Category: Columns

Emily S. Whitten: San Diego Comic-Con Party Round Up 2018

It’s been universally accepted that San Diego Comic-Con is the place to be when it comes to elaborate comic-con parties, including a slew of more exclusive events. For no other genre convention do multiple news outlets make long, detailed lists of where to go for a (potentially) good time each evening.

And while the party scene may be shrinking due to companies focusing more on the activations, there were still plenty of parties to fill out your SDCC weekend.

I’ve been covering the SDCC party scene for years now. And while I haven’t been to every party (because to do so I’d have to propagate more clones of myself than Spider-Man ever had), I’ve been to enough fab parties and flops that I both think it’s worth it to make the rounds if you can, and know the downsides that go along with trying to do so.

Before I get into this year’s parties, let me share a few things I’ve learned about the SDCC party scene:

  1. Unless you are a Legit Famous Person, getting into invite-only parties can be a crapshoot. Even with my consistent press coverage at SDCC and other cons, as well as writing about genre entertainment throughout the year, I’ve had years where the people who immediately put me on the list the previous year didn’t even respond to an event inquiry, and years where the opposite happened or I receive an invite to an exclusive party I didn’t even know about. There are some companies that are more (what I see as) loyal, and consistently invite you to their SDCC parties and treat you well, and some companies that are weirdly flaky. And then, there are events that only happen in that particular way one year; or where you manage to squeeze onto the list for one year, but a spot can’t be spared another despite your knowledge that it’s not personal; or where the rules change so that one year only people who directly work with the company are invited. Sometimes, invites seem random; and sometimes, you truly do have to know someone. But also, even if you are on the list, SDCC is so chaotic that if the person at the door can’t find your name, you might still be screwed (depends on how understanding the check-in staff is, really). Or you’re definitely on the list, they’ve got your name right there, but it turns out the party is already “at capacity” thirty minutes in. Like I said – crapshoot.
  2. It is often impossible to predict how good a party will be. I’ve been to amazing parties that were not that “exclusive,” and really-hard-to-access parties, with famous people right nearby, that turned out to be kinda lame. (And yes, I’ve even crashed some parties. That’s not a predictor either, although it is occasionally a good time.) What’s fun about this spectrum of events is even a lame party is still a party (possibly with free drinks!) and you can always leave if you’re bored (oh, except for that one nightmare time I got stuck in the literal cordoned off press pen they set up at The Last Ship party a few years ago, where we weren’t allowed to go to the actual party if we’d said we’d take red carpet pics first; there was no food or water or seating; and we were told we couldn’t go to the restroom or we wouldn’t be let back in. It was awful and I’m still bitter and PR people take note: press never forget being treated like second class citizens. Anyway. Moving on!)
    Another fun thing is the coolest party you go to might be a nice surprise because it’s a thing you didn’t expect. (The downside, of course, is if you roll the dice on two simultaneous parties and it turns out the one you didn’t pick was The Best Thing Ever and all your friends ended up there and had a blast. Oh, FOMO, how I wish you didn’t exist.) This is because a cool venue and big-name company, property, or guests are no guarantee of a hit. What really matters is if there’s stuff to do (this could be literal stuff, like gadgets to play with, photo booths, a game to watch or play, artists to watch as they draw, etc., or interesting people to talk to, including creators and celebrities who actually enjoy mingling instead of being cordoned off at their private tables the whole night, or friends who have been permitted to attend as your plus-one), thoughtful theming in both decor and good food and drink, and people treating each other well and like we’re all people even if we’re not all famous. This is why even the open parties can be a blast if done right (the Nerd HQ parties, which I mourn the loss of, being one example).
  1. Some parties really are just The Best Thing Ever. Events that stand out over the years include the Nickelodeon Double Dare party (put that one in the Hall of Fame, it was perfect!), the American Gods rooftop party, the Scholastic parties, the Dent the Future cocktail parties, the Fashionably Nerdy cocktail hour, the NVE + Nylon Mag parties, the Nerd HQ parties, Michael Davis’s shindigs, and, of course, that time I went to a club to see Elijah Wood DJ on a whim and it turned out he was really good.

So given that, what parties did I hit up this year? And which ones were the most fun? Well:

Wednesday:

Wednesday night is usually low-key, since preview night runs until 9 and can be exhausting. This year we stuck with what’s become a tradition and headed over to Basic Bar/Pizza with a small group of friends. Basic does a really good pizza, and is also the location for Gabe Eltaeb’s Annual Comic-Con Kickoff Party, now in its 5th year. I’ve been to every one of these, and although I confess when I walk in the door the biggest thing on my mind after preview night is “food!” the event is also really neat. They have quality artists doing live sketches which they raffle off along with other prizes to raise money for the Hero Initiative, which helps comics creators in need due to medical or financial crises. This year, the live sketches were done by Gabe Eltaeb (Harley Quinn), Todd Nauck (Deadpool), Jim Calafiore (Exiles), Chad Cavanaugh (The Map), and Jeff Martinez (Skull Thumper); and other prizes came from companies like Blizzard, Funko, and Dark Horse Comics. It’s a cool, laid back event to try on the first night, you can usually walk in without too much trouble, and it’s done for a good cause. And even while rapidly consuming large quantities of pizza, I appreciated both the atmosphere and the party music coming from the event side of the bar.

Thursday:

This year, it seemed like almost every single party I wanted to hit up was on Thursday night. I made it to four of the five I’d decided I might be able to get to based on start times (I really wanted to make the Dent the Future Reception, too, but I confess I took a nap instead). Here are the ones I got to:

Tor Books / Den of Geek Happy Hour – this was at the Horton Grand Hotel Courtyard, and was an invite-only party for industry insiders. The setting was nice (an airy open atrium area with a connecting indoor room) and they had open bars in both rooms with themed cocktails (The Superhero and The Supervillain – I got the Superhero, which had blue curacao and vodka, pineapple, triple sec, lime juice, and soda, and it was mighty tasty), hors d’oeuvres, and a full dessert table. They also had a variety of swag, ranging from funky branded sunglasses and Den of Geek’s SDCC magazine to a gift bag with a bunch of Tor books. I always like it when parties have something fun to do, and this one had a photobooth with great props that I hopped into with NPR’s Petra Mayer, YA author Alexa Donne, and other friends. I also had fun chats with the delightful author and co-editor of Boing Boing Cory Doctorow, YA author Scott Westerfeld, and other industry greats. This party was excellent, and I only left because I didn’t want to miss…

