Perhaps unexpectedly, if you read Tweaking the Machinery of Death, Fault Lines, Mimesis Law (July 6,2015), by Christian Farias, you will find out why it may be extremely difficult to do away with the death penalty as a matter of judicial fiat given the text of the Constitution. It is most certainly an article that deserves your attention if you are concerned with the death penalty. It is well written, objective and does a great job of setting up the arguments that the pro death penalty Justices will be asserting and the challenges the con death penalty Justices will be forced to confront.


Telling the truth, Tamara Tabo and Fault Lines

One of the things I love about good lawyers is that truth to them means what truth means to regular folks like Joe Friday. “Just the facts, Ma’am.”*

Indeed, one of the things I like about intelligent people, whether those folks are lawyers or law men or layabouts, is that they don’t fall for generalizations. downloadBut there are plenty of times when the “criminals are victims” crew gets going that they purposely ignore facts and rely upon generalizations to further their agenda. The same thing is true for the “throw away the key” folks and most Republican politicians who talk about criminal justice issues. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I hate this type of bullshit.

And that brings me to Tamar Tabo and the “must read” Fault Lines.

TbA4ffZV_400x400I don’t know whether Ms. Tabo is just naturally inclined to pursue facts no matter where they take her or whether she learned that from the famously tough as nails Court of Appeal Judge for whom she clerked, Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones. But what is true is that this young lawyer doesn’t like bullshit either. Her excellent writing and research skills are on display in an informative and fascinating post entitled Angola 3’s Albert Woodfox, Not Quite the Posterboy for Reform. Go read it please, and tell me what you think.

As an aside, I want to continue pimping Fault Lines. It brings together a variety of voices to take a hard and honest look at the full spectrum of criminal justice issues. It is a unique and monumental undertaking and, happily, the writers for the project are some of the very best. The diverse voices and diverse subjects that appear on Fault Lines makes the criminal justice site one of those that forces you to confront your own biases. In the words of one of the primary contributors, it is intended to “make you less stupid.”


*MV5BMTYwOTUyMTc4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTc4NDMxNw@@._V1_SY317_CR14,0,214,317_AL_ Dragnet was a crime series that appeared on TV from 1951 through 1959. It won 5 Primetime Emmys. Sgt. Joe Friday and his partners methodically investigate crimes in Los Angeles. Sgt. Joe Friday was the main character. He was weary because he had seen it all yet he plodded on. He famously told a witness that he wanted “just the facts, Ma’am.” That line is now embedded in popular America’s culture. It is a good operating principle for lawyers to remember as they ply their trade.

If you have never seen the Dragnet series, it is worth finding, renting and viewing. It makes me pine for ’55 Chevys. Chevrolet-1955-Bel-Air-coupe-4524



You ought to read the post quoted above that is from Fault Lines (Mimesis Law) today written by Ken Womble. Here is the link.

In fact, the post should be required reading for criminal defense lawyers who worry about the integrity of crime lab scientists and their supervisors. Be sure to click on the link found at these words, “this bombshell of exculpatory evidence on the eve of trial.” The link will take you to some scary shit. (Per crime lab supervisor, don’t follow up on DNA found in a relevant place from someone other than the defendant–an international drug dealer–even though the FBI recommends it.)

By the way, both the substance and quality of the writing in Fault Lines has caused me to look forward to the daily e-mails telling me what’s up next. Since I am both old and jaded, that is high praise indeed! (I suspect that the estimable Scott Greenfield is secretly the editor-in-chief of Fault Lines.)


“Always acknowledge a fault frankly. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you opportunity to commit more.” Mark Twain

Golden Lady Justice, Bruges, Belgium

Scott Greenfield has announced the beginnings of “Fault Lines” a collaboration of criminal law experts to write about what really goes on in the criminal justice system. See Scott Greenfield, Meet Fault Lines, And Show It Some Love, Simple Justice (June 1, 2015).

Here is Scott’s description:

Meet Fault Lines, the new criminal law and justice section at Mimesis Law. If you like what you read here (or hate it, we’re not picky about who reads), take a quick trip to Fault Lines, where you will get more pie than ever before.

The good news is that there will be posts from me, as well as Cristian Farias and Tamara Tabo, our inaugural team of writers. Expect more writers as well, the primary criteria being that they be knowledgeable and honest. We hope to have people writing from varying perspectives, challenging bias and each other. We look forward to making this as real as it gets when it comes to criminal justice issues.

The better news is that there will be no moderation of comments, except for spam. So if your comments failed to meet the threshold for thoughtfulness here, there is a soapbox for you at Fault Lines.

If done right, this endeavor could be a very big deal. It could become a super productive hybrid of the highly regarded Volokh Conspiracy and the equally highly regarded Sentencing Law and Policy, but with a different orientation. That is, a blog written by smart, knowledgable and frank people about the criminal law in general while also addressing specific issues that confront those who toil in the mine fields as practitioners. It is likely to appeal to practitioners and judges and even academics, but also to those in the laity who are fascinated by such things.

I urge the two or three people who read Hercules to make Fault Lines a regular read. I hope and trust it will be very much worth your time.


%d bloggers like this: