Small Print, Big Problem (part I)
Imagine you’ve clicked on your computer screen to accept a contract to purchase a good or service—a contract, you only realize later, that’s straight out of Kafka. The widget you’ve bought turns out to be a nightmare. You take to Yelp.com to complain about your experience—but lo, according to the contract you have given up your free speech rights to criticize the product. Let’s also say, in a fit of responsibility, (a bit fantastic, I know) you happened to have printed out this contract before you “signed” it, though you certainly hadn’t read through the thing, which is written, literally, on a “twenty-seventh grade” reading level. Well, you read it now (perhaps with the help of a friend who’s completed the twenty-seventh grade). And you see that there was nothing in the contract limiting your right to free speech at the moment you signed it. That part was added later. Your friend with the twenty-seventh-grade education points to the clause in the contract in which you’ve granted this vendor-from-hell the right to modify the terms of the contract, unilaterally, at any time into the vast limitless future. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on May 1, 2013 -
With a ruling scheduled
today on Prop 8 — the California ballot measure that took away the right to marry from same-sex couples — Dave Fleischer has an in-depth analysis
of all of the polling data
on Prop 8, and his findings include some counter-intuitive numbers, like that the confusing wording actually ended up helping the No vote more than the Yes.
posted by klangklangston
on Aug 4, 2010 -
In the US, for the past thirty years, new laws have been stripping judges of any discretion whatsoever in ensuring sentencing
and other consequences
of criminal activity are fair. Enter Qing Wong Hu, a Chinese immigrant who arrived in the US when he was 5, and now faces deportation
for a string of muggings he committed in New York City in 1996, when he was still a juvenile. This, despite his successfully turning his life around and becoming a hard working, productive member of society.
posted by wierdo
on Feb 21, 2010 -
Judge William Wayne Justice. 1920 -2009.
Appointed to the federal bench in 1968, Judge Justice spent his career as a progressive jurist working to insure the rights of minorities, the poor and the disenfranchised. His rulings
forced the State of Texas to desegregate public schools, reform its prison system and provide education to undocumented immigrants.
posted by anticlock
on Oct 15, 2009 -
Hooker raped & robbed by justice system.
Apparently, if you're a prostitute and you're gang-raped at gunpoint, that's not actually rape, but "theft of services". In Philadelphia, judge Teresa Carr Deni ruled exactly that in a case where a woman posted a Craigslist ad offering sex for money -- but when she met with her John, instead of the agreed upon exhange, he pulled a gun on her, raped her, then invited four other men to rape her as well. As if this weren't sad enough, a near-identical case -- with the same defendant
-- came up four days later, and the prosecutor decided not to even try it as to not put the woman through the misery of being so resoundly denied justice. Devolution is real, spuds.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me
on Oct 20, 2007 -
Blackburn makes manifest a propensity for turgid language. Not content with foisting “cockalorum” (meaning, boastful talk), “froward” (willfully disobedient) and “mordaciously” (bitingly) on the reader, he may be the first judge to use both “contumelious” (scornful) and “contumacious” (pigheaded) in the same opinion.
Judge Robert E. Blackburn's ruling [pdf]
granting a motion for a new trial based on attorney misconduct is an interesting read for those who enjoy the use of uncommon, flowery and "big" words. [more inside]
posted by amyms
on Oct 14, 2007 -
The State of Virginia
(nyt) has provided judges with a checklist to determine whether or not nonviolent offenders should go to jail. 40 year old woman with a job and husband = no jail. 21 YO man without job or wife = see you in 3-5. Here are the official guidelines
(pdf) for sex offenders with a detailed explanation of the process.
posted by jmgorman
on Jan 2, 2005 -
The Evan Parker Scott case
bears more than a passing resemblance to the Baby Richard
case of several years ago. Once more, a toddler who barely knows what's going on is being confiscated by the parent who gave him up in the first place. Is the domestic adoption system broken?
posted by u.n. owen
on Dec 27, 2004 -
The justice system at work.
A sitting Judge in Oklahoma has been removed from the bench for using a male enhancement pump, pleasuring himself and oiling his nether regions during court proceedings - including an August 2003 murder trial. At least he was awake during the proceedings, unlike other judges
posted by thatothrgirl
on Jun 24, 2004 -
'20th Hijacker' Offers Guilty Plea and Cooperation
He is charged with helping plan the September 11 attack. During his third arraignment on amended charges, Zacarias Moussaoui offered to enter a guilty plea. "For the guilt phase, I'm guilty," he told the judge. "But for the death penalty, we will see."
You'd think in this day and age, it'd be hard to pull off a complete surprise. Moussaoui is representing himself.
posted by rschram
on Jul 18, 2002 -
God's Justice and Ours.
Justice Antonin Scalia writes on capital punishment in First Things
: "In my view, the major impetus behind modern aversion to the death penalty is the equation of private morality with governmental morality. This is a predictable (though I believe erroneous and regrettable) reaction to modern, democratic self–government.
posted by Ty Webb
on Jun 12, 2002 -
A judge has ordered a smoker to stop lighting up
at home or in her car if she wants continued visitation rights with her 13-year-old son who has complained about her pack-a-day habit. "Where the child's health is involved," the judge said, "the court would intervene, even if it meant overriding the parents' religious beliefs." Is this in the best interest of the child or an intrusive ruling?
posted by phooey
on Mar 26, 2002 -
U.S. CONSIDERS MILITARY ACTION TO REMOVE SKATING JUDGES.
I don't mean to pimp Borowitz again so soon... but damn. Best line from this: While the decision to use military force against the figure skating judges was Mr. Bush’s, sources say there was a split within the Administration as to the appropriateness of using U.S. troops and air power to change the results of an Olympic skating contest.... These sources indicate that Secretary of State Colin Powell favored using economic and diplomatic measures while Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz advocated detaining and torturing the figure skating judges until they reversed their earlier decision.
posted by mattpusateri
on Feb 13, 2002 -