Welcome to My House

I established this site to discuss legal issues of the day using real cases in the news as examples to inform readers about our legal system and the laws that give it form and structure.

I do not want an echo chamber. I want to encourage evidence-based debate in which the ideas expressed stand or fall on their own without regard to whether people like or dislike the person who expressed them.

Readers should feel free to present a hypothesis or theory opening it up to discussion and debate.

I want people to feel safe here, so they will not be afraid to express their ideas. I want to encourage lurkers to participate.

I want people to follow the Golden Rule and treat each other with respect.

Sarcasm and snark are welcome, as is passion and emotion, so long as the purpose of a comment is not to insult or wound another. I do not want people to feel they are in a strait-jacket, however.

We are adults and we should be able to handle criticism. I think we have a general sense of the boundaries of legitimate discussion and debate. If someone strays beyond them, I will warn them. If they persist, I will ban them.

Consider this blog to be an on-line equivalent of a graduate level seminar where people respect each other and feel free to informally express their personalities while refraining from attacking and disparaging others.

A certain amount of decorum is necessary to promote learning and learning is why we gather here.

When in doubt, think before you act and consider the negative expression of the Golden Rule.

Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.

From time to time, I will ban someone for violating the warm, welcoming and respectful environment that I seek to establish and promote here.

When I ban someone, I will be doing it with the best interests of our group in mind and, as a professor leading a seminar in graduate school, I will not be soliciting or expecting discussion regarding my motives and the propriety of my decision.

People who seek to derail legitimate discussion for any purpose, including arguing or complaining about decisions to ban others, will be inviting me to ban them.

Discrimination of any kind for any reason is not acceptable.

Racism and sexism are not acceptable.

Threats will not be tolerated.

There is a lot of prejudice in this land against people with brown skin and Muslims and their faith. People are people and we are all together in this adventure we call life.

No one is special because we are all special.

No one is entitled because we are all entitled.

Traffic to this website has increased substantially since I started writing about the Zimmerman case. People are visiting the site from all over the world.

No matter the color of your skin, your gender, sexual preference, the language you speak, the economic class to which you belong, whether you are a believer or not, you are welcome in my house.

Enter and spend some time with us.


33 Responses to Welcome to My House

  1. probalance says:

    Hi Professor Leatherman, I’m a lurker, yet first time commenter. You and your followers happen to be some of the most well-spoken, objective and intelligent people I have come across on the web and its a pleasure to be here.

    Now I wanted to bring this new video to your attention with excerpts from Zimmerman and his first attorneys on this case :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVUqY3tyttc&feature=youtube_gdata_player Its very informative as to once again point out Georges lack of credibility. His former lawyers called him
    out on just about everything and he is
    squirming. Please check it out and dedicate a new post to it as I would love to hear your commentary. Peace and love to you and yours

  2. lynp says:

    I love your blog Professor. I think Zimmerman’s case has been beat to the extreme till new happenings and the trial.
    Would love to see you start a Holmes thread here. Any chance?

  3. verafish says:

    P.S. abcnews is reporting that Lester ruled *today*…and that he denied the motion to recuse himself. (Earlier than expected?)

  4. verafish says:

    I’m a lurker. I admit it. I’ve been lurking since the first Zimmerman entry. I am very happy to read w/o commenting as, most often, when I’ve finished reading, my brain is so chock-full with new information, any attempt at comment would be incomprehensible. Or appear to be in Russian.

    I am nevertheless so grateful for this blog and for the expansion of my brain. Thanks!

  5. TruthBTold says:

    boar wrote,

    “It wouldn’t be gentlemanly to say, but his last name rhymes with “Geragos.”

    Whew, it took me a minute based off of this clue. This was a hard one lol. Oh yes, I forgot about Mr. Geragos.

  6. Vickie Votaw says:

    Professor Leatherman, can Judge Lester revoke GZ’s bond by himself, without the request of the State?

    • I think he could, but I do not believe he will because judges rarely initiate.

      Instead, they wait for one side or the other to file a motion asking the court to do something. Unless emergency relief is being sought to prevent irreparable harm, they allow the opposing party to respond before they issue a ruling.

  7. crazy1946 says:

    Professor Leatherman, Thank you for posting a set of easy to understand rules for us to follow on this site. I will probably continue to lurk and observe (learn) for a while, before I return to posting. If I sound timid, perhaps it is from prior experience on other sites that became extremely hostile and less than enjoyable to participate in. I actually don’t think you will allow that to happen. Again thank you!

  8. Digger says:

    Thank you Professor! Gang slaughter has prevailed on other blogs to the extent of causing severe detriment of expression, lasting emotional distress and withdrawal from the pain of bullying and character assassinations to the failure of the blog itself. Adult?
    The sad is, that by such behavior we possibly trigger an act of violence in one that simply ties to participate. Most often referred to as jealousy and meanness, how close might this be related to that of the previous discussion post, No apologies, no remorse.
    Evil???? Survival is accomplished by the maturity and fairness
    expected and illustrated here, which is sincerely appreciated.

  9. Brown says:

    Great Blog

  10. Phoenix Woman says:

    “When I ban someone, I will be doing it with the best interests of our group in mind and, as a professor leading a seminar in graduate school, I will not be soliciting or expecting discussion regarding my motives and the propriety of my decision.”

