Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fresh Out The Federal, Cases I Got Several

So I got a job this summer working for a judge whom shall go unnamed on a certain Court of Appeals that shall also go unnamed. For my British readers, and uninformed American readers, the thirteen Courts of Appeal, or Circuit Courts, are second in stature only to the Supreme Court. That is, only the Supreme Court can overturn our decisions, whereas we can overturn everybody else's. In the vast, vast majority of cases, the Courts of Appeal have the last say. Although I am just an unpaid intern and a first-year law school student, my work is quite serious; I am assigned a case, given the parties' briefs, the record (which is sometimes thousands of pages long), and am asked to write a memo recommending how the Judge decides. Who knows, as of yet (I've just started), how seriously these recommendations are taken, or how much of my analysis the Judge will find persuasive, but I have already seen cases where the initial bench memo, as they're called, with a few edits, is turned into the opinion of the court. Of course, I can't say anything about the cases on which I'm working, other than to note that, though one might think that the work of a Court of Appeal is quite momentous (and in fact, tomorrow we are hearing a couple of important free speech cases, so some interesting things get done here), for the most part our caseload is composed of appeals from denials of disability benefits, appeals from sentences of imprisonment, and appeals from decisions of the Immigration Board. All of which, legally at least, is quite run-of-the-mill stuff. What I thought my readers might find interesting is that, as I work on my cases, some of which, I think I'm allowed to say, involve conflicting testimony between police officers and young black felons, people getting caught with guns in dangerous housing projects, stop-and-frisks, arguments about the fairness of sentences, I find myself, a little surprisingly, tending to feel a bias towards the criminals and against the government. And not knowing what else to attribute it to - it certainly has nothing to do with my experiences, or my politics - I'm starting to think it's because of rap. I happened on an old copy of It's All On You Vol. 2 last week, and I've been listening to it every day on the way to work. It's not the greatest album, Mannie being caught somewhere between his earlier bounce sound and his cheap keyboard 400 Degreez sound, and as a result relying, rather uncharacteristically, on a lot of boring little samples, and the repetitive hooks on every song are a major detriment, and it's hard to point to a song on it that B.G. just kills (Juvie has some amazing guest spots, though, and Wayne has some amusing prepubescent ones), but overall it's quite solid. In some ways it's a lot like a Cash Money version of Lifestylez Ov da Poor & Dangerous. Anyway, being that I'm currently listening every morning to this menacing 17-year-old-kid cackle in his syrupy voice about killing fellow residents of ultra-low-income-housing with his ever-ready chopper, it's kind of hard, when I get into work, to not feel a little sympathetic for the guy who goes to jail for a few years because he got caught with a gun and had a prior conviction. In my experience there aren't a ton of lawyers, even my age, who are seriously listening to rap, and the more apolitical it gets the less it will even matter, but one does wonder what effect a generation that grew up on 50 Cent and Jay and OutKast will have on the law.

10 comments:

柏勳 said...

才華在逆境中展現,在順境中被掩藏。..................................................

MF said...

Ah, You're still on safe ground at the moment with regards to rap musik negatively influencing your life.

Just wait until alchohol has loosened your tongue at the Christmas party and you have to apologise to various female members of your office with the old "I'm sorry, I'm drunk and I listen to too much rap" excuse after you've casually called them either Bitch or Hoe.

JoJo said...

I'm taking the LSAT in August, rap has definitely somehow influenced my decision to go to law school as opposed to something like grad programs for philosophy. Just don't get caught using "The State vs. Radric Davis" as legal precedent.

皇雅婷豪 said...

一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼..................................................

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jackveronic said...

要保持更新呦,加油!!!期待你的新文章!!!.................................................................

MF said...

^^ Not exactly Pay Tray commenters of the Badmon333 calibre.

胤綸胤綸 said...

所有的資產,在不被諒解時,都成了負債.................................................................                           

brad said...

This is too good to be true. I only hope that more right wing law students can somehow be compelled to listen to some vintage Cash Money shit. May B.G. continue to have a positive effect on society.

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