Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bachmann Bails!

Embattled Minnesota 6th congressional district Congresswoman Michele Bachmann announced in a taped statement released earlier this morning that she would not seek a fifth term.  In an attempt to dispel rumors that the various probes into misdeeds surrounding her failed presidential campaign were behind her decision, Bachmann, in her tape statement, cited her desire to spend quality time with those people she "truly loved".

Meanwhile in related developments, secret service protection around former President George W. Bush was doubled as was  security in Heaven for Jesus.  When reached for comment, the former President, who said he also spoke for Jesus, stated the added security measures were "...only prudent when you have a known crackpot who soon will have lots of time on her hands."  "Besides", added W, "the memory of her steely grip and the fish lips she planted on me in the House Chambers before my State of the Union Address still gives me the Heeby Jeebys".

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Minnesota Racked By Disasters: Has the Apocalypse Struck the Twin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah?

St. Paul, MN

At precisely 5:00 PM today, at the exact time that Governor Mark "Pontius Pilatus" Dayton finished setting ink to paper with his signature on the Marriage Equality Bill thus making it law and just as the world's largest naked Roman orgy and debauchery was about to get underway, an Earth shattering horn began to blow, the ground began to tremble, the sky immediately fell black and huge jets of flame erupted from burst underground natural gas lines.  The assembled masses of naked same sex couples dropped their ceremonial daggers and animal (and some human) sacrifices as panic and terror swept the crowd.  High pitched, effeminate shrieks of "Bruuucce!", "Adam!"  "Stevie!  Where are you?!"

Flashing a shocked expression of fear and utter disbelief, the Governor was quickly hustled off by his bare chested, proletariat guard (formerly Capitol Security) shattering his dream to marry his pet dog, which he had planned to do (along with consummating the union) before the heathen masses.  Amidst the widespread panic, thousands of severe looking women with close cropped hair and sensible shoes, looked at their bouffantly dressed counterparts with utter disdain..

Meanwhile, two states away, in the lavishly decorated television studios of JVM Enterprises, a menacing, low growl gave way to an evil chuckle:  "I told you sinning bastards this day would come!  I told you so..." hissed Jack Von Impe.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Star Tribune's Columnist Satire Raises Serious Issue of Unconstututional Police Behavior

Star Tribune Columnist James Lilek had a satirical (imagine that) piece in Sunday's paper paper regarding the decision by some news outlets to tweet the sex and age of suspects caught by the DWI crackdown that went into effect preceding Minnesota's Fishing Opener.  Lileks, tongue firmly in cheek, suggests it would be far more effective for the police to force a suspect to divulge his twitter handle in order to humiliate the suspect, if such shame based deterrent is to have any effect.

Well life is always stranger than fiction and as a criminal defense attorney for over a quarter of a century, I have learned never to be surprised by how low a lazy cop is willing to go to cut corners and the U.S. and State Constitutions in order to get an arrest and enhance their personal stats.  That said, I give my obligatory disclaimer that the men and women of law enforcement who do their jobs honestly, are respectful of all citizens and their constitutional rights are absolute heroes and have my utmost respect.  By the same token I have no patience and utter disdain for the buillies in blue who lie in their reports, trample the rights of citizens and view their job as somehow making up for the fact that they were picked on losers in high school.

Lilek's article reminded me of some complaints I started getting from clients shortly after the no texting while driving law went into effect.  Apparently some officers and/or departments thought it would be a good thing to ask all persons pulled over for routine traffic offenses such as speeding to see their cell phones.  The officer would then walk back to his squad with it and if he saw that you had been on your device and texting shortly before the time of the stop, you might find yourself getting issued a second ticket for a violation of Minn. Stat. Section 169.475 Subd. 2:  

"Prohibition on use.

No person may operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device to compose, read, or send an electronic message, when the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic."

The above law does not give law enforcement the right to embark on a fishing expedition to raise further revenue for cash strapped local governments by violating the constitutional rights of citizen.  Now before one of my astute colleagues points it out, yes, I am fully aware that many courts have ruled that you do not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in some forms of electronic communication but I believe such rulings are not only wrong but incredibly short-sighted and potentially dangerous.  My advice to drivers faced with such a request is to "Just say NO!"

