Drunk & Disorderly

On the Docket of a Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney

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Declaration of Independence


I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

I rarely write of purely political things in this blog, except to the extent they touch on criminal justice and human rights.

I’m not a Democrat, I’m not a Republican; I’m not any kind of ‘crat or ‘can, other than an American.

But we hold these truths to be self-evident:

  • That no woman is created to be the involuntary plaything of a wealthy boor.
  • That old men in Washington neither have dominion over young women’s bodies.
  • That old men in Washington who also by chance are wealthy boors have even less unwanted access to young women’s bodies.
  • That religious affiliation is not the test of a patriot.
  • That Americans don’t build walls; we tear them down.
  • That torture is the tool of the terrorist.
  • That the value of a human life is not related to the value of his, or her, or zir financial portfolio.
  • That a Supreme Court held hostage by a political party is no longer supreme.
  • That the White House is not a Green House of greed.
  • That men and women did not sacrifice their lives for this country so that their President could boast of the size of his crowds, or the size of his anything else.

The new American president is a pig who isn’t worth his own droppings.

I happen to be reading Bob Dylan’s memoirs. Dylan has a particularly fine version of his own hero, Woody Guthrie’s, anthem to America. It’s on the Bootleg Series 7 album, the soundtrack from Martin Scorsese’s Dylan performance film, “No Direction Home.” It’s on Apple Music, probably Spotify, almost certainly at your local library. It might even be closer to hand.

Find it. It may sustain you. Whoever you are, whatever you believe, whatever gender, color, sexual preference, this land is your land. This land was made for you and me.

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The Ugliest American


I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

For the first time, Human Rights Watch warns a great threat to civil and political rights is a democracy and its leader — ours. “(M)any U.S. laws and practices,” it declares, “particularly in the areas of criminal and juvenile justice, immigration, and national security, violate internationally recognized human rights.”

Its World Report 2017 cites the “misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist rhetoric” of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign, and “Trump’s embrace of policies that would cause tremendous harm to vulnerable communities, contravene the United States’ core human rights obligations, or both.”

Human Rights Watch decried Trump campaign proposals to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants, bring back torture, and “load up” Guantanamo Bay.

Those spoilsports.

President Donald Trump was elected by only a bare three million votes shy of a clear majority of voters, and by a landslide of Russian and Klan leaderships.

At six-three, two hundred thirty-six pounds, he is the smallest man ever elected President of the United States.

His inauguration was the strangest of my lifetime, probably yours too. The President-elect walked behind a ridiculously long tie: if his pants ever fell down his privates would still be protected from his public.

His was a graceless inaugural address, punctuated with cocaine sniffling.

“We assembled here today,” he sniffed, “are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, and in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward it’s going to be only ‘America first! America first!’”

Those assembled there today included:

  • The first African-American President warmly greeting the first President enthusiastically supported — hell, even heiled — by the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazi alt-right.
  • A dour/sour Hillary Clinton, for some reason refusing to answer shouted press questions about “How do you feel?”
  • The strikingly blonde Trump woman and boys — after eight hard years at last the Aryan nation again.
  • The eight members of the Supreme Court, one shy of a full set by malfeasance of the United States Congress.
  • The authentic Stetsoned war criminal Dick Cheney.
  • G.W. Bush, looking ebullient at the prospect he will no longer be remembered as the worst president in United States history.

“Now arrives the hour of action,” the new President tooted as though introducing a new season of “The Apprentice.”

President Trump assured us, “We will be protected by God.” Presumably God too is an America-firster. She’d better be.

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The Slave Trade


I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

The United States slave trade saw the incarceration of somewhat more than three hundred five thousand black men, women, and children over the course of two hundred forty-six years, 1620-1866. Counting only black men, today there are more than eight hundred fourteen thousand in U.S. prisons. Almost as many spend months and sometimes years in America’s two thousand seven hundred fifty county jails.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is commonly believed to have abolished slavery with its ratification on 18 December 1865.

It did not.

Slavery and involuntary servitude remain constitutional to this day “as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted(.)” That exception, according to the documentary “13th” (winner of seventeen film awards and nominated for this year’s Oscar), has been used by government for the past one hundred fifty-two years to keep slavery alive for a wildly disproportionate number of black Americans.

False arrest and imprisonment was a common tool used by law enforcement to reinvest black men in the slave economy of the Reconstruction South, according to the documentarians.

We reconstructed slaves as criminal laborers.

The film depicts that reconstruction as more alive today than ever. Today the United States has five percent of the world’s population, yet the Land of the Free locks up twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners.

Forty percent of those prisoners are black. Race-weighted punishment thrives.

Of every three American black boys born today, one can count on spending part of his life in prison.

Want to pay for that Mexican border wall? Incarcerate black men at only four times the rate we jail white folks, rather than the nearly six times we do now. We’ll put $15 billion in prison costs savings toward the most beautiful barrier President Trump can build, still get to put the beat-down on plenty of black folks, and the Mexicans can feel real good for not paying a cent for that fucking wall.

We used to brand slaves with a hot iron. Today we brand them with a felony conviction. Thirty percent of the black male population of Alabama has permanently lost the ability to vote. Those folks didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, for Donald Trump, for Jill Stein. They didn’t vote for anybody, and never will.

How did we let this happen?

Toward the end of the film, the public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson says:

“People say all the time, ‘well I don’t understand how people could have tolerated slavery. How could they have made peace with that?

“‘How could people have gone to a lynching, and participated in that? How did people make sense of this segregation, this white and colored only drinking? That’s so crazy.

“‘If I was living at that time, I would have never tolerated anything like that.’

“And the truth is, we are living at this time, and we are tolerating it.”

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Holy Days Special #3 — Criminal Procedure


I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

‘Nuff said, go here. Don’t take your children with you.

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Holy Days Special #2 — Radioheadphones


I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

Thom Yorke, according to Rolling Stone Magazine, is the sixty-sixth greatest singer of all time (sixty-fifth is David Ruffin, and you may well be tempted to say, David Who?).

But while he’s sixty-five floors below Aretha Franklin in the Tower of Song, this year he produced one of the most weirdly joyful music videos this old criminal defense lawyer has watched.

It’s here, and if it leaves you wondering why, go here (hell, go there anyway).

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