The Law Is Slow

Charles Dickens famously wrote that “the law is an ass.” He should have added that it’s slow. 21st Century American law is not quite as slow as in Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, the interminable case in Bleak House BUT it’s still slow. The featured image is of Francis L. Sullivan as Pip’s solicitor Mr. Jaggers in David Lean’s 1946 version of Great Expectations. I used it instead of an image from Bleak House to slow things down…

This slowness is currently driving the MSM and the amateur lawyers mad. (I used the Britism to keep the Dickensian theme going.) There have been rumors that charges will soon be brought by the Manhattan DA’s office, which has left the MSM twitchy, and the amateur lawyers vexed. They seem to have forgotten how they reacted to similar slowness during the Mueller probe. Andrew Weissmann, who prosecuted Paul Manafort, has not:

… it`s fascinating now being on this side. You know, I spent two years where the press was speculating on what the special counsel investigation had and whether we had the goods and on who. And we`re doing the same thing now with respect to Manhattan.

But it`s clear something is going to happen. And to me it sounds like there may be individuals who are charged. There may be companies that are charged. And to me that`s sort of a classic case where they may build to go up and pressure people to cooperate.

But you`re not hearing that they yet have the goods on Donald Trump. There are no signs of that yet, although we could be surprised.

In addition to being slow, the law is also surprising. What shouldn’t be surprising is that rumors of impending action are often wrong. They fail to take account of the law’s slowness and the secrecy of the grand jury process.

One synonym for slow is methodical. Investigating the finances of a criminal organization must be done carefully. They have to start from the bottom and work their way up. Think of an investigation as a pyramid: you start at the bottom and build your case layer-by-layer, brick-by-brick. You need a solid foundation otherwise the case will collapse. They should not move against the boss until the underlings have been dealt with. The foundation of a case against the Impeached Insult Comedian is his company. That’s why it’s likely to be indicted first. Hopefully, the Weisslebergs and Calamaris will jump ship. The latter should land in a hot pan with garlic, onions, and olive oil. I like my calamari simple…

This brief treatise applies to Merrick Garland and the DOJ. Judge Garland is clearly a methodical, process-oriented lawyer. It’s what we should want after the Wild West shoot-from-the-hip Trump days. Think of Sessions, Barr, and the various acting AG’s as hired guns much like Jack Palance in Shane. They made a mess of DOJ and cleaning it up is going to be a slow process. New policies are in place, but the devil is always in the details. Detail work is always slow, especially when lawyers are involved.

The MSM and amateur lawyers have a hard time accepting how much of the spadework for legal investigations is done in secret. For example, the public did not learn that the FBI was investigating the Trump-Russia mishigas until well after the election. They were building a case. The DOJ’s Inspector General is already investigating Trumper misconduct, and the FBI may be at it as well. Whatever they’re doing it will be slow.

Larry Tribe recently admonished two Never Trump former Republicans for conclusion jumping:

The Salon headline in the second tweet is clearly click bait. Even if the Kaiser of Chaos had been charged, he’d be out on bail annoying wedding parties at Mar-a-Doorn.

Shorter Larry Tribe: The law is slow.

Finally, the wheels may grind slowly, but tomorrow is supposedly the day indictments will be handed down by the grand jury. I’ll believe it when I see it.

The last word goes to The Beatles:

2 thoughts on “The Law Is Slow

  1. As I tell clients, you are on law time now: everything that should take a day takes a month, everything that should take a week takes a year.

    1. Indeed, sir. I forgot to mention that legal slowness stopped some Trump horrors from happening.

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