The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

What's in a name?

I have gotten much better at this 'case reading' thing. However, there are still times in which I pathetically battle to get through certain paragraphs. This difficulty can sometimes be attributed to Judges who favor dicta (that meaningless babble that is supposed to show the world that they are smart, or in the alternative, take up space on the page.) The reading struggle can also sometimes be due to a difficult subject matter. (Especially if it is a split Supreme Court decision...if they cannot figure things out, how am I expected to?) My favorite, however, is when the problematic understanding of a case is merely due to the names of those involved in the dispute. I am sure there are much better examples of this dilemma, but these are from cases I read this morning:
"Officer James Yellow Boy was the first to arrive. He later testified that Little waved down Yellow Boy's patrol car and told him that "[m]y mother stabbed [Belt]."... At the time, Little was crying. Yellow Boy then went to check Belt's body, which was just inside the front doorway. More or less contemporaneously, he overheard Brave drunkenly bragging that she had stabbed Belt. Yellow Boy arrested Brave." U.S. v. Roan Eagle, 867 F.2d 436 (8th Cir. 1989.)
What ever happened to names like Mark or Kimberly? That was nothing compared to my favorite:
"Those arrests led ultimately to these appeals by five of the men, Carlos Pagan-San-Miguel, Edgar Gonzalez-Valentin, Raul Lugo-Maya, Rafael Pava-Buelba and Julio Luciano-Mosquera...Oscar Fontalvo arrived in Puerto Rico in January 1991 to organize a scheme to smuggle cocaine into Puerto Rico...Fontalvo enlisted Pagan-San-Miguel and Jose Perez-Perez, who were to be paid in kind with 50 kilograms of cocaine. Pagan-San-Miguel introduced Fontalvo to Luis Soltero-Lopez, who agreed that his boat, the F/V Marlyn, would be used as the mothership. Soltero-Lopez recruited Jonas Castillo-Ramos to be captain, and Castillo-Ramos recruited two crew members for the drug run." U.S. v. Luciano-Mosquera, 63 F.3d 1142 (1st Cir. 1995.)

That speak went on for two more pages and even introduced Columbian watchdog names into the mix. I have no clue who did what, except that some guy was found under a jeep with a gun. At least the names in the second case will help me in an effort to reach the 12 page minimum for my memo due Wednesday.