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I won't repeat the quote from one pundit who questions the integrity of prosecutors in trying to apply the law fairly. I will note, however, that those aspersions cast a wide net over some of the finest lawyers I have seen in my extended practice of law.
What happens when you take the prosecutor out of the equation? Computers which analyze statements and decide the case? Who makes the charging decisions? And, Lord knows, you can't trust the judges or juries to decide the cases fairly. Let's rid our fair State of these abusive, narrow minded, red-necked, unenlightened troglodytes! Perhaps a "People's Court" (in the vein of the people's courts of the People's Republic of China) will ensure justice.
Perhaps one pundit would find a more welcoming site for her comments, such as prisonplanet.com, or one of the other conspiracy sites, that make us all out to be jack booted thugs.
As to the pundit's interpretation of what constitutes free speech in this country, I will be fascinated to see the evolution of thought once a thorough immersion in the subject is completed.
SO glad I quoted Thumper last week...
Yeah, seriously. Has anybody actually taken one of these cases to trial. Not a plea bargain, but an actual trial. Has anyone done so?
Has any appellate court handled a case involving this law? Because I can't find one appellate case anywhere in Texas. Nor can I find any in CA or NY (which has the same law as TX, but only as a misdemeanor)?
So I am guessing that your answer is, no you have never taken one of these cases to trial, all you do is pressure young people into accepting a plea bargain on the threat of 10 yrs TDCJ. And, no, this law has never been the subject of appellate review so you have no clue as to whether or not it would survive a constitutional challenge.
I did not get accepted into UT Law School (the # 14 law school in the country) because I'm an idiot or because I blindly accept what someone says as being true. If I can come up with these issues about this law, don't you think some defense attorney would as well?
You sit and laugh at me yet not one of you has addressed the legal arguments that I made. All I see above are emotional pleas about girls being falsely accused of being whores and boys being trolled by homosexuals. I am doing an internship with the US Attorneys office because I am interested in being a prosecutor. But if I am going to apply the law and prosecute people, I want to make sure it is a legitimate law.
@RealTedCruz was a fake Twitter account impersonating Sen. Ted Cruz that was created by our Lt Gov David Dewhurst!
Website jeffwentworth.com amounts to identity theft, accounting to Sen. Jeff Wentworth.
But if I make a website "[name of ex-boyfriend].com, I get to spend 10 yrs in prison.
If none of you has actually taken a case to trial, and only just done plea bargains, then just say so. But don't call me names or think that I am some anti-LEO prison planet conspiracy person. I am just a person going to one of the top law schools in the country who, instead of making an easy $200K payday at some place like fulbright & jaworski, might actually want to come to work for a DA or CA in some place like Limestone County.
I think the law is deeply flawed and unconstitutional.
I said “falderal” in court today. On the record. Thank you, Shannon!
Doesn’t the fact that there aren’t any appellate cases concerning this nearly 4 year old statute at least suggest that prosecutors are using their discretion wisely? I’ve discouraged investigators from using online impersonation several times in relation to typical ex-spouse/ex-BFGF jackassery. And I didn’t even go to the #14 law school in the country – although I do occasionally stay at the Holiday Inn Express.
I currently have an interesting and somewhat relevant case on my docket: 14 year old male creates a Facebook page in the likeness of a 13 year old female he knows, and while he is posing as her on the internet, a 23 year old male neighbor of the female engages in sexually explicit chat and messaging and makes a solicitation for sex. I have the 23 year old for online solicitation. No one is interested in the juvenile for 33.07, but if it were an adult with the same facts, I’d take it to GJ in a heartbeat. This conduct demonstrates the potential for harm that 33.07 might address.
Also – anyone charged with this crime could challenge its constitutionality through a pretrial writ of habeas corpus. So untwist those burnt orange undies. When a worthwhile case is brought forward under this statute, if it’s good facts, even this poorly-worded statute may find a way of surviving constitutional attacks.
Satire and political commentary rarely have the intent to harm and defraud.
Ted Cruz - public person
Jeff Wentworth - public person
Parody and satire defense? For public persons/entities.
I defended the March on Skokie while an undergrad student. I got an A+++ on my paper even though my professor was Jewish, and her parents survived the death camps; and even though my mother's lineage is Jewish, and even though my father and uncles liberated those death camps in World War II. It sickened me to have to defend the vile, filthy, Nazis, but, my limited understanding of the Constitution at that point led me to believe that political speech receives extra protection. The Supreme Court happened to agree with me a few months later (though I doubt that they read my paper). Did that march cause distress? Yes, as much as many public politically motivated actions and political speeches cause stress. The concept of harm from emotional distress does not translate into an actionable harm with political speech.
The job of a prosecutor is to try and uphold the law. The kind of conduct covered under the statute is, quite simply, not the same as constitutionally protected speech. The idea that we live in a society where "anything goes" has not, and I hope is not, yet to be realized.
Our statute covers a personal affront to private individuals, who have not, presumably, thrust themselves into the public spotlight. Whether poorly worded or not, the conduct covered thereunder is not constitutionally protected.
The fact that there are no appellate cases covering the statute does not mean that mean old prosecutors are forcing pleas out of innocent pranksters. It means, as others have opined, that prosecutors are doing their job, and weeding out the annoying from the harmful.
And that is how our system works. Got a better one?
I don't care what law school you are attending, nor, for that matter, do I necessarily care how long someone has been practicing law. While I will give due credit for one's training and experience, if one's head is well placed in their posterior, or if mine is so placed, then this forum is a great tool to extricate said head from said placement.
Get used to the heat. This is Texas. My esteemed colleagues in this profession are not "wilting lilies" when it comes to controversy, and they have "handed me my ass" on many an occasion.
So, keep the cards and letters coming. But it's good, sometimes, to give yourself the right to be wrong.
Might I suggest you write your State Representative or State Senator. Additionally, you could run for the Court of Criminal Appeals one day and make your mark on the law as well. Lastly, please don't forget during your interview with a County Attorney or District Attorney to tell them you will only prosecute the laws that you deem just and fair. They like that type of honesty.
If I have accomplished nothing else in all my posts on the TDCAA user forums, it will be enough for me that I have helped popularize falderal and kerfuffle.
As for poor Molly ... I am saddened to see that law schools are still not teaching the difference between intelligence and wisdom. But all is not lost! I commend you for interning somewhere, Molly. I know I learned more practical knowledge in three months of interning for a federal judge than I did in three years of classroom instruction. Other things you won't learn in law school include:
* how to deal with other professionals in the criminal justice system;
* how to disagree without being disagreeable; and
* how to know when to quit.
But don't worry--if you are hired on as a prosecutor somewhere, the criminal justice system has a way of teaching those lessons through its School of Hard Knocks. Getting a degree from that institution will serve you well, if you are willing to learn its lessons.
Oh, and for the record, Molly, no one cares where you went to school except your family, your loan officer, and your law school fundraising office. I suggest you save that gem for use somewhere else.
J.D. '93, UT School of Law
How do I know that's really Shannon?
Shannon, you beat me on "kerfuffle". I used that in the office the other day. People thought I was making sh*t up. Now I have written proof it is a word.
Mark Daniel Kimball
B.A., summa cum laude,and Distinguished Military Graduate, Creighton University, 1978;
J.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 1981;
And even my family is not impressed :-( Except I think they like that I have become a curmudgeon.................
But then, this is all mishegoss..........
I have thoroughly enjoyed this thread.
That is all I have to contribute.
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