The Scholastic Graphix Party – this was on the pool deck of the Hotel Palomar, which is a great outdoor venue, and was an invite-only party. I always make sure I stop by the Scholastic shindig, which has good food, themed desserts, and open bar; nice (if heavy!) swag bags of books; usually at least an activity or two going on; and fun guests – plus, at this event not only are there friends around, but also I somehow always end up running into at least a couple of industry friends I otherwise might not have seen all con (this year it was author and editor Joe McCabe). This year’s party featured guests such as Raina Telgemeier (Smile), Ian Boothby (Sparks!), Jarrett Krosoczka (Hey, Kiddo), Molly Knox Ostertag (The Hidden Witch), Aron Nels Steinke (Mr. Wolf’s Class), and Gale Galligan (The Baby-Sitters Club), as well as Jim Kay, Daniel Jose Older, Victoria Schwab, Maggie Stiefvater, and Scott Westerfeld (again!). I couldn’t stay at Scholastic forever, though, because I didn’t want to miss…

The Lion Forge Talent Reception – this one was an invite-only gig at The Bootlegger (and I’m a sucker for anything with a speakeasy feel, so I loved the venue choice). To be honest, that’s about all of the setting I noticed at this party, because my entire time there was spent catching up with the wall-to-wall awesome comics creators and industry folks I was surrounded by – including Gail Simone, Dean Haspiel, Ben McCool, Reilly Brown, Ben Fisher, and Jim Calafiore. (I also got to attend the Lion Forge Fall Preview panel on Sunday, where they talked about a slew of great comics coming soon from names like Michael Uslan, Andrew Pepoy, and David F. Walker, and announced that Gail Simone will be the “Chief Architect” of the Catalyst Prime line of comics. More about that in another piece). How did I end up at this party? Well, let’s just say Ben Fisher and I are working on an exciting new project! As much fun as we were having, though, I still had one party on my list, and I couldn’t miss out on saying hey to the crew at…

The Line Webtoon Green Room Party – this one was an invite-only event at the Altitude Sky Lounge, and it was over-the-top excellent, as are all Line Webtoon parties I’ve attended. (P.S. If you haven’t checked out their comics, you really should. They have a great variety of cool stories you can read for free on their super easy-to-use app.) The view was amazing; they had a crazy setup with green lights everywhere; and we all got casino chips with which to “gamble” before using them to try to win a big ticket raffle item. There, Ben and I met up with Thom Zahler, Luke Daab, The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, Tony Fleecs, and so many more. It was a great end to a pretty crazy night, and the swag bags had several cool items, including a classy set of branded coasters. Everything Line Webtoon does has style, and this party was no exception.

Friday:

Okay, so Thursday was pretty wild, and we paid for it on Friday. I ended up skipping a couple of planned parties (Sorry to miss you, Nerds of Color/Women in Comics mixer!) but did make it to:

The NatGeo and Nerd Nite Mars Party – this party is consistently quality, and this year was great from the get-go – from the reasonably-sized VIP line to the cool red glowstick wristbands. Set on the pool terrace at the Hotel Solamar, this party had a ton of good food, free drinks, and the coolest entertainment I saw at any party – performers inside giant LED-lit hula hoops, whirling and twisting between the crowds and the pool. Advertising the NatGeo series MARS, which begins again November 12, the party had a projection of Mars on the side of a building, a glowing red décor, MARS pillows, miniature MARS cornhole games, and “astronauts” on stilts handing out Mars Bars. And on top of all of that, it featured a number of talks about real science, featuring Alejandro T. Rojas from Den of Geek, Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Emily Manor-Chapman, Bobak Ferdowski, Systems Engineer with Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA, and Leland Melvin, former NASA astronaut. This party is a combination of awesome fun and real nerd substance, and it was an absolute blast.

Saturday:

One thing I love about SDCC is that sometimes, randomly, an awesome event pops up for the first time; and if you’re lucky enough to hear about it, you can end up being one of a select crowd of folks enjoying something that may eventually become another crowded, sought-after evening event; or may be that magical unicorn that only occurs once and that you got to experience. Either may happen with the fun event I went to on Saturday night:

The Bootsy Collins House Party, hosted by DJ Lance Rock and featuring Tom Kenny & the Hi-Seas Rocknsoul Revue. I don’t know how the other attendees got the word on this party, but I lucked into it when I texted Tom (best known as the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants and other great cartoon voices) a couple of weeks beforehand to see if I’d be seeing him at the con. At that time, the event was just coming together, and even Tom wasn’t sure quite what to expect. It was held in the courtyard of the San Diego Central Library, and had the charm of being lively, funky, and a bit unpredictable. I arrived as the band was setting up, only to immediately run into the delightful Fred Tatasciore (best known as the voice of The Hulk). We caught up as Tom warmed up the crowd with an amazing “mic check” song, and then all hung out with DJ Lance Rock until the Hi-Seas, dressed in New Orleans-themed sequins, were ready to go. They are super talented, and Tom, along with being such a versatile voice actor, is a fantastic singer. He’s also a super energetic performer, and totally into it, which makes it more fun for the crowd to let loose.

One of the fun things he did was take down the barriers that had been set up between crowd and performers and invite little kids, and anyone else who wanted to, to come up and dance. A bunch of kids went up, along with a variety of adults including at least one couple who were dressed in classic clothes and could have easily won a couples dance contest. It was great to watch everyone dancing, as well as to see Tom roaming out into the crowd to interact with attendees. The band also sang Happy Birthday to a few folks; and eventually, performed some SpongeBob songs. Around that time I was dying for some food – but happily, the Central Library snack bar had stayed open, so I chilled in the back with Fred and ate a sandwich while the music went on. And then came Bootsy Collins. How do you describe Bootsy Collins? I mean…over the top? The sparkliest man I’ve ever seen? Extremely warm and giving to his fans? (The first thing he did was dance out into the crowd, take a million selfies with anyone who indicated they wanted one, and sign some autograph books, all while grooving to the beat). He was great to watch, and along with performing, hosted a dance competition with Tom (I couldn’t see everyone who won, but congrats to the Death cosplayer who was dancing up a storm and won the first round). The whole thing was crazy fun, and I’m so glad I got to go.

And that was the end of the party scene for me this year – although I also want to mention the fun I have just chilling with friends in the evenings between the other excitement. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need at SDCC to balance things out and recharge – so shout-out to all my friends who invited me to come relax the rest of the night away at bars and hotel room parties. Cheers to you, fellow nerds. You’re what makes life precious. See you next time!

 

Glenn Hauman: Four Or Five Moments

Even when you thought you could get away from watching the news that was on every other channel by watching a rerun of Deadpool on FX, you couldn’t get away from the concept.

Four or five moments – that’s all it takes to be a hero. Everyone thinks it’s a full-time job. Wake up a hero. Brush your teeth a hero. Go to work a hero. Not true. Over a lifetime, there are only four or five moments that really matter. Moments when you’re offered a choice – to make a sacrifice, conquer a flaw, save a friend, spare an enemy. In these moments, everything else falls away.

Which leads us to John McCain.

Asked how he wanted to be remembered, McCain said: “He served his country, and not always right — made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors — but served his country, and, I hope we could add, honorably.”

