. . . No, this post isn’t about guys who break-up with you just before Valentine’s Day. It contains a few follow-ups and forecasts about Sex Offender laws, Schenectady’s felonious ex-police chief, the future of the legal blogiverse, and some of the best haiku of 2008
.. .. Moving Day for Kaz: Looking a lot less jaunty than he did for his plea hearing last December (see our prior post for details), former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmarek was sentenced yesterday to two years in State prison for drug possession. See “Former Schenectady police chief heads to prison” (Schenectady Gazette, Feb. 3, 2009); “Two years for ex-chief” (Albany Times Union, Feb. 3, 2009). At the sentencing, both prosecutor Michael Sharpe, of the state Attorney General’s Office, and Judge Karen Drago felt they needed to respond to complaints in the community and from Kaz’s co-conspirators that he got off easy, and that Kaz only pled to keep his wife out of prison (she got 6 months in the County jail).
According to the Gazette, prosecutor Sharpe told the court that Greg Kaczmarek had the opportunity to spare his wife at least some jail time last summer, but he chose not to. Sharpe also make it clear that there was plenty of evidence that Kaz bought drugs, using some and selling some to others. The Gazette also states that:
“Both Sharpe and Drago attempted in court to respond to rampant criticism of the Kaczmareks’ sentences. The Kaczmareks were among two dozen indicted as players in the drug organization headed by Kirkem and Oscar Mora. . . .
” . . . The attorney for one of the accused organization managers last week even filed a formal motion comparing his client’s involvement with Lisa Kaczmarek’s. Brian Toal, attorney for co-defendant Hazel Nader, argued that the Kaczmareks got unfairly lighter sentences, calling them ‘embarrassing’.”
The prosecutor and the judge agreed that the Kaczmareks were at the lower levels of the organization. Sharpe noted that Kaz had used his law enforcement knowledge (gained from 27 years in law enforcement, six of those as Schenectady’s police chief) to advise the ringleader on avoiding the police. The Gazette reports that Sharpe told the court:
“[T]hat allegation, and Greg Kaczmarek’s law enforcement background, warranted his two years in prison, over his wife’s six months. Greg Kaczmarek spent
However, Judge Drago disagreed about the significance of Kaz’s police background.
“While it is enormously disappointing that an individual who held a position of such esteem stands before the court convicted of a drug offense, the position as former chief of police in and of itself does not warrant a harsher sentence,” Drago said.
[Note: Your Editor leans toward giving harsher sentences to people who violate laws they used to enforce.]
Drago also said that the case is an example of how “drug addiction crosses all walks of life and how anyone can succumb to this.”
According to the Times Union, Lisa Kaczmarek’s lawyer, Kevin Luibrand, called her behavior “aberrational.” We’re pretty sure a fancy New York City criminal lawyer like Scott Greenfield would have used an actual word, perhaps “aberant.”
.. Sex Offender Law Web-cast: If you hurry, you can still catch a live webcast that begins today, Feb. 3, at 10:45 AM EST, and is sponsored by the Editorial board of the Lower Hudson Journal. It features Sarah Tofte, author of the 146-page Human Rights Watch Report “No Easy Answers: Sex offender Laws in the United Sates” (September 2007). The forum (which will also be available for viewing after the event) should be an excellent follow-up to yesterday’s LoHud.com op/ed piece, “How far can – or should – communities go to restrict sex offenders?” (LOHud.com, by Nancy Cutler, Feb. 2, 2009). It asks:
What should communities do to protect children from convicted sex offenders? What strategies work and which ones don’t?
If you missed it, you could prepare for the Webcast (or otherwise bone-up on issues relevant to restricting where sex offenders can live) by reading yesterday’s f/k/a post “don’t let a bad idea go statewide” (Feb. 2, 2009).
.. .. The Turk’s Crystal Ball: Eric Turkewitz wrote yesterday about “The Future of the Legal Blogosphere” (Feb. 2, 2009) at his New York Personal Injury Law weblog. Eric says: “Having now trashed Twitter (Twitter and The Age of Information Overload) before using it and semi-trashed it again after using it (Twitter: A Review), and having concluded it is not the future, the question remains: What is the future of the legal blogosphere?” Turk argues that the future will look like a combination of Listservs, a group weblog for and by lawyers and a social networking site. More specifically:
- “First, what is missing from the legal blogosphere is a group blog for practicing lawyers. While Volokh or Co-Op are possible as templates for group blogs, I see something more akin to the splashier Huffington Post, except that it would be written by and for lawyers.”
- “Now mix in the social element, whether this is for swapping tips and links or engaging in political discussion away from one’s own practice area. It happens to some extent in comment areas, but this is limited. It also is happening in Twitter, but the format is anything but ideal. . . . . A well-located and well-designed legal forum can be significantly superior to it.”
As an example of a model, Eric goes on to point to “Well designed discussion boards such as those operated by The Motley Fool financial site,” which could also incorporate profiles for those interested in social networking. He then that such a site would “also have a reader base with some of the best advertising demographics in the nation. Advertising (cars, booze, travel, etc) would be an easy sell relative to other sites, as would law firm sponsorships.” And,
“Thus, a savvy entrepreneur will one day blend the desires for blogging and the desires for a legal-social element into one web location, in an easy-to-use site.”
Eric is right. Such a project needs to have content with substance and style, and it needs to offer value that exceeds the time spent perusing and using the site. Turk predicts it will happen and brags that “you heard it first” at his weblog. He forgot to say that Prof. Yabut and the entire f/k/a Gang would love to come out of retirement to put such a project together (and maybe show the Twittrepreneurs that we’re much more like phoenixes and eagles than pterodactyls ’round here).
.. White Lies? Well, only a little and temporary one. As the day progresses, I’ll be adding poems by the f/k/a family of haiku poets from white lies: the Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku 2008 (see our prior post). “white lies” contains some of the very best haiku-related poetry published in 2008. E.g., this trio from Tom Painting:
the way my father
set them straight
lights them all
the weight of the pennies
in the mason jar
spring at last
letting the stallion out
into the pasture
soldiers in the alley
the living room
….. by Tom Clausen – white lies: RMA 2008
orig. pub. Wisteria 8
cherry blossom rain . . .
I take the convertible
back to the showroom
all the answers
in the back of the book–
a new light
on the dashboard
…… by Alice Frampton – white lies: RMA 2008
“cherry blossom rain . . . ” – Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
“all the answers” – The Heron’s Nest X:3
“a new light” - The Heron’s Nest X:2
behind our backs –
the sounds the ocean
…………………… by Gary Hotham -
orig. pub. The Heron’s Nest X:3