Nasty, Brutish & Short

Law Archives

Will Smith appeals to original intent to get us to rally 'round Obama

June 23, 2008 04:59 PM

No seriously, he really did.  Here he is being interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today show (which after this interview they should just go ahead and rename "Dumb and Dumber"):

LAUER: Do you think people can't get behind America led by John McCain?

SMITH: You know I just, there, there are, there are certain ideas that I believe Barack stands for that are fundamental that the forefathers of this country wrote down on paper that we're all supposed to pay attention to, we're not supposed to ignore it and do what we want to do 'cause we have different ideas. And I believe just at his core the, that those ideas just they, they just come of his pores. And I'm, I'm excited to support him.

Yep, that's it.  Obama will put us back on the Founder's Path!  He's just oozing James Madison.  Out of his pores!  Was that flop sweat?  No, it was the Federalist No. 10.

Meanwhile, over at Politico we learn how wonderful Obama was.  As editor of the Harvard Law Review.  This headline made me snort at its ridiculousness:

Obama Kept Law Review Balanced

The sub-head:

Mostly liberal publication ran progressive pieces alongside ones from a Reagan official and a right-wing judge.

Another snort.  What are we supposed to think, that his administration will be a conservative happy land because he published an article written by a Reagan official and right wing judge?  Is the point that Obama was sooooo brave for printing articles by conservative scholars?

The pretentiousness (and the utter untruth) of this passage made me snort a third time:

In Obama's time, as it is today, the Harvard Law Review was one of the most important and distinguished legal publications in the world. Founded in 1887, it is the rare self-supporting legal publication compiled and edited completely by students, typically those attending their second or third year at the prestigious school.

The Harvard Law Review is not even a remotely important legal publication.  No law review is.  Lawyers rarely, if ever, read law review articles.  And if you cite to one in a brief it is highly suspect.  Judges frown on it.  It's kind of like, "What else have you got?  Any actual case law?"  Why cite to some professor's personal or political agenda?  That's what they all are. 

Also, pretty much every law review I am aware of is "compiled and edited completely by students."  That does not make them great, it just makes them possible.  They're basically just vehicles academics use to advance their careers by "getting published," courtesy of indentured servants working for a future pay off (a highly profitable line for their resumes). 

And yes, I have that line on my resume.  What did we run articles on during my law review days?  I don't know, and I don't care.  You just suck it up and work on them.  No one pays the slightest bit of attention to what they are actually about.  In law school, you don't have time to care, and I'm sure Obama didn't.

But lets not let these facts get in the way of talking about how Obama was such a great law review editor.  He let two conservatives get articles past his desk.  Nobless oblige!

More socialized medicine horror stories from our friends up north

May 14, 2008 02:29 PM

This time from The Kraalspace, where Dr. Mabuse's 18 year-old daughter is having chronic seizures:

We finally got in to see our GP, after 2 weeks' wait. A week later, Emma went to the General Hospital and had an EEG - it was the middle of the day, not a time when she usually has a problem, so it didn't show up anything too unusual. Except when they started flashing the lights at her - when they got up to 16 pulses per second, her brainwaves started going haywire, so they stopped at that point and didn't do the last 3 levels (I think they can go up to 64 pulses per second).

About 2 weeks later, we finally got the referral to a neurologist at the Civic Hospital. Are you ready for this? The appointment is for August 18. April 4, when she had her big seizure, to August 18 - that's 4.5 months, for an 18-year old girl who is having chronic seizures.

Dr. Mabuse says:

I dream about getting rich, I'm sure many people do. But I never think, "If I had lots of money, I could buy a giant plasma TV and have a computer in every room of the house, and take vacations on a private island in the Caribbean." All I think is, "I'd get my kids the hell out of this dingy backwater, and down the U.S. where they have a decent medical system, and you don't die waiting for a doctor to look at a lump in your breast."

I should point out that Dr. Mabuse lives in Canada's capital city, which hardly needs to be a "dingy backwater," but because of the stupidity of socialism, apparently it is.  Meanwhile, down here in our supposedly "broken" American health care system, I have been shallowly dreaming of plasma tvs and Caribbean vacations.  Even worse, I've been complaining that our private insurer is making us pay the annual deductible for both Mrs. NBS and Baby NBS for the exciting, expensive birth.  I guess they are two people, but I felt the charges ($500 x 2) were outrageous, because it kind of felt like it was "one event" and not two.  But at least no one ended up dead, and when we wanted to stay an extra night, they said no problem.  And they covered the balance of the bill--which was well in excess of $15,000--without batting an eye.

Canada puts it all in perspective though, doesn't it?

Meet Beach Bob

May 12, 2008 04:08 PM

Maybe the lower taxes still don't make Florida worth it?  Meet Beach Bob, retired court reporter.  Current occupation: Plaintiff.  He's suing the Lee County Sherrif's Office.  The Naples News has the background:

Beach Bob likes to sunbathe in a Speedo.

Nearly every cloudless morning for more than 10 years, he’s wheeled his tattered lounger down to the same spot, which he says is due west of where the boardwalk opens onto the sand at Bonita Beach, and sets up camp for the day.

And so his retirement was going. Sun-drenched, uneventful. Until one day a Lee County Sheriff’s deputy stopped by and wrote him a warning for trespassing.

The reason?

“Exposed scrotum,” the notice read. “Never return to Bonita Beach Main Access.”

Beach Bob wasn't going to take that lying down!

He hired a lawyer, studied maps of the Collier-Lee county line, trotted some of the other beach regulars up to Fort Myers to testify on his behalf. They reported the patch of sand he claims every day is in fact south of the Lee border, so Deputy William Dunaske had no business patrolling there anyway.

They said [he] never rolls in the sides of his Speedo like the deputy alleged.

He got the trespassing warning dismissed.  And now he's brought a civil rights claim (he now suffers from insomnia because of the stress).  Here's what would keep me up at night:  Getting subpoened to testify about whether Beach Bob rolls in the sides of his speedo.  Would that be how you'd want to spend your golden years?  You sure you want to move to Florida?

Speaking of golden, here's a picture of Beach Bob:

Work it Beach Bob.  Work it.  If the speedo fits you must aquits!

If you're assuming this is a case of first impression you'd be wrong.  A few years ago our own Miami University up in Oxford was sued by an employee after he was told he could no longer wear a speedo to swim at the university gym.  People got to have their rights!

HT:  Above the Law.

Big lib implicated in prostitution sting...

April 2, 2008 04:14 PM

Stabenow's husband caught in Troy prostitution sting, police report says

Jennifer Chambers / The Detroit News

TROY -- The co-founder and former CEO of the liberal-progressive Democracy Radio and husband of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow was caught in February by a Troy police sting aimed at catching prostitutes, according to a police report.

Thomas L. Athans was stopped Feb. 26 by undercover officers investigating a possible prostitution ring in a room at the Residence Inn near Big Beaver and Interstate 75. Athans paid a 20-year-old prostitute $150 for sex in a Troy hotel but was not arrested, according to police reports obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The Detroit News. The police report said officers observed Athans enter a room under surveillance and leave 15 minutes later. Detectives followed and stopped Athans' silver 2002 Cadillac DeVille on Interstate 75 near Square Lake Road.

I do so love that he was arrested in a town called Big Beaver.  That's almost as embarrassing as the report that he left "15 minutes later."  You know they put that part in on purpose. 

And he drives a 2002 Cadillac DeVille.  How typical.  Wonder what he looks like?

Yep, he's pretty much as you would have guessed.

Mike Allen has a PR guy touting his expertise on politicians who get in sex scandals

March 11, 2008 03:41 PM

What a thing to be an expert in.  You'd think he'd try to get people to forget.  So to throw yourself out there as an expert?  Weird.  And so from the Enquirer, we get this: "Allen Feels Sad for Spitzer,"

“I felt a sense of sadness for Gov. Spitzer and his family,” Allen said today. “My heart went out to him and his family.”

Allen volunteered to speak to The Enquirer after a local public relations firm called the newspaper to pitch Allen as an expert on the Spitzer story.

That part was not supposed to make it into print, Enquirer.  Which I'm sure they knew, and did anyway.  It's too funny not to note as aside.

The lede is amusing too:

When New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer went before cameras Monday to apologize for his alleged involvement in a prostitution scandal that could end his political career, Mike Allen knew how he felt.

“To be honest, when I saw (Spitzer’s apology) yesterday, I was the first one I thought of," Allen said.

Still singing in one note: Me me me me me.  Isn't the deep-rooted self-absorption what got him in trouble in the first place?

[For the non-locals: Four years ago, Mike Allen was our County Prosecutor and local GOP chairman, who was sued for sexual harassment by an Assistant Prosecutor (who seemed a little nutty herself) who Allen was having an affair with.  It was a big local disaster, because Allen was up for re-election himself and running the local Bush-Cheney re-election effort.  Oh to have had a blog then!]

Is the Secretary of State taking on the "Limbaugh Effect"?

March 6, 2008 02:29 PM

And if so, to what ends?

From the Enquirer's Politics Extra:

Brunner's staff has begun to call counties to find out how many crossover voters there were and how many 10x forms were filled out by pollworkers if someone switches parties within two years.

"Once we start to gather the figures of what rate of crossover was, then we can start to dig into . . .what some of the motivations were."

Why is she digging into what some of the motivations were?  How is that an appropriate area of concern?

And what about this?

She does plan to ask counties for statistics and details on voters who signed forms attesting that they switched political parties.

Gathering statistics doesn't concern me.  Gathering "details on voters" does. 

Is she going to also look at the McCain Effect from 2000?  That was when Democrats in Ohio voted for McCain in the Republican primary to slow down George W. Bush.

I say what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  And I think you're playing with fire when you start looking at voter's "motivations."

For the first time, I walked in to the polls not knowing who I was going to vote for.

March 4, 2008 09:07 AM

The temptation to cross party lines and vote for Hillary was very, very strong.  Having her continue to battle it out with Obama is very good for the cause.  But in the end, I couldn't do it.  The woman in front of me did, though.  And I know a lot of people who were considering it.  When you switch parties, you have to complete a form that says you swear "to uphold the principles of the Democratic party."  Well that wouldn't be too hard--since they have no principles. 

How's that for an obvious joke?

Anyway... I placed my protest vote for Mitt Romney.  Not that it will matter in the end.  My protest vote in the 2000 primary didn't matter either.

I did get to vote in all the down ticket Republican races.  For Congress, I voted for Jean Schmidt.  Over at WMD, they've pretty much summarized my thoughts on that race, so I won't repeat it all here.  The only other contested race was Pat DeWine v. Kathy King for Judge.  I voted for Pat, since he's pro-life, and Kathy is not.  For most of the other judicial races, I refrained from voting for the party's endorsed candidates.  Most of the people they put up are total chuckleheads--though it was a nice reminder of how glad I am that I litigate almost entirely in federal courts these days. 

And of course, I voted against the Cincinnati public school levy and the zoo levy.  The only way I'd get behind either of those two organizations would be if they switched missions.  Let the zoo put the CPS students behind bars, and let the schools educate the animals.  We'd end up with a safer community and a more intelligent workforce.

I'm kidding of course.  Well, slightly kidding.

Sign of the Times: I have been invited to a CLE that focuses on "strategies to obtain or deny insurance coverage related to global warming claims."

February 19, 2008 02:39 PM

So now, apparently, companies are going to look to their insurer when they get sued for supposedly causing global warming:

Speaking of religion...

January 16, 2008 11:33 PM

Here we have the deposition testimony of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, being questioned under oath by attorneys for the 11 churches in Virginia who chose to decamp for more hospitable climes last year--and who were promptly sued by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and the national Episcopal Church, at the instruction of the deponent you see before you. In this clip, the Presiding Bishop is being asked about the Dar es Salaam Communique, which was the document in which the leaders of the Anglican Communion ordered the Episcopal Church into a form of ecclesiastical bankruptcy receivership. And in particular, here the Presiding Bishop is being asked about this language from the Communique (which she assented to, before she returned to the U.S. and promptly rejected it): We are deeply concerned that so great has been the estrangement between some of the faithful and The Episcopal Church that this has led to recrimination, hostility and even to disputes in the civil courts.

