Drunk & Disorderly

On the Docket of a Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney

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

Here are some more of the people nominated by Donald Trump for appointments to the federal bench.

Jeff Mateer, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Finds the love of a man for a man, or a woman for a woman (and probably a Republican for a Democrat), “disgusting.” Says “We’re back to that time when debauchery rules.” (I’m pretty sure that time was back when I was a freshman at UCLA; I’ll never forget it.) Took time out of his busy schedule to denounce a transgender first-grade child who “shows you how Satan’s plan is working.” (I just hate those six-year-old minions of Satan.) Thinks the Supreme Court would be a damn fine court if only five Jerry Falwells could take up the black.

Stephen Schwartz, nominated to the United States Court of Federal Claims. Feels black folk should be allowed to vote, but only if they clear a few voter suppression hurdles first. (Easy-peasy: everyone knows black folk can really jump.) Never met a transgender person he didn’t want to ban from the same bathroom he uses. Never practiced law in front of the court he wants a seat on. (Doesn’t matter: he isn’t admitted to practice before that court anyway.)

Matthew Kacsmaryk, nominated to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. He’s been called the second pea in Jeff Mateer’s pod. He too is inordinately disturbed by other people’s gender identities and preferences and would prefer to criminalize them. Wants to preserve the right of the righteous to discriminate against those monsters who would confound the sanctity of the union of one man and one woman. You’re going to work side-by-side with those creeps? Not on my job site. You’re gonna give ‘em federal funds like they were everybody else? Live next to one? What if they sit on your toilet? Not in this guy’s lifetime.

Mark Norris, nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. I swear it’s not just the South, but yeah, this Tennessee state senator led the charge to prevent cities from passing laws forbidding discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and folks who aren’t sure what they are. He’s absolutely sure he’s a manly man whose lips touch none but woman’s, sometimes even with consent. Was terribly upset when the Memphis City Council decided four years ago that maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea to name one of its parks after the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Tried really, really hard to make sure undocumented immigrants would be jailed longer for the same crimes decent white folk committed.

Leonard Grasz, nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The American Bar Association rarely unanimously rates a Presidential nominee as “not qualified,” but that rare exception was accorded Grasz. (Of the fifty-nine Trump nominees so far rated by the ABA, thirty-two were rated “well qualified,” seventeen “qualified,” and four “not qualified.”) The ABA essentially found Grasz seldom has heard of a high court decision that his personal bias couldn’t overcome, and would likely continue that practice. His views are particularly inimical to women who insist they control their own bodies.

Brett Talley, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The only other unanimous “not qualified” ABA rating, and only the fourth in its history. Obviously a quick study, he’s only practiced law for three years. Never lost a case, partly because he’s never tried a case. Oh — and he forgot to disclose that he’s married to one of the White House lawyers. Fondly refers to a former U.S. Secretary of State as “Hillary Rotten Clinton.” A month after twenty children were gunned down at an elementary school, pledged undying financial, political, and intellectual loyalty to the National Rifle Association (I guess in lieu of flowers). On the plus side, his membership in the Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group may make him the first ghostbuster on the federal bench.

Thomas Farr, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Has spent thirty-eight years defending new and less obviously nefarious ways to deprive black people of voting rights. Regarding one of his most recent “voter fraud” efforts, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law for targeting African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”

Most of these are lifetime appointments.

These are the people who will forge the jurisprudence of the next half-century. God bless America. She’d better.

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Moore or Less

Here Come Da Judge


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

At a recent political rally, Alabama’s Roy Moore waved a tiny little gun around to show his support for the Second Amendment.

Turns out that’s not the first time he waved a tiny little weapon around inappropriately. More and more women are revealing that when the candidate for the United States Senate was in his thirties he sexually assaulted, abused, or just tried to hit on them when they were in their teens. Fourteen to sixteen seemed to be his preferred window of opportunity, the shopping mall his preferred hunting ground.

That Roy Moore is singlehandedly turning the Republicans who haven’t yet rejected him into the preferred party of pedophiles is actually the least disturbing quality of the only political candidate I’ve ever heard referred to outside the Middle East as “a lawless theocratic lunatic.”

This is the same Roy Moore who says homosexuals should be locked up. The same Roy Moore who says Muslims ought not be allowed to run for office. Same Roy Moore who says 9/11 was God’s punishment. Roy Moore says there’s no such thing as evolution, and thinking about him I can almost believe that’s true. Roy Moore still celebrates Alabama’s secession from the United States. Calls Native Americans “reds” and folks of Asian ancestry “yellows” (you’ll never guess what he calls African-Americans, and it’s not a color). Believes Hawaii is part of Kenya. But maybe all this is to the good, because the President of the United States says Roy Moore “sounds like a really great guy.”

The United States Senate is known as the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. Roy Moore might have deliberated just a little longer about whether he ought to try to join it.

