The Portia of our Chambers

adding an imaginative tone to what would otherwise be a dusty, dreary little clerks' office full of barristers, biscuits, and briefs.


john oliver is really not fucking around 

Sesame Street is, as usual, right on top of the big issues that affect children in the United States and I think they are a credit to children’s entertainment for discussing the challenges and heartbreak of growing up with a parent who is incarcerated.

That having been said, John Oliver is so right.

(Source: sandandglass, via therumpus)

“I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man. I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over…. ‘Let me search your car.’ … Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me.”

—   Attorney General Eric Holder, to community college students during a visit to Ferguson, Mo. (via latimes)

(via latimes)

When Police Wear Cameras

"In the first year after the cameras’ introduction, the use of force by officers declined 60%, and citizen complaints against police fell 88%."



Ferguson, Mo. | August 13, 2014

1. A protester throws back a smoke bomb while clashing with police. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

2. Riot police clear a street with smoke bombs. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

3. Police surround and detain two people in a car. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

4. Police officers work their way north on West Florissant Avenue, clearing the road with the use of tear gas and smoke bombs. (Robert Cohen/AP)

5. A police officer patrols a business district. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

6. A demonstrator, protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, stands his ground as police fire tear gas. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

7. An explosive device deployed by police flies in the air. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

8. A demonstrator holds up a Pan-African flag to protest the killing of Michael Brown. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

9. A device fired by police goes off in the street. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

10. A demonstrator throws back a tear gas container after tactical officers worked to break up a group of bystanders on Chambers Road and West Florissant in St. Louis. (Robert Cohen/AP)

(Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

(via cleolinda)


A Washington Post reporter.

In America.



The police in Ferguson are spraying tear gas and arresting peaceful protesters and reporters (2 reporters so far). Christina Coleman is an NBC Channel 5 news anchor from St. Louis…Son.

LTMC: The first tweet.

Holy shit.


"I haven’t seen anything that isn’t either pleasing or funny on that website."

Dead. I am dead.

(Source: Yahoo!)

When the judge forced me to trial on the first setting, before I’ve been paid.



Hahahahahaaa yes this has happened to me.  It only needs to happen once before you learn to never let it happen again.  


Top: A vintage illustration of Charlotte Corday, after an 18th or 19th century engraving

Bottom: A wax museum tableaux of Charlotte Corday being arrested for Marat’s murder

[source: my scan/collection]

Just some historical crimes for your Monday morning. 

“I think - I don’t know - but I think I could be brave enough.”

—   C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (via kvtes)

(Source: h-o-r-n-g-r-y, via kvtes)


Dean Spade, founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a legal collective that provides free services to low-income transgender people and transgender people of color, worries that the lack of any clear policy dictating who should receive hormones can lead to serious and deliberate inequalities. Spade notes that transgender people are among the most severely impacted by racist systems of criminalization, and points to reports indicating that trans individuals, especially those of color, suffer shockingly high rates of arrest and imprisonment compared to other demographics. About 47 percent of black transgender people have been incarcerated at some point in their lives, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

“Prisons are, in reality, full of poor people [who] violate minor drug laws,” Spade says. Regardless of the crime committed, “the idea that people in prison in general don’t deserve medical care is a biased and frightening notion.”

Read more of Kristen Bahler’s article on the lives of transgender women in prison on Bitch Media

Charts from  Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey

SCOTUS Musings

First hand experience makes a difference:

Since all the Justices have cell phones, they all understood the importance of protecting privacy by curtailing warrantless cell phone searches.

Since only three of the Justices have the ability to reproduce, more than half of the Court decided to limit a woman’s ability to obtain contraceptive health care through her employee health plan. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not amused.


Justice Ginsberg’s epic Hobby Lobby dissent is already a song.  


Justice Ginsberg’s epic Hobby Lobby dissent is already a song.  

“The justices will have to decide how to apply an 18th-century phrase — the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of “unreasonable searches and seizures” — to devices that can contain 100 times more information than is in the Library of Congress’s 72,000-page collection of James Madison’s papers.”



I’m waiting with bated breath for this evening’s summaries of oral argument in Riley v. California and US v. Wurie.  These cases hit so close to my daily practice — I have filed countless motions to suppress cell phone and smart phone searches after cavalier law enforcement seizures.

As a boots on the ground criminal defense practitioner, the issues that I find most disturbing with a cell phone/smart phone seizures are: first, the fact that cell phones/smart phones are not, in fact, phones, but rather small computers capable of holding a lifetime of personal data and GPS tracking information; and secondly, that obtaining a warrant to search takes a bare minimum of time and effort (as you can imagine, it can be done in moments with a cell phone/smart phone — all they need is a barebones statement of probable cause). In essence, the amount of time and work it takes to get a warrant is so minuscule compared to the amount of information a cell phone/smart phone can reveal, that these repeated warrantless searches of cell phones/smart phones are just another example of law enforcement making an end run around the Constitution.

I find the law enforcement counterargument — that cell phones/smart phones can be remotely “wiped” of information while police pause to get a warrant — unconvincing.  First, there are inexpensive ways to store a cell phone/smart phone in a signal-proof protective bag while getting a warrant. Those bags and envelopes are widely available and not expensive.  Secondly — and much more importantly, I’d wager — is that the vast majority of arrested people do not have a co-conspirator sitting at a computer waiting to wipe their phone.  They just don’t.  They are not part of a massive conspiracy or drug cartel with endless resources and a tech guy on the payroll.  They are poor people, or drug-addicted people, or mentally ill people, or people who are driving on a suspended license or forgot to signal.  No one is going to tamper with their phones while they sit in the back of a police car.  That’s paranoid law enforcement nonsense. 

(via portiaofourchambers)

Reblogging myself because I am tickled pink with SCOTUS’ unanimous decisions in Riley and Wurie.  I’m so glad that the justices understood that smart phone technology is here to stay; that carrying tiny computers with our entire lives on them in our pockets is how it’s always going to be and not just a fly by night technological fad.  I’m so glad that they understood that searching a cell phone incident to arrest is a contemporary manifestation of England’s General Warrant over the colonists — a primary reason the American colonies fought for independence.  I’m so glad that the Court affirmed that privacy is important, even in the age of digital transparency.  It gives me hope that the Fourth Amendment will endure.

Chief Justice Roberts gets almost snarky and I love it:

"Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant."