Thursday, May 15, 2008

People v. Bordelon (Cal. Ct. App. - May 15, 2008)

I spent my morning reading the California Supreme Court's opinion in the marriage cases. All 160-plus pages of it (including the various concurrences and dissents). That's obviously the judicial highlight of the morning -- indeed, probably of the year or decade -- but since it's a high-profile case about which much ink will already be spilled, I doubt I'd have anything unique to add to the debate. But that's how I spent my morning, and I felt it to be productive (and interesting) use of my time. Which you can do, I might add, when you're an academic and don't have to bill it. Which is nice. Very, very nice.

Meanwhile, on a more pedestrian level, remember the elderly inmate in The Shawshank Redemption -- his name was Brooks Hatlen -- who almost kills a friend and fellow prisoner (Heywood) in order to stay in prison and, after being released, ends up hanging himself because he can't deal with the outside world? Here's the real life analogue. Someone who was similarly (in the words of Morgan Freeman) "institutionalized" by his stay in prision -- or simply sufficiently mentally ill -- that he was desperate to go back. So much so that within a week of being released, he ineptly robbed the same bank -- and same teller -- that he initially robbed in a seemingly deliberate attempt to be caught and returned to prison. And, if that was indeed his goal, succeeded with flying colors.

It happens. And it's not a defense to robbery that you wanted to get caught.

At least you can feel self-actualized, I guess. And better to be you than Brooks Hatlen, I imagine.

Now I'll spend the rest of my day being a pro tem. Hearing much, much less significant cases than whether there's a right to gay marriage or whether a defendant should be returned to jail.

But, still, every dispute is important to the participants. And they have the right to be carefully heard. So that's what I'll do.

A big law day -- on both a macro and micro level -- for our hero.