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Son of the South


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

My mother came from Texas, so I guess that makes me a son of the South. Though I never lived there, I have a genetic affection for it.

I’ll never forget Davy Crockett going down swinging Ol’ Betsy against the Mexicans who took the Alamo, though in my memory Davy is the spitting image of Fess Parker. I’m puffed with pride about what I think it means to be a Texas Ranger — the one who carries a Colt instead of a bat. Even the sight of a Texas cottonwood fills me with a nostalgia unrelated to actual experience.

Texas forever. I believe in that, if only in tribute to my long dead mother.

But I don’t believe in exalting the heroes of the South who fought to preserve an institution that degraded human beings and made them chattel. I don’t believe in reminding the victims of slavery — and their ancestors are just as much victims of that horror as the men, women, and children who wore the chains — of their ongoing oppression with statues that honor their oppressors.

We don’t typically erect statues to men and women on the wrong side of history. We remember and study them in our history books, but we don’t sculpt monuments to them. I can’t remember the last time I saw a pigeon roosting on the shoulder of Benedict Arnold, Tokyo Rose, or Robert Hanssen. Overseas, there aren’t many statutes erected to the memory of Adolf Hitler, though many of the very fine people singled out by President Trump at Charlottesville wish we could put up a few here.

Just as this American president likes to see the good in our white supremacists, of course we all might endeavor to see the good in everyone. Benedict Arnold was a brilliant soldier. Tokyo Rose had a pleasant radio voice. Adolf Hitler totally loved his dog Blondi.

Robert E. Lee, the greatest hero of the South, had so many fine qualities.

But Robert E. Lee, and every hero of the Confederacy, committed treason against the United States of America, in defense of an indefensible cause.

It’s a few minutes past time we sons of the South  — and maybe one President of the United States — stop honoring them for it.

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Made in America


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

Wild Bill Hickok used to boast that the bullet hadn’t been made with his name on it — until, of course, someone made the bullet with his name on it.

The soul-crushing cover of this week’s The New Yorker magazine has all the bullets made with the names on them of all the people who died in the Las Vegas massacre.

The investigation of the shooter is massively beside the point.

It doesn’t matter whether this man was mentally ill or just outrageously angry. What matters is that one man could so easily gather so many weapons of so great lethal power.

The founders of this nation wrote a Second Amendment with muskets in mind. We need to rewrite it with Las Vegas in mind, with Orlando in mind, with the twenty first-graders of Sandy Hook in mind, with so many other American slaughter fields in mind. You don’t need a semi-automatic weapon to bag your doe; you don’t need tracer ammo and incendiary rounds to protect your family.

Now is the time for what some in government leadership keep calling for: Repeal and Replace.

Repeal and Replace, for every person whose bullet had been made with their name on it this awful October.

For Heather.

For Austin.

For Bill.

For Charleston.

For Rhonda.

For Adrian.

For Kurt.

For Jenny.

For Brennan.

For Brian.

For Jessica.

For Victor.

For Neysa.

For Christopher.

For Brett.

For Angela.

For Jack.

For Cameron.

For Thomas.

For Calla.

For Jordan.

For Pati.

For Jordyn.

For Carrie.

For Lisa.

For Christiana.

For Michelle.

For Denise.

For Dana.

For Sandy.

For Rachael.

For Rocio.

For Tara.

For Quinton.

For Keri.

For Denise.

For Bailey.

For Chris.

For Dorene.

For Candice.

For Susan.

For Steve.

For Derrick.

For Carly.

For Hannah.

For Carrie.

For Laura.

For John.

For Nicol.

For Jennifer.

For Erick.

For Austin.

For Andrea.

For Kelsey.

For Stacee.

For Melissa.

For Sonny.

For Lisa.

For all the dead, of all the shootings. For all the living, whose names are yet to be written on the bullets made for them.

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Job Opportunity


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

Tremendous news for DUI lawyers looking to expand their practice: by royal decree Saudi women can soon drive just like a man, though you still won’t be able to tell for sure whether it’s really a woman behind the wheel, because of the clothing restrictions.

The decree came thirteen years earlier than King Salman said it would, though one hundred thirty-two years later than Saudi women hoped it would. You can see the jubilation in their eyes; you can’t see it anywhere else, again because of the clothing restrictions.

It isn’t clear whether they’ll be allowed to drive everything on wheels (four-wheeling may still be restricted to citizens who don’t have clothing restrictions), or whether they’ll be allowed to park in spaces normally reserved for their men.

Saudi mamas still can’t let their lady babies grow up to be cowboys, but starting next June they can go ahead and let ‘em pick guitars and drive them old trucks.

[NOTE: A dear colleague of mine points out that I myself may be prematurely jubilant about the newly created job prospects for DUI lawyers in Saudi Arabia. Apparently it’s illegal there not only to drink and drive, but to drink at all. Punishment is a public lashing, and I think they lash the lawyers, too.]

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