The reason this is important is because in the Virginia litigation, the 11 parishes have a strong upper hand if they can show that there was a division in the Church, because Virginia state law comes down in favor of local congregations retaining ownership of their property if there has been a "division". So she doesn't want to admit to the language that she agreed to, because "estrangement" strongly suggests division. Which as anyone can see, there clearly has been. But she doesn't want to admit it. And, she doesn't want to admit that she agreed with what she said, at the time she said it:

It's a study in evasive dishonesty. My kudos go out to the lawyer for the parishes, who kept pressing. It is very typical for deponents to give a long winded response when they don't want to answer the question before them, and it is really, really hard to remember the exact question that was asked, and make sure you ask it again exactly the same way. Here the attorney keeps pushing. There's a minute there when I thought "uh oh, they're about to let her get away with it." But he brought it back home. And got the answer he wanted. Remember, she had agreed with the statement that they are asking her about--and told everyone present, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the other Anglican primates that she agreed with the statement. And here, she admits that she did not agree with what she agreed to in Dar es Salaam. It's rather astounding to be able to confront a clerical witness with a "so were you lying then, or are you lying now?" kind of question. I mean really, was she lying to the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the other Anglican primates? Or is she lying now, under oath in civil litigation in the United States. It's one or the other. Lying then, or lying now?

It reminds me of my first trial, where I got to ask the "so were you lying then, or are you lying now" question to great effect, and much to the appreciation of the reporter from the Dayton Daily News, who was bored to tears. During the next break, the witness who I had been questioning resigned from his position as C.E.O. for the opposing party.

Would that Presiding Bishop Schori have the integrity to do the same.

More video exerpts from the Presiding Bishop's deposition are available here. She looks more and more dishonest in each one.

Mike Huckabee. Jesus. H. Christ.

From a speech in Warren, Michigan on Monday night:

"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards."

It's rare that I take an immediate visceral dislike to someone the way I have with Huckabee.  And I have stepped back on occasion the past few weeks to ask myself if I am being unreasonable.  And you know what?  It's been quite satisfying to see that my initial reaction was totally justified.  We do not need a Republican nominee who makes Constitutionalists look like fools and Christians look like idiots.  As a person who is both, I just do not see why we would vote to let him scandalize our names.  My God, what an embarrassment he is.

New baby fears

January 5, 2008 11:49 PM

So in addition to the "Please God, Don't Let Her Be a Democrat" thing, have I also mentioned that I live in fear that I'm going to be the next Brenda Nessleroad-Slaby?  It's true.  I think it's one of the reasons I was so easy on Brenda Nessleroad-Slaby this summer, after she left her baby to roast in a hot car while she went in to work.  I knew we'd be bringing home a baby, and I knew I could see myself being so absent minded.

In fact, I had a law professor once who began class once in a very rattled manner, and then explained it was because he had been outside his normal routine that morning, and was supposed to drop the kids of at school.  But instead, he went in completely the wrong direction, and didn't realize it until he was parking at the law school, and from the back seat he heard "Dad!!! You were supposed to take us to school!!!!"  It's a good thing they spoke up, or he probably would have left them in there.

I could totally see that happening to me.

So anyway, as we've been looking for a baby friendly new car, I've paid particular attention to the mirrors you get (on some SUVs, they are built-in) that show the back seat.  I've been very focused on things you can get to help you remember not to roast your child.  Turkey timers, I gather, would be considered child abuse.  And there's a big debate about mirrors, because if you're in an accident, they could fall off and konk (or even slice) they baby.  So it's all very complicated, and also a big conspiracy to get you to spend money on some supposedly fool-proof thing. 

But, the good news is, I've come up with what I think it just about the best PSA spot ever, for local radio when it get hot this summer:

Don't Slaby Your Baby.

Classy, isn't it!  700WLW would totally run it, anyway.  Can't you imagine it on billboards all over the tri-state?

Housing Prices: Blaming Republicans, the rich, etc, on the way down...

December 28, 2007 09:08 AM

...just like on the way up.  Mickey Kaus reminds us of the benefit to the housing "crisis":

Are you impressed with a drop in home values of 6.6% over a year? It doesn't seem like such a big correction, given the dramatic run-up in prices over the last decade or so. ... And don't declining prices make housing more... what's the word? ... affordable?** ... This evening NBC Nightly News billboarded a "housing CRISIS." (Link available here.) I thought a "housing crisis" was when people couldn't find housing, not when it got cheaper. (NBC's expert: "It's very, very difficult to find any silver lining." No it's not.) ...

He's absolutely right.  Chez NBS has been on the market since October 1, and hasn't sold yet.  But when it does sell, we'll be able to take advantage of a huge drop in prices on houses that are bigger, nicer, and in better neighborhoods than what we first thought we could afford.  It has been quite enjoyable to see houses that were once outside of our price range fall within it.   

And Mickey reminds us of who got all the blame when housing prices shot up so high in the first place:

During the runup in housing prices the air was filled with complaints from the left that the rich were bidding up the value of housing, which was becoming unaffordable for ordinary Americans whose wages were rising only slowly, etc.. Now that this process is unwinding, much of this affordability problem is presumably being corrected.

Right again.  Mrs. NBS and I are constantly astounded when we watch those HGTV "Flip that House" type of shows, and they profile some complete dump in California that lists for $650,000 while still in an unrenovated crack-house-infested-with-feral-cats condition.  How can anyone afford to live out there?  Especially the working class?  How can they possibly save up for a decent down payment?

Now that prices on the coasts are falling so dramatically, maybe people who are just starting out in life will be able to put more than 5% down, and thus won't lose all of their equity during a price slump?  And I do feel sorry for the people who are losing their homes, don't get me wrong.  But why didn't they know that if you can't put 20% down, you can't afford the house?  That's been the rule of thumb for decades. 

How'd that enormous flat screen get in my slum?

December 26, 2007 02:48 PM

Meet Sharon Jasper.  She lives in Section 8 housing in New Orleans.  She is not happy with her lot in life:

A HANO voucher covers her rent on a unit in an old Faubourg St. John home, but she said she faced several hundred dollars in deposit charges and now faces a steep utility bill.

"I'm tired of the slum landlords, and I'm tired of the slum houses," she said.

Pointing across the street to an encampment of homeless people at Duncan Plaza, Jasper said, "I might do better out here with one of these tents."

Get that?  She might do better in a homeless encampment. 

Now meet Sharon Jasper's tv:


Sharon says:  "I might be poor but I don't like to live poor.  I thank God for a place to live but it's pitiful what people give you."

Sharon, I give you 28% of my income every April 15.  The only thing that's pitiful is that I don't have a 60 inch flat screen tv, and you're a welfare queen and you do.  Where are my housing vouchers?  Where's my flat screen tv?  I don't like to live poor, either.  It's pitiful what people give you.  I'm still waiting for some stranger to come along and give me my flat screen tv.  Where the hell is my new flat screen tv?

HT: Nixguy. 

UPDATE: Oh my God, she's even worse than I thought.

Why it is very important to be honest with your attorneys...

December 21, 2007 01:06 PM

Here we have Jamie Lynn Spears' attorneys, threatening to sue the National Enquirer for reporting a few months ago that Ms. Spears is pregnant:

 “Ms. Spears is a devout Christian with a spotless reputation, who lives in accordance with the highest moral and ethical standards in accordance with her faith.

There is no “rumor” concerning Ms. Spears’ (non-existent) pregnancy, except perhaps for the baseless “rumor” just now being created by the National Enquirer.

Ms. Spears is not pregnant. It is pathetic for the National Enquirer to attempt to create a wholly baseless “rumor” that Ms. Spears is pregnant, so it can run a malicious story and false story which would be emotionally devastating to a morally upright 16 year old girl.”

Which lead the National Enquirer to leak the Spears threat letter to Perez Hilton, who published it with unhesitant glee.  Hilarious.

And from the "why didn't another loved one step in and stop this" file...

December 12, 2007 11:13 AM

...we have this obituary from Sunday's New Orleans Times-Picayune, which was "composed, written, and submitted by [the decedent's grieving widow]. All thoughts, opinions and declarations in it are ENTIRELY hers and do not reflect input from any other persons, LIVING OR DEAD:"

EVANICK Robert Bruce Evanick (always known as Bruce to those who loved him - and those who employed him and exploited his work ethic) -- died Tuesday afternoon, December 4th, 2007. A massive heart attack killed him - despite the heroic efforts of many physicians, surgeons and nurses - in a waiting area at Ochsner Hospital. He was not an inpatient there. He was there to provide company and comfort to Brenda, his wife, whom he loved and supported, in all ways, for 32 years. Her heart is broken. He died a horrendous death, on the floor of the waiting room, at Brenda's feet. To her, he was the most kind, most gentle, and most generous person she has ever known. His death should be a warning to all those who believe that they are being used by insensitive employers. He deserved better, both in life and death. Bruce had been seduced into a sedentary and high stress life style after he moved to New Orleans by the promise of "big money" from a corporate defense law firm. Essentially, his succumbing to that seduction and his devotion to duty caused his death. Of the many shareholders in the firm for which he labored, only one took the personal initiative to call Brenda to offer her personal condolences.

Oh my.  But enough about his job, tell us about his personal life!

Several colleagues believe that Brenda and Bruce were divorced. This is not true. They lived apart for several years but were in friendly communication, especially enjoying Sunday breakfasts together....

And his passions!  What were his passions?!?

Bruce was brilliantly intelligent, with an impressive knowledge of the law and many other disciplines. Bruce's encyclopedic knowledge of sterling silver -- including the most rare and sought after makers and patterns - put him far above the average collectors. He also knew textiles intimately, including old and new quilts, embroideries from ancient to modern, laces, silks, and all forms of the highest quality handwork in fabric and thread. His appreciation of textiles included loving the custom made shirts that Brenda designed and constructed for him....

Talking about how much the decedent appreciated your own talents.  Not good for an obituary.  And why bring up the endanged Rothschilds Mynah birds?  Or the bromeliads?  The goldfish pond?  The what you say?  Well, here:

While residing in York, PA, Bruce was very much involved in the care of a large collection of exotic birds that he and Brenda collected and kept and propagated. They received permission from the federal government to keep and attempt to propagate the crucially endangered Rothschilds Mynahs. Bruce and Brenda succeeded in raising four Rothschilds (Bali) Mynahs, hand-feeding them from the day they hatched in an incubator. They also raised hundreds of rare and delicate finches and softbilled birds and exhibited them all across the USA. They won many awards, including "Exhibitor of the Year" and "Outstanding Grassroots Activist" awards for supporting the captive breeding programs for rare and endangered species. They expanded that loving care into founding and operating a wild bird rescue agency that treated and released native wild birds that had been orphaned or injured. They released many hundreds of them back to the wild. That organization still flourishes and serves today in the care of dear friends of Bruce and Brenda. While still in Pennsylvania, Bruce became a successful gardener. He expanded that knowledge and skill in Louisiana. With Brenda he amassed a collection of rare orchids, ferns, ivies and bromeliads that comprise a lush garden at their Algiers Point home. Bruce had a fabulous goldfish pond built for Brenda as a birthday gift and it still sparkles and gurgles in their garden. Bruce's death leaves a huge void in the world. It is truly a sin and a shame that only one of his fellow shareholders were moved to personally console his widow.

I think, what she's trying to say is, is that only one of his fellow shareholders called her after he died, and that she would have appreciated it if more had done so.  So what's she going to do about it?

