Thursday, July 31, 2014

Something I Still Don't Get ...

... is why, in criminal trials, prosecutors or judges should have any power at all over what kind of defense someone accused of a crime might choose to present to a jury.

We've seen this a number of times with respect to marijuana prosecutions, where federal judges have ruled that even though "medical marijuana" is legal in a particular state, defendants can't tell the jury "I should be acquitted because what I did wasn't illegal where I did it."

Now in Florida, judges are deciding, based on prosecutorial requests for suppression, whether or not defendants can claim that the "Stand Your Ground" law clears them of murder charges.

The case that caught my attention this morning is that of Paul Charles, accused of murdering sailor Matthew Snow. Based on the alleged facts of the case, I doubt that a jury would buy a "Stand Your Ground" defense, but Charles has just been forbidden by a judge from even presenting that defense (as well as a "Castle Doctrine" defense, which also sounds sketchy enough that a jury would likely find it unconvincing). [hat tip -- Sayfie Review]

That is, pardon my French, bullshit.

It should be up to the jury to decide whether they believe Charles and/or agree with Charles, not up to the judge to decide what Charles can say.

This ruling is an attempt by the prosecution, aided by the judge, to suppress any possible hint of "reasonable doubt" that might, just might, convince one or more jurors to vote for acquittal.

Between prosecutorial pressure to take a "plea bargain" and prosecutorial/judicial gaming of this kind to keep conviction rates in the 90%+ range, it's fraudulent to refer to the current regime as a "justice" system.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Best Ride I Ever Had ...

... that didn't involve sexual intercourse.

I found the new bike, bought the new bike, rode the new bike eight miles home.

"New," of course, is a relative term. It's actually used -- a very tall Trek 7000 road bike that I got for the insanely low price of $100:

I enjoyed the ride home so much that I almost decided to do my daily 11.3-mile "loop" for a second time today. Almost. I'm actually pretty sore from doing that loop the last four mornings on Daniel's knobby-tired mountain bike while I looked for a new ride. Thank God that's over. And thank God I balked at the last minute Monday night when I had actually rolled yet another Wal-Mart special to the register and decided to hold out for the right bicycle.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Yes, I Fell Off The Blogging Wagon ...

... mostly because I've been climbing on the real bicycle. Continuing to lose weight and build muscle. Not as fast as I'd like to, but steadily.

I was set to break 100 miles on the bike last week -- on a single-speed "beach cruiser" with out-of-true wheels and that probably needs a tuneup in other respects -- when I had a flat with no spare tube and couldn't find the hole to patch it (15 miles into a planned 30-mile ride; my "regular daily ride if I have nothing else going" is a little over 11 miles, but each Friday I pick some fairly distant place where I'd like to eat lunch and ride there and back to "earn it;" this week that place was Satchel's Pizza, a little over 14 miles from home -- had a slice of "The Major" and their made-on-the-spot, stevia-sweetened diet cola ... mmmm, good). I ended up at about 82 miles for the week, the last 11 on my son's mountain bike.

I'm looking at other bikes, and may buy one as early as tonight. I'd prefer to stay single-speed, but I'm awaiting reply from someone selling a 7-speed road bike right now -- it looks like the best thing going for the money I have to spend.

At commenter Shawn L's recommendation, I finally went and had a look/sit/brief pedal session on a recumbent bike. Interesting, but I just don't think it's for me. In addition to any decent recumbent bicycle being well out of my current price range (low three-figures -- VERY low three-figures unless I wait), it just doesn't feel right. I've been biking either sitting up straight or bending forward for about 40 years now. I like it. I suppose I might like recumbent biking better once I got used to it, but I don't want to get used to it ... at least not right now.

If I can get onto something comfortable, I'll have my first 100-mile week this week, and start working up from there.

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