And he was right to criticize himself. He made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors. Cheating on his first wife. His time with the Keating Five. Rude jokes about Chelsea Clinton’s parentage. Picking Sarah Palin as his running mate, thereby introducing her to the rest of the world and coarsening the standards for high public service. Ditching an appearance on David Letterman’s show claiming he was needed in Washington, then staying in New York to do an interview with CBS News instead.

But still. Four or five moments. Here are some of them.

  • During the Vietnam War, he was injured, captured, held prisoner, and tortured. Yet he refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer, and would not consent to release unless every man taken in before him was also released.
  • When he ran for President in 2008, during a campaign rally Q&A in Minnesota, Gayle Quinnell, a 75-year old McCain supporter said she did not trust Obama because “he’s an Arab.” McCain took the mic back and replied to the woman, “No ma’am. He’s a decent family man, a citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.” He knew his base well enough to know that making that statement would cost him votes, and he made it anyway.
  • When Donald Trump was elected, McCain took it upon himself personally to try and reassure world leaders, visiting multiple countries in the first six months of 2017 at the age of 80, exhausting himself before he got his cancer diagnosis.
  • Two weeks after brain surgery, on July 28 of last year, he cast the decisive vote against the Republicans’ final proposal that month, the so-called “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, which failed 49–51.

Four or five moments.

Maybe it’s enough.

The Law Is A Ass #437: Green Arrow Joins The FB Aye-Yi-Yi

No, I didn’t lie.

All I said I was that I finished with the Arrow episode “Docket No. 11-19-41-73.” I never said I was finished with Arrow.

Now, all Arrow had to do for me to be finished with it was get through the last two episodes of the 6th season without any outrageous legal gaffs. Aaaaaand it couldn’t even do that. Hell, the season finale “Life Sentence” couldn’t even get through the “Previously on Arrow” part without an outrageous legal gaff.

You will recall, unless you purged the nonsense of “Docket No. 11-19-41-73” from your mind – and I wouldn’t blame you if you had – that Oliver (The Green Arrow) Queen and Team Arrow were fighting Ricardo Diaz, a crime lord who had taken over Star City. In the “Previously on” section of “Life Sentence” Oliver went to FBI agent Samandra Watson and asked her help to take down Diaz. Watson, who had been in Star City all season investigating whether Oliver Queen was secretly the Green Arrow – so far unsuccessfully – told Ollie, and I quote, “You want my help, I’m going to need you to say the words.” “The words” being an admission that he was the Green Arrow.

Now what Ollie should have answered was, “Listen, lady, how about I tell your frelling boss that instead taking down a frakking international crime lord, like you’re supposed to do, you’re threatening to withhold FBI cooperation unless I admit I’m a criminal?” (Although, I would have substituted in a few of what Mr. Spock called “more colorful metaphors.”) Instead, Ollie admitted he was Green Arrow. And by the end of the episode –

SPOILER ALERT!

– the FBI used Ollie’s confession to get him to agree to a plea bargain. We’ll forgo discussing the details of the plea bargain for the nonce, because we have other nonsense to discuss first. Such as the fact that the FBI was able to use Ollie’s statement against him in the first place.

The Fifth Amendment says that no person can be compelled to be a witness against himself. Courts have interpreted said language to mean the government cannot coerce a confession from a person. Now as I don’t think any of you have any problem accepting that an FBI agent is part of the government, the real question is, did Agent Watson compel Ollie into confessing? What say thee, Messrs. Merriam and Webster?

You say to compel is, “to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure.” I think what Agent Watson did fits that definition nicely, so I am unconvinced that Ollie’s confession could have been used against him in a court of law. So unconvinced, in fact that I think even Jean Loring, as bad a lawyer as she showed herself to be in Ollie’s trial, could have won that argument.

Watson’s next step in bringing down Diaz, the one taken after she had stepped all over Ollie’s constitutional rights, was to go to Quentin Lance, the acting mayor of Star City, and have him sign an authorization for the FBI to operate in Star City, because “Diaz’s crimes are local.” Then Diaz spent the rest of the episode trying to extort Mayor Lance into rescinding said authorization. Which makes me wonder, was no one paying attention to what Diaz had been doing all season?

Here are just a few of Diaz’s many crimes. Diaz used Star City’s docks to import illegal narcotics into the city which he then distributed for sale. That means Diaz was involved in crimes that either crossed state or international borders or both. The FBI has jurisdiction to investigate interstate and international crimes. It don’t need no steenkin’ authorization from the local authorities.

Diaz joined The Quadrant, an international criminal organization. Or what the FBI calls transnational organized crime. And you know why the FBI calls it that? Because it has jurisdiction to investigate TOC activities at the local level without authorization.

Still I can’t fault the show for making this mistake. Without the B plot, the episode would have had twenty minutes to fill. And it might have filled it with something even dumber.

Which brings us full circle, back to Ollie’s plea bargain. In return for Ollie admitting he was Green Arrow and pleading guilty to whatever federal offenses he violated by being the Green Arrow, the federal government agreed to grant immunity for all the members of Team Arrow. Then Ollie went off to federal prison.

While Team Arrow all went to state prison. See, the FBI and the federal government could only grant Team Arrow immunity from prosecution for federal crimes. It had no jurisdiction to grant them immunity from prosecution for any state crimes they may have committed.

Remember when John Diggle, Dinah Drake, and Felicity Smoak testified that Ollie wasn’t the Green Arrow? That was perjury. Remember how Ollie was being prosecuted for vigilantism? Well those three could have been prosecuted for all the acts of vigilantism they committed as Spartan, Black Canary, and Overwatch. As could Curtis (Mr. Terrific) Holt and Rene (Wild Dog) Ramirez. Team Arrow could even have been prosecuted as aiders and abettors for all the crimes Ollie was prosecuted for in “Docket No. 11-19-41-73.” The feds couldn’t have granted them immunity for any of those state crimes. So Ollie’s happy ending? Only if he’s happy that Team Arrow’s on the Friends and Family Plan.

Okay, Team Arrow wasn’t actually prosecuted and didn’t actually go to prison. I guess law schools in Star City don’t have any classes on the difference between federal and local jurisdiction. Which is probably fortunate for us. After the nonsense that was “Docket No. 11-19-41-73,” did we really want to suffer through Docket Nos. 11-19-41-74, 75, 76, 77, and 78?

The Law Is A Ass #436: Is Green Arrow Not Guilty By Reason Of Inanity?

I’m sick of it!

I’ve spent the past three weeks writing about the Arrow episode “Docket No. 11-19-41-73” and like Popeye said, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” No matter how long it takes, I’m going to finish with “Docket No. 11-19-41-73” today. Even if I have to write about it from the beginning all the way to the SPOILER WARNING! at the episode’s end.

