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Debate moderators, marijuana, and nudity

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader

2016-11-07


Let a Judge Moderate

Like so many Americans, I tuned in for all three presidential debates this year. Lester Holt, Anderson Cooper, Martha Raddatz and Chris Wallace all did a nice job. They asked relevant questions and kept the debates moving. I think Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the ones in control of the debates, however. That shouldnít happen.
Put a judge in charge! There are some criminal trial court judges who would be perfect debate moderators. Trial court judges control their courtrooms. They donít tolerate being interrupted or ignored. They sit up higher on their benches for a reason. They make their living from learning, listening and ordering. A person who fails to comply can be found in contempt. Broadcasts journalists arenít trained to order anyone to do anything. Judges are and they expect compliance.

The Commission on Presidential Debates is responsible for putting on the debates. Itís been doing it since the 1980ís. On its website, it states that it selects moderators based on three criteria: (1) familiarity with the candidates and the major issues; (2) live television extensive experience; and (3) an understanding that primary focus of the debates is to shed light on the views of the candidates. Okay, so most judges donít have vast TV experience. Not a deal breaker for me. The CPD needs to ease up on its criteria. Let the right trial court judge moderate and the public will get one heck of show.

Marijuana Back on the Ballot
Voters in Nevada, Massachusetts, California, Arizona and Maine will decide the legality of recreational marijuana this year. In Arkansas, North Dakota and Florida, residents are voting whether to legalize medical marijuana. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 58% of Americans support the legalization of recreational marijuana. Only 12% of Americans supported legalization in 1969. Clearly, times are changing. Critics of the cannabis movement point to the unknown health risks and public dangers. Proponents mention the health benefits and the staggering tax revenue potential. In four years, sales from legal marijuana are projected to reach $22 billion.

Topless or Bust
Free the Nipple, an advocacy group that challenges public nudity statutes, can proceed with its constitutional claim against the city of Fort Collins, Colorado. A U.S. District Court Judge denied the cityís motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs believe that the nudity ordinance that bans a woman from exposing her breasts in public while permitting a man to appear topless violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitutionís 14th Amendment. The day might be nearing when women will be free to swim topless at the pool or beach. Or, we might see a trade-off making it illegal for men to be in public without a shirt.

Stay tuned.

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Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you

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