The ultimate bail reform: shoot the client

The injustices of the for-profit cash bail system are obvious. It jails people who’ve been accused — not convicted — of a crime, just because they can’t pay the often exorbitant fees set by judges. The billion-dollar bail bond industry flourishes while the unransomed may be held for months or even years awaiting trial, with the taxpayer footing the even more exorbitant cost of jailing all those people.*

Washington D.C. eliminated the money bail system over 20 years ago, replacing it with non-incarceratory conditions. The result is an 88% return-to-court rate — better than the national average. New York, ever on the cutting edge, is now talking about doing the same.

But an Oklahoma bailbondsperson found a simpler solution:  shoot the client.

Ms. Chasity [not a typo] Carey, running a bail bond office in downtown Stillwater, summoned her client Brandon Williams to her office, saying she wanted to buy his car for her son.  Her real aim was to revoke Brandon’s bail – apparently he wasn’t fully paid up – and take him to jail.

The surveillance video shows Brandon, a cheerful young redneck in a tank top and baseball cap, coming in with some paperwork and taking a chair in front of Chasity’s desk.  He shakes hands with her son, a tall skinny teenager, saying, “You’re [just] a boy, ain’tcha?” He chats amiably about cars, advises the kid never to drive a Mustang wearing heavy boots. . .

and, making himself at home, removes one sneaker to examine a blister under his sock.

Chasity, a tough 42-year-old cookie in jeans and a Budweiser t-shirt, gets up from her desk, locks the door behind Brandon and orders him to stand up against the wall. Brandon complies, still holding his shoe, asking in bewilderment, “What’s going on here?”  Chasity orders him to turn around to be handcuffed.

“What? What do you mean? What are you doing?” asks Brandon. “I’m not getting no cuffs.”

“Actually, you are,” says Chasity. Her son approaches with the cuffs.

“Why are you doing this to me?” protests Brandon. “Open the door.”

Chasity and her son block the door.  Brandon turns away from them and walks past the desk and off-camera to get out through the window. The video shows Chasity going behind the desk, pulling away the desk chair, opening the center drawer and taking out a gun.

Carey to desk

She aims the gun with two hands and fires a bullet into Brandon’s back.

You hear a cry of “No!” Then silence.

The son cries, “Mom, you just shot him!”

“I did,” Mom answers calmly. “Call the police.”

The boy is utterly distraught. “911,” says Mom helpfully.

Chasity, apparently unaware of what the video showed, claimed that Brandon had tried to take the gun from the desk drawer, but that she got to it first and shot him in self-defense. The county prosecutor charged her with a single count of first-degree murder.

Chasity was defended by Stevenson Law Firm whose roadside billboard reads, “Just Because You Did It Doesn’t Mean They Can Prove It,” (the Oklahoma cut-the-crap version of “Just because you did it doesn’t mean you’re guilty”).  Mr. Stevenson triumphantly noted that the one-count charge gave the jury only the choice between finding premeditated murder and acquittal. Since “premeditated” under Oklahoma law apparently requires proof that the defendant planned the murder sometime the night before, preferably in writing, the jury properly acquitted.

Chasity is reportedly considering a career change, since her bail bond business has likely taken a dip. For some reason, Stillwater defendants prefer to take their chances in jail.


*See the 25-minute documentary, “Inside America’s For-Profit Bail Industry.”


Posted in Law & Parody | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Relax, baby, I’m gay.

The Second Circuit has just held that it was wrong to fire a skydiving instructor for telling a customer he was gay.  Under Title VII of the federal law, a person can’t be “discharged because of a homophobic customer.”  Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., dba Skydive Long Island.

Sounds perfectly sensible, although Title VII, unlike New York law, doesn’t expressly designate sexual orientation as a protected category. But the court applied the principle of unio non sequitur ipsi dixie to construe the statute according to evolving standards of penumbras and concluded that sexual orientation is a subset of sex.

The dissents didn’t buy this.  Although they wrote 100 pages proclaiming their fealty to oppressed minorities, complete with learned quotations in ancient Greek, dazzling references to the Frankfurt School and indignant reminders of the days of “Help Wanted: Negroes need not apply,” they nitpickingly concluded that if Congress wants to include sexual orientation in Title VII, they have to say so.

Simple Justice says the skydiving outfit doesn’t have the money to appeal to the Supremes. Still, we could imagine them reversing, perhaps invoking the principle of e pluribus loquitur. (NB: for every canon of statutory construction, there’s always one that says the opposite). Justice Thomas would write a concurrence saying there was no such thing as sexual orientation in 1789, and the three ladies from New York would issue a ringing defense of equality and social justice.

