Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, to his enduring credit, cares about the reality that New York has far more poor than lawyers for the Legal Aid Society could ever hope to represent. While his tenure as Chief Judge will be short lived, he plans to leave behind the machinery to make a dent in the gaping hole called “access to justice.” From the New York Times:
Lawyers who work for big corporations in New York but are not licensed to practice law in the state will be allowed to do pro bono work under a new rule meant to ease an acute shortage of legal representation for the poor, the state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, announced on Monday.
The rule change, which takes effect on Wednesday, is the latest in a series of measures that Judge Lippman has championed in recent years to reduce what he calls “the justice gap.” New York is the fourth state to let out-of-state lawyers working as counsel for corporations offer their services to the poor, without restrictions. Continue reading
And the desire to invent the next cool thing moves forward. So what if it’s not really new? So what if it’s hardly cool? So what if it has the ability to cause all sorts of mischief? We love apps, and seriously, isn’t that what the digital world is all about?
Via the Tampa ABC affiliate:
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — In a high-tech effort to battle crime, the Tampa Police Department recently launched a free smartphone app.
With a few clicks, city residents can submit anonymous tips to police and learn about unsolved crimes and “most wanted” criminals on their iPhones or Androids. Continue reading
When I received the email from Dan Hull at What About Clients/Paris? it wasn’t hard to imagine the look of exasperation on his face. There are few people in the blawgosphere who have had their content ripped off more consistently than Dan, and unlike the rest of us whose posts ended up on some scammer’s website, Dan’s was different. The thief always seemed to be a lawyer. Lawyers just wanted what Dan wrote.
This time it was a young Dallas/Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer named Carl David Ceder, who had lifted wholesale one of Hull’s best known and most appreciated posts, his 12 Rules of Client Service. This was first posted in 2006 and may be the post for which Hull is best known. Continue reading
The right to divorce isn’t as upbeat a topic as the right to marry…
While discussion of gay marriage tends to focus on equality and the right of every person, no matter what their sexual preference, to be part of a loving relationship, the fact is that marriage isn’t merely an “institution,” but a legal status. And when loving relationships turn less loving than they once were, the ending of that legal status can only be accomplished by another legal status, divorce. Continue reading
When the video first appeared, it was more fuel for the fire of bad cops. Bad, bad, bad, because we know bad cops happen and, well, they aren’t always our favorite people. So we’re disinclined to consider the possibility that maybe the bad cop isn’t so bad. Mix in Dunkin’ Donuts and, well, it’s too perfect.
See what a bad cop Daniel Chu is? An official-ly person said so, and we want it to be so, and so we believe. Dan Halloran, a Republican and Libertarian, Continue reading
The ABA Journal, striving for relevance, announced its seventh Blawg 100 Beauty Pageant. The good news is that SJ is no longer in the mix. Whether that means the brain trust has finally tired of my musings or SJ has been put out to pasture following its inclusion last year in the inaugural Blawg 100 Hall of Fame isn’t clear. Either way, it’s gone.
The bad news is that some of the contestants still don’t get the message, and pretend this somehow makes them important in the scheme of the blawgosphere. Now, they matter. People will be impressed with them, their words will matter. Continue reading
It’s like an implausible sitcom story that somehow worked, and all the other networks rushed to put on bad copycat shows of their own. Take pre-school teachers, mix in some innocent little children and tie it together with sexual abuse and the ritual murders of babies and animals. Bingo: primetime.
Except it wasn’t a bad TV show, and it cost too many people too many years of their life until the show was canceled. The latest was Fran Keller, who was released after spending 21 years of her life in prison because of this ridiculous yet beloved scenario of ritualistic abuse. And this came right on the heels of the release of the San Antonio 4. This was the progeny of the McMartin Preschool Case, the fantastical scenario that gave rise to a hysteria that swept the nation, or at least parts of it.
It pitted children against horrible people who sexually abused them and murdered babies. Continue reading
When a police officer shoots someone, there is invariably an investigation that follows. Forget that the outcome of the investigation tends to be a foregone conclusion, and consider that they still go through the motions. Of course, the police strongly prefer when the officer’s story aligns with the facts, and this becomes even more important when the facts are shown via video.