He loved her to his last breath and would have been deeply saddened by their cold attitude. Bruce is survived by two siblings from whom he was estranged. [ed. an estrangement which, I am sure, the author of the obit played no role in, whatsoever]. The firm will be holding a Memorial Service in their office sometime on Monday, December 10, 2007. It is not known if they would welcome people from outside the firm and the firms prestigious client list. Brenda will not attend.

But it would have been quite interesting, if she had.   

She wraps it all up with a little too much information:

Bruce has been cremated and his remains will be placed in an exquisite wooden box which he loved and will remain with his grieving widow.

Emphasis added (not that it was needed).  HT: Above the Law

If you want to know what lawyers really talk about these days...

December 7, 2007 10:29 AM

...and really, why wouldn't you?  It's all about the green, and how we don't make enough of it.  Because of the damn investment bankers!  From the American Lawyer:

Time was, lawyers were near the top of the heap. Investment bankers and other finance types have long eclipsed them, but the difference used to be one of degree. Then came private equity investors and hedge-funders, and lawyers nose-dived on the socioeconomic ladder. "Face it, we have no status," says an Am Law 100 partner of the pecking order at his sons' private school. "We go to these school functions, and this well-heeled group looks right through you. They won't give you the time of day. You're just one step ahead of the doorman."

Me no like the sound of that!  Or this tale of woe:

And what about those poor schleps making a mere $600,000 or so-the average profit per partner of The Am Law 200? Should they head for the outer boroughs, the suburbs, or Cleveland?

No!  Not Cleveland

The situation is causing a lot of strife:

It's enough to make otherwise sensible lawyers resent their clients. "You have these young people making $5 million a year," sputters one 60-something partner. What's worse, he adds, "they are inexperienced and have to be led by lawyers."

Deep down (or is it right on the surface?), lawyers feel they are smarter than the average Wall Street Joe they service. "Some seem not to have that much education," sniffs one lawyer. "Why am I doing all the thinking when I'm making a quarter of what they make?"

Fortunately, we don't really have investment bankers in Cincinnati.  But we do have plenty of resentment.  The lawyers think all the doctors make too much money, and the doctors think the lawyers are making all the money prosecuting or defending their malpractice cases, when it's really the insurance companies raking in all the doctor's dough from their hefty premiums.  And everybody's jealous of the people with successful business start-ups.  As for the trust-funders (except for some notable exceptions), their funds are drying up, and the professionals want to suck what they can off of them, before they wise up and realize they can't live like they used to.

HT: Above the Law

Did you know that if you break American law and are overseas, the feds believe they can just come kidnap you?

December 4, 2007 08:15 PM

Even if you're not an American citizen.  I had no idea.  From FoxNews:

A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the Supreme Court has sanctioned it.

The admission will alarm the British business community after the case of the so-called NatWest Three, bankers who were extradited to America on fraud charges. More than a dozen other British executives, including senior managers at British Airways and BAE Systems, are under investigation by U.S. authorities and could face criminal charges in America.

Until now it was commonly assumed that U.S. law permitted kidnapping only in the “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects.

It dates back aways, folks, so don't blame Bush for some imaginary crack down on civil rights:

The American government has for the first time made it clear in a British court that the law applies to anyone, British or otherwise, suspected of a crime by Washington.  Legal experts confirmed this weekend that America viewed extradition as just one way of getting foreign suspects back to face trial. Rendition, or kidnapping, dates back to 19th-century bounty hunting and Washington believes it is still legitimate.

Wonderful news.  We can kidnap criminals from overseas and bring them here, but we can't won't send back the criminals who have come here just by walking over the boarder.  Lovely.

HT: The Llamas

Armed Robbery for Tuition...

December 3, 2007 04:37 PM

...uh, since when do you need $130,000 for tuition at UC and the University of Toledo?

Can we agree now to shoot the first person who writes the Enquirer to say this shows how higher ed costs too much?  Because someone will, you know.

Yes, NBS is liveblogging the CNN Youtube Debate!

November 28, 2007 08:56 PM

Out comes The Coop.  He’s apparently the moderator.

The Chair of the Florida Republican Party is going to introduce people.   Oh no, his eyes are set to close together.

No wait, it’s going to be the Governor of Florida who introduces the candidates. Charlie Crist.  He’s absurdly tan.  Melanoma city!  Looks suspiciously like Anderson Cooper.

What’s next?

Photos.  Boring.  CNN’s talking heads are talking.  More boring than the photos!  Sub story of the night: Is CNN going to remotely pretend like they have their candidate on that stage?  Or not even bother?

So while they’re doing that… what do I think of the premise of this?  Asinine questions from the public?  I think it could be fun, and let the candidates show some personality.  Thank God we are past the days of having that boring PBS guy moderate the debates.  Who cares about him!   I want to see the snowman!

The first question: a gi-tar player from Washington.  Okay, he’s too long on the riff.

Fred Thompson—wrinkly.  Is that what the country needs right now?  McCain pretends to be entertained.  Awww they actually have the guitar player in the audience.  He’s embarrassed.  As he should be.

The first real question to Giuliani: sanctuary cities in NYC.  He supported it!  Giuliani says no, it wasn’t.  We sent them back if they committed crimes.  Oh wait, there were exceptions.  The kids got to go to school, and they have emergency care.  And they could report crimes.  Whoop dee dee.  He then talks about what he will do with illegals.  Too many ideas, too little time to type.

Romney: Yes it was a sanctuary city!  Mitt looks good.  Hair looks a tad dark though.  She didn’t get the mix right! 

Back to the G man: Mitt has the worst record.  He had a sanctuary mansion at his own home!  Illegals in Mitts own home.  Oh please, who cares.  Good help is hard to come by.

Mitt: you know better than that.  No illegals in my mansion!  They were illegals hired by my contractors.  I’m with Mitt on this one.  That does not a sanctuary mansion make.

G: Holier than though attitude from Mitt!  Again, an unfair attack.

Is anyone else running but Mitt and Rudy?  The Coop says we’ve got to run.  But Mitt and Rudy ARE the front runners, you know.

Next question: People want to come here LEGALLY.  But the Senate wants amnesty.  Will you veto any amnesty bill?  Thompson says he will.  Good for him.  Totally with him on legal immigration, I know someone from Peru who would make a great citizen, and she’s about go home because her visa’s done.  If she just flew to Mexico and walked in, she’d be fine.

Fred also wants us to know that Romney supported the Bush immigration bill.  And then he goes after Rudy, too.  We’ve all hired people and it’s been a bad decision.

Hey, what’s he saying, that Republicans have lots of house hold help?  Where’s my household help?  Roberto, martini.  STAT!

McCain: we never proposed amnesty.  That’s basically a lie.  Boo!  He says we need people to pick the cotton (in not so few words).  We have learned the people want the borders enforced.  Why did they have to learn that?

Immigrants are God’s children too, he says.   Implies that people who oppose illegal immigration are racist.  So double boo to McCain!

Next up: More on immigration.  We can’t run our business without our guest workers.  Oh what crap, questioners.  Pay your employees more, and raise your prices. Why should you get labor on the cheap?

Tancredo: Says what I just said.  But was nicer. 

Hunter: He built the border fence in San Diego!  But, not himself, it would appear.  Crime went down 53%. 

Going to get Henry a frosty paws while these non-tier people are talking.

Huckabee: I never gave favors to illegals as Governor of Arkansas!

Is this whole debate about immigration?  If Republicans want to win next fall, the debate will be then.  People are hot about this.

Romney: Huckabee reminds me of a liberal in Massachusetts.  Hits him on the taxpayer issue.  Huckabee is weak on that.  No favorable tax treatment for illegals. 

Huckabee: I had to pay my own way through.  I might have needed government support or I’d be picking lettuce.  Boo hiss!  He just lost me.

Romney: no tax funded benefits to illegal kids is better than what others get.  That’s the issue.

Next question: For Ron Paul: your supporters are conspiracy freaks!

Ron Paul:  Oh my God, he does talk about the Trilateral Commission.  There is a move for a North American Union.  It’s a conspiracy of ideas.  Whack.  Job.  Millions of acres in imminent domain taken for a highway to Mexico!  I’m with him on not liking the U.N.  But I think the other candidates are too.

Next question: the economy.  A co-ed wants to know about trillions spent on national debt.  Oh please.  This is not a concern of hers.

McCain: Republicans have forgotten about spending and greatly expanded government.  He’s right about that.  But what was he doing to stop it?  He saved us $2 mill on a bogus deal.  Big deal!

Romney: Every bill with pork must be vetoed.  And there must be fundamental change.  Go after the entitlements.  So I like Romney at this point.  But I’m not believing he’s going to veto every bill with pork in it.

Rudy: across the board cuts at every agency, like Reagan did.  That sounds great!  Bush should do this now.  Yes he should!

Next question: limited government by reducing federal spending was what we used to believe.  What programs would you cut?

Fred: lots of ‘em.  But he doesn’t name a single one.  Reform Social Security and Medicare need reform.  But oh no, we’re not going to cut them.  Re-index the way benefits are calculated.  Not revolutionary enough.  By far.

Ron Paul: Washington didn’t change me.  He’s certainly right about that.  Cut Department of Education, Energy, Homeland Defense and foreign aid.  Amen.

Huckabee: Get rid of the IRS.  He claims he’s serious about this.  Revamp Homeland Security, it’s a mess. 

Question for McCain: Eliminate the federal income tax for a retail sales tax?  McCain says no.  Look carefully at it.  We need a commission, and do what we do with base closings.  Oh great.  That’s a wonderful way to de-politicize it.  Also: Paul’s brand of isolationism is what caused WWII.  Right about that.  Also, the troops don’t like you, Ron.

Paul: Why do I get the most $ from active duty personnel?  McCain doesn’t understand the difference between isolationism and non-intervention.  I believe in non-intervention.  I guess I don’t see much of a difference in that either.

Question: A no new tax pledge? Oh the question was from Grover Norquist.  I met him during my Human Events days.

Everyone signs on to the pledge but Thompson and McCain.  Paul has NEVER voted for a tax increase.  Impressive.

Question from a rude guy eating corn.  Why should we have farm subsidies?  A question for Iowans!  But I have to say, the Iowans are ridiculously greedy on this.  No farm subsidies!  Romney’s on the wrong side of this.  He wants to win in Iowa.  Boo.  Rudy agrees.  Boo, again.

Question for Rudy: he used expense accounts improperly as Mayor.  True or not?  Rudy: I had threats; I had nothing to do with the handling of security records.

All the campaigns have submitted videos.  They better be good.

Tancredo’s is bad.  He speaks poorly in his own video, with weird clips of Hillary.

Question: There is lead in our toys from China.  And we adopted a baby from China!  The kind of question I hate.  The one where the questioner is totally self-absorbed.

Tancredo: we need a new trade arrangement with China.

Hunter: China is cheating on trade, to buy planes and missiles.  Tells us to buy American.  I hate that line of thought too.   Make a competitive product and I’ll buy it. 

Fred’s vid: attacks the others as not conservative.  It’s a piss poor video, though.

Romney: I WAS WRONG ON ABORTION.  I was WRONG.  I changed my mind as Governor.  The first time it came to my desk, I came down on the side of life.  I am proud to be pro-life.  Satisfies me.

Huckabee:  I did too oppose taxes.  I am a fiscal conservative.

Finally, a break!

And we’re back.  Barely enough time to let Henry out and pour a glass of petite sirah.

I did miss some.  They’re talking about guns.  I would certainly hope they are all in agreement about this.  If not, they’re toast.

Question, tell us about your gun collection?  The Coop thinks the questioner is a freak.

Thompson: I have a lot of guns.  Won’t tell us where, though.  Witty, but sounds like a dodge

McCain, I know how to use one.  I don’t own one.  Weird.  But, if I had been tortured, maybe I wouldn’t keep guns around either.  Special dispensation on this for the previously tortured.

Booo.  Romney doesn’t own guns either.  It’s just McCain and Rudy who don’t

Next question: Black on black crime. 

Romney: We need moms and dads.  He’s right, there’s been a total collapse of the family structure in the African American community.  Cites Bill Cosby.  Civil rights issue of our time is the failure of inner city schools.  Great point.  Wish he’d followed up with school vouchers. 

Rudy: Romney has a mixed record on crime.  Rudy is on the attack.  Rudy says he has a strong record on crime.  True.  He took NYC from a very dangerous city to a very safe city. 

Romney gives him credit for that.  Says I was not a mayor, I was a governor.  Again, I agree with him on this.  Crime is a local issue.  Not a state issue, and certainly not a national way.  Say no to a nationalized criminal code!

Question on abortion: What if it becomes illegal?  Sweet cheeks, it’s not going to become illegal.  It would be a states issue and the public would get to decide through the political process.  You have nothing to fear.  Paul understands this.

Thompson: Overturning Roe should be our No. 1 focus right now, and that pertains to judicial appointments.  Amen.  But I just don’t believe this would be his No. 1 priority.

Question: another question on Roe.  He says what would you do if Roe is reversed, and Congress imposes a federal ban, would you sign? 

Rudy says no, leave it to the states.  He’s right.

Romney: Overturn Roe.  I would be delighted to sign such a bill if it were the consensus.  But we are not there as a country.  Leave it to the states.

Question: the death penalty: what would Jesus do?  A good question!

Huckabee:  I’ve done it as Governor, the others haven’t.  He took it very serious and sincerely, it seems.  There is a place for the death penalty, he says.

He avoids the theological question about where Jesus would be on the death penalty.

Coop asks the question again.

Huckabee: Jesus was too smart for to ever run for public office.  Good response.  I wouldn’t answer that question either.

Question: Do you believe every word of the Bible.  Specifically.  Weird questioner.  An attack on Romney’s Mormonism?

Rudy gives an intelligent, thoughtful response, and seems to have a sound theological understanding.

Romney: The Bible is the word of God.  I believe in the world of God.  I may interpret differently.  He’s off his footing here.

Huckabee: It is the word of revelation to us from God himself.  Quotes a few of the greatest hits.  Let’s work on Love Your Neighbor first.  No one is ever going to understand all of it.

Romney’s vid.  Hits on the big conservative points.  Looks professional.  Good spot.  But not a typical youtube video.

Break and we’re back.

Rudy’s video: Funny.  Youtube like.  Best one of the night!

Question: a Muslim lady from Alabama.  What would you do to repair the image of America in the Muslim world?  Please, this chick is not a Republican primary voter.

Rudy: Be tough on terror.  He refused to get sucked in by the premise of the question.  Excellent, excellent response.

McCain: Continue the surge.  Reconstruct Iraq.  Fight the Democrats on a date for withdrawal.  Criticizes Rumsfeld’s strategy.  But we’d be worse off under the Democrats’ strategy, though, he says.

Question: Waterboarding.  Do you support it?

Romney: The President should not limit our interrogation tactics.  Does not seem to have a big problem with it.  Interrogate terrorists.

McCain: He’s totally opposed to waterboarding and torture.  I know his background on this, and I know he was tortured.  But still.  I just don’t have a problem with torturing terrorists.  He’s very passionate about this.

Romney: I am not in favor of torture, but I am not going to pick what is and is not torture.  I will let the counter terrorism experts make that decision. 

McCain: They you have to advocate that we withdrawal from the Geneva Conventions.  And why, really, shouldn’t we?  We’re basically the only ones who honor it.  McCain, still very opposed to torture.  Life is not “24” he says.  But maybe if it were, we wouldn’t have to strip search grandmothers at airports.

Question: We should stay in Iraq long-term.  Who supports that idea?  Thompson: don’t stay forever, but for as long as it takes. 

Paul: Give them their country back.  The surge hasn’t worked.  They’re ready to be the next Vietnam.  He’s pretty ignorant, if you ask me.

McCain: we never lost a battle in Vietnam; American public opinion lost that war.  Terrorists want Iraq to be a base to attack the U.S.

He gets booed.  He’s totally right, though.  Why don’t want people want to hear the truth about this?

Paul: It is irrelevant that we never lost one battle in Vietnam.  The only reason they hate us is because we have bases in the Mideast.  So clueless!

Screams and boos for him, now.

Tancredo: We are living in a world where we are threatened by radical Islam.

Question for Rudy: You’re using 9/11 to propel yourself into the White House.  True?  Rudy: Look at my whole record.  And then he goes on.  And on. 

God, this is a long debate.  This may be the last NBS live blog, ever. 

Next: Stupid question about Vice President Cheney.  Why are people so paranoid about Dick Cheney?  The only thing wrong with Dick Cheney is he’s not running for president.  Anyway, the question:  How much authority will you give your VP?

Thompson: VP needs to be ready to assume the office, if necessary.  Brings up judges again.  Why is he bringing this up so much?  It just seems so insincere. 

McCain: Bush had to rely on Cheney’s foreign policy expertise, because that was Cheney’s area and we were at war.  I would not have to do that.

Hunter’s vid: It’s another commercial.  And it looks cheap.  Looks like he’s running for Congress, not President. 

Another break.  Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, and go to Playhouse in the Park to see Scrooge!

Question: A gay veteran wants to know what the problem is with gays in the military.

Tancredo: Blows the answer.  Young enlistees are conservative Christians, and it would be unfair to them.

Huckabee: Conduct could put at risk morale, and cohesion.

Romney: The Coop points out a Romney flip flop on this.  Romney: This is not a time to change don’t ask, don’t tell.  Let the military decide this issue.  Romney kind of flubs this.

The veteran says he didn’t get an answer.  But he did!  He just didn’t get the answer that he wanted.  The Coop gives the veteran a long leash to go on and on about gays in the military.  Gee, I wonder why?

McCain:  Thanks for your service, but all the military people I talk to say don’t ask, don’t tell is working.

Next: Should gay Republicans support you?

Huckabee: Gives a funny answer.  Hey, I’ll take their support.  But I won’t change my mind on same sex marriage.  Perfect response.  Respectful.  Kind.  Firm.

Next up?  Boring question about social security from a young person.  Start saving now, young person,” is just about the only honest answer.  Let’s see if we get it.

Thompson’s response is so boring I miss it.

Romney: We can’t follow Hillary to the left, but follow the path Reagan blazed.  He certainly knows the talking points, doesn’t he?

Question: We need a man on mars!   What are you going to do for NASA?

Huckabee: Expand the space program.  And let’s put Hillary on the first rocket to mars.

Tancredo: No spending on crap like that!  Excellent response.  We can’t afford to go to mars!

Question: African Americans hold conservative views, but vote for Democrats.  Why don’t we vote for you?   I love this question.  The Republican Party’s failure to make this case is one of the tragedies of our time. 

Rudy: School choice, welfare reform.  We can be popular in African American Community.

Huckabee: African Americans vote for me.  I asked for their vote.  He then says he spends money on hypertension and diabetes, and they afflict African Americans more.  Again with the spending!

And on the opposite extreme: Do you support Confederate flags?

Romney:  With all the issues we face?  No.

Thompson: Not everyone with a confederate flag is racist.  But there is not a place for it in the public arena. 

Paul’s video: Very populist.  Very isolationist.  Not bad as a matter of form.

Question: We need new infrastructure, and it’s going to be expensive.  Let me guess?  Huckabee will pay for it.

Rudy: We need a sustained program and long term planning.

Paul: We are taxed to blow up bridges overseas and our own bridges are falling down. 

McCain: I will veto all pork. 

Rudy: Blows it by saying he opposed the line item veto and (apparently?) took Clinton to court on this.

Question: Will you run as an independent, Ron Paul, if you don’t get the nomination?  He says no!  I think. 

Last question.  THANK GOD.  For Rudy: You are a life long Yankees fan, but still supported the Sox in the post-season.  Rudy says he is an American League fan.  Boo hiss!  He almost ends on a weak note, but then has a good joke about how many times the Yankees won the World Series when he was Mayor. 

Romney:  My family hates the Yankees.  He wasn't going to win New York anyway. 

And that’s it.  Romney’s got my vote. 

More substantive thoughts later.  I'm taking Henry outside.

UPDATE: I accidentally deleted several comments.  I get several thousand spam ones a day, so sometimes accidents happen.  Sorry!

And now, the latest in our series: "Things you do not tell the judge."

November 10, 2007 07:29 AM

"You are not a pop star with a number one album, so you don't know."

--Britney Spears' lawyer, Anne Kiley, explaining to the Court why Britney missed 8 of 14 phone calls demanding she report for court-ordered drug testing.

HT: Althouse

God, I promised I'd blog something today

November 7, 2007 06:59 PM

And now it's late, I'm still at work (love the new job but it is a LOT more work).  If I get out of here any time soon, maybe I'll be able to get home, relax (i.e. have an adult beverage) and get something tantalizingly witty up.

In the meantime, I am waiting for a colleague to finish red-lining an Answer to a very, very lengthy Complaint we are responding to.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.

Hey, how about some local politics?  Every single city council candidate that I voted for lost, except Chris Monzel.  It continues to amaze me that some people think conservative Republicans run this town when there is only one of nine on City Council.  Oh well.  We're leaving for the suburbs soon anyway.  I hear out there the streets are paved with gold, they don't have any taxes, and the schools are all fantastic.  We shall see.

Maybe I'll do one of those walk by the door to his office things.  Hold on a sec.

Nope, he's still typing away.  Did I mention he wanted to get started on his review, so he instisted on working on a draft of mine that I was still working on?  So now someone is going to have to reconcile the edits, and I'm betting it will be me.  The secretaries are long gone.   

Here's something else that will amuse the legal eagles out there... Guess what an opposing counsel said to me yesterday?  That Judge "X" is crazy, unpredicable and we should forum shop away from him.  His exact quote?  "You know the type.  Bush appointee.  Federalist Society.  Goes to Prayer Breakfasts.  All that crap.  We'll take a remand to state court if you will." 

Uh, no thanks on that offer, pal.  I'm thinking Judge X and I are going to get along just fine.

Yes, I've been out of town in "training" for the new job. No, it was not anything like this.

October 23, 2007 11:40 PM

An even worse thing to say to a judge than "well, that's your opinion."

October 20, 2007 02:52 PM

"I'm not a morning person."  Especially not good when that's your defense to child abuse charges.

HT: Althouse

Too much information, left on the printer tray

October 17, 2007 02:48 PM

It's an email from a paralegal to the receptionist, announcing that she's leaving early today to go to an urgent care center.  She has a urinary tract infection, and her regular doctor can't see her until tomorrow!

Why would you email that to a colleague, and then leave a copy of it on the printer?

Is there some confusion out there about what "original document" means?

It means the original.  As in the one with the person's actual signature.  Not a copy.  Not a fax.  Not one scanned in and emailed to me as a PDF.  The original.

Oh and if you're the one executing it, sign it in blue ink.  Never black.  Do you really want people licking their fingers and trying to smear your signature to find out if they are holding the original or a copy?  Always use blue ink on business or legal correspondence.

Class dismissed. 

"Well that's your opinion!" One thing you never--ever--say to a Judge. Especially not the fiesty Judge Milian of the People's Court

October 16, 2007 11:56 AM

HT: Above the Law

Wow, 4:30 and the whistle just blew at the law firm salt mines

October 9, 2007 03:31 PM

Yabadabadoo!!!  What, you didn't hear it?  I know they're early today.  By several hours.  But I heard it, and I'm outta here.  More utterly non-work related blogging tomorrow!

UPDATE: Departure delayed by bitchy remarks from senior female partner: "I. Hope. You enjoy [name of new firm]," said with dripping condecension.  "Goooood luuuuh-uuuck."  Totally designed to make me think I'm making a huge mistake.  Why not go with the full on "No one ever leaves a star!" Norma Desmond routine from Sunset Boulevard?  I mean really.  My response, with total faux chipperness "Thanks!  Opportunity knocks!!!"  Totally designed to make her think I think there are no opportunities here.  Which there aren't. 

Now I'm leaving after briefing the paralegals on said bitchy comments from said partner.  They weren't surprised! 

Because having a baby and putting the house on the market just aren't enough changes...

October 5, 2007 10:27 AM

...this morning I quit my job.  After five years in my current job, I'm switching to a different law firm, where the pay is a lot better and hopefully some other things will be different.

Here's how the news is going over with my colleagues:

The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter

At least they haven't escorted me out, though.  Yet.  I think they're still in shock.

Day 4: Is Steve Black Black?

September 21, 2007 09:25 AM

So it's been four days since the Dean of Cincinnati and Nate Livingston from the Cincinnati Black Blog debated whether Congressional Candidate Steve Black actually is black.  And guess what?  Nate still can't figure it out.  He writes:

It really doesn't matter, but I'd like to know if Steve Black, the guy being challenged by Victoria Wulsin in the Democratic primary for Congress, is white or Black?

If it doesn't matter, why does someone who runs the Cincinnati Black Blog need to know?  Should we answer Nate's question, readers?  I'm thinking we shouldn't.  You know.  Since it doesn't matter.

UPDATE: The Dean still can't figure it out either.  Too funny.

First they came for the Methodists, but I did not say anything, because I was not a Methodist

September 19, 2007 07:42 PM

So I'm paraphrasing Pastor Niemoeller, and posting something here.  From the Garden State we have this news: The State of New Jersey has revoked a church camp's tax except status because they refused to allow a same sex civil union ceremony to take place at a pavilion on the premises:

The pavilion, said Scott Hoffman, the camp's chief administrative officer to LifeSiteNews, "is a facility we have used exclusively for our camp meeting mission and worship celebrations since 1869."

Until recently the camp held tax-exempt status on its entire boardwalk property under a New Jersey program that gives tax-breaks to organizations that open up their property to the general public....

"It is clear that the pavilion is not open to all persons on an equal basis," DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson, wrote to the camp on Monday, in announcing the DEP's decision to revoke the camp's tax-exempt status.

"When people hear the words 'open space,' we want them to think not just of open air and land, but that it is open to all people," Jackson continued. "And when the public subsidizes it with tax breaks, it goes with the expectation that it is not going to be parsed out, whether it be by activity or any particular beliefs."

And if you're thinking that New Jersey's same logic would allow them to tax almost every other Church in the State, you'd be right.  Very, very alarming.

Image:Martin Niemoeller.jpg

HT: Stand Firm

Still MORE on Brenda Nesselroad-Slaby

September 9, 2007 09:56 AM

Kudos to Dan Horn and the Enquirer for writing a story about the Brenda Nesselroad-Slaby case that actually explains the legal issues involved.  Newspapers rarely look at these matters in depth, and it's definitely unusual to see the popular press analyze mental states and what they mean under criminal law.  Oh sure, Dan doesn't throw out the Latin, so I will:

Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea.

It means "the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind is also guilty."  There are different mens rea (i.e. mental states) and culpability is based on whether the offending party possessed the mental state that comports with a particular crime.  In the Nesselroad-Slaby case, the necessary mental state is recklessness, and to prove that, you need to show that the offending party perversely disregarded a known risk.  That is different than forgetting something.  As the Prosecutor explained:

"Here's my challenge to anyone who thinks she should have been charged: Do you believe she left her child in there on purpose?" White said. "That's what I have to believe as prosecutor to charge her. That's what the law is."

The law he's referring to is child endangering, which in Ohio requires a parent or guardian to act recklessly by disregarding a substantial risk.

To many, there is little doubt the mother was reckless. But the legal definition of reckless requires proof the mother perversely disregarded a known risk.

"When people hear the word reckless, they say, 'Well, certainly this person was reckless,' " Piper said. "But the legal definition of reckless is way, way higher than the definition we use every day."

White decided the evidence supported Nesselroad-Slaby's claim she forgot her child was in the car. Once he made that decision, criminal charges were out of the question.

If the mother forgot, White said, she could not have disregarded a risk because she didn't know the child was there.

That is why this is completely different than cases where someone leaves a baby in the car while running errands.  In those cases, they haven't forgotten the baby.  They're just leaving it the car, and assuming (wrongly) that nothing is going to happen to it.  When someone does that, they are perversely disregarding a known risk, and they can be charged with child endangering.

One other quick legal point: The purpose of criminal law is two-fold.  It is designed to punish the offending party, and to deter future conduct (either the offending party's future conduct, or someone else's).  In this case, prosecuting Brenda Nesselroad-Slaby would not have a deterrent effect on her or anyone else.  There's zero chance she'll leave a baby in a hot car again.  And as for members of the public, no one is more likely to leave their baby in a hot car just because Brenda Nesselroad-Slaby wasn't prosecuted.  If anything, people are going to look at this tragic situation and be more cautious about their kids, not less.

And as for punishing her, I have to say that the people who think she needs to be punished more are just creepy.  I can think of no worse a punishment than having your child die and have it all be your fault.  The idea that something more should be piled on top of that is just vile.  People need to keep their blood lust in check.  And, they need to watch out for bad karma when they demand that someone else be prosecuted for what was obviously an accident.  It's not something you would want to have happen to you. 

Nutty liberal Europeans should think before hitting "reply all."

September 4, 2007 02:46 PM

Oh the perils of "reply all."  It seems that even in 2007, there are still people who do not know that one should never hit "reply all" in the corporate setting and send an email to all personnel.  I honestly cannot think of a good reason for doing that.  Ever.

Check out attorney Hanspeter Wurstiner's "reply all" email to thousands of his colleagues at the international (but mostly American) law firm, Greenberg Traurig.  He's responding to an email about work place efforts to buy phone cards for U.S. troops so they can call home once in a while.

-----Original Message-----
From: Wustiner, Hanspeter (Shld-ZUR-CP)
To: Mak, Annette (Shld-AMS-IP); ALLATTY; ALLSTAFF
Cc: Compton, Katherine (Shld-Dal-LT/IP)
Sent: Thu Aug 30 17:29:44 2007
Subject: AW: Phone card project (results and thanks by Annette Mak and Katherine Compton)

I am aware that GT is supposed to be politically a non partisan organisation. However, since the phone card project is not unpolitical I should like to make the follwing comments (even if it may affect my bonus):

Why isn't some of the surplus used for innocent iraqi victims?

It is most interesting for a european to note that the US can not properly take care of their soldiers and the war budget does not allow to care for the wounded soldiers. But cannon fudder is probably not budgeted by Cheney to be alloiwed to call home. (Why should I make up for the difference?)

I am glad to see that bush and his war clique run out of money for funding this war. (Although this should be first applied to the wounded )

As a side remark I did not make a contribution for political considerations although I think each american soldier should have free calls to his family, since I do support this war and the bush politic. I assume I am not the only one sharing this opinion, considering that the average contribution of GT per employee is less than 10 dollars.

Please appologize for this interruption, but I just have to make this point, since I think this matter is inconsistent with a neutral non partisan approach.

Kind regards
Hanspeter Wüstiner

Not.  Smart.  And it drew this response from the firm's President, Richard Rosenbaum:

-----Original Message-----
From: Rosenbaum, Richard A. (President)
Sent: Thursday, August
30, 2007 6:02 PM
To: Wustiner, Hanspeter (Shld-ZUR-CP); Mak, Annette (Shld-AMS-IP); ALLATTY; ALLSTAFF
Cc: Compton, Katherine (Shld-Dal-LT/IP)
Subject: Re: AW: Phone card project (results and thanks by Annette Mak and Katherine Compton)

In the hope that, unlike this one, no one else will reply to all but only to those leading the effort, perhaps Cesar, Matt or me, let me send one quick response to fill the void. This firm is not a political party. As a business organization, we do not take political positions. I see nothing in the efforts of Annette or anyone else involved but a desire to help human beings and families. We most certainly are an organization with compassion for human beings and their families, our charitable endeavors, as a group and individually, announced and most not publicized at all, have always been an essential part of our culture. It is who our founders were, it is who most everyone here is.

Personally, I did not appreciate your politicizing or creating negative energy over such a warm and giving gesture by so many. Your cynism and political views however will never be taken into account in your compensation, that is determined by your performance. Thanks and my deep apologies to all who received your email and had to spend time reading it and this one.

What a masterful schooling of an out of line employee!

HT: Above the Law.

Leona Helmsley's Will Confirms She Was "Trouble"

August 29, 2007 08:12 AM

She left $12,000,000 to her dog, a white Maltese named "Trouble."  At the end of his life, "Trouble" is to be buried in the Helmsley mausoleum, next to Leona and Harry.  She gave $5,000,000 to two of her grandchildren, as long as they visit their father's grave site at least once a year.  If they don't, they get nothing.  Oh, and the other two grandchildren?  They get nothing, "for reasons that are known to them."

I suppose I should also point out that the balance of her estate is to be given to her charitable trust.  That could be billions that she's leaving to charitable causes.  But it's also no excuse for so rudely and publically screwing over two of your grandchildren--"for reasons that are known to them." 

Does anyone actually believe the two screwed over grandchildren were responsible for whatever happened between them and their grandmother?

I know you've already seen this on the Drudge Report...

August 28, 2007 10:50 AM

... but I'm posting it too because I just love this photo of Winnie Langley celebrating her 100th Birthday:

Winne Langley

Hilarious.  If an American newspaper ran that photo, how many indignant letters to the editor would they receive?

And on the birthday front, check out this creepy email I got from LexisNexis Martindale Hubble: 

Happy birthday from LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell! We're also celebrating the 10th birthday this year of and we would like to invite you to make a birthday wish with us.

For the past 10 years, has played a critical role connecting lawyers with other lawyers. Each month, more than 700,000 users tap into to find the exact right lawyer to handle their matter or business referral.....

Now we'd like to hear from you about the next cutting edge features we should implement on Share your ideas with us by making a birthday wish on behalf of For each idea you submit, we'll enter your name into a drawing for a 42" plasma television.

So blow out the birthday candles and make a wish for - We hope both your wishes come true! Have the happiest of birthdays and many more!

Yes, it's my birthday.  But I don't think I care for birthday wishes from massive legal research organizations with huge databases.  It just reminds me that they know too much about me, and probably everyone else.  Big Brother is watching you!  I also don't like that they think I'm going to give away a free "idea" in exchange for a chance to win a tv.  How patronizing--they are supposed to be an organization for professionals.

Michael Vick: The other shoe drops!

July 30, 2007 11:13 AM

In the form of this pro se lawsuit, filed last week by Jonathan Lee Riches, Inmate No. 42948-018.  He seeks $63,000,000,000 "backed by gold and silver."  He alleges that Michael Vick stole his pit bulls, his identity (and used it to by dogfood) and his copyright.  And check out Count IV.  That one's a doozy.

 Michael Vick Pro Se 1 Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg



HT: Above the Law

How is it responsible journalism to publish the homeowner's addresses for the 10 most expensive homes on the Magic Mountain?

July 27, 2007 08:11 AM

As the Enquirer does this morning.  It's class warfare journalism, and it's unsafe.  I know it's part of the public record, but it doesn't have to be publicized.  Those are two different things.

Remember this from two years ago in Chicago?

Federal judge's family killed

Husband, mother found slain in basement

Jurist had been a target of white supremacist

Well the Enquirer's list includes a federal judge's home address, and she has to deal with the criminal element every single day.  That doesn't need to be in the paper.  Most judges try to keep their home addresses on the dl security reasons. 

And as for the other names on this list, why not just run that under the headline "Kidnappers Look Here"?