But we think the real problem with the Second Circuit’s decision is that Zarda wasn’t “discharged because of a homophobic customer.” He was fired because a woman customer complained that he’d touched her inappropriately and that he’d tried to excuse this by saying, “Don’t worry, I’m gay.”

In other words, he was fired for allegedly being a jerk, a category not protected under Title VII.

Here’s the story: 19-year old Rosanna, a waitress from Long Island, celebrated her birthday by going on a skydiving adventure with her boyfriend. Recreational skydiving, as we discovered from our Google research, doesn’t require any special skills, such as remembering to pull the parachute cord. Instead, the customer is harnessed under a “tandem master,” illustrated below, who takes care of these details:

Rosanna had no problem with being harnassed to tandem master Zarda and laughed off the hilarious jokes from the other instructors suggesting that her boyfriend ought to object. But as they sat in the plane waiting to jump, Zarda put his hand on Rosanna’s hip and his chin on her shoulder in a way that made her uncomfortable.  “It was unnecessary,” she said in her deposition. “I mean, he didn’t have to rest his hand on my hip. Once you’re fastened, you’re fastened and you can put your hands on your side.”

Zarda apparently realized that she was annoyed, because as they were drifting down, suspended from the open parachute, he said he hoped he hadn’t made her uncomfortable on the plane, but “Don’t worry, I’m gay.” He then related that he’d just broken up with a man.

Rosanna’s boyfriend, who’d witnessed Zarda’s nuzzling on the plane and learned that she was upset, told Zarda’s boss. The couple didn’t threaten legal action, demand that Zarda be fired or complain that he was gay. Their beef was simply that he’d ruined Rosanna’s birthday skydive with his unprofessional behavior. The boss, who’d previously had complaints from women about Zarda, fired him.

Now, it doesn’t take a #metoo crank to see that if a man realizes that his touching has made a woman uncomfortable, it only adds insult to injury to say, “Don’t worry, I’m gay.”  The insolent message is, “You have no right to object to my touching, because I’m not sexually attracted to you.”

In fact, Zarda’s complaint filed in federal court makes exactly that argument. While not denying the allegation of gratuitous touching, he finds it  laughably irrational that it could be considered “inappropriate.” Because, he explains, since he’s gay, he couldn’t have done it “to gratify himself sexually.” Therefore, according to him, he was fired because of a complaint by a “homophobic person who objects to being near a gay man.”

The Second Circuit swallowed this whole, assuming without a word of discussion that Zarda was “discharged because of a homophobic customer.”

The lesson, ladies, is that if you find yourself being pawed by a gay man, don’t be a homophobe! Console yourself that he’s not being gratified sexually.


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Deadly meteor expected to demolish Earth any minute

Having a disproportionate effect on young black males.

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Appellate Squawk’s Radiant Institute of Continuing Legal Education

Addition and Subtraction for Attorneys  Explore the mysteries of arithmetic in this empowering seminar guaranteed to improve your ability to calculate everything from billable hours to SORA points. Prerequisite: Introduction to Counting.

How to Use Comas and Other Punctuation The nuts and bolts of proofreading.

Advanced Strategies for Filling Out Forms Hands-on skills workshop with special attention to online forms that trap you into an endless loop of “that is not a valid response.”

What Every Lawyer Needs to Know about Girl Scout Cookie Compliance Regulation Negotiating compulsory purchase in the workplace. First Amendment infringement or narrowly tailored measure to prevent girls from becoming extinct? Does having last year’s cookies still in your desk drawer constitute a ground for exemption?

Critical Issues in Document Reproduction When do they have to give you a new toner cartridge instead of telling you again to shake up the old one?

Recent Developments in Pigeon-feeding Prohibition Law Does a finding of breadcrumbs in a shopping bag constitute reasonable suspicion? Faculty includes representatives of the growing  #Wepooponyourbuildings movement.

Navigating Best Practice Core Value Task Force Metrics for Stakeholders Your window of opportunity to leverage the exciting cutting-edge learnings impacting today’s most solutions.

Vituperation for Appellate Attorneys  Tired of punting, “respondent’s assertions are unsupported by the record”? Learn new and exciting ways of calling your adversary a goddam liar.

Hot Topics in Jury Selection: Getting the Liberals to Keep their Mouths Shut “Does anyone think this crime is trivial?” the prosecutor sweetly inquires. You watch helplessly as your best prospective jurors walk into the trap. “He’s on trial for shoplifting a toothbrush from Walmart? Are you kidding?” they chortle smugly, thereby getting themselves instantly kicked off the panel and leaving you with a jury of bring-back-public-flogging types.  Emphasis on mime and interpretive dance. 

W.S. Gilbert “Trial by Jury.”

Coping with the Troglodyte Judge  When are tranquilizer darts legal?

Bench and Bar Dialogue. Pursuant to the Chief Judge’s Excellence Initiative, all judges are required to listen to attorneys’ suggestions for reform. Sold out through March 2025.

Posted in Humor, Law, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged | 8 Comments

ICE, ICE, baby!*

“It irritates me that a politician who has never held a badge and a gun, who doesn’t understand what we do every day, makes a decision of putting their own political careers ahead of the health and safety of a law enforcement officer.”  — ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan excoriating sanctuary cities and critics of the proposed border wall.

The ICEking’s notion that holding a badge and a gun is a qualification – apparently the only qualification – for deciding immigration policy is particularly hilarious given the reputation of ICE agents for mislaying their badges and guns.

Back in 2016, the news site Complete Colorado reported that between 2012 and 2015, employees of ICE, TSA and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had managed to lose over 1,300 badges, 165 firearms and 589 cell phones.

A subsequent audit by the Office of the Inspector General found that these custodians of our borders had lost 2,142 “highly sensitive assets” between 2014 and 2016. Included in that total is 228 firearms, 1,889 badges, and 25 secure immigration stamps.”

The audit reports that in one instance, two safe and healthy ICE officers left their guns in their backpacks on the beach when they went for a dip. Returning refreshed and ready to pick up more aliens, they were astonished to find their qualifications gone!

Not to be outdone, a CBP officer “left his backpack in an unlocked gym locker. His wallet and government badge were inside the backpack, and they were gone when he returned to the locker.”

So if you’re wondering why our immigration policy is so f*ucked up, it’s because here’s who’s making it:

Woody Woodpecker


(if you’re too old or too young to remember – a song by rapper Vanilla Ice).

Posted in Immigration, Law & Parody | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Punch & Judy’s easy answers to everything

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Trigger warnings for courtrooms

We understand that even the thought of an individual coming to campus with the views that Mr. Shapiro [a twerpy  conservative political commentator] expresses can be concerning and even hurtful and that’s why we wanted to make you aware as soon as we were informed.  In the meantime, please utilize the many campus resources available to you should you want to talk through your feelings about this issue, including my office, the Cultural Centers, the Dean of Students Office, and CMHS [mental health services], if necessary.”

-Email to students from the Diversity Officer, U. of Connecticut.

Scene 1: Judge Bludgeon’s courtroom.

Judge: [to prosecutor]: Ms. Tightskirt, you may call your first witness.

ADA Tightskirt: Thank you, Judge.  I call Officer Blow.

Officer Blow: (testifying) On or about November 3rd, I was driving in a marked vehicle through a microaggression-prone neighborhood when I observed – –

Defense Attorney: (raising his hand) I’m offended!

Judge: On what ground, Mr. Shirttail?

Attorney Shirttail: The thought of an individual coming to this courtroom with the views that Officer Blow will express about my client is concerning and even hurtful!

Judge: Very well, we will adjourn to give defense counsel the opportunity to talk through his feelings about this issue in my chambers, at the Bar Association, with the Chief Judge and Defense Mental Health Services.

Scene 2: Same courtroom two years later.

Judge: Thank you for your patience, members of the jury. Defense counsel has completed talking through his feelings. We understand it may have been a hardship to wait in the back room for two years, but jury service is the highest civic duty.  Ms. Tightskirt, you may call your witness.

ADA Tightskirt: (bursting into tears) I can’t, Judge. The thought of an individual coming to this courtroom with the views that Attorney Shirttail will express about my witness is concerning and deeply hurtful.

Judge: Ladies and gentlemen, we will adjourn to give Ms. Tightskirt the opportunity to talk through her feelings about this issue in my chambers, with the Prosecutor’s Benevolent Association and District Attorney Mental Health Services.

Defendant: Oh no, not another two years! I’m willing to plead guilty in exchange for a promise that this is a safe space where I won’t be judged.

Judge: Is that agreeable to the parties?

Both counsels: Absolutely!

Judge: Thank heavens for our college educations!  Case dismissed.



Posted in Criminal procedure, Law & Parody, Satire and parody | Tagged , , | 5 Comments