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

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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Pick Your Fight

I’ll let you in on a little known secret: I used to be somewhat well-off.


Sometimes people will ask me how I became a criminal defense lawyer. I tell them the truth: I used to have a high-paying job. I got tired of it. Decided having (enough) money was just too much for me, so I decided to go to law school and become a lawyer instead.

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Judge Oppliger: Living the Nightmare

I struggled, picking the title for this article, briefly considering “Much Ado About Nothing.”  Then I decided to play off a quote from the story itself.

But before I start, I want to offer a shout-out to a new blogger. So far as I know, he becomes the second law-focused blogger (after me) in Fresno.  (If anyone knows others, drop me their info and I may add them to my list.)  Terry stopped me on the way out of court today, although he got my name slightly wrong: he called me “Blogmeister.”  He said he wanted to start a blog, but wasn’t sure what to write about.  We talked awhile and I gave him a suggestion, saying I was planning to write about it also, and encouraged him to join the party.  Here’s the post he wrote after we talked.

Welcome, Terry!

With that out of the way, what follows is my riff on the story.

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“Our Policy Hasn’t Changed, Mr. Horowitz”

Unfortunately, before I can tell you why I wrote this post, I have to tell you about something I was planning never to blog about.  I had hoped I would not have to write this post.

Friday’s court session made me realize I had no choice.

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An Officer of the Court

First things first:  I don’t write as much on this blog as I had hoped, or as I probably should.  My original intent was that I’d write about “regional” (i.e., within the Fresno, California area) issues or happenings on this site; most of my writing happens at Probable Cause: The Legal Blog with the Really Low Standard of Review. (Judges, at least, should get the joke in that name; even a few attorneys might.)  This isn’t an apology: I’m saying this because if you’re here wondering why the blog isn’t updated and you’re just really thirsting for something new, try the other blog.

Regardless of where I post my articles, I’m always an officer of the court.  (People v. Superior Court (Rishwain, Hakeem & Ellis) (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 1411, 1413 [264 Cal.Rptr. 28]; Tejeda v. Blas (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 1335, 1341 [242 Cal.Rptr. 538]; Leversen v. Superior Court (1983) 34 Cal.3d 530, 537 [194 Cal.Rptr. 448].)  I cite cases for that because some prosecutors and law enforcement officials disagree.

Even courts seem to disagree at times.  I’m still learning the rules, but near as I can tell it works like this:  When they want me to do something I’m resisting, I’m reminded that I’m an officer of the court.  The rest of the time, I’m a criminal defense attorney, which means I’m not to be trusted.

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