Michael Cicchini - Myths, Misconceptions, and the Law
Posted: 21 February 2011 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Host: Karen Stollznow

Michael Cicchini is a criminal defense attorney and a skeptic.

Through extensive research and writing in the field of criminal law he has advocated for defendants’ rights. Super Lawyers and Milwaukee Magazine have named him among “The Top Young Lawyers” for four consecutive years.

Michael is the author of the book But They Didn’t Read Me My Rights: Myths, Oddities, and Lies about our Legal System, that debunks assumptions and misconceptions about the American Legal System. He is also author of the blog “The Legal Watchdog” where he employs critical thinking to critique case decisions and report on other legal issues.

In this interview with Karen Stollznow, Michael shares some urban legends and absurdities to be found about the United States justice system. He talks about the effect of popular culture on the public perception of the law, and reveals that when it comes to the law, fact is often stranger than fiction.

Michael discusses critical thinking in the courtroom, reason in legal reasoning, logic in the law, and the role of evidence in a trial. He also speaks about the influence of religious belief on laws that are passed in this country and why old laws rarely ever go away.

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/michael_cicchini_myths_misconceptions_and_the_law/

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Posted: 24 February 2011 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Great interview Karen, Michael, legally, it was just plain scary. I’ll be picking up the book.

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 25 February 2011 02:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Good one. I knew some of that stuff, but interesting nevertheless.

Concerning some laws that are blatantly unreasonable, I’m surprised how hard it seems to be to strike down a law based the 8th amendment, prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.

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Posted: 27 February 2011 03:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Some astonishing examples of the disparity between law justice and common sense.  We must all be sheep to tolerate such blatant injustice.  I could go on and on and on; suffice to say I do not respect law, only justice and common sense.

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Posted: 13 March 2011 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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That all the municipalities, states, and the federal government write laws, that gives the law-abiding people at least three layers to deal with.  If the dedicated professionals have to sub-specialize into portions of the law and can’t learn all the laws, then what chance does an ordinary citizen have?  The criminal justice system will hold you legally responsible for abiding by the laws, and ignorance of the law is no defense.  Tell your representatives how you feel about that.  smile 

Why shouldn’t the people who write laws also be responsible for ensuring that citizens understand them?  Why shouldn’t the laws fit into one book?  Why should all of the municipal, state, and federal governments all have so much power to add to the bulk, shouldn’t they be united and working on one set of laws?  Where is the impetus to streamline and clarify the body of laws as a whole?  Cicchini described the politics well.

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Posted: 16 March 2011 08:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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This was a very interesting podcast, but also a frightening one which highlighted some differences between what constitutes law and justice.

The most striking example I remember of the disconnect between the two concepts was about a year ago (?) when I heard of an underage girl who had made some nude pictures of herself using her smart phone (as many girls that age do), and sent them to her boyfriend, who then (as boys that age would) showed them to his mates and the pictures were forwarded from there on on.

This girl was then charged with the manufacture and distribution of child pornography, received a draconian sentence and will have to register for the rest of her life on the sex offender registry and will be barred from most forms of employment.

This is justice?

It obviously was against the letter of the law what she did, but what I found most frightening was that when this was discussed on a local radio show, the majority of the callers saw nothing wrong with prosecuting her.  I had assumed the reaction would overwhelmingly against charging her.  After all, why do we have laws against child pornography? To protect children from predators who would abuse them in its manufacture, of course.  That is the ethical foundation for this law.  But caller after caller said something along the lines of, ‘well, of course she should be prosecuted.  She broke the law’.

I found this absolutely terrifying.  To a significant proportion of the population of a democracy, apparently, the law is a thing by itself that needs to be obeyed, never mind the ethical underpinning of why the law was created in the first place.

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Posted: 20 March 2011 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Interesting Podcast - well done.

I will have to listen a 2nd time and take notes…

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