It's summer, so it's terrorist dry run time

July 25, 2007 09:10 AM

Lovely.  The TSA has sent out a memo to airport screeners and air marshals warning them to be on the lookout.  Apparently they have had several people who have tried to get some strange items through airport security recently:

  • San Diego, July 7. A U.S. person — either a citizen or a foreigner legally here — checked baggage containing two ice packs covered in duct tape. The ice packs had clay inside them rather than the normal blue gel.
  • Milwaukee, June 4. A U.S. person’s carryon baggage contained wire coil wrapped around a possible initiator, an electrical switch, batteries, three tubes and two blocks of cheese. The bulletin said block cheese has a consistency similar to some explosives.
  • Houston, Nov. 8, 2006. A U.S. person’s checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a 9-volt battery, wires, a block of brown clay-like minerals and pipes.
  • Baltimore, Sept. 16, 2006. A couple’s checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a block of processed cheese taped to another plastic bag holding a cellular phone charger.

Over at National Review's media blog, Greg Pollowitz wants to know "what happened to the four people who had these odd items taken from them?"  A very good question.  I would like to think they've all been tortured and forced to give up what else they know.  Such as: Why were they doing this?  Who asked them to do this?  How can we find these people if we'd like to speak to them?  You know, the kind of information that maybe it would be good to have.

But I'm quite confident these people have only been asked polite questions, which they dodged before going on their way.  Why?  Because innocent people always travel with blocks of cheese wrapped with wire coil, batteries, electrical switches and tubes.  I know I never leave home without my improvised cheese bomb.

Public sector attorney pay... Woefully pathetic or just what they deserve?

July 19, 2007 11:12 AM

Meet Adam Greenway, the public defender who delivers pizza by night to make ends meet:

"I never thought I would be 30 years old driving pizzas out after graduating from law school," said Greenway, whose second job is delivering pizza for Papa John's. "But you have got to make ends meet."

Greenway, who works for the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, graduated in 2005 from Syracuse University College of Law in New York with a $130,000 student loan.

As unfortunate as it may be, a $130,000 student loan is not unheard of for law school graduates.

International human rights law was Greenways first path of choice for his profession, but a law professor turned him on to public defending.

"I loved it," the Pennsylvania native said. "I just loved being in the trenches and digging."

The same professor said Greenway should head to the South to become successful at public defending. And the South is where Greenway and his family headed, relocating to Kentucky in the summer of 2005 upon graduation.

Whoever this professor is, he should be taken out back and shot.  Not giving out career advice to students.  You do not need to relocate to rural Kentucky to become good at public defending.  That advice makes zero sense.  The cases in big cities will be much better and more important.

And, taking the lowest possible paying job is really stupid when you know this about to happen:

A few months later, the monstrous student loan reared its ugly head and it was time to pay up.

With a salary lingering right around $30,000 per year, a mortgage, three children and a $130,000 student law school loan to pay, Greenway picked up the second job in October 2006.

His student loan payment is $477 each month for the next 20 years.

I started out sympathic to him, and then, no.  I did a two-year stint as an Assistant Attorney General before going into private practice, and yes, the pay was awful.  But the only person I was supporting was myself.  Granted, public defenders are weird as a whole, but I do not understand how this guy thinks he is being a responsible husband and father of three.  Taking a job that pays $30,000 a year when you have a law degree and $130,000 in student loans is ridiculous.

His children are the ones that suffer the most, he said.

"My wife's pretty OK with it," he said. "She doesn't like it, but she understands that's what we have to do."

Actually, no.  It's not what you have to do.  You're doing it because you want to, not because you have to.

Before you accuse a co-worker of checking you out from a neighboring urinal...

July 18, 2007 01:50 PM

... make sure he does not have a medically diagnosed "lazy eye."  At least so holds the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, affirming that Todd Bernier's sexual harassment suit against Morningstar should be tossed.  From the Court's opinion:

[O]n Friday, January 23, 2004, Bernier noticed Davis taking “an overt, purposeful and glaring look” at Bernier’s penis while they were both standing at the urinals in the men’s bathroom on their floor. Bernier knew that Davis was gay—he had learned this in 2003, some time after Davis brought a male date to the company’s 2002 Christmas party—but he was not aware until this litigation commenced that Davis had a “lazy” left eye that sometimes made it appear that he was “looking off at something” when conversing.

What Bernier did after the incident, though, was what killed his claim:

[H]e sent Davis an anonymous instant message through a little-used internal system. The message, which popped up on Davis’s computer without warning, said, “Stop staring! The guys on the floor don’t like it.” Davis, under the impression that he was being harassed for being gay, promptly notified Morningstar’s Human Resources department.

Big, big mistake.  The law is that if you feel you're being sexually harassed in the workplace, you must follow the reporting procedures set forth by your employer.  Do not take matters into your own hands by sending anonymous messages.  It won't take Tech Support long to figure out who you are. 

And of course, always follow established urinal protocol by taking an end one first, and never going to one next to one which is being used by someone else.  A little common sense never hurts in these situations, especially if it keeps you from having to figure out which of your co-workers have medically diagnosed lazy eyes.

HT: Keeping Up With Jonas via Above the Law

NBS gets invited on the radio!

July 17, 2007 11:33 AM

How exciting, I've been approached by a local radio station asking me to be on the air.  They want me on to do "ask the expert" segments.  Basically this involves chatting with the hosts about legal issues, and taking calls from listeners.  It sounded like fun, and I was so flattered.  And I was completely confident I could use the opportunity to catapult myself to broadcasting fame and became the next Nancy Grace.  As regular NBS readers know, combining legal skills, a black and white sense of justice, and histrionic behavior is well within my skill set.  No more boring days at the office.  I was on my way!

And then, the station told me that as "the expert" it would be appropriate for me to commit to $6,000 worth of paid advertising.  I was slightly shocked, because I listen to this radio station, and they do NOT tell their listeners that their "experts" pay to be on the air.  But she was quite clear: It was a quid pro quo.

How disillusioning!  And how dumb am I for being so naive about these things?

Meet Paulina Bandy. The girl who passed the bar exam on the 14th try.

July 16, 2007 03:41 PM

Thanks to the hilarious David Lat over at Above the Law, Paulina Bandy has been brought to my attention.  The timing is perfect too, because I've been down in the dumps about my law practice.   They don't show it on the tv shows, but it can be... well... extremely boring.  But there's nothing like the less fortunate to make one feel better about one's self:

ORANGE – Paulina Bandy couldn't fail the state bar exam again.

Not after she failed 13 times before.

Not after she had spent tens of thousands to attend law school. Not after she put her husband Jon Gomez through the ringer for so many years. Not after the debt she piled up forced her family to move into a 365-square-foot home.

Not after she spent the last eight years of her life studying to pass one stinking test.

Her 14th try came on a day in February. She did breathing exercises and self-hypnosis.

During this time, she sold off her wedding gifts at garage sales, spent thousands of dollars on exam fees and prep courses, and was told by her father-in-law that she was "a pretend lawyer" who had ruined his son's life. 

But after the 14th attempt, the call came.  She passed: 

Paulina Brady bar exam well endowed Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg







Thank you, Paulina Bandy.  You are one crazy, self-destructive woman an inspiration.

Love blooms in the jury box

From wire reports:

Love blossomed at a New York City murder trial last year between jurors Traci Nagy and Jonathan Cinkay. They picked up their marriage license last week, and Queens County Supreme Court Justice Daniel Lewis, who presided over the case, is to marry them next month, a newspaper reported.

The two made goo-goo eyes on the first day, and fellow jurors encouraged Nagy, 36, to date Cinkay, 33.

The judge said he had noticed that rather than the usual somber panel, this jury seemed "full of beaming, happy people," but he "didn't imagine they were all playing matchmaker."

The warm feelings didn't do the murder defendant much good. He was convicted.

Maybe dodging jury duty is not such a good idea, for some?

The last thing I want to do is discourage blog commenters...

July 12, 2007 03:48 PM

...but there's a way the true identity behind that supposedly anonymous comment can be revealed--it may come out in litigation.  From Breitbart/AP:

DALLAS (AP) - The chief executive of Whole Foods Market Inc. wrote anonymous online attacks against a smaller rival and questioned why anyone would buy its stock, before Whole Foods announced an offer to buy the other company this year.

The postings on Internet financial forums, made under the name "rahodeb," said Wild Oats Markets Inc. stock was overpriced. The statements predicted the company would fall into bankruptcy and then be sold after its stock fell below $5 per share.

So what did the CEO say?

"Would Whole Foods buy (Wild Oats)? Almost surely not at current prices," rahodeb wrote. "What would they gain? (Their) locations are too small."

Rahodeb also said Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats' management "clearly doesn't know what it is doing." The company, he wrote, "has no value and no future."

Oh the nasty, nasty world of organic and natural food retail!

The article doesn't say how they discovered it was the Whole Foods CEO, though, and I am curious to know.  When folks leave a comment here at NBS, I can see their IP address if I want to, but it usually means nothing to me, and I never check.  But I don't know how they tracked the CEO's blog comments back to him.  Any ideas?

UPDATE: Have I told you lately how much I hate my blogging platform, Moveable Type?  Now it is doing funny things with the indentation on my posts.  I'm leaving this post as is, so you all can see and learn.  When I fix it, it reverts back to the improper format, for no apparent reason.  Stay away from Moveable Type!

UPDATE No. 2: From Ann Althouse, we hear of another thing Whole Foods' CEO John Mackey was posting under the name "rahodeb:"

I like Mackey’s haircut. I think he looks cute.

This was among the 1,100 comments he posted on the Yahoo Finance board, touting Whole Foods and trashing Wild Oats.  How unbelievably embarrassing. 

The Episcopal Bishop of Bethlehem is a troll

July 7, 2007 09:23 PM

I'm using internet lingo, of course, which defines "troll" as follows:

Troll.  One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks with no substance or relevance to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.

Over at my friend Brad Drell's blog, Paul Marshall has started speaking up in the comments.  He's the Episcopal Bishop of Bethlehem, PA.  Brad's a fellow attorney, was a fraternity brother of mine at Sewanee, and on the conservative side of things in the Episcopal-Anglican crack-up.  Bishop Marshall is not in the same camp. 

So guess what Bishop Marshall is saying in Brad's comments section?  He accuses Brad of being crazy.  He says that there are meds available to cure Brad's condition (conservatism, I guess), and that he hopes Brad's "symptoms are being managed."

And yes, we do know that is THE Bishop of Bethlehem who is posting the comments, not someone doing so under an assumed name.  Can you imagine?  Granted, Bishop Marshall is best known for recently launching an unhinged attack on the Archbishop of Canterbury, accusing him of coddling conservatives (would that were so!) and destroying the church.  So at least Brad's in good company.  He's right there on Bishop Marshall's shit list, along with the The Most Rev. Rowan D. Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England, and heir to the throne of St. Augustine.  Not bad for a guy from a small town in Louisiana.

But good company aside...  isn't it a little bizarre for a Bishop to be accusing members of the laity of being crazy via blog comments?  It certainly does makes one wonder who is off their meds.  And it doesn't seem to me like it's Brad.

Antioch Alumni just need $39,600,000 more

June 25, 2007 10:32 PM

From the Dayton Business Journal (and if that's not an oxymoron, I don't know what is.  Have you driven through downtown Dayton lately?  It's a ghost town.  Nothing but bums and tumbleweed).  But anyway:

Antioch College alumni raised $400,000 over the weekend as part of a $40 million push to save the college.

Pathetic.  The alumni comes up with $400,000?  And they need $40,000,000?  Where are they going to get the rest?  It's not like one of their Freegan alumni is going to find that in a dumpster.  They're going to try, though:

About 500 alumni were in Yellow Springs Friday though Sunday for a homecoming weekend that turned into an organizing effort against the board of trustee's decision to shutter the school.

Homecoming in June?  And it was an "organizing effort"?  Nothing is more fun than replacing what is supposed to be a weekend of drinking and football with a protest.  Wild times!

The alumni association has formed a nonprofit organization, College Revival Fund, to raise $40 million by the end of the year, said alumni board member Steve Duffy. The group hopes to raise $1 million in the next 60 days.

