Divorce rate and your laundry…

That one sock and your former spouse, where are they now?

Legal Citation of the Decade: Madison the City, an Old Scandal and FOUL language…

A recent decision ended the litigation between the Estate of Mark Mayfield vs. The City of Madison. It was a sordid affair involving the Cochran nursing home scandal, a hotly contested U.S. Senate race, a tragic death and multiple twists that prove time and again that truth is stranger than fiction.

You can read the full Order here and see a myriad of comments from legal scholars that post to the Blog; Jackson Jambalaya

Today’s post just focuses on one quote from Federal Judge, Carlton Reeves’s Opinion.

At the third and final step, the Mayfields must come forward with evidence that a jury could use to conclude that the City’s probable cause was, for lack of a better term, bullshit. See generally HARRYG. FRANKFURT, ON BULLSHIT (2005) (attempting to define the term). The questions at step three are supposed to be tailored to the particular circumstances of the case…”

“…In this case, the framework suggests that we should ask a series of questions. Did the investigation follow the evidence to its targets, or did the police “round up the usual suspects? ”Was there anything unusual about the timing or the manner of the City’s investigation? Is there any other case where the City Attorney met with the District Attorney and the investigators everyday to discuss charges and be involved in how those charges would proceed? Were persons who engaged in similar conduct also arrested, or were they let off the hook because of more agreeable political beliefs? See Nieves, 139 S. Ct. at 1727.An examination of the evidence adduced in this case satisfactorily answers these questions. Instead of rounding up the most vocal McDaniel supporters, City investigators followed the evidence from Kelly to Mary to Mayfield. The police were given free rein to conduct their investigation as they saw fit, without direction from the Mayor, a Cochran supporter. There is no evidence that before the Rose Cochran incident, the City of Madison was itching for an excuse to go after McDaniel supporters. And there is no evidence of differential treatment of McDaniel and Cochran supporters. As an example, there is no evidence that Cochran supporters entered a McDaniel relative’s home in Madison, after which the City refused to prosecute them.”

It’s not often you see Bullsh*t attempt to be defined in a judicial opinion.

Matthew Thompson is a civil litigation/family law attorney and “LOL-ed” when reading this Opinion.

Mississippi Court Just Said No to Medical Marijuana, Your Right to Ballot IniTiatives, & Legal Absurdity

The Mississippi Supreme Court said because Mississippi has 4 congressional districts instead of the 5- when the ballot initiative process was approved, it makes the legal requirements impossible to comply with…so no medical marijuana.

“The court majority ruled that the provision plainly says signatures are to be gathered equally between five districts, one of which no longer exists.

The court said: “Unlike the other two branches of government, the courts may not act proactively to address problems such as the one here … It is our duty to interpret our Constitution when its meaning is put at issue … The Court does not have jurisdiction to review, affirm, or overturn the ‘will of the people’ … The November 2020 results are not before us … The reduction in Mississippi’s congressional representation renders (the ballot initiative provision) unworkable and inoperable on its face.” https://mississippitoday.org/2021/05/14/mississippi-supreme-court-overturns-medical-marijuana-initiative-65/

The Court did not address the merits of medical marijuana, but focused on the process of how the matter was put on the ballot. It concluded “you can’t do that.”

It also left a void, no citizen can ever have any issue put on the ballot – without legislative intervention.

The Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision determined there was a problem and only the legislature could fix it, that it was not the Court’s role to mend a broken process.

Prior to medical marijuana being approved by the voters, I predicted (at the time wrongly) that it would not pass. It was passed by an overwhelmingly large percentage, north of 70%. I also predicted (now wrongly) that the initiative process would be upheld by the Court.

Why? Because of the Doctrine of Absurdity.

“In law, strictly literal interpretations of statutes can lead to seemingly absurd results. The doctrine of absurdity holds that commonsense interpretations should be preferred in such cases, rather than literal readings. Under the absurdity doctrine, American courts have interpreted statutes contrary to their plain meaning in order to avoid absurd legal conclusions.

The common sense of man approves the judgment mentioned by Pufendorf [sic. Puffendorf], that the Bolognian law which enacted “that whoever drew blood in the streets should be punished with the utmost severity”, did not extend to the surgeon who opened the vein of a person that fell down in the street in a fit. The same common sense accepts the ruling, cited by Plowden, that the statute of 1st Edward II, which enacts that a prisoner who breaks prison shall be guilty of a felony, does not extend to a prisoner who breaks out when the prison is on fire – “for he is not to be hanged because he would not stay to be burnt”

Wikipedia.

This Supreme Court ruling, a literal interpretation of the ballot initiative law, creates an absurd result. You can never have 20% from 5 districts, because there are now 4 districts. The Court could have said follow the spirit of the law.

Footnote 8 of Justice Chamberlain’s dissent stated;

“The majority’s interpretation is like a well-manicured lawn whose caretaker focuses on one isolated blade of grass—here, the term “congressional district”—while ignoring the weed that is context. Interpretation should involve a joint effort between reading the actual
words and the context in which they are found. The majority’s reading thrusts a constitutional provision into chronic limbo, creating a transient or temporary constitutional right. To be blunt, it effectively slams the lid on the initiative process. This surely cannot be the intent of the Legislature and the people. As a court, we should nip this interpretation
in the bud.”

Matthew Thompson is a civil defense/family law attorney in Mississippi and reminds you that elections matter.

Divorce, Child Custody & Support, Alimony, Contempt, Modification, Adoption, Appeals, Corporate Counsel, Professional Licensure Issues, and Civil Litigation.

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