Playing Catch-Up

Texas District Court Judge Samuel Kent wrote some incredibly funny, sarcastic decisions.  Who could ever forget:

The Court notes that this case involves two extremely likable lawyers, who have together delivered some of the most amateurish pleadings ever to cross the hallowed causeway into Galveston, an effort which leads the Court to surmise but one plausible explanation. Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact-complete with hats, handshakes and cryptic words-to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed.

Now he’s copped a plea for copping something else, resigned in disgrace and will get the chance to see just how funny the sentencing guidelines can really be.  Memo to federal judges: Nobody’s perfect, eh?  Perhaps you might want to take a harder look at the people who stand before you day after day, and wonder how you might feel if that person turned out to be one of your black-robed brothers.  It could happen.

Alfred Trenkler was convicted of a bombing and murder in 1993.  After reading a book by Morrison Bonpasse, “Perfectly Innocent,” three of the jurors who convicted Tenkler have changed their minds.

All three have written letters to U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel urging her to grant Trenkler a new trial or set him free.

Bonpasse’s manuscript convinced Sheridan Kassirer, the jury’s forewoman. After reading it, she wrote to Judge Zobel, “After studying the many details of the Alfred W. Trenkler case I am convinced that he is innocent. I hope you will see to it that justice prevails and he is released.”

How nice that the jurors are having second thoughts.  Twenty something years later.  But the question begs asking:  So what were you doing in that jury room in 1993 when you convicted the guy?  Was the food so lousy that you couldn’t spend the time to think really hard back then, before convicting?

“I’m just appalled that the system is in fact very flawed,” said Bonpasse, who lives in New Castle with his wife, a retired judge. “I’m appalled that the system is so slow and finds it so difficult to open its eyes and see what it’s done to so many people.”

Welcome to the club.

Attorney Mark and Rhonda Lesher were accused of sexually molesting one of Mark’s clients.  They were tried.  They were acquitted.  During the course of the prosecution, they were smeared.

DALLAS — Clarksville lawyer Mark Lesher may not know the identity of the people he’s suing, but he says his purpose is clear: To ensure that everyone who anonymously posted what he alleges are libelous comments about him on a Web site is held “responsible and accountable.”

“You can’t just spew venomous lies and be on a mission to destroy people,” he says. “There are laws to prevent that.”

The Leshers have obtained a subpoena against Topix, where about 25,000 posts relating to the Leshers appeared, to obtain the identities of 178 anonymous posters.  They hope to obtain the IP address of the 178.  And then what?  As in the AutoAdmit case, it’s time that we all grew up and realized that anonymous posting of such crap is meaningless and worthless.  I’m neither excusing nor apologizing for the ignorant slop that finds its way to the surface on the internet.  When hidden by anonymity, people post the most incredibly outrageous and vile crap.  We know it. 

Since there’s no way to seriously police comments for accuracy, and we are not inclined to eliminate the ability to post anonymously, there will be libelous posts.  Obviously the verdict of acquittal hasn’t done enough to let the Leshers feel satisfied that they, and not the anonymous posters, prevailed.  But they aren’t going to obtain the satisfaction they seek down this road.  The better route would seem to be the recognition that this is all mere garbage, unworthy of belief or recognition. 

People have an amazing ability to be ugly and stupid, and no lawsuit is going to change that.  When a credible source libels someone, action is necessary.  When it comes from the sewer, we need to be able to shrug it off as no better than its source.  The Leshers won.  They are not guilty.  The 178 posters are scum, and who cares what the scum have to say.

New York Supreme Court Judge Joseph Makowski doesn’t have to worry about judicial salaries anymore.  His went down the drain when he decided to help Buffalo Law School instructor Anne Adams, a former Erie County prosecutor and potential GOP District Attorney candidate.  She was drunk and tried to manufacture evidence to beat the rap.  Makowski first lied to help her, then recanted.

“Neither party to this pathetic episode committed violent crimes, nor have criminal records,” Sedita said. “By the same token, one of my most important duties as district attorney is to restore public confidence in the justice system. Accordingly, this type of misconduct, particularly on behalf of lawyers, judges and public officials, will not be tolerated and will not be overlooked by this office.”

Did it occur to anyone that the two are just too unbearably stupid to be tolerated?  By the way, if Adams drunken driving just so happened to end up with some dead child along the way, by sheer misfortune, she might have been tried as a murderer in some New York locales. 

And finally, Westhampton attorney George Guldi, whose office was ransacked by the cops in search of evidence of mortgage fraud, gets sued by Wachovia for allegedly pocketing $1.8 million in a scam sale on a Hamptons property.

When reached on Friday afternoon, Mr. Guldi said he had not yet reviewed his copy of the lawsuit, which he just received earlier in the day. “If someone gave me $1.8 million, I would have remembered it,” said Mr. Guldi before declining to elaborate further.

Anyone else wonder how many ways those words could come back to bite Guldi in the butt?  Memo to Guldi’s lawyers : A prepared client is a silent client.  That’s how experienced counsel handle media cases.  Then you won’t have to worry about wiping the sweet white filling off your face when you’re caught unprepared.

One thought on “Playing Catch-Up

  1. PointOfLaw Forum

    Around the web, February 26

    All-law-blog edition: Tom Kirkendall on the downfall of Texas federal judge Sam Kent [Houston’s Clear Thinkers; more, Scott Greenfield and David Hricik] “How To Work With Jargon” — advice for trial lawyers which generally works as applied to persuasive writing…

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