Thursday, May 23, 2013

I don't see a poisoned tree, do you?

One of the precepts of criminal law under the Constitution is that evidence against a suspect that is obtained as a result of knowledge gained in violation of the suspect's rights -- because of things learned during illegal questioning, or through an illegal search -- is not admissible in court. The evidence is considered to be the fruit of the poisoned tree, the poisoned tree being the illegal act. You non-lawyers out there -- and for these purposes, I am including most of you in Temp Town -- this would seem to indicate that it is nap time, as nothing good can come of a post that starts like that. But I know you can persevere. Screw your courage to the sticking place.

OK, detour -- my late sainted mother, may she rest in peace, used to toss that one out there all the time. A theater major, she was rather fond of literary quotations. That one is from MacBeth, Act I, Scene 7. There is some argument as to the actual derivation of the phrase -- might involve a crossbow, maybe musical instruments? -- but all agree it means you reach a point where you can't move anymore and you have to simply get tough and cowboy up. So work with me here, people.

In any event, if you could gather the information by legal means, independent of your illegal knowledge, then the information is admissible and isn't poisoned anymore.  I think we have that here. Let me explain.

One of the things firms and agencies always pound on is that you can't discuss the documents you review with people not involved in the case. It's an attorney-client thing. On the other hand the most truly interesting documents -- not related to the case, but usually emails about affairs and such -- have nothing to do with the legal matter that has you reviewing these documents. You still can't talk about these documents, though, no matter how interesting, funny or whatever, because you only know about the information in the documents because you actually read them. There is no other way for you to know.

Yes, yes, but what if there were another way for you to know? Couldn't you talk about it? I think that sounds OK, don't you? Good, because there is tons of shit on the internet about what I found in the documents I'm looking at. So that's the approach I'm taking: this information is out there, and I was able to find it independent of anything I do at work.

With that big-ass buildup, I just want to make sure that nobody expects some major revelation here. This shit is small potatoes. Really. But I found it fascinating. So here it its:  The son of one of the executives at the company whose documents I am reviewing played baseball in college. He was a pitcher. He was pretty good, but not really good, or he would have been drafted long before he finished college. He apparently signed a contract with a major league team to pitch for one of that team's Single A affilliates -- minor league ball, unlikely to lead to the bigs. He also, apparently, had been accepted to law school.

At some point, decision time came. This dickwad chose law school. He decided not to play pro baseball and went to law school instead. Allow me to collect myself for a moment so that when I comment it will not be an unconsidered, intemperate remark.

There. I'm OK now.


Fucking anybody can get into law school. I look around me everyday and see proof of that. The industry is completely fucked up and much harder to make a living in -- why not become a newspaper reporter, if you're so damn desperate to join a dying industry? But to have the ability to play professional sports? Even at the lowest level? That is so much more selective than law school will ever be.

If you are that physically gifted, how on earth do you not want to see how far your talent will take you? Everybody and his brother played Little League baseball; most of them weren't good enough to play high school ball. In turn, most of them weren't good enough to play college ball, even at shitty schools. And most of those guys weren't good enough to play even Single-A ball at the pro level. How do you not take that shot?

At 21 or 22 years old, it is almost impossible to waste a year. Most potential employers would be impressed if you spent a year or two in the minor leagues, figuring out whether you had enough talent to move higher. But setting that aside, if I had enough talent to put me into the very select company that even gets the chance to play professional ball, even minor league, I would never be able to live with myself if I didn't at least try. But hey, maybe I'm wrong.

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