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The Dark Side

Feb 21, 2012

THE DARK SIDE: Reality matters, not perception

From time to time, I hear people say something like, “It’s not only important the judicial system be fair; it is important the judicial system be perceived as fair.”

Feb 15, 2012

THE DARK SIDE: Preliminary hearings serve a valuable purpose

In my long career, only once have I had a case dismissed because after a preliminary hearing the commissioner decided that there was no probable cause to proceed.

Feb 8, 2012

THE DARK SIDE: I want the pacifists to buy me guns

Now that I’m self-employed again, a friend asked me if it worries me to not have any health insurance anymore.

Feb 2, 2012

THE DARK SIDE: One nice thing about the State Bar

People sometimes ask me, “Don’t you have anything nice to say about the State Bar of Wisconsin?”

Jan 24, 2012

THE DARK SIDE: Attorney assessments for legal services are unconstitutional

Back in the day, a bumper sticker on many a van read: “A**, gas or grass, nobody rides for free.”

Jan 18, 2012

THE DARK SIDE: The polar bears don’t need your money

Wisconsin law governing fraudulent misrepresentations can fairly be described as charitable. It’s too bad the law doesn’t apply to so-called charities, which are some of the worst fraudsters operating in this state.

Jan 10, 2012

THE DARK SIDE: The Constitution is a lot like Dorian Gray

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde is not just one of the most extraordinary novels ever written, but an allegory of the history of the U.S. Constitution.

Jan 3, 2012

THE DARK SIDE: Happy New Year from The Dark Side

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news of the United States Supreme Court's opinion in U.S. v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995)?

Dec 27, 2011

THE DARK SIDE: I miss the old courthouse cafeteria

Now that, after an 11-year hiatus, I've returned to being a full-time courthouse rat, people ask me what's the biggest difference.

Dec 19, 2011

THE DARK SIDE: Cite this column, but not the opinion

If dictionaries were written by lawyers, one of the definitions for “frustration” would say “finding a case directly on point, but being unable to cite it because it is unpublished.”

Dec 14, 2011

THE DARK SIDE: The greatest threat to liberty ever

I had been generally aware that some congressmen who don’t like the First Amendment and who particularly dislike the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Citizens United v. FEC, 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010), wanted to get around the decision by passing a constitutional amendment to overt[...]

Nov 29, 2011

THE DARK SIDE: A day in children’s court

An ancient witticism goes something like this: The children are the future … And that’s why I stockpile so much ammunition.

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