Monday, May 17, 2010

"Only in America."

Pictured above: Bob Zarco reenacts the triumphant final scene from Rocky V.

I kid I kid.

Actually he was just explaining how promoters turn boxers into "brands":
"What Don King did with Mr. Mayorga was create a brand, and what the court did today is keep another promoter from stealing that brand," said Robert Zarco, one of the attorneys.
It's been a while, but is he talking about that old boxing film with Bogart and Rod Steiger?

Meanwhile, David highlights Justice Kennedy's recent remarks on judicial "empathy":
When asked if empathy has a place in judicial rulings at the highest levels, Kennedy said absolutely. He said prison sentences in the United States are eight times longer than in other Western countries for the same crimes.

“If lack of empathy means you close your eyes to the law’s decree, that’s just silly,” Kennedy said. “Capital defendants in a single windowless 12-by-8 cell for 20 years waiting for their sentence. You are not supposed to know this when you are a judge?”
I can't believe we will have to endure yet another silly season so soon after the last one, where Senators and talking heads make repeated, impassioned, empty oaths of fealty to the "rule of law."

It's funny, I happen to be midway through Robert Hughes' masterful account of the founding of Australia, The Fatal Shore.

The first part of the book looks at Georgian England and prevailing, Hobbesian attitudes toward the "criminal class" -- specifically the need to kill, isolate or banish criminals, who were thought to be born that way and incapable of rehabilitation.

Hughes writes of the excessively severe Georgian criminal code and the almost fetishistic devotion to the "rule of law" (at the expense of justice or reason):
Such legislation was part of the general tendency in eighteenth-century England: the growth of the Rule of Law (as distinct from any particular statute) into a supreme ideology, a form of religion which, it has since been argued, began to replace the waning moral power of the Church of England.

. . . .

Why did the judges weep with the accused? Because both were bound -- though not, of course, in equality of pain -- to the law. This drama of immutable rules lay at the heart of the tremendous power that Law held over the English imagination. The judge simply surrendered to the imperative of the statutes, a course of action that absolved him of judicial murder, and that caused him to weep. His tears humbled him not before the men in the dock, which would have been unthinkable, but before the idea of Law itself. When the Royal Mercy intervened as it commonly did, transmuting the death penalty into exile on the other side of the world, the accused and their relatives could bless the intervening power of patronage while leaving the superior operations of Law unquestioned. The law was a disembodied entity, beyond class interest: the god in the codex. The judge was invested with its numen, as a priest was touched by sacerdotal power. But he could no more change the law than a clergyman could rewrite the Bible.
Think of this the next time you hear someone who knows better prattle on about how judges must -- in every instance -- mechanically apply the "rule of law," as if it resides in the clouds waiting to be divined.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

eye of the tiger

Anonymous said...

"Philadelphia Morning"

Godwhacker said...

In any argument between briefs and boxers, I come down firmly on the side of boxers. Very firmly, I might add ;-)

Anonymous said...

Boxers or Brief-- is it Friday?

Anonymous said...

By a 5-4 vote Monday, the court says the Constitution requires that young people serving life sentences must at least be considered for release.

The court ruled in the case of Terrance Graham, who was implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17. Graham, now 22, is in prison in Florida, which holds more than 70 percent of juvenile defendants locked up for life for crimes other than homicide.

"The state has denied him any chance to later demonstrate that he is fit to rejoin society based solely on a nonhomicide crime that he committed while he was a child in the eyes of the law," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion. "This the Eighth Amendment does not permit.

Anonymous said...

USA Supreme Court Ruled Florida cannot hold children in prison without possibility of parole if they have not killed someone.

Anonymous said...

S Ct opinion here:
And Stevens concurrence:
In his dissenting opinion, JUSTICE THOMAS argues thattoday’s holding is not entirely consistent with the control-ling opinions in Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U. S. 63 (2003), Ewing v. California, 538 U. S. 11 (2003), Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U. S. 957 (1991), and Rummel v. Estelle, 445 U. S. 263 (1980). Post, at 7–9. Given that “evolvingstandards of decency” have played a central role in our Eighth Amendment jurisprudence for at least a century, see Weems v. United States, 217 U. S. 349, 373–378 (1910),this argument suggests the dissenting opinions in those cases more accurately describe the law today than doesJUSTICE THOMAS’ rigid interpretation of the Amendment. Society changes. Knowledge accumulates. We learn, sometimes, from our mistakes. Punishments that did not seem cruel and unusual at one time may, in the light of reason and experience, be found cruel and unusual at alater time; unless we are to abandon the moral commit-ment embodied in the Eighth Amendment, proportionality review must never become effectively obsolete, post, at 8–9, and n. 2.
While JUSTICE THOMAS would apparently not rule out adeath sentence for a $50 theft by a 7-year-old, see post, at 4, 10, n. 3, the Court wisely rejects his static approach to the law. Standards of decency have evolved since 1980. They will never stop doing so.

Anonymous said...

So if Alex Brito is playing the part of Drago, does that make Zarco the "Italian Meatball"?

Anonymous said...

The comments section to this blog and Rumpole's blog note that the Supreme Court's decision today in Graham v. Florida was a 5-4 decision. However, by my conut it is 6-3.

-Opinion of the Court by Kennedy, joined by Stevens, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Breyer.
-Roberts Concurring in the judgment of the Court, but not the analysis.
-Thomas, Alito, and Scalia dissenting.

If Roberts concurred, even on a different legal theory, isn't this a 6-3, and not a 5-4.

Soia and Karl said...

Llewellyn and the legal realists put significantly more emphasis on the facts of a specific case than on general legal rules. Law, the realists contended, is not a deductive science. He is famous for his statement that (referring to judges, sheriffs, clerks, jailers and lawyers), ‘[w]hat these officials do about disputes is, to my mind, the law itself.’ (Bramble Bush, p. 3).

Anonymous said...

Soia was one hot mama.

Anonymous said...

The so called "captain" from rumpole's blog agrees that the Graham decision was 6-3, not 5-4. (his earlier comments called it 5-4, but now he is calling it 6-3)

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