To read the Star Tribune column go to the link below and/or read my comment in response which I include below.  The P.S. refers to a New Years Eve party hosted by the columnist which my former college roommate and I crashed, probably circa mid 80's, it's a little hazy as we drank him out of his best booze.

May. 12, 13 8:57 AM
Since good parody, and humor in general, is based upon reality, your snarky little ditty brings up a bone of contention with me. Shortly after the no texting law went into effect, I started receiving calls from clients asking whether the police could ask to see their cell phone when pulled over for routine traffic matters. The sad fact of the matter is that a good percentage of cops push the envelope and often go over the edge of what is constitutional. 

Unless you are under investigation for something more serious that a routine traffic violation, the police have no right to see your cell phone or any other electronic gear for that matter. If you are under investigation for something more serious, the ONLY thing you should be doing or saying is to refuse such requests and ask to speak with a lawyer. 

Newshound and criminal defense attorney. 

P.S. Frank and I enjoyed your bottle of Black Label many many New Years ago.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Derby Day Is Bittersweet: 5th Anniversary of Death of Track Announcer Luke Kruytbosch

I love the horses.  To be more accurate, I love the track.  The horse track.  The now shuttered Hudson dog track.  Anything but a NASCAR track, which I find excruciatingly boring.  No, give me the Daily Racing Form a cold beer and a large fortune and I can turn it into a small fortune in no time (or "Hundreds into Ones" the great Keith Sykes / Jimmy Thackery tune off of Sinner Street).

Anyone that knows me has heard the story of how a group of friends and  I came within a grey mare's length of winning a pick six jackpot of over $700,000.  We were five for five having survived a maiden race and going naked in some lower class races and were sitting sweet with the three favorites in the sixth (8th race on the card).  I was literally pinching myself as  two of our favorites were in the lead as they came around the final turn only to be passed in the home a grey horse.  To add insult to injury there was no consolation for winning 5 out of 6 as in later years.  To this day I hate grey horses.

Well you can imagine how cool it was to hear from one of my old high school pals, Andy, that our fellow  high school and drinking buddy Luke was the track announcer at Hollywood Downs.  A few years later I was watching the Today Show the Friday before the Kentucky Derby and nearly fell out of my chair when I saw my old pal being interviewed.  He was now the track announcer at Churchill Downs.

I waited a while  then I started trying to figure out how to get a hold of Luke. Eventually I got a hold of his AOL email and emails led to a phone call and I had my old friend Klukenbach (Texas).  It should have come as no surprise but success had not changed Luke a bit.  He still had that self-deprecating sense of humor and was not afraid to poke fun at others, something we raised to an art form in high school.

Since Churchill closes down shortly after the derby, I was trying to talk Luke into coming up to Minnesota to watch some of the summer card at Canterbury.  Unfortunately the quality of horse racing in Minnesota had fallen off considerably since getting off to an exciting start in the 1980's.  Luke politely changed the subject by asking if I knew Paul Allen who he knew from track announcer circles.  I think Luke was a little envious of Allen in that I think secretly Luke would have liked to announce other sports like Allen has. One of Luke's funniest bits was to mock announce play by play of our friends when we did  something embarrassing.

In 2007 I got a new bike and started dropping hints with Luke that I could make a trip to come see him announce, say in early May.  It wasn't long before I got Luke's response.  He had found a photo ad from some kind of Kentucky personals craigslist site where some toothless white trash was offering "hospitality" in return for coinage.  I practically busted a rib laughing.  In early July of 2008 I emailed Luke and included a good natured ribbing about his dad, Carlos in an attempt to get a rise out of him.  Nothing.  I waited about a month and no response.  Finally in January 2009 I was speaking on the phone with an attorney in Louisville, and like I always do when I talk to a colleague in Kentucky, I bragged about knowing the track announcer at Churchill Downs.  There was a long silence and then the person at the other end said "What is your friend's name?"  "Well", I told him, "he has a really unusual last name, Kruytbosch, Luke Kruytbosch".  "I really hate to tell you this but your friend passed away last July".  He must have known we were really close.  Hey I don't get cable so how the hell would I have known that it was all over ESPN and that they even opened Churchill Downs in July for the funeral.

So today like every derby day, whether I am at the track or just in front of my t.v., I will say hi and honor my pal when the track announcer says those famous words:  "And they're off...".

P.S.  Pick a mudder.