In case you haven’t perused my bio, in 2012, I founded an organization called Balanced Scales Legal Services (“BSLS”).  BSLS provides free legal representation to defendants in Protection from Abuse (“PFA”) cases in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Family Division.1PFA cases are technically civil, not criminal.  However, what is at stake in these civil cases can actually be far more substantial than that which one stands to lose in a criminal case based on similar allegations; indeed, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has explicitly recognized PFA cases to be “quasi-criminal” in nature.  See Carlacci v. Mazaleski, 798 A.2d 186 (Pa. 2002) (allowing PFA defendants to have temporary PFA orders entered in their cases automatically expunged if no final PFA order is ultimately entered).  However, because a slew of additional constitutional protections would apply to PFA proceedings if the court had held them to be fully criminal in nature (including, for example, the right to the assistance of counsel for one’s defense), it declined to do so.  As explained on the BSLS website, under “Mission and Philosophy”:

The mission of BSLS is to ensure that defendants in [PFA] cases are provided the same access to free legal representation that plaintiffs have long been afforded in such matters. We believe that, in civil disputes between private parties, it is fundamentally unfair and inappropriate for our courts to guarantee a critically valuable resource such as free legal representation to one side, but not the other. BSLS was founded for the sole purpose of remedying this inequitable and prejudicial policy towards PFA defendants; however, so long as the policy itself remains in existence, it will continue to represent an embarrassing lapse in our collective judgment that undermines the integrity and reputation of our legal process.

Josh MarshallJosh Marshall is the Editor and Publisher of Talking Points Memo (“TPM”), a liberal news website.  He and I have interacted on Twitter before, though only on a handful of occasions, and very briefly.  Recently, however, I replied to one of his tweets2Marshall is on a Twitter List (i.e., a custom timeline) I keep of liberal media figures.:

Marshall then tweeted this:

Really?  Seriously?

Because he didn’t mention my Twitter handle, I wouldn’t have known that he tweeted about me — except that I can see his tweets on the Twitter List that I keep,3See supra note 2. and I just happened to catch it.

First, I let him (and my followers) know that I saw it:

Then I decided to engage him directly:

Go ahead — play stupid, you massive douchebag.

And here’s how I know it was about me:

The only one.  In the nation.  I know this to be accurate.

Good — I’m glad you’ve now conceded that it was about me (which, again, I already knew).  And, just so you know how I roll:

Then, Marshall says this:

Oh, really?  You do?  Because, you know, your attitude seems to completely belie that.

Then he reverts to playing stupid again:

Fine.  Since you seem to need it broken down for you and all…

And once again (for the slow people in the conversation):

About 90 minutes later, Marshall comes back at me with this:

How obnoxious.

Not to mention that, even if BSLS represented men exclusively (which, again, it does not), his implication is that would somehow be a bad thing.

Now, I’m ready to go in for the kill:

Remember that statement?  Here it is again:

And if you support my organization’s mission…

He never responded back — but then again, I’d already wiped the floor with him at this point, so it wasn’t necessary, anyway.

Pretty much.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. PFA cases are technically civil, not criminal.  However, what is at stake in these civil cases can actually be far more substantial than that which one stands to lose in a criminal case based on similar allegations; indeed, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has explicitly recognized PFA cases to be “quasi-criminal” in nature.  See Carlacci v. Mazaleski, 798 A.2d 186 (Pa. 2002) (allowing PFA defendants to have temporary PFA orders entered in their cases automatically expunged if no final PFA order is ultimately entered).  However, because a slew of additional constitutional protections would apply to PFA proceedings if the court had held them to be fully criminal in nature (including, for example, the right to the assistance of counsel for one’s defense), it declined to do so.
2. Marshall is on a Twitter List (i.e., a custom timeline) I keep of liberal media figures.
3. See supra note 2.
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