Friday, October 11, 2002

He Who Has Stalled. Leahy continues to stand in the doorway, blocking the consideration of Michael McConnell and Miguel Estrada. See this WaPo editorial taking him to task.
Count Every Run. Channeling the spirit of Al Gore, I can tell you that the wrong team is playing in the NLCS -- sure the Giants may be ahead of the Cardinals right now, two games to zip, but they shouldn't be there -- the Braves should be there. Now, mind you, I'm no Brave partisan, in fact the lateness of this post betrays the fact that I'm an A's fan -- I've been in such a funk, I totally missed this story.

Until now.

The Giants did not beat the Braves in their five game series -- yes, it was close, but the Braves clearly outscored the Giants:

__Game--1---2---3---4---5-------Total Runs

We must put a stop to this series -- we need to let every run count! The Braves should be there, not the Giants.

In addition, I understand that the Cardinals are contemplating withdrawing and letting the Yankees play in their stead -- perhaps if they knew their true opponents should be the Braves, they wouldn't have to Torch their playoff hopes.
Sane. Ben notes that the Beltway Sniper has struck again in Virginia at an Exxon in F'burg (one I drove by yesterday afternoon). At the conclusion, he observes "Oh, I hope he's sane." The short answer, without even having apprehended the guy (yes, I'm profiling -- send Stormin' Norman after me), I can tell you that he is legally sane, at least as far as Virginia is concerned.

Basically, you have several versions of the insanity defense. The traditional, so-called the M'Naghten rule, holds there is no conviction if the defendant's had no idea what he was doing was wrong. The typical example is where someone killed thinking they were carving pumpkins instead of killing a person with a knife.

There was second component adopted to supplement this rule, generally known as the 'irresistible impulse' test holds the defendant has to have a mental disease which keeps him from controlling his conduct.

A more lenient or permissive standard came in the early 1950s, the Durham rule, that holds the defendant is not criminally responsible if his actions are the product of a mental disease/defect. If I remember correctly, it was this rule which was applied to John Hinkley.

About a decade after the creation of the Durham rule, the American Law Institute ("ALI") proposed a Model Penal Code (again, this is all rough recollection -- I may have dates wrong, but I'm pretty sure about the substance). Starting with M'Naghten, ALI lowered the insanity standard from an absolute knowledge of right from wrong to a substantial incapacity to appreciate the difference between right and wrong. It also incorporated some elements from the irresistible impulse test.

Virginia, if I remember correctly -- it's been a long time since the bar exam and I don't do criminal work -- follows M'Naghten and 'irresistible impulse.' The fact that this sniper has logically taken steps to elude the police and has resisted any impulse to kill at a time when apprehension is possible shows that the killer is legally sane. This killer is a sociopath, in that he follows no moral code but for purposes of the law, he is sane.

In addition, both Virginia and Maryland have the death penalty, but the District does not. Only one of the shootings has been in the District (Pascal Charlot, 72). If the suspect is apprehended in Virginia, I can guarantee that he will be charged with a capital offense. If apprehended in Maryland, I'm not sure -- the current administration has ordered a moratorium on the death penalty -- and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has pledged to continue that (now this appears to be an unwise move, politically -- will she have the courage of her convictions?). However it could be that the moratorium is just on the imposition of the penalty and not the seeking of it.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

In other news... Singer Tim McGraw has a song out that is causing a mild stir because of his reference to abortion. Specifically the song references a decision ''not to have a child.''

In other news, Andrea Yates is said to be making progress in her treatments, having cut back on her antipsychotic medication to just a quarter of what was originally prescribed. In addition, she has decided to take up writing country western songs and has written one about her decision "not to have any children."

Monday, October 07, 2002

Programing Note. Busy week ahead, probably not much posting. See you next week.
Jonah. Not a bad opening -- playing on 940 screens, Jonah grossed a projected 6.5 million. (This compares to $37.5m on 3357 screens for Red Dragon or 10.1m on 3022 screens for Tuxedo). See all the movie sales here.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Congratulations Twins. Y'all played a great game today. Best wishes for the remainder of the playoffs.