Monday, September 23, 2019

People v. Rodriguez (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 23, 2019)

One of my (many) flaws as a writer is that I often craft overly long sentences, full of semicolons, dependent clauses, unnecessary adjectives, etc.  I know I shouldn't.  But I can't seem to help myself.

So when I read the first sentence of this opinion by Justice Wiley, I was literally taken aback.  It's so simple.  So straightforward.  So easy. 

The opinion begins:

"Giovanny Rodriguez shot a man."

Yep.  That's what it's about.  Short and sweet.

And that's not the only sentence that Justice Wiley uses that's like that.  "Rodriguez was in a gang." "Police secretly recorded all this." "This is forfeiture."  Stuff like that.  There's even one paragraph that, in total, is five words:  "This case differs from Schueren."

Now, not all the sentences in the opinion are like that.  But enough are.  There's clearly a deliberate effort to be short and to the point.

I could definitely learn something here.  As, I suspect, could many of us.

On the merits, I recommend reading Justice Stratton's partial dissent.  It's super short.  And it raises an important point.  She begins by saying (accurately):  "Any way you slice it, defendant is serving more minimum prison time before he is eligible for parole because he successfully exercised his right to trial on the premeditation allegation. So, even though he is legally less culpable without a finding of premeditation, he faces more minimum time in custody."  And later asks the reader:  "Who among us thinks it is logical and usual to keep a defendant imprisoned longer for an unpremeditated crime than for the same premeditated crime?"

Well now.  That does seem strange, doesn't it?

Definitely work checking out.