‘Reasonable Person’ Legal Standard Threatened as U.S. Sees Drop in Number of Reasonable People

rept2Judges, legal scholars, and others in the legal profession are concerned that a big drop in the number of reasonable people in the United States is making it harder for courts to apply the “reasonable person” standard in law.

“The ‘reasonable person’ standard has been a part of the administration of justice throughout history, but today we’re finding it under pressure as we see fewer reasonable people in the United States,” says James Reynolds, professor emeritus of law and jurisprudence at Harvard University and the lead author of a study on the decline of reasonable people in the United States and its impact on the legal profession.

The decline in reasonable people isn’t just limited to the notion of the “everyman,” says Peter Moore, a professor of law at Stanford University. The ‘reasonable person’ standard extends to other standards of reasonableness, including the ‘reasonable prosecutor’ standard. “That means finding a ‘reasonable prosecutor’ is also getting harder than ever, and it’s possible we might have to abandon all reasonable person standards, including the ‘reasonable prosecutor’ standard,” he says.

Comey

James Comey

What that might mean was brought home most recently by remarks of FBI Director James Comey earlier this week, when he laid out his case for not criminally charging presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email account when she was secretary of state.

Comey said Clinton had shown poor judgment but that no “reasonable prosecutor” would bring criminal charges for her handling of emails, because there is little precedent for prosecuting her type of case as gross negligence under espionage laws.

ls

In trouble?

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” he said in his July 5 statement.

Randall Meyes, a former Ohio attorney general who now practices privately, said Comey might have inadvertently opened the door for federal prosecutors to bring charges against Clinton. “If there are no reasonable prosecutors,” he says, “he’s opened the door for unreasonable prosecutors to have a field day with this.”

The lack of reasonable prosecutors is a bigger problem than just what happens to Clinton, says Reynolds. “Yes, Clinton is in trouble if there are no reasonable prosecutors left, but the bigger problem is what will happen in the years ahead as judges and jury members realize they can’t apply the ‘reasonable person’ standard anymore? They’re going to realize justice can’t be served.”

The American Bar Association has been aware of this problem for some time and it is planning to release an action plan in the next few months to help increase the number of reasonable people in the United States.

“The Harvard report is great eye opener for many people, but we’ve been worried about this problem for a long time,” says Sandra Keyes, vice president of communications for the ABA. “What we’ll be recommending is a series of education programs aimed at making people more reasonable. With intensive effort, we can increase the number of reasonable people in the country 5 percent over three years, we believe, and maybe increase that to 10 percent by 2021. We might not meet that goal, but we know we must try. Justice depends on there being reasonable people in this country, so we will do everything we can to stop the hemorrhaging of reasonable people, reverse that, and increase their numbers going forward. We must try.”

This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos (some modified) pd (Creative Commons and public domain). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.

More stories:

Justice Dept. Now Reportedly Looking at Clinton’s Text Messages

ls

The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into whether text messages that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton sent while she was secretary of state breached government communication rules and protocols, department officials say. “We have reason to believe Secretary Clinton might have compromised rules on correspondence by conducting State Department business via text messaging,” says an official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. According to the official, investigators are looking at three text messages sent on February 14, 2009. The texts are to an undisclosed foreign official and pertain to a meeting the two had been planning while Clinton was in the official’s country. More.

Clinton Can’t Decide If She’d Rather Be Indicted Or Exonerated

smn1The U.S. Department of Justice is set to announce whether it will press charges against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Whichever way the announcement goes, though, Clinton comes out a loser, and Clinton says she’s okay with that. “If the Department of Justice says it will press charges, I guess I would be in ‘big trouble,'” Clinton says. “Hah hah. It would be unprecedented for a major party candidate to face federal criminal charges while running for president of the United States. But if it exonerates me, the Justice department will be playing into the hands of critics who say the system is rigged in my favor. No matter what happens, I’m screwed. Hah hah.” More.

Clinton Poised to Not Lose California; Sanders Poised to Not Win Nomination

In the driver's seat?

Polls show likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton not losing California when it votes on June 7, and her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, not winning his party’s nomination. “By the middle of this week this will all be over, with Clinton emerging as the presumptive nominee and Sanders emerging as the presumptive non-nominee who will continue to campaign all the way to the convention,” says Steve Cahill, a Democratic political consultant who is not aligned with either campaign. Going into California, Clinton has 2,355 delrgates, just 28 shy of the 2,383 she needs to clinch the nomination. Sanders has 1,563. More.

