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January 20, 2023

Citing prior "attempt to flee the country," feds urging that Elizabeth Holmes start her prison sentence in April

If producers are thinking about developing Season 2 of The Dropout, a legal filing today by federal prosecutors provide some dramatic materials.  This CNN article, headlined "Elizabeth Holmes made an ‘attempt to flee the country’ after her conviction, prosecutors say," provides these details:

Elizabeth Holmes made an “attempt to flee the country” by booking a one-way ticket to Mexico departing in January 2022, shortly after the Theranos founder was convicted of fraud, prosecutors alleged in a new court filing Friday.

Holmes was convicted last January of defrauding investors while running the failed blood testing startup Theranos. In November, she was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison. She has appealed her conviction and does not start her prison sentence until this spring, a waiting period that prosecutors described as “generous” and due to her being pregnant.

The claim that she tried to leave the country last year surfaced as part of a new filing from prosecutors arguing that Holmes should begin serving her prison sentence rather than living on an estate reported to have $13,000 in monthly expenses for upkeep.

In the filing, prosecutors argue Holmes has not shown convincing evidence that she is not a flight risk, as her lawyers have stated, and used the alleged 2022 incident to support their concerns that she could pose such a risk. “The government became aware on January 23, 2022, that Defendant Holmes booked an international flight to Mexico departing on January 26, 2022, without a scheduled return trip,” the court filing states. “Only after the government raised this unauthorized flight with defense counsel was the trip canceled.”

The filing adds that prosecutors anticipate Holmes will “reply that she did not in fact leave the country as scheduled” but said “it is difficult to know with certainty” what she would have done “had the government not intervened.” Now, in the wake of her sentencing, prosecutors say “the incentive to flee has never been higher” and Holmes “has the means to act on that incentive.”...

The court filing includes an email from one of Holmes’ attorneys to the prosecution, claiming that the travel reservation was made before the verdict. In the email, Holmes’ attorney claims the former Theranos CEO hoped the verdict would be different and that she would be able to make this trip to attend the wedding of friends in Mexico.

In an earlier court filing, Holmes’ attorneys argued for her release from custody pending appeal, saying she was not a flight risk or a threat to the community. Holmes has been ordered to turn herself into custody on April 27, 2023, at which point her prison sentence will begin.

“There are not two systems of justice – one for the wealthy and one for the poor – there is one criminal justice system in this country,” prosecutors stated in the filing. They argue that “under that system, the time has come” for Holmes to answer for her crimes.

Some prior related posts:

January 20, 2023 at 08:02 PM | Permalink


"The court filing includes an email from one of Holmes’ attorneys to the prosecution, claiming that the travel reservation was made before the verdict. In the email, Holmes’ attorney claims the former Theranos CEO hoped the verdict would be different and that she would be able to make this trip to attend the wedding of friends in Mexico."

Then why was the trip one-way?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 22, 2023 2:02:08 AM

After guilty verdicts in Federal white collar criminal cases that I have worked on, I have seen defendants with no prior criminal history taken into custody, handcuffed in the court room and taken to jail for several days (even over a five-day Thanksgiving weekend), pending a new bond hearing. The defendant's family had to pack and clean out his hotel room, since he had been taken to jail. This woman has gotten special handling.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Jan 22, 2023 4:35:23 PM

Contrary to the prosecutor's assertion, there are indeed two different systems of justice. Any of my clients who did something that foolish would have had their bond revoked, pregnant or not, and waited for sentencing in custody. Some of my judges also would have had things to say about choosing to get pregnant while being federally prosecuted, and held it against her at sentencing.

Posted by: defendergirl | Jan 23, 2023 12:48:22 PM

Judges who accuse a woman of thoughtlessly getting pregnant while being federally prosecuted and thus choose to enhance a sentence are as ignominiously idiotic as are their publicity-hound prosecutors, and the comments to the big deal one-way to Mexico.
She has two children. OK, she defrauded a few bigshots. Give her a civil penalty, as they have so many banks. She's obviously a bit of a nutter, so give her some slack.

Posted by: fluffyross | Jan 23, 2023 2:20:32 PM

fluffyross --

I emphatically deny that I paid you to write that comment in order to illustrate how far the defense side will go to make excuses for fraudsters and thieves.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 23, 2023 3:05:42 PM

Perhaps I am naive, but I think Holmes's explanation of the plane ticket is reasonable. The government has her passport, so she could not have absconded to Mexico, even had the prosecution not discovered the ticket. However, I am not sure if she meets the standard for remaining free pending appeal, even if that had not happened.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jan 23, 2023 3:17:39 PM

"Some of my judges also would have had things to say about choosing to get pregnant while being federally prosecuted, and held it against her at sentencing."

Name names. If that is true, it is appalling. Not because the particular judge may be correct in his/her intuition about the reasons for the pregnancy, but because it simply is wrong. If a woman gets pregnant while on trial, guess what, judge, she has that f'in right, and you have zero business harming her for it.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 23, 2023 3:36:02 PM

Federalist: I have to practice in front of these judges so I decline your invitation to name names. But some definitely view it as an attempt to manipulate and get a lighter sentence. I have also had a judge several years ago give a client charged with illegal reentry less time because he spoke English and was married to the mother of his children!

Posted by: defendergirl | Jan 23, 2023 4:46:50 PM

defendergirl --

I had a case in which the convicted defendant, a lawyer who was laundering money for a drug ring, brought his angelically beautiful ten year-old daughter to his sentencing in order to win sympathy from the judge when the girl broke down in hysterical (and sincere) sobbing. Using a child in this way and causing her such suffering so the parent might benefit was one of the most perverted and disgusting things I've ever seen. It contributed in part to my assessment of how low defendants will go.

How do you live with these creeps?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 23, 2023 5:18:44 PM

Based on the timing, Holmes appears to have become pregnant AFTER her conviction. She is entitled to do this, but obviously it was done with the knowledge that she would very likely be going to prison for a very long time.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jan 23, 2023 6:05:29 PM

Defendergirl, it's pretty sickening that attorneys are fearful of criticizing judges.

"But some definitely view it as an attempt to manipulate and get a lighter sentence." Maybe it is, but it's something they have a right to do, and the judge really shouldn't be using it against them. Theranos wanted a kiddo--it isn't really possible in prison--although the BOP rape scandal counsels otherwise--ok, people, here's a hypo, does a prisoner have the right to use deadly force to stop a rape?

Posted by: federalist | Jan 24, 2023 10:48:59 AM

Someone here had asked for an update to the City of Parma v. Nowak:

Petitioner's reply brief: https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/22/22-293/253012/20230124104502039_Reply%20in%20Support%20of%20Certiorari%20Novak%20v.%20Parma%2022-293.pdf

My question--why does the prosecutor still have a law license?

Posted by: federalist | Jan 24, 2023 11:19:30 AM

Bill Otis: How do I live with these creeps? Well, first, everyone deserves a vigorous defense. Two, no one is just the worst thing they have ever done. Someone can be a good father/husband/wife/child and also commit a crime. Three: most of my clients never had a chance. Some were given alcohol and drugs by parents starting at ages younger than ten. And/or grew up in grinding poverty in redlined neighborhoods with under-resourced and failing schools. And/or cycled through the state system multiple times without proper diagnosis and medication/treatment for mental illness, PTSD, illiteracy, dyslexia, low IQ, and trauma. Lastly, Jamie Dimon and the other big bank CEOs and companies blew up our entire economy selling subprime mortgages and hurt thousands of families. They knew they were doing it. None of the big guys who are "too big to fail" were prosecuted. The hypocrisy and lack of evidence-based practice in the system is mind-boggling. But ultimately, I am aware of the helping hands I got that my clients did not get. At every step where I could have fallen, someone was there for me. My clients usually did not have that. I am not so arrogant as to think I could never have stood in their shoes. Everyone has a story.

Posted by: defendergirl | Jan 24, 2023 9:28:35 PM

Very well stated defendergirl.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jan 24, 2023 11:49:49 PM

defendergirl --

So they don't act for themselves, don't make their own decisions, have only sickness not malice, have only want not greed, are never actors but only acted upon?

Sorry, I don't believe it. That's because it's not true, as I think you can't help knowing.

P.S. What do you think of a white collar defendant who brings his grade school daughter to his sentencing so the judge will see her weeping and suffering? Your kind of guy?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 2:59:52 AM

defendergirl --

One more thing: It's true, as you say, that everyone has a story. This great country has millions upon millions of stories of people who faced the hardships you discuss but, instead of turning to crime, resolved to better themselves through rectitude, honesty and industry, and became givers rather than takers. Are their stories irrelevant?

Avoiding crime just isn't that hard. Four easy steps, really: Stay clear of dangerous drugs, don't steal stuff, be straight with the people you encounter, and resolve your gripes without violence. It's not that hard.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 3:22:00 AM

Bill Otis writes "It's not that hard." Says a white man of privilege.

Posted by: anon | Jan 25, 2023 10:38:19 AM

Since when does someone's race have anything to do with whether their observation has merit--attack the observation, not the observer.

Doug, this comment should be deleted--racism should not be tolerated in here.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 25, 2023 11:16:20 AM

federalist --

Thank you for that, but I personally would leave anon's comment up. It's too illuminating to take down. What it illuminates specifically is that, when the fruitcake Left has to confront the truth that it's easy to make the decision not to steal or lie or become violent -- and that the huge majority of people of all races and economic standing make that decision routinely -- the Left has nothing to offer but its pathetic wail of RACISM!!!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 1:26:13 PM

anon --

If you're waiting for me to apologize for being white, you'll be waiting a long time.

If you're waiting for me to apologize for having made something of my life, rather that being the sort of grifter, slug and child rapist you idolize, you'll be waiting a long time for that, too.

But do keep posting your race-huckstering BS. As I was telling federalist, it's wonderfully illuminating about what the pro-criminal side really thinks.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 1:42:57 PM

federalist: I believe Bill has recent posts at his substack in which he notes the skin color of a mayor and of most homicide victims and killers in DC. I would not describe those posts as based in racism, nor would I suggest that they be taken down. Believing that people of different races and different genders and different socio-economic status have different life experiences and perspectives strikes me as a pretty common and pretty benign belief, not one that is perniciously racist. But I tend to dislike how readily lots of people throw around the pejorative term "racism," and I also tend to be a lot more tolerant of a lot of different forms of speech that seem to bother people who are more "speech sensitive" than I am.

If you are sincerely requesting that I censor "racist" speech here, federalist, I would welcome a more robust accounting of why you want me to play the role of speech police in this particular instance and whether you would like me to play a more active role in policing the comments more generally.

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 25, 2023 2:44:37 PM

Well spoken Mr.Berman. I could not agree more with you have just written.

For what it's worth, I do not agree with the comments of anon. However, I do not agree with much of Mr.Otis said either. I think the 2 ideologies exemplify why I do not think our country will make it to the place where I know she is capable of going. Both ideologies are steeped in hypocrisy. It does no good for me to dwell on the hypocrisies in this post---nor could I as they are innumerable.

federalist, I have told you before that you strike me as an intelligent person. You've said things that I'm sure others have found offensive. I think a part of you says them as a way to "own the libs." But you have a right to your thoughts and your speech---even if it may be deemed offensive by others. Personally, I have no problem with it because, to me, it is harmless.

I will close this post by saying that I don't think you, Mr.Otis or anon are part of the solution this country needs. You may think so, but I could not think of anything that is farther from the truth.

The other day I read some words by the late Dr.King that I find, for some reason, relevant. They were from a eulogy that he did for the Reverend James Reeb. I think what appealed to me the most about his eulogy is his statements about "what" killed James Reeb. That "what" is still here and the future of our country likely depends on how we respond to that "what." I don't think, as a matter of fact---I know, that no one side has the answer to that "what." It is going to take Mr.Otis, anon, federalist, myself, and a lot of other committed Americans who are able to see beyond their partisan beliefs to figure out, and fix, this "what."

In any event, I will cease my own mini-rant (which is nothing more than my opinion) and share his words with you all:

"These beautiful words from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet so eloquently describe the radiant life of James Reeb. He entered the stage of history just thirty-eight years ago, and in the brief years that he was privileged to act on this mortal stage, he played his part exceedingly well. James Reeb was martyred in the Judeo-Christian faith that all men are brothers. His death was a result of a sensitive religious spirit. His crime was that he dared to live his faith; he placed himself alongside the disinherited black brethren of this community.

The world is aroused over the murder of James Reeb, for he symbolizes the forces of goodwill in our nation. He demonstrated the conscience of the nation. He was an attorney for the defense of the innocent in the court of world opinion. He was a witness to the truth that men of different races and classes might live, eat, and work together as brothers.

James Reeb could not be accused of being only concerned about justice for Negroes away from home. He and his family live in Roxbury, Massachusetts, a predominantly Negro community. [They] devoted their lives to aiding families in low-income housing areas. Again, we must ask the question: Why must good men die for doing good? “O Jerusalem, why did you murder the prophets and persecute those who come to preach your salvation?” So the Reverend James Reeb has something to say to all of us in his death.


Naturally, we are compelled to ask the question, Who killed James Reeb? The answer is simple and rather limited when we think of the who. He was murdered by a few sick, demented, and misguided men who have the strange notion that you express dissent through murder. There is another haunting, poignant, desperate question we are forced to ask this afternoon, that I asked a few days ago as we funeralized James Jackson. It is the question, What killed James Reeb? When we move from the who to the what, the blame is wide and the responsibility grows.

James Reeb was murdered by the indifference of every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained-glass windows. He was murdered by the irrelevancy of a church that will stand amid social evil and serve as a taillight rather than a headlight, an echo rather than a voice. He was murdered by the irresponsibility of every politician who has moved down the path of demagoguery, who has fed his constituents the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism. He was murdered by the brutality of every sheriff and law enforcement agent who practices lawlessness in the name of the law. He was murdered by the timidity of a federal government that can spend millions of dollars a day to keep troops in South Vietnam yet cannot protect the lives of its own citizens seeking constitutional rights. Yes, he was even murdered by the cowardice of every Negro who tacitly accepts the evil system of segregation, who stands on the sidelines in the midst of a mighty struggle for justice.

So in his death, James Reeb says something to each of us, black and white alike—says that we must substitute courage for caution, says to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered him but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murder. His death says to us that we must work passionately, unrelentingly, to make the American dream a reality, so he did not die in vain.


God still has a way of bringing good out of evil. History has proven over and over again that unmerited suffering is redemptive. The innocent blood of this fine servant of God may well serve as the redemptive force that will bring new light to this dark state. This tragic death may lead our nation to substitute aristocracy of character for aristocracy of color. James Reeb may cause the whole citizenry of Alabama to transform the negative extremes of a dark past into the positive extremes of a bright future. Indeed, this tragic event may cause the white South to come to terms with its conscience.

So in spite of the darkness of this hour, we must not despair. As preceding speakers have said so eloquently, we must not become bitter nor must we harbor the desire to retaliate with violence; we must not lose faith in our white brothers who happen to be misguided. Somehow we must still believe that the most misguided among them will learn to respect the dignity and worth of all human personalities."

Posted by: Eric A. Hicks | Jan 25, 2023 3:17:41 PM

Doug --

You say that I have "recent posts at [my] substack in which [I] note the skin color of a mayor and of most homicide victims and killers in DC."

You are absolutely right. And Baltimore and Chicago, among other places.

When attacks on the criminal justice system are made dozens of times daily that it's racist because it disproportionately punishes blacks, what choice do I have? I would strongly prefer that race be subtracted from the discussion, but when the Left uses it as a cudgel every single day, well, they made that choice, not me.

Yes, blacks are disproportionately involved in the system. That's because, as a group (which tell us zip about individuals), they commit more crime and, by approximately the same proportions, are more frequently crime victims. Those are the facts. Everyone in the field knows them. (And the same is true of males and younger adults, while we're at it).

Anon is just another Leftist whiner who'd like us to believe that whether you're a criminal is just a matter of the luck of your birth rather than a matter of the choices you make. Only I won't believe it, since it's just anti-American fabulism.

I admire your refusal to censor, not merely for its virtues per se, but because it lets jerks like anon show themselves, and their "arguments," for what they are.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 3:22:23 PM

Denigrating one's opinion due to his or her race is vile. People just don't realize it. Doug, if you're going to tolerate overt racism on your pages, that's your call. Defensible too.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 25, 2023 3:22:49 PM

federalist --

"Denigrating one's opinion due to his or her race is vile."

Absolutely right. But the vileness may be worth it -- when someone attacks your argument by going after your race, he's telling you that that's the best he's got. A wonderful admission, that.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 3:31:16 PM

Honest question, federalist: do you think claiming that someone has a different opinion because of racial realities inherently problematic? You suggest here it amounts to "overt racism," but it feels to me more like an observation.

You read anon's statement as denigrating Bill's opinion, and I do think it is meant to express a kind of disagreement. But you would call this statement a form of "overt racism": "People who are white and wealthy are often going to find it a lot easier --- and may say it is a lot easier --- to avoid criminal entanglements than many other people." That is how I was inclined to read anon's statement, but maybe that is not a fair read (or maybe you think such a statement is racist).

Again, to be clear, I tend to tune out most assertions of "racism" in all sorts of settings because the term seems mostly used to inflame rather than illuminate or inform. But I know you are often eager to be precise with terminology, federalist, so I am taking seriously your complaint of "racism" and I am eager to better understand what you think does and does not count as proper (and blog-comment permissible) statements about race.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 25, 2023 3:59:28 PM

Eric A. Hicks --

You seem to imply an equivalence between anon and me.

When have I ever questioned someone's argument because of his race?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 4:04:23 PM


There is an equivalence as far you both believe that your ideologies are unimpeachable. I beg to differ. But, that's just my opinion.

You both will recite a fact, but omit context, and then take that fact as your truth. Again, that's just my opinion. Someone else may differ.

Posted by: Eric A. Hicks | Jan 25, 2023 4:16:03 PM

Eric A. Hicks --

The question was whether I ever questioned someone's argument because of his race. Anon did. Have I?

Do you think a person who questions another's views on that basis is equivalent to a person who refrains?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 4:22:25 PM


No, I have never heard you question a person's argument because of his race.

As for the second part of your question, where I see the equivalency is that beneath the dispute is a deep-rooted partisan disagreement between the two of you. If there wasn't this partisan divide, then I would be more than willing to tell you that one who questions another view on that basis is not equivalent.

Yet, I cannot omit this partisan divide between two men who both swear by their ideologies when answering your question. This is what I mean when I use the term 'context.' I would agree with you "but for" that fact.

Posted by: Eric A. Hicks | Jan 25, 2023 4:39:16 PM

Bill, do you think it possible that it may be easier for some rich white men to "stay clear of dangerous drugs" than for some others? Do you think only an "overt racist" would consider that possibility? You also note that "blacks ... are more frequently crime victims," which I think might make it at least somewhat harder to "resolve ... gripes without violence."

Perhaps I am trying to hard to give a non-pejorative meaning to what anon said, but I just struggle with all the cries "racism" that emerge when there are other ways to understand the meaning and import of any mention of race.

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 25, 2023 4:55:43 PM

Eric A. Hicks --

I don't "swear" by any ideology. I was an AUSA for years under administrations of both parties. I was nominated by Trump to the US Sentencing Commission, but have come to have considerable doubts about him, to the point that I'm now on the outs with a chunk of former allies. I believe in enforcing democratically adopted law (a conservative position) but I also believe, for example, that it's not the state's business whether two men want to marry each other (I guess a liberal position). I think abortion should be permissible very early in pregnancy and in cases of rape, incest and need to preserve the life of the mother, but should be forbidden, e.g., when done for sex selection or to harvest body parts. So I guess I'm in the middle on that one.

I also believe that facts exist irrespective of the attitudes of those who embrace them. You can be liberal or you can be conservative -- either way, (1) whether you turn out to be a criminal depends on the choices you make, and (2) blacks (and males and younger adults) tend to be involved with the criminal justice system because they commit more crime. It has nothing to do with my attitude. It has to do with the facts on the ground. But denying these facts has plenty to do with attitude.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 5:08:36 PM

Doug, statements about race are ok--but we always need to be very careful about impugning individuals who happen to be a member of that race/ethnic group. What anon did was impugn Bill's argument/observation on the basis of his race, and that's sickening. Sotomayor's "wise Latina" comment is offensive--as it racializes legal acumen. I have more legal talent in my pinkie than she has in her whole body, and how f'in dare she impugn my abilities? And given some of the drivel that has come out of her chambers and her Senate testimony, she's in no position to say anything about anyone's ability.

I wasn't born wealthy, and I lived in some pretty rough areas--and I generally see eye to eye with Bill--so does my opinion carry more weight than Bill's--I've been assaulted on the basis of my race--so does that make my opinion more "authentic" than a so-called "Cosby kid's" opinion. I've walked the walk--filed a police brutality report when I was 16 years old after witnessing a rough arrest of a black guy on the subway. Does that give me more cred? This idea that somehow Bill's observation about obeying the law is subject to the "easy for you to say because you are white" is just awful. The proper response to anon is "f off, you POS." Bill's observations would be very at home in Caribbean or West African cultures. And life there can be pretty tough.

It's just a garbage thing to do, and it's beneath contempt. That's why I refer to Sotomayor as the "wise [sic] Latina," and I know that it is a damned good shot.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 25, 2023 5:10:17 PM

Doug --

"Bill, do you think it possible that it may be easier for some rich white men to "stay clear of dangerous drugs" than for some others?"

I can just give you my experience at Stanford Law School, which in the Seventies, was wall-to-wall with rich white men and also wall-to-wall with any drug you wanted (or in my case, didn't want). I've been told the same is true of Wall Street and Hollywood, cf. Harvey Weinstein.

"Do you think only an "overt racist" would consider that possibility?"

"Consider" the "possibility" is one thing. Making as a belligerent accusation, a la' anon, is a different thing.

"You also note that "blacks ... are more frequently crime victims," which I think might make it at least somewhat harder to "resolve ... gripes without violence."

Only with a very bizarre application of language could the legal and needed use of self-defense in response to a criminal attack be considered "resolving a gripe."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 5:20:03 PM


Your point is understood.

One can indeed make the argument that Blacks disproportionately commit crime at a higher level than others and that inner-cities are inherently violent. I won't dispute that.

But older Native Americans (and older African-Americans) may say, and many that I have interviewed have said, that the they have never encountered a group more inherently violent, dangerous and untrustworthy than White males based on their documented history in relation to those particular groups. I have seen the scars and have heard the stories. To those who harbor these beliefs your facts, while they do contain a residuum of truth, don't tell the entire story.

The Black sharecroppers from the South that came to Chicago in the 40s and 50s have questioned your facts. This older generation will tell you first-hand (for those who are still living) how they were willfully victimized by the system (just listen or read the story of Clyde Ross) in that their entire life savings was taken by White slumlords (without any recourse available from the state or federal government). They were subsequently herded into these communities which (unfortunately) became what we know as ghettos.

We can quote these tidbits of facts (or whatever you want to call them) all day. I don't get offended by these things because I deal with 'fact' but I am also clear-eyed about history and how an older generation of Blacks and Native-Americans may take issue with your belief (although I do not) because they will feel that it lacks context.

Through it all, I fall somewhere in the middle of the road. I despise crime---no matter where it is committed. And I also believe that there must be accountability. I, however, cannot divorce myself from the reality that many crimes were committed against humanity for America to be the power she is today.

So, while I won't deny your facts. I will also give credence to the other voices who have their own facts as well. Soemwhere within all of this, we will find the solution. I have far too many family members who have fought for this country, and what she can become, to believe otherwise.


Posted by: Eric A. Hicks | Jan 25, 2023 5:38:50 PM

For the record, federalist, I do think lived experience provides a foundation for claiming (and often deserving) a certain kind of authority. Bill talks all the time about going to Stanford Law and being a DOJ lawyer, I assume because he thinks we should credit his legal acumen accordingly. Others might be inclined to say -- myself included -- that because Bill has only been a prosecutor and never been a defense attorney, his statements about defense attorneys merit less attention. You often make references to "'rats" which leads me to believe you think some people can and should be judged based on partisan affiliation. (And, interestingly, you decided here to talk up with lots of specifics --- including your reference to a "black guy on the subway" without reference to the race of the abusive officer --- your notable lived experiences that do impact the lens through which I see some of your comments.) I sense we all make conscious and unconscious statements and judgments that include proper and not-so-proper assumptions about lived experience, and I think discussing this out in the open can be beneficial for all.

That said, race is, of course, a type of lived experience that is a lot more touchy for lots of historical and modern reasons. But I do not think it misguided to believe people have very different lived experiences based on their race and gender and class, and I do not think it is inherently "racist" to say that out loud or to state that one person's view of the world may be influenced by their race/gender/class-impacted experiences.

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 25, 2023 6:19:57 PM

Once again Mr.Berman, amen.

To supplement what I said to Mr.Otis earlier about some of the older Black folks that I have interviewed, they will be the first to tell you that they have not had any problem sending an inner-city Black male to prison if they have sat on a jury and the evidence supported it. They have done this and not loss a wink of sleep because at their core they believe in the rule of law.

What has always been the core of their disconnect is that they have never seen in their lifetime any true accountability within America for the her malevolent actions in relation to people who look like them. They have seen and felt the wrath of individuals and systems within America---all without any type of real accountability.

Therefore, when one comes along and underscores the inner-city crimes trends---without once mentioning the historic crimes that have gone unpunished and how those crimes (according to this group) bear a relation to the condition of some the communities, you lose the ear and trust of this particular group.

As for me, my grandfather was a staunch Republican his entire life and my Uncle was a lifelong Republican (until Trump). Some of my views were influenced by both of them and some by grandmother and aunt who were both Democrats. I have had a myriad of life experiences so I tend to view the world in accordance with my experiences. I have never been unwilling to step outside of my comfort zone and learn something different. In fact, I have learned from nearly every single person who has posted here. I try to have an open mind and not be so hasty to accuse someone of some form of discriminatory intent just because we differ in beliefs.

Posted by: Eric A. Hicks | Jan 25, 2023 6:48:42 PM

Doug --

"Others might be inclined to say -- myself included -- that because Bill has only been a prosecutor and never been a defense attorney, his statements about defense attorneys merit less attention."

Because you have only litigated in behalf of defendants and have never been a prosecutor, I take it that, by identical logic, your statements about prosecutors merit less attention? Yes? No?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 8:34:12 PM

Eric A. Hicks --

There is such a thing as truth, and it doesn't change or wobble because of one's identity or perspective. Liberals take this for granted -- indeed they insist on it -- when pronouncing such truths as that Trump's behavior was inconsistent with the dignity of the office, or George Santos is a robust liar. The only time when the concept of knowable and reliable truth get questioned is when it's a truth they don't like, such as that blacks commit proportionately more violent crime than whites, or having more police and more proactive policing reduces crime.

Perspective and experience is worth taking note of, but truth is truth regardless.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 8:44:25 PM

Doug --

"Bill talks all the time about going to Stanford Law and being a DOJ lawyer, I assume because he thinks we should credit his legal acumen accordingly."

"All the time" is an exaggeration, but I don't hide it, you bet. Why should I? I also don't hide that I was in White House Counsel's Office for GHWB and teach at Georgetown Law, just as you don't hide that you went to Princeton and Harvard and clerked for Guido. Why should you? Not everyone can earn those credentials, and neither you nor I has much occasion to take a lecture from people whose main ostensible qualification is the ability to offer race huckstering bile.

The main reason I'll talk about my background, though, is that I think people should take responsibility for what they say and write. This is one reason I'll debate you (sometimes at length), but will dismiss drive-by insult artists like "anon" for the jerks they insist on showing themselves to be. Unfortunately, your comments section is littered with people too cowardly to say who they are. Not coincidentally, these very much tend to be the same people who sling epithets while abjuring anything that might be mistaken for an argument.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 25, 2023 8:58:51 PM

Absolutely, Bill. I can only make second-hand observations about a lot of professional activities -- being a prosecutor, judge, senator, footballer (all types), dancer, and so many more. If I told you that I was hiring John McEnroe to comment on the US Open, you should rightly hope I was seeking his commentary on the US Open tennis tournament and not the US Open golf tourney. And I would give your advice on restaurants in Hawaii and Georgetown more attention than I would on restaurants in Columbus, Ohio.

Of course, many people can make spot-on observations about activities/actors without any direct experience. Indeed, sometimes lived experience can itself be distorting -- eg, I suspect I may credit defense attorneys and law professors too much; you may credit DOJ prosecutors too much -- but even then the import and impact of lived experience can be evident and important to incorporate into one's assessment of a speaker's views and claims.

Put simply, lived experience matters, and sometimes it matters a whole lot. I doubt you are really claiming otherwise. (And, of course, once we recognize and appreciate that lived experience matters, and sometimes matters a lot, then we cannot avoid talking about race and gender and class and religion and all the other factors that impact lived experiences).

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 25, 2023 9:02:20 PM

On identity, Bill, federalist and Tarls still remain hidden and that's just fine by me (and I do not consider them "cowardly"). Some of the Framers had their reasons for hiding their identity when working on the Federalist Papers, and I see no benefit from policing the various reasons people have for hiding their names (and I have also noticed you seem to have a lot of strange/fake names in the Ringside comments).

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 25, 2023 9:11:40 PM

race is immutable, lived experiences aren't. Race of cops--white. Guy was drunk and he called them pigs, and they bounced his head of the station walls.

Doug your defense of anon is astounding---he referenced Bill's race and discounted his opinion on that basis. Just like the wise [sic] Latina.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 26, 2023 9:08:24 AM

Doug --

The difference with federalist and TarlsQtr is that you (and I) know who they are, so they may be anonymous to blog commenters in general but they aren't to the blog owner. Hence they can be, and are, responsible for what they write. And an even more telling sign is that they engage. There are commenters who are interested in discussing and different commenters interested in spitting. It's easy to tell that federalist and TarlsQtr are among the former.

Ringside at the Reckoning does not require commenting under one's real name, but identifying yourself correctly to the owners, including me, is required.

No one here is a Framer. The Framers, if discovered by the British, had a good chance of getting shot. No one here is going to get shot. What they're afraid of is having to deal with a counter-argument, or getting called on some BS or smear-job in their own argument. That kind of fear is unworthy and should be sharply discouraged.

My parents taught me that if you write it, you sign it. I have never failed to follow that lesson.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 26, 2023 9:12:48 AM

Perhaps if federal court judges had to deal with these issues . . . . https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2023/01/camp-of-the-aints.php

Posted by: federalist | Jan 26, 2023 9:19:43 AM

Everyone has made valid points.

If I may expound on a point, what I believe that Mr.Berman was saying to you Mr.Otis is that you speak as if your truth is the 'only' truth and that the lived experience of others (which may have led them to a different truth) does not matter.

The truth of Bill Otis, federalist or TarlsQ may not necessarily be the truth of the 80-year old Black woman raised in Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Watts, Mobile or Tampa Bay. Does that mean their truth is any less valid when it contradicts something within your truth? I think not.

This is why lived experience matters. I may disagree with something one of you have said but what I will not do is tell you that your lived experiences do not matter in the conclusions you reach.

For example, a promising young athlete who plays for a small college football team is involved in a car accident which robs him of his exceptional talent. He is still able to compete in his sport but not an elite level. This person tries out for another small college football team as a walk-on and in the end is among the final cut individuals cut from the team. The truth: he was not good enough to make the team. But I think simply allowing the narrative end there---that he not good enough---would deprive it of significant context, viz., that he did compete on an elite level prior to an accident.

Posted by: Eric A. Hicks | Jan 26, 2023 10:10:24 AM

federalist, your eagerness to cry "racism" based on a reference to race as part of a discussion of lived experience is astounding. We care so much about race and gender and class because, whether mutable or immutable, we know they impact lived experiences in so many ways both obvious and subtle, influencing people's self-identity and how the world judges others' identity and behaviors. So, as I see it, race and gender and class all are important topics for discussion as part of all discussions of lived experience, and especially here as they relate to crime, criminal enforcement patterns and sentencing.

I read anon as suggesting that, in anon's view, it is easier for a white man of privilege to believe and opine that it's not hard to avoid drugs and violence and other criminogenic factors than it is for others. You may or may not agree with that statement, but to cry that this is "racism" that needs to be censored seem to me antithetical to free speech and acceptable discussion of crime and punishment issues. And I really do not mean this to be a "defense" of anon as much as an explanation for why I did not view the statement as a form of "racism" needed to be censored.

But, as I said before, I tend to not be so sensitive about race --- and someone might reasonably say that is because I am white and male and privileged without me thinking such a comment is "racist" (or sexist or Marxist).

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 26, 2023 10:10:51 AM

Doug, anon basically said: "easy for you to say because you are white"--that is racism, as is Sotomayor's comment that a white guy just can't be as good as a wise Latina. This isn't being overly sensitive, it's just stating facts. Would you be ok with an OSU professor saying to a white student: "Your opinion can be discounted since you are a white male of privilege?" I would hope not. In a sane world, such a prof would be fired on the spot. My guess is that OSU would tolerate it--according to a lawsuit against it, it has tolerated far more egregious things.

Your arguments are basically smokescreens. What anon did was ugly--and it's not so easily cabined to opinions--do so-called white privileged victims of crime by African-Americans be discounted when they ask for harsh sentences? Should judges like Olu Stevens get to criticize white crime victims who truthfully recount the effect of a crime on them? Do whites have less say in government policies because they are allegedly privileged? Less say in the education context?

And the gist of my comments did not say that anon should be censored--i said upthread that not censoring him is defensible. His comment, however is not, and your "don't be so sensitive" is so weak.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 26, 2023 11:30:21 AM

And like I have said, I have walked the walk. My kids went to public schools in a big city where white students were the distinct minority. I even filed a report of police brutality.

Check out what Olu Stevens did to a white family--it was disgusting.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 26, 2023 11:32:34 AM

federalist: do you think I should not tolerate a white student saying "I have a particularly informed perspective on inner city crime dynamics and juvenile justice because my white kids go to a school where there are mostly people of color?" I find it almost comical that you keep telling racialized anecdotes while attacking someone else for bringing race into the conversation.

Notably, anon did not say Bill's perspective should be "discounted" because Bill is "a white man of privilege." She only said Bill's statement about the ease of avoiding criminal activity was said by "a white man of privilege." Maybe you know who anon is and know she harbors deep racist sentiments, but what she actually said was a comment on lived experiences not a direct claim that Bill's view should be "discounted" because of his skin color or gender or wealth.

Perhaps a fair inference is that anon thinks Bill's comment should be "discounted" because of his race, but that is not what was actually said. Word matter, especially when one throws around loaded words like "racism." And I would be fine with a professor saying, as I often do, that people can and do tend to have very different opinions about crime and criminal enforcement and punishment based on their lived experiences that are shaped by race and gender and class and many other factors. If we cannot talk about these matters without people screaming "racism" and calling for censorship, then we will have all sorts of self censorship and research distortions and other like problems that already seem to harmfully interfere with our ability to do clear and sober analysis of these important and controversial matters.

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 26, 2023 12:24:43 PM

Missing the point--my walk the walk stuff is about being able to call out racism in all permutations--I've walked the walk in my life. So there's no possible basis to call me a hypocrite or overly sensitive. If someone said something like that to me, I'd tell them to f off. It's insulting, and it's based on race. As is this whole "privileged" BS? Olu Stevens looks a hell of a lot more privileged than the white family he abused.

anon's quote was an attack on Bill's statement, and it was based on race, and it has the pernicious implication that somehow Bill's voice is less worthy than others because he is white--that's racism. As for your hypo--I would laugh a little and ask why he thinks that even matters.

You can talk about these matters all you want--but you haven't identified how anon's comment is to be cabined? Would it be ok for a black woman in your class to tell a white man "so says a white man of privilege?" Like I said, as alleged in a federal complaint, OSU has tolerated far worse. And let's go a little further, would it be ok for a black judge to say to a white victim who says "the defendant could have chosen to live a law-abiding life": "so says a white man of privilege?" Would it be ok for a black prof to say that to a white student?

This isn't "screaming racism"--this is identifying racism. It's not a big deal on a blog, but it can be a big deal elsewhere. A Supreme Court Justice, as a sitting judge, got away with linking the quality of judging with ethnicity. And the pathetic thing is that she is a bad joke.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 26, 2023 1:12:57 PM

Can only people who have "walked the walk" call out racism, federalist? My point is that your statement is just a variation on anon's point: lived experience matters and race is part of lived experience. You seem to think racialized experiences are relevant for judging the calling out of racism; anon seems to think race is relevant is for judging statements about the ease of avoiding criminal activity.

And my hypo student is saying just a variation on your own comment, so I guess you are laughing a little at your own 11:32:34 AM comment and should ask yourself why you felt compelled to say that your "kids went to public schools in a big city where white students were the distinct minority."

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 26, 2023 1:27:35 PM

Anyone can call out racism--my point is, as I've said, is that I am impervious to the hypocrisy/overly sensitive smear--you trotted that sensitivity smear out, and it's also a rebuttal to the idea that referencing someone's race to put down their input is weak--if I made the same statement as Bill, and I were sneered at for being a privileged white male, my own personal history would make hash of that nonsense. I am perfectly happy to leave race alone when it comes to attacking/defending a particular idea--but when race is used to judge a comment, then it is more than justified to trot out my experiences with an emphasis on walking the talk when showing how wrong it is.

You're attempting to make what I've said on these points more than what they are designed to do. Rhetorically, this allows you to ignore the plain as day point that anon's comment linked Bill's opinion to him being a privileged white male. If he or she thinks that judging statements on the basis of race (which you seem to concede) is acceptable, then that IS racism, and that impulse is not so easily cabined to criticizing blog comments. So Doug, when I was calling out criticism of Judge Sheindlin's decision about stop and frisk (the argument was that black criminality/arrest was at a higher rate--but does a higher rate of black criminality/arrest rate translate over to a higher rate of causing reasonable suspicion by innocent black people--was I being too picayune? Was I overly sensitive? (Bill probably remembers my comment at C & C on that point.)

I don't like racism. It's ugly, and it is corrosive as hell. When we feel it is ok to casually sneer at someone's opinion due their race, we lose something. It's not ok. It won't ever be ok, and that it may happen to some white male who can take it doesn't make it ok or less offensive.

You can try to miasma your way out of answering my points, but it's pretty weak.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 26, 2023 2:05:33 PM

Eric A. Hicks --

The truth is the truth regardless of one's experience or perspective. Blacks commit proportionately more violent crime in this country and are proportionately more the victims of violent crime. That is the truth, period. It doesn't change depending on who you are or what your individual experiences might have been.

More police and more proactive policing were among the factors that contributed to the big reduction in crime in the 20 years following 1991. Period.

When a criminal is incarcerated, he's not in your neighborhood endangering you and your neighbors. Period.

This is the state of play regardless of any other consideration. In addition, however, if there were a different truth depending on the speaker, communication itself becomes impossible, because no one can have a stable grasp on what anyone else is asserting.

If people want to add context to what they say, it's fine by me. But the concept of subjective and individualized versions of truth -- the concept you seem to endorse -- is nothing but solipsism.

Finally, anon's snippy observation that it's "easy for me to say" that crime results from bad choices is just Internet garbage. The question is not whether it's easy to say or hard to say. The only question that counts is whether it's true. Anon is just taking a crack at me because I'm white, which is childish in addition to being, as federalist correctly notes, racist.

I don't care about the racism smear; over the years, I've become used to how the Left operates. But the idea that truth can be discounted or dismissed because the race of the speaker makes it "easy for him to say" is false and poisonous.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 26, 2023 2:17:26 PM

federalist says: "You're attempting to make what I've said on these points more than what they are designed to do." Perhaps, but that's because I see your comments as quite comparable to anon's in terms of how debatable statements should be evaluated (except you have attached the blunderbuss epitaph "racism" to what anon said and asked for censorship all while repeatedly conceding one's "own personal history" is directly relevant to evaluating statements about racial issues).

As I see it, federalist, you are proudly and repeatedly asserting that your "own personal history" can and should influence how we assess your comments. But you attacked anon simply for suggesting that Bill's personal history can and should influence how we assess his comments. Can you not see the hypocrisy in saying over and over that your experience with race and class is rightly part of how we should judge what you say, but that it racism for another person to suggest that race and class is rightly part of how we should judge what others say?

Key point is we are in this context talking about experience and opinions ("how easy it is to avoid criminal activity"), not clear factual statements. Do you really think how easy it is to avoid crime is the same for everyone and/or that everyone has the same opinion on that point? Because experience and opinions are often subjective are often influenced by "personal history," I think it better to own up to and address that reality than to try to avoid conversation about what folks really think on these matters (or about what should be rightly called a fact/truth and what is a matter of opinion).

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 26, 2023 2:53:42 PM

Doug and federalist --

I said, "Avoiding crime just isn't that hard. Four easy steps, really: Stay clear of dangerous drugs, don't steal stuff, be straight with the people you encounter, and resolve your gripes without violence. It's not that hard."

Anon's response to this was, in toto, "Says a white man of privilege."

She (assuming it's a she) doesn't say it was false. She doesn't even suggest it was false. She provides no reasons to think it was false. Indeed she provides no reasons for anything. Her only "response" was, "Says a white man of privilege."

It's possible that she's too stupid to understand that white men of privilege say true things zillions of times a day. But very few people are that stupid. It's more likely by far that she just doesn't like what I said, but has no real argument to make against it, so she settles for a crack at my being "white" and "privileged."

Several things to notice here. The first is that she successfully hijacked the conversation away from the fact that crime is indeed easy to avoid for a person of normal morals. She thus diverts the discussion from something that's actually important about sentencing and channels it to irrelevant personal characteristics of a commenter (me).

That should tell you something about her faith in her non-existent argument. Does it?

The second thing to notice is the implied deficit of being "white" or "privileged." But she makes no ARGUMENT that either of those things is bad. Which is just as well, since neither of them is. But she takes a crack anyway. Why is that?

The third thing to notice is that she's disappeared. A drive by, race-oriented smear and then, BOOM, all gone.

My goodness. Doug, I don't think you should kick her off -- indeed, as I've noted, I think it's wonderfully useful to have childish, nasty Leftists strut their stuff here -- but could you tell me what of intellectual value this adds? Because I'm not getting it.

For all her comment shows, she's just an empty-headed smear artist who stays anonymous for good reason. But not, Doug, a reason you should value or defend.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 26, 2023 3:20:17 PM

I didn't concede that---my point is that my experiences should insulate me from the slings and arrows of anon and his or her ilk--people who think like anon cannot think of me merely as a privileged white guy. It's just a shield. Should get people like anon to think twice before their blithe dismissal. I think I've made this point a number of times. Otherwise, I am more than content to just let my arguments do the talking.

I don't care if it is easier for some than others to avoid crime (well not quite)--it's everyone's obligation to avoid victimizing others.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 26, 2023 3:24:14 PM

anon has not disappeared. Nor is she "too stupid." Nor is she an "empty headed smear artist." Anon does note how upset every white male becomes by the term "white privilege." Hit a nerve? Mr. Otis writes: "Avoiding crime just isn't that hard. Four easy steps, really: Stay clear of dangerous drugs, don't steal stuff, be straight with the people you encounter, and resolve your gripes without violence. It's not that hard."

When you are a black kid without a father raised by a mother who tries to survive by cleaning houses, and who becomes addicted to drugs and prostitutes herself, and whose friends join gangs because there is no work and no hope, "avoiding crime" is indeed "that hard." And "resolving gripes" without violence is indeed "that hard."

Like I say, easy for white privileged folks to say "not that hard."

Posted by: anon | Jan 26, 2023 4:17:17 PM

As I think I have already said, Bill, I read anon's comment as an observation that it is not that hard for a white man of privilege to avoid criminal activity than for some other people. She might actually mean that it is easier for a white man of privilege to avoid getting CAUGHT for criminal activity, and your previously referenced discussion of rampant drug activity at Stanford Law and Wall Street and Hollywood would certainly seem to bolster that "fact" since few persons with that pedigree are subject to criminal sanction for that drug activity. But, technically, you were speaking about criminal activity, not who gets caught. That, it turn, leads me to wonder whether you think it equally easy for someone who is raised around drugs and violence to avoid drugs and violence as someone who isn't. You say these issues are matters of "fact" so I am eager to here the basis for your "facts" and if you think other might see these "facts" differently based on lived experiences?

federalist, seemingly is someone who may see the facts of crime avoidance differently, though I am not entirely sure what he means by the statement "I don't care if it is easier for some than others to avoid crime (well not quite)."

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 26, 2023 4:32:20 PM

Decide all of a sudden to make another appearance, anon? How gracious of you.

"Anon does note how upset every white male becomes by the term 'white privilege.'"

You don't know and have no way of knowing what "every white man" thinks, or even just a tiny percentage of white men, so your grandiose statement is patently false on its face. Not that this has ever stopped you.

"When you are a black kid without a father raised by a mother..."

Hey wait, you Lefties have been bellowing for years that single parenthood is merely an "alternative lifestyle" and that criticizing it is just bigoted, Puritanical stuff from, ummmmmmmmm, married white males. Having second thoughts? Do tell.

"...who becomes addicted to drugs and prostitutes herself..."

Oh gads, anon, have you missed all the libertarian wisdom?? Drugs are an expression of freedom and prostitution should be legalized. Are you, like, bourgeoisie or something? Oh dear!

"...and whose friends join gangs because there is no work and no hope."

You can't walk one block in the city and not see "Help Wanted" signs all over the place. Work has seldom been easier to find, especially for entry level jobs. And the reason these thugs join gangs is that it's easier to get money by stealing it from some helpless old lady, or selling smack to a 14 year-old, than by working a regular job. It's not lack of hope. It's greed and a me-first attitude -- as if you don't already know this.

"And "resolving gripes" without violence is indeed 'that hard.'"

Ahhhhh yes, an apologist for violence. That's so wonderful! But if a point be made of it, the huge majority of people, black and white alike, resolve their gripes WITHOUT violence, as you full well know. The small minority who don't are bullies, thinking they'll get their way because they're bigger and stronger than the person they're attacking.

Oh, and BTW, wanna tell us your name and background, Ms. anon?? No? Still too yellow?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 26, 2023 4:47:39 PM

Doug --

"As I think I have already said, Bill, I read anon's comment as an observation that it is not that hard for a white man of privilege to avoid criminal activity than for some other people."

How 'bout letting her speak for herself rather than re-casting her words in a way you think is more defensible?

But if a point be made of it: Temptation afflicts us all, white and black, young and old. What enables human beings to avoid it is not their surroundings. It's their conscience -- something that, oddly, never seems to get discussed or even acknowledged in discussion of crime.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 26, 2023 4:56:08 PM

Bill, are you asserting "surroundings" have nothing to do with criminal activity or how hard it is to avoid criminal activity? Is that what you are claiming to be "fact"? Do you have support for this "fact"?

Do you acknowledge that there is a lot of research indicating "surroundings" influence and impact criminal activity? Indeed, isn't one underlying theory of "broken windows policing," which I think you support, that disorder (e.g., broken windows) helps generate and sustain more serious crime?

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 26, 2023 5:13:01 PM

Doug --

This is just classic you: "Bill, are you asserting that "surroundings" have nothing to do with criminal activity or how hard it is to avoid criminal activity?"

Is that what I said? No -- it's the formulation you manufactured and then tried to stick in my mouth as something I said. If you want to know what I said, it's not that hard. Quote me.

"Do you acknowledge that there is a lot of research indicating 'surroundings' have a lot to do with criminal activity?"

I acknowledge that you continue to refuse even to use the word "conscience," the better to makes excuses for rapes and muggings and the other atrocities criminals commit in the Holy Name of their "surroundings."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 26, 2023 5:31:03 PM

Once again, Bill, you are eager to avoid discussing basic questions about the implications of what you say. But I am quite used to you not providing support for so many of your assertions, so I am not surprised. And this has nothing to do with quoting, since I quoted you at least a half-dozen times asking for support about the claim you made about sentencing "from the Founding" and that likewise went without response.

But, if you want to talk about conscience, sure. Do you think surroundings influence how humans develop a conscience? Do you think a conscience is fixed or can it evolve or develop based on education and experiences? And do you think these issues surrounding the nature and development of a conscience are matters of fact or of opinion?

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 26, 2023 5:42:21 PM

Doug --

Glad that you've now discovered "conscience," the conspicuously missing ingredient in the defense bar's view of culpability. I look forward to more of it. Perhaps we can get something to replace the defense bar's anthem -- everybody's sick, nobody's bad. (An anthem I've noticed is subject to cancellation without notice when we're talking about Donald Trump and January 6 defendants).

"Do you think surroundings influence how humans develop a conscience?"

You bet. Surroundings are not the whole thing, but are important, yes indeed. Whether you have parents who are models, and who set standards you will be expected to follow without a bunch of excuse-making, counts for a lot. On the other hand, you have 18 years -- not a short time -- to mold your behavior, and after that, YOU are responsible, not your surroundings.

"Do you think a conscience is fixed or can it evolve or develop based on education and experiences?"

It evolves based on those things, and also based on introspection and an inner sense of rightness. I have seen this in children again and again. Human beings do have an inner compass; if they didn't, we'd all still be back in the jungle. Our moral surroundings are the most important ones, and they didn't just fall out of the sky.

"And do you think these issues surrounding the nature and development of a conscience are matters of fact or of opinion?"

Because some facts are hard ascertain (for example, facts about childhood development), does not mean they're not facts, or that one assertion stands on an equal footing with the next assertion. It just means that care and modesty is due in declaring a fact -- particularly from academics, who are wont brusquely to declare the authoritativeness of whatever "facts" they're publishing on SSRN.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 26, 2023 7:45:58 PM

Thanks for the answers, Bill. You note important links between surroundings and a conscience, and so you would likely acknowledge that how easy/hard it will be to develop a crime-desistence conscience will be shaped by one's surroundings/upbringing. In turn, if you recognize that race/gender/class can often impact one's surroundings/upbringing, then you can see how one can readily be eager to note that race/gender/class may often impact how easy/hard it will be to avoid criminality. That is how I read anon's comment, and now it seems you agree -- though you are eager to focus the discussion on (hard-to-ascertain?) claims about the development of a conscience.

So, I guess we are all roughly on the same page, unless I am misunderstanding your notion of conscience.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 26, 2023 8:16:34 PM


I am glad that anon spoke up. There are certain aspects of what she said that agree with and some that I disagree. For what it's worth, I don't think she's a racist at all.

Additionally, if acknowledging that there is a such thing as universal truths and truths that exist other than my own makes me a solipsist, so be it. You surely do fit the more of that which you claim me to be, but that's your problem---not mine. I simply see that our communication on certain topics will be virtually non-existent because I, unlike you, can understand 2 fundamental truths about America: (1) This country was founded on crimes against humanity for which there has never been any accountability; and (2) Black males disproportionately commit more crime.

I hear you often focus on the latter without ever mentioning anything about the former. In the words of William Faulkner, “the past is never dead. It's not even past.” Your type (yes, I used the word 'type' which I define, infra) highlights the present without ever acknowledging the correlations with the past. This is why I sent the speech by Dr.King. You constantly fail to acknowledge the 'what' that exists in this country and rather (more conveniently and more ideologically) and become fixated on the 'who' because it fits within the narratives that your 'type' puppets.

And I must take this time to note, that you sure sound like a "Right-Wing" ideologue to me. You are no different than the many liberals I have encountered who think they know more about a given condition than those that are in that condition--you all are 2 sides of the same coin.

Posted by: Eric A. Hicks | Jan 26, 2023 10:27:06 PM

Doug --

Just saw the story below in today's NYT. If you or anon or defendergirl wants to tell me that this guy JUST HAD TO DO IT because of his surroundings and upbringing, feel free. But I'm telling you he did it out of bloodthirsty hate.

Contrary to the moral vacation the defense bar believes is its mission, people make choices. The one this guy made earned him a death penalty prosecution EVEN FROM THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION.


Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2023 12:01:25 AM

Eric A. Hicks --

You are perfectly entitled to think that Amerika stinks. You're hardly alone. And you're right that I don't wallow in the real and perceived sins you attribute to our country. Nor do I think that they justify crime, by blacks, whites, or anyone else.

You are also entitled to think that there's no such thing as truth, but only your truth, my truth and the truth of the man behind the tree. I would only note that you express no such doubt or hesitation in your unequivocal condemnation of the country in which you have prospered.

As for my "type" -- what's that, exactly? Stanford grad? Former federal prosecutor? Law professor? White person? Someone who thinks the USA is a force for good in the world? Someone who thinks adults make choices and are responsible for them? Guilty as charged to all such offenses, Your Honor.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2023 12:14:48 AM

Bill, you create so many straw men I worry there is a fire hazard every where you go.

I certainly have never said, nor do I think a sensible person could think I was trying to say, that a person's surroundings and upbringing means that they "JUST HAD TO" commit a crime. Rather, as the "broken windows" philosophy argues, surroundings can have an impact. I do not think people are compelled to do anything by their surroundings and upbringing, but I do think they are certainly influenced by surroundings and upbringing. Of course, you have already said that you believe the same thing, which is why this discussion has gotten so silly and why you are force to invent silly straw-man arguments rather than admit that we are on the same page (though we certainly have different views on how the law should respond to the realities we both recognize).

I am disinclined to take this much further, especially because I wish you would spend your time trying to find some support for your claims about sentencing practice "from the Founding." Here I think you are just inventing facts, rather than just inventing straw men, but I am sincerely hoping you have some support for your assertion.

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 27, 2023 12:35:50 AM

Wow. Just wow. Bill makes a point--don't commit crimes. Anon responds by attacking and using race to do so. Notwithstanding Doug's feeble attempt to say that anon's comment really wasn't etc.--the gist is quite clear, and anon herself ups the ante with the "strike a nerve" nonsense. The "white privilege" meme is pernicious--it gives rise to the idea that somehow whites have to "check their privilege", learn how to be "allies" and all sorts of other nonsense. I reject that out of hand. Yeah, there are people who have it easier in life than others. So what? That fact has been around since the dawn of human history. And while it is possible in my mind to mitigate certain sentencing responses based on a young criminal's upbringing, the categorical imperative of not committing violent crime obtains.

The inescapable fact is that anon has used race to attack a point of view. While it's not such a big deal in a blog foodfight, it is a big deal in other contexts. Would it be appropriate to respond to a white crime victim who wants the hammer dropped on some criminal by saying that it was his or her "white privilege talking"? Would it be appropriate for a college professor to openly refer to the speaker's race and say "easy for you to say." The answer, of course, is no. However, and I note Doug's silence on these points (as well as the lawsuit filed against OSU--a lawsuit that has disgusting allegations). Olu Stevens attacked a white family that was a victim of a heinous crime--were they privileged? And there were absolutely no consequences to "Judge" Stevens. And here Doug, you see how my walk the talk comments come in--one tactic that people have when they want to yap about "white privilege" (or the even more pernicious "white silence equals violence") is that when you bring up examples of non-privileged white people, you get accused of pointing out a speck, when there is a log. I don't care for any of it.

I can tell you this--if some professor dared refer to my race in class when discussing my point of view, there would be serious consequences.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 27, 2023 8:51:10 AM

You give away the game, federalist, when noting "there are people who have it easier in life than others." Bill did not say "don't commit crimes," he said avoiding crime is "not that hard." In that context, I read anon's comment as a statement that, generally speaking, "white men of privilege" are likely to find it "easier in life than others" to avoid getting involved with drugs and property crimes and violence. You could have debated the substance of that notion, but instead you cried "racism" and called for censorship.

You are certainly not the first, nor will you be the last, to cry "racism" and to seek censorship regarding the expression of ideas that you find concerning or provocatively articulated. But, as Bill notes, talk of race can distract or distort from other matters (though it has these blog comments going strong), and assertions of "racism" and calls for censorship are even more of an impediment to robust and open discussions. And it is because you were so quick to cry "racism" and call for censorship that I am disinclined to try to work through the range of different hypotheticals that you think anon's comments raise (obviously classroom discourse and blog debate are VERY different).

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 27, 2023 9:56:06 AM

I don't "give away the game"--by remarking that some have life by the you know what . . . . And it does not follow that the unremarkable fact that some have life easier than others justifies casting aspersions on a racial basis. That's obvious, and it's telling that you have no answers to what I've raised. Anon criticized a statement based on the race of the speaker. And then she comes back with a "strike a nerve" garbage. There is no real substance to debate--don't commit crime is good solid advice for everyone on the socio-economic ladder, and the "easy for you to say, white guy" is a sneer, not a "statement that, generally speaking, . . . ." It IS racist also, as it links criticism to the speaker's race. Just like the "wise [sic] Latina['s] comment.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 27, 2023 10:21:50 AM

Bill Otis,

Thank you for the humor on this Friday morning---it was needed.

Regarding your post, I will invoke the spirit of James Baldwin.

“I love America more than any other country in the world
and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize
her perpetually.”

To correct you, I don't think the country stinks at all. America is the greatest country on this planet and I love her. Thus, like Baldwin, I reserve the right to criticize her when I know that she is capable of so much better---notwithstanding any personal prosperity that I have had. This country---which includes my countrywomen and countrymen, have undoubtedly done things to make the world a better place and for that I eternally grateful. I am proud of all of my family members (and others) who have fought to preserve this Union. I am proud of country that has produced the likes of Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, Viola Liuzzo, Medgar Evers, etc. It's a testament of not only what America is, but what she can be. And it is in this spirit of knowing what she can be that I will continuously criticize her.

Another Baldwin quote is appropriate in this instance:

"History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely
something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or
even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great
force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within
us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and
history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely
be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of
reference, our identities, and our aspirations.”

Personally, I have no problem at all with your stance on crime and the rule of law. Perhaps, if we had more people from the ilk of Bill Otis---that is, those dedicated to the rule of law , who are anti-crime and pro-incarceration---the needless and barbaric slaughter and genocide of Native Americans could have been prevented as could the murder and enslavement (not to mention the many other unspeakable crimes) towards African-Americans. But we did not arrest and incarcerate our way out of that era of lawlessness where these crimes were committed against humanity with impunity. So why is that the only viable solution now?

Then again, I get it---there is no relation to those who slaughtered Natives or African-Americans and committed innumerable crimes against humanity in the name of America and those who foolishly commit street crime daily. There can't be any relation because to do that would suggest that the shame and disgust that we reserve for those contemporary committers of crime must also be reserved for those who have done far worse historically in founding this country and I think that, my friend, would tell us more about America than many of us (possibly, including you) would care to know.

Have you ever seriously questioned yourself as to why the statistics on the reservations and inner-cities are what they are or wonder if it is a coincidence that these groups bore the brunt of the crimes committed to allow this nation we love to prosper? Then again, I get it: In the worldview of Bill Otis, it is permissible for the authors of such devastation to be innocent. When you were a federal prosecutor, how many times did you stand before the Court and argue that the defendant's 'history and characteristics' under 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) warranted a certain punishment for the defendant's contemporaneous actions? But yet, the 'history and characteristics' of a country should be completely ignored from a present perspective.

Finally, I end this message as I started it---in the words of Baldwin:

“The crime of which you discover slowly you are guilty is
not so much that you are aware, which is bad enough, but
that other people see that you are and cannot bear to watch
it, because it testifies to the fact that they are not."

When you used the words, "guilty as charged," this is what came to my mind. Just know that if adults were truly responsible for the all of the choices they made, Bill Otis and Eric A. Hicks would likely not be in a position to call America home.

Posted by: Eric A. Hicks | Jan 27, 2023 11:01:30 AM

"Personally, I have no problem at all with your stance on crime and the rule of law. Perhaps, if we had more people from the ilk of Bill Otis---that is, those dedicated to the rule of law , who are anti-crime and pro-incarceration---the needless and barbaric slaughter and genocide of Native Americans could have been prevented as could the murder and enslavement (not to mention the many other unspeakable crimes) towards African-Americans. But we did not arrest and incarcerate our way out of that era of lawlessness where these crimes were committed against humanity with impunity. So why is that the only viable solution now?"


Posted by: federalist | Jan 27, 2023 11:42:29 AM

OMG OMG, I apologize to anon and Doug. "White privilege" does exist, and we white folks need to check our privilege. Let's start with this guy:


Posted by: federalist | Jan 27, 2023 11:44:48 AM

Are you saying (or implying), federalist, that some privileged white guys seem to get away with a lot of suspect stuff? It sure seems like you are casting aspersions on someone based in part on the fact he is a "white man of privilege." Hmm, I wonder if anon might soon be eager to accuse you of "racism" and demand your comment be censored. :-)

Jokes aside, for the record, you keep misrepresenting both what Bill said and what anon did. Bill did not say "don't commit crime" and anon did not "criticize" Bill saying "don't commit crime." Bill said avoiding crime is "not that hard" and anon commented on the fact that this statement was said by "a white man of privilege." Especially when accusations of racism are being made, I think it especially important to keep the basic facts clear (whatever you might want to imply about those facts).

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 27, 2023 2:24:37 PM

Come on, Doug--"easy to say" is criticism in the form of snark. It's an attack based on race--which is why it wouldn't be tolerated in the classroom--although given what has been alleged to have occurred at OSU in a federal lawsuit, I am not so sure.

As for Hunter, I am just casting aspersions--he's a dissolute and corrupt individual.

I wonder if anon would think that Bogdan Vechirko is privileged.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 27, 2023 2:41:38 PM

Doug --

"You give away the game, federalist, when noting "there are people who have it easier in life than others." Bill did not say "don't commit crimes," he said avoiding crime is "not that hard."

It isn't, as you know. This is not just why you and federalist and I aren't criminals. It's why the huge majority of minorities and poor people ALSO aren't criminals. The relatively small number who are simply make malicious choices the big majority, having greater care for their fellow citizens, decided against.

But even if it were hard to avoid committing crime, you have to do it anyway, as federalist correctly notes. Many of the obligations of citizenship are hard -- paying boatloads in taxes and serving in the military, particularly in time of war. Too bad. You do it anyway. And if you don't do it, there should be consequences, not excuses. (With all apology to the criminal defense bar, otherwise known as America's Excuse Factory).

"In that context, I read anon's comment as a statement that, generally speaking, "white men of privilege" are likely to find it "easier in life than others" to avoid getting involved with drugs and property crimes and violence. You could have debated the substance of that notion, but instead you cried "racism" and called for censorship."

It's your pal anon who could have debated the substance, right? Did she? No, not a word. Instead, she just dismissed my argument because I'm a disgusting "white man of privilege" (as are you, and as if white men of privilege couldn't reach correct conclusions simply because they're white, which was the only thing resembling a "reason" she offered).

"You are certainly not the first, nor will you be the last, to cry "racism" and to seek censorship regarding the expression of ideas that you find concerning or provocatively articulated."

Censorship has become the brand name of Wokeism, as you can't help knowing. When was the last time the Young Republicans shouted down or harassed or threatened a campus speaker? Private blogs like this one don't have the same obligations. Many of them censor and yet more have, regrettably from my point of view, eliminated comments sections altogether.

But something else and more revealing is going on here. Q: Why has the discussion been turned toward the alleged moral deficiencies of federalist and me? A: It's not to be nasty. There's a more designed purpose -- to divert attention from the moral deficiencies OF CRIMINALS. Remember the subject of this entry? I wouldn't blame you if you don't, since anon hijacked to thread to discuss my terrible, awful, really bad whiteness. The subject was the fabulous fraudster Elizabeth Holmes. But precious little has been said about her (fraud being no big deal to the defense bar), while lots and lots of race-linked bile has been poured on federalist.

When you're having trouble going after the comment, you can always go after the commenter!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2023 2:43:47 PM

Bill, I couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 27, 2023 3:29:42 PM

Professor Berman is a distinguished professor for good reason: He is perceptive and inciteful. He correctly understands my comment as stating nothing more than "generally speaking white men of privilege are likely to find it easier in life than others" to avoid getting involved with drugs, property crimes, and violence.

Posted by: anon | Jan 27, 2023 3:31:52 PM

I actually do not think I am especially perceptive and insightful here, anon, I just focused on what you actually said rather than to react with cries of “racism” and seeking censorship of another’s speech.

Notably, your comment made no mention whatsoever of any “moral deficiencies” or call anyone "disgusting" or "terrible, awful, really bad" (or say "easy to say" which federalist mysteriously quotes from some unclear source).

And yet federalist and Bill seem so very quick (almost eager) to take offense at your statement of fact (as Bill is a white man of privilege). I generally do not think of statements of fact as “racism,” but maybe your statement is really one of those “micro aggressions” I have heard so much about. Perhaps Bill and federalism can recommend some sensitivity training that I can take so I can better understand what they view as censor-worthy “racism.” I seemingly don’t get it, though maybe that is why they will encourage me to get some sensitivity training.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 27, 2023 4:16:47 PM

anon --

"Professor Berman is a distinguished professor for good reason: He is perceptive and inciteful."

I couldn't agree more. He incites me all the time.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2023 5:26:33 PM

Doug --

I never said anon is a racist or accused her of racism. I said her dismissal of my observation about avoiding committing crime is race-linked, which it unarguably is. It also lacks any stated reason to doubt what I said beyond a reference to my race and supposed privilege.

I have noted now more than once that privileged white men say true things thousands of times a day, so simply to note their race and privilege is hardly to make an argument for dismissing their conclusions.

Crime is easy to avoid. You know it and she knows it. This is the reason the huge majority of black people (and white people) don't commit crime. Those who choose crime are doing exactly that -- making a choice. She apparently spends her time trying to see that they never become accountable for it, which is why she has to pretend it's really their surroundings and not their decisions that mostly tell the tale.

Finally, as if on cue, you make my point that anon succeeded, with plenty of help from you, in shifting the thread from any analysis of the convicted fraudster Elizabeth Holmes to the race and economic status of federalist and me -- which is none of her business in addition to being irrelevant to "Sentencing Law and Policy."

Still, I freely let anon know who I am and what my background is, while she refuses and remains in the shadows. There's a reason for that, but I prefer to refrain from speculating about what it is. Maybe she could put up her client list to give us a clue.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2023 5:44:49 PM

Oh good grief. Snarky "easy for you to say" criticism tied up to the race of the speaker--but-all-I was trying to do was point out the speaker's privilege. Nice.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 27, 2023 6:10:55 PM

First point with more to come: federalist called anon’s comment “racism” (and said it should be censored). Do you endorse or reject federalist’s cry of “racism” with respect to anon’s initial comment?

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 27, 2023 6:11:20 PM

Doug --

I said anon's snippy comments about me were race-linked, which you conspicuously can't and don't deny. Beyond that, I'm not going to contribute to this thread's interest, which is becoming an obsession, in focusing on persons (conservatives, that is), rather than ideas. That's how the smearing of my wife got started. It was disgusting and reprehensible, and I'm not going down or near that path.

Here's the IDEA: Crime is easy to avoid for both blacks and whites. Anon knows this and so do you.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2023 8:52:08 PM

Bill: from the get-go, I have focused on the fact that federalist called anon’s initial comment “racism” (and said it should be censored). That's the idea that has me engaged in this thread, namely whether the comment merits that highly-pejorative label. I did not think so, and I now surmise you do not endorse this particular cry of "racism." 'nuff said.

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 27, 2023 9:16:43 PM

Doug --

The gist of anon's comment was that I am unable to discern whether crime is easy to avoid because I'm white. Her words were not racist in my opinion, but that idea is racist, because its core is that I'm intellectually handicapped because of my race. More importantly, her idea is false.

To try once again to return to a subject relevant to sentencing: As I said before, you and she and I all know that crime is easy to avoid, which is why the great majority of people of all races avoid it. Anon refuses to admit this because admitting it would make her job of manufacturing excuses for hooligans more difficult. Diversions into personal attacks on federalist are irrelevant, unworthy and boring.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2023 11:36:10 PM

Bill, I see a significant and important difference between asserting that someone is "intellectually handicapped" because of race/gender/class and saying that someone's perspective on the world is influenced by race/gender/class. I share your view that the former is false, but I consider the latter to be true because race/gender/class is a part of every individual's lived experience.

More to the point I certainly do not think a comment suggesting another's perspective is influenced by matters of race/gender/class amounts to "racism" that needs to be censored. You seemingly found the "gist" (or the "core") of anon's comment troublesome. I likewise often find the "gist" of a lot of comments here troublesome, but that is a lot different than making claims about "racism" (and suggesting censorship).

And I am certainly not making, nor asking you to make, any kind of "personal attack" on federalist. I simply asked whether you endorsed or rejected federalist’s cry of “racism” with respect to anon’s initial comment. I do not think answering that question calls for any personal comment, let alone an attack. But, as I have said before, I understand that many people are much more sensitive than I am when discussion turn to issues of personal identity.

Posted by: Doug B | Jan 28, 2023 2:10:14 AM

Using the race of the speaker to disparage the viewpoint (and disparagement was intended--the comment drips with "easy for you to say" dismissiveness) is racism.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 30, 2023 12:56:22 PM

Federalist, since learning that you believe Trump was "a great" president, I don't trust your judgment on any matter.

Posted by: mary | Jan 30, 2023 3:26:21 PM

"mary" (or whoever you actually are) --

If you have some high educational attainment, professional standing, broad experience or recognized achievement that would constitute at least the beginnings of a reason that federalist might care about your opinion of him, that's one thing. Instead, you're nothing more than a name (very likely a fake name) on the Internet. Why on earth should he care?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 30, 2023 4:37:47 PM

Trump made all the right enemies. LOL.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 30, 2023 5:41:21 PM

Mr. Otis, are you the attorney for federalist?

Posted by: mary | Jan 30, 2023 6:46:47 PM

Nope. Trump was a great president:

(1) Armed Ukraine when Obama did not.
(2) Middle East peace, 'nuff said.
(3) Whacking Soleimani
(4) Warp Speed
(5) Spectacular judicial appointments
(6) Renegotiated NAFTA
(7) Drilling
(8) Waxed Wagner Group in Syria
(9) Opposed Nord-Stream 2
(10) Jawboned Allies to cover more of defense needs
(11) Began the arming of Taiwan
(12) Changed the debate on China
(13) Border Stability

Posted by: federalist | Jan 30, 2023 7:45:20 PM

Doug--I think it beyond doubt that if I had said in a class something like "Qualified immunity has some basis in reality given the ever-changing and prolix rules of the game." and someone said, "Let's all note that opinion is being spoken by a privileged white male," there would be serious issues. Don't see how a blog post is really much different.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 30, 2023 7:51:22 PM

federalist, students do not get to speak in class behind a nom de plume so it is obvious beyond doubt that blog commentary is far different than classroom discussions. There are too many other obvious distinctions between classroom discussions and blog comments to list them all here (though one is that I have never had one student cry "racism" and call for the censorship of another student).

Beyond the many class/blog differences, your analogy is also substantively off because your comment is about legal doctrine, not about lived experience. I trust you would think, in response to your QI statement, that it could be appropriate for someone to respond "Let's all note that opinion is being spoken by someone who has worked as a police officer" (or "who has worked for a law firm representing police officers").

In the end, federalist, I prefer commentary focused on the substance of opinions, not on the identity of the speaker (which, of course, is why your "'rat judges" talk reflects poorly). But lots of opinions are impacted (and assessed) by lived experiences, a point you fundamentally concede when you talk up your own "personal history." If and when folks bring lived experiences into a discussion, I hope they will do so in a respectful and productive way. But shouts of "racism" and calls for censorship do not seem to me to be a useful way to respond even if they do not do so to your satisfaction.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 30, 2023 11:08:38 PM

mary (or whatever your name actually is) --

"Mr. Otis, are you the attorney for federalist?"

He doesn't need me and you can't afford me.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 31, 2023 3:29:18 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB