By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by James BunoanThe longtime reader will doubtless remember (unless those longtime readers are residents of Leisure World—and don't think we don't have our rabid fans in Senile City!) that I love jury duty!
And though I'm usually excused with thanks, I even actually got sat on a panel once! And I loved it! Simply, I love doing my duty as an American citizen, whether that duty comprises voting or mindlessly parroting whatever the government tells me. Anything less would be un-American.
Yes, I am the best American. I wonder how often those talk-radio peeps who are always calling folks like me and Al Franken un-American ever sit themselves down in the Long Beach courthouse, doing puzzles, reading O, the Oprah magazine, listening to the gentle stand-up comedy patter of the three ladies assigned to herd us, and watching a guy who looks like Dennis Farina picking his nose. When's the last time Bill O'Reilly did his citizenly duty? I mean, besides denouncing his fellow citizens to HUAC?
You know what I love just as much as my citizenly duty? The law! I can cite chapter and amendment the rules for evidentiary exclusion and just when a cop's gone over that ever-moving Miranda line (to paraphrase William Hurt in Broadcast News, the Supreme Court just keeps moving the little sucker, don't it?). And who do I have to thank for my legal education? All those Law & Order repeats on NBC, A&E, TBS, TNTand the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Only, on TBN they call the people's search for higher justice "The Armies of the Lord," and it's not so much about black street punks rapin' and killin' as it is about young black men being made to dress up in bat costumes—'cause they're The Devil!—and being cast out by singin' and dancin' Christian teens dressed up as militiamen. This is true. I saw it one night on TBN, a musical number about how the Armies of the Lord will kick Satan's ass, and the one black kid in the troupe was the one who got to play the loneliest demon. It was an unbelievable display of the most casual, putrid racism mixed with a fine blend of Ruby Ridge, and it sure didn't help that I was high at the time. Jan Crouch's response? "Wasn't that special?"
Now, Law & Order is a very seductive view of the criminal justice system; we get to see with absolute certainty that the punk did it, before some stupid judge throws out the confession and the jury acquits. But don't worry! Those are New York judges, and New York judges are liberal Jews. Here, it's a lot more likely that a theory for the defense will never get to reach the jurors' tender ears. You know, like Ed Rosenthal not being permitted to argue in his pot-cultivating trial that he was raising his pot for sick people in the city of Oakland—and was deputized by the city to do so—under California's voter-approved Prop. 215.
Thankfully, here in Orange County we don't need to worry that we're only hearing the prosecutor's side of things. Why? Because we're not allowed to hear the prosecutor's side of things! District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and his minion Susan Kang Schroeder have an actual policy mandating that their media liaison refrain from talking to the media (unless you count The Orange County Register as "the media"), and for those of you who skip right over all the news in this paper, they actually fired their press person, Michelle Emard, last week for questioning Tony & Susan's refusal to let her talk ever, in any situation, to the Weekly or Stuart Pfeifer of the Times. Here's hoping Emard gets a fat whistleblower settlement.
But this is not a column about the law! This is, allegedly, a nightlife column! And since I'm in the mood for law, I thought I'd present some nightlife with a law-and-order twist!Lawyer Bars. Sadly, there aren't any—unless you count the DA's chief of detectives whooping it up on the taxpayers' dime at the Santa Ana Elks Club. "In just one case," according to my colleague R. Scott Moxley(for those of you who skip right over all the news in this paper), "Rackauckas assistant Don Blankenshipcharged the public more than $4,600 in bar bills acquired largely at the Santa Ana Elks Club." One of these days, I'm definitely going there. Oh, it's a private men's club? Are those still allowed? Where's a Howell Raines zone-flooding when you need it?
For those of us who are neither private nor men, we got nothin'! As the good boys of the Memphis Mafia know, the folks populating the Ronald Reagan Federal Building by day split from Santa Ana once the sun goes down. If they didn't, Memphis might be able to serve dinner, or at least drinks. Still, lunch there is superb.Cop Bars. I'm waiting for Orange County Sheriff's Department flack Jon Fleischman—but you can call him "Flash!"—to get back to me on this one. I know there's one in Placentia. At deadline, Flash had not got back to me, and you know what? He is on the list. He did say, however, that Susan Kang Schroeder makes great banana daiquiris! "You should try one!" he told me before never calling me back again, but I suspect Schroeder would as soon make me a banana daiquiri as poke her eye out with a toothpick. Unlike me, Schroeder's not the friendliest woman in the world!