Hillary Clinton: ‘Don’t Abuse Me Some More’

d

A new ad campaign by Hillary Clinton called “Masochist” touts the willingness of thehill presumptive Democratic presidential candidate to go to the mat for the American people. “All my life I’ve fought for others,” Clinton says in the ad, “whether it was for children or embattled presidents or health care plans. Now I want to fight for all Americans. A big bully is stalking our country, and I’m ready to take him head on. He can come at me with everything he’s got. I don’t mind. If I can protect my country from this bully, no matter how much I get hurt, then I’m happy. I’m Hillary Clinton, and I don’t mind being punched in the face for you.” In another spot, called “Singin’ the Blues,” Clinton shows off her vocal range by singing about the knocks she’s taken over the years and hopes to take in the years ahead as president. More.

Report: Clinton Also Tried to Keep Her Snail Mail Secret

mgAn internal U.S. State Department report released today says Hillary Clinton didn’t just mishandle her official email when she was secretary of state; she also mishandled the mail she received through the U.S. Postal Service by having it sent to a post office near her home in Chappaqua, N.Y. “Despite being advised on several occasions by agency officials, Secretary Clinton chose to have her mail delivered to a P.O. Box at the Wainscott, N.Y., Post Office, an unsecured location, because of its ‘convenience’ and for other reasons,” says the report. State Department Inspector General Alfred Cummings led the department’s internal investigation into Clinton’s communications and said . . . More.

Clinton: ‘Not Saying Trump Is Gay, But People Are Saying It’

gsSACRAMENTO—Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said at a campaign rally here today she doesn’t believe Donald Trump is a homosexual but she hears “more and more” rumors that he is and she agrees his actions “can lead one” to believe that. “In some ways, I would respect him more if it turns out he secretly is a gay man trying to lead a straight life, because it would explain his struggles with the truth and perhaps his insecurity,” said Clinton, who is campaigning in California this week to prevent a last-minute primary win by her rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton said it’s time for discrimination against people for sexual orientation to stop, and Trump—should the rumors prove true—should use his position to help bring about equality in the United States. “Again, if Donald Trump is gay—and I’m not saying he is—then good for him. He should embrace it, celebrate it.” More.

Publisher Promises Objectivity In Its Criticism of Hillary

nmsNEW YORK CITY—Dan Peeker, publisher of the National Midnight Star, said at a journalism conference here yesterday he won’t let his friendship with Donald Trump bias his coverage of the general election between Trump and Hillary Clinton. “Hillary’s dishonesty makes her a tempting target, but I can assure you all the stories we’ve pre-written about her flaws are objective,” says Peeker, 63. Peeker has been chairman and CEO of U.S. A. Publications, which owns the National Midnight Star, since 1990, and critics say he’s using his publication as a tool to help his golf buddy win the presidency. It was his tabloid that broke the April 3 story of Ted Cruz’s affairs with five prominent Republican political women, which hurt the Texas senator in Wisconsin, and it broke the April 19 piece about . . . More.

Clinton to Name Jerry Brown V.P. Pick; ‘He Can Step In After H.C. Indicted’

HCJBSACRAMENTO, Calif.–Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton today named California Gov. Jerry Brown her vice presidential running mate, saying the four-term governor has the experience and stature to take over as the presidential nominee after the FBI indicts her for using a personal email account to send and receive classified information while she was the U.S. secretary of state. “No one in the Democratic party today has the breadth and depth of experience that Jerry Brown has,” said Clinton, who spoke in a joint news conference with Brown after the two met for several hours in the state house here. “That will be important, because I’m expected to be indicted in about four weeks. More.

Clinton: ‘Only Thing Trump Has Is the Bigot Card’

BC3Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton fired an early general election shot by saying likely Republican nominee Donald Trump had “nothing going on” in his race for the presidency except the “bigot card.” “I think the only card he has is the bigot card,” she said in Terra Haute, Ind., where she was campaigning. The state holds its primary this week. “He’s got nothing else going on. Frankly, if Donald Trump wasn’t a bigot, I don’t think he would get 5 percent of the vote.” Trump responded by saying he’s a proud holder of the card. “If fighting for racists, xenophobes, and misogynists is playing the bigot card, then deal me in,” he said. More.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Law