Brief Freshwater Update Note

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Sorry for the delay in posting on the most recent days of the hearing in early May. I’ve been up to my eyebrows in alligators for the last few weeks. I’ve got 50 pages of notes on the most recent two days of the hearing but haven’t had the 10 or 12 hours to spare to write them up. Soon, I think. Meanwhile, the Mt. Vernon News ran stories on those days here, here, and here.

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From the third article:

Millstone [representing Freshwater], during cross-examination, asked whether the Dennises had been approached by national television personnel. She said they had, but declined to appear. Millstone asked whether anyone connected with the case had been on national television and she named John Freshwater, David Daubenmire and Kelly Hamilton.

Once again it appears Freshwater’s lawyers are hurting their own case by asking questions without knowing what answer they’ll get.

eric said:

From the third article:

Millstone [representing Freshwater], during cross-examination, asked whether the Dennises had been approached by national television personnel. She said they had, but declined to appear. Millstone asked whether anyone connected with the case had been on national television and she named John Freshwater, David Daubenmire and Kelly Hamilton.

Once again it appears Freshwater’s lawyers are hurting their own case by asking questions without knowing what answer they’ll get.

No, Millstone is the Board’s lawyer. Freshwater’s lawyer is Hamilton. Millstone is getting a dig in that it’s Freshwater’s lot that is playing to the TV gallery.

Ah, thanks for that. I guess I got confused because only one lawyer was mentioned as doing cross.

IIRC, during direct examination of Jenifer Dennis there was a mention by Hamilton referring to national TV and the Dennis family. I can’t find it in my notes at the moment, but I’m pretty sure I heard it. That raised the issue so Millstone could pounce on it.

You know, I keep on thinking, “If the Freshwater/Dover Board of Ed types ever get a good lawyer, we could all be in some serious trouble”.

Then I remember that “Lawyer to creationists” isn’t exactly a position that selects for intelligence. Maybe we’ll be all right.

Good lawyers can do an excellent job representing the most repellent of clients from serial killers to ponzi scheme operator. The problem isn’t with the kind of lawyers who would represent a creationist but with the kind of lawyers creationists will choose to represent them and the creationists expecations of how the relationship works.

Creationists want someone who, above all else, shares their views and the kind of open-mindedness, flexibility and care for evicence and reasoning that makes a good litigator isn’t a very good fit with creationism. The other factor is that just as creatinionists each think they are as qualified to opine on a matter as scientist who’ve studied the matter for decades so they won’t defer to a lawyer’s advice on the conduct of a case if it doesn’t accord with what the creationist wants to hear and say. A lawyer contemplating trial needs to be willing and able to challenge his own client to ensure that the strengths and weaknesses (pace, brothers and sisters) of their case and creationists are not exactly noted for their willingness to look on their own positions with a skeptical eye. A lawyer who tried that with a creationist client would probably be seens as ‘disloyal’ to the creationist and creationism.

Between those two factors, the dice are loaded against creationists when it comes to getting high quality legal work, even if they do, by accident, manage to hire someone who is capable of doing an excellent job in the right circumstances.

They would have a more basic problem with non-koolaid drinking representation.

The underlying goal of creationists regarding public schools and teaching is to get the government to help them proselytize. But they, of necessity, routinely deny that. A lawyer that didn’t wink-wink-nudge-nudge along would not make the right arguments. Hamilton understands that the goal is not to just get Freshwater his job back. Freshwater is a seleb now, he doesn’t need that job. The goal is to get Freshwater his job back with a ruling that allows him to continue proselytizing. How would they go about explaining that to an objective attorney, what that attorney’s reaction be? Something like “You guys are nuts. I can’t go in to court and make that argument. I’d be laughed at.”

Which pretty much describes what happens to the attorneys they do get. But those attorneys don’t mind, or even seem to notice, that they are being laughed at since they are drinking the same koolaid as their clients.

Yeah, I keep thinking back to the TMLC. What the hell were they thinking? Didn’t one of them make a comment before the final ruling to the effect that he thought things were going fairly well?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on May 21, 2009 12:52 PM.

Immune cross on Science Origins blog; more at Evolution2009 at UNK was the previous entry in this blog.

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