Monday, March 16, 2009

People v. Kim (Cal. Supreme Court - March 16, 2009)

Let's make a list of things not to do.

First, if you're a minor, don't possess live ammunition. Yes, it's just a misdemeanor, but still; it's a crime (plus it's lame). Second, if you've ignored my first instruction, while you're on probation for that offense -- and while you're waiting to start your freshman year at UCSB -- don't burglarize a tool shed. You moron.

So you've ignored (1) and (2). You've now started college. Surely you're older and wiser, right? So why did you promptly get caught shoplifting from the UCSB bookstore?!

One last thing. Still having not learned your lesson, your parents then give you some money to go buy some groceries at Costco, at which point you shoplift again (and, pitifully, yet again, you're stealing video games). Wow. You're definitely going to be the UCSB graduate of the year.

Now you get charged with a felony. And have to do real (read: non-weekend) time. Congratulations.

By the way, one more thing. Everything I say above goes double if you came to the United States from South Korea as a young child. Because that means you're not a citizen. And even with attorneys and judges doing a massive amount of work on your behalf and feeling incredibly sympathetic towards you, it means that you're going to be deported to South Korea. Which is a place far different than UCSB, and where you definitely don't want to spend the rest of your life if you've lived in the United States for virtually forever.

And when your efforts reach the California Supreme Court, with sympathetic judges vacating prior sentences so you avoid mandatory deportation, you'll find that the law doesn't look favorably upon habeas remedies that transpire only -- as here -- only after you have already fully served your sentence. So no joy here either.

All of which could have been avoided if you had gotten even a smidgeon of a clue upon, say, entering college.

Yes, I know that not everyone "thinks about their future" all the time. But when the consequences are prison and deportation, maybe realize that pocketing a video game is far from worth it.