Law: Ron White Would Have Loved It

September 4, 2007

Today was the first day of class, and I must say it was a unique experience.  I have never been in a class that mixed lecture and discussion so well and I have also never been in a class that had a “discussion” component where students never actually addressed each other’s comments.

We started our law school experience with two classes today, Torts and Criminal Law.  Torts was uneventful although the professor was funny.

What I really want to post today was my experience in Criminal Law.  I don’t know if anybody can relate, but sometimes you are sitting in a classroom trying very hard to concentrate, but you can’t help but be reminded of something semi-unrealated every few seconds.  I definately had that experience today.

In Crim Law we are discussing Culpability and the Requirement for Voluntary Action.  We focused today on Martin v. State (although we touched on some hypos and on People v. Decina). 

For those of you that don’t know, the relevant part of Martin is that the state had a law forbidding people from being/acting drunk in public (obviously an over summary).  Martin was drunk, the police came, arrested him, and forced him outside onto a highway.  Martin proceeded to curse out the police, at which time he was arrested for being/acting drunk in a public place.

The issue turns on voluntary action.  The court held that since Martin was FORCED outside, it was not voluntary and he could not be prosecuted.  In a related hypo we talked about a person that is drunk at a college party, is about to start a fight, and is forced out of the party by friends.  Based on today’s (incomplete) discussion, this person too wouldn’t have committed a voluntary act under the MPC (though there will be more to this as we continue on the course, but related soley to this issue, the Martin case implied no voluntary action). 

Throughout the discussion, I could not stop thinking how happy Ron White would be.  I am of course referencing his famous comedy skit that goes something like this.

So they threw me out of the bar.  Then along came an officer and said he was placing me under arrest for drunk in public.  So I told him I don’t want to be drunk in public, I want to be drunk in a bar, they THREW me in public.  Arrest them.  Well, they didn’t arrest them. 

My appologies if I didn’t get the line exactly right, but close enough.  So after one day of law school, all I can say is, Ron White would have loved it.


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