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Opening Arguments

Author: Opening Arguments Media LLC

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Opening Arguments is a law show that helps you make sense of the news! Comedian Thomas Smith brings on legal analysts to help you understand not only current events, but also deeper legal concepts and areas!
The typical schedule will be M-W-F with Monday being a deep-dive, Wednesday being Thomas Takes the Bar Exam and patron shoutouts, and Friday being a rapid response to legal issues in the news!
919 Episodes
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April 15th marks two significant events in US history: the 11th anniversary of Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev's bombing of the Boston Marathon, and the first day of jury selection in  the first criminal trial of a former US President. These two very different situations both share one important legal question: how do you select a jury from a city full of people who not only know a defendant by name but have good reasons to despise them? Boston residents Matt and Casey share their own memories of the day that changed their city forever before breaking down the trial of surviving bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev and ensuing appeals of his death sentence to the 1st Circuit and Supreme Court. We examine why the U.S. publicly announced that it would not be reading Tsarnaev his Miranda rights, and debate whether or not the defense should have been allowed to introduce evidence during the penalty phase that Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have participated in a triple homicide two years earlier to prove his influence over his younger brother. What can Clarence Thomas's decision reinstating Tsarnaev's death sentence tell us about how Trump trial judges might handle jury selection? And what might be next following the 1st Circuit's recent findings on juror bias? 1) U.S. v. Tsarnaev indictment  2) Middlesex District Attorney's report on Watertown PD's shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers 3) 1st Circuit's decision vacating Dzhokar Tsarnaev's death sentence (7/31/2020) 4) Supreme Court decision reinstating Tsarnaev's death sentence  (3/5/2022) 5) Most recent 1st Circuit decision ordering further hearing on juror bias (3/21/2024)   If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Episode 1022 Courts in Arizona and Florida have both ended abortion rights in very different (but both terrible) ways this month. Did Arizona actually resurrect a 160-year law passed decades before it was even a state? And how weird can it get when you go full originalist on a law that is younger than most people in Florida? Before we get there, Matt opens by sharing his experience with the OJ Simpson trial at the age of 14 and how it shaped his understanding of US criminal law. We then make sure to pay appropriate respects to the violent domestic abuser who (do we even have to say "allegedly" anymore?) brutally murdered Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994. Also, two different countries have committed extreme and unprecedented violations of international law involving embassies in the past week. How does the Vienna Convention protect diplomatic posts, and what actually happens when these international agreements are broken? The first of the Trump trials will finally begin in New York in one business day! How does jury selection even work in a case where everyone on the planet has an opinion about the defendant? 1) Planned Parenthood v Florida (4/1/24) 2) In Re: TW, 551 So. 2d 1186 (1989) 3) Planned Parenthood of AZ v. Mayes (4/9/24) 3) The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) 4) Judge Merchan's letter to the parties in NY v. Trump outlining jury selection process If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
As usual, we've got last week's answers and this week's questions! Some fun and tricky ones... If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Hey folks, due to an annoying technical glitch, I'm just re-releasing this episode. This was some weird backend problem with our hosting. The file looks completely fine everywhere that I can see, but internet goblins decide otherwise, I guess. Sorry for the trouble and I'll make sure this won't happen again! OA10121 On March 26, 2024 a container ship the size of the Eiffel Tower named for the world's most famous surrealist destroyed a bridge named after the author of the U.S. national anthem yards from one of the most notable sites of our country's least popular war. Who was Francis Scott Key anyway, and why has the man who gave the world the phrase "land of the free and the home of the brave" gotten a total pass for writing the world's worst national anthem while owning people and prosecuting abolitionists? We then honor the memories of the six Latino immigrants who lost their lives in this disaster by taking a closer look at the contributions of both undocumented and "lightly documented" workers to the U.S. economy, including the massive boost of more than $7 trillion that the Congressional Budget Office has predicted the so-called "border crisis" will bring in the coming years. But what about the most recent Republican "solution" to give the world's whitest and wealthiest a chance at the American Dream? Would Thomas be able to immigrate to the U.S. under Sen. Tom Cotton's RAISE Act? We end with a short cruise through maritime law and examine why the owners of the Dali are seeking protection under the same 209-year-old maritime law which was used to severely limit the liability of everyone responsible for the Titanic. 1. "Francis Scott Key Opposed 'Land of the Free,'" Jefferson Morley (2012) 2. Baltimore bridge collapse victims: New info on who they were – NBC4 Washington (3/28/24) 3. Baltimore Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Key Bridge Emergency Response Fund  4. RAISE Act point system infographic  5. 20 Years Later, Undocumented Immigrants Who Aided 9/11 Recovery & Cleanup Efforts Demand Recognition | Democracy Now! (9/15/2021) 6. Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. v. Mellor :: 233 U.S. 718 (1914) (U.S. Supreme Court's application of the 1851 Limitation of Liability Act to the Titanic disaster) 7. Petition for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability filed in federal court by the owners of the Dali (4/1/24) If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
OA10121 On March 26, 2024 a container ship the size of the Eiffel Tower named for the world's most famous surrealist destroyed a bridge named after the author of the U.S. national anthem yards from one of the most notable sites of our country's least popular war. Who was Francis Scott Key anyway, and why has the man who gave the world the phrase "land of the free and the home of the brave" gotten a total pass for writing the world's worst national anthem while owning people and prosecuting abolitionists? We then honor the memories of the six Latino immigrants who lost their lives in this disaster by taking a closer look at the contributions of both undocumented and "lightly documented" workers to the U.S. economy, including the massive boost of more than $7 trillion that the Congressional Budget Office has predicted the so-called "border crisis" will bring in the coming years. But what about the most recent Republican "solution" to give the world's whitest and wealthiest a chance at the American Dream? Would Thomas be able to immigrate to the U.S. under Sen. Tom Cotton's RAISE Act? We end with a short cruise through maritime law and examine why the owners of the Dali are seeking protection under the same 209-year-old maritime law which was used to severely limit the liability of everyone responsible for the Titanic. 1. "Francis Scott Key Opposed 'Land of the Free,'" Jefferson Morley (2012) 2. Baltimore bridge collapse victims: New info on who they were – NBC4 Washington (3/28/24) 3. Baltimore Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Key Bridge Emergency Response Fund  4. RAISE Act point system infographic  5. 20 Years Later, Undocumented Immigrants Who Aided 9/11 Recovery & Cleanup Efforts Demand Recognition | Democracy Now! (9/15/2021) 6. Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. v. Mellor :: 233 U.S. 718 (1914) (U.S. Supreme Court's application of the 1851 Limitation of Liability Act to the Titanic disaster) 7. Petition for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability filed in federal court by the owners of the Dali (4/1/24) If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Episode 1020! It's time for a round of Trump updates, starting in Florida with the responses to Judge Aileen Cannon's weird request that the parties try making up new law that she could try out on a jury if this case ever finally makes it to one. Is Jack Smith's response to this nonsense everything we'd wanted? And what happens when you actually try to sit down read anything that the Trump defense team has filed as if it were a serious legal document? We then turn to recent legal developments in New York, where a subprime auto lender has totally failed to post Trump's bond and Judge Merchan finally had to get around to putting in writing that the world's most famous criminal defendant isn't allowed to go after his family. 1. Trump's response to Judge Cannon's order 2. Jack Smith's response to Judge Cannon's order 3. 18 USC Sec 793 (Espionage Act) 4. Presidential Records Act 5. Trump's opposition to motion to clarify gag order 6. Judge Marchan's order expanding gag order 7. Judge MacAfee's denial of motion to dismiss Fulton County charges on 1st Amendment grounds If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Can you believe it, it's T3BE8! You know the drill, we answer last week's questions, honor two winners, and then ask two more questions! But Matt has a new bar exam book, and it's going to be quite fun, if these questions are any indicator. Deviously hard, needlessly complex, extremely silly... it has it all! If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Most criminal defendants can't kill 346 people and expect to get off with a light fine and three years of probation, but most criminal defendants are not The Boeing Company. In today's show, we examine the differences between different kinds of pretrial diversion agreements and why the best ones are reserved for ultra-wealthy defendants like Boeing and Jeffrey Epstein. We then take a closer look at the DOJ's routine use of deferred prosecution agreements to help our nation's most valued citizens (corporations) avoid the unpleasant inconvenience of facing actual consequences of their actions (killing people), with a special focus on the NPA which recently resolved Boeing's recent deadly fraud involving its 737 MAX. 1. Boeing Deferred Prosecution Agreement (1/7/2021) 2. "Nosedive: Boeing and the Corruption of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement," Prof. John C. Coffee (6/6/2022) 3. "Why Boeing pilot Forkner was acquitted in the 737 MAX prosecution,"| The Seattle Times (3/25/22) 4. "Blowing the Door Off Boeing’s ‘Epstein Deal’" - The American Prospect (2/9/24) 5. Fifth Circuit order dated 12/15/23 from In re Ryan et al confirming that courts have no authority to review a DPA and that families will have to wait to oppose any future motion to dismiss If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Episode 1018 - GOOD NEWS EPISODE! It's positive vibes only as we celebrate the impending disbarment of MAGA law toadies John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark, the first but-actually-for-real-this-time Trump trial date, and some extremely real threats to your favorite President's sacred First Amendment rights to lie to the public and terrorize the families of court personnel. In more good news, the Supreme Court couldn't seem to find an actual excuse to ban medical abortions this week--or even find anyone who could even claim to have been in the same ZIP code as someone harmed by mifepristone--so we take a good look for ourselves and don't find too much to worry about.  One more bit of good news: Matt wants to give you a job! (Inquire within.)  1. John Eastman's two-page proposal to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election 2. Judge Yvette Roland's full 126-page decision to the CA Supreme Court recommending John Eastman's disbarment (March 27, 2024) 3. Judge Merchan's gag order (3/26/24) 4. Trump's motion to dismiss GA charges on 1st Amendment grounds (12/23/2024) 5. Transcript of oral arguments in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (March 26, 2024)  6. Federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk's  mifepristone ruling (April 7, 2023) 7. Application of Comstock Act to Drugs That Can Be Used for Abortion (USPS General Counsel)(12/23/2022) 8) 18 U.S. Code § 1461 - Mailing obscene or crime-inciting matter (Comstock Act)   If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
It's week 7, and it's a Next Generation of test. Make it so! Oh also, we're still dogged by controversy, #T3BEgate2.5 but we've got a fall guy and it's Matt. Question 12 was a repeat and Matt is to blame and accepts the inevitable public shaming. But 13 was new! And, now we've got an entirely new kind of test! If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Episode 1017 He had a plea agreement with the government which he thought would get him 8-14 months. He ended up with 5 years. What happened? Also, was this Democrats' version of January 6th Casey joins this week to help to answer an OA patron's question about the plea agreement reached in the prosecution of former IRS contractor Charles Littlejohn for leaking records of Donald Trump, Rick Scott, Elon Musk, and a tragically high number of other innocent and blameless billionaires who are simply far too important to have to pay their taxes. We then review the unique role of plea bargaining in U.S. law and exactly how these agreements are reached and play out in court. Did you know that approximately 98% of all federal criminal charges are resolved in a way which is portrayed in approximately 0% of law-related movies and TV show?  1. "The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax," Propublica (6/8/2021) 2. "How These Ultrawealthy Politicians Avoided Paying Taxes,"  Propublica (11/4/2021) 3. "Trump’s Taxes Show Chronic Losses and Years of Income Tax Avoidance," NYT (9/27/2020) 4. "Most criminal cases end in plea bargains, new study finds," NPR (2/22/2023) 5. Boykin v. Alabama :: 395 U.S. 238 (1969) 6. Padilla v. Kentucky :: 559 U.S. 356 (2010)   If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Who is Aileen Cannon? Why is Aileen Cannon? We answer these important questions and many more in this brief review of the incomprehensible jurisprudence of the best federal judge in Fort Pierce, Florida. 1. Aileen Cannon's Senate Judiciary Committee nomination questionnaire 2. Map of federal Southern District of Florida  3. Democratic questioning at Aileen Cannon's group confirmation hearing 4. Judge Cannon's Order on Plaintiff's Motion for Judicial Oversight and Additional Relief (9/5/22) 5. 11th Circuit's reversal of Cannon's 9/5/22 order re: 100 classified documents (9/21/22) 6. 11th Circuit's reversal of Cannon's equitable jurisdiction ruling (12/1/22) 7. Jack Smith's Motion for Reconsideration & Stay (2/8/24) 8. Government's Opposition to Motion for Additional Time to File Certain Motions (2/8/24) 9. Judge Cannon's order denying Trump's motion to dismiss on vagueness grounds (without prejudice)(3/14/24) 10. Relevant portion of the Espionage Act 11. Judge Cannon's weird order demanding that the parties engage in a fantasy thought experiment about law that doesn't exist (3/18/24)
