Tourists love stairways!

If there’s one thing all tourists to the Capitol want to see, it’s hallways and stairways. They love to take pictures of hallways, stairways, and exits.

You know they’re tourists because they kept saying things like “We’re coming for you” and “there’s no escape” when Democratic offices were pointed out. It’s pure coincidence that this happened the day before the insurrection.

And if you believe that, I have a bridge you may be interested in buying…

Republicans hypocritically decry lack of “partianship”

“Let’s have a bipartisan committee to look into the January 6th insurrection.”

“No! We Republicans vote no!”

“Fine, then we Democrats will do it on our own — but because we’re nice guys, we’ll allow you put some of your people on the committee even though we don’t have to.”

“In that case, we Republicans want you to put some of the actual people who helped the insurrectionists and think the whole thing was caused by Antifa, because we have every intention of turning this thing into a sham if at all possible. After all, our stated goal has always been to obstruct every damned thing you try to accomplish.”

“No, we’re not going to do that. They can’t be on the commitee.”

“You see? The Democrats don’t care about bipartisanship!”

Guiliani and the search warrant

Remember: In order to get a search warrant, the police have to convince a judge, using evidence, that there is probably some incriminating evidence there. They can’t just go on a fishing expedition, hoping that maybe they’ll find something. They need probable cause to believe that there is evidence of a crime before a judge will grant the warrant.

And I would bet this is especially true when you’re going after a high-profile person who has resources and the ability to grab media attention. You don’t want to risk doing a search and finding nothing.

So when Guiliani and the right-wing media tells you this is some sort of political thing, keep in mind that some judge somewhere thought there was something there.

And if you want to talk politics, we now know that investigators had sufficient evidence last year to get the warrant, but the Trump administration prevented that from happening. There’s your politics affecting a judicial action.

Why the weak Chauvin defense?

As a criminal defense attorney, I’ve had a couple of people ask me about the trial going on now with Officer Chauvin, accused of murdering George Floyd.

Mainly, people are wondering why, in a case where it is so obvious the officer is guilty, is the defense team even trying?

The apparent theme of the defense’s case

Well, there are a few reasons.

First, you have to understand that you go to trial if your client insists on it, even if you advise otherwise. I’ve had to go to trial on cases before where I had a weak defense but my client wanted his day in court and demanded his right to a trial. And despite what some memes are saying, this is not a sign of a “broken system” but instead proof that our system of justice works. Everyone has the right to their day in court, and you shouldn’t get mad at someone who exercises their Constitutional right to a trial.

Second, you might go to trial because the prosecution isn’t offering you a good deal. I’ve certainly done that before. My attitude is “How am I any worse off by going to trial? What you’ve offered me isn’t any better than what I would get if I go to trial and lose.” So you go to trial, hoping that maybe the prosecution will screw up somewhere, or a witness will be less reliable than you thought, or a jury may do the kind of thing juries sometimes do and surprise everyone with their verdict.

Third, you might go to trial because you have issues you want to appeal. There are often many pre-trial motions you will file in a case and if the judge rules against you, you deal with it and can’t appeal those decisions until after the trial is over, in case those decisions become moot (with certain exceptions). So you have the trial and if you lose, part of your appeal is trying to convince the appeals court that those rulings against you were so bad that you deserve a new trial.

So yeah, the defense seems really weak in this case. This cop should be found guilty of murder. But there may be real, legitimate reasons the defense is taking it to trial instead of working out a deal.

You can be against police brutality while still supporting police

I’m shocked I have to say this, but obviously: Not all police.

If I say I am against police brutality, it doesn’t mean I am against police any more than saying I am against sexual assault means I am against sex.

I would think that most police would also be against police brutality, right? Just like most of the lawyers I know are against dishonest lawyers.

But whenever I say something like “Gee, those police sure are attacking peaceful protesters” I get “Why are you against police?”  I’m not. Why is that so hard to understand?

Maybe people don’t want to understand. Maybe they just can’t figure out a way to defend these secret cops who confront peaceful protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas while dressed as if they’re going into a combat zone.

police brutalityI deal with police every day. I’m a criminal defense attorney. And the vast majority of police are decent, good people that I have no problem working with.

But not all of them.

I see police as falling into two categories, really. There are the “Boy Scouts” who are doing their very best to be good guys and help people. And then there are the “bullies” who became officers because they like the power and like pushing people around. Anyone who denies that the second group exists is not paying attention.

Speaking out against the bullies is something we should all be doing. It’s something the “Boy Scouts” should be doing too, but too often, they remain silent and support their fellow officers when they should be speaking up.

And this is nothing new. History is full of stories of police, guards, and others with authority who abuse their authority — especially in totalitarian regimes of the kind Trump apparently wishes he ran.

So when I post something like the cartoon above, I am not attacking all police — I am pointing out the hypocrisy of a protest movement against police brutality being met with police brutality, thus proving the point. Nowhere in there is the statement that all police do this.

The sad thing is that this police action has led to more violence. The mostly peaceful protests have been met with officers in riot gear tear-gassing mayors and teachers and mothers who are armed with nothing more than leaf blowers, and now some people are saying, “Fine, you want violence? We’ll give you violence.”  This doesn’t help. Meeting violence with violence is exactly what they want, because then Trump can go on TV and say “See? Re-elect me to protect you against these protesters who are protesting me and my policies and who will most likely go away if I do.” (There’s not a lot of logic on the Trump side.)

