Hmm… apparently SOMEBODY doesn’t work with a three-week lead time…


Is That is Priceless in newspapers at all? Maybe the three-week thing only applies to print comics, even if you’re working through GoComics  or another syndicate?

By all logic, I think, in 2019 comic strip artists should have the option of being as timely as editorial cartoonists: it’s not as if they have to put the physical drawing in an envelope and mail it in.


  1. Usual John: How is your first paragraph different than what I (or rather Wikipedia) said?

  2. Winter Wallaby, the difference is that the government must produce evidence of complicity before the court will even admit the testimony.

  3. The nature of the spousal privilege (even its existence) varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I’m sure you’ve been assuming that California law would apply, but it’s possible that relevant communications happened outside California, bringing a choice-of-law question into it. Better to take the bird in hand, I would think.

    Another possible issue that hasn’t been addressed above yet: There’s the part where if they have any kids left at home, putting both parents away at the same time is a burden on the state.

    Plus, there’s the fact that the hearsay would have to fall under one or more of the hearsay exceptions.

  4. On a completely different thing: Is it a swipe at Ms. Huffman that she’s allegedly referred to in a painting from 1891?

  5. James Pollock: The case is brought in federal court, specifically the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The controlling precedent is that from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (and the Supreme Court, of course). The First Circuit recognizes the spousal privilege in the form discussed above.

    While that’s a good point about kids at home, I believe that Macy and Huffman have only the two college-age daughters.

  6. Usual John: Do you mean that they need to produce evidence of complicity independently of the spousal testimony? That wasn’t clear to me from the case you sent. (Although the opposite wasn’t clear either, I’ll take your word for it if you’re saying it is.)

  7. Winter Wallaby: That was the way I read it, but frankly, I’m not completely sure either. However, the general rule is that a confession alone is insufficient to support a conviction; there must be some kind of corroborative evidence to show the trustworthiness of the confession (although this standard, known as the corpus delicti rule, is an easy standard to meet). So I’m inclined to think that there must be some evidence of complicity beyond just the testimony. However, I have not researched this.

  8. ” The controlling precedent is that from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (and the Supreme Court, of course).”

    You still have choice-of-law problems if the allegedly incriminating statements were made in a different Circuit. And if the state law and the federal law diverges significantly, you might be generating grounds for an appeal.

  9. Under Federal Rule of Evidence 501, the privilege is governed by federal common law (although state law can still be important on some issues, such as whether there is a marriage). As for a Circuit deferring to another Circuit, I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Of course, if there’s a change of venue, that’s a different matter. Macy and Huffman would probably rather be tried in the District of Colorado, where they live, rather than the District of Massachusetts, where the case was brought. I suspect that the argument for a change of venue is weak, but don’t know enough about criminal procedure to say.

  10. “Under Federal Rule of Evidence 501, the privilege is governed by federal common law”

    Yet under Erie (304 U.S. 64 (1938)), there is no such thing as federal common law, only the common law of the states. (Yes, I know. That applies to substantive law and not to procedural, and evidence is procedural. But there’s an argument to be made that privilege should not fall under, or not solely under, “procedural” as a category.

    I’m assuming that the District of Massachusetts was selected because the school that was allegedly defrauded is there, and therefore the criminal act(s) alleged took place there. But without having facts, It’s impossible to say. (if this is one of the cases where the “consultant” paid off the test proctor to alter test scores, it’s possible that wherever the kid(s) took the entrance exam is the most proper venue. If it’s one where they paid off a sports coach to tab the student despite not actually wanting the kid on the team, then it’s wherever that coach is employed.)

    I didn’t take criminal law at all… I studied up on it for the six weeks before taking the bar exam, but don’t really have much interest in criminal law. I graduated in December, 2010, into the teeth of the biggest legal recession since the Great Depression.

  11. Andréa – That was my question also. When I first heard I told Robert “the wood turner’s wife is one of those arrested. They haven’t mentioned him – maybe he didn’t know?” He looked terribly upset (which I understand) when they stopped when he was going into some building – not sure if where he was going was related.

  12. James Pollack – Don’t know who James Gunn is or how he was fired, but she is gone. They were canceling the show and enough people complained so that it has been pulled and will be redone. She is the town mayor and ows a cafe in the show with the sheriff as partners. In the recent episodes he was going to buy the local bar/tavern (not sure which it is called) and did not not have enough money to buy and she could not buy him out and the former mayor (since turned criminal and back to good guy again – it is Hallmark after all) also wanted to buy it and did not have enough money and they decided to go halves on it – but someone else – from outside the town – bought it out from under them. So her partner could take over the cafe on his own. I guess the former mayor might end up being so again. I admit to liking it – a rarity for Hallmark’s shows made for the channel – but it is the type of show where the two main characters finally marry – and he gets killed while she is pregnant with their first child.

    On the other hand, the people at “Fuller House” came out after the Hallmark firing and said she was fired, but I think they reversed themselves.

  13. Ah, realized I should have mentioned – I had watched the Hallmark TV movie of the show due to its plot of a eastern, educated woman heading to the west to be a teacher (and not knowing at the time it was in Canada) -which did not have the same cast and was actually better than this series which followed.

  14. Winter Wallaby – yes, I tell Robert everything. Since he is with me almost all the time there is not much to tell him that he does not know – together so much that he no longer can have surprise Christmas or birthday gifts. In my case nothing criminal to tell. (I had a client leave me once as I was too honest an accountant for him.) I swear I was not driving on the section of a road that I was supposedly photographed by a red light camera as running a red light on. I drive so rarely that I know the exact route I drove that day to meet a client and return and I was not on that section of that road. But how does one prove that – pay the $80! And yes he has heard much about that ticket.

  15. “I swear I was not driving on the section of a road that I was supposedly photographed by a red light camera as running a red light on.”

    Was there a PICTURE of your car doing this? In FL, you can drive thru the tollbooth and a pic is taken and sent to you along with the toll bill.

  16. I once did an ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ routine – I was given a speeding ticket; I went to court and proved with drawings and circles and arrows that this particular road did NOT have a speed limit sign on it to tell drivers coming off one road that the speed limit was changed.

    I still had to pay the fine, BUT points were not taken off my license, which was my goal. And within a week or so, a speed limit sign was put up where it should’ve been in the first place.

  17. “Don’t know who James Gunn is or how he was fired”

    Mr. Gunn is a director. Tweets from his past resurfaced that were incompatible with the Disney company’s public image, so he was fired. Then, several months later, somebody remembered that he was the main creative force behind a pair of movies which made the Disney company several hundreds of millions of dollars, and he was re-hired to make a third (many of the production crew and cast apparently signaled to management that they would not return to make the third movie with a different director, and some of them did so publicly.)

    While he was unemployed, Disney’s rival company immediately snatched him up to revive THEIR comic-book movie project.

  18. Andréa – They did send a photo of the car going through a red light. Based on the photo it is a main road to the south of us. We are not often in that area and I was not there that day so we don’t know how there is a photo of the car there. How does one prove that there were not on that road in that location (I was on that road that day in a different community and I really don’t think I ran a light on the section of the road I was on.)

    Since i drive the car so rarely and I know from my calendar what I did that day – It just makes no sense – but they somehow have a photo of the car going through the light.

    In the past I have fought tickets and won, but how does one fight a photo that should not/cannot exist but does.

    I also learned in the past that in NYC if one gets a parking ticket, the fact that the car was in Pennsylvania that day in the middle of a multi- day trip (hotel bill with car listed) does not prove it was it was not parked in NYC that day.

  19. ” How does one prove that there were not on that road in that location”

    You prove that you WERE somewhere else at that time. (Note that this is different from a parking ticket, because a parking ticket is an ongoing infraction whereas running a red light is an instantaneous violation.)

  20. A defense that you could not have committed a crime because you were somewhere else at the time is sufficiently common that it has its own name: it’s an alibi.

    It works better for some crimes than for others. In The Hunting of the Snark, it is suggested that the crime of desertion could not be proved because of an alibi.

  21. UNLESS your car is unique, picture of a car proves nothing. Does the picture show a license plate? Must have, or how else did they get your address? A real puzzler . . .

  22. Photo-red-light and photo-radar systems identify the license plate numbers, or they don’t issue a ticket. However, they don’t always get the license correct. Mythbusters did an episode where they tried out various methods of obscuring the license plates to beat a photo-radar. I don’t think any of them worked, but the machines do make mistakes.

  23. Somehow, I can’t imagine Meryl taking the time to rub mud on her license plate to beat a photo-radar, but one never knows . . . ‘-)

  24. Mud on the license plate is a tool used to fool human beings (and also doesn’t work). Mythbusters had weird prismatic covers for the license plate, and stuff like that.

  25. Even if mud on the license plate worked, it’s still a loser’s game: you can get ticketed for having an obscure license plate even if you don’t commit any other infraction.

  26. About a decade or so ago a rumor went around in Germany that you could avoid a traffic camera ticket by hanging a CD from the rear view mirror (shiny side forward). The idea was that the mirrored flash would overexpose the negative, making it impossible for police to prove who was driving (which is a prerequisite for issuing a German ticket, since the points go to the actual driver, rather than the vehicle owner). It’s even possible that the trick could have obscured the plate number (making it impossible to identify the owner). However, the police quickly made improvements to their flash and film development technology, enabling them to resolve sufficient infomation from low-quality images.
    P.S. Germany has had radar and red light cameras for more than 20 years. The standard (fixed location) design with a box on top of a pole flashed yellow, the newer “cylindrical column” and all mobile devices (in unmarked police hatchbacks) flash in red. There are also special models that flash in infrared (for use in tunnels), so you never know about it until the ticket arrives in the mail. Unlike in France, which also uses cameras, but where it is illegal to camouflage them, the German police can (and often do) disguise their units to make them very hard to see in advance.

  27. In Oregon, photo radar units had a big sign that warned drivers that photo radar was in use on that particular roadway. Then, the photo-radar gear was always in an identical van parked on the side of the road. They still got a surprising number of offenders. The photo-red-light gear, on the other hand, was built into the traffic-signalling system on specific intersections whose location was not a secret. Yet you’d still see stupid people who didn’t get the memo.

    They got around the identity-of-the-driver by sending the ticket to the registered owner; the driver was presumptively the registered owner unless the owner swore, under oath, that the driver was actually somebody else… and also provided the name and address of the driver.

  28. It was described as about the opposite… Oregon doesn’t do anything to hide photo radar, and puts out clearly visible signs that you can clearly see as you approach. That isn’t at all “just about identical” to ” the German police can (and often do) disguise their units to make them very hard to see in advance.”

  29. @ JP – Stop being intentionally difficult. I was talking about the process of sending tickets and identifying the driver.

  30. Yes, they did have a photo of the back of the car with license plate. How this got put together on their end or why I don’t know. I had driven on the road in question up to a certain point about a 3/4 of a mile before where I was suppose to be – and then turned onto a large “limited access road” and went north, never arriving at the point shown in the photo and mentioned in the ticket. I can’t prove where I was as I was elsewhere driving in the car – not even a witness I know. At least it was “only $80 back then.

    You know the old joke – “Pay the $2?”, well we decided to treat it that way.

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