As I like to tell my kids and students… every silver lining has a cloud. One of the clouds on the silver lining that has been the growth and expansion of America over the past 2 centuries has been the loss of community. There’s not enough time or space her to fully plumb those depths, but suffice to say there are many causes and just as many consequences. No one can say for sure whether or not there is more or less petty crime in today’s America compared to America of the early 19th century when communities were smaller. Lord knows plenty of malfeasance occurs in small towns relative to size. All that being said, a story out of Miami is making the Internet rounds of a man in a bond hearing who recognizes the judge – they were middle schoolers together over 30 years ago.
A Miami-Dade judge and one of her old middle school classmates had an emotional reunion in court after he was arrested following an alleged burglary and police pursuit.
Arthur Booth, 49, was arrested Monday by Hialeah Police on several charges including burglary, grand theft, fleeing, and resisting arrest.
On Thursday, he went before Judge Mindy Glazer in bond court. Glazer, recognizing Booth from their days at Nautilus Middle School, asked if he had gone there.
“Oh my goodness, oh my goodness,” Booth said, as he covered his head and began crying.
That response he has? I think it’s 100% sincere and it’s something he might not have entertained for years until confronted with the sweet face of an earlier time… shame, regret, embarrassment. Shame. It’s worse than punishment often. I hope he entertains that for a bit — lets it wash over him — and then works to overcome it by redeeming himself (or rather being Redeemed). The odds are stacked against him, but perhaps coming face to face with shame can shake him out of his lethargy.
I’ve been harping for awhile on the superabundance of laws in this country. State and federal regulators and legislators have created a series of tripwires whereby any of us can unknowingly commit a felony or some other violation that can cost people anywhere from hundreds of dollars to their homes and businesses (not to mention their freedom).
Adjunct to the explosion of the number of laws is the poor way in which many of them are drafted. When the over arching end is power and control or to “do something” as opposed to actually doing justice then why bother writing laws carefully? To quote the next President of the United States, “What difference does it make?!?” To one court in Ohio at least — it matters. From The Washington Post:
Here’s what happened, according to court documents. Back in February 2014, Andrea Cammelleri was cited for a violation when she left her pickup truck parked on a street in West Jefferson, Ohio.
That was because an ordinance in the village stated it was illegal to park “any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm implement and/or non-motorized vehicle” on a street for more than 24 hours.
At a bench trial, Cammelleri argued that “the ordinance did not apply because the language prohibits a motor vehicle camper from being parked on the street for an extended period of time.”
That’s: Motor vehicle camper.
Not: Motor vehicle, camper.
“The trial court held that when reading the ordinance in context, it unambiguously applied to motor vehicles and ‘anybody reading [the ordinance] would understand that it is just missing a comma,’” court documents state.
Cammelleri was initially convicted, according to the Columbus Dispatch, but filed an appeal.
The Dispatch reports:
She pointed out that the ordinance prohibited “any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm implement and/or non-motorized vehicle” from daylong parking and argued that her truck is not a “motor vehicle camper.”
The village argued that the lack of a comma separating motor vehicle from camper was a typo and did not invalidate her violation. But the court sided with Cammelleri. Grammar counts, the judges said.
“By utilizing rules of grammar and employing the common meaning of terms, ‘motor vehicle camper’ has a clear definition that does not produce an absurd result,” Hendrickson wrote in his ruling. “If the village desires a different reading, it should amend the ordinance and insert a comma between the phrase ‘motor vehicle’ and the word ‘camper.’”
Yes indeed. If you want my money and to punish me for something, then Due Process, Justice demands you write a law that says what it purports to say. Write it correctly. You have no authority outside of the law and thus if the law is in error your authority is lacking. Sure a common sense reading would lead to the obvious conclusion that the legislature meant to put a comma in there. But common sense is one of the foundations of the law, not a tool to fill in the gaps of poorly drafted statutes. Why not take the extra time to carefully draft just laws as opposed to slap-dashing laws as fast as you can? If the end is to raise revenue then we get the law here.
Unfair? I don’t care. Any unfairness should lean towards the government not the People. We are judged in large part, not by our intentions, but by the results of our actions. The only sure way to judge a legislative body’s intentions is by the text they produce — their actions. Thus, laws and regulations should be correctly drafted so they can be correctly applied by the government and understood by the public.
Floyd | Wednesday, 1st of July 2015 at 04:21:58 PM
The Colliers from Billings, Montana
Well that didn’t take long. Natahan, Vicki, and Christine Collier, from Billings Montana have applied for a Montana marriage license. From KRTV Great Falls:
We first told you about the Colliers in January of 2015 when the polygamist family appeared on an episode of the TLC show, “Sister Wives.”
The polyamorous movement is a national push to allow marriage between multiple partners.
Nathan Collier and his two wives, Vicki and Christine, said Tuesday that they are simply looking for equality.Nathan is legally married to Vicki, but also wants to legally wed Christine.
On Tuesday, Nathan and Christine traveled to the Yellowstone County Courthouse to see if they would be awarded the right to marry under the Marriage Equality Act.
Polygamy is illegal under Montana state law, and recognized as a misdemeanor offense.
“We just want to add legal legitimacy to an already happy, strong, loving family,” said Nathan.
As the two filled out their marriage application they were met with questions.
“There’s a spot on there where you put the dissolution date of your previous marriage and we put ‘not applicable,'” said Christine.
In fact, the couple was met with varied reaction from employees, who were caught off guard.
“So, are you legally married, you didn’t get divorced?” asked one clerk.
“We’ll have to deny that, let me go grab the other supervisor real quick so I can get confirmation but as far as I’m aware you can’t be married to two people at the same time,” said another clerk.
The Colliers were initially denied the license, and the clerk later returned to tell the couple that they would have to check with the Montana Attorney General’s office.
When asked for comment, the Attorney General’s office referred MTN News to two sections of Montana law, stating polygamy is illegal.
Not so fast bigots! By what right do you deny rights to individual self fulfillment among 3 or 4 or 1,000 consenting adults? What is your compelling state interest? And don’t given me that Western civilization and traditional horse feathers either bigot. Only mouth breathers use slippery slope arguments you prejudiced hater. For the sake of intellectual honesty I support this — if only to dilute the power of the same sex marriage lobby. The church — the true church — is out of the state-licensed marriage game anyway. Welcome to the new America.
Floyd | Wednesday, 1st of July 2015 at 03:07:02 PM
Kenyan country artist “Sir Elvis”
Here is an interesting piece in The New York Times about the popularity of country music in, of all places, Kenya.
Sir Elvis, dressed in a yellow and black plaid shirt, jeans, boots and a black cowboy hat, tuned his guitar under the wooden roof and neon beer advertisements of the Reminisce Bar and Restaurant. With a signal to the band, he began singing the Don Williams country hit “It Must Be Love” in a purring baritone. Patrons got up to dance, rocking back and forth.
This would not be an unusual sight for Nashville or just about any country tavern in the United States. Except this was not East Texas, but Nairobi in East Africa, where American country music has a surprisingly robust, and growing, following.
“I grew up with it, and my parents loved country,” said Elvis Otieno, 37, who has become perhaps the best-known Kenyan country performer. Sir Elvis, as he is known onstage, was born the year Elvis Presley died, and was named after him by parents who were big fans of the King.
Kenyans are not immune to the global juggernaut of American popular music and listen to plenty of its genres: pop, hip-hop and rhythm and blues among them. But it is country music that has a strong hold. Country songs are regularly played on the radio. The Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation has a weekly radio show, “Sundowner,” that often features country, while a private television station, 3 Stones, broadcasts a program called “Strings of Country.” Reminisce and the Galileo Lounge here have weekly gigs, and the first country music fair in Kenya, the Boots and Hats Country Festival, took place in March.
Increasingly, Kenyan country singers are writing their own music about love and longing, in an American twang. A Dolly Parton-loving singer named Esther Konkara has recorded her own songs, which are played on local radio stations. Sir Elvis said he was planning a gospel album, and Carlos Piba, 25, another local artist, said he hoped to record country one day in Swahili, the national language.
The ultimate hope for these performers, no matter how improbable, would be to sing with their heroes. “If I could share a stage with Charley Pride or Don Williams or Garth Brooks,” Sir Elvis said, “it would be a dream come true.”
My reaction: blessedly not as painful as it could have been, and God damned if I didn’t get goose-bumps when they showed the picture of Rocky and Apollo. A different great fighter once said, “There is no tomorrow!” Come on, Creeeed!!!