    In other words: No Carnacking, as Jane would say. 🙂

    “People who seek to derail legitimate discussion for any purpose, including arguing or complaining about decisions to ban others, will be inviting me to ban them.”

    Hear, hear! People whining about bannings are in my experience really whining about not being allowed to hijack somebody else’s site.

  11. Vickie Votaw says:

    I came to your blog thru a post on the troll patrol, from fb. I am interested in Trayvon Martin’s murder, I am thankful for the mature discussions and the variety of serious posters. It is similar to the enjoyment you get from an awesome class. I hope , if I don’t post much, that I won’t be considered a lurker, 🙂

  12. hinkster4ever says:

    Thank you again for this excellent forum and the pleasure of sitting around talking with others in your house. 🙂

    I do not have any desire to go to other sites to read, except at Reality Chatter. Since a lot of us felt a deep loss when The Hinky Meter closed, we have migrated forward.

    When I first became aware of the killing of Trayvon, I honestly did not know if Gz was defending himself or what. I do not trust what is reported to us by the media, I like to form my own opinion. Since this happened in the Sunshine state, we get to see most of the evidence collected. But, thanks to the sunshine law I have a firsthand look at video’s and statements to make my own opinion.

    Through very smart posters I have learned a lot more. Through my own reading, watching, listening to reports I am continuing to gather my own list of facts. What will be presented to the jury is another story. There is where I appreciate being able to ask from a legal view point.

    I do believe strongly, that the police made a lot of mistakes in this investigation from the beginning.
    A) Allowing Gz to go unhandcuffed and unsupervised at police headquarters to the bathroom and clean up…..before taking photo’s of him as evidence.
    B). The sgt who was responsible for making sure the scene and evidence was collected wrote that upon arriving at the scene he noticed a cell phone lying in the grass and instructed an office to get it and see what he could retrieve from it. (I think it highly likely that Trayvon had that phone in his hand when he hit Gz).
    C). Reporting that an Arizona tea was collected…..thank goodness for pictures….it is NOT an Arizona tea….but a fruit flavored drink….watermelon flavored to be exact.

    I do know that Sgt Smith first reported that he took the gun at the police headquarters and put it in a gunbox. Later to the FBI he gave a statement he secured it on scene….(one officer said she saw Gz in the back of the police cruiser AND a gun laying in the front seat)…….so when did the weapon that killed Trayvon 1st become secured per protocol to be presented to the crime lab?

    I’ve never watched CSI or those types of programs (have watched the Dr. G shows lol).

    • aussie says:


      I agree about the letting him use the bathroom alone to clean up.

      I don’t see the relevance of the phone; they were trying to identify the victim. (I don’t think it would have been in Trayvon’s hand though; he was using a headset, clearly visible in the 7-11 video).

      Apparently, the maker of the drink is called Arizona Iced Tea Company. It’s like saying they found a can of Schweppes. Besides, the flavour only briefly entered into “relevance” when the anti-TM crowd was claiming it to be an ingredient in “lean” a supposedly drug-like drink.

      Smith first secured the gun at the scene, taking if from GZ and sealing it in a plastic evidence bag which he placed on the front seat of the police car. Then at the station he secured it in the evidence locker or gunbox. I am sure it was also secured again after being returned from forensic examination and the ballistics lab.

  13. Rayne says:

    Nice to see you’ve got your own digs in which to kick things around. Hope this proves to be a rewarding project!

  14. GrannyStandingforTruth says:

    Yes, thanks for the invitation and I agree with the standard you would like to uphold on this blog 100% and wish that all blogs would follow suit.

  15. heartofhearts says:

    Professor, Thank you for the invitation to a lively discussion on the current cases of the day! I look forward to participating but more importantly learning a great deal.

  16. SouthernGirl2 says:

    Thank you for this blog. I found it through Firedoglake from an article that had been cross posted. I followed the link and have been hooked ever since. Love the posters here. They rock & roll.

  17. TruthBTold says:


    I feel all warm and fuzzy inside:). I appreciate what you wrote, your vision, and intentions with this learning process. Thank you.

    FYI to all, Judge Lester will make his ruling by the end of this week.

  18. boar_d_laze says:

    Thanks for a great site, thanks for informing people who really want information, thanks for supplying a place for rational discussion, and thanks for adding your own voice of learned reason to the conversation.

    I can’t tell you tired I am of the clueless, media “legal experts,” with their dishonesty, hypocrisy, and shoot from the hip and get it wrong opinions (Hi Mark!). So, thanks for your greater knowledge and honesty.

    Good luck with the moderation thing,

  19. YvetteEU says:

    Thank you Professor Leatherman,for the invitation and for excellent blog site.

  20. ajamazin says:

    Etiquette is a code of behavior that defines expectations for social behavior according to conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.

    Etiquette evolved to facilitate harmonious interaction and should reflect an underlying ethical code.

    When courtesy, customs, decorum, formalities, good or proper behaviour, and manners fail us, we resort to the Law

  21. KA says:

    Thank you Professor Leatherman, I thoroughly enjoy this blog and discussion. I am returning from vacation and am thoroughly thrilled to reengage in discussion soon. Thanks for maintaining such a high quality blog site.

    As always, your sincerity and goodwill shines through.

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