Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Reversible error

Who uses it: Lawyers and judges
What it means: A substantive error on the part of a judge or jury that can lead to a verdict being overturned.
How you can use it: When you know you've made a bad decision that may come back to haunt you.

The possibility of reversible error is the excuse prosecutors give for trying defendants in multiple jurisdictions, as is happening now to John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, the Beltway snipers. I think it's an excuse for grandstanding and vengeance that violate the spirit of the Constitution's prohibition on double jeopardy. John Allen Muhammad is already on death row, Lee Boyd Malvo's already serving a life sentence; what purpose does this serve, other than to get the lawyers' names in the papers?

Jen has already called to make sure that I'm alive, since it was noon and I hadn't posted yet. I do appreciate that; I'm just swamped, and the phone's been ringing since about 8:00 this morning.

The triumph of the morning, however, was discovering why my printer hadn't been working. The feeder kept jamming, so I finally picked up the whole thing, turned it upside down and shook it -- and dislodged a big chunk of dog biscuit, which Dizzy had apparently dropped into the machine some time ago. God only knows how or why Dizzy decided he needed to feed the printer. He was happy to get the cookie back, though.

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