Fault Lines
20 March 2017
  • Justice Kennedy Says Creepy Clowns Are a Race

    by - Mar 15, 2017
    (Comments: 2)
    March 15, 2017 (Fault Lines) — In Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for a majority of five, held that where a juror makes a clear statement indicating that he or she relied on racial...
  • Outsourcing Linda Greenhouse to Yale (Update)

    by - Mar 8, 2017
    (Comments: 4)
    March 8, 2017 (Fault Lines) — While working for the New York Times as the paper’s Supreme Court correspondent, Linda Greenhouse won the Pulitzer Prize and embarrassed the paper along the way as well. After leaving...
  • Thoughts on Compassionate Release and the Week That Was

    by - Mar 1, 2017
    (Comments: 3)
    March 1, 2017 (Fault Lines) — I don’t particularly mind sending somebody to prison knowing that he or she may die within the walls. The following image captures my lizard brain as I pronounce such a...
  • Death à la Carte

    by - Feb 22, 2017
    (Comments: 7)
    February 22, 2017  (Fault Lines) — Since I handle death penalty habeas cases, I must be careful not to express opinions on the merits of pending or impending cases involving the death penalty. While I discuss...
  • No Banana, The New Omaha Standard For A Guilty Plea?

    by - Feb 15, 2017
    (Comments: 3)
    February 15, 2017 (Fault Lines) — Sure, Omaha is flyover country, but it is no longer a hick town. It is bumping up against the one million mark (915,312). It has a law school, most of...
  • Crime in Florida is Weird and Wonderful

    by - Feb 8, 2017
    (Comments: 13)
    February 8, 2017 (Fault Lines) — As Chris Seaton pointed out in his uproarious post last week on Fault Lines, crime in Florida is sui generis. As all lawyers know, “sui generis” is Latin for “laugh your...
  • Riding The Circuit To North Platte – A Travelogue

    by - Feb 1, 2017
    (Comments: 8)
    February 1, 2017 (Fault Lines) — If you are a judge on my Court of Appeals, you will travel to the seat of the court in St. Louis. You will hold court in a stunning 29-story building...
  • The Word “Rape”

    by - Jan 25, 2017
    (Comments: 19)
    January 25, 2017 (Fault Lines) — I was sitting on my ever-expanding ass, minding my own business, when one of my law clerks came to me with a declaratory judgment complaint that had just been filed....
  • 94 Sheriffs And Trump

    by - Jan 18, 2017
    (Comments: 3)
    January 18, 2017 (Fault Lines) — The Judiciary Act of 1789 established the original 13 federal judicial districts and called for appointment of a Marshal for each district. The Senate confirmed President Washington’s nomination of the first...
  • Greenhouse Gas

    by - Jan 11, 2017
    (Comments: 7)
    January 11, 2017 (Fault Lines) — Scientists tell us that greenhouse gases (water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O)) are polluting our atmosphere. Today, I write about a different sort of...
  • Mr. Bumble: The “Law Is A[n] Ass, A[n] Idiot”*

    by - Jan 4, 2017
    (Comments: 5)
    January 4, 2017 (Fault Lines) — Although I don’t see the legal significance, Professor Doug Berman featured United States v. Mateo-Medina, No. 15-2862 (3d Cir. Dec. 30, 2016) on his preeminent sentencing blog.  See Third Circuit...
  • Mike Is Dead

    by - Dec 21, 2016
    (Comments: 3)
    December 21, 2016 (Fault Lines) — For as a long as I can remember, I hated Christmas.* I now have even more reason for this dislike. I learned this week that Mike is dead. Mike was...
  • A Hidden Crack In The Criminal Justice System

    by - Dec 14, 2016
    (Comments: 5)
    December 14, 2016 (Fault Lines) — Fault Lines is devoted to revealing the cracks in the American criminal justice system. The “revealing” task is often as plain as seeing a white cop shooting a black man in...
  • Nebraska Federal Defenders Meet at Work, Discover They’re Sisters

    by - Dec 7, 2016
    (Comments: 0)
    December 7, 2016 (Fault Lines) — I suppose you have heard the phrase, “six degrees of separation.” If not, these words suggest that all living things and everything else in the world is six or fewer steps...
  • The Maine Coon Cat On The Bench

    by - Nov 30, 2016
    (Comments: 6)
    November 30, 2016 (Fault Lines) — The Maine Coon is one of the largest domesticated breeds of cat. It has a distinctive physical appearance and rarified hunting skills. Such cats can weigh 17 pounds and from the...
  • From The POV Of CDLs, Who Are The Best, Worst & Most Likely On Trump’s List For SCOTUS?

    by - Nov 23, 2016
    (Comments: 13)
    November 23, 2016 (Fault Lines) — I am absolutely certain that the President-Elect wants to know what criminal defense lawyers think about his list of potential Supreme Court nominees.  So, I ask you, from the perspective of...
  • Dueling Judges: Jurors Should Be Free From “Judicial Immunization” For “Implicit Bias”

    by - Nov 16, 2016
    (Comments: 15)
    November 16, 2016 (Fault Lines) — Ed. Note: In light of the concern about the impact of racial bias in the criminal justice system, we have “so ordered” Senior Judge Richard G. Kopf of the District...
  • Does The Gender Of A Criminal Defense Lawyer Matter?

    by - Nov 9, 2016
    (Comments: 7)
    November 9, 2016 (Fault Lines) — By the time you read this, it is likely (per FiveThirtyEight) that we will have our first female President. That is the seed for this post, even though it’s written in...
  • Psychological Differences Between Prosecutors & Criminal Defense Lawyers

    by - Nov 2, 2016
    (Comments: 23)
    November 2, 2016 (Fault Lines) — We know that dogs and cats have different psychological makeups. That indisputable point can be illustrated thusly: The question is whether the same thing is true for prosecutors and criminal defense...
  • “At Long Last, Have You Left No Sense Of Decency?”

    by - Oct 31, 2016
    (Comments: 11)
    October 31, 23016 (Fault Lines) — The allegations against Justice Clarence Thomas, that he twice “cupped” the butt of lawyer Moira Smith some 17 years ago at a Washington D.C. dinner party, have been thoroughly skewered...