Randomness from a 2005 graduate of The Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University


Monday, January 31, 2005

It looks like there will be still more drafts of my note. I don't mind, but I hope that they really do think there is a decent chance of publishing it eventually. It's like dating; if they no it's not going to work out, they should put me out of my misery. But I believe all of their promises of, "with a lot of hard work, there is a good possibility..." Not that that is a promise of anything. I was also given the option of publishing it on the OSJCL website, with less additional work. And of course a promised link from Berman. I wasn't convinced. So it is back to the sex offender fun. One good thing about it potentially being published next fall is that I won't be around, so I can be a difficult author, just like everyone else. |

Sunday, January 30, 2005

What kind of stupid girl agrees to go on a date she doesn't want to go on? Me, apparently. So now I have to get out of it. Maybe by just not answering my phone. Very mature, I know. I was trying to figure out why I didn't like this guy. Besides him being boring, a little freaky, and not being attracted to him, I figured out that a major problem was that he wasn't interested in me being in law school. Now I know that sounds stupid, but it's true. I don't expect people to be impressed by me being in law school, and when people are I kind of think less of them. But I want them to be interested, because I am. Almost always the response to learning I'm in law school is, "Oh, that's interesting," followed by at least a few questions. Everyone has some knowledge of the law from TV or a traffic ticket or something, so it is usually something people can relate to and are curious about. But this guy acted like I had just said I did data entry at an insurance company. Overall he seemed interested in me, but just not interested at all in law school. And that is a problem. Part of the attraction to the out of town prosecutor was that he and I could talk about law. It is a kind of silly issue, but I guess in some ways it is like a test to see if I should even consider dating someone. And this guy failed. And he's freaky. And I have a tentative date with him. |

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Tonight I saw The Exonerated at Catco. Ever since reading Larry Marshall's Reckless Lecture which was published in the second issue of The Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, the issue of wrongful convictions has been one of my main areas of interest. Marshall is the legal director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern, which has been at the forefront of many of the death row exonerations, and played a major role in the re-examination of Illinois capital sentencing. The Innocence Project at Cardozo is equally well known and was founded by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld who wrote the book Actual Innocence , along with Jim Dwyer(which I discovered in one of Marshall's footnotes). When I began researching wrongful convictions, and particularly when I gave my seminar presentation on the subject, I realized that the concept of actual innocence is the one argument that can actually affect pro-death penalty people. If I could do anything with my legal career, it would be to work in this area, particularly in non-DNA cases.

Since theater was my first passion, before I discovered the law, I would love to see a play that could get people infuriated about these injustices. What is interesting is that The Exonerated is told in the words of six people who were actually exonerated. However, there is no real dramatic tension in the play; it is simply these six people's stories, that you know the whole time end in their exoneration. Also, by being merely narrative, maybe the audience cares about these individuals, but the larger problem is never addressed except by a few random angry comments about lawyers and the justice system. This is definitely a topic that could be addressed in a way that would really leave the audience thinking at the end, but this play does not do that. Even without being didactic, a little more audience education would have really helped. The script is more like a television documentary than an actual piece of dramatic literature. This particular performance wasn't helped by a less than stellar cast, although Jonathan Putnam was excellent as usual, as was Alan Bomar Jones. Nearly every actor stumbled over their lines and completely failed to cover it, which made the production look painfully amateurish. Unfortunately, riveting subject matter is not enough to make for great theater. Catco's supposed theme for the season is "passion", but this production, and maybe the script, is desperately lacking anything approaching passion. |

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The silence over the weekend was due to a visit by a certain long distance prosecutor. It was a remarkably fun weekend. It was like having a pretend boyfriend for two days, with hand-holding and everything. Kind of nice to see that I could enjoy that. And now tonight I have a blind date...bizarre.

And as for the law... I am still working out what I think about Booker, Fanfan, etc. The coolest thing is that last week I start working on federal criminal matters, so it is actually my job to research and analyze this stuff. My very first assignment was: "Have you heard of this Professor Berman? And his blog? Go read everything he has written and linked to since Booker was decided." How cool is that? And not the simple assignment they thought, either. God, I love criminal law.

Today in crim pro I was actually feeling stress over the fact that I cannot decide precisely what my views are on the relationship between the reasonableness clause and the warrant clause of the 4th Amendment. That is just not normal. I wasn't worried because I wouldn't know what to say in class; I was genuinely concerned about not having a fully formed opinion for my own benefit. This stuff just matters so much. I am really enjoying the class so far, despite the pressure of having Dressler as a professor. The silly thing is that even after all this time, I am still nervous about raising my hand for fear of sounding stupid or being asked a question I can't answer. Law school does that to some people, but honestly that's how I've always been. Sometimes, often even, I am able to get past that, but the fear of failure is definitely one of the driving forces in my life. Isn't that positive? I guess, as I was told in trial practice yesterday, this is the time it is safe to make mistakes.

