NEW YORK — A New York attorney on Thursday said the life of a murdered transgender woman wasn’t worth the same punishment as if his client had killed someone “in the higher end of the community.”
Piece of scum attorney.My blood is fucking boiling.
The attorney and whomever that scum is defending are the worthless ones
All right, listen up, Tumblr. This is one of the few times I’ll actually give a social commentary, so here we go. When you’re a lawyer, your job is to fight for your client. No questions asked. You make whatever argument you can. You verbally rip apart people on the stand when they side against you. You say whatever you need to. Do I think this murderer is a piece of scum? Yes. Do I think his lawyer is probably a piece of scum too? Yes. But this has to be said. When you’re a lawyer, sometimes you’re forced to do dirty work. Because at the end of the day, if people stop fighting for the guilty ones, sooner or later, there’s no one to fight for the innocent ones either. You got a problem with that? Don’t be a lawyer. Problem solved. Does what this lawyer said suck? Yes. But it wasn’t your friend or family member that got murdered and it’s not years of your freedom on the line, so kindly fuck off. This lawyer’s job is probably hard enough as it is.
You’re fucking awful. Kindly fuck off
He said she was less than human.
What does that have to do with his job at all.
How does that make the murderer any less guilty?
I am a lawyer. (Disclaimer: I am not your lawyer. Consult a lawyer in your own state for anything that affects your rights.)
What this scumbag said does not fall under the ambit of zealous representation.
Arguments made to a court have to have a basis in law or a reasonable argument for reversing existing law and/or making new law. (I’m paraphrasing.)
There is no basis in law to argue that the murder laws do not or should not apply to transgender women or sex workers because of what kind of people they are or because their lives are somehow less valuable. None. Zero. Nada.
If I were that judge, I’d have reported the attorney for a Rule 11* violation for even making that argument, and be looking into my state’s rules of professional conduct to see what else he might have violated by doing so. In my state, even without a provision specifically protecting people on the basis of gender identity, I would be comfortable making the argument that this lawyer’s conduct was prejudicial to the administration of justice as a knowing manifestation of bias or prejudice based on sex. See TNRPC 8.4(d) and Comment 3 thereto.
Attorneys get enough shit for legitimate zealous representation issues without muddying the water as if every argument an attorney makes is ok because of zealous representation. It is not. This is not ok.
Also, if the commenter who posted that is a lawyer, they need to take a few more PR CLEs, because zealous representation does not and has never meant “you say whatever you need to.” Doing so violates Rule 11, shows a lack of candor toward the tribunal, and contributes to the degradation of the profession.
Does zealous representation mean we sometimes have to do things that seem unfair - hell, that are unfair? Yep. I can’t give a specific example because of my own professional limitations, but even in the short time I have been practicing law I have had to make arguments based on existing law that I know is unfair.
Does zealous representation extend to making an argument that a human being wasn’t really a person worthy of protection of the laws against violence because of who they were or what job they did? No, I can’t think of a set of facts where that would be true even in a PR hypothetical for students, much less real life. To make a Rule 11-compliant argument, the lawyer would need a cogent and reasoned analysis as to why the Fourteenth Amendment doesn’t apply to this victim such that they should be exempted from the protection of the laws against murder. “Because bigotry” is not such an argument. Again, I can’t think of any argument that would pass Rule 11 to get around equal protection of the laws against murder because of the status of the victim.
This is not just a “oh, popelizbet is a dang hippie lawyer” argument, either. Prominent law bloggers with many more years of service than I, whose politics barely brush mine, are condemning this. This kind of hateful garbage brings disrepute on our profession because it is morally wrong to make these kinds of arguments. Scummy lawyers get away with enough fuckery without people excusing things they do that are inexcusable based on their complete misunderstanding of what zealous representation actually is.
*Some states may not designate the rule with this rule number, but in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 11 is, in part, the rule against making arguments to the court that are not supported in law or do not advance a colorable argument to change existing law. A similar Rule exists in the Rules of Criminal Procedure. To my knowledge, every state has adopted this portion of the Federal Rules.
