Friday, October 19, 2012
Judge Jordan can't wait to see Lincoln
From his opinion yesterday:
Following the 1860 election, President Abraham Lincoln chose a cabinet “comprised of enemies and opponents,” including three men who had been his “chief Case: 11-13117 Date Filed: 10/18/2012 Page: 1 of 29 rivals for the Republican nomination,” because they “‘were the strongest men in the party’” and he “‘had no right to deprive the country of their services.’” DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, TEAM OF RIVALS: THE POLITICAL GENIUS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 319 (2005). When she was elected in 2008 as superior court clerk of Lumpkin County, Georgia, Rita Harkins did not emulate President Lincoln; in her first official act as clerk, Ms. Harkins dismissed her co-worker and former political rival, Sarah Jane Underwood, whom she had defeated in the Republican primary.
The issue we address is whether this firing violated Ms. Underwood’s First Amendment rights. In light of our precedent, we conclude, as did the district court, that it did not.
In other news, do you think that a prosecutor should be able to use a booking photo in closing argument with the words GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY superimposed on top? The Washington State Supreme Court said no in a 5-4 opinion. Via The News Tribune:
The Washington State Supreme Court has overturned four felony convictions of a Pierce County man, saying a deputy prosecutor violated the defendant’s right to a fair trial by superimposing the words, “guilty, guilty, guilty,” over the man’s photo during a PowerPoint presentation in closing arguments.
The state’s high court, on a 5-4 vote, sent Edward Michael Glasmann’s case back to Superior Court for a new trial.
“The prosecutor’s misconduct was flagrant, ill intentioned and we cannot conclude with any confidence that it did not have an effect on the outcome of the trial,” Chief Justice Barbara Madsen wrote for the majority in an opinion released Thursday.
Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said he thought the majority made a bad call.
“The majority opinion is correct in recognizing that prosecutors are quasi-judicial figures,” he said. “We have a duty to seek justice and be fully professional. The opinion takes a strange turn, though, in finding reversible misconduct because a former deputy prosecutor superimposed the word ‘guilty’ on a PowerPoint slide with a booking photo.
“This was unnecessarily melodramatic, but did not affect the outcome.”