Anyway, final analysis of my current state of being: Several boys are entertaining me, and I still love law school. |

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Yesterday I wrote a substantive post about Booker and Fanfan and the district court decisions that have come out so far. Then I lost my internet connection, just before I hit post. So forget it. I'm sticking to dating stories. |

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Mark McGrath may very well be one of the hottest human beings ever. Even with all the tattoos. Having him as a guest judge is the best thing American Idol has ever done. I just mute the bad singers and watch him. |
It's probably about time for a boy update. Most interesting is that I received an email from Brandon. I hadn't heard from him in nearly two months, and had mostly written him off. Apparently he has tied up some loose ends which is liberating. Hmmm... I am smart enough not to expect anything out of him, but dumb enough to still get excited by the email. I'm writing him back tomorrow. Dylan and I are probably 99% back to being friendly as though nothing (good or bad) ever happened, which is precisely where I want us to be. And the prosecutor thinks he is coming to visit me. Sometimes it scares me to think about how transparent my identity would be if any of these boys ever read this. Brandon would be the most likely to, and the one who it would be most embarrassing to have do so. But then I think, oh well. I have friends and strangers to entertain with my non-dating stories. |

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Can I please impose my no-dating policy on my friends? Please? |

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Okay, more television talk. I turned Tsunami Aid on right now. Three songs in a row, all I could think is "What is this music?" Maybe it was country or something, but whatever it was, it wasn't good. And then Sarah McLachlan started singing and I finally had to mute it. It was like she decided to sing in a different key but forgot to play in a different key as well. It was painful. I know the point is to get people to donate money, but in theory the performances should be tolerable, or even good. Oh, but right now Robert Downey, Jr. is talking. Now he makes me want to give. A whole lot more than Meg Ryan's complete failure to read the teleprompter did. I'm no Elton John fan at all, but at the moment he is a great relief. Hopefully it will get better. I feel slightly guilty complaining about a benefit concert, but come on people, you are professionals. Jasmine Trias could do better. |

Friday, January 14, 2005

Wednesday night on Law and Order, ADA Serena Sutherlyn was fired (who would want to work for Fred Thompson in real life or on tv, anyway?). Her response was "It's not because I'm a lesbian, is it?" I, and from my research, everyone else watching, was completely confused. I have now had the time to research past episodes and search the internet, and it does not appear there was any foundation laid for this statement at all. Maybe it was a poor attempt to set up some future episode or maybe it was just bad writing, but it was definitely out of nowhere. I really like when Law and Order brings in more of the characters' personal lives, but it needs to be more consistent. For example, Detective Stabler (the hot Christopher Meloni) was going through a lot of turmoil early in the season because his wife had left him. In a couple episodes he got violent and seemed to be having a real emotional crisis. The next few weeks, I was far more interested to see how that developed than to see who they mistakenly suspected before catching the real bad guy. But that entire story line was forgotten until this past week's episode where he suddenly missed his family again, and they came to see him at work for his birthday. I love Law and Order and SVU. I'm not going to stop watching them over these sort of weaknesses. But I really think the key to their continued longevity is to make viewers feel invested in the characters, which can be done by more consistent, logical stories about the characters' personal lives. We learned so much about Detective Briscoe over the years, that I was genuinely sad when I heard Jerry Orbach had died. That whole week, every time "In loving memory of Jerry Orbach" flashed on the screen at the end of a rerun, it brought tears to my eyes. Make us feel that way about all of the characters, and Law and Order will be around forever. |

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I have now had each of my classes at least once. I think it is going to be a reasonably challenging semester. I think crim pro will be the hardest. I had forgotten just how demanding Dressler is. He expects a level of analysis when he asks a casual question in class that many students (including myself) will never be capable of. It's why he is such a good professor, but it is also absolutely terrifying. White collar crime should be fine. Relatively interesting, but nothing memorable. We are doing this silly thing where we form "firms" of four students and then the professor calls on the firm in class and anyone can answer. It's an experiment. For the "firm" I'm in, I don't think it will really affect how any of us prepare for class. We have to make up a name for our firm too. The pressure to be clever is overwhelming. Trial practice is the big question mark for the semester. I will be anxious until I know who my partner is. We can choose our own partners for our final trial, which, in theory, is a good thing. Except I don't feel comfortable asking anyone. I know which people I kind of hope ask me, but I'm not counting on it. Basically there is one person I don't want to work with (as in, nearly suicide inducing), but other than that I don't care too much. Once it is settled I will be much happier. My only other class is legal profession which is going to be incredibly boring, and feels especially pointless since I have already passed the MPRE. Overall, I am definitely glad to be back in class, and really kind of sad to know that soon I will never be in school again. |

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Considering my first class of my final semester is in just over ten hours, it is ironic that my brain is probably the most exhausted it has been since I finished my BA exam over a year ago. Because tomorrow is my self-imposed final deadline for the final draft of my note, I have been working ridiculously hard all weekend to have something adequate to turn in. I have been working on this so long that all I can think about is sex offenders. Sex offenders with a little bit of the death penalty and rape law thrown in. But as of right now, I get to stop thinking about sex offenders. Now I can get to the paper I'm writing about domestic violence. So much more cheery. |

