Monday, February 21, 2005

People v. Rhodes (Cal. Ct. App. - February 18, 2005)

I am incredibly predisposed to write overly long missives that incorporate far too many quotes. So you know it's bad when my reaction to an opinion is: "That's way too long, and has far too many quotes."

But that was indeed my reaction to Justice Swager's opinion in this case. I can't complain about the result. Justice Swager is right that it doesn't violate equal protection to punish second degree murder of a police officer through the use of a firearm more severely than certain forms of first degree murder. But the single paragraph at the end of Section I is about all that he needed to say on that point. The six pages that preceded this paragraph -- the vast majority of which were simply long quotations from other cases -- merely distracted from the central focus of the piece.

I'm a big fan of proving that you're right by using precedent. But you can go too far. This is an example.