Freaky Friday (Again): This Clown Tastes Funny – The Cannibalistic Case of R. vs. Dudley & Stephens, Part 1.

Welcome back to Lawyers & Liquor for another Freaky Friday, where we toss open the crypt doors and invite you, dear reader, to descend into the dungeon of the legally macabre. I’m your ghost host with the barely sufficient most, the BOO-zy Barrister, and in a special two-time Freaky Friday month of April we’re going to continue the theme we talked about last week in discussing a case of high seas passenger murder and expand it out to ask what happens when, instead of drowning passengers, the crew simply decides to dine on a delectable all you can eat buffet of seaman.

Stop giggling.

Seriously.

Stop giggling, because we have a lot of ground to cover as we explore the English eatery that is the case of Regina v. Dudley and Stephens this time on Lawyers & Liquor: Freaky Friday! But first, a general disclaimer.

Continue reading “Freaky Friday (Again): This Clown Tastes Funny – The Cannibalistic Case of R. vs. Dudley & Stephens, Part 1.”

Durham and the Little Man of Reason: Insanity as a Defense, Part 2

Welcome back to Lawyers & Liquor and oh my god has this series become somewhat in bad taste since I started writing it last week. Over the recent weekend there were two mass shootings in the United States, killing in excess of thirty people and wounding many others, and the national conversation has gone to the most reasonable place ever since then: mental health care. Because, of course, no matter what happens it can’t be the availability of firearms that can empty out thirty shots in less time than it takes to read this post, reload, and empty out thirty more. No, the real problem is that all of the people who engage in mass shootings are obviously mentally unsound…which is a no shit statement because generally mentally sound people don’t consider “shooting a bunch of people in a retail store is the perfect way to express myself” to be a reasonable conclusion to reach.

However, as we talked about last time, merely being mentally unsound isn’t enough to properly defend the actions of an accused party in court. And nothing we’re going to talk about today is going to change that shit, because while M’Naghten, in some form, is still the majority rule throughout the United States, even under the tests used by the minority of states to make a determination of whether insanity relieves a party of criminal liability the standard still wouldn’t be met simply be means of mental defect. That’s right, today we’re going to examine the three other tests used to determine whether or not a defendant’s insistence that they shouldn’t be punished because of their mental state is,unlike their alleged mentality, sound.

But first, a disclaimer.

Continue reading “Durham and the Little Man of Reason: Insanity as a Defense, Part 2”

M’Nope-in: Insanity as a Defense, Part 1.

Hey, welcome back to Lawyers & Liquor as we start the week off with a banging of a gavel and the popping of a cold, delicious morning beer (what, that’s not a thing?) with an examination of law, law practice, and the various other sundries of legal minutia and misfeasance that has a bad habit of creeping into the day.

I’m the Boozy Barrister, and today we’re going to talk about a light subject, just a little bit of levity before you charge headlong into the hellish week that is the beginning of August. That’s right, today we’re going to talk about – and break down in terms that laymen, baby lawyers, the legal fetal collection of cells that is a law student, and even the old hands that may never have cracked a criminal guide since the bar – the many vagaries surrounding the defense of “insanity” in the American justice system…and how it differs from other mentally-based determinations you may run into in a criminal court matter.

But first, a word from our “Please Don’t Do This” Department.

Continue reading “M’Nope-in: Insanity as a Defense, Part 1.”

Still Not A Lawyer, Part 2 – Let’s Talk About The Oath

Welcome back to another bright and sunny day here on Lawyers & Liquor, where the coffee is as black as my twisted heart and the stress is as overbearing as your mother asking when you’re going to settle down and find a nice boy or girl to share the joy of your life with. I’m the matzo-loving litigator, the Boozy Barrister, and today we’re going to continue our discussion of all the things that have to happen after you pass the bar exam. That’s right, we have another day of celebrating the professional celibacy, or, if you’re caught up in the character and fitness portion of this whole mess, legal cuckolding that is the newly admitted baby lawyer. Be you the recent admission with the ink still drying on your license or the gritty old attorney slowly aging into irrelevance, we here at Lawyers & Liquor believe that you, too, deserve to be roundly lambasted and lectured about the poor life decisions you, personally, have made to lead you to this point.

You may recall that last time we discussed the simple fact that even with the board of bar examiners saying you are minimally competent to practice law on the basis of a few essay questions and filling in the right bubbles here and there, that doesn’t make you an attorney until you’re actually admittedto the practice of law. And, as we talked then, the admission to the practice of law is more than a mere formality, because it involved shit like the Character and Fitness examiners digging deep into your sordid little past of keg stands, requiring you to supplement anything their darkened little souls require. It’s a form of legal confession, except you don’t just think the person hearing your confession may be jerking off, you know they probably are, and there’s no penance for the past in the majority of cases. But whilst you wait for the cabal of legalistic proctologists of the profession to finish snapping on their rubber gloves and just getting elbow deep all up in your shit, there’s something else you can start considering on the assumption that everything will turn out okay, and that’s when are you going to take your oath and become a lawyer.

Because lawyers? We not only fucking swear, we are sworn as well.

Continue reading “Still Not A Lawyer, Part 2 – Let’s Talk About The Oath”

Quack Quack Honk Designs Presents Free Speech Friday: John Adams Hated Bad Press.

Welcome to the second in an installment series here on Lawyers & Liquor where I, the bloviating blowhard that is the Boozy Barrister, become your cut rate Ms. Frizzle as we go on a magical journey of learning together about the First Amendment and, more specifically, the freedom of speech that it guarantees.  This month we have a new sponsor hanging around here, the lovable and talented Quack Quack Honk Designs!  A lovely artist from the cold regions of the world…like…those places north of Ohio, QQH is a wonderful artist who appears at art fairs all over the place selling their work, and right now if you jump into the fray at their website you can even use them to design your holiday cards!  HOP TO IT, because Art is a form of speech, and my speech says you should buy shit from them!

As I told you last time, myself and Constitutional Law had a love/hate relationship in law school, in no small part because it was a two hour class very fucking early in the morning and I wasn’t ready for any of that deep thought at that point.  As a result, while I certainly understand and know con law, I never really got into the in-depth study of it.  There’s just not a lot of call for constitutional arguments in the course of keeping a person’s home or defending a DUI, and to the extent there are you pick up that part of it on basic principles and practice, not by the in-depth study of the issuance of letters of marque and shit like that.

Now, as I may have said in the past, the principles of the freedom of speech were basically considered so non-controversial that, in debating the meaning of them, Congress essentially went “that’s really verbose for something we all know what it means, so we’re just gonna pare that shit right there down a bit.”  Fuck, as I pointed out last time there was pretty much no discussion about this shit on the floor of the Congress at all at the time it was passed other than someone taking out the red marker and pulling the old Hemingway “say more with less” approach to cutting out what they determined were superfluous words.  However, as we now know, the founding fuckers were being a little optimistic in their estimation of mankind’s intelligence in taking this tack, as what happened thereafter was a hodgepodge of judicial determinations as to what the limits and benefits of free speech actually were under the Bill of Rights, leading to the modern interpretation of the short amendment (shorter, in fact, than this post to this point) and its guarantee of basic liberty for the people that live under its rule.  And, with the Bill of Rights ratified in 1791, it wasn’t even a full decade before the first major challenge to free speech came to national prominence.

You know, because President John Adams really fucking hated criticism.  Enough that he made it a jailable offense.

Continue reading “Quack Quack Honk Designs Presents Free Speech Friday: John Adams Hated Bad Press.”