Show me the caselaw…

This is a discussion on Show me the caselaw… within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; “Show me the caselaw” seems to be a battle cry in discussions about legality around here, so I thought I’d take a moment to give ...

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Thread: Show me the caselaw…

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Show me the caselaw…

    “Show me the caselaw” seems to be a battle cry in discussions about legality around here, so I thought I’d take a moment to give some people an idea of what caselaw actually is and how relevant it is to discussions about the legality of some gear (mainly focusing on that dam handloaded ammo for carry discussion that comes up every so often like a zombie that can’t be killed)

    First off, what exactly is case law? Caselaw is defined as “Law based on judicial decision and precedent rather than on statutes.”

    Now, were does one find caselaw?

    Caselaw is recorded in various journals on the state, regional and federal level.

    Furthermore, the vast majority of decisions at the trial court cases are on record but unpublished and not catalogued for searches by terms such as “Handloaded”; while Appellate Court cases are almost always published and catalogued for searches by terms.

    Now, an important thing to note is that cases which have plead out or were disposed of before going to trial are never reported in journals.

    Thus, an incident in which handloaded ammunition was used but resulted in:
    a) the state declining to prosecute for whatever reason;
    b) the defendant plead out to a reduced charge;
    c) acquittal at trial;
    d) conviction at trial but no appeal;
    e) In a civil case, if the parties settle or the case goes to judgment without appeal.

    The case will likely not have received an entry into a case reporter and therefore will not be available for a researcher unless the researcher knows the docket number or the names of the parties involved and searches for those names at the clerk’s office.

    Now, something else to realize…the tremendous majority of cases are resolved before trial, and of those which are resolved at trial the vast majority are not appealed.

    Real legal practice is NOT a Law & Order episode.

    Many criminal & civil matters are resolved in conference rooms, offices, hallways, the judge’s chambers before or after court has gone into recorded session, or in the courtroom itself while waiting for his/her honor to put the robe on and begin the session that day.

    Cases settle out. People plea out. Trials are the exception, not the rule.

    Trials cost a lot of money. Experts cost a lot of money.
    Maybe you need an expert, but you can’t afford one…well. I’d settle that case out if I were you, because if you go to trial and you loose, you could loose a lot of money, your freedom or your life.

    Of those which aren’t resolved in those ways, but actually go to trial, many times no issues for appeal exist at trial, or if they do, the loosing party can’t afford to appeal.

    Appellate work is it’s own animal, and very costly; furthermore most attorneys limit representation in the retainer agreement to the trial court level and expressly require renegotiation of the fees if the case goes to appeal.

    Caselaw is important and very helpful to have on your side…but it is not the end all and be all of the legal system.

    Therefore, when someone can’t produce caselaw on demand and his online opponent says “You can’t produce caselaw on the subject showing you are correct…therefore you can’t back up your position and I’m right!!!”…

    Sorry.

    That is focusing on one narrow issue to the exclusion of all else, and the way many people present it, intentionally or unintentionally, distorts the value of caselaw in an effort to prop up their own position.

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  3. #2
    Ex Member Array FN1910's Avatar
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    Real legal practice is NOT a Law & Order episode.


    Then how about Perry Mason, Night Court or Boston Legal? Would they be closer than maybe CSI?

    Probably closer to what you are getting at is "Prove It" like we always said on the playground.


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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FN1910 View Post


    Then how about Perry Mason, Night Court or Boston Legal? Would they be closer than maybe CSI?

    Probably closer to what you are getting at is "Prove It" like we always said on the playground.

    You want the truth?

    It's more like Dilbert, but instead of graphs and statistics, we play with people's money and lives.

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    Good post MitchellCT. Thankyou for that.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Ex Member Array FN1910's Avatar
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    I have said before that before anyone is allowed to vote the second time they should have to serve on jury duty. That way they can see that real life court isn't Law and Order. You post is exactly that and all this posturing and quoting that goes on is just hot air for the most part.

