Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ask Sausage About The Law Day

Knowing that many of you very likely woke up this morning wondering what Cass's dog thinks about important legal matters of the day, she asked me to whip up a little post for your general erudition in between the exhausting business of decapitating rawhide bones atop the down cushion of her Chippendale sofa.

You may think, "What does a Weiner Beast know about the Law?" Surprisingly, the answer is, "More than some people who go on and on about it". Two interesting issues in the news have centered around couples.

In the "How was your day, honey?" Department, this one has got to take the cake:

It was Zena the dog's day in Circuit Court Tuesday, although the key witness was not present.

The standard poodle's owners, Lisa and John Roberts, have been unable to agree on who should get custody as the terms of their divorce are finalized.

Two days of mediation didn't help, so an hourlong hearing before Judge Robert Childers decided the issue.

"I had one lawyer call me and say 'Did you really try a case today about a dog?' " said attorney Dorothy Pounders, who represents the wife. "I said 'Yes, I did. It's the truth.' There's a first time for everything. But it was very serious and very emotional."

Because animals are considered property under Tennessee law, it wasn't technically a custody hearing, so there were no issues of visitation or who should have primary residential parent status.

(There were no shared children in the marriage.)

Instead, Childers decided that the husband should have 5-year-old Zena during the week since he has an outdoor job and can take her to work with him.

The wife gets Zena from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday.

"It's like what a Solomon decision might do," said attorney Joe Duncan, who represents the husband. "The parties just felt so strongly about this issue that it was very difficult for them to give in, and that's what judges are for."

It's not the first time such an issue has gone to court. In another divorce case here five years ago, a Circuit Court judge had to decide who got custody of two golden retrievers (another split decision).

Ooooooo-kay. I can see why this couple split up. In other news:

A Jackson, Tenn., case involving the children's pet pig was resolved out of courtroom. "They worked it out through mediation," said Pounders. "They didn't have to litigate the pig."

I think we can all be thankful to have been spared the horror of unmitigated pigs.

But the Oink Cadre may have far worse things to worry about

The Violence Against Women Act, funded by federal taxpayers to the tune of nearly $1 billion dollars a year, holds training sessions for law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges to teach them anti-male and anti-marriage notions, and how to bypass men's constitutional rights. Radical feminists have lobbied state legislators to pass laws that require a policeman to arrest someone any time they are called to investigate an alleged domestic-violence incident.

States have also passed laws that require prosecution even if the woman does not want to prosecute or testify. Unwanted and unnecessary arrests and prosecutions obviously prevent reconciliation and private resolution of family disputes.

What is wrong with this, you may ask? Don't we want to put violent abusers behind bars? Well, for one thing there is a little thing called the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which provides an accused with the right to confront his accuser:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense

But in two recent cases, defendants were convicted in trials where the accuser never showed up to testify and defendant's counsel never got a chance to cross-examine her or call her testimony into question. In the first case, Hammon v. Indiana:

Officers from the Peru, Ind., police department had made an unsolicited visit to the Hammon couple (presumably after a call from a neighbor). Finding that the Hammons' argument had ended, but broken glass and a broken gas heater in the house, the policeman asked both husband and wife what happened. Each said the argument was over and everything was fine.

Unwilling to accept the couple's own resolution of the dispute, a policeman interrogated the Amy Hammon separately to get her side of the argument. This time, she informed the officer that she and her husband had indeed had an argument. Unlike her husband, Amy Hammon claimed it was violent - culminating with Hershel Hammon shoving her head into a gas heater, breaking its glass, and punching her in the chest. At the officer's request, the wife completed a battery affidavit conveying these allegations.

The wife did not press charges and never showed up in court. Undeterred, without ever putting the wife on the witness stand, the prosecutor obtained a battery conviction of the husband based on the signed legal paper.

Hershel Hammon received a one-year prison sentence, for which he spent 20 days in jail. His home was ruined and, with this serious conviction on his record, his ability to support his family was substantially diminished.

This amounts to the police soliciting and then prosecuting charges on their own without giving defendants access to the accused, in defiance of the Sixth Amendment. In a second case, incredibly, a 911 tape was used to convict a second defendant whose accuser also did not press charges or show up in court:

A 911 operator had called back to a household and elicited allegations about domestic violence. The jurors heard only a tape-recording of a 911 operator prodding Davis' former girlfriend, Michelle McCottry, to give her side of the story without the boyfriend telling his side on the tape.

In my humble opinion, these judges are barking up the wrong tree.

This is just another example of how the feminist agenda results in preferential status for women at the expense of men's basic rights. Women are presumed to be adults. As such, like men they are accountable for their choices: the good as well as the bad. No one forces them to live with violent partners. If they choose poorly, they must find the courage to report them or leave them, as difficult as that may be. Feminists cannot continue to claim women are perfectly equal to men when it comes to jobs like the combat arms, while claiming they need protection from the harsh realities of life on the homefront. It's time to choose ladies: which is it? Are you just miniature men? If so, you don't need any special privileges.

Or are there, perhaps, some very real differences between men and women, in which case perhaps you may have to face the disturbing possibility that there are very real reasons (other than prejudice) for some of the inequities you ascribe to gender discrimination.

Just one dog's opinion. Now if you don't mind, I've got business to attend to.


At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Harden Stuhl said...

Cass - I think your dog is great. Here are some pictures of my best friend. Not to waste web space I added an informational help tool...

Follow the link.[url=][img=][/url]

or click my name...

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Harden Stuhl said...

Link didn't work...

try this...

View full screen if it is too large.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous harden said...

I am having one of those days..." I - mean - if it isn't large enough to see"...sorry for the mega posting..

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Oh, how adorable!

Dogs are the greatest, even when they drive you nuts. Snoz is making me insane right now. Whenever I get out of my chair he jumps up in it and sits at my computer until I come back. If I go to the store, when I come back, there he is, staring at my laptop with this pitiful look on his little face.

Where else on earth am I ever going to find someone who loves me with all my faults? Thank heaven for dogs. They are endlessly forgiving. No one else in their right mind would put up with me.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger camojack said...

I've heard of people who were getting divorced fighting for custody of a dog before.

Folks jus' luv they critters...

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Masked MenaceĀ© said...

My, thankfully, ex-SIL wanted joint custody of their dog. Problem was my bro didn't want custody of the dog at all.

Him: You can have the dog.
Her: But I want us to share the dog, she's used to have both of us around, it wouldn't be fair to her.

Translation: I want to be able to dump the dog on you when it isn't convenient for me. And this is what I call fair.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Actually, having worked in a family law office, a lot of people want to do that with their children too, MM.

Except it seems a whole lot sadder when it comes to children.


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