Archive for the ‘Law & Jurisprudence’ Category

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

faked by Wednesday, November 6th, 2013


Polaroid 600 (film expired 2005), 450 Mulberry Street, Memphis, Tennessee (November 2013).


faked by Thursday, August 8th, 2013


Last night I saw a lady
feeding a possum
off Fortification Street.
I most certainly did.

She was all lit up in neon
from the Shell sign, the one
where that guy got shot.
It was almost certainly a possum.

Maybe it’s a ferret, you’re
saying, I hear you but I was there
I’m the one almost wrecked his
car slowing down to see.

Once I found the gently rusting carcass
of a ‘66 Pontiac behind some old
storage units. Listen now:
I’m sure it was a possum.

I wanted to roll down the window
and holler out hey! Possums aren’t
pets! Or a good slogan like that.
Maybe there’s even a law on it.

Turns out there’s no possum laws
as far as I can tell. And any time
the Supreme Court talks about
possums, it’s when something went bad wrong.

The state offered evidence proving that the deceased, Roberta McBride, came to her death as the result of shotgun wounds in the side of her face.

Well, a possum didn’t shoot
Roberta McBride in 1933
it was Eddie Smith, her boyfriend.
It’s always the Eddies.

As a witness in his own behalf, the appellant admitted that he killed the deceased with a shotgun, but claimed that he killed her in self-defense.

Okay Eddie, you are in
quite a bit of trouble now, why
don’t you try and hep yoself
out. Splain Eddie, splain.

He testified that during periods of time that the husband of the deceased, Roberta McBride, was away from home, he became intimate with her.

Yes, that’s generally how it works
in my experience. I mean, not my
personal experience, you know.
“Git to the possums,” you say.

[T]hat finally having become fearful of the wrath of the husband, he sought to sever these illicit relations, but Roberta objected and upbraided him on account of his attentions to another woman.

Eddie. Eddie Eddie
Eddie. You are just lying now,
Eddie. You are just a plain old
liar, Eddie Smith.

[T]that when he quit his work about 5:30 o’clock on the day before the killing, he borrowed a shotgun for the purpose of going ‘possum hunting that night, without dogs; that he purchased shells for the gun, and started on the hunt about 6 or half past 6 o’clock.

Son you in Leflore County now.
We know you ain’t gone huntin’ for
no possums without no dogs. What were you
doing, Eddie. What were you doing.

He further testified that when he started hunting, he met Roberta, and thereupon abandoned his hunt and remained with her until 9 o’clock, when he kissed her good night, and she went to her home, and he to his; that about 2 o’clock a.m. she knocked on his door and he let her in.

Oh Eddie, don’t open that door.
Lying about going possum hunting is
one thing, but if you open that door
it’s all gonna fall apart.

Roberta had a pistol which she laid on a shelf in his room; that she continuously quarreled with him from that time until 5 o’clock, when it was time for him to go to work; that he then got up and dressed, and they left the house together, he carrying the shotgun which he had borrowed, and Roberta carrying the pistol which she had brought to his room.

Greewood LeFlore. The
great green woods of Le Fleur. Son of
Rebecca and Louis, our Flowers.

Beloved itibapishi toba.

They proceeded toward Roberta’s home, she continued to quarrel with him about the other woman, and finally said: “Stop, I ain’t joking about what I told you, if I catch you over there. If you don’t believe it, I will do it to you now.”

Eddie, just bear with me, but
I am a time traveler. A ghost.
Boy, even if you are telling the truth, you
need to get out of there right now.

And thereupon she snapped the pistol at him

Son I am saying you need to git on right now

and he turned and shot her, believing that it was necessary to do so to save his own life.

Oh Greenwood don’t do it.
Chief don’t go to Dancing Rabbit.
Don’t talk to that Sharp old Knife.
Chief stay out of Noxubee.

A witness for the state testified that about 6 o’clock of the evening before the killing, Eddie came to his home and sought to borrow or buy about two shotgun shells; that he asked the appellant if he was going hunting, and he laughed and replied: “No, not exactly.”

Eddie, this is the ghost again.
Dang it Eddie, I am just a phantom, a
stranger, but don’t laugh about it.
Don’t laugh.

It was a hundred years since the river people
walked out of Mississippi.
The Chief stayed. He stood on the floor of the House,
spoke Choctaw, eschewed Latin.

In the circuit court of Leflore county,
the appellant was convicted of murder,
and was sentenced to the state penitentiary for life.

You shouldn’t have laughed, Eddie.