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    Senior Member Array WoodLark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FN1910 View Post
    I have said before that before anyone is allowed to vote the second time they should have to serve on jury duty. That way they can see that real life court isn't Law and Order. You post is exactly that and all this posturing and quoting that goes on is just hot air for the most part.
    +1

    When I served on a jury (DUI case), one woman who voted for acquittal on the first vote gave her reason as "I don't like cops". Luckily, there were enough of us there who were convinced of guilt that we made her realize that we were prepared to sit there until the judge declared a hung jury so she changed her vote.

    I wonder how many cases are decided based on such ridiculous reasoning!
    Earth is the insane asylum of the universe!

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    Quote Originally Posted by WoodLark View Post
    I wonder how many cases are decided based on such ridiculous reasoning!
    Probably quite a few. But I believe (and hope I'm not wrong) that most jurors are able to put away their biases to vote based on the evidence presented.

    She should have just told the judge she hated cops during jury selection and you guys would not have had to put up with her BS.
    Bumper
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    Ex Member Array FN1910's Avatar
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    I have served on about a dozen juries and have found that almost everyone on the juries take their role very seriously. There have been a few that I was surprised at how much insight they could provide given my first impression of them. Every now and then you do run into the bad apple but usually they are overridden by the more intelligent jurors.

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    CDH
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    I was chosen as the foreman of the first jury I was picked for, and probably because of that, I've ended up as foreman on later juries as well.
    At first, I didn't like the idea of being foreman, but I soon realized that the foreman has the "authority" to keep everyone else focused on the main and relevant issues of the case and quickly dismiss the silly, non-relevant stuff.
    As was mentioned, most jurors take the job seriously, but I ran into a couple people in different cases who brought their prejudices with them and wanted to rule based on their prejudices rather than the facts of the cases.
    As foreman, I was able to embarrass them in front of the rest of the jurors very quickly and ended up with good verdicts.

    Being self employed, I really can't afford to take the time off to do jury time, but I still find it very interesting and quite satisfying, and I dont' play any games to try to not serve.
    I urge others to serve willingly as well. If you don't, we'll have more atrocities of justice like the ones you often read about in the papers (remember O.J. Simpson?).

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    Senior Member Array Maverickx50's Avatar
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    First of all I'm 61. I've been a home owner and voter for 40 years nad never asked to be available for jury duty. You guys must be doing something wierd out there I think.

    Second; my few experiences in court. (2) divorces and one assult charge (pled down to disturbing the peace) has taught me that our courts are a long ways from fair. You only get the justice you can afford. Sad but true. Always has been true. and is true in most all types of governments. Except the few where you never get any justice.
    I carry to protect myself and my loved ones from the BG's. Not to solve societies problems. That said: if more carried the deterrent would only have a positive overall effect on those problems.

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Whatever happens in the jury room, for the most part it stays in the jury room.

    Unless someone asks the jurors after the case is over and the jurors decides to talk and tell the truth, you have no idea why someone was convicted.

    Unless someone is willing to admit to misconduct while on the jury, like speaking to a party to the case while on the jury, taking a bribe or so forth...or someone else is willing to report it...

    a Juror's liking or disliking cops, guns, the defendant's attitude...and how it influenced a vote doesn't matter.

    More importantly, it doesn't make it into the case reporter, and unless it's an appealable issue...

    It is NOT part of the case law.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array Rob P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverickx50 View Post
    First of all I'm 61. I've been a home owner and voter for 40 years nad never asked to be available for jury duty. You guys must be doing something wierd out there I think.

    Second; my few experiences in court. (2) divorces and one assult charge (pled down to disturbing the peace) has taught me that our courts are a long ways from fair. You only get the justice you can afford. Sad but true. Always has been true. and is true in most all types of governments. Except the few where you never get any justice.
    Justice isn't about being "fair." Justice is about justice, equity is about being fair and there are big differences between the two positions/terms and the law usually limits how much and when/where equity is dispensed.

