A few thoughts on the ongoing Kimberlin saga and yesterday’s arrest of Aaron Walker — this Investment Business Daily piece is a must read.
First thought : there’s a reason we don’t have capital murder trials on Judge Judy.
All me to make a zig-zaggy point about the practice of law with some TV shows references.
Shows like Judge Judy are essentially ‘Small Claims Court on TV’. Judge Judy packs in two cases in a half hour that includes 8 minutes of commercials. Wham bam gavel slam.
I like to watch Judge Judy but – she gets stuff wrong. All the time. Sometimes you want to scream at the TV, “Judge Judy, did you not HEAR what the ex-roommate just said?!?” But no, Judge Judy is already on to the next case. Right or wrong, we’re on schedule.
On the classic TV show M*A*S*H, they referred to the process of stitching up soldiers in the field as ‘meatball surgery’. It’s not the measured methodical surgery done in your fancy hospital. As author Richard Hooker said:
“We are not concerned with the ultimate reconstruction of the patient. We are concerned only with getting the kid out of here alive enough for someone else to reconstruct him.”
And so it is with small claims court. It’s meatball justice. Close enough for jazz. Mistakes will be made but all the cases on the docket will be heard.
The peace order / restraining order process is like that. These are quick operations. The whole Aaron Walker hearings was under an hour before he was handcuffed and led to a cell for blogging.
There’s a reason we don’t do capital murder cases or rape trials or grand larceny cases in the meatball justice format. These things are important and we don’t want or need them done in 45 minutes.
The First Amendment is important, too. Hearings that involve the constitutional rights of United States citizens shouldn’t be handled by the meatball justice formart of the Peace Order process. It’s not equipped to handle it and when it does, mistakes are made. Ask Aaron Walker.
Second Thought : We need some legal crowdsourcing strategy.
If you’re familiar with Aaron Walker’s story – and let’s face, most people are not – do you know about Seth Allen? No?
If you’re familiar with Patterico’s SWATing – and most people aren’t – are you familiar with Mike Stack’s? No, again?
This is a complex story with a lot of characters. It needs some over STRATEGY — not just tactics on each little bit, but some BIG legal thinking by lawyers who can figure out the right way to handle the whole mess.
And it’s important, too. It’s dealing with vital issues for anyone who writes or reads or comments on a blog or tweets or votes or has an opinion. Kimberlin has a posse of cyberthugs. They are targeting me and Aaron and Patterio and Libery Chick. And you.
They are targeting you, too, if you dare to speak out. And if you are afraid to speak out, then they’ve won.
Can we get some legal minds on this thing? A bunch of them? Some smart First Amendment lawyers who can look at this from a 50,000 foot level and solve the problem?