(more…)

The Law Is A Ass #435: Green Arrow Adds Insult To Perjury

Suppose you were a lawyer. (Don’t worry, this is just a thought experiment. I wouldn’t wish that fate on my worst enemy; only on myself.) Suppose also, that you told your significant other you wouldn’t get married until you had established yourself as a lawyer. Suppose further that you couldn’t establish yourself as a lawyer, because you kept losing all your trials. And, finally, suppose you continued losing trials until your significant other became a super hero and secretly helped you win them. What would you call yourself?

Self-centered would be a good start. Then you could move on to lucky your significant other was so understanding. Calling yourself a bad lawyer goes without saying, but you should probably say it, anyway. Finally, you could call yourself Jean Loring, because that was her character arc in 1961, when she was introduced in the comics.

Jean’s not like that in the comics anymore, but let’s not go there. (Aw, c’mon, if we go there, Amazon gives us a cut! –Ed.) Instead let’s go to the world of the TV series Arrow, where Jean Loring is just a bad lawyer and hasn’t become an insane murderer. Yet.

I’ve spent two columns so far writing about the Arrow episode Docket No. 11-19-41-73.” You know, the one where Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen was on trial for violating Star City’s anti-vigilante law and some assorted homicides and assaults. So far, I’ve only covered the prosecution’s case. Now, to have Jean paraphrase that Get Smart episode when Max was on trial for murder, “For the past two columns, I have sat idly by while my worthy opponent, the prosecuting attorney has stood up here and made a complete jackass out of herself. Now it’s my turn.”

Two state’s witnesses – John Diggle and Dinah Lance, both of whom are secretly costumed heroes who work with Ollie on Team Arrow – lied under oath. They testified that Ollie was not Green Arrow. If Jean were to get information that Ollie was the Green Arrow, she would be ethically required to report their perjury to the court. Moreover, Jean would also not be able to question Ollie or any other witness, if she believed they would lie under oath and testify he wasn’t Green Arrow. That would be suborning perjury.

So the last thing Jean would want to do is ask Ollie, “Are you the Green Arrow?”Naturally, it was the first thing Jean did. Did it before she even put on her first witness. And Ollie told her he was. Because he’s the hero, he wouldn’t lie. He wasn’t under oath yet.

Once Jean knew Ollie was Green Arrow, she suggested their best tactic was jury nullification; that is admit to the jury that Ollie was Green Arrow but argue that the jury should still find him not guilty, because of all the good he had done as the Green Arrow. Basically, you asking the jury to nullify the law by ignoring it and returning a verdict that is contrary to the evidence and the law.

There were a few minor problems with Jean’s jury nullification plan. First, lawyers aren’t supposed to do it. You can’t ask the juries to ignore the law, you’re supposed to ask them to obey it. Second, because jury nullification is not permitted, when judges see lawyers engaging in jury nullification, they put a stop to it. Third, Judge MacGarvey, the judge presiding over Ollie’s trial, was corrupt and under the control of Ricardo Diaz, the crime boss who ruled Star City and who wanted Ollie to be convicted and rot in prison.

Did I say minor problems? A bar serving under-aged drinkers has minor problems. This plan had major problems; more than the 4077th.

Jean was trying a case in front of a judge she suspected had a vested interest in making sure Ollie was convicted and her plan was to hope he’d allow her to assert an improper defense he had every reason – both ethical and financial – to stop. It’s a good thing the 2017 Cleveland Browns didn’t fire their head coach after that 0-16 season, because with those strategy skills, the Browns would have snatched Jean up in a second.

Ollie rejected jury nullification, so Jean went with a more conventional defense. Her first witness was Felicity Smoak; Ollie’s wife and Team Arrow’s resident computer hacker. You know one of those characters who’s constantly typing on a computer and are contractually obligated to say,“Hack into the Pentagon’s computer. They’ve got the most sophisticated security in the—”

“I’m in.”

Felicity testified as a computer expert that a photo of Ollie as the Green Arrow was a fake that had been digitally altered. Which it was. So Felicity was telling the truth. Had Jean stopped there, everything would have been fine.

She…. didn’t stop there.

The code of lawyer ethics has a protocol for lawyers who believe a witness is going to commit perjury. Ethically, the lawyer can’t ask the witness questions and elicit lies. That’s suborning perjury. But ethically, the lawyer can’t refuse to call witnesses the defendant wants called, either. It’s the client’s defense. Defense counsel is the defendant’s advocate and is supposed to do what the client wants. So when the defendant wants the lawyer to call a witness who will commit perjury, the lawyer is supposed to call the witness and then just say something like, “Tell us what happened in your own words,” and let the witness give a narrative account That way, the witness testifies but without the lawyer asking any questions that elicit any lies.

Yes, that solution splits more hairs than Floyd the Barber shortly before the big Mayberry Founder’s Day Parade. But it’s the compromise the profession set up to cover the problem.

Jean, being a bad lawyer, didn’t do that either. She asked Felicity, is Oliver Queen the Green Arrow and Felicity answered no. Jean was pig-headed and did things her way. Which raises the question, was that suborned perjury or stubborn perjury?

Jean compounded the subornation with her next witness, Oliver Queen. She asked him whether he was the Green Arrow knowing he’d say no under oath and he played along by saying no. So far we’ve had four witnesses who committed perjury, a defense attorney who openly suborns perjury, and a prosecutor who didn’t interview any of her witnesses before calling them. Could this trial get any more preposterous? Of course it could.

Right after Ollie’s testimony, the episode had an act break. It needed a hook to keep the audience from changing channels while the network hawked some new drugs whose side effects always seem to be lymphoma, heart failure, kidney infection, death, loss of life, and diarrhea.

So just before that act break, the episode decided to insult our intelligence by having a surprise witness drop into the courtroom through the courtroom’s shattering skylight. A surprise witness wearing a Green Arrow costume.

And what was this surprise witness’s testimony? Wouldn’t you like to know?

Actually, I presume you would like to know. So I’ll tell you. But I’ll tell you next time. Just as the show needed an act-break hook, I need a this-column’s-too-long-and-needs-to-break-until-next-column hook. And as hooks go, a mysterious, skylight-shattering surprise witness works better than a pirate’s prosthetic.

The Law Is A Ass #434: Green Arrow’s Prosecutor Is Trying My Patience

If, as it has been said, a fish rots from the head down, then Team Arrow, from The CW’s Arrow, must be a twenty ton whale shark that’s decomposing from the head, Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen, down through the rotting body that is Green Arrow’s support group, Team Arrow. Why I call them rotten is something we’ll go into as “The Law Is a Ass” continues to suffer the migraine that is the Arrow episode “Docket No. 11-19-41-73.”