Last night I dreamed I saw a
lady feeding a possum
off Fortification Street.
The side of her face was all torn up.

O! Roberta I am just a ghost.
I’m a sorry one, clanking my chains,
worrying about where this long walk
is going to take us.

He died at Parchman Farm, Roberta.
He was pulling up a bunch of onions in
1966. I watched him hunch over and
slump to his knees. Bad heart.

But you already knew that, didn’t
you, Roberta. Sixteen gauge
in the face. It was you got hunt
that night, you know about bad hearts.

O! I am just a lonely ghost,
I live in a box of haints. Good-by
to the river people, good-by
to Roberta, bonnes gens, bon ville.

SOURCES: Polaroid 600 film (1996); Smith v. State, 167 Miss. 85, 147 So. 482 (Miss. 1933), authored by Justice Cook; that old Bonneville that used to be back out of the storage place J.S. Losset had off High; a splash of the former Roberta Joan Anderson, of Saskatchewan, as always, and of course.

NPM: The Whiskey Speech of Judge “Soggy” Sweat.

faked by Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Maybe this ain’t poetry in the way most people think of it. But back in 1952 Judge Sweat encapsulated the wonders and confusion of Mississippi in one speech about prohibition. That is enough for me.

Gonzales Pie.

faked by Monday, April 9th, 2007

For this delicious and spicy dish, you’ll need 14 ingredients (integrity not needed).

“The Gentleman from Mississippi Has the Floor.”

faked by Friday, March 23rd, 2007

On March 21 the Republicans moved to gut a Katrina recovery bill with a provision that cities receiving funds from the government would have to provide “matching funds” themselves. The catch: many of the cities—such as Bay St. Louis and Waveland—were virtually destroyed, leaving no tax base through which to generate any income.

Ephemera 12.27.06.

faked by Monday, November 27th, 2006

Annnnd . . . welcome back! This post is for you if you, like me, spent most of Saturday huddled around a radio, sipping delicious corn chowder, and gulping Mad Dog 20/20 “Purple Rain” in order to stave off the bitter taste of defeat. Here we go!

“JUSTICE ALBIN delivered the opinion of the Court.”

faked by Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Today, New Jersey judicially recognized that the fundamental right of liberty includes the ability to choose who you want to marry.

Dear Tyron Garner,

faked by Thursday, September 14th, 2006

You died yesterday, at only 39. The newspapers keep using the “s”-word—even in the headlines!—and talking about how you did so much for gay rights.

Apparently, they forget, or don’t understand, how much John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner v. Texas meant and means for all Americans. Justice Stevens said it best in his dissent from Bowers, which Justice Kennedy quoted for the Court in Lawrence:

[I]ndividual decisions by married persons, concerning the intimacies of their physical relationship, even when not intended to produce offspring, are a form of ‘liberty’ protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Moreover, this protection extends to intimate choices by unmarried as well as married persons.

In other words, Lawrence is about being safe and secure in our own homes from government intrusion. We are a free country, and Texas forgot that, like its faux child Mr. Bush often does. We the People cannot forget that. For we are all “entitled to respect for [our] private lives,” just like John and Tyron.

There are some places that the government has no place going: our bodies, our spiritual life, our private emotional life. Justice Kennedy wrote Lawrence with a bunch of “theirs” and “thems,” because he was talking about John and Tyron personally. I’m going to switch it to American, because when we talk about freedom in America, the words we always use are “ours” and “us.”

Because in America, no “State can[] demean [our] existence or control [our] destiny by making [our] private sexual conduct a crime,” because our “right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives [us] the full right to engage in [our] conduct without intervention of the government.”

So written and so ordered, June 26, 2003. So, Tyron—because you had the courage to push forward, to demand that those words be written for all of us—I thank you, and may God bless you and hold you close to Him,

Your Friend,


Law & Comics: She-Hulk #10 (“I Married a Man-Wolf!”) and the Superhuman Registration Act.

faked by Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Ahoy, comic-law fans! It’s time for a new installment of “Law & Comics,” wherein we examine the legal world through the eyes of the best thing in the world, comics. This isn’t intended as nit-picking, but to provide a richer background (or somtimes, needed explanation) for the stories.

Law & Comics: She-Hulk #9 (“The Big Reveal”) and the Spider-Man fraud lawsuit.

faked by Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

I love comics so much, but like other media, the results can be confusing and just plain wrong when wandering into the legal world. Scott at Polite Dissent does an fantastic job of looking at the medical snafus of comics, and inspired by his work, I wanted to look at a recent comic that often has legal overtones—She-Hulk.