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There's little doubt in my mind that the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, will not indict Darren Wilson and charge him with murder. And there is just as little doubt that Ferguson will erupt in violence when that happens. Two conceptions of justice will collide, thus illustrating in graphic form...
The Roman orator Cicero defined a commonwealth, or a republic, as a group of people drawn together by common interests and a common conception of right, or justice. In other words, not just any group of folks constitutes a stable political entity.
By this standard, we are no longer a...
From time to time, a young person turns up at my office door looking for career advice. They are considering a career in the law. What, they ask, should they do? My answer is typically succinct: consider medical school. The law, I tell them is dark place. I've imagined that medicine offers...
If I had Tom Foley's tax accountant, there is one thing I most assuredly would not do: I would not run for public office pretending I had any idea about what is and is not sound public policy. Foley lives as a free-rider, avoiding taxes while living like a plutocrat. Why would anyone vote for...
There are secret courts operating in our midst, and I am not referring to those tribunals whose focus is national security. I'm talking about something more basic and closer to home. I'm talking about our juvenile courts, where the fate of children is sometimes determined.
Consider the case...
The law of evidence governs what is and is not admissible in a trial. A judge's decision on what a jury hears could quite literally be the difference between freedom and imprisonment, and, in some cases, between life and death. Just ask Larry Johnson.
Earlier this year, Brittany Paz, Jim...
I wasn't on the New Haven jury that convicted Angelo Reyes of arson and conspiracy charges. But I know a thing or two about Mr. Reyes, having represented him in federal court on other arson charges before federal prosecutors engineered a conflict to get me thrown off the case: They threatened to...
Juries are fickle, especially in civil cases, where we give them the right and the power to award money in the form of compensatory damages, and, in rare cases, to assess punitive damages. Money becomes a proxy for justice. Yet standing in well of a civil court asking for money always reminds me of...
"Everybody talks," the prosecutor said. He was confident, strutting his stuff in the well of the court. "In the end, everyone talks," he said again.
I felt as though I were watching a bad version of Inspector Javert, from Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables," a minister of justice undone, in the...
A future historian might one day write the following of our time:
"Despite a generally permissive culture in which sexually suggestive photographs were used to advertise products ranging from toothpaste to cars, 21st century Americans nonetheless harbored draconian and puritanical laws...