i woke up a little before 11:00pm on Friday morning.
i intended to wake up earlier but i didn't, because of reasons.
i did my morning things, hung out with the PSE some, then, at 1:07pm i left the house for my one Friday afternoon class Civil Procedure.
i got to class maybe six minutes early, took my usual seat in the back and watched a girl walk around the room from student to student, handing them something out of a cardboard box.
eventually she got around to me and, wordlessly and without any warmth or explanation, handed me a pack of DoubleMint gum
the girl wasn't being nice [it would be an odd way to be nice if she was,] she was trying to buy people's votes for First Year Student Council.
each pack she handed out had a cheep sticker on the back that read “'Chews' Taylor for 1L Rep!”
i took her gum but i didn't vote for her.
i don't even know if i can vote in First Year elections, i'm somewhere between First and Second Year.
besides, if Taylor wants my vote, she's gonna have to come out of pocket with some Double Bubble or Fruit Stripe at least. DoubleMint blows.
ha ha ha, a joke!

once the Professor came around at 1:30 we started talking about Federal Question some more.
apparently this is a really big point and the Professor is slowing down to teach it in detail.
here is what i get, or i think i get, about Federal Question so far:
in order to sue somebody in Federal Court, if you can't get Diversity Jurisdiction, then you have to have a Federal Question, but, a Federal Question is not just any ol' thing that relates to Federal law.
a Federal Question has to be specifically spelled out by a law of Congress saying that people have a private remedy for a trespass against them.
if Congress doesn't give you permission to sue, you don't have permission to sue.
but then there are other complications.
it gets really complicated and convoluted and i don't know what level of detail the Professor expects us to know because this gets really in the weeds.

at 2:50 class was done for the day.
before i went home, though, i went to the student lunchroom to see if there was any free food up for grabs and i'm glad i did.
the Law School was having some kind of conference for adult professionals and i guess they started their day with a breakfast spread so there was leftover breakfast to be had.
i grabbed two bagels for myself, an everything and a raisin, and another raisin bagel for the PSE, plus a banana muffin and a half of a large Cinnabon.
the problem, though, was that i was on my TITScycle and even though i took care to wrap the bagles up in a paper plate, i still ended up getting cream cheese all on the inside of my custom-made bag.
we ate our bagels all the same, though.

the following day, Saturday, i woke up at 8:46am for my second class of Post-Conviction Actual Innocence Claims.
sitting in bed, waiting for my eyes to start working and my resentment for the world to pass, i checked my phone for news like i do.
in my e-mail i found a letter from the Law School telling me i had a $252 refund coming back to me.
well that's unexpected good news!
i get a full-tuition scholarship to Law School but that normally means full tuition and not a penny more.
somehow, though, a fuck-up happened at some level of the process of the school crediting my account with $28,000 for the semester and then withdrawing that same amount to pay themselves and i ended up with a positive balance of $252.
i didn't ask any questions, just let the money get direct deposited into my account.

i got out of bed, did my morning things, kissed the girls goodbye and rode the TITScycle off to school.
i got to class maybe ten minutes early, giving myself time to get all set up, and to check the student lunchroom for any treats that might be laying out.
whatever conference for adult professionals they were having on Friday was still going on, but unfortunately, if they had any food left over this time, nobody bothered to put it up for grabs in the lunchroom.
i checked no less then four times throughout the day, though.
our Professor came around at 10:00am and we started talking about the subject for the day, which is the subject for every class, how people get out of prison with claims of actual innocence.
we read and briefed twelve cases before class started and we talked about them in detail.
they were all Texas state cases and our Professor had had his hands in a good number of them.
i said it last time but it bears repeating, our Professor has done a lot of good work with the Innocence Project of Texas and he is not shy about letting everybody know it.

we talked about one case where a convicted cop-killer was released because it turned out that the Prosecutor failed to disclose a deal they had with his partner-in-crime who gave testimony in return for getting probation.
ultimately it turned out that it was the State's witness who really shot the cop and the guy who did twenty-two years for the crime was in a motel watching Wheel Of Fortune.
we read another case about an undisclosed deal with the District Attorney's office and this time a convicted child molester got to get out of prison.
we talked about the case of another convicted child molester who it turns out was actually innocent because of DNA evidence and a recantation who's case before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals -the highest court for criminal offenses in the state- set the precedent for post-conviction actual innocence relief in the State.
in Texas, if a convict can prove by clear and convincing evidence that newly-discovered evidence would have precluded a jury from finding them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then they are entitled to have their conviction overturned.
that's a significant step beyond what the United States Supreme Court has ever said which, as of this post, has yet to acknowledge actual innocence as a freestanding claim for relief.
in the Supreme Court, if you can show with new evidence that a “miscarriage of justice” probably happened, then the Court will allow you go go back and challenge procedural errors.
which is pretty dicked up when Texas is leading the country with progressive criminal justice reform.

at some point somebody asked what happens when somebody does prove that they were wrongfully convicted, either through prosecutorial misconduct or just bad luck.
our Professor said that if they can prove actual innocence, they are statutorily entitled to compensation that, once again, is some of the most generous and progressive in the country.
but if they can't prove actual innocence, if they just get out of prison on some other procedural error, they are not entitled to anything.
somebody asked if they could have a § 1983 claim, which is the Federal civil rights statute, and the Professor said that even if that would work, the odds are they could only sue whatever dumbshit officer or prosecutor fucked up personally, not the city at large because of tough municipal liability laws.
he started to talk about a case out of New Orleans called Connick v. Thompson where a guy named Thompson tried to sue Harry Connick Jr.'s dad for systemic corruption in the prosecutor's office that had him locked up for no good reason.
i know Connick well.
Connick was decided at the same time the PSE's Big Lawsuit against the city of Reno and it took municipal liability off the table for us.
i got to interject about what a motherfucker Connick v. Thompson was.
i always like an opportunity to get to interject.

after about two hours of talking about cases our Professor put on a movie because that seems to be how he runs class.
the movie was Southwest Of Salem, which is about the San Antonio Four.
the San Antonio Four are a group of Lesbian friends who spent over a decade in prison for molesting two of their nieces.
but, it turns out that they didn't molest anybody,, the whole thing was a complete fabrication and they were convicted because A) they were Lesbians and B) it was the early 90s and everybody got it into their heads that Satanic cults were ritualistically abusing children, somehow, and C) science didn't know what little girls vaginas were supposed to look like back them.
i'd seen Southwest Of Salem before, our Criminal Law professor gave us extra credit to go to a screening they had at a movie theater downtown, but, i didn't mind sitting through it again.
our Professor was in the movie, he was the guy who lead the effort to have them exonerated and he really, really likes to see himself do good works.
we got out of class around 2:30pm.

//[ab irato ad astra]

October 2017

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