An American tragedy

If I ever had a religion, it no longer matters. It is in its final death throes.

“Law & Order” was supposed to live forever, so the fact that it almost did — 20 years is an eternity in network years — doesn’t mitigate the shock of NBC’s announcement last week that it had pulled the plug.

It was bad enough when Lennie died. And then Jack’s role was diminished. But this? I don’t know if I can handle it.

Justice Scalia has one of the worst legal minds in the nation

There is a case before the Supreme Court concerning Miranda rights

[Kevin] Powell was convicted of illegally possessing a firearm after telling police he bought the weapon “off the street” for $150 for his protection. Before his confession, Powell signed a Miranda statement that included the statements “You have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any of our questions. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed for you without cost and before any questioning. You have the right to use any of these rights at any time you want during this interview.”

The Florida Supreme Court overturned the conviction on grounds the Tampa police didn’t adequately convey to Powell that he was allowed to have a lawyer with him during questioning.

According to the article, courts haven’t ruled too clearly on this. At the heart of the issue is that police were not clear enough in all their points. Justice Sotomayor makes the following observation.

“We’ve got a split of circuit courts and state courts on whether this reasonably conveys or not. Shouldn’t that be enough of an ambiguity for us to conclude it can’t reasonably convey, if there’s this many courts holding that it doesn’t?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said.

That seems like a fair question. Clearly, Obama’s recent pick has some rationality about her.

But then there’s always that loser of a legal mind, Scalia.

Justice Scalia called Brueckheimer’s argument “angels dancing on the head of a pin.”

“You are saying, ‘Oh, if he had only known. Oh, if I knew that I could have an attorney present during the interview, well, that would have been a different kettle of fish and I would never have confessed,'” Scalia said. “I mean, doesn’t that seem to you quite fantastic?”

At issue is not whether this particular suspect would have exercised his rights or not. In fact, it is irrelevant if any suspect would have exercised such a right. The law does not turn on this crazy notion that rights are not important if people do not utilize them. Justice Scalia has just an awful, awful legal mind. I can’t recall the last time I heard him make a valid point about a case.