I have so many questions about judges. Â What are they really wearing under that robe? Â Why/when did they ditch the powdered wig? Â Do they all keep a bottle of hooch in their desk to share with other judges? Â How much golf do they play?
My only frame of reference is Judge Harry T. Stone from the judicial juggernaut “Night Court”. Â That dude did magic on the bench. Â I have been disappointed for going on 13 years that I have yet to see a judge pull a rabbit out of a hat or ask me to pick a card.
The kings of the court, of course, are the Supreme Court Justices. Â Once you are elevated to that level, you’ve got a gig for life. Â Think about that. Â In today’s day and age, the average person is at his/her job for a handful of years at best, right? Â I just finished Jon Acuff’s Quitter. Â In that book he cites scientific polling data that 87% of people are in their job for less than six years.* The Justices, on the other hand are pretty much stuck with one another for decades.
There are nine Supreme Court Justices. Â There may be new blood added every ten years or so, but basically, one Justice works with eight others and that’s it. Â That’s their pool of co-workers. Â That has got to get boring. Â I’m guessing they’ve got to entertain themselves somehow.
I just completed a four-day seminar on vehicular homicide. Â During the seminar, the Supreme Court case of New York V. Quarles was cited. Â Here’s the crux of the case (skip to the bold part if legalese makes your head hurt):
Respondent was charged in a New York state court with criminal possession of a weapon. The record showed that a woman approached two police officers who were on road patrol, told them that she had just been raped, described her assailant, and told them that the man had just entered a nearby supermarket and was carrying a gun. While one of the officers radioed for assistance, the other (Officer Kraft) entered the store and spotted respondent, who matched the description given by the woman. Respondent ran toward the rear of the store, and Officer Kraft pursued him with a drawn gun, but lost sight of him for several seconds. Upon regaining sight of respondent, Officer Kraft ordered him to stop and put his hands over his head; frisked him and discovered that he was wearing an empty shoulder holster; and, after handcuffing him, asked him where the gun was. Respondent nodded toward some empty cartons and responded that “the gun is over there.” Officer Kraft then retrieved the gun from one of the cartons, formally arrested respondent, and read him his rights underÂ Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436. Respondent indicated that he would answer questions without an attorney being present and admitted that he owned the gun and had purchased it in Florida. The trial court excluded respondent’s initial statement and the gun because the respondent had not yet been given theÂ Miranda warnings, and also excluded respondent’s other statements as evidence tainted by theÂ Miranda violation. Both the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court and the New York Court of Appeals affirmed.
Quarles matched the description of a possible rape suspect. Â Police ran him down, handcuffed him and, after finding an empty shoulder holster asked where the gun was. Â Quarles told them where to find the gun. Â This was all done outside of Miranda.
Miranda, remember, is what you hear on all those incredibly accurate cop shows. Â Your Miranda rights are the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to have that attorney present, so on and so forth.
The Court held: Â The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the exclusion of respondent’s initial statement and the gun because of Officer Kraft’s failure to read respondent hisÂ Mirandarights before attempting to locate the weapon. Accordingly, it also erred in affirming the exclusion of respondent’s subsequent statements as illegal fruits of theÂ Miranda violation. This case presents a situation where concern for public safety must be paramount to adherence to the literal language of the prophylactic rules enunciated inMiranda. Pp.Â 467 U. S. 653-660.
That’s a bunch of lawyering words to say the lower courts screwed the pooch and put Miranda ahead of public safety. Â But that’s not what I keyed in on. Â Read the last bit again:Â This case presents a situation where concern for public safety must be paramount to adherence to the literal language of the prophylactic rules enunciated inMiranda.
Uh, what?!? Â Prophylactic?!? Â Am I the only one that immediately thinks condom?
Here’s how I see the conversation playing out:
Justice Marshall (wrote dissenting opinion): Okay, Willie. Â I’ll bet that if you Â win, you won’t have the stones to include a reference to birth control in your opinion.
Justice Rehnquist: Are you kidding me, ‘Good? Â You know I’m all about slipping rubbers in. Â Bring it! Â By the way, what the hell kind of name is Thurgood? Â That’s just weird, man.
Marshall: You know I’m sensitive about that. Â Why do you always have to be such a douche?
That is the only scenario I can envision as to how that particular word made into the decision in a Supreme Court case.
Am I the only one that thinks Supreme Court Justices have their own version of a frat house? Â I picture them all living in the same house and making the new Justices pick up bing cherries with their butt cheeks and waddle around the house. Â Ah, hazing.
*I totally made up all of this, except for the fact that Acuff wrote Quitter, an excellent tome regarding bridging the gap between your day job and your dream job.