Kaarma case legally documents inanity of Missoulian comments

Marcus Kaarma and a child he didn't shoot

Marcus Kaarma and a child he didn’t shoot

I can’t read the Missoulian comments section anymore, because I installed CommentBlocker. Its combination of comment-blocking power and arbitrary bugs prevents me from reading comments at the Missoulian even when I override it. So finally I have escaped the funhouse. Yesterday, the prosecution in Marcus Kaarma’s murder case argued that it was more a hall of mirrors. Objecting to Kaarma’s attorneys’ motion to move the trial because it had become “sensationalized” in local media, Deputy County Attorney Jennifer complained that much of defense’s evidence consisted of Missoulian.com comments. For example:

As an example, attached to one Missoulian.com article about the case a single user commented 31 times and another user posted 34 times, Clark retorted.

I wish that sentence were not a train wreck, because it confirms what we suspected all along.

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New Jersey supreme court to consider admissibility of rap lyrics

Old Dirty Bastard, who is not technically from Jersey or alive

Old Dirty Bastard, who is not technically from Jersey or alive

During his 2008 trial for a shooting that occurred in 2005, Vonte Skinner saw his amateur rap lyrics used as evidence against him. The lyrics had all been written before the shooting and, according to this editorial in the New York Times, witness testimony against him was not credible, but Skinner still got 30 years. An appellate court overturned his conviction on the grounds that his raps should not have been admitted as evidence, and next week the New Jersey supreme court will hear the state’s appeal. The case raises some interesting questions about how society perceives hip hop and young black man. As Nielson and Kubrin put it, “no other form of fictional expression is exploited this way in the courts.”

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Zimmerman’s friend says something weird


My brother forwarded me this article from Headline News’s obsessive coverage of the George Zimmerman trial, in which Zimmerman’s friend Mark Osterman explains how he convinced Zimmerman to buy a gun. Quote:

He asked whether he should or shouldn’t—to start with—and I recommended that he should. Anybody who’s a non-convicted felon should carry a firearm. The police aren’t always there.

Dear friends: when I am on trial for murder, please do not describe me as a “non-convicted felon.” Also, great advice on the gun thing, Mark.

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Ladies and gentlemen, a straw man

I should warn you right away that today’s post is probably a variation on what Richard Hofstadter called the paranoid style in American politics. I mean the style, not the essay. Yesterday, the White House withdrew its threat to veto S. 1867, the defense authorization bill that provides for (A) annual Pentagon funding and policy directives and (B) the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens suspected of aiding terrorists. See, it does two things. But don’t worry—the White House has concluded that:

the language [in Sec. 1031 of the bill] does not challenge or constrain the president’s ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the American people, and the president’s senior advisors will not recommend a veto.

Press Secretary Carney’s remarks were interrupted when a bunch of crows got scared and flew away.

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