The Corner

Re: Post Slave Syndrome

From a reader:

As a criminal defense attorney, I occasionally go to trial with a pretty weak case. I have to argue something and I go with my strongest defense. If my best defense is something that may sound very silly, then I will try to convince the jury to accept a theory that sounds silly. If the best I have to work with is Post-Slave Syndrome, or the Twinkie Defense, or Gay Panic Disorder, then my client is probably in trouble. But if my client wants to exercise his right to a trial, then it is my job to find some sort of defense.

Since I live in a conservative area, it is not likely that I will try a Post-Slave Syndrome case. But if I were picking my juries from an area where politicians were ready to blame slavery for most of the ills of society, it might be my best case sometime. In weapons cases, I have certainly tried to push the right political buttons about guys in dark suits trying to take all of our guns away.

It doesn’t tell us much about society that some desperate lawyer pulls a new trick out of his hat. If that trick works, then it is deserving of some attention.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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