They Never Learn Because the Courts Don’t Teach

I wonder if the Sheriff’s Department will ever learn.

By now, it should be well-knownvery well-known — how I feel about shackling children. I personally think it takes a special kind of SICK FUCK to put children in shackles. Especially when there’s no real reason for it.

Not only that, it’s AGAINST THE LAW. But then, we don’t really expect the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department to actually follow the law, do we?

And so, today, another client — you may recall this happened last week, or the week before (I forget exactly) — was brought to juvenile court in shackles. Read more

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Misfire, or Bad Aim? The “Debate” Over Gun Control

You’d have to be living under a rock, or perhaps in another country, to miss that the latest marketing campaign of the mainstream media in America is targeting gun ownership.

So hard is the new paradigm being pushed that the news is making up stories about how assault weapons work, schools are going on lockdown because of bright lime-green Nerf guns that shoot foam balls, five-year-olds are being suspended for “threatening to shoot” other five-year-olds with pink bubble-blowers, and  six-year-olds are suspended for “using their fingers to make an imaginary gun” while playing cops-and-robbers.

And don’t think “it’s just crazy-ass Maryland,” as it’s happening elsewhere, as well.

The purported goal is to stop mentally-ill people from shooting others — particularly small children — with assault rifles.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.  Read more

California Courts Collapse

Yesterday, I received an email from the Fresno County Bar Association. It said there would be a press conference at the courthouse later in the day to discuss the utter and complete collapse of the system.

The Fresno Bee told part of the story.

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One Step Over the Line? Sweet Jesus!

One step over the line.

According to this blurb — you can’t really call it a “story,” or even an “article” — in the Fresno Bee, the Tulare County Sheriff has told a medical marijuana user that has he taken one step over the line. The line to which I refer is “the line at which you are in violation of California’s medical marijuana laws,” since legally those are the only ones a California Sheriff can enforce, unless he’s part of a cooperative effort wherein he’s providing support to a federal raid. The claim here is that with 93 plants, the medical marijuana user is “cultivating more of the drug than allowed under medical marijuana regulations.”

While that is possible, it is highly unlikely.

What’s more likely is that the Tulare County Sheriff does not know the law and Tulare County has become flush with cash such that they can endure a lawsuit or two.

Since even a lot of medical marijuana users are confused on this point, let’s look at why I just said that.

Read more

Toys, But It’s Not A Game

One of Fresno’s top criminal defense lawyers, Rick Berman, was arrested yesterday. The circumstances of the arrest are unsurprising to me: I’ve often told my wife as I leave for work in the morning that it could happen to me.

Why?

Because Fresno’s law enforcement officers — particularly in courthouses — are no different than those elsewhere in the country. As Fresno attorney Peter Sean Bradley put it:

The militarization of the police is a problem. It seems to have fostered the attitude among the police that they are a kind of occupying power in a conquered nation of people who are criminals who have just not been caught yet.

Or to be more blunt about it, in the minds of law enforcement: “Our job is subjugation. We have no legal restraints. Resistance is futile.”

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Spin Sells: The Fresno Bee’s Yellow Journalism

The front page of today’s Fresno Bee — I almost always still read the print edition — is mostly occupied with the sensational headline: “FRESNO COUNTY JAIL VIOLENCE ON THE UPSWING: Clashes blamed on realignment.”

The article then goes on to do just that: blame the clashes on realignment.

There are just a few problems, beginning with the opening.  Read more

Fresno Never Overreacts

One of the more significant and interesting traditions in Fresno that has survived from days of old involves driving or strolling down Christmas Tree Lane. For the past 89 — yes, eighty-nine — years, folks living in the section of town known as “Old Fig Garden” have decorated their homes with elaborate lighting and Christmas scenes for the enjoyment of all.

A Tuesday night stabbing on Fresno’s Christmas Tree Lane, which took place near dozens of strolling families, is prompting event organizers to re-evaluate the long holiday tradition.1

But, hey, it’s only an 89-year-old tradition and someone just got stabbed!

I have a better solution. Keep Christmas Tree Lane open. We’ll set up metal detectors at each end — leaving the side streets unguarded, of course — make everyone take off their shoes before entering, and grab their genitals. Especially those of children and old ladies in wheelchairs.

That way, everyone will feel safer and we can keep Christmas Tree Lane.

  1. Jim Guy, “Stabbing mars tradition” (December 15, 2011) The Fresno Bee, p. A3. []

Smoke Bomb

This morning’s newspaper brought the welcome news that the Fresno County Board of Supervisors was going to consider transforming their illegal local ordinance into a probably-legal local ordinance.

This would have been a move welcomed not only by local patients who grow their own medicine, but also by concerned citizens who think that in times when government budgets are limited, money should not be spent on unnecessary lawsuits. Read more

Scaretistics

One thing local law enforcement is really good about is scaring people. (Arguably, it’s what they’re best at.) Usually, this is justified on the basis of the department’s need for money. It’s even possible sometimes that law enforcement believes the bullshit they feed the public.

For example, recently Fresno passed a set of local ordinances intended to override the state laws concerning the possession, growing, and use of medical marijuana. Ostensibly, the target is dispensaries, but the ordinance — about which I shall write more in another post — is fairly broad in its application. The end result is that marijuana — medical or otherwise — is essentially illegal to grow, or use, anywhere in Fresno County. Whether or not you will be arrested for using it in accordance with California state law is unknown at this time, but the ordinance itself makes it illegal.

And why? Because medical marijuana is associated with an increase in the commission of crimes in Fresno. Read more

A Diet of Rehabilitation

Let’s have a conversation about how to obtain something that we all want: safety. (Well, okay, if you really want to have a conversation, you’ll have to leave a comment below.)

First, though, I want to talk to you about something simpler. Let’s talk about how we achieve certain other goals, like — oh, I don’t know — let’s choose “losing weight.” Summer is coming on and I know a lot of you — especially, but perhaps not exclusively, a lot of you female types — will be trying to figure out how to fit into the latest bikini fashions.

What you’ll want to do is to go home from work each night, sit down in front of the television, and eat a bag of chips, a full tub of Rocky Road ice cream — two if you realize just how small the marshmallows are — and then maybe a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Don’t forget all the side dishes, including the biscuits with the butter and honey.

Oh, that sounds sooooo good!

Read more

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