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2006-04-19 - 9:39 a.m.

It's over. It's finally over. D. was involved in prolonged litigation with a casino in Vegas where he was illegally detained years ago. They delayed and delayed and delayed again, and finally the trial was held three weeks after Katrina.

Hence this diary entry about the idiot attorney for the bullies who wanted the judge to stop D. from giving his full name and and address in court, which is fairly over-the-top, even if you think the judge is in your pocket.

Most card-counters know the sad story of the older gentleman who was illegally detained in a New Jersey casino, fainted and was refused help by security -- they pretended to believe he was faking, a most convenient thing to pretend to believe -- and so he was awarded over a million dollars by the jury. Well, the casino never paid. They delayed and appealed, and of course the older man died. I do not know if his heirs ever received or if they were even entitled to compensation.

There have been some advances in legal defense of a blackjack player's rights since the nineties, at least in Vegas. When the casino and the individual bully tried to make a big noise that they weren't turning over the money because they were going to appeal, the attorney hired some sort of constable, which might be an off-duty police officer from the sound of it, who marched right into the casino with a court order and collected the cash (six figures of it) from the cage.


Although I'll admit to a few bad moments when the constable was not seen again for a few days. But in any case he did eventually make his way back to the attorney with the cash in hand.

So the casino stomped and huffed and grumbled a little more and said they would appeal anyway. D. and the attorney conferred during my last trip to Vegas, and they then informed the evildoers that, fine, they hoped they would appeal. Because then it would allow D. to appeal the fact that the judge made prejudicial remarks and didn't allow the jury to award punitive damages on top of actual damage.

Apparently, the judge was making remarks like she didn't even understand why this case was in her courtroom. Hello, lady, I'll make it simple for you. The case is in your courtroom because the individuals and business involved do not agree, and as civilized people we settle our disagreements in the courts rather than gunning each other down in the streets like a bad remake of Menace II Society. That's civics 101 stuff.

Sure, they tried non-binding arbitration, and the arbitrator wanted to buy D. off with a thousand bucks. Come on. No bully will stop pushing people around if the only penalty is to pay $1000 bucks, especially if most of it is paid by his employer!

We have a case here where the police failed to do their job when they refused to arrest the bully for assault. (Illegally detaining and restraining people should not become a civil matter because it's committed on the job, any more than stealing should become a civil matter if you pick someone's pockets while on the job.) The judge failed to do her job and maintain an appearance of neutrality. The casino failed to properly train their employee, who was not a minion as it turned out but, believe it or not, their head of security. He'd even written into their procedures manual that they should detain card counters, although Nevada law clearly only gives them the right to detain people who are committing crimes. Oops, idiot. I wonder who he paid off to buy that job.

But, even though almost everyone screwed up down the line, the jury did their job and saw through the smokescreen. I'm amazed. I honestly didn't think he could get a fair jury in a Vegas courtroom. We sort of thought he was doing all this to make a statement and to create a paperwork hassle for the casino to make them rethink their illegal activities.

So we're amazed.

And so it's over. The casino let the clock run out. The good guys didn't just send a message, as usually happens in such cases. He actually got the money.

As a sad footnote, however, if you happen to know who D. is, then he won't be making any splurges to treat himself after all he went through, since he had huge losses from Katrina. So don't hit him up for a loan. But the money went to a good person and a good cause.

High weirdness in City Park: Brown-Crested, Ash-Throated, maybe (but not at all likely) LaSagre's Flycatchers in City Park? The rumor mill is going crazy. Well, I shouldn't call it a rumor. Some very high end birders have video/audio-taped the three species in question. The third species is the regular Great-Crested Flycatcher. Then the Brown-Crested bird was found. Or is it a hybrid? And then the Ash-Throated/Nutting's/LaSagre pair were discovered. Nobody seems to be able to figure out what the heck they are, although Ash-Throated was the first guess. Perhaps they will hang around and breed. All very whack for a park that has had most of its birding habitat destroyed by Katrina.

In the News: Welly, welly, well. Karl Rove has announced that he is suffering from exhaustion and will be retiring from his duties as leader of the formerly free world to focus on what he does best -- smearing Vietnam veterans as cowards with drug addict wives and black babies. That isn't quite how he phrased it, of course. He said he was backing away from directing foreign policy to focus on the 2006 election. But it's what he meant.

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