All posts in Real Talk

Screenshot from 2014-10-20 09:41:00

If you want a good laugh, follow Taser on twitter.  It’s not that they’re funny. It’s that their twitter account is such a blatant, one-sided view of their products.  Mention Taser in a positive light, and their Twitter will scream it to the world. Ask them about their products electrocuting people suspected of minor violations and, apparently, the account can’t hear you.

Last week some random guy on youtube “liked” a video involving Taser, and tweeted about it:

Of course, nobody says anything positive about Taser without Taser telling the world. So Taser retweeted it.  Because I follow Taser, it popped up in my twitter feed. I loved it. I loved it because it couldn’t have been more perfect.  From the screen capture of a gigantic African American man, shirt off, muscles ripped, knife in hand, to the caption using “cop talk” saying the man was “instantly incapacitated” as opposed to something more mundane like “electro-shocked to hell.” Screenshot from 2014-10-20 09:41:00 I was so impressed by the presentation that I couldn’t resist watching.  Would this giant, scary African American man kill the would-be-cop, or would the cop prevail? Before I could even get to the end I was distracted. This video kept referring to the Taser as a “less-than-lethal option.”  Odd, I thought, because I know they kill people. You know they kill people. By now, even Taser has to know they kill people- hundreds of people. So, I “mentioned” that to the fine twitter folks at Taser:

Much to my excitement, they answered back!

Very interesting, I thought to myself. Taser isn’t saying their product isn’t lethal. They’re saying that they’re just using the language the government uses.  Even if their product has killed hundreds of people they can still market it as “less-than-lethal” or “non-lethal” because the government does. Putting my Philosophy degree to good use for the first time since 1996, though, I decided I needed to weed through the Keep Reading →

Screenshot from 2014-09-09 10:10:38

Somebody needs to explain to me how we got to this point.  What point, you ask? The point where a man is standing on the sidewalk, minding his own business is approached and searched by the cops.

For what? They say a noise complaint.

I don’t buy that. Not even for a minute.  I’d wager your first born that the average police response time to a “noise complaint” in the Brox can be measured with a calendar.  The police have better things to do there.

Even if it were a legit “noise” complaint, there’s zero reason to search. I’ve been at places where the police showed up for noise- most notably a wedding. Nobody got searched.

Yeah, this guy is on parole. I’m not sure it should matter. If it did, why did the prosecutor drop the charges?

The real question isn’t “how did we get here” but “why doesn’t this change”. The answer to either question, of course, is the same: because as shocking as it looks, nobody really cares.

Edward Snowden

So secret executive orders are in the news again today.  I have to say that we can all thank Edward Snowden for that.  I have heard many politicians and some rich people say that he is no hero, but they are idiots, so there’s that.

The NSA when questioned about how the security state might get out of hand had this to say:


 “NSA officials have defended the legal power, which they say is limited by “extensive and multi-layered” oversight and protects people in the U.S. and around the globe.”

Read more:

However, these were the same people who gave the oversight for Edward Snowden, so there’s that.

When anyone takes some brave action in their career you will have those people who immediately say, “I was just going to do that.”  I filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the county last month and three other attorneys said that they were going to to that, but they just didn’t get to it.  It takes a lot of guts to spend the time necessary to file a big lawsuit, and it takes a lot of worrying about the thousands of details.  I am sure it is like that with Edward Snowden.  I don’t know a lot of people who would risk the career ending implications just for what they thought was right.

And if you noticed, his actions worked to make society better in accidental ways too.  Not only did he reveal that the NSA was reading out emails, he also showed that the NSA doesn’t watch the store by not having in place the systems to catch someone like him.  But for me what he did will always be brave.

Law Dude, Ray Flavin, represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.




Judges, you gotta love ’em … or not.

There were two incidents last week in my neck of the woods that I found interesting that involved judges.  First, a judge assisted the bailiff in taking a hat from someone in court, and second, another judge declared that the state SHALL NOT make any offers to my client because he made the ridiculous request of asking for a jury trial.

With respect to the first incident, I got to court late (which is very rare for me, because I like to get to court do my business and leave), and while I was standing in a line of attorneys waiting to be heard by the judge, the bailiff yelled at someone to take his hat off. After the incident I was told this was the second time that the person came into court with his hat on.