Ollie, a super hero in Star City was on trial for violating Star City’s anti-vigilante law and for some homicides and assaults occasioned by the fact that on occasion he shot people with arrows. I started writing about Ollie’s trial last column. I didn’t get too far. I covered the facts that Ollie’s trial was in Judge McGarvey’s courtroom; that McGarvey was under the thumb of Ricardo Diaz, the crime lord who rather openly ruled Star City; that Alexa Van Owen was the prosecutor; and that Jean Loring was defense counsel. I mentioned that Alexa called John Diggle, who was secretly the second-in-command of Team Arrow, and that John, with Ollie’s full knowledge and approval, perjured himself by testifying Ollie was not the Green Arrow.

I pointed out that Alexa wasn’t doing a very good job, because she called witnesses she had not interviewed before trial, so did not know what their testimony would be. I think the second thing they teach you in law school is don’t call a witness about whose testimony you’re uncertain and don’t ask a question whose answer you don’t already know. (The first thing they teach you is how to find the Tuition Office.)

So did Alexa’s job performance improve as the trial went on? Is the Dalai Lama Catholic?

Alexa’s next witness was Dinah Drake, a detective in the Star City Police Department, and also secretly the super hero Black Canary. And guess who didn’t lock down Dinah’s testimony before calling her as a witness?

Did you guess the prosecutor who didn’t know in advance that Dinah was going to perjure herself and testify that Oliver Queen wasn’t Green Arrow. How do I know that Alexa didn’t know what Dinah was going say in advance? Logic and the Rules of Evidence.

If Alexa had interviewed Dinah and learned Dinah was going to say Ollie wasn’t Green Arrow, then Alexa wouldn’t have called her. Not calling a witness whose testimony will contradict your case is so basic that not even Dr. McCoy would have quibbled over the logic. If, on the other hand, Alexa had interviewed Dinah and Dinah had told her Ollie was Green Arrow, then Alexa would have had a prior inconsistent statement from Dinah, which she could have used to impeach Dinah’s testimony.

The Rules of Evidence in most states allow a party in a trial to impeach its own witnesses. When the party calling the witness wants to impeach it’s own witness with a prior inconsistent statement, that party must first show that it was surprised by the testimony and that the testimony has affirmatively damaged its case. Or, put in language that even Cousin Vinny could understand, “Hey, Judge, I didn’t know da witness wuz gonna say dat, and it hoits my case.”

If Alexa had a prior statement from Dinah saying Ollie was Green Arrow, she could have argued to Judge McGarvey that Dinah’s testimony both surprised her and hurt her case. After McGarvey agreed — and even this bleeding-heart former defense attorney, agrees Alexa could show surprise and affirmative damage – Alexa could have impeached Dinah with the prior inconsistent statement. That Alexa either didn’t either know what Dinah was going to say or failed to impeach Dinah only shows that she didn’t interview Dinah before trial.

Oh, Alexa did impeach Dinah, but her method of impeachment was just as incompetent as her tactic of not interviewing her witnesses before trial. Alexa asked Dinah, over objection, whether she had murdered a drug-dealer named Sean Sonas. (Dinah had; trust me. I’ve seen all the Arrow episodes so I saw her do it.) Dinah declined to answer on 5th Amendment grounds.

Courts have held it’s improper to call a witness you know will invoke his or her 5th Amendment rights, because it is an attempt to build one’s case out of what the jury will infer from the witness’s invocation of the 5th Amendment. It’s just as improper to impeach a witness by asking a question you know will cause the witness to invoke the 5th Amendment. The jury will infer the witness must have committed the crime that the witness refuses to testify about and disregard the testimony of a witness it infers to be a criminal.

When Alexa asked Dinah whether Dinah murdered Sonas, she violated this principle. Not only should she never have asked the question, Judge McGarvey should have sustained the objection and never allowed the question to be asked. But, like I said earlier, McGarvey was a Black Friday judge; bought and paid for at bargain basement prices.

Alexa’s next witness was Rene Ramirez, secretly the Team Arrow member called Wild Dog. Rene originally planned to follow Team Arrow’s putrescent perjury party line and say Ollie wasn’t Green Arrow. (Meaning, once again, Alexa probably didn’t interview him before trial.) Rene changed his mind when Diaz threatened to harm Rene’s daughter, if he didn’t testify “properly.”

So for the first – and only – time in her trial, Alexa had a witness who did testify that Oliver Queen was Green Arrow. Then Alexa got to the heart of the various homicide and assault charges leveled against Ollie. She asked Rene if he ever saw Green Arrow kill or maim people. Rene testified that he had, but there were too many occurrences for him to estimate how many people it was.

With that triumphant testimony, Alexa rested her case.

And promptly lost every homicide and assault count leveled against Ollie. Or should have, anyway. This is a TV trial, remember, so we can’t expect it actually to follow such things as burden of proof or proof beyond a reasonable doubt. We can hope, but we shouldn’t really expect it.

See, in a trial for homicide and assault, it isn’t enough for a witness to testify that he saw the defendant kill or maim lots of people. The witness has to testify that he saw the defendant kill or maim the specific victims named in the indictments. Or, if not that, how about the testimony of the medical examiner that he pulled green arrows out of the corpses of people Oliver Queen was charged with killing? Something, anything, to prove that Ollie killed the people named in the indictment as opposed to a general murder of murder victims.

Had a competent defense counsel moved for a verdict of acquittal on the homicide and assault counts because the prosecution failed to offer any evidence that the defendant actually killed or assaulted the named victims, it would have been granted. Naturally Jean Loring, didn’t even go through the motions by making the motion. After all, where would the drama in the episode be if a prosecutor as inept as Alexa Van Owen were facing a competent defense attorney?

So after spending a couple of weeks describing what a lousy prosecutor Alexa Van Owen was, is it now time for me to write about what a lousy defense attorney Jean Loring was?

No.

Next time will be.

Meaning this column has run out of what the newspaper game calls column inches. We’ll have to talk about what a lousy attorney Jean Loring was next column. And probably the column after that. There was so much barristerly balderdash in “Docket No. 11-19-41-73” that I’m afraid we’re in for a long haul down the halls of justice.

The Law Is A Ass #433: Green Arrow Wants Me To Trial Little Tenderness

The Law Is A Ass #433: Green Arrow Wants Me To Trial Little Tenderness

I think I’m losing all respect for Oliver (The Green Arrow) Queen. And considering when the TV series Arrow started he was a stone killer except he killed people not stones, I didn’t have very much respect for him to begin with.

We’re talking about the Arrow episode “Docket No. 11-19-41-73.” Keep those numbers handy; we’ll be talking about them for a while. And, no, I wouldn’t advise playing them in your local lottery. Why should those numbers be winners? Nothing else about this episode was.

Ricardo Diaz, the crime lord who had taken control of Star City earlier in the season felt it wasn’t enough that he used the corrupt politicians under his control to impeach Oliver as the Mayor of Star City, he also had his underlings prosecute Oliver. Diaz wanted Oliver to spend the rest of his life in prison, while Ollie watched Diaz ravage Star City. Diaz even brought in a special prosecutor, Alexa Van Owen with her 99% conviction rate, to prosecute Ollie. And that still wasn’t the worst thing Diaz did. Considering Kirk Acevedo, the actor playing Diaz, never saw a piece of scenery in the Arrow sets that he didn’t treat as a blue plate special, the worst thing Diaz did was emote.

Now you may be wondering what crimes Star City was prosecuting Ollie for in the case and episode called “Docket No. 11-19-41-73.” Wonder no more, I’m here to tell you.

That is, I would be here to tell you, if the episode had bothered telling us. I know Ollie was being prosecuted for violating Star City’s anti-vigilante ordinance by being The Green Arrow. I know that, because it’s the one count in Ollie’s indictment the episode did bother to mention.

Actually, there were probably multiple counts of illegal vigilantism. Star City Council enacted the anti-vigilante ordinance early in Season 6, so any time Ollie went out as the Green Arrow after that – which, considering the show is called Arrow, was every episode – that was a new, and separately-indictable violation of the ordinance. But there still had to be more.

Laws passed by city councils, as opposed to laws enacted by state legislatures, are misdemeanors not felonies. I’ve mentioned this before and I wish TV people would remember it. Misdemeanors don’t normally carry sentences in excess of one year. Felonies do. Prosecutor Van Owen offered Ollie a plea bargain with a fifteen-year agreed sentence. So, Ollie had to be charged with at least one major felony for an agreed sentence of fifteen years to be considered a bargain.

But what felony? The show didn’t tell us specifically, but it did give us enough information to let me make a law-school-educated guess. I’m guessing there were multiple indictments for the many murders and assaults with a deadly weapon that Green Arrow committed by shooting actual arrows into actual people over the course of the show.

There had to be some murder indictments somewhere in mix, because Ms. Van Owen’s offered plea bargain was to a single count of First Degree Manslaughter. Courts have ruled that a person cannot plead guilty to a crime, if it is not a lesser included offense to one of the crimes charged in the indictment. Pleading to crimes which are not lesser included offenses of one of the indicted offenses violates the defendant’s constitutional right to receive notice.

Manslaughter is not a lesser included offense of some “Don’t Be a Vigilante” Ordinance. First of all, manslaughter is a felony and, as I said, the anti-vigilante ordinance would be a misdemeanor. So manslaughter is a higher-degree crime than the anti-vigilante ordinance. It can’t be a lesser included offense.

Moreover, manslaughter wouldn’t contain any elements in common with anti-vigilante. One can be a vigilante without killing people. Hell, as brutal as he is, Batman does it all the time. So manslaughter also isn’t an included offense of anti-vigilante laws. On the other hand, manslaughter is a crime of lesser degree than murder and does contain common elements with murder. So if Ollie was offered a plea to manslaughter, he has to have been indicted for one, or more, murder.

After Ollie turned down the plea offer, the trial started. So did my note taking. Two legal pads and several Bics later, I was ready to start writing about the trial. Lucky me.

As her first witness, prosecutor Alexa Van Owen called Dr. Elisa Schwartz. Green Arrow had once brought fellow super hero Black Canary into Dr. Schwartz’s hospital with a knife wound and Dr. Schwartz was the attending physician. Alexa asked Dr. Schwartz that, as she was close enough to Green Arrow to determine his identity, whose face did she see? Dr. Schwartz answered that she was too busy treating her patient and didn’t pay enough attention to Green Arrow to determine his true identity.

Uh, Alexa, didn’t you vet your witness so that you’d know the answer to that all-important question before calling her? No. Okay. Still, a mistake that fundamental makes me doubt that 99% conviction rate. Seriously, on L.A. Law Susan Dey also played a prosecutor named Van Owen who would have done a better job. Hell, Susan Dey’s other big role, Laurie Partridge, would have done a better job.

Alexa’s next witness was John Diggle, Oliver Queen’s personal bodyguard, and also secretly Spartan, the second-in-command of Team Arrow. She asked John if Oliver Queen were the Green Arrow. He said no. And as the head of Oliver Queen’s security, John would know whether Ollie was Green Arrow. Again I’m forced to ask, did Alexa not vet her witnesses before calling them so that she’d know how he would answer her questions?

Okay, I admit that John perjured himself (with the full knowledge and approval of Ollie) because Ollie was the Green Arrow and John knew that. But Alexa didn’t know that. All she knew was that she posed a question to John and she didn’t know that he wasn’t going to give her the answer she was hoping he’d give her.

But Alexa impeached John’s damaging testimony. She pointed out all the injuries he had incurred in his years as Ollie’s body guard, so he couldn’t have been that good a security officer. Right, a body guard got injured protecting his charge; aren’t they supposed to do that? So John was conscientious in his job, that certainly proves he’s an unreliable witness the jury should ignore.

Did I say Laurie Partridge could have done a better job than Alexa? Hell, the Partridge Family dog Simone could have done a better job. At least he knows about vetting.

I’d tell you who Alexa called as her next witness, but this column is already pretty long and, when it comes to covering old Docket No. 11-19-41-73, I’m like someone who took sandpaper to his tablet computer. I’ve only scratched the Surface. (I’m not sure I’m even up to the third one yet.)

So, I’ll follow the time-honored tradition that all TV courts use when they need to go to commercial break. This column is in recess and will reconvene next week.

Michael Davis: The Truth About Harlan Ellison And The Lie He Told Us All

Note number 1: I wrote this first part in 2014. What’s below took me two weeks as I’ve been battling depression blah blah blah blah poor me etc.

Twenty minutes after I first met Harlan Ellison he handed me a signed blank check.

I’ll get back to that.

I found out what kind of friend Harlan was, and it’s essential to me people know the type of sway his friendship carries with it.

When I was very young, in the summertime my sister and I were sent to Alabama to stay with my stepfather’s parents. My stepfather would drive us from New York, and I looked forward to that two-day trip until one night I will never forget made me never want to go south again.

In thirty years of baring my soul as a writer, I have never written about that experience. I do so now to underscore the importance of Harlan’s influence in my life.

My stepfather Robert Lawrence was an alcoholic well before it was designated an illness. At six years old I would not have cared if it was an illness or a ring given to him from The Guardians of the Universe. Robert (yes I called him Robert, it’s a Black thing) could do no wrong— he was my idol. It’s astonishing we were not killed during those sometimes 100 mph trips to Dalton, Alabama.  Robert was always drinking, and driving two kids cross country was just another thing to do for him.

We had just entered North Carolina sometime after midnight. Robert had stopped to take a nap. My sister and I were in and out of sleep, and for years the following seemed like a bad dream. The taps on the windshields were loud but the voices— “WAKE UP NIGGER!” were more emphatic.

Surrounding the car were six huge white men. Robert woke up.

“GET ON OUT HERE.”

Robert opened the door and stepped out.

Although he wasn’t hit, he was none the less beaten badly. Those men said the kind of things that put Robert on his knees. The one thing I’ll repeat was this: “Boy, we the Klan.”  They had no robes or hood, but we all knew it was true. My hero was reduced to what I thought then was a coward. As I got older, I realized he wasn’t.  He did what he had to do to save my sister and I. It was years before I understand this event wasn’t a bad dream.

I didn’t know what a vow was, but I made up my mind never to go south again. However against my better judgment and fears, I went back to the south twice the second time I wrote about in the 2014 article linked above.

Both times, something terrible happened to me— both times, Harlan made it OK.

I was asked to be the auctioneer at a function to benefit battered women at Dragon Con in 1995.  Giving myself the “oh I was a child it couldn’t have bad” talk, I arrived in Atlanta early so I could go to the Civil War Museum. I am a big fan of American history, and I’m sure the Civil War Museum in Atlanta is all I heard it was.

I may never know.

My then girlfriend at the time and I got as far as the parking lot when it was made clear we should keep on getting on. I’ll spare you the details, but note to Black men who love history, here’s a tip: if you’re planning a trip to the museum leave your white girlfriend home.

To be fair, that was 1995, things may be different now that Trump is Presiden…shit. Just don’t go.

After the events in the parking lot, both my girlfriend and I were severely shaken.  I was determined to just go back to New York, but I owed the benefit organizers an in-person explanation at least.

Nothing was going to stop me from getting on a plane, or so I thought.

Harlan did.

He heard I was bowing out found me and did the second kindest thing ever done for me. He co-auctioned the event and in doing so showed me the people of Atlanta were terrific kind folk unlike those who tore into me with such hatred earlier that day.

The two hours Harlan and I spent going at each other trying to get bidders to go higher and higher is why Dragon Con is my single favorite convention experience.

Yep.

I love San Diego Comic-Con and would take a bullet for any staff member, but the single best time I’ve ever had at a convention was Dragon Con, and I’ve only been there once.

A lot has been written about Harlan’s brash in your face attitude. Many think that as a famous writer he was playing a role. His antics more ‘character’ than real.

Some even going so far as to say he believed little of what he preached.

I wish some people were smart enough to realize how stupid they are.

Harlan Ellison was a 20-year-old brand new writer in Hollywood when the biggest star in the world got in his face. Nobody and I mean nobody fucked with Frank Sinatra.  Frank got in Harlan’s face, Harlan  got right back into his.

Sinatra was the most powerful man in Hollywood at the time; Harlan was a writer and didn’t care. Give that a long hard thought. That as they say in the hood is ‘gangsta.’ Read the article “Frank Sinatra has a cold” and you’ll learn something about being true to yourself.  It’s all talk for most, not Harlan.

I mentioned what Harlan did for me at Dragon Con was the second kindest thing ever done for me, here’s the first: when I met Harlan he was leaving a party at Len Wein’s house; I had just gotten there.

We hit it off immediately.

“Give me a call, let’s grab a bite,” Harlan  said. “That would be great!” I responded and gave him my card. Harlan  looked at the card then gave it back. “You’re calling me, remember?”  For a moment I thought he was pissed, but I managed to utter, “Card?”

“Man, I don’t do cards.” He half yelled while digging around in his briefcase.

He produced a checkbook ripped out a check and gave it to me. “Whoa!” I stammered while looking at his name address and phone number printed on the front.  “Don’t you want to write void or something on this?”

He grabbed the check from me making a show of writing something on it. “Man, you’re like a little girl.” He tosses the check back to me and says in a much lower voice; “I’m sure I can trust you, but just in case you ever need help with anything…”

I didn’t get that at all, I folded the check and put it in my wallet. Something stopped me from returning my billfold to my back pocket. Instead, I unfolded the check and looked at what Harlan had written.

He signed the check.

I’d known the man for twenty minutes, and he had given me a signed blank check.

I ran after him with the intent of giving back the check. I reached him in about 30 seconds deciding at that moment to keep it realizing the message behind the gesture, this man wanted me in his life and wanted me to know he’s not fucking around. “I could be homeless and hungry; I’ll never cash it.”  Harlan  made a look like he had no idea who I was but before the front door closed, he hit me with a smile.

I had the check framed the day I heard Harlan passed.

The truth about Harlan is he was exactly who he said he always told the truth— except for this massive lie. He once wrote, “For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.”

Bullshit, nope, nada, bullshit again.

Harlan Ellison will always matter.

Note number 2: To my loyal fans (both of you) I’ll try and stick around this time, but the thing about depression is it’s depressing so there. Harlan’s article I hope will be the last shared by all the outlets that carries my bi-line.

To my haters, I’M BLACKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK.

That last one was for you, Harlan.

Help us defend Fair Use vs. Seuss!

Click here to go to our GoFundMe page to contribute!

In August of ’16, we thought up a plan
If we could get all of the language to scan
We’d mash up the book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Combine it with themes from that old Star Trek show
And demonstrate how they (with new illustrations)
Both seek out new life forms and new civilizations
As through endless journeys protagonists barreled
And so it was written up by David Gerrold
With lovely artwork drawn by Ty Templeton
They both made a book that could not be outdone!
We were very respectful, not lewd, rude, or crude.
We thought it was wonderful…!

…then we got sued.

Oh, the uses Seuss sued! There were fights to be picked!
There was art to suppress! Punishments to inflict!
Before the last drawing had seen final touches
Word made its way to the ears (and the clutches)
Of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which owns
Seuss trademarks and copyrights, and which bemoans
Any artwork that starts to remotely remind
Of a Seussian style. Are they in their right mind?
How far will they go? Why, they even want
To claim ownership of a handwritten font.
(They might even claim they own this style of verse
Except for the fact C.C. Moore got here first.)

It seems that the lawyers that Seuss have set loose
Thinks no one can choose to make fair use of Seuss.
Luckily, we’ve got a very good lawyer
Who’s helping us counter this fair use destroyer.
And so we’ve proceeded, convinced we are right,
But battling a lawsuit takes thousands to fight.

“So what?” you may cry. “Just why should I care
About someone suing you over what’s fair?”
Permit me a moment while I count the ways.
The judge said (and here, I must paraphrase):
“Regarding mashups, there is no prior ruling
Addressing the points over which you are dueling!
Your book’s highly transformative! It’s simply not
Merely a copy, like the Seuss lawyers thought
But are you in the right? Mashups might be protected
Or maybe they’re not! You want this case ejected
But sans evidence, the court cannot decide
If it’s fair, so your motion to dismiss denied!
Maybe summary judgment will settle your fate,
But if not, then we’re going to choose a court date.”

