Confused about the outcome

You’re not the only one to ask, that’s for sure.  The short answer is this: The prosecution had the burden to remove all reasonable doubt from the jury’s minds — both that Zimmerman had committed every element of the crimes charged, and that he had not acted in self-defense. This...

Hello again

Hello, again. That was quite the hiatus, there. Long story short, I sort of got the feeling that folks wanted me to spend more time on the comic, which ate into the time I would have spent doing this.  And eventually took over.  Which is a shame, because here I...

Drawing the Line

Everyone knows that drunk drivers cause deadly car accidents. This is because alcohol impairs one’s ability to drive safely. So it is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol. Everyone knows that texting while driving causes deadly car accidents. This is because texting distracts your attention from...

Understanding the law

A lot of the law is extremely formulaic. True, human intelligence is required to spot issues, devise strategies, and (most importantly) persuade decisionmakers. But in its actual application, the law is often little more than a series of IF-THEN decisions. A computer could be programmed to do it. This is...

Why Are You Here?

The other day, the Charleston School of Law was kind enough to invite me to speak to its student body as part of its Professionalism lecture series. My theme was, of course, professionalism in the law. But in the context of why we practice law. If you’re interested, have a...

Finished!

I’ve been taking a break from posting here while cranking out the last installments of my guide to criminal law. The last one went up today (it touches on terrorism, but the fact that it was posted on 9/11 was the purest coincidence). And just in time, too. Because the...

On Strict Liability, Regulatory Offenses, and Overcriminalization

The latest Illustrated Guide post is finally up. It only took for-freaking-ever, what with work and family and something like twenty rewrites. It goes into some of the problems with strict liability, overcriminalization and regulatory crimes — which is the perfect way to sneak in a (simplified) history lesson  on...

A PhD in Law?

Yale Law School has announced that it will now offer a PhD in Law — apparently the first time a doctoral program in law has been offered in the United States. One can only ask “what for?” Ostensibly, the purpose of a PhD is to advance human knowledge. You get that...

On Overcriminalization: There’s nothing new under the sun

As we’ve mentioned perhaps a dozen times by now, we do this illustrated guide to law in our rare moments of free time. (Latest post on self-defense law is here.) We make every effort to avoid citing case names or statutes in that guide, because they’re almost never necessary for...

100%

The call came, as they always do, at the last minute. “I’ve been charged with a crime, and I have to be in court in two days, and my lawyer isn’t doing anything, and I’m scared.” The caller came in to meet with me in person, as they always do...