    MitchellCT is right about appellate law being a different animal than trial law. To win at trial you have to have decent facts and a good theater act. With bad facts, or poor performance you get dumped on by the jury. Real life trial is not like on TV.

    To win an appeal you have to have impeccable and unimpeachable facts of innocence; precedent of at least 5 cases which ALWAYS side with you on the issue and no dissents or alternative decisions, a statute made up of words less than 3 letters each, 1 sentence long, and no punctuation except a period at the end; AND, 2 justices who are having a good day and feel like they need to do their one good deed for the year just to get a level playing field. (okay, maybe the statute can be 2 sentences but they'd better be no longer than 5 words each.) All of that just so that you can stand up at oral argument and listen to them ask you dumb questions that have no relevance to the issues of the case in an effort to find something or anything to avoid having to let the convicted go free even if that's the correct thing to do.

    Trial lawyers get paid well to look good in the courtroom and be sharp on practice and procedure. Appellate lawyers get paid poorly and work long hours trying to prove points of law to a disinterested judiciary.
    Last edited by Rob P.; October 26th, 2008 at 12:18 PM. Reason: shock buff interference

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    Member Array carver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverickx50 View Post
    First of all I'm 61. I've been a home owner and voter for 40 years nad never asked to be available for jury duty. You guys must be doing something wierd out there I think.

    Second; my few experiences in court. (2) divorces and one assult charge (pled down to disturbing the peace) has taught me that our courts are a long ways from fair. You only get the justice you can afford. Sad but true. Always has been true. and is true in most all types of governments. Except the few where you never get any justice.
    I'm 60, and like you I have only been called twice for jury duty in my life, and was not selected either time. I wonder just what kind of wierd things these others are into? Oh, I've been in front of the Judge more than once myself, and can tell that you are correct in your assement of the judicial system in this country. If you got the bucks, justice is for sale! If you have no money, you're done!
    Y'all be safe now, ya hear!

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    Member Array carver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoodLark View Post
    +1

    When I served on a jury (DUI case), one woman who voted for acquittal on the first vote gave her reason as "I don't like cops". Luckily, there were enough of us there who were convinced of guilt that we made her realize that we were prepared to sit there until the judge declared a hung jury so she changed her vote.

    I wonder how many cases are decided based on such ridiculous reasoning!
    I believe that the students of law on this forum would agree with me on this, no juror is ever seated on a jury unless that person has been selected by either the defense or the prosecution. Both want only jury members that will most probably decide the case the way they want it decided! I think the prosecution screwed up when allowing this woman to serve. And I'm equialy sure that the defense just loved having her seated!
    Y'all be safe now, ya hear!

    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
    Thomas Jefferson

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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Well, I studied law for a long time... although didn't become a lawyer , and worked in the court system.... and saw thousands of cases personally.... handled and worked numerous cases, etc. So, if I reference one it's out of experience and that I was "there", or worked the case. Case law, is hard to find and get on-line. I also know how the decisions were made and based upon what by talking backroom with the Judges, attorney's, etc.

    I can tell you, most cases are decided in the backroom in chambers, and then the courtroom portion and arguments are just a show, unless a jury is involved.

    I've served on 3 district juries and a federal jury. One thing I decided, if I'm ever in that situation there is not way in hell I would want a jury. The last one I was in, the guy decided the person was guilty ONLY because the Police arrested them, so they must have been guilty. I've seen that numerous times, even when we knew the LEO was lying or exaggerating or twisting things in order to get a conviction. I was the "one" hold out in one trial and it came down to he said - she said, and there was no proof, and this one guy I mentioned..... got extremely hostile about my not voting guilty (hey, you need some proof), threatening & intimidating me about it. I finally told him that was not the way to convince me of anything, and he could go to hell. Rather "tense" jury. LOL.

    If you are ever on one, don't let anyone push you into anything, go with what you think. Period. You could be the only one who's right. Stay with the "facts". I always hated hearing... " I think they probably did it". That's not a good reason to find some guilty..... Did the Prosecutor show you within a reasonable doubt, that they DID do it.

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