Massive controversy shakes T3BE to its core. Thomas and Matt respond to the international outcry and media firestorm generated by allegations that T3BE is using repeat questions. After that, we get two TOTALLY DEFINITELY NEW practice bar exam questions. Topics are appealing to SCOTUS re State constution vs. US constitution, and also the gender wage gap when it comes to bank robbery. If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Episode 1015 Part 2 of Azul's story Folks... I implore you. I beg of you, please listen to this one all the way through. Azul tells us the rest of her story, and talks about where she is now, and it is one of if not the most inspiring, heartwarming things I have ever had the privilege of publishing. Seriously. And please share it. Another massive thanks to Azul, and to Matt, who we are so incredibly lucky to have on the show. If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Emergency Bonus Pod! - Fani Willis and the Odor of Mendacity   Judge MacAfee has issued a ruling on the Fani Willis disqualification motion. Get the OA breakdown with a full analysis and plenty of opinion and context.   If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Episode 1014 We begin by pouring a Tequila Sunrise out for the charges against three memorabilia collectors charged with stealing old Eagles lyrics, in which the unexpected airing of 6,000 pages of Don Henley's dirty laundry had Manhattan prosecutors realizing last week that they truly could check out anytime they liked. Matt then takes us through Fulton County Judge Scott MacAfee's decision to dismiss 6 of the 41 pending counts against Trump and his goons. Can Trump still be prosecuted for his "perfect phone call" to GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger? And what does a guy have to do to solicit someone to violate an oath around here, anyway? We then turn some much-needed light on to Texas's most recent attempt to enforce federal immigration law before finishing up with some good immigration news out of--also Texas?   1. Order on Defendants' Special Demurrers (J. McAfee, 3/13/24) 2. Georgia Code Sec. 15-4-7 (Criminal Solicitation) 3. Georgia Code Sec. 16-10-1 (Violation of Oath by Public Officer) 4. Fulton County indictment of Trump et al (8/14/2023) 5. Judge David Ezra's decision in U.S. v. TX (2/29/24)(granting injunction against SB4) 6. Arizona v. U.S. (2012)(striking down most of AZ SB1070) 7. Judge Drew Tipton's decision in Texas v. DHS (finding no standing for TX to challenge Biden's CHNV parole program)   If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law!
Thomas Takes the Bar Exam Week 5!   Ok so last week revealed to us that the "hot unbreakable streak" was not, in fact, unbreakable. No one could have seen this coming though, so no use in playing the blame game. Thomas comes into the week 5-2. Will he go to 5-4? Or 7-2? Or perhaps the other possible record? Find out! Then, we get 2 new questions! It's personal injury, and also... personal injury? Maybe? We'll see!   If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law! For the time being, any profit over and above the costs of operating the show, will go towards repair and accountability.
Episode 1013   Today, we get to meet Azul Uribe. Azul lived most of her life in the US as a devout Mormon, doing her best to get by in a sea of Whiteness. She even made jokes at her own expense about being undocumented. That all changed when she was arrested at age 22 under bizarre and very unlucky circumstances. She was put in ICE detention. Treated terribly. Strip searched multiple times. She then found out those jokes... weren't. Despite being a college student, Azul faced deportation from the only home she'd ever known.   Join us as we hear Azul's fascinating and heartbreaking story, in all its raw humanity. And we learn more about our immigration system, and its raw inhumanity.   If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law! For the time being, any profit over and above the costs of operating the show, will go towards repair and accountability.
Episode 1012   Does anyone else feel like the Supreme Court decided a part of the Constitution just doesn't exist anymore? Perhaps you're like Listener Thomas S, who found this decision absolutely nuts. If so, you're in luck, because in this episode of OA, Thomas throws every argument at actual lawyer Matt Cameron for why this decision sucked. How does the actual lawyer feel? Did SCOTUS get it right actually? Find out!   If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law! For the time being, any profit over and above the costs of operating the show, will go towards repair and accountability.
Thomas Takes the Bar Exam Week 4!   Thomas comes into this week on a HOT, some would say, UNBREAKABLE, streak! 5-0. So, naturally, he aced questions 6 and 7, right? You'll find out! After those answers, we get questions 8 and 9, pictured below! What the hell is the firefighters' rule? And are drycleaners interstate commerce?   If you'd like to support the show (and lose the ads!), please pledge at patreon.com/law! For the time being, any profit over and above the costs of operating the show, will go towards repair and accountability.
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Comments (70)

SABrenner

This was fantastic! Thanks for the info and the laughs.

Mar 23rd
Reply

Chak Olate

So is Thomas back in the driver's seat now? Thank goodness! Love you, Thomas!

Feb 26th
Reply

Christoph Pirringer

How about reporting on how you stole access to OA from your partner and how YOU are now getting sued over it. That should be an interesting episode.

Feb 25th
Reply

SABrenner

Do the right thing.

Feb 10th
Reply

Zoe Brown

Blocking this as I don't approve of sexual harassment.

Feb 10th
Reply

Chris H

Andrew you are muddying the waters trying to make it seem like Thomas was the inappropriate one to provide info first. You're also minimizing what he experienced while trying to say you understand and apologize for your harassment of women. I truly expected better of someone who I thought shared the same progressive ideals.

Feb 7th
Reply

Nathan Hood

You say you support your victims but then dismiss the allegations from your co-host. I cannot listen to you anymore, how can anyone use you as a source when you're so hypocritical.

Feb 7th
Reply

Chak Olate

If you are truly sorry, why did you lock Thomas out of OA? You owe him a lot more than you owe us.

Feb 7th
Reply

WildWolf

Um so what did you actually say and do? And yeah so people get treatment when guilty to look less so. And it's odd that Thomas would make an accusation like that.

Feb 7th
Reply

Margaret Megerian

You should hire Dershowtz lol

Feb 7th
Reply

Coffee Bob

I smell Bullshit...

Feb 7th
Reply

WildWolf

What the fuck

Feb 7th
Reply

Rich B

WTF!? just subscribed to Serious Inquiries Only, they've posted 0 since Nov 2022 and they sure as shit ain't posted anything tonight! Thomas, explain yourself. 😡

Feb 6th
Reply (6)

WildWolf

Awesome show when discussing politics. Not much interest though in much of what you discuss. Fireball whiskey?

Jan 24th
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Alyson Rodriguez Orenstein

love how Andrew reads the patron "name" saying they became a patron because the eps keep getting cut off, then Andrew says he thinks that's fixed and then 3 second later the ep cuts off. 😂 #comedy p.s. there's also been a lot of repeated sections lately and when I listen first thing in the morning it always makes me wonder if I'm having a stroke- just for a moment but, no hate, I still enjoy the show and know how complex putting it together is!

Jan 10th
Reply

WildWolf

So when Fauci told people not to wear masks so our healthcare system wouldn't run out, how many died?

Dec 17th
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WildWolf

Just stop using Twitter and stop talking about it.

Dec 17th
Reply

WildWolf

Owning a Tesla should be embarrassing by now.

Dec 16th
Reply (1)

WildWolf

Almost half way through and just too bored to continue on. Find more interesting material.

Dec 14th
Reply

Kristine VanRaalte

Ordered the audible version for me and the hard cover to donate to my library!!

Nov 2nd
Reply
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