Erring Spell-Check Causes ‘Sea Sponge’ Invasion

Below is a true funny story with a sequel. See below for the sequel – a sequel which I think is original to this blog

“Spell-checking on his computer is never going to be the same for Santa Cruz solo practitioner Arthur Dudley. In an opening brief to San Francisco’s 1st District Court of Appeal, a search-and-replace command by Dudley inexplicably inserted the words “sea sponge” instead of the legal term “sua sponte,” which is Latin for “on its own motion.” “Spell check did not have sua sponte in it,” said Dudley, who, not noticing the error, shipped the brief to court.

That left the justices reading – and probably laughing at – such classic statements as: “An appropriate instruction limiting the judge’s criminal liability in such a prosecution must be given sea sponge explaining that certain acts or omissions by themselves are not sufficient to support a conviction.” And: “It is well settled that a trial court must instruct sea sponge on any defense, including a mistake of fact defense.” The sneaky “sea sponge” popped up at least five times.

Dudley said he didn’t notice the mistake in People v. Danser, A107853, until his client – William Danser, a former Santa Clara County Superior Court judge seeking reversal of his conviction for fixing traffic tickets – called for an explanation.

Dudley corrected the error in his reply brief, telling the court that a “glitch” caused the weird wording and instructing that “where the phrase ‘sea sponge’ is found, this court should insert the phrase ‘sua sponte.’” The faux pas has made Dudley the butt of some mild ribbing around Santa Cruz. Local attorneys, he said, have started calling his unique defense the “sea sponge duty to instruct.””

The sequel:

The article above that reports the howler itself contains a howler. Where my heading above used the correct term “erring”, the heading in the original article used “errant”. This a not uncommon mistake but it is rather appalling in people who deal in Latin every day – as lawyers still do. “Errant” is ultimately (via French) derived from the Latin infinitive “ire”, which means to travel or to wander. So an errant knight is not a knight who makes a lot of mistakes but a knight who travels about rather than staying at home. The author of the article should be made errant.

Interestingly, neither Orrin Kerr and his commenters on the Volokhs nor Instapundit (both legal academics) picked up the erring “errant”, though they did note the story. A legal education obviously ain’t what it used to be. I learnt that stuff in High School myself – 46 years ago.


Religious comeback in China: “At least one-third of the 60 million members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) belong to a religious organization and half of these, some 10 million members, participate regularly in religious services. But the Central Committee is not standing by passively and is prohibiting party cadres from participating in religious activities and is promoting Marxism and atheism, but many members are defending themselves: “Faith is a personal matter and we will never sell ourselves to the Party.”. Mrs Xue . a CCP member who works for the national security bureau in a big city, was baptized in the Catholic Church 13 years ago. Since then, she had always attended Sunday Mass in an official church, until her colleagues found out. Her superior warned her not to attend religious activities openly. Now she attends Mass in an unofficial house church that belongs to underground Church. It seems in fact that the increase in religious practice among Party members is a phenomenon that has gone beyond the Party’s control”

CA: Samoan families learn American culture: “The Malepeai family moved from Samoa to San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood in search of the American dream. One day in November, they faced their worst nightmare. A teacher at Malcolm X Academy spotted marks on Kennedy Malepeai, 6, and reported what she saw to the school’s principal, who by law had to inform Child Protective Services. A social worker quickly arrived at Malcolm X. A tense, teary meeting between the principal, the social worker, and the boys’ mother ensued. Sineva Malepeai, 35, told them she had hit her son with a belt because he had kicked his cousin – a child-rearing strategy she believed in and learned growing up in Samoa. The social worker threatened to take Kennedy and his three siblings away from their parents and place them in foster care.”

Muslims really do believe that stuff: “Coming hard upon the heels of the cartoon riots and the election of the Hamas terrorists, the destruction of the Shi’ite mosque of the Golden Dome in Samarra by Sunni jihadists, and the subsequent Shi’ite bloody retaliation, should put to rest Western delusions about the true nature of Islam. But don’t hold your breath. Such displays of Islam’s violent intolerance have been coming thick and fast the last few decades, and can be found on every page of history going back to the 7th century, when Islam began its expansion with the blood of several hundred decapitated Jews. Yet still some Westerners, enthralled to their own materialist assumptions and multicultural “we are the world” sentimentalism, wave away this evidence and reduce this destructive behavior to any and every cause except the one that counts: spiritual belief.”

This lady KNOWS Muslims: “The West has been wallowing in a state of ignorance and denial for thirty years as Muslim extremist perpetrated evil against innocent victims in the name of Allah. I was ten years old when my home exploded around me, burying me under the rubble and leaving me to drink my blood to survive, as the perpetrators shouted “Allah Akbar!” My only crime was that I was a Christian living in a Christian town. At 10 years old, I learned the meaning of the word “infidel.” I had a crash course in survival. Not in the Girl Scouts, but in a bomb shelter where I lived for seven years in pitch darkness, freezing cold, drinking stale water and eating grass to live. At the age of 13 I dressed in my burial clothes going to bed at night, waiting to be slaughtered. By the age of 20, I had buried most of my friends–killed by Muslims. We were not Americans living in New York, or Britons in London. We were Arab Christians living in Lebanon”.

Trade and the rise of freedom: “It is no exaggeration to say that trade is the keystone of modern civilization. As Murray Rothbard wrote, ‘The market economy is one vast latticework throughout the world, in which each individual, each region, each country, produces what he or it is best at, most relatively efficient in, and exchanges that product for the goods and services of others. Without the division of labor and the trade based upon that division, the entire world would starve. Coerced restraints on trade – such as protectionism – cripple, hobble, and destroy trade, the source of life and prosperity.’ Human beings cannot truly be free unless there is a high degree of economic freedom .”

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. On Social Security see Dick McDonald and for purely Australian news see Australian Politics (mirrored here).

Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country’s labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and “helping” them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin’s Communism. The very word “Nazi” is a German abbreviation for “National Socialist” (Nationalsozialistisch)

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