Main Off On A Technicality Discussion

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08:07:38 AM Jan 19th 2013
I cut this from the article because it was Conversation in the Main Page. If you want to re-add it, make sure that it's a valid example and re-write it so that it looks like it was written by one person.

  • An infamous political example: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." A US President (Clinton) lying under oath is clear grounds for impeachment, but because the agreed-on legal wording during the deposition for "sexual relations" did not include oral sex, that charge failed. The joke at the time was "this is how you get off on a technicality". (Clinton was impeached for obstructing justice and a separate perjury charge, but acquitted by the US Senate).
    • The Clinton quote did not occur under oath, it occurred at a press conference. Also, the *dictionary definition* of "sexual relations" does not include oral sex. That said, IIRC the agreed-on legal wording allowed her to be having sex with him while he was not having sex with her.
    • Clinton got off on several technicalities during his depositions due to mastery of Exact Words and the inability of the lawyers questioning him to ask easy follow-up questions that would have revealed the truth.
      • First, the definition of "sex" that had been agreed to by the lawyers pre-deposition did not include getting a blow job, so he was truthfully saying he didn't have sex with her. The definition also excluded his using something as a sex toy on her, so the notorious cigar incident didn't qualify either.
      • Second, the infamous "It depends on what your definition of "is" is" was a legitimate statement: to use an example, if you rent a car and get into an accident and are asked "Is this your car?" you can honestly answer both "Yes" ("Yes, this is the car I was driving.") and "No" ("No, I don't own this car.")
      • Third, when he was asked if he was having an affair with Lewinski, he answered that he wasn't. The affair had been over long before the question was asked, so he was being truthful.
      • Lawyers have pointed out that what the Clinton affair demonstrated was that the special prosecutor and his team were pretty lousy trial lawyers.
01:10:35 AM Jan 8th 2013
n the H. Beam Piper story "Lone Star Planet", set on New Texas, the new Solar League ambassador, Stephen Silk, has to arrange this for the three men who assassinated the last Ambassador. The logic was that on New Texas, politicians are defined as literal Acceptable Targets - you're only punished for killing a politician if the court's opinion is that said pollie didn't have it coming - and this specialised court was the venue for the assassination trial. However, defining ambassadors as practicing politicians would lead to some very awkward precedent, meaning that Silk has to first build a conclusive case around them, then remind everyone that it's the wrong court, and New Texan double jeopardy laws meant there couldn't be a retrial. Of course, since it's a cowboy planet, you can freely carry guns into court unless you're the defendant, and after the verdict of "technically not guilty and it's a damn shame" is handed down, Silk proves that there's no technicality that will get you off a bullet through the head by gunning down all three at once. Quoth the judge: "Court-is-hereby-adjourned-until-0900-tomorrow-hit-the-deck!"

The assassins still came under Solar League law, which covered both the assassination and that they were conspiring with the enemies of the SL. And part of the current ambassador's authority was the ability to deal with them once the case had been proved against them. Read it here. And Nose Cola/Choke warning on some parts -more shock then humor usually.
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