Archive for judges

I Take My Justice With A Slap And A Racial Slur



There's a good chance that you or someone you know will at a point in their life be called in front of a judge to resolve some issue. Maybe it's a renter/landlord dispute, or perhaps it's a speeding ticket. Maybe it'll even be something more substantial, but the odds are it's going to happen sometime.

What we all hope though is that justice is meted out fairly and with no prejudice.

Well, if you live in Mississippi, don't be so sure. Here's a shocking and sobering report about Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger, who is white.  Talking Points Memo:

A Mississippi judge [Weisengerger] allegedly slapped a young mentally disabled black man [Eric Rivers] earlier this month at a flea market and yelled "run, n----, run," the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported Sunday.

An apparent witness, Tammy Westbrook, told the newspaper Rivers was offering to help flea market vendors unload their goods when Weisenberger slapped him twice, then yelled "run, n----, run" as he fled. Westbrook and her sister, a vendor at the flea market, recalled that they thought Weisenberger was a law enforcement officer because he was wearing a security guard's uniform.

So this is the man who's pounding his gavel and dispatching justice. In a state with a Black population of nearly 40%, there's a chance this judge has issued quite a few punishments on minorities. Is there a chance he's only a bigot displaying racial hatred and animus when he's not wearing his robes?


McConnell Gets Taste Of His Own Medicine


turnabout is fair play

You know that old bromide, "Turn about is fair play?" Well, Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R - Kentucky) just got a double dose of it.

How's that feel, Mitch? How's it feel to be responsible for same-sex marriage in your conservative state? Or partial birth abortions?

Seems when you're down (as he is to Alison Lundergen Grimes (D - Kentucky) in the 2014 senate race) the rats come out of the woodwork to bite you. The rat's name is Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin. He doesn't stand a chance to defeat McConnell in the primary, but he can sure fuel the fires to vote Democratic, or just stay home in the general election.

Bevin's attack ad, as amazing as it is funny, teaches you that if you play with fire, you might get burned. You get what you give. You've made unfounded attacks on Obama. Well here you go. A taste of your own medicine, only this time from your own party. Ever get the feeling even your own family doesn't like you? Mr. Minority Leader, put on your thick skin and don your laughing shoes:


Christie's Either Naive Or A Liar. Neither Makes Him Presidential


Chris Christie bridge

Political payback? A scandal. A Conspiracy?

Well, it all depends on who you ask. But GW Bridgegate has become open field for speculation. And depending on who you ask, some office deputy in Chris Christie's Trenton office staff concocted this plan to shut a number of lanes to the world's busiest bridge, or maybe it's all been made up... it was just the fallout of a traffic study.

It's interesting to hear the many spins on this from both sides of the political aisle. But one that stands out is actually a denial of a conspiracy theory that Rachel Maddow put forth last night. She acknowledges that it's speculation at this point - but all conspiracy theories start out that way until they're debunked or proven right. Take Watergate. The My Lai massacre. The WMD's that we went to the Iraq War over. The Reagan Iran Contra Hearings. The fake Benghazi claims. The bogus IRS targeted scandal. Face it. There are things that are kismet, some even proved wrong, and others that are planned.

But who turns out to be the Governor of New Jersey's biggest apologist? The current New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney. A Democrat. Well, in name only when it comes to being under the thumbnail of Chris Christie. During the last gubernatorial election where Christie faced off against Barbara Buono, (the Democratic candidate and former New Jersey Senate President), the current office holder Sweeney refused to back his own party's candidate and a predecessor to his office. Was this a bullying tactic or fear tactic by Christie. Sweeney refuses to comment but when he found out about Rachel Maddow's supposition that there's another alternative reason that Christie had the bridge lanes closes, he didn't bother to go watch it. He chose instead to poo-poo this idea. He said that would be a conspiracy. And that just couldn't happen in his state.

You listen to the argument and decide for yourself whether a turncoat democrat like Sweeney is in any position to comment or whether Rachel Maddow makes some very logical sense. Pay attention to her dates and times in her proposition here. DINO and party turncoat Sweeney might be right. But I'd put my money on Maddow.