We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I’m talking about the white masses, I’m talking about the black masses, and the brown masses, and the yellow masses, too. We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We say you don’t fight capitalism with no black capitalism; you fight capitalism with socialism.
We ain’t gonna fight no reactionary pigs who run up and down the street being reactionary; we’re gonna organize and dedicate ourselves to revolutionary political power and teach ourselves the specific needs of resisting the power structure, arm ourselves, and we’re gonna fight reactionary pigs with INTERNATIONAL PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION. That’s what it has to be. The people have to have the power: it belongs to the people.
We have to understand very clearly that there’s a man in our community called a capitalist. Sometimes he’s black and sometimes he’s white. But that man has to be driven out of our community, because anybody who comes into the community to make profit off the people by exploiting them can be defined as a capitalist. And we don’t care how many programs they have, how long a dashiki they have. Because political power does not flow from the sleeve of a dashiki; political power flows from the barrel of a gun. It flows from the barrel of a gun!"
— The World Cries for Newtown’s Children, but Few of Us Think About Dead Brown Babies, Dr. Boyce Watkins (via maarnayeri)
Anonymous asked: what do doctors get out of fat-shaming? seriously? like what the fuck do they even gain from it? how does it affect their job? why do they do it? who does it benefit?
It’s illogical to assume someone holding prejudicial beliefs do it because they are motivated by personal gains. Most people are completely unaware that they hold any form of prejudice against specific groups of people and if they are aware they don’t take the time to reflect on it. If they did then they probably would start the process of unlearning many of those beliefs.
What you probably want to think about is how doctors are educated and work in a system that treats fat people in a very specific way. They are part of a larger system that oppresses fat people, along with other marginalized people who deal with similar forms of discrimination when seeking medical services.
The medical industrial complex on the other hand gains a great deal by offering marginalized people care that is subpar compared to groups with more power. If you are giving people subpar care where they face stigma and discrimination when they engage with medical services they are not only less likely to go to the doctor but they are also more likely to not get the treatment they really need. It makes it so you have a huge class of people that are sicker throughout their lifespan and need more intensive health services. That means they end up spending more money long term.
For people who think fat people specifically use more insurance dollars compared to thin people, in reality inequality and lack of stigma free health care services costs us more money because that doesn’t just encompass the harm done by fat phobic health care practitioners but also the racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism etc. that is ingrained within the industry overall.
This is all true, but it’s also important to remember that doctors are also people who grew up in a culture that hates and fears fat, and specifically constructs it as a moral failing. For fatphobic doctors who are not themselves fat, blaming fat people for being fat carries implicit self-praise for NOT being fat. (Institutional medicalized fatphobia is a major reason that we see few fat doctors, just as other forms of institutionalized oppression keep representation of other marginalized groups low among doctors.)
Additionally, while refusing to let go of incorrect assumptions and beliefs in the face of mounds of evidence is hardly a trait unique to doctors, the professional culture in which they are trained and socialized certainly doesn’t help. Doctors in the United States cling to all kinds of practices that research has conclusively demonstrated to be harmful in the name of the “standard of care”; fatphobia and an insistence on weight-focused interventions is a particularly pervasive example, but it’s not the only one. There is the general advantage of not having to expend any energy/resources to learn new standards and treatment approaches, and there is definitely emotional and self-image-protective benefit to never admitting that you have used your professional identity and institutional and social authority to actively harm people you were supposed to be helping.
"When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day, when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking–the first in his life. She told him that he would have to go outside himself and find a switch for her to hit him with.
The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, “Mama, I couldn’t find a switch, but here’s a rock that you can throw at me.”
All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child’s point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone.
And the mother took the boy into her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because if violence begins in the nursery one can raise children into violence.”"
Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking, 1978 Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
This is really powerful and important, but we have to remember also that children are raised into racism—that racism starts in the nursery, and it leads to violence and the unquestioned acceptance of violence when it’s perpetrated against POC, especially Black people. And the Pippi Longstocking books are full of racism, especially anti-Black racism, which is why I will not ever give them to my kids.