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The case for Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Rebirth, #1 DC Comics









Who is the world’s greatest superhero?

Batman is a great detective. The Flash is really fast. Superman can basically do anything (as long as he is not near a green rock). However, I have come to believe none of them is the greatest superhero. As a matter of fact, they’re not even close. It’s Wonder Woman.

Let me make the case. The analysis begins with defining our criteria. We don’t judge a superhero’s greatness by the color of their cape. Couture doesn’t help in the fight against evil. Nor do we judge a superhero’s greatness by their ability to throw or take a punch. A superhero must be more than a blunt instrument.

Most of us merely judge a hero’s greatness by their superpowers. That’s too simplistic of a methodology. It fails to address, what we call in statistics class, a type of confounding variable. A thing outside of a hero’s superpowers that may affect the results of their actions.

Just as important as a hero’s power is why they use them. Character is fundamental to our analysis. Not just acting beyond the call of duty. Not only putting the well being of a stranger before their own. Those are the job’s minimum requirements. I am talking about their worldview.

What value do they put on things that are essential to us everyday people? Like freedom, liberty and dignity. Do they have a moral core that guides their actions such as, in the case of Wonder Woman, “[i]t’s not about deserve. It’s about what you believe.”

We should want heroes that act in the name of justice. We should want more, heroes that actually do justice.

Once we establish that a hero has the proper belief system, then we must ask a fundamental question: how well do a hero’s powers effectuate their values? Batman’s intellect, self-discipline, and fortune plainly help his quest for justice without bullets. Superman’s x-ray vision, strength and ability to fly certainly help him to win his fights for truth justice and the American way.

However, no hero’s powers better fit her values and empower them, than Wonder Woman. While Superman strives for the principles of truth and justice. Those are actually Wonder Woman’s powers.

With her Lasso of Truth, she can ensure she always gets the person that did the crime. Unlike any other costumed hero, she has the power to compel honesty. She is a super lie detector. Unlike with any other hero, we can feel certain there are no innocent people sitting in prison because of Wonder Woman.

She has the power to get it right. What ability or power is more super than truth? Perhaps, the worst thing to happen in the name of justice is convicting an innocent person of a crime. Perhaps, preventing such a tragedy is the greatest thing. What hero can ensure this will not happen…other than Wonder Woman?

I rest my case.







By Lawkop on February 20, 2018 | Legal Storytelling, OpEd | A comment?


Fairness is a complicated picture to paint.

If you put a group of people in a room, they could probably agree upon a definition of fairness.  However, it is unlikely they will all agree what fairness should look like in any given situation. Thus, when a person says they can be “fair” that doesn’t reveal much.  Other than they believe they are fair.  Don’t most of us think we are fair people?

A meaningful search for a someone that can be a fair juror requires more than obtaining their affirmation of words from case law. The investigation starts with differentiating the common definition of fairness from the requirements of “fairness” in a courtroom.  For most people, fairness includes the concept of equality. However, “fairness” to a person charged with a crime requires inequality.

Outside a courtroom, if you have to decide which of two people is telling the truth, it is unlikely that you presume one of them is innocent. It’s even more unlikely that you would require one person to prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt. That would not seem equitable.  Such favoritism certainly doesn’t seem fair.

However, in a jury trial where a person is accused of a crime, these inequitable rules are the cornerstone of our justice system. Because the government has so much power, because the risk of wrongful conviction is so great (even when the prosecution is well intended), the only way a person could ever get a fair trial is to require such inequities.  A juror’s ability to be fair is dependent upon their ability to see “fairness” this way – not their own way.







The lines on the page

A good lawyer spends their time mastering the lines on the page. But the lawyer I want to hire, is the one that spends their career obsessing on what’s between them.







By Lawkop on January 26, 2018 | OpEd

Seeing the world remarkably


Every now and then you see someone who creates something which changes you.  Their novel way of expressing an idea – alters a previous and maybe even a precious perception.

When this happens, we might think “Wow, she sees things differently.”  When you really think about, we all think about things differently.  We all bring the sum total of our life experience and put it in front everything we see.  Looking through this custom lens is how we give things meaning.  

I think what we really mean when we say, she thinks differently is: she thinks remarkably.  The way she framed, narrated and colored something made you change how and where you perceived it from.  Her expression was not only worthy of your attention but made you rethink a prior belief.  Now you see it connected to something inside you.

When she does this, it’s true that she sees the world differently.  However, it’s more than that.  I think what we really mean is she sees the world remarkably. 

Of course, I am not the first person to make such an observation: Here










I believe…we want to believe…that our justice system protects our rights. As a matter of fact, there are times I have to believe it. We have to believe it. Of course, many times it does. That’s what makes America exceptional. Then there are the other times.

Too often the justice system appears to work against its own supposed values. However, systems don’t have values, only people do. Systems just reflect them.

We created our constitution based on beliefs we declared self-evident. However, what many of the people in-charge of the system believe, is not as self-evident as we expect. Accordingly, neither are their values.

