Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: March 17, 2011”

People will die

Representative Peter DeFazio on cuts, in the U.S. House budget, to emergency early-detection services (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, in the case of tsunamis).

So often, this kind of rhetoric doesn't relate to real-world risks. In this case the risks are real and apparent; you have only to look on the other side of the Pacific to see them (in a nation generally better-prepared for disaster than we are).

These services are there for reasons. Ignore those, and reap the consequences.

Broadband visuals

broadband
Broadband in the Northwest

A fascinating online tool is out for checking where broadband service is available, and what types and what speeds.

Developed by the National Telecommications and Information Agency, the National Broadband Map shows where broadband is and isn't available. (By land-based services, anyway; satellite is obviously available in many more places.)

In the Northwest, you see what you generally expect to see, with maybe a little stronger lines through the outskirts of the Portland metro area, and in eastern Washington. But you can drill down to the street level. Want to find out exactly what's available where you live? Here's how.

Rapist rights

It was caught also by Betsy Russell of the Spokesman-Review, but not noted widely, so we'll note it here ...

The legislation in question is Idaho Senate Bill 1148, aimed principally "to prohibit the abortion of an unborn child of twenty or more weeks postfertilization age."

One of the provisions of the bill (section 18-508-1), not highlighted in the statement of purpose, says this: "Any woman upon whom an abortion has been performed in violation of the pain - capable unborn child protection act or the father of the unborn child who was the subject of such an abortion may maintain an action against the person who performed the abortion in an intentional or a reckless violation of the provisions of this chapter for actual damages." (emphasis added)

Senator Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, had a question for the attorney general's office: Does that mean a rapist could sue an abortion provider. The reply (in an informal but researched opinion): "Section 508(1) is unambiguous on this score and, as currently drafted, provides a private right of action to the biological father without exclusion. The answer to your question is therefore in the affirmative."

Rapist rights in Idaho, protected by the Idaho Legislature. At least until or unless this bill, sponsored by six Republican senators and 10 Republican House members, is amended.

A non-citizen’s right to counsel

wacourt

The decision seems basically right, but you can just imagine how it is going to go down among the anti-immigrant crowd.

Here's the short version: Washington v. Valentin Sandoval, decided today by the Washington Supreme Court, concerns a non-citizen of this country who was accused and found guilty of rape. The high court overturned - vacated - the conviction not on a question having to do not with evidence, but whether his attorney gave him the best advice on legal strategy. That's a reasonably fair and accurate summation, and it may be repeated broadly in months and years to come.

It's not the whole story, as you might imagine. For one significant thing, while the conviction was thrown out, nothing in the decision seems to preclude a trial - and it would be the first one - in the case.

Here's a longer version of the background from the court (legal references deleted):

Valentin Sandoval, a noncitizen permanent resident of the United States, was charged with rape in the second degree. The prosecutor offered, in exchange for a guilty plea, to reduce the charge to rape in the third degree. Sandoval conferred with his attorney and said that he did not want to plead guilty if the plea would result in his deportation. Sandoval's attorney recalls Sandoval as being "very concerned"that he would be held in jail after pleading guilty and subjected to deportation proceedings. Sandoval's counsel advised him to plead guilty: "I told Mr. Sandoval that he should accept the State's plea offer because he would not be immediately deported and that he would then have sufficient time to retain proper immigration counsel to ameliorate any potential immigration consequences of his guilty plea." Sandoval explains, "I trusted my attorney to know that what he was telling me was the truth."

Sandoval followed his counsel's advice and pleaded guilty on October 3, 2006. The statement on plea of guilty, that Sandoval signed, contained a warning about immigration consequences: "If I am not a citizen of the United States, a plea of guilty to an offense punishable as a crime under state law is grounds for deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant to the laws of the United States." During a colloquy with the court, Sandoval affirmed that his counsel, with an interpreter's help, had reviewed the entire plea statement with Sandoval. After the original sentencing hearing was continued, Sandoval was sentenced on January 23, 2007 to the standard range of 6 to 12 months in jail, with credit for time served.

Before Sandoval was released from jail, the United States Customs and Border Protection put a "hold" on Sandoval that prevented him from being released from jail. Deportation proceedings against Sandoval then began. Sandoval now claims, "I would not have pleaded guilty to Rape in the Third Degree if I had known that this would happen to me."

On this issue, you can kind of see his point - I thought I knew what my lawyer was doing.

From the court's conclusion (legal references dropped):

"Although Sandoval would have risked a longer prison term by going to trial, the deportation consequence of his guilty plea is also "a particularly severe 'penalty.'" For criminal defendants, deportation no less than prison can mean "banishment or exile," and "separation from their families." Given the severity of the deportation consequence, we think Sandoval would have been rational to take his chances at trial. Therefore, Sandoval has proved that his counsel's unreasonable advice prejudiced him."

The case was close; there were two concurrences with varying views. So may there be in the public.