Now, it’s taken long months, and it’s cost lots of swag
But we’ve gotten rulings about which we can brag
We got judgement on the pleadings, a partial decision
Leaving only what’s left after the court’s excision.
Unfortunately, now the case REALLY gets pricey,
And if we can’t pay, then the outcome gets dicey.
We’re fighting a company with millions of bucks
And we’ve spent most of ours, which truly just… stinks.

If we lose, then ALL mashups may go through the thresher
And may be deemed infringement. (But hey, no pressure.)

The fight’s now upon us, can’t close the barn door
Lest our loss set a precedent tough to ignore.
And fair use gets wrecked in a Weehawken minute
This case is important, so we have to win it.
And that means there’s something that we have to do:
We need financial help, and we’re turning to YOU.

So…
If you’ve ever watched a fan film on Blu-ray
Or dressed in a Buzz Lightyear/Joker cosplay
Or you wrote a book with a title that’s “cocky”
Or want to mix music and be a disc jockey
Or watched video mashups on Funny Or Die
Or read fanfic where Owen tells Beru good-bye
Or sung at a showing of “Once More With Feeling”
Or want to paint Mickey and Walt on your ceiling

If you care about mashups and value free speech,
If you think free expression’s a value to preach
Then reach in your wallets and give what you will
And help us pay for a quite large legal bill.

Be a copyright fighter! And fight for the right
To research, report, comment, criticize, cite!
Be the fifth factor in our fair use case!
Every dollar contributed buys breathing space!
(Heck, if only this doggerel just made you laugh
Consider donating a buck and a half.)

If you can’t spare some cash, then please spread the word
Get on social media and help us get heard.

Lawsuits are scary and hard to endure,
But if you help us out, then you’re part of the cure.
And for your help countering copyright cranks,
We offer our humble and most grateful thanks.

Click here to go to our GoFundMe page to contribute!

The Law Is A Ass #432: Things Aren’t Impeachy Keen with Green Arrow

A wise man once said “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Usually in summer school.” No, it wasn’t George Santayana. It was me; I lied about the wise part. But whoever said it, the sentiment is true, so it would behoove Oliver Queen not to start planning that Disneyland vacation just yet. He has some summer schooling in his future.

First, I’m going to SPOILER WARNING you that I’m about to give away much of the plots of the Arrow episodes “Brothers in Arms” and “Fundamentals.” If you haven’t seen them, you might want to stop reading and go to Disneyland in Ollie’s stead.

Okay, now I’m about give you some needed background information by blitzing through about two-thirds of a season’s worth of Arrow episodes in just one paragraph. Pay attention.

Oliver Queen, who is both the Green Arrow and the mayor of Star City, is under investigation by both the FBI and Star City, for being the Green Arrow; which violates Star City’s anti-vigilante ordnance. Meanwhile, crime boss Ricardo Diaz, has taken control of Star City. So much so that in the Arrow episode, “Brothers in Arms,” Ollie could only find seven officers in the entire Star City Police Department who weren’t on the Diaz payroll. And in another episode which I’ll get to presently, police officers actually address Diaz as “Boss” right on a public street. That’s a level of corruption that would make Gotham City take notice, and Tammany Hall take notes.

Having brought you up to speed speedily, we go back to “Brothers in Arms.” Dinah Drake and the other six police officers who weren’t under Diaz’s thumb got intel that Diaz’s right-hand man, Anatoly Knyazev, was about to make a drug drop. They conducted surveillance and watched Anatoly make the delivery. So they arrested him on the scene and with the drugs.

Only to have Star City District Attorney Sam Armand immediately kick the case. Ostensibly he dismissed it because the police didn’t have a warrant when they arrested Anatoly. In reality, Armand was one of the many Star City officials on Diaz’s payroll. Like I said, Diaz’s corruption was more wide-spread than chlamydia in a whore house.

Now, I recognize that Armand would want to get the case against his boss’s right hand man dismissed. Still, it’s doubtful that he would have done so in such an obvious manner.

Dinah might not have had a warrant, but she did have reliable intel that Anatoly was making a drug delivery. They watched Anatoly go to the spot where the delivery was scheduled to take place and saw Anatoly give a briefcase to the man who met him at the delivery site. Anatoly’s actions corroborated Dinah’s reliable intel. The combination of observations and intel would have given Dinah probable cause to believe she had seen Anatoly commit a crime. When the police see a crime being committed, they can make an immediate arrest without having to obtain an arrest warrant first. Courts don’t actually require the police to tell the perp, “Wait right here while I go and get a warrant so I can come back and arrest you.”

Most district attorneys wouldn’t dismiss this case because of a lack of a warrant. They’d let it go before a judge who could hear the evidence and decide whether the arresting officer had sufficient probable cause to make a warrantless arrest.

Armand should have let one of Diaz’s corrupt judges dismiss the case. Or had one of the other corrupt cops steal the evidence, which would have necessitated the charges being dropped. Then no one would have suspected him. Instead, he chose to act in a way that was sure to make mayor Oliver Queen suspect that he was on the take and fire him.
After Ollie verified Armand was on the take, Ollie fired him. Along with police captain Kimberly Hill, who was also on the take. Like I said earlier, the corruption in Star City was so wide-spread, you could plot its growth on graft paper.

Which only created new problems for Ollie. When you’re the subject of criminal investigations, firing some civil servants might cause them to go to the TV news, claim you fired them to impede their investigation, and accuse you of obstruction of justice.

Can you guess what Armand and Hill did for the cliffhanger of “Brothers in Arms?”

In the next episode of Arrow, “Fundamentals,” the Star City City Council held a hearing to determine whether it should impeach Mayor Queen. At the end of the episode, the Council voted to impeach Oliver. At which point, Oliver, told Deputy Mayor Quentin Lance that he’d been impeached, so Quentin was the mayor now.

Which isn’t the way it works. As anyone who to learn from the history of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton would know.

An impeachment is an indictment, not a conviction. Articles of impeachment are the formal charges brought against the official. They lay out what high crimes or misdemeanors the official has committed to warrant said official being impeached, but they don’t remove the official from office.

When the House of Representatives voted to impeach Andrew Johnson or Bill Clinton, neither president was removed from office. Both continued to serve as president, while the Senate conducted a trial on the House’s articles of impeachment. If either man had been convicted in the trial, then he would have been removed from office. History tells us that the Senate acquitted both presidents and both served out their full terms. Without any interruption in their being President.

So, even though Star City City Council voted to impeach Mayor Queen, he wouldn’t have been removed from office or turned power over to Deputy Mayor Lance. He would have continued as mayor while some other body conducted a trial. He would only have been removed from office if he was convicted of those articles of impeachment. At some later time.

Speaking of later times, I know that earlier I said I’d write about yet another episode of Arrow presently. Well, to pervert an old saying, there’s no time in the presently. I’ll have to write about that episode in future columns. But they’ll be goodies. Remember all the fun we had dealing with the Arrowverse episode about the trial of The Flash? Next time it’s the trial of Green Arrow.