There are, therefore, two primary routes to be taken following a police shooting: First, question the officer about what happened and why he decided to shoot to kill rather than protect and serve. If he tells the truth, then his story will be confirmed by subsequent evidence, ranging from witnesses to the event to the omnipresent video. Continue reading
The heyday of the Beastie Boys came well after my music appreciation days waned. But apparently they had some misogynistic song about girls back then which now embarrasses them. Punk rock had a way of doing that, songs that shocked in ways that should remind everyone writing today that their words will still be around later when they’ve grown up.
Thirty years later, GoldieBlox stole the song, put its own lyrics to it so that it could use it in a commercial to sell stuff to girls. There was a video of it available when it happened, but it’s since been removed. Not because the song was pretty awful, both in the first place and the remake, and not even because the Beastie Boys were particularly beastie in demanding that GoldieBlox not use their song. Continue reading
It was very late for me, but there was nothing I wanted to do more than to drive to the train station to pick up my boy at 11:17 last night. He’s home now. I’m thankful to have him asleep in his bed.
The notion of Black Friday is bad enough, but that people who work in retail stores that have decided to push the shopping opportunity forward so that it impairs their ability to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families is just wrong. Do not go shopping today, no matter how enticing the sales may seem. If you go, you will encourage this wrong. Continue reading
Forgive the title, as it was thrust upon me by a United States District Judge who feels he was the victim of the tyranny of the disjunctive. The truth is that the conjunctive was there for him, but he eschewed its safe harbor. His having made the choice, I can do no less than respect it.
It began with a random listicle that included this:
On Friday, I sentenced a young Guatemalan woman, with no criminal history. Horror of horrors, she used a fake idea [sic] to get a shitty job. Despite the Guidelines, I sentenced her to time served and no supervised release. That way ICE will allow her to depart voluntarily and she will be able to take her three little American-born kids with her back to a country where there is no milk and honey but only grinding poverty. Aren’t I a fucking hero? Continue reading
Via Timothy Geigner at Techdirt, it appears that the fine, upstanding airline company, United, came awfully close to killing a living thing.
United Airlines nearly killed an owner’s beloved dog and agreed to pay her vet bills, but only if she signed an non-disclosure agreement. Janet Sinclair brought her pets, Sedona the greyhound and Alika the cat, on a cross-country trip using UA’s “PetSafe” program, which makes several promises about how the animals will be treated and what type of conditions they’ll be exposed to. It would appear, to put it mildly, that the airline failed to keep their promises.
See what they did there? Create a “product” and marketing will give it a cool name like “PetSafe,” Continue reading
There is no need to explain the problems with giving cops excess military stuff. Radley Balko has already done so in his book, Rise of the Warrior Cop. But it presents an open question: With so many billions of dollars worth of military equipment no longer needed elsewhere, what should be done with it?
On the one hand, if police have it, they will use it. Not just for parades and trips to elementary schools, but against any threat to their authority, whether it is an unlawful chicken ranch or the neighborhood poker game. Continue reading
Well, no. The headline asserts something for which there is absolutely no basis whatsoever. I made it up out of whole cloth. Which puts me in the company of the Dallas Morning News:
In Houston alone, about 300,000 sex trafficking cases are prosecuted each year.
(Dallas Morning News Editorial: Cracking down on sex traffickers).
The number is such obvious nonsense that anyone who gave it any serious thought would decry it. (Amy Alkon and Walter Olson got there before me.) But the DMN blithely published it as fact.
This was an editorial, and people read editorials and rely on them to form their opinions. And so it would seem that there is a “sex trafficking,” Continue reading
Is this what we’ve wrought?
What!?! Outrageous! Mean! Death to curmudgeons!!! Continue reading
A little over a month ago, the question arose: how long before the anti-revenge porn advocates would go after the Safe Harbor provisions of Section 230? The answer appeared, via a post by Josh Blackman, in an article in U.S. News & World Reports:
Activists seeking to criminalize “revenge porn” say they are working with a member of Congress to prepare federal legislation that would force Internet companies to take down the sometimes X-rated content.
The proposed law has not be [sic] finalized and its sponsor does not wