The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Delaney speaks at Wing Nuts

Last Tuesday I went to the Wing Nuts weekly lunch (gavelled by Bill Napoli) at the Eagles club in Rapid City. Recently retired circuit judge Jack Delaney was the speaker. Delaney was the judge who sentenced me to 45 days in the workhouse and zippered my lips for a year with respect to cannabis advocacy.

His talk was humorous as well as contemplative. He elucidated on the typical 3-2 split in the So. Dak. Supreme Court, mentioning that if one of the three had gone the other way, which could easily have happened, on a number of cases, then, for instance, the search and seizure laws in SD would have an entirely different look.

When Delaney entered, the only available seat was next to me, and he was early, so we got to have a little chat. I might mention here that Delaney and I knew each other when he was a Spearfish lawyer and I was, among other things, a cocaine importer, supplying the needs of several folks whose names you would recognize. The first thing he said to me, after we shared a grin over the irony of the situation, was "They ought to fucking legalize marijuana."

That led to my observation that lawyers and judges should stop encouraging the prosecution of such cases and his look of astonishment that such a thing could even be considered. "We don't have any choice; it's the law."

To which I replied, "That reminds me of what the SS sergeant said; 'Personally I like you Jews, but laws is laws.'" Delaney then looked puzzled, as if I had changed the subject.

All of which brings me back to my ongoing observations (see posts going back for a few weeks) about the myth of "authority."

After Delaney's presentation, he fielded questions from the group of some 40 attendees. A woman whose name I don't know asked if there was a way we could prevent the institution of Sharia law in South Dakota. Delaney, stifling a laugh, said he didn't think it was an issue. My thought on that is that most of the people who attend Wing Nuts meetings would be completely comfortable with Sharia law.

Rep. Phil Jensen, who introduced a bill that would have essentially declared open hunting on abortion doctors in the last legislative session, extended his perfect record of stupidity by asking, "Do you think that the faculty at So. Dak. universities should be balanced between conservatives and liberals?" Delaney more or less avoided the question, which was a quite reasonable reaction as far as I am concerned.

Try to imagine the questionnaire that would attempt to differentiate a "conservative" from a "liberal." I envision students being able to choose liberal calculus or conservative calculus.


Donna said...

Bob- you know I love ya- and I support the cause 100%. I have to take issue with you on encouraging judges to ignore the letter of the law. Personally, that's not what I want them to do. If you have a judge making decisions based on his emotional feeling regarding the law it will be out of control. I don't want a judge up there persecuting my OB/GYN because he believes differently than I do on choice issues. Once you open the floodgates to a judge making his own rules, you have lost control.

The bottom line is that we need to get the law changed- period. Until then, I encourage judges to obey the law and attorneys to continue to defend those that are in need of defense, regardless of my belief in the validity of the law. Personal beliefs are personal beliefs. These people took an oath to uphold the law and I admire their commitment to do just that. You need to stop persecuting and insulting the people who have made this commitment to keep justice flowing as best they can. Insulting their integrity,morality and comparing them to Nazi's is not going to help our cause. Stop blaming them and putting them in charge of repair- they didn't create this situation.

Bob Newland said...

The nazi comparison was appropriate, as would have been mention that within the memory of my great-grandfather, courts were forced to return runaway slaves to their owners.

The judges and lawyers are more responsible for creating this situation than anyone else. They also have a greater ability to start repairing it than anyone else. SOMEONE has to see evil and attempt to right it.

Donna said...

Seriously- the people you are insulting are not the exact ones responsible for this, any more than you or I are responsible for it, or slavery, or the Nazi's. By making enemies within that group you are not going to encourage assistance. No one is saying the law is right- it is just that- the law. Until it is changed, you cannot expect people to sacrifice their careers to go against what they are put there to do- uphold the law. A judge would do that one time and most likely no longer be a judge.

Your great-grandfather's era was also a situation forced upon them by the law. They were able to change the law to achieve their goals- get the connection ?

Might I suggest you use some positive influence to get them to help with the situation. All I'm saying is this- calling someone a Nazi and then expecting them to help you is insane.

larry kurtz said...

You put up a good post, Bob.

Napoli is easy to figure out: he's a short guy. I envy your ability to sit down with the enemy and listen to unreasonable people in denial about their eating disorders pontificate about the evil that surrounds them.

Bob Newland said...

Donna, I carefully consider my approach, despite all indications to the contrary.

I have already made the enemies I have made. I hope to make more. It is a well-established principle of common law that a law which violates common sense or morality is not a law at all.

I'm as aware as the next guy that laws are enforced by folks with guns and that a preponderance of guns trumps common sense and morality.

All my life I have watched people with guns ruin the lives of people with fewer guns for "offenses" the people with more guns have themselves committed. If a judge is so stupid as to not know this, then he likely didn't catch the SS allusion.

This man put people in jail --often-- for "offenses" he openly says should not have been offenses. He apparently has no remorse. If he turns out to be an enemy, I don't care.

taco said...

Wonderful post!

BF said...

Bob has a point. Not sure how the chain of command works, but it seems like Eric Holder (via Obama) could simply stop prosecuting marijuana violations, similar to the way they stopped prosecuting DADT cases prior to the repeal of the law. That would take care of the Federal aspect of it anyway. Then it would probably only take 20 or so years for SD law enforcement to follow suit.

Meanwhile, it's probably up to the people to do it.

No doubt Bob could probably talk 10,000 people or so to show up in Pierre and have a smoke-in at the State Capital building and clog the courts and jails with wave after wave of demonstrators being civilly disobedient.

No doubt he can persuade them all to do this by insulting them and calling them Nazis if they don't.

Donna said...

When one is engaged in battle and the current strategy has proven itself to be ineffective, might one consider a change in strategy ?

If you tolerate Holder's ability to stop prosecuting pot violations, where do you begin to stop him from picking and choosing which laws to enforce ? That sounds like a good theory when it supports a cause in our favor, but pretty unrealistic. Suppose Holder decides it's OK to murder someone if you have a good reason ?

Bob Newland said...

Maybe BF could just SMD.

Maybe some people could, if they "support" the cause, use their energy to do something constructive rather than criticize the way others do things.

Or they can simply sit back and admire the commitment of the animals who "took an oath" and then use it to put people in cages for doing nothing.

BF said...

No thanks, Bob. Who knows where that thing's been.

larry kurtz said...

I hadn't thought of this, Bob. Think a trebuchet could fling the wing nuts outta here?

Bob Newland said...

At Masada, the Romans used catapults to throw live Jews at the walls of the besieged stronghold.

It would be fun, for example, to toss Glenn Brenner at the parapet of the courthouse. Hit or miss, it's a win.

Douglas said...

Prosecutors always pick and choose what to prosecute and what not to.

By now lawyers and lawyers as judges should be able to present very good cases in all directions that do not necessarily mean more income for them but might rationalize the ration between prosecution for pot and booze.

I am no friend of either form of brain destruction, but my guess is that alcohol does farm more health and social damage than would pot were it legalized like alcohol.

Both should be sold only to those licensed to purchase and detailed records of purchases should be kept.

The ultimate irony would be seeing Bill Janklow in his terrible situation with brain cancer finding comfort from pot.

Les said...

Bills son in law received a personal pardon for possession of pot and DUI so one might assume he would have the ability to bring some home.

I wish BJ the best and appreciate what he's done for SD, but JC he aint.

larry kurtz said...

Doug, you are brilliant! I just put up a poll asking readers to vote on the cannabis for Janklow idea. Please to to ip and vote!