I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Monday Morning Various

  • Errol Morris’s great documentary The Thin Blue Line told the story of a Randall Adams’s wrongful conviction in Dallas that put Adams on death row and in prison for 12 years.  The New York Times has an obituary for Randall Adams.  When the documentary came out the story of wrongful conviction and exoneration was a remarkable and startling one, prior to the establishment of Innocence Projects across the country, including in Mississippi.
  • Anderson has the story of a Mississippi prosecution of a pregnant woman who miscarried.  The prosecution plans to point to her drug use, but without evidence of a linkage, and accuse her of depraved heart murder.  It’s being brought by Forrest Allgood.  Rob McDuff is defending:  “‘If it’s not a crime for a mother to intentionally end her pregnancy, how can it be a crime for her to do it unintentionally, whether by taking drugs or smoking or whatever it is,’ Robert McDuff, a civil rights lawyer asked the state supreme court.”
  • HBO has a documentary on tonight, Hot Coffee, an anti perspective on tort reform, that includes Oliver Diaz’s story.  Here’s the trailer.  Phillip Thomas noted it.
  • Paul Krugman and Robin Wells have an interesting review of Jeff Madrick’s Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present at the NYReview of Books, titled “The Busts Keep Getting Bigger. Why?”
  • $20.2 billion:  That’s the amount we have spent on air-conditioning in Afghanistan, according to this NPR story from yesterday.  That’s more than NASA’s budget.  But can that be right?  Wouldn’t that make it about a third of the cost of the war?
  • My favorite piece I read in the last week about Whitey Bulgur’s time on the lam chronicled his stay in Grand Isle, Louisiana in the 90s.  It was linked in a group of essays about fugitives in Slate’s series of longform guides.
  • Lui Bolin is a Chinese artist who does an intensely creepy series in which he has himself painted to completely blend into his surroundings and then photographed.  He was in lower Manhattan last week.

11 comments to Monday Morning Various

  • Observer

    ONCE UPON a time in a galaxy far, far away a prosecutor used to tell Grand Juries that not every crime should be prosecuted. The classic example was a juke-joint knife fight where both participants were drunk, both cut the other, and one or both could be prosecuted for aggravated assault upon the other. Another example would be a rape that wasn’t a rape but was more accurately a wage-and-hour dispute. The old saw is that a prosecutor can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich, but too many prosecutors indict shit sandwiches. With all the real cases that need attention, why do jack-asses like Forrest Allgood prosecute so many bullshit cases?

  • PostHoleDigger

    Once upon a time in a galaxy very, very close by, a prosectuor decided to indict someone on a dare – His name, Ed Sweet Potato Peters. (Que Darth Vadar breathing noises)

  • Anderson

    DARTH PETERS: Indict him!

    IMPERIAL OFFICER: But, Lord Peters, we have no evidence — [begins to choke]

    DARTH PETERS: I find your lack of faith disturbing. You underestimate the power of the Dark Side … for the last time!

  • What does that movie have to do with Hot Coffee?

  • NMC

    nothing, Michael M; the movie was about tort reform, and began with a section taking apart the use of that McDonalds / hot coffee verdict as one of the open salvos in the tort reform campaign. It pretty effectively noted that:

    1) the jury had reason for a punitive damages verdict;

    2) the system worked in the sense that the judge reduced the verdict by more than 3/4s, particularly given the seriousness of the injuries (3rd degree burns, skin grafts) and the degree to which McDonalds had been proved to have ignored serious injuries from the coffee temps.

    3) Misleading accounts were used to fuel the tort-reform side of the argument.

  • meanwhile

    re: item 6. I will never again feel free to befriend wandering elderlies with the wreckless abandon that has been my habit.

  • NMC

    meanwhile, it’s wandering elderlies without a plausible backstory or roots that were the problem here…

  • Dragoman

    The Clarion-Ledger is reporting on John Booth Farese’s air accident at the Holly Springs airport yesterday, and his deployment of a newly installed airframe parachute system on his Cessna 182. The article says he lost power shortly after take-off at around 400 feet, and rather than attempt an emergency landing, utilized the whole-airplane parachute, which at that altitude only deployed about 80%, giving him a rather rough landing. He’s recovering in a Memphis hospital.

    I’m not familiar with the Holly Springs airport. What’s out there at the end of the runways? Anyplace one can make an emergency landing at that altitude with any hope of walking away?

  • NMC

    Dragoman, one end of the runway goes right over Highway 78, I think.

    I just read about the accident on the Tupelo Journal site.

  • Dragoman

    Thanks, NMC. I found an aerial photo of the airport, and it looks like wooded terrain at both ends of Runway 18/36, with no real room to set down once you cross the highway. Damned dicey situation there. At that altitude you’re barely within the parameters of a safe deployment of the system, but the alternative of looking for a field is pretty much out of the question, too. Good thing he had the big red handle to pull.

  • pam

    Well, I don’t see a problem, I’m sure the discredited former pathological expert will be happy to link the drugs and alcohol to the baby’s death. I mean anyone with a minimal degree of medical training can tell when a baby has died of substance abuse in the womb.

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