constitutional question. 

  • The Fort Worth Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that it can't stop a hospital from preventing a doctor from injecting a patient with a horse drug. Opinion here. (We live in strange days.)

  • Legal nerdy stuff: If you are confused by these headlines, you should be. The court had already affirmed they conviction in August, and Amber Guyger didn't even ask for a rehearing.  What happened was the State actually requested a rehearing (which was very weird because the won, but they wanted the law clarified), but on Wednesday the Court denied the State's request for a rehearing but then hauled off and withdrew their prior opinion and issued a new opinion which still affirmed the conviction. Got all that? 

  • You would think they would at least wait until the Christmas season rush was over.

  • Kickoff time at Duke last night.

  • I wonder if we know of any law enforcement officials who need to talk to her?

  • Time which has passed since the Wise County Sheriff's Office has failed to solve the murder of Lauren Whitener in her home at Lake Bridgeport: 868 days.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold