FEBRUARY 17, 2006

These are the Ramblings of a small town, (Holden, population 2,700), Missouri, country lawyer. They contain my random thoughts and observations on current events and my life and experiences in the Solo Practice of law.
Compiled here are the Ramblings for 2002 - 2006.

I have decided to finish my legal career serving the citizens of Johnson County, Missouri as their Associate Circuit Judge.  I ask for your support. 


Archived Prior Ramblings

In Memoriam:
September 11, 2001

  02-22-02  03-30-02  04-05-02
  04-21-02  04-27-02  05-01-02
  05-03-02  05-10-02  05-17-02
  05-31-02  06-21-02  06-26-02
  06-29-02  07-04-02  07-05-02
  07-12-02  08-02-02  08-10-02
  08-21-02  08-23-02  08-30-02
  09-06-02  09-11-02  09-11-02F
  09-13-02  09-20-02  09-27-02
  10-04-02  10-11-02  10-18-02
  10-25-02  11-01-02  11-08-02
  11-15-02  11-22-02  11-29-02
  12-06-02  12-13-02  12-20-02

  01-03-03  01-10-03  01-10-03R
  01-17-03  01-24-03  01-31-03
  02-07-03  02-14-03  02-21-03
  02-28-03  03-07-03  03-14-03
  03-21-03  03-28-03  04-04-03
  04-11-03  04-18-03  04-25-03
  05-02-03  05-09-03  05-16-03
  05-23-03  05-30-03  06-06-03
  06-20-03  06-27-03  07-04-03
  07-11-03  07-18-03  07-25-03
  08-01-03  08-08-03  08-15-03
  08-22-03  08-29-03  09-05-03
  09-12-03  09-19-03  09-26-03
  10-03-03  10-10-03  10-17-03
  10-24-03  10-31-03  11-07-03
  11-14-03  11-21-03  11-28-03
  12-05-03  12-12-03  12-19-03

