Friday, January 09, 2009

U.S. v. Kaczynski (9th Cir. - Jan. 9, 2008)

Let's start out by admitting that you're not the most sympathetic party in the universe when you're the Unabomber. Let's double that when, arrayed on the other side, are the victims of your crimes. I think we can all agree that, emotionally, you've got a pretty steep hill to climb -- regardless of the potential merits of your arguments -- in convincing the Ninth Circuit that you deserve relief.

Let me also add that you don't do yourself any favors, Ted, by representing yourself. You had a dude who was apparently representing you. I'd have stuck with that. Wholly beyond the fact that s/he'll probably make better arguments that you did on the merits, you need to remember the "creepy" factor that results when a clerk reads work authored by the Unabomber. I mean, I know you like to write and all (witness your 30,000 word manifesto), and I also know that you have plenty of time in SuperMax to devote to the appeal, but trust me, in the future, stick with counsel if you can get one.

This is the final installment of what to do with the stuff that the U.S. seized when it arrested Kaczynski. And the answer is: We're putting it on the internet for sale. Ted doesn't like that, but tough. There's a restitution order out there, and this is a reasonable way to give them some of the money (and/or to let 'em use a credit bid to make sure your stuff is destroyed). Sorry you don't like that, but maybe that's one more thing you could have thought of before you decided to blow people up.

Unlike the lack of sympathy shown to Ted, not only does the Ninth Circuit go out of its way to be extremely respectful to the position of the unnamed victims, but it's also positively effusive in its expression of appreciation for the pro bono counsel who were appointed to represent them. Not only does the court go out of its way to thank these counsel (Steven Hirsch and Kelly Woodruff)in the text and identify them by name -- both of which are rare -- but the court also expresses this appreciation both repeatedly and strongly, opening with "The court is extremely grateful for the extraordinary efforts of pro bono counsel . . . ." Extremely! Extraordinary! You don't see that kind of praise from the Ninth Circuit often, and lemme tell you, for a shot at those types of kind words immortalized forever, I bet a lot of attorneys would be more than willing to take on pro bono assignments from the Ninth Circuit in the future. So good job to both Judge Hawkins (who gave the kudos) and Steve and Kelly (who earned them).