Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

Are schools still doing the "Every 15 Minutes" program? That pic was from Bridgeport's version 10 years ago. 

  •  In addition to the run-offs in Texas, the Georgia primaries are today.
    • Incumbent Gov. Kemp, who refused to overturn the 2020 vote, should win over Trump recruited opponent David Perdue.  (Mike Pence was in town campaigning for Kemp last night.) 

    • Incumbent Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, who refused to overturn the 2020 vote by refusing to "find 11,780 votes", should win over a Trump recruited challenger.
    • Senate candidate and former football star Herschel Walker, who lied about graduating from the University of Georgia and is dogged by domestic abuse allegations, is expected to win because stuff like that doesn't matter any more. 

  • Wise County may have the worst Congressional representative we've ever had in Ronny Jackson. First the Inspector General of the Department of Defense found that he made sexual comments, drank alcohol and took Ambien while working as White House physician,  then the January 6th Committee wants to talk to him about why the Oath Keepers were looking for him to protect him him during the attack on the Capitol, and now we have a new ethics investigation

  • That's what I guessed was behind the three deaths. 

  • This will be built at the corner of the North Dallas Tollway and Highway 380. 

  • Dear Jack in the Box in Decatur: It's about time you get that sign fixed. That bugs me.  

  • Warning. Nerdy legal stuff. Stay with me here. I'm trying to do a Supreme Court explainer.

    • Yesterday the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of two men. For the sake of simplicity, I'll just refer to it as one case involving a guy named Ramirez.  
    • This is important. The rules for appeals in death penalty cases in general are this: 
      • (1) You have State Action #1 where you have on appeal "straight up" to the appellate courts in the state where you were convicted at trial where the lawyer normally argues about trial errors, then . . .
      • (2) once that is over and there was no success, you have State Action #2 called the "post conviction habeas action" can be brought in state court again. This is normally where an ineffective assistance of counsel is normally brought -- that is, a claim that the defense lawyer during the first trial was very, very bad. You've got a right to bring in new evidence of bad lawyering (for example, failure to present mitigating evidence or, worse, evidence that he defendant was actually innocent), and after that . . .  
      • (3) if you lose the state habeas action, you can file a different post conviction habeas action in federal court, I'll call it Federal Action #3, saying the state court got its review of the state court post conviction habeas Action #2 wrong. 
      • So there is a #1 state court direct appeal, a #2 state habeas action, and a #3 federal  habeas action. 
    • This case will involve the the third one: the federal court post conviction habeas and what can happen in it. And this is important, too: Ramirez had three different lawyers in all three proceedings. 
    • In the case decided yesterday, Ramirez had followed those rules and in action #3 (the federal habeas action) he had said the state court had wrongly held against him when it decided his action #2 (the state habeas) where he had alleged ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Got that? He had urged in federal district court that the state got it wrong in Action #2 when it found that the he did not receive ineffective assistance at trial. Moreover, and this is the key, he had brought in new evidence in federal district court that showed how the lawyer at trial screwed up.  That is, he had in fact presented new evidence of ineffective assistance in federal court in action #3 that a different lawyer had failed to bring up in the state habeas action #2. 
    • The Supreme Court was asked to decide that question: In the federal habeas action #3, can the defendants do just that, to-wit: bring in new evidence of ineffective assistance that should have been brought up in the state court habeas action #2?
    • The Supreme Court said no. You are stuck with the record of any evidence of ineffective assistance that was brought up in state action #2, the state court habeas. You cannot bring in more evidence in action #3, the federal habeas action.
    • But wait, doesn't that mean that if a defendant actual had two bad lawyers, ineffective at trial AND ineffective assistance in state habeas action #2 for not bringing in evidence about how bad the trial lawyer was, that he's screwed? That is, you can be entitled to a new trial if you have an ineffective trial lawyer but not if you have an ineffective state habeas action #2 lawyer who failed to bring in evidence that the trial lawyer was ineffective? Yep, that's what the Supreme Court said.  
    • But why that result? You can read the opinion but your eyes will start glaze over because that's what's hard about reading Supreme Court opinions. They always go off into some meandering prose which make you (1) think you no longer understand what the case is all about, or (2) want to scream "Get to the point!"
    • The problem is "the point" is generally very underwhelming. And here was the meat of it from Justice Thomas (no surprise) which basically reveals his love affair with the states over the federal government.

    • Unwavering respect? An affront to the State? Puhleeeze. It's just "states' rights" in a different form. Anyone care about just getting it right? 
    • But there was a hidden shocker in a footnote.  The defendant had a back up plan. He had anticipated the Supreme Court might rule that no new evidence can be presented in federal court in action #3, so he argued a well established rule that says the State had lost their chance to complain about it. That is, Ramirez said that when he introduced new evidence of ineffective assistance at the federal district court, the State failed to object. The government thought it was ok.  So under well established rules, the State should have "forfeited" the exact claim they made before the Supreme Court that new evidence should not have been presented. It's called the forfeiture doctrine. So let's see how the Supreme Court handled that. Oh, my!: 

    • So the bottom line is that the defendant is stuck with bad lawyers whose mistakes resulted in a death sentence, but if the State has bad lawyers who didn't object to the new evidence at the federal district court level, then the Supreme Court will "forgive" that mistake. 
  • Sorry about the legal stuff. It sucks me in once I get started.