Tuesday, June 06, 2006

People v. Moniz (Cal. Ct. App. - June 6, 2006)

There haven't been that many particularly exciting cases lately, sadly. Maybe there's a type of "June gloom" in the California Court of Appeal and Ninth Circuit? Who knows.

But I did get a little laugh out of this case. Justice Raye starts the opinion in a manner that brought a smile to my face, if only because it sounded so funny. The first sentence reads like it's the beginning of a novel, rather than a judicial opinion. "Late one night, Deputy Dan Skaggs pulled over a car driven by Danielle Giampappas for sporting expired tags." The only way it could have been better is if it began: "It was a late, dark and stormy night, and the rugged, burly Deputy Dan Skaggs -- his bountiful chest heaving in the wind -- pulled over . . . ." Plus, how funny is it that the first sentence says that Deputy Skaggs pulled over the car for "sporting expired tags"? Sporting?! I love it. Not the type of language you're typically used to seeing in opinions. Oh, and I also smiled -- and felt like I was back in the early 1960s -- when Justice Raye repeatedly referred to the defendant as possessing a "marijuana cigarette". "Hey, dude, don't bogart that marijuana cigarette."

So I simply loved some of the language used by Justice Raye. Unfortunately, most of the 25 pages of the opinion are fairly plodding (and, quite frankly, boring), so this novella doesn't maintain its initial promise. Still, I loved the first line. Which I'll constantly remember -- accuracy be damned -- as: "It was a dark and stormy night . . . ."