Now I don’t know where the whole, you must remove your hat in court thing came from.  While some might tell you that it is a show of disrespect to wear your hat in a courtroom, I can think of a lot of other ways to more effectively show your disrespect of the court.  And, having a rule that you must remove your hat in court lest you show some disrespect of the court strikes me as a typical dumb rule like we have in today’s society.  This rule for example doesn’t stop those who want to show disrespect, and it catches people who forget they have a hat on.  Further it gives the bailiff an opportunity to bark at someone for wearing a hat in front of everyone assembled in the courtroom, thereby proving that he has some sort of authority over that space (which I had no luck finding in either the US Constitution or the Illinois Compiled Statutes).  I mean, I don’t want to be too cute here, I know that the court security officer is there to protect the judge from attack, to arrest or jail someone on the order of a judge, and to keep order in the courtroom … but it seems to me that yelling at a guy because he forgot to take off his hat is just an exercise in showing everyone that I can yell at some one and act mad (with impunity and a gun).

So that’s the set up.  Guy walks into court with his hat on for the second time (demonstrating that he forgot about the hat) but somehow showing grave disrespect to the court.  So the guy sits down and takes off his hat, and looks appropriately embarrassed because he got yelled at by the bailiff.  (Just like in elementary school, except for we are not in school).  The situation is over, except for now the judge wants to participate in this showing that they can yell at someone to everyone present.  The judge yells, “Sir, come up here.”  Then, “Give the Bailiff your hat!”

Mission Accomplished:  I can yell therefore I have authority.

Item #2

So I was entering my appearance on a case in front a judge.  I requested a police report, anything that they might use at trial and asked for a jury trial date.  The judge then commanded the state’s attorney to make no offers to my client because we had asked for a jury trial.  It seemed odd.  I ask for jury trials in felony cases routinely and no judge has ever commanded that the State make no offers to my client.

Doesn’t matter, the offers from the State in that courtroom I probably wouldn’t recommend my client accept anyway.

Just another day in paradise.

Here’s a youtube video of a person appearing in court with what appears to be a colonial three corner hat, I am pretty sure they didn’t ask him to remove it because he is a little out there, so to speak.


Law Dude, Ray Flavin, represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.

video camera

You can video record the police. It had been in Illinois that if you video recorded the police it could have been charged as a Class 1 Felony.

“Until 2012, Illinois had the toughest eavesdropping law in the country. It barred recording all or part of any conversation unless the person doing the recording obtained the consent of all parties to the conversation.

If a police officer was one of the parties, the offense was elevated to a Class 1 felony with a possible sentence of four to 15 years in prison.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged that portion of the law, arguing that citizens have a right to record police officers in public, including what they say in public.

A federal appeals court agreed and issued an injunction in 2012 blocking the portion of the Illinois law that dealt with police officers. Then last March, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the entire eavesdropping statute, ruling that it was overly broad because it could be applied to a range of recorded conversations never intended to be private, like a loud argument on the street or fans cheering at an athletic event.”

Why? you ask.  Why could it be charged like that.  Well it’s kind of a simple reason.  Illinoisians are content with their lives.  They are disinterested in their right to be free individuals, unless of course it is the right to get HBO or Cinemax on cable.  They inexplicably allow the government to run over their right to be left alone in almost every possible situation.  They have said that the police may stop their cars because they are not wearing seat belts.  The police may stop them for talking on a cell phone.  The police may stop them for tossing a cigarette butt out of the window.  Literally any infraction of the totally made up laws of Illinois will allow the police to intervene in a citizen’s life.

You will hear Illinoisians telling you how they are glad they don’t live in Nazi Germany, or Communist Russia, because they are free in Illinois.  Free to follow the rules.

Law Dude, Ray Flavin, represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock. He is one of those lawyers.

crystal ball 1

1984 DUI

Illinois law says that if you have had a prior DUI that you received supervision for you may not receive supervision for your next DUI.  There is no limit for the amount of time between the DUI.  This causes a little consternation for those who have DUIs that are thirty years old.  It also causes lawyers to become wealthy fighting DUI charges that carry hefty penalties.

You would be fair to ask, what difference would it make if a person received a DUI over thirty years ago.  Let’s think about that DUI.

The year is 1984.  Who was in the White House?  What happened in 1984 of any conseqence?  Why would the fact that a person received a DUI charge thirty years ago have any bearing on that person today?

Often you heard DUI advocates (those who think tougher laws are the answer to all of life’s little problems) say, “We can’t have drivers that have had DUIs on the road.  It’s a public safety issue!”  Why?  Isn’t the problem having impaired drivers on the road rather than having those who have been charged with an old DUI?  Does having an old DUI make the person a greater danger?  Are we missing the point?  Have we confused having an old DUI with actually driving while impaired?  Have we made an illogical jump?

No we haven’t.  There are literally hundreds and maybe thousands of lawyers, Secretary of State officials, DUI evaluators, and non-profit “against” DUI executives that are making far too much money on the bad law being enforced to allow anyone to challenge the horrible logic behind the system.

You will never convince anyone to change this system, when so many people make a living off it being illogical and backward.

Law Dude, Ray Flavin, represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.  He is one of those lawyers.