Saturday, January 08, 2005

You know you are spending too much time on journal when you say, out loud, as you are writing, "Oh no, my supras are all screwed up," and you are genuinely upset. |
For once, the Indians do something positive. I've been bitter ever since they let Omar leave, but at least Shapiro seems to have a plan. |

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The disappointment continues, but this time with a happy ending (for me). After two months of refusing to back down, today I got a plea that I am satisfied with, so there will be no trial. Justice prevails. |

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I am so, so, so, so disappointed. I was supposed to have a bench trial this morning, but it got continued. That means I probably won't get to do it. The main purpose was to practice for my jury trial that is scheduled for next Tuesday. I would have lost anyway, but I still really wanted to do it. A week from now, criminal practice will be behind me. At least for a while... A girl can dream. At least the next semester will still be filled with criminal law. I'm taking white collar crime and crim pro investigation (I got in!!) and I will be volunteering to do legal research and writing in a criminal setting. What fun lies ahead.

I may have a new crush. But there is a serious problem. Worse than the old guy with a criminal record. And worse than the jerk with drug issues. This one is a republican. And not a quasi-republican like I've dated in the past where I could convince myself that deep down they didn't really mean it. This guy is a real republican. I guess as long as it remains a crush it's harmless. And I continue to hear from the out of town prosecutor guy. What's up with that? I don't mind, but I don't get it. Of course, with classes starting next Monday, maybe this will be the semester where there are suddenly interseting guys in my classes. Or not. |

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I have been on this movie watching rampage lately, so with all the year-end movie rankings, I decided I wanted to make my own list. So this is my ranking of the movies I watched in 2004. I allowed myself to go back to November, 2003 releases so that I could include my #1 movie that I watched this year, 21 Grams. I didn’t go back any further, even though the new releases at the video store are currently from as far back as September, 2003, so I have been watching some slightly older movies recently. Movies released in 2003 are marked with a *.

*21 Grams – The best movie I watched all year. A remarkable and non-confusing use of time-shifting. Seriously flawed characters who you cared about.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Thought provoking, upsetting, touching.
Sideways – Almost as good as all the reviewers are saying.
Kinsey – Really interesting, all about relationships without being a relationship movie.
Before Sunset – Too talky, but exactly the kind of conversation that makes life meaningful.
Fahrenheit 9/11 – Really good, comforting and inspiring to see in a packed theater on opening night, just too documentary-ish to rank higher.
*Something’s Gotta Give – You have to like older people falling in love without it being gross.
Laws of Attraction – Thoroughly enjoyable. I actually thought Pierce Brosnan was hot for the first time.
Wicker Park – The trailers were completely misleading because the movie wasn’t at all creepy. But it was good. And Josh Hartnett is hot.
Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement – Absolutely delightful. I even kind of like the Kelly Clarkson song that is played incessantly on the radio because it brings back the pleasant mood of the movie.
Manchurian Candidate – My grandparents think it’s better than the original, which I have not seen. It was good, but I didn’t think it was remarkable.
*Monster – Not as good as I hoped. I wanted more characters or something. And a makeover for Charlize Theron like at the end of all those bet-to-get-the-girl movies.
Starsky & Hutch – Funny, fun, nothing phenomenal, except for maybe Snoop Dogg.
Spiderman 2 – Shockingly violent, but good.
Troy – Decent. Brad Pitt.
Vanity Fair – Has the director ever heard of character development? I have never watched a movie where I spent so long hating so many characters. And it was long.
Stepford Wives – Barely tolerable, which was especially disappointing after several friends raved about it.
I Heart Huckabees – Every time I fell asleep during the movie I woke up wishing I was still asleep. Good (famous) actors; awful movie.
*Triplets of Belleville – If it had been a five minute clip before a real movie it would have been entertaining. It wasn’t.

There are so many movies I want to see right now, that hopefully in another month I will have an equally long list.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

In the last few weeks I have been making one final set of revisions to my note. Final in that I feel that a full year of effort is about all I have in me. And final in that if they are not willing to publish it when we return to school next week, it will simply be too late. As I began working on this latest draft, I admit I was feeling a little discouraged, even a little hopeless. Realistically I still feel that way regarding publication. But, every time I really work on my note I get excited all over again. I feel passionately about my topic. I absolutely love the articles I read for background. And I love the ones I come across that are completely unrelated, but still absolutely fascinating. I just absolutely love criminal law. I love the distinction between justification and excuse. I love the depths of mens rea. I love the question of the effectiveness of various punishments (I wish, wish, wish I had the ability/understanding to do empirical studies, but we leave that to the sociologists and those sort). I love that every minute detail that criminal law scholars debate can have an actual effect on people's lives, as well as on our understanding of right and wrong, moral culpability, and the role of the justice system. It is all truly awesome. I had better get back to work now. |