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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Analysis of a Divorce

February 16, 2021

Would conservatives still be strict constructionists if we could see what those Founding guys were Instagramming? I don’t think so.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

I know this is going to be controversial but I’m going to say it anyway: I love technology! It makes litigation so much more interesting. Without technology we wouldn’t find out about all sorts of fascinating things.

I’m not just talking about insurrectionists posting selfies although that’s a nice use of technology. Imagine what our history books would look like if the Founding Fathers had been Instragramming. Would conservatives still be strict constructionists if we could see what those Founding guys were up to? I don’t think so.

Without technology we wouldn’t have entertaining (or maybe erotic) cases like the one described last week in a Texas Court of Appeals ruling involving a burner cellphone and spreadsheet software.

Allow me to titillate you with a line from early in the ruling: “The primary issue at trial concerned Grace’s sexual encounters with a variety of men other than Chad.”

Now imagine how happy the “special judge” — yes, there was a “special judge” — must have been to be presiding over this case.

It turns out that Chad found Grace’s burner phone and discovered hundreds of messages between Grace and 57 men. There were pictures too. I’ll let you fantasize about those.

What would you do if you found something like that? Chad had a response I wouldn’t have thought of: “Chad kept the cell phone and downloaded its texts and messages into an Excel spreadsheet.” The spreadsheet was 112 pages long.

I use Excel but I’m not an expert so I had to spend a minute looking at options for this sort of information. The best I could come up were formulas for compatibility and confidence. There’s also “type” under information. I’m sure Grace would have found this useful if not for the angry, obsessive husband.

I’m not going to take sides in this marital dispute but one thing from the ruling is worth noting: “The court did not admit the phone into evidence but took it into the court’s possession….”

Yet another perk for being a judge.

This image from video shows a hearing from the 394th Judicial District Court of Texas. The hearing took a detour when an attorney showed up looking like a kitten. A filter that had been activated on the attorney's device obscured his appearance and made him look like a cat. Judge Roy Ferguson shared the short video clip of the mishap on YouTube. The judge says everyone involved handled the situation with professionalism and grace. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via Courthouse News)

More tech goodness. And then there was this footage of part of a Zoom trial in Texas that got a lot of attention on YouTube last week. If you haven’t seen it, check it out immediately.

This is wonderful on many levels, but, for me, the best part is the lawyer in the upper right corner desperately trying to keep a straight face while opposing counsel looks like a talking cat. If it had been me, I would have been searching for a dog filter.

The next election. You’d think we’d have enough to worry about, but I’ve been hearing people already obsessing about the congressional elections two years from now. Apparently, there’s no such thing as too soon in politics.

The worry — at least among Democrats — is that Republicans are already busy gerrymandering to go along with their normal voter suppression and fake outrage. So, to assuage fears, I have a solution: more gerrymandering.

Imagine the fake outrage — or possibly real outrage — if Democrats in, say, California decided to carve up the state so that there are no Republicans elected. It could be done easily enough with the kind of creative geography practiced elsewhere.

There’s even a cure for the ultimate gerrymander — the Senate. States such as New York and California could split themselves up into a bunch of tiny little Rhode Island-like states and demand full representation.

We’d have unanimous support for outlawing gerrymandering in no time.

Write your state legislators.

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