  01-02-04  01-09-04  01-16-04
  01-23-04  01-30-04  02-06-04
  02-13-04  02-20-04  02-27-04
  03-05-04  03-12-04  03-19-04
  03-29-04  04-02-04  04-09-04
  04-16-04  04-23-04  04-30-04
  05-07-04  05-14-04  05-21-04
  05-28-04  06-11-04  06-18-04
  06-25-04  07-09-04  07-16-04
  07-23-04  07-30-04  08-06-04
  08-13-04  08-20-04  08-27-04
  09-03-04  09-10-04  09-17-04
  09-24-04  10-01-04  10-08-04
  10-15-04  10-22-04  10-29-04
  11-05-04  10-12-04  11-19-04
  11-26-04  12-03-04  12-10-04
  12-17-04  12-24-04  12-30-04
  01-07-05  01-14-05  01-21-05
  01-28-05  02-04-05  02-11-05
  02-18-05  02-25-05  03-04-05
  03-11-05  03-18-05  03-25-05
  04-02-05  04-08-05  04-15-05
  04-22-05  04-29-05  05-06-05
  05-13-05  05-20-05  05-27-05
  06-03-05  06-12-05  06-17-05
  06-24-05  07-01-05  07-08-05
  07-15-05  07-22-05  07-29-05
  08-05-05  08-12-05  08-19-05
  08-26-05  09-02-05  09-09-05
  09-16-05  09-23-05  09-30-05
  10-07-05  10-14-05  10-21-05
  10-28-05  11-04-05  11-11-05
  11-18-05  11-25-05  12-02-05
  12-09-05  12-16-05  12-23-05
  01-06-06  01-13-06  01-20-06
  01-27-06  02-03-06  02-10-06
Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of February 17, 2006. There was a bunch of posts on the SFIG this week , about Kansas City Municipal Court, no longer allowing "plea bargains" for traffic violations. The basis for this discussion, was the argument, that a prosecutor to "plea bargain" a charge, was an ethics violation, (based on a story in the Kansas City Star and a case out of Iowa, Iowa Supreme Court Disciplinary Board v. Howe, 706 N.W.2d 360 ( IA 2005), and Iowa Supreme Court Disciplinary Board v. Zenor, 707 N.W.2d 176 ( IA 2005).) Kansas City's policy was to allow two "defective equipment" charges, per calendar year, (and a mandatory appearance before a judge, if the speed limit was exceeded by 20 mph, or more). Just when did we concede/decide that "prosecutorial discretion" is subject to OCDC review? Doesn't the opinion of our Supreme Court in State v. Honeycutt, 96 S.W.3d 85, , (Mo. 2003) teach, that: "Of necessity a prosecuting attorney is charged with the responsibility and vested by law with the discretion and legal duty to investigate the facts and the applicable law and to himself determine when a prosecution should be initiated. And by token of the same reasoning we think the discretion vested in him by law places in him the sole power to determine when he should proceed with a prosecution or dismiss it." If a prosecutor can determine whether to charge or not, doesn't it also follow, that he/she has the power/duty ... to decide with what charge to proceed, given the facts of a given case? If a prosecutor's discretion is not subject to judicial review, why would/ should it be reviewable by the OCDC, (assuming no malfeasance on the part of the prosecutor ... and even assuming malfeasance, isn't that a matter for a criminal indictment/prosecution of the prosecutor ... and THEN review, after conviction, by the OCDC?) That is not to say a violation of R.S. Mo Civil Rule 4.38, (prosecutorial misconduct), should not be investigated. I wonder ..... share with me ... if there can not be a "charge adjustment", to fit the facts of a given case ... how would it NOT be malpractice, for a lawyer to NOT try every case? How could any lawyer, ethically accept a fee, to get a result, the client could get by themselves, just by pleading guilty? Isn't that the real ethical issue? Carry it one step further. A "speeding ticket" is a malum prohibidum offense, (meaning, there is no culpable mens rea, (for non-lawyers reading this, no criminal intent need be proven), the fact that the act occurred, is sufficient to convict), That being the case, a faulty speedometer is not a defense, is it? So a trial on the merits comes down to "were you speeding or not": a swearing match. According to an article in the Kansas City Star today, (and a conversation with a Dear Friend. "in the know"), the "moratorium on plea bargains" will add, (in round numbers), 32,000 +/- cases to Kansas City's municipal docket ... that is how many "plea bargains" were done in 2005 ... 27,000 were the first and only ticket, with a fine of $157.00 ... 5,000 were 2nd time tickets, with a fine of $207.00 ... and 250 were a 3rd or more citations .... do the math. "Plea bargains" generated more than $5,374,000.00 for Kansas City in 2005. Assuming a "bench trial" takes an average of 15 minutes, wouldn't that result in an additional 8,000 man hours, plus travel time, you would have to pay police officers, in order for them to testify? How much of that time, would be "overtime" pay? And once having been found "guilty", don't you have the right to appeal and do it all over again? Not my area, but isn't the fine less, than the fine rendered for a "defective equipment" plea? I wonder how many of these 32,000 folks would have their insurance premiums increased, for 3 years and by how much? A quick call to my insurance agent netted the following, (after alot of hemming and hawing, and "it depends on what other business I write for them, their age and whether they are married or not") --- but one solid conclusion: no "plea bargains", would have a devastating financial effect on un-married folks, under the age of 25. Unmarried folks under 25, risk having their premiums DOUBLE for 3 years! Aren't unmarried folks, under 25, as a group, the mostly likely folks to be uninsured, to start off with? In the absence of public transportation and given urban sprawl, hasn't the ability to drive become an absolute necessity? Share with me ... how doing away with "plea bargains" provides ANY safety benefit to the traveling public, when ultimately, it results in fewer folks being able to afford insurance or driving while suspended, because they have to, to survive?

NEW YORK, (NYT) -- Knowledge process outsourcing now climbs skills ladder. "A new study that was presented on Friday to the National Academies, the nation’s leading advisory groups on science and technology, suggests that more and more research work at corporations will be sent to fast-growing economies with strong education systems, like China and India. In a survey of more than 200 multinational corporations on their research center decisions, 38 per cent said they planned to ‘‘change substantially’’ the worldwide distribution of their research and development work over the next three years ­ with the booming markets of China and India, and their world-class scientists, attracting the greatest increase in projects." Corporate America is sending American dollars to China and India for basic research, to develop new products? Sheesh!! Aside from the fact that China and India have become our serious competitors in the global market place, India and China don't honor copyright and patent laws! So we are funding research, (building up their R&D capabilities), paying to develop products, which they will steal from us? How stupid and shortsighted is that? To a limited degree, I can understand the basis for outsourcing: you develop a new "widget" and have it manufactured overseas, at a lower cost, (modern slave labor) ... but give me a break! ... you go overseas, pay them to do the research, develop and manufacture the widget and so you can import it to our America, (while they make cheap knock-offs and sell them to the rest of the world?) Wow!! What a great business plan!! (And these corporate mental midgets make millions as CEO's? ... unless, of course, they get caught with their hands in the till!)

BBC NEWS -- Danish PM talks to Muslim group. "The Danish prime minister has met members of a new association called "Democratic Muslims" in a fresh effort to defuse the Muhammad cartoons row." "Democratic Muslims" ... look in your dictionary under "oxymoron". Oh ... and did I mention, some of these "Democratic Muslims" have imprisoned reporters and editors that reprinted the original cartoons .... and that they have put a million dollar bounty on the heads of each of the cartoonists? Free speech and a free press is the foundation, the bedrock of any democracy. We either stand our ground and be counted, or we will negotiate away, the very freedoms that make us who and what we are. I remain convinced, who and what we are, is worth fighting and if necessary, dying for ... we have men and women in uniform doing just that ... as you read this. 'Nuff said.

BBC NEWS --- Guantanamo Bay inmates 'tortured'. "Treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay constitutes torture in some cases and violates international law, a leaked UN draft report says. The document, seen by the Los Angeles Times, suggests that investigators will recommend the prison camp is shut down. It also questions the legal status of the camp and the classification of detainees as enemy combatants. US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack criticised the draft report as "hearsay". Of course it's "hearsay" ... as long as we can keep the rest of the world from taking a close look. For me, in the beginning, "Guantanamo", was an acceptable stop-gap measure to contain enemy combatants, the worst of the worst. That time has long passed. Guantanamo has become an institution. It needs to be closed down, it's occupants evaluated as to their threat, and dealt with accordingly. It has become the antithesis of all we stand for as a society. I fear, it has now become something our children's children will study, and wonder how we were able to reconcile "Guantanamo", (keeping people, indefinitely, without a hearing, without a chance to prove their innocence) ... with our sense of justice. I wonder this .... now: I have a feeling, I am not the only one.

BBC NEWS --- Gay rights win in Warcraft world. "The maker of the hugely popular online game, World of Warcraft, has changed its policy on gay teams following an outcry from many players. Blizzard was accused of being heavy-handed by threatening to expel a player for advertising a gay-friendly team or guild." ... Warcraft involves players taking a character adventuring so they become more experienced in their chosen class of warrior, mage, rogue, druid, hunter, shaman, warlock, priest or paladin." This is an on-line adventure game played by over 5 million people, world wide. Aside from the fact that this proves some heterosexual folks don't have a life ... it also proves some gay folks don't have one either. And in the Kansas City Star: Kansas City --- Judge: Lesbian couple can be foster parents. "Missouri cannot block an openly gay Kansas City woman’s efforts to become a foster parent because of her sexual orientation, a Jackson County judge ruled today. In her decision, Circuit Judge Sandra Midkiff ruled the state arbitrarily denied Lisa Johnston’s petition to become a foster parent because she is a lesbian. Johnston and partner Dawn Roginski sought to become foster parents in 2003, but their efforts were stymied by an unwritten state social services policy prohibiting gays from becoming foster parents." To which my Dear and much Respected Friend "Big Dave" opined, "They can be good parents, but how does one raise a child to function in a heterosexual world when the parent can't function in that world? Children learn by example. Sandy Midkiff does the children of Missouri a terrible disservice by her ill considered ruling." I respectfully dissent. I can not logically reconcile the statement, "They can be good parents" ... and ... "how does one raise a child to function in a heterosexual world when the parent can't function in that world? Children learn by example." Frankly, from what I have seen, the "gay" couples I know, function quite well in the heterosexual world, (and the stats I've seen, indicate, they have the same problems, including a "divorce" rate the same as heterosexual couples). All the research I have seen, teaches that people don't learn sexual orientation by example. And if they "can be good parents", what about being a "foster parent" changes that? Isn't what matters most in the development of a child, a stable home environment, adults who love them, provide for them and set an example of love and respect for eachother? [See the January 30, 2004, Ramblings] The sad news is that Judge Midkiff will be overturned on appeal.

BBC NEWS -- Party elders attack China censors. "A group of former senior Communist party officials in China have launched a scathing attack on the country's handling of the media and information. In an open letter, the group denounced the recent closure of investigative newspaper Bingdian (Freezing Point). They said strict censorship may "sow the seeds of disaster" for China's political transition." You know things must be getting out of hand, when the very leaders that formed one of the most "controlled" societies in this world, complain.

Sitting here editing the Ramblings and humming "Jesus Take the Wheel", (a new song by Carrie Underwood):

She was driving last Friday on her way to Cincinnati 
On a snow white Christmas Eve 
Going home to see her Mama and her Daddy with the baby in the backseat 
Fifty miles to go and she was running low on faith and gasoline 
It been a long hard year 
She had a lot on her mind and she didn't pay attention 
She was going way to fast 
Before she knew it she was spinning on a thin black sheet of glass 
She saw both their lives flash before her eyes 
She didn't even have time to cry 
She was sooo scared 
She threw her hands up in the air 

Jesus take the wheel 
Take it from my hands 
Cause I can't do this all on my own 
I'm letting go 
So give me one more chance 
To save me from this road I'm on 
Jesus take the wheel 

It was still getting colder when she made it to the shoulder 
And the car came to a stop 
She cried when she saw that baby in the backseat sleeping like a rock 
And for the first time in a long time 
She bowed her head to pray 
She said I'm sorry for the way 
I've been living my life 
I know I've got to change 
So from now on tonight 

Jesus take the wheel 
Take it from my hands 
Cause I can't do this all my own 
I'm letting go 
So give me one more chance 
To save me from this road I'm on 


A beautiful song ... and a reminder to live each day, as though we have been given "another chance". Admit your mistakes and learn from them. Stand up and praise what was done right ... and have the courage to stand up and be counted as one, who condemns injustice, correct, what needs to be corrected. Isn't that, why you became a lawyer? As my Dear Friend Bob Sig is want to say, "You only have so many sunrises." For me, the sunsets mean more ... they mean, it is just a matter of time before I will curl myself around Susan and snuggle, as we drift off to sleep. I am and remain a Christian, not the Bible thumping, get in your face, repent or go to hell type ... just the type, perhaps like most, who have a good personal relationship with Him. I speak to Him often ... and know the day will come, when we will meet face to face ... and I will be welcomed home, with a Warm Brotherly Hug. Tonight, as I drift off to sleep, I will whisper a prayer of Thanks for the most tender of mercies, my Susan ... , a prayer for you .... and a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?) ... <whispering> .... Please, Please, Please, God ... let them come home safe and soon!! Be and sleep well, treat tomorrow, like you have one more chance to get it right ... and know you can do so, because there are folks out there tonight, sacrificing, so you can. If my post offends, I apologize ... that is not my intent. As always ...

A Warm Brotherly Hug

Karl (the dumb ole country lawyer, from Holden, Missouri)

"Timmerman for Judge Campaign Committee": http://www.timmermanforjudge.com/


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Karl H. Timmerman M.A. J.D. © 2006
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