Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Well, how nice (again!)

For the third year in a row, D.A. Confidential has been nominated by the American Bar Association's Journal as one of the best legal blogs in the country.

(One of a hundred, which actually sounds less impressive so I won't mention that bit.)

But look, I get a badge/label thingy:

Anyway, check what fellow blogger Jamison Koehler said about me (unbribed, for the record):  “Mark Pryor of D.A. Confidential is like the Jerry Seinfeld or Jay Leno of the criminal law blogosphere: He can be funny, original, interesting and entertaining without using obscenity or going for the jugular."

Man, I wish I could use obscenity.  Anyway, if you are inclined, and I do hate touting for votes, click here and vote for me -- you'll have to create an account, but it's quick and easy and I hear that it stops people cheating.

Which, obviously, is a shame. Those legal people think of everything. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Big feet and copycats

Here's an example of the difference in maturity and (one hopes) thoughtfulness between adults and kids. 

And yes, it has to do with feet.  Big ones.

Imagine you're an adult, a slender and short one, maybe 5'4" and 140lbs.  You're a stealer, a thief, a nicker of other people's stuff.  And you loooove breaking into cars.  One summer night as you're casing joints and sussing out stealing sites, you come across a truck and you gain access via your usual sophisticated method: the window and a rock.

You reach inside and help yourself to a few items, maybe some CDs, a phone charger, a jacket . . . and then your hands settle upon a pair of shoes.  To be more precise, a pair of size fifteen sneakers.  Yes, I said size fifteen.

Now, as a diminutive chap, two thoughts will likely go through your head:

1.  "What the hell do I want with a pair of size fifteen sneakers?"  (Granted, if you come from a family of clowns, this thought will not occur.)

2.  "Wow, these shoes are big, I hope their owner isn't standing behind me.  Maybe I should leave them and run away."

The second thought, I can assure you, did not occur to the young man in question. I know that because the victim of the theft reported his shoes stolen. 

I suspect the first thought did, once he got home, and in my mind that would have been an amusing moment to witness.

And a nod to a copycat, the good people at who have realized what I've known all along: a crime blog is fun. Actually, I expect good things from them, I do like their work.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Want a free copy of The Bookseller?

One of the best reviews yet from the site Buried Under Books.  I love the final paragraph the most:

To me, three things are most evident when an author is really good. First is strong characters, second is a plot that grabs me and won’t let go, and third is a mastery of the English language.  Mark Pryor has it all in his first novel and I can’t wait for his next Hugo Marston mystery.

Not surprising I'd like that bit, eh?  (And no, I didn't bribe anyone. . ., though I'm not saying I'm above that. . .)

Anyway, you can enter the drawing for a free copy of the book, just visit the site here and drop a comment about a great new book or author you've discovered recently.  Yep, it's that easy. 

And, come to think of it, I'm always up for hearing about new writers or books, so get to it!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Proof of insanity?

Picture a man making these complaints:
  • his coffee is served cold 
  • he does not have enough butter for his bread
  • he is not given moisturiser
A hotel, right?  Probably not a good one, though, because these days there's almost always moisturiser in the bathroom.

Actually, no, it's not a hotel. 

Another clue?  Okay, his quarters are three rooms, one for sleeping, one for studying, one for exercising.

Ah, you got it - a college dorm!  Fancy, too, right?  Three living areas?  Way posh.  Shame about the lack of butter but hey, otherwise not too shabby.

Oh, wait.

Not a dorm.

Okay, the last clue comes from this gentleman's other complaints:
  • poor decorations and no view
  • his quarters are too cold, forcing him to wear three layers of clothes
  • he has to rush his morning shave and brushing of teeth
  • light and television switches are outside the quarters, so he has to ask for help to change channel or sleep
Am I allowed to use the word "douchebag" here?  I suppose so, it being my blog.  I'd use worse but who knows, some kid might wander by after googling the name of a man who murdered 77 people, most of them teenagers.

That's right, Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik isn't getting enough butter and he doesn't like the drapes.  Full story from the BBC here.

So my question in the title refers to whom. . .

Is Brevik insane for writing a letter to complain of these privations?
Is the Norwegian government insane for putting him in such nice digs?
Or is the BBC insane for writing a story about a mass murderer who'd like more butter?

Of course, no reason why it can't be all three.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jury duty for me!

I have jury duty tomorrow!  And it's at the federal courthouse, so there's an outside chance I will get to serve (if it's a civil case, rather than criminal).

It's been so long since I've been herded around like I'm a sheep, it'll be interesting.  Of course, we'll see if it's like the state criminal courts, where there's a LOT of waiting around.

In case it is, I'll bring my book.

And yes, I'll let you know when it's all over what it's like.

Fingers crossed!

** Update **

Well, ridiculous optimism appears to contain no power.  No go on the jury today, though an inside look at the way they do things in federal court was absolutely worthwhile.

The major difference appears to be that the judge conducts much of the voir dire, he gave the lawyers about 15 to 20  minutes each.  Far more efficient.  And while it took up all morning, I wouldn't say there was a whole lot of waiting about.  Here's roughly how the morning went:

8 - 8:30: we're in the main jury room, not the courtroom, and get a welcome and powerpoint talk by the jury coordinator, telling about the Western District of Texas and a little about the process.

8:30 - 9: a video, snippets of Supreme Court justices and former jurors talking about the importance of jury duty.

9:30 - 10:30 - after a break, we go into the courtroom and Judge Yeakel gives us a thank you and introduction to the case and parties.  He then asks the kinds of questions that, in State court, the lawyers ask.  He is considerably less long-winded.

10:30 - 11- the lawyers have their turn, seem prepared and knows our names even.

11:30 - 11:45 - we take another break while the strikes are made and the jury settled upon, and this is done quickly and without fuss.  We're done and dusted by lunch time.

I imagine the process was accelerated partly because there were just 26 of us in the panel - they were picking eight people for a civil trial. 

One I would have loved to have jurored.  Maybe next time?

Don't worry, I managed to cheer myself up with an offense report back at the office.  Some kid had stolen a pair of sneakers from a man's car.  A pair of size 16 sneakers.

Don't you pick those up and think, "Errr, yeah, I'm not stealing from this dude.  If he catches me...."