Steve Duffy?  Don't we know him?  Oh yes, I believe we do.  And per the Dayton Business Courier, thanks to loyal assistant librarians like Steve:

Alumni and faculty are fighting the decision to close. The alumni weekend included several meetings between alumni, faculty and the board of trustees members. Faculty met with legal experts among the alumni to discuss potential legal action to stop the closing, said Dimi Reber, a retired dance professor.

You know what they say: "Hell hath no fury like a retired dance professor."  Bring on the lawyers!  Sue the trustees!  Git giggy wit it, dance alumni of Antioch!

[Because I'm all about helping people, I will say that the disgruntled alumni should have their lawyers contact the Ohio Attorney General, and do a little research about the cy pres doctrine, which states that:

When a gift is made by will or trust (usually for charitable or educational purposes), and the named recipient of the gift does not exist, has dissolved or no longer conducts the activity for which the gift is made, then the estate or trustee must make the gift to an organization which comes closest to fulfilling the purpose of the gift.

In other words, people who have given money to Antioch over the years may have a legit gripe.  They may be able to argue that their money should be put to the cause for which it was intended.  This is an ancient doctrine, and thus a tool of the patriarchy, so I'm sure the Antioch alumni won't in good conscience avail themselves of its opportunities the cy pres doctrine may provide.  But still... isn't it beautiful the way I just "gave back"?  Yes, I'm a one man legal aid society  You do not need to email me your thanks, Antioch alumni.]

$54 Mill Pants Trial Wraps, Judge to Rule Next Week

June 13, 2007 05:29 PM

This is the one I wrote about earlier.  Thankfully, someone has been liveblogging it.  Here's the scoop from today's cross-examination of the Plaintiff:

At noon precisely on Day Two of the $54 million pants case, we saw The Pants. Defense attorney Christopher Manning unveiled the suit trousers that Roy Pearson says are not his and that the owners of Custom Cleaners say are indeed the ones that Pearson submitted for a $10.50 alteration back in 2005.

The dramatic moment in Courtroom 415 at D.C. Superior Court revealed that yes, the pants look like they are part of a suit, and yes, the dry cleaners attached to these pants a tag with the same numbers that appeared on the receipt Pearson got for his suit. But Pearson still denies these are his pants, and still demands $54 million, though he has not yet wept today...

Courtroom Drama!  He did weep yesterday, and needed a break to regain his composure.

But like most trials, this one is really about the boring details:

[Judge] Bartnoff has handled Pearson with a disarming and delightful mix of humor and stern direction. Sometimes incredulous, sometimes gently joshing, she has repeatedly lured Pearson out of his tendency to go off on long, incomprehensible recitations about the minutia of the District's consumer protection law. But Bartnoff has been careful to let Pearson state his odd notions of law with few limitations.

This is known as giving someone all the rope they need to hang themselves.

"Your position," Bartnoff said to Pearson this morning, "is that 'Satisfaction Guaranteed' means they have to satisfy whatever you demand, with no limitations, absolutely unconditionally?"

"That's correct," Pearson replied.

"I have grave doubts about that," said the judge.

This means he's nutty enough to appeal, that Judge Bartnoff knows this, and that she's making sure the record is immaculate before she thwaps him, so her judgment will be affirmed.  Good judge. 

"Any charitable organization involved in $10 million in litigation has some explaining to do to the public."

June 7, 2007 08:26 AM

Attorney General Marc Dann threatens to intervene in the Health Alliance legal smackdown:

"We could seek to put everybody in receivership," he said. In that case, the court would appoint an officer to manage all daily operations of the organization.

Few people realize it, but the AG has pretty extraordinary authority over charitable organizations in the State of Ohio.  Of course these hospitals aren't really functioning as charities.  Perhaps the AG is sensing that is the problem?

I will never get used to the notion...

June 5, 2007 12:15 PM

...that it is ever appropriate to write to a judge to urge leniency in sentencing.  Seems like an anathema to the principle of equal justice under law, if you ask me.

Why should it matter who knows the defendant, or even who loves him?

Paris Hilton issues statement upon entering jail

She says: "In the future, I plan on taking more of an active role in the decisions I make."

She's a smart one, that girl.

If you're going to be an anonymous blogger, don't blog about the malpractice case pending against you

May 31, 2007 11:56 AM

From the Boston Globe:

It was a Perry Mason moment updated for the Internet age.

As Ivy League-educated pediatrician Robert P. Lindeman sat on the stand in Suffolk Superior Court this month, defending himself in a malpractice suit involving the death of a 12-year-old patient, the opposing counsel startled him with a question.

Was Lindeman Flea?

Flea, jurors in the case didn't know, was the screen name for a blogger who had written often and at length about a trial remarkably similar to the one that was going on in the courtroom that day.

In his blog, Flea had ridiculed the plaintiff's case and the plaintiff's lawyer. He had revealed the defense strategy. He had accused members of the jury of dozing.

With the jury looking on in puzzlement, Lindeman admitted that he was, in fact, Flea.

His poor defense counsel, I am sure they had no idea what they'd been hit with.

The "Flea" confession was probably lost on the jury, but Plaintiff's counsel indicated that they would be introducing all of his blog posts as evidence the next day.  He coughed up a substantial settlement offer before that happened.  And lo and behold, the dispute was resolved. 

Kudos to Plaintiff's counsel, who will be telling this war story for the rest of her career.  Oh and the best part?  Check out what the Doctor had been saying about her:

Elizabeth N. Mulvey, the lawyer who represented Vinroy and Deborah Binns and unmasked Lindeman as Flea, said she laughed when she read a posting at the start of the trial in which Lindeman nicknamed her Carissa Lunt, noticed that she bit her fingernails and mused, "Wonder if she's a pillow biter, too?"

The jury would NOT have found that commentary impressive.  And I wonder when Plaintiff's counsel realized that the doctor was "Flea"?  Did she know it all along, and wait for just the right moment?  I picture her as a lioness, stalking her prey.  And waiting... for just the right moment... to pounce!

HT: Althouse

Wherein my paralegal chimes in on the people and attorneys of Pittsburgh

May 23, 2007 10:44 AM

I'll not only EXCUSE your language, but I will agree!!!  [ed. I had called opposing counsel a "total ass," after he bizarrely accused my paralegal of screwing up some documents that he had screwed up himself.]  What is up with these people!!!  I will be happy when this case is over, for a great number of other reasons, but also so that we'll be rid of at least these people.  Presumably there will be some just like them to replace them in another case.  It's no wonder people in Cincinnati HATE people from Pittsburgh!!!  What a foul lot!!!  I think I shall request an audience with Mr. Lewis and ENCOURAGE him to do WHATEVER is necessary to soundly defeat the Steelers in both games this year.  I used to not believe that the Carson Palmer injury was intentional, but after this experience with people from the Steel City, I am not so sure.

She's not from here, but she's learning.

Pete Rose's Persecutor's Secretary is a Hooker! Allegedly!

May 18, 2007 02:51 PM

Remember John Dowd, the D.C. attorney, investigator, and author of the Dowd Report--which secured Pete Rose's lifetime ban from baseball?

Well, he's back in the news.  It turns out that the alleged D.C. madam who has been in the news of late had an "employee" who worked as Dowd's secretary at Akin Gump, the prestigious D.C. law firm.

Will he forgive her if she admits it and apologizes?  And which does he think is worse... hooking or betting on baseball?

Lawyer Sues Cleaners for Missing Pants, Demands $65 Mil

April 27, 2007 01:15 PM

No, this is not another autobiographical post.  Instead, I want you to meet Roy Pearson, an Administrative Law Judge for the District of Columbia.  He had a bad dry cleaning experience:

In 2002, Custom lost a pair of pants that Pearson had put in for cleaning. One week after the error was discovered, Custom gave Pearson a check for $150 for new pants. A few days later, the Chungs, Korean immigrants who live in Virginia and own three D.C. cleaners, told Pearson that he was no longer welcome at their store. That dispute was eventually put aside, and Pearson continued to use the company.

Move ahead to 2005, when Pearson got a new job as a judge. He needed to wear a suit to work every day. He dug out his five Hickey Freeman suits and found them to be "uncomfortably tight." He asked Custom to let the waists out two or three inches. Worried that he might be up against his Visa card limit, he took the suits in for alterations one or two at a time.

According to a statement filed by both parties in the lawsuit, Pearson dropped off one pair of pants May 3 so he could wear them to his new job May 6. But on May 5, the pants weren't ready. Soo Chung promised them for early the next morning, but when Pearson arrived, the pants weren't there.

So he sued.

He says he deserves millions for the damages he suffered by not getting his pants back, for his litigation costs, for "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort," for the value of the time he has spent on the lawsuit, for leasing a car every weekend for 10 years and for a replacement suit, according to court papers

The request for the reimbursement for leasing a car is a totally new one on me.  I've certainly never seen that in my legal practice.  What's his legal theory?

The plaintiff, who says he has devoted more than 1,000 hours to represent himself in this battle, says that as a result of poor service at Custom, he must find another cleaner. And because Pearson does not own a car, he says he will have to rent one to get his clothes taken care of.

Well okay then, that explains it!  But how does Pearson get from there to $65 million?

The District's consumer protection law provides for damages of $1,500 per violation per day. Pearson started multiplying: 12 violations over 1,200 days, times three defendants.

The Defendants have spent tens of thousands defending the case, are are likely to spend tens of thousands more when the case goes to trial in June.  They've offered $12,000 to settle, but it sounds as though Mr. Pearson won't stop until he bankrupts them.

As a lawyer, I hear stories about lawsuit abuse all the time.  Without a doubt, this is the worst I have ever heard.  Unbelievable.

HT: The Llama Butchers

Brian Stepp, my former elementary school classmate, and fellow former rider of Bus No. 3...

April 14, 2007 09:20 AM

...gets 55 years in the slammer for rape, sexual assault and kidnapping.  The prosecutor says:

"This is a very sociopathic, deceptive criminal, with a truly dark spirit and evil intent, who tries to come across as a victim himself - when in reality he represents the type of terror that lurks in the darkness and can grab any one of us at any time."

And I wish I could say that was not the Brian Stepp I knew in the fourth grade.  But it was.  He was an extremely violent and belligerent, even then. 

Reminding Liberal Academics at State Universities Who They Work For, Step 1

April 13, 2007 12:43 PM

A few weeks ago, the faculty Senate at the University of Florida voted against giving former Governor Jeb Bush an honorary degree.  Earlier this week, the Republican controlled House in Florida voted to make the University rename it's entire college of education after the former Governor:

The University of Florida's education school would be renamed the "Jeb Bush College of Education," under an amendment approved this morning by the House Schools & Learning Council. What's more, UF would also have to erect "suitable markers" noting the college's new name and include the revised name in all university documents, including catalogues and brochures.

That will irk all the people who need irking.

Cincinnati Lawyers in the 1790s

April 4, 2007 09:11 PM

Well I've switched books, and now I'm reading Mansfield's Personal Memories, an 1879 book written by a very early Cincinnatian, who went off east for school, and came back a lawyer.  I got a kick out his description of legal practice here in the 1790s:

In that day, to practice law in Cincinnati required the lawyer to ride the circuit.  And what was the circuit?  No less than the whole Northwest Territory, now comprising five states and ten millions of people.  In the circuit in which [attorney Jacob ]Burnet rode were Marietta, Detroit and Vincennes.  He would tell stories of hair-breadth escapes by field and flood.  Here there were almost impassable swamps and there unfordable streams.  One night they were belated in making a certain point, and their horses stopped suddenly and would not go.  They got off and had to camp there.  Next morning they found the horses had stopped just at the edge of a precipice which overhung Wolfe Creek.  At other times they would stop in an Indian Village and be caressed by greasy squaws, and joked with by swarthy warriors.  Such was a part of the Cincinnati lawyers' practice in the close of the last century.  Burnet says that when he came to the bar, there were nine lawyers, who, all but one, became intemperate.

So basically, not much has changed.  Though I do have to admit, it's been months since I've been caressed by a greasy squaw.  Swarthy warriors, them I joke with every day.  And eight out of nine of us are still drunks.

What not to say when you are trying to get a court to hear your case

March 28, 2007 08:58 AM

I had to laugh when I read this in a Motion for Discretionary Review that was filed recently with the Supreme Court of Kentucky:

This Court should grant this motion in order to clean up what have become the Augean stables of Kentucky job discrimination jurisprudence...

In other words, Kentucky Supreme Court, your rulings are shitty.  Not exactly the best thing to say to a Court when you are trying to get them to rule your way. 

The way the attorneys try to convince the Court that their gender discrimination case is unique also made me laugh.  They try to distinguish it from age discrimination cases, stating:

Age discrimination cases are different, because everybody gets old.  Females, on the other hand, always are females.  They never become males, or start out that way, absent radical surgery.

If I had any faith in the Supreme Court of Kentucky (and I do not) I'd say this appeal is doomed.

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

March 20, 2007 09:13 AM

Yes, the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case has finally arrived before the Supremes:

Alaska high-school student Joseph Frederick hoisted his 14-foot "Bong hits 4 Jesus" banner to get on TV....  Frederick wanted to annoy school administrators, and he wanted media attention, and as we discovered today, he chose well on both fronts. He was suspended for 10 days.

So of course, he sued, and now his free speech case is pending before the highest court in the land.  His parents must be so proud.

I still remember my Con Law prof from college talking about Cohen v. California.  He began class with the proscribed speech from that case with a dramatic "F*** the Draft!"  He was old and very crusty, so this was a surprise.  It was memorable.

We'll see if "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" has the same staying power.

Where are the damages?

March 19, 2007 04:55 PM

Does anyone really believe that P&G suffered $19,000,000 worth of damage to its reputation because four Amway distributors told people it was affiliated with the Church of Satan?

That's the price a jury has put on it, ending a 12 year legal battle.  I can remember being told the urban myth that P&G is satanic way back in elementary school.  Per Wikipedia,

The accusation is based on a particular passage in the Bible, specifically Revelation 12:1, which states: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." Since P&G's logo consists of a man's face on a moon surrounded by thirteen stars, some have claimed that the logo is a mockery of the heavenly symbol alluded to in the aforementioned verse, and hence the logo is Satanic. Where the beard meets the surrounding circle, a mirror image of 666 can be seen when viewed from inside the logo, and this has been interpreted as the reflected number of the beast, again linked to Satanism. Also, there are two horns like a lamb that are said to represent the false prophet.

Did anyone actually believe that crap, and not buy P&G products because of it?

Coming to a theater near you

This is Oak Hill, the cottage in North Haven, Maine, where the heirs of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., founder of I.B.M., spend their summers:

Not too shabby, is it?  Well, it and the I.B.M. family trusts are embroiled in a huge lawsuit:

It concerns Olive F. Watson, 59, granddaughter of the I.B.M. founder and daughter of Thomas J. Watson Jr., the company’s longtime chief executive; and Patricia Ann Spado, 59, her former lesbian partner of 14 years.

Lots of money and a racy family scandal!  Let's read on!

In 1991, Ms. Watson, then 43, adopted Ms. Spado, then 44, under a Maine law that allows one adult to adopt another.

Does that sound like it was well thought through?  No, of course not:

But less than a year after the adoption, Ms. Watson and Ms. Spado broke up. Then in 2004, Ms. Watson’s mother died, leaving multimillion-dollar trusts established by her husband to be divided among their 18 grandchildren.

Guess who re-appeared on the scene after grandma died?  Yes, the "adopted" ex-lesbian lover from some years prior: 

Re-enter Ms. Spado with a claim: Because she was adopted by Olive F. Watson, she said, she is technically Thomas J. Watson Jr.’s 19th grandchild and is therefore eligible for a share of the trusts.

Of course, Grandpa didn't even know about Ms. Spado when his trust was set up.  But why should that stop her from claiming she's his grandchild?

And, to complicate matters even more, in the past few years Olive Watson has adopted again--children, this time.  And she claims those children are proper adoptees and trust beneficiaries.  But not the lesbian ex from 15 years ago.  Go figure.

The Maine and Connecticut courts have to figure it all out.  In the meantime, it should make for some interesting family conversations at Oak Hill.

What Not to Say When Testifying in Your Own Defense, No. 387...

March 13, 2007 10:23 PM

... that the United States is a "terrorist state."  Jurors tend to not like that kind of thing.  But that's what one of the anti-war trespassing protesters did last week at her trial:

Sister Mary Evelyn Jegen returned to the stand, talking about U.S. foreign policy and why she feels obliged to oppose it.

“Weapons of mass destruction — the largest arsenal is on our country,” she said. “When we talk about terror, the United States of America is, in my view, a state terrorist, because we are holding the world hostage to nuclear weapons.

Thank God loons from other denominations come around often enough to make me feel less bad about being an Episcopalian! 

But anyway... as you may remember, I wrote about the anti-war trespassing protesters here, and then was quoted in CityBeat about it, here.  They raised a necessity defense, arguing that their trespassing was necessary to save innocent lives.  Necessity is a viable defense to any criminal charge, but it is typically used in situations where the threat is imminent and actually connected to the Defendants' actions.  Not the case here, though they apparently argued that they believed their sit-in at Congressman Chabot's office would stop the war in Iraq.  Is it too uncharitable to say this was a stupidity defense and not a necessity defense? 

The protester's were convicted of trespassing earlier today.  The jury didn't buy the necessity defense.  Frankly, I'm surprised the Judge even allowed them to argue it.  At least he quashed their ridiculous attempt to subpoena Donald Rumsfeld to testify at trial.

The protesters get probation and 20 hours of community service.  They contend that the "real crime" (i.e. the war in Iraq) has gone unpunished.  I think the real crime is that their lawyers were allowed to present meritless arguments before the Court.  Supposedly that is an ethical violation, warranting attorney discipline by the bar.

Breaking Legal News: D.C. Circuit Rules the 2nd Amendment Applies to Individual Gun Owners...

March 9, 2007 12:04 PM

... and not just members of a "well regulated Militia."  Here's the Court's nice tidy bottom line:

To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.

No court this high has ever gone this far--and it's exactly what gun owners were looking for.  The next stop is with the U.S. Supremes, unless the D.C. Circuit decides to review it en banc.

You can read the whole opinion (it is 75 pages) here.  If you forget what the Second Amendment says, here it 'tis:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Expect ample, befuddled news coverage and hand-wringing on the left.  And, enjoy this image of the NBSes at home on a typical Friday night.


If you make $115,000 per year...

...and donate $55,000 to charity, the IRS gets suspicious.  Even if it's all clothes, and even if you raise "impulse shopping" as your defense:

Petitioner describes herself as an “impulsive buyer” whose annual expenditures for clothing and shoes might be deemed by some to be rather extravagant.  Furthermore, it appears that her wardrobe is constantly changing. According to petitioner, she routinely purchases designer clothing and shoes, wears the items once or twice, and then donates them to an upscale thrift shop in New York.

Petitioner gets points in my mind for having the gall to try this. 

Tree Hugging Lawyer Whack Job

March 8, 2007 12:10 PM

Over at Above the Law, NBS friend David Lat has posted this hysterical pleading filed by Alison "Sunny" Maynard, who is a former Green Party Candidate for Attorney General of Colorado.  Naturally (get it "naturally"?) she wasn't elected, so she's still in private practice.  And in this case, she's representing an environmental group called the Citizens Progressive Alliance, and asking for an extension of time because she blew a deadline.  Which is usually considered legal malpractice.

Check out the reasons she gives for blowing the deadline.  No, that's not usually what you want to tell the tribunal and leave in the official record.  Nor is it common practice to use smiley face emoticons in your pleadings.

Make sure you scroll down through the comments over at Above the Law.  David doesn't identify Ms. Maynard at first, and then some commenters out her.  She then chimes in herself with a hilarious, indignant, and ridiculously lengthy retort.  Too funny.

inebriation excusable neglect motion 1.jpg

Advice to lawyers appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court...

March 7, 2007 10:03 AM

...take a deep breath, and pretend they're not wearing any shoes.  They actually might not be! 

The New York Times has this explanation for why Justice Ginsberg was slow to her feet after oral arguments last week:

According to her chambers, Justice Ginsburg had kicked off her shoes during the argument and could not find one of them.

Now that would be embarrassing.  You'd think her chambers could come up with a better "explanation" than she couldn't find her shoe.

Ohio considering green license plates for sex offenders...

... we already have red and yellow ones for multiple DUI offenders.  I've only seen a handful of them since the legislation was enacted a few years ago.

But a green sex offender license plate certainly would be more memorable.  And I was amused by this line from The New York Times:

A 2005 bill that called for pink license plates for all sex offenders failed after critics deemed it too harsh and Mary Kay Cosmetics and advocates for breast cancer research objected to the color.

Pink was "too harsh"?  Perhaps it was the sex offenders who didn't want to be confused with the Mary Kay reps, rather than the other way around?

Great Closings, and Not So Great Closings

February 21, 2007 10:40 PM

Everyone is commenting about the Liz Carroll conviction today in the Marcus Fiesel case.  I had to lay off of this story because of the professional involvement of my law firm in the civil case.  Thankfully, that matter has been resolved.  But anyway... back to the Liz Carroll conviction.  There's really not much more that can be said, other than the guilt was pretty damn obvious, though it was something of a question whether she intended for Marcus to die, since having foster kids out the a** was her meal ticket. 

The other point to make is that the defense's case was just bizarre.  Sometimes you do have really bad facts, and it's not defense counsel's fault if the client has really, really screwed up.  But in this case, defense counsel actually argued in their closing that while Liz Carroll may be morally responsible for what happened to Marcus, she's not legally responsible.  What jury is going to buy that?  I'm surprised they didn't start fashioning a noose out of their shoelaces right then and there.  But again, I want to emphasize that the conviction is not defense counsel's fault.  It's Liz Carroll's fault because she's a freaking murderer.

But the main thing I wanted to add to what everyone else is already saying is that I hope the taxpayers realize what phenomenal talents they have on their payroll in the prosecutors that tried this case.  Woody Breyer (Clermont County) and Mark Piepmeier (Hamilton County) are fantastic attorneys, and tried a very compelling case.  And no, I don't know either of them personally, and don't try criminal cases, so I'm not biased about this.

Take, for example, Woody Breyer's closing argument from this morning.  He was talking about how the Carrolls tied Marcus up, and left him in a closet while they went to Kentucky for a family reunion. 

They say you wouldn’t treat a dog like that.

And you know what?

 She wouldn’t.

She took the dog with her.

She took the dog with her.

The words in print don't capture the proper emotion, but I still think it's clear were talking about a great line, well delivered, and perfectly timed.   Everyone knows the phrase "you don't treat a dog like that," and the fact that the prosecutors pulled this evidence out and used in in this way shows that they really understand phraseology, the importance of words, and human emotion.  Few attorneys do.

People should understand that Woody Breyer and Mark Piepmeier could leave their public sector jobs tomorrow, walk in any law firm in the City, and be paid five times as much as they are now.  I don't know exactly what their government salaries are, but I can tell you, they are ridiculously low.   We are talking about two public servants who have made extraordinary personal sacrifices so they can serve on our behalf.  We should be very thankful, but I think most people have no idea.

They did get some rare props from the Enquirer, though:

The prosecutors, Daniel “Woody” Breyer and Mark Piepmeier, are considered by many to be among the best trial attorneys in Greater Cincinnati.

“The lawyering by the prosecution was outstanding,” Shiverdecker said. “They were methodical. They laid out the case. They wrapped it up and put a bow on it.

Indeed they did.  Hats off to them.  And thanks, as well.