Think of this what you will, but this is what defense lawyers do for a living, and this is the way our criminal justice system works. No, it can’t be substantiated whether this individual is, in fact, a criminal defense lawyer, and no, it would not be in his/her stated self interest to see the amendment defeated. Those are certainly legitimate arguments. However, Virginia domestic violence service agencies have been told exactly the same thing by known criminal defense lawyers. Posted anonymously on another blog:
Nope, this isn’t lawyer fear-mongering. This is a lawyer giving you a promise you can take to the bank.
Here’s another. I *promise* you that on the first occasion after the Marshall-Newman amendment becomes a part of the Virginia Constitution, I will use the amendment to challenge Virginia’s domestic violence laws.
Look, I’m as liberal as they come, but I’m primarily a criminal defense lawyer, and I like it. One of the things I like the most is making certain that my clients – most of whom are guilty – are nonetheless given every opportunity to defend themselves against the power of the state.
So, take this to the bank. This lawyer, and the thousands of others around the state who defend accused domestic assaulters, each will be taking advantage of the opportunity to explot the Marshall-Newman amendment for our clients’ benefit.
Will it work? I don’t know, you don’t either, and our activist judges aren’t issuing advisory opinions.
Of course, our “activist judges” have issued a very real opinion that the existing prohibition on recognizing civil unions in another state is interpreted to trump even federal law. It’s a little hard to believe, therefore, that they wouldn’t interpret the constitution to trump Virginia law.
It makes me sick to my stomach that some amendment proponents are talking about the fact that unmarried domestic violence victims are, right this minute, being denied protective orders while conflicting court rulings are appealed over whether such protective orders are a “benefit of marriage,” as if it’s some sort of abstract, unimportant question, as if these are not real, living, breathing people whose lives have been put in jeopardy for political gain.
The fact that the lives of these people have been placed in jeopardy is being described, over and over again, as a “red herring,” and a “doom-and-gloom argument.” I cannot begin to express how disgusted I am with this abdication of moral responsibility by those who claim to speak for “family values.”