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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Things Could Be Different

Mark W. Bennett runs for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Place Six in the upcoming election. He is the Libertarian nominee. When asked why he was running. he was most direct: "Somebody has to," and that the incumbent stands for the status quo. He opposes partisan elections for judicial office, says that they are harmful to freedom and justice, since long-time partisans get nominated and, therefore, elected, even though if one were to seek the best judges possible, Republican or Democratic party hacks would be the last place reasonable people would look. He offers a different choice.
Mark W. Bennett caused part of the statute against improper relationship between educator and student to be held to be unconstitutional on the ground that non-obscene materials that concern sexuality may well be appropriate objects of study, and disallowing communication about them is a content-based restriction on protected speech. Examples would be "The Rape of the Sabine Women,  the "Venus de Milo," ancient Greek myths concerning the sexual prowess of Zeus and Renaissance ribald plays (I noticed that there was no mention of the Bible-- the end of the story of Noah, Lot's daughters, the Song of Solomon, etc.).
Bennett proposes to make lawyers work harder-- he believes CCA judges are afraid to find ineffective assistance of counsel when defense lawyers give it and are afraid to recognize pleadings that do not state a cause of action, when prosecutors write them.
Many law students and young lawyers, when they first encounter criminal practice are struck how much the State seems to always be fighting from the high ground. The criminal laws that are important on a day-to-day basis favor the State, either directly or by effect. And on top of that, judges who use their considerable discretion to practically always  favor the State tend to be rewarded by the electorate rather than punished. Bennett appears to find this scandalous, and wishes to show that the status quo is not inevitable, it is what the electorate votes for. People could vote for something different. 

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