But back to the main point: Shouldn’t we all be against police brutality? Isn’t that something everyone should say is not the kind of thing we want in a democratic society?


Who do you believe?

Whistleblower: Trump broke the law.

Trump: I broke the law.

Trump (later): Don’t believe anything this whistleblower said!

Now, admittedly, you should never believe anything Trump says, but geez, the man has already confessed. What more do people need?

Also: I’m reminded of this scene from the old Robin Hood movie:

Of course I’m skeptical about Barr’s report

“But Attorney General Barr has released a summary of the report and it says Trump is innocent.”

Well, no, it doesn’t. It says he will not be indicted, which is something Mueller said years ago — that he believes you cannot indict a sitting president. (I clearly disagree with that. There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution to support that idea.)


Barr said that the report does not show “collusion.” Now, keep in mind that, as many conservative scream, there is no law against “collusion.” It’s called “conspiracy.” Saying someone is innocent of “collusion” is like saying someone is innocent of “beating someone up” since the actual law is called “assault.”

But here’s the real thing to keep in mind until the actual report is released:

Barr spent the last year calling the Mueller investigation a witch hunt. He is fiercely loyal to Trump, who was appointed because he was fiercely loyal in order to replace a previous Attorney General who tried to remain neutral and not say anything about an on-going investigation (you know, like lawyers are supposed to do).

A person who clearly sees their job as being a partisan supporter of Trump may indeed not be presenting us with an unbiased summary of the report.

So don’t buy into the Republican spin on this, where they try to diminish the report that has already led to Trump’s closest advisers either indicted or already in jail, including his campaign chairman, campaign aide, campaign adviser, chief of staff, national security adviser, and personal lawyer — not to mention dozens others here and in Russia.

That is hardly the “nothing burger” they are claiming.

Manfort’s sentence is not too lenient

The fact that other people who commit less serious crimes get harsher sentences doesn’t necessarily mean Manafort’s sentence was not harsh enough.

Manafort, only one of the many criminals in Trump’s circle, was sentenced to only 47 months in jail by a conservative judge who went way below the sentencing guidelines. manafort-mug-verticalManafort still has another sentencing hearing coming up with another judge who can slap more time onto the end of that sentence, so he’s probably going to die in jail one way or another.

But let’s use this time to talk about sentences in America. I don’t think Manafort’s sentence is too lenient. I think most other sentences are too harsh.

We put too many people in jail for too long in America, and especially for nonviolent crimes. America has more people in jail than any other country, including countries that are run by dictators. It costs us a huge amount of money (that the for-profit jails love) and doesn’t prevent recidivism.

There are other options. Home monitoring, community service, long periods of supervised probation.

Somehow the rest of the world seems to understand this.

Sentences for nonviolent crimes should have less prison time. Manafort’s sentence should be the norm instead of the aberration.

Why Cohen is telling the truth (this time)

GOP: Cohen is a convicted liar! You can’t believe a word he says!

Us: And what was the lie he told in the past that got him convicted?

GOP: Well, um, the lie that said Trump was completely innocent.

Us: Thank you.


I’ve represented some pretty sleazy clients who realized life would be better for them if they came clean and spoke truthfully.

It didn’t mean they were no longer sleazy.

Cohen has no reason to lie and every reason to tell the truth, but that doesn’t make him a good guy.

When Cohen first testified and lied under oath, the GOP praised him and supported him. Now that he’s been convicted of doing so and has no reason to lie any more and lots of reasons to tell the truth, the GOP is attacking him as a terrible liar

Proving once more that these people stand for nothing except whatever is in their own personal interest.

Your children are not your slaves

Stop treating your children like property. Stop treating them like slaves.

Sure, you need to discipline them and sure they don’t have the freedom of an adult, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t people who suffer and feel pain.

It is wrong to hit your wife;  it is wrong to hit your husband;  it is wrong to hit your friends;  it is wrong to hit strangers;  it is wrong to hit your pets;  it is wrong to hit anyone — yet some parents think it is perfectly fine to beat their children. (And no, the argument that “I was beaten and I turned out okay” doesn’t work. You’re not okay, because you think it is fine to hit children.)istockphoto-471647376-612x612

Some parents have complained that there are now laws prohibiting them from smoking in the same car when children are present, despite the clear and obvious danger this poses to young lungs. These same parents don’t whine when they can’t smoke in an airplane or bus, but the car is their property and they apparently think their children are, too.

Other parents refuse to vaccinate their children because of their own ridiculous beliefs, not taking into consideration that the children who are affected might choose way differently if they were adults and had the scientific information available to them. Why this isn’t seen as dangerous as telling them to play in the traffic is beyond me.

Often, religion is used to justify child abuse (and no, I’m not just talking about obvious illegal sex abuse we’ve seen in the Catholic church). Parents use religion to justify beating their children because the Bible says it is okay. (It also says slavery is okay.) Some religions refuse medical treatment for children because they think Jeebus will heal them or something. (Fortunately, this is illegal.) And don’t get me started on circumcision.

If you’re getting upset at what I am writing, please stop and consider why that is. Think about how angry you get when you read about someone abusing their pets and ask if you’re being a hypocrite for not treating your children with the same respect as a dog. Start seeing children as people — small, helpless people who need us to make the kinds of good decisions for them that they are not yet capable of making. People who deserve not to be beaten and physically attacked, no matter how much you think they need it.