Don’t believe me?  The proof is in their actions. Let’s take a quick look at just a few products that have recently come out the end our justice system’s production line:

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310 (2010). This decision might be the biggest gut punch to our democracy in the last century. The case is the personification of the belief corporations are people too. It holds the government can’t stop corporations from spending money to persuade voters to support a political candidate or discredit them. To reach this result, the decision redefined corruption in a way that is hardly self-evident.  I love my Iphone but I don’t think Apple (or any other corporation) was the intended recipient of First Amenmdent rights.

State of Arizona v. Voris, a decision in the State of Arizona (my home turf), which appears to completely violate the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee to the Right to Confront your accuser. This despite a United States Supreme Court case that mandates the complete opposite.

Davis v. United States, which you really have to get into the weeds to see the consequences of, is a case where the United States Supreme Court may have ended the Fourth Amendment’s protection of individual liberty as it was intended.

Reading each of these cases left me awestruck. Not in the more modern sense of the term. More in it’s old school definition: overwhelmed by reverential fear. This combination of law and awe, in the words of Colonel Nicholas Fury, well…It’s stuff like this that gives me trust issues. It’s hard to even find a word in the dictionary to described my reactions. I’m just Lawstruck.

These legal decisions are not ideological or political difference of opinions. These are the legal equivalent of determining bacon is vegetable. Believe it if you wish. Just don’t be surprised at your cholesterol levels.

At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that these are not the products of bad people. The problem is much more nuanced and and complex than just putting black cowboy hats on the authors. On the contrary, I would bet these decisions, and the so many others that follow suit, were likely authored by very well intended people. They just either can’t, or are unwilling to, see that their actions are often at odds with why we created the system in the first place.

These decisions reveal what many people in the system value most. It’s not individual rights. That’s self-evident.

What leaves you Lawstruck?







The Fourth Amendment…In the beginning

To understand the Fourth Amendment you need to understand “why” it was created by the Founding Fathers. Before the American Revolution, England’s debt swelled from fighting the French and Indian War. To solve the problem, England decided to tax the American Colonies.

While the Colonists were unhappy about the taxes, it was “how” the King enforced them that truly sparked the American Revolution… just watch the video.










Vincent Van Gogh’s Red Vineyard at Arles

A terribly effective method of avoiding success is to grade it based on a fantasy.

It’s a fantasy to think the best team always wins. It’s a fantasy to think everything, or even most things, in life are fair. It’s a fantasy to think the best performance always wins or even gets immediate gratification.

Vincent Van Gogh is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. It’s a shame no one ever told him.  As many historians report, Van Gogh only sold one painting during his life – Red Vineyard at Arles. He never knew what would be his future recognition.

There is a truth from Van Gogh’s life worth remembering.  Did Van Gogh’s work only become great after he was dead?  Of course not.  We just didn’t see it.  It was great the whole time.  I wonder what would have happened to Van Gogh if he could have seen then – what we all see in him now. 






Davis v. United States

Did Davis v. United States end the Fourth Amendment’s protection of individual liberty?


By Lawkop on January 4, 2018 | The Toolbox



A worldview is a preexisting condition. Unfortunately, we don’t always cover them.

We have an immutable base command written into our humanity. It’s compels us to continuously ask the question – what’s this? Regardless of the subject matter, we are always trying to answer that question; and the inevitable follow-up questions that arise from our answer. This process is how we form and refine our beliefs about the world.

Once a belief takes root within you, it creates aspirations. We call these hopes our values. They live within your mind somewhere between sleep and consciousness.  They create a mental operating system that we rarely, if ever, notice.

Values construct a subjective picture. Think of it like your own version of the matrix where you unconsciously write the code. Minus the part where you are walking on the ceiling and instantaneously downloading the mastery of Kung Fu. However, your worldview does shape, and at times, even distorts the truth.

Some values stick. While emotionally glued to your way of thinking, given enough time and pressure it’s possible they can be pried loose. Thus, altering that worldview. Others become so imbedded they are just as much a part of us as a limb. They are not going anywhere. These types of values shape what we see as Right and Wrong, Good and Bad, Just or Unjust.

When you encounter something that does not fit within your worldview you tend to discount it or even ignore it all together.  When you encounter something that conflicts with your worldview, most of us will double-down. There’re called values for a reason. No one wants to believe, what they value inside us most, needs an upgrade.

This state of mind is the preexisting mental condition that we all bring to everything.  I know, it’s a lot to take in. It’s hard to believe you may not be entirely rational in all your decisions. “I mean…maybe other people are, but not me.”  This writing may actually conflict with many of its reader’s worldview. At least some people that started to read it.  They probably already stopped reading.

If we want to persuade someone, then we must attempt to understand their preexisting mental conditions. You must communicate with them as they are, not who we assume they may or should be.  Putting your message in the terms and a shape that fits within their worldview is how to reach them. However, leaving a person’s worldview uncovered…well it’s like the people who stopped reading this message.


But you don’t understand my point of view
I suppose there’s nothing I can do

Train in Vain
The Clash