Monday, March 19, 2007

Stupid Questions At Supreme Court Oral Argument: A Defense Lawyer's Dream

From Justin Levine at Patterico's. The Supreme Court may rule that the defense "I did not know it was illegal [or tortious]" is a valid one for perhaps the first time in the history of jurisprudence.
During oral arguments in the case of Morse v. Frederick (the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case) Chief Justice Roberts asked questions of the Plaintiff's attorney which implied that the school principal was supposed to know First Amendment law when she tore the banner off the student's hand and later suspended him in order to be deemed to have lost her "qualified immunity". Justice Scalia seemed to go along in a joking way.
(Now, I don't give a tinker's damn whether the snot-snosed, smart-assed little shit got his "First Amendment" rights violated and I certainly hope he and his lawyers do not get a penny out of this case. Basically, my view of the First Amendment is that it protects things of value to the audience and this little creep offered nothing of the kind.)
But can you imagine the prosecution having to prove that the defendant studied criminal law? If I can win a case with, "Your Honor I move for a directed verdict because the prosecution has presented no evidence that my client ever studied criminal law" ....


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