Criminal

Back in 1984, phones could only make phone calls and typewriters were still a thing. Prince, Tina Turner and Van Halen sold millions of records (vinyl was a thing back then, too) and the popular movies of 1984 were “Ghostbusters,” “Karate Kid” and “Footloose.” Though most of that era’s pop culture has faded into history, the decision made 36 years ago to raise the minimum drinking age to 21 still stands today. Rethinking the drinking age Twelve years ago, former Middlebury College president John McCardell led the “Rethink the Drinking Age” movement that garnered support from college students and more…
Every year, I ask my students to read a variety of articles on the use of language, especially passive voice.  For the last few years, I’ve included a 2015 New York Times opinion piece on how Texas history books use passive voice to hide the acts of pre-Civil War enslavers and make slavery sound less horrific than it was.  See Ellen Bresler Rockmore, How Texas Teaches History, New York Times (Oct. 21, 2015); see also Dana Goldstein, American history textbooks can differ across the country, in ways that are shaded by partisan politics, New York Times (Jan. 12,…
Even the best legal writers have that one word (or two) they always misuse. Which is it for you? It’s probably not the they/they’re/their debacle. Most of us have that one down. But for whatever reason, several others pop up……
In Jamison v. McLendon, District Judge Carlton Reeves drafted a powerfully written and compelling opinion that highlighted a law enforcement officer’s egregious – and unconstitutional – treatment of a suspect in violation of the Fourth Amendment.[1] Then, Judge Reeves let the officer off the hook. Specifically, Judge Reeves held that the qualified immunity doctrine shielded the officer from liability. That conclusion was wrong. By way of background, in Jamison, a law enforcement officer stopped the plaintiff (Jamison) for an alleged license plate tag violation.[2] The officer believed that Jamison had illegal items in his car, although this belief…
The tensions between law enforcement and many United States citizens is palpable. When a cop pulls out behind you or seemingly comes out of nowhere to pull you over, what thoughts go through your mind? What emotions are you feeling? More than likely, you are nervous, anxious, stressed, irritated, scared or all of the above. These feelings have been felt by citizens for a long time when confronted by a police officer, even if they know that they did nothing wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt. Now, while law enforcement officers should be able and trained to control their…
My colleague Diana Simon has a short article up on SSRN about the importance of transitions in legal writing, which is set to be published in Legal Communication and Rhetoric: JALWD. The article has been on my “to read” list for a while, and I took some time to read it today. I am so glad I did, because I learned a lot (see, I just used a transition there–proof that I learned a lot). Diana divides her article into three main points (more on the “power of three” later). First, she delves into the science behind transitions. She shares…
As you know, your smartphone knows just about everything. It can give you turn-by-turn directions around the Phoenix metro area, and it can play songs and games, show movies, answer questions, give advice and yes, it can even make phone calls. You can add one more thing to the list of amazing things your smartphone can do: it can tell when you have had too much to drink. According to a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, by detecting changes in your walk, you phone can determine if you have consumed too much alcohol. Can it…
Labor Day celebrations traditionally include family, friends, food and fun. Another Labor Day tradition begins well before the holiday, however: ramped up DUI patrols across the Phoenix metro area. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began its “annual high-visibility enforcement campaign” nationwide a few days ago “to help combat drunk- and drug-impaired driving.” Making their presence known It should be noted that “high-visibility enforcement campaign” means that police agencies roll out extra DUI patrols, typically concentrated on busy streets and near clubs and bars. In that way, as many drivers as possible see traffic stops and flashing police-car…