Added by Laffy:

Lawrence O'Donnell also had a thing or two to add regarding the Christie scandal. He was splendid:


Disturbing Sentencing News From Alabama



When it comes to meting out punishment in courts, there's sentencing guidelines and generally they are followed. But judges are, for the most part, given discretion based on the facts and evidence in a case. Sometimes additional time is tacked on, sometimes a lesser sentence is granted. And then there's always the consideration of probation for some or all of the term. From

ATHENS, Alabama - A man accused of raping a teenage acquaintance was convicted by a Limestone County jury this afternoon, according to District Attorney Brian Jones.

Some of the incidents occurred when she was under 16, [14 years old for two of the attacks] which included the second-degree counts, and one when she was over 16, which led to the first-degree count of forcible sex.

After deliberating for just under two hours, the jury returned with guilty verdicts for one count of first-degree rape and two counts of second-degree rape against 25-year-old Austin Smith Clem, Jones said. Clem will be sentenced Nov. 13 in Limestone County Circuit Court.

It doesn't seem like the jury had a particularly difficult time in reaching a verdict. Then two days later, the judge didn't seem to have too much difficulty in meting out sentencing...

According to Mother Jones who carried this story, here's the judges declared sentence for Mr. Clem:

Limestone County Circuit Judge James Woodroof sentenced Clem to 10 years in prison for each of the second-degree rape charges and 20 years for first-degree rape.

If you do the crime, you gotta do the time -- isn't that how the saying goes?

But Woodroof structured the sentence in such a way that Clem will only be hit with community corrections and probation. Clem will have to register as a sex offender and pay fines and restitution—a total of $2,381, according to the sentencing document provided to Mother Jones—but he will not serve jail time unless he violates the terms of his sentencing.

Huh? Whoa. What?

On Wednesday, a judge in Athens, Alabama, ruled that the rapist will be punished by serving two years in a program aimed at nonviolent criminals and three years of probation.

According to Clem's sentencing order, which Brian Jones, the Limestone County district attorney, provided to Mother Jones, Clem will serve the first half of his sentence under the supervision of the Limestone County community corrections program. The program is aimed at "redirecting the lives" of nonviolent, low-level offenders who are "likely to maintain a productive and law-abiding life as a result of accountability, guidance and direction to services they need," according to the program's website.

Multiple rape CONVICTIONS and no jail sentence? These weren't plea agreements. These charges went to trial and this man was found guilty by a jury. Sounds to me like Lady Justice just got raped and this time by Circuit Judge James Woodroof.

This guy Clem is sentenced to a program which "is aimed at "redirecting the lives" of nonviolent, low-level offenders." Excuse me. Income tax evasion and driving without a license are nonviolent crimes. But RAPE, and especially of a minor? Where's this judge stashing his crack pipe, under his robes?

Dan Totten, Clem's defense attorney, did agree that this was a light, but fair sentence. After all, he points out,

"But [Clem's] lifestyle for the next six years is going to be very controlled…If he goes to a party and they're serving beer, he can't say, 'Can I have one?' If he wanted to go across the Tennessee line, which as the crow flies is eight or nine miles from his house, and buy a lottery ticket, he can't do that…It's not a slap on the wrist."

He can't ask for a beer at a party or go buy a lottery ticket across state lines? Are you sh**ing me? That is harsh.

Can the victim just go out and ask for her innocence back? What's her lifetime sentence compared with three years of probation?

Somebody talk me down from this, if you think you can.

While you're at it, don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack


What Did Elizabeth Warren Do To Put The Smile On Lawrence O'Donnell's Face


O'Donnell and Warren

Lawrence O'Donnell is known to glow, rant and rave. He loves, hates and skewers with the best of them. So it takes little to get him going, but it takes a lot to make him glow. If the lights went out on his set last night, you'd never know because his internal incandescence was burning bright.

Why? Because once again, Elizabeth Warren showed why she's quickly becoming the darling of her party. She's also staying under the radar of the GOP front runners for 2016 POTUS campaign. And if she keeps it up, even Hillary might stand aside and let EW carry the banner.

There's not a public voice that speaks more eloquently and pointedly toward the constitution and our rights. She's a champion of the little guy/girl and protective of the larger.

If Time Magazine thought Christie was the elephant in the room, Elizabeth Warren is the Kick Ass in the country. Here's why:

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack


Discovered. Lost. Then Found -- The Real Bettie Page



I'm excited. There's a movie, a documentary, that I'm looking forward to seeing. It's not about someone I know or knew -- just remember. The subject is a woman who pushed the boundaries of taste and became the real Betty Boop of her time -- Bettie Page.

I've seen pictures of her, both photos and drawn, and I knew she was somebody, but not really who. When I was told she was Bettie Page, that didn't mean too much to me. She's a generation before me, maybe two. But what I do recognize is she "busted" down a lot of taboos and was a woman of courage, vision and a sense of style. She created a look. She was admired by men and women alike.

Hugh Hefner said she was, "a combination of bawdy and nice."

Betty Page

She caused fear in those who fought the 1950s culture wars. She was arrested and tried. Given a chance at her freedom over an obscenity charge if she'd just burn the negatives, she told a judge she would not. "I'm not indecent." She even challenged him to raise the charges because she would never cop a plea.

If you're like me and don't know of her other than a nodding acquaintance, she meteorically rose to fame as a pin-up girl, post Betty Grable, and at the pinnacle of her career, disappeared. Where'd she go? Rumors flew fast and furiously. The mob got her. She fell victim to heroin. She had gone insane.

See if this doesn't add a bit of 'tease' to the movie term, teaser. I Bettie you it does.

How closely were you paying attention. Professionally she used Betty and Bettie as her first name. But I don't blame you if you hadn't caught it. It took me two viewings to see it.


Save Us From Ourselves


colored bohener

Recently John Boehner made news when he said that his and the Republican's greater purpose was to repeal laws, not pass them. Well, that met with a fine, "How d'ya do." It sure made the speaker look a bit ashamed when it was so widely ridiculed. I know this for a fact because his orange tinted face was starting to look maroon, or even brown. Hey, wait a minute, does that make Boehner an African-American or Mexican when he blushes?

That claim of repealing laws, of course, was not too eye opening in light of how the Republicannots have been obstructing so many valid and even necessary pieces of legislation. But cutting 'The Boner' some slack, (affirmative action at work now that we know his secret) I thought this recent article on some crazy laws might need his deft hand. Perhaps this might fit in with his overall plan of cutting regulations.

These are actual laws on the books, today. So this isn't a gag for a laugh. You can laugh, but only at how outrageous and outdated they are -- kind of like the current GOP party.

Weird News on HuffPo:

In Alaska, you can't wake a sleeping bear specifically for a photo opportunity

In North Dakota, beer and pretzels can't be served at the same time at any bar or restaurant 

It's illegal to whisper dirty things during sex in Oregon

You cannot dye a duckling blue and offer it for sale in Kentucky unless you offer more than six blue ducklings at once

Oklahoma: Dogs must have a permit signed by the mayor in order to congregate in groups of three or more 

Females can't do their own hair in Oklahoma unless licensed by the state

In North Carolina, Bingo games can't last more than five hours 

New York City has an ordinance prohibiting the carrying of ice cream in a pocket 

Fortunately I don't live in any of those places. But c'mon, John Boehner. Can't you use your influence to get your caucus to deal with these pressing issues. After all, you don't want to deal with job creation, health care reform (except for repeal), NSA spying, Social Security, Immigration, education, science, clean air, voter's rights, or anything else that matters. Now you have something your Hastert rule should allow you to bring up. Are you afraid Ted Cruz and Rand Paul will block you and find a tea party candidate to run against you?

Be a man -- but remember, don't wake the sleeping bears just for a photo-op.