Saturday, March 31, 2012

In which I prove that I am a hopeless appellate geek

Final Four Saturday is the longest day of the year. Well, it is if your team is playing. Especially if your team is playing in the late game. (Missouri fans will just have to take my word for it. Yes, I will take that crack at Mizzou fans every chance I get.)

I have already walked downtown (where the streets are packed with people in KU gear). I got my coffee. Did my shopping. Grabbed some lunch. And now I still have about 6 hours to go until my freakin' game starts.

So I've turned on Dateline Real Life Mysteries on TLC, the kind of show I turn to when I'm super bored and antsy. Which brings me to the actual subject of this post. Every time I watch one of these shows and they show a portion of the prosecution's closing argument, I realize this is one area of the criminal law where we've got it pretty good in Kansas. Because most of the clips of argument I see on these shows involve comments that would not be tolerated in a Kansas court. Here in Kansas, you can't call the defendant a liar and you can't call him evil and you can't say justice demands a guilty verdict.

Now, of course, some prosecutors still say things like this. Except the liar part. I think we've pretty well got that message across. That other stuff might still sometimes be said, though. But this appellate attorney knows that if that stuff does get said, I've got a pretty good issue on appeal. It always makes me wonder when I watch these shows, then, what the appellate courts in the state where that trial took place will think of that argument that would be deemed misconduct in my state. And I wonder how many of these guilty verdicts these shows tell us about get overturned on appeal. I have even been known to try to look up those cases on westlaw and find out what happened on appeal.

Yes, I really do wonder about these things and I really do research the cases I see on tv marathons, thereby providing further proof that I am an appellate geek. And that I really need tip time to get here already.

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