Thursday, June 29, 2006

People v. Mason (Cal. Ct. App. - June 27, 2006)

This opinion by Justice Turner correctly disposes of an otherwise-routine carjacking case. It's one of many, many pedestrian criminal cases. Apart from one of the players, the only interesting thing about the case is the profound fortuity of the fact that a police car was driving down the street (and flagged down by a witness) at the precise time the carjacking was taking place. But for that fact, I have no doubt that not only would the perpetrators have gotten away with the carjacking, but that they might well have also seriously injured -- or even killed -- the victim.

That's the good news, especially for the victim. The bad news -- although it admittedly completely pales in comparison -- is that the opinion is published. The victim, Jackie Long, is an actor, a fact briefly mentioned in the opinion. Jackie has only been in the business around four years, and has played fairly minor roles in a half-dozen B- and C- movies and shorts, mostly straight-to-video or modern blaxploitation flicks. So he's not at all famous -- or even well-publicized -- for those roles. By contrast, now the whole world gets to read what Jackie (understandably) says when he's carjacked by multiple gun-wielding carjackers as he leaves a private party in Hollywood: "Ya’ll can take everything, help, help, help, ya’ll can take everything you want."

I'm sure that Mr. Long would rather be remembered for other lines. And, perhaps, he one day will be.

For what it's worth, I wouldn't have published this one. It's a pretty straightforward and unremarkable case, both factually and legally. And I'm sure that Mr. Long would be happy to see it fade into obscurity.