March 06, 2009

Some folks ya just can't reach

The Eleventh Circuit came out with a notable opinion this week on one Robert Shaw. The part with all the legalese talk about a bunch of law stuff is hella-boring; dare I say, even icky as it pertains to criminal matters (Everyone knows suing people for money is what makes The Law so damn sexy. Aw ye-uh).

But the good news is that the cool part of this opinion comes at the VERY BEGINNING, so you don't have to read all that "possession of a firearm this" "post-Miranda that" "Fourth Amendment bla-dee-bla-so-on" stuff. Check this out:

"When Robert Shaw was thirteen years old he hurled a rock through a car windshield, sending shards of glass into his victim's face. Fifteen years later Shaw was speeding through Miami, with a cocked and loaded pistol and ski masks, on his way to burglarize a "drug hole." His rap sheet during the intervening years is long enough to require extra postage. It shows 27 arrests involving 62 counts, and sentences totaling at least 105 months in spite of receiving one break after another from the system. Indeed, from Shaw's criminal record it seems as though he is determined to serve a life sentence, albeit on the installment plan. The question this appeal presents is whether the current installment is a reasonable one."

Ooh, Burn!!! Having spent a portion of my own legal career dealing with the most incorrigible criminal element, I can totally empathize with this particular geyser-like venting of Ye Olde Judicial Spleen. Not to comment on any particular public debate at the moment, but it is important to remember that every single day of a criminal court judge's career, he or she confronts utterly unreachable sociopaths whose brains consist entirely of that one reptilian lobe and nothing more. After awhile, that can understandably tax any decent human being's sense of mercy and patience.

Posted by hbalczak at March 6, 2009 07:51 PM

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