Appellate Squawk’s field guide to judicial writing

1. The Grand Style

   People v. Goldilocks (Grandstand, J.)  From time immemorial the historic fabric of society has grappled with the slings and arrows trampling underfoot the proverbial castle that is the citizen’s home.  The Framers of the Constitution sought to ensure even to the humblest among us the freedom to consume porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold, but just right; to sit in chairs that are neither too big nor too small, but just right; and to avail themselves of beds that are neither too hard nor too soft but just right.

Defendant, reciting a panoply of horribles, contends that merely because the victims happen to be bears they are beyond the constitutional protections afforded to our citizenry.  We disagree. The English case of R. v. Smokey (K.B. 1607) made clear that “the felonie of trespass bee no respecter of persons,” thereby raising the inescapable inference that it is a respecter of bears.  Defendant unavailingly and meritlessly relies on Yosemite Park Tours vs.  Society for the Right to Hibernate, wherein we held that bears have no expectation of privacy when they forget to lock the door.  That was then and this is now.  See United States v. The Bear Went Over the Mountain.

2. The Concurring Opinion

   Although for once the majority managed to stumble onto the right outcome, I write separately to show off.  The majority, applying its personal policy preferences as usual, utterly ignores that, at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, Goldilocks would not have been held liable for the bears’ porridge so long as she did not eat the bears themselves. With that reservation, I concur in the result.

3. The Great Legal Mind

  Williams v. Illinois (SCt. 2012) Defendant whines that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation when Dr. Wizard testified that she heard somewhere that his DNA matched the DNA found at the crime scene.  Well, duh.  It is hornbill law that scientific test results inculpating the accused are not offered for their truth. They are offered solely for the non-hearsay purpose of showing that the defendant is guilty.  Since this was a bench trial where the judge may be presumed to already know the defendant is guilty, any error was harmless.

4. The Summer Intern

   Defendant whom was entering the Dwelling (“Dwelling”) didn’t have no key (“key”) so Officer Clancy frisked him for his own safety (“safety”).  Feeling a hard object (“object”) , Officer Clancy had articulable probability to search. Defendant complains that  said object was a wad of chewing gum so it didn’t justify no search but is unavailing where as here the police obviously recovered said Contraband plus the police don’t have to wait for a glint of steel. The Court credits the voracity of Officer Clancy and not Defendant’s bear bones assertions. The Court acknowledges with thanks the legal research and writing of Peaches Mussolini, 1st year student at the Xerox School of Law.

5. Getting Back at the Court of Appeals

Verbatim decision by Manhattan judge denying a Frye hearing:

Although the Court of Appeals previously noted that even though jurors may be “familiar with factors relevant to the reliability of eyewitness observation and identification, it cannot be said that psychological studies regarding the accuracy of an identification are within the ken of the typical juror,” People v. Lee, 96 NY2d 157 (2001), this Court is not convinced.

Nearly every day, there are news stories about the wrong person being convicted despite eyewitness identification. It seems to this Court that the experts, who are paid a great deal of money to testify and who want to garner popular support for their theories to justify further research grants, and the Court of Appeals, are underestimating the general public.

6. The Macro Key

Defendant appeals from his conviction of __________.  We affirm.

The police officer’s testimony that he could see the defendant through the ________  from a distance of _________ was not incredible as a matter of law.  We decline to disturb the credibility determinations of the hearing court except when it grants suppression.

The lineup was not unduly suggestive. Although defendant was ___ years old while the “fillers” were as much as____ older, these differences were minimized by having the fillers  wear blankets over their heads.

Contrary to defendant’s argument, he was not deprived of a fair trial when the court told the jury that they should always _________ and refused to ____________. Any possible prejudice was cured by its closing instructions that all criminals are presumed innocent no matter how heinous the crime.

Defendant was not deprived of a fair trial when the prosecutor elicited testimony from the police officer that _________  and delayed turning over reports regarding  ____________ until after summations.  Any error if any was harmless given the overwhelming evidence of guilt.  The prosecutor’s remarks on summation that defendant was _____________ and _____________, although arguably not supported by a literalistic, mechanical reading of the record, were not so egregious as to deny defendant a fair trial and were for the most part responsive to defense counsel’s summation casting doubt on defendant’s guilt.

Contrary to defendant’s claim, he was not denied the effective assistance of counsel by his attorney’s failure to __________, or ______________, or _____________ or by his concession that defendant had ________________ several times before.   Counsel made an opening statement and vigorously cross-examined the witnesses. Although this may have opened the door to _____________, we cannot say that defendant suffered any prejudice, since he was guilty anyway.

We perceive no basis for reducing the sentence.

About Appellate Squawk

A satirical blog for criminal defense lawyers and their friends who won't give up without a squawk.
This entry was posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Criminal law, Law & Parody and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Appellate Squawk’s field guide to judicial writing

  1. Vicki says:

    a veritable parliament of fouls–

  2. Jay says:

    “Although for once the majority managed to stumble onto the right outcome, I write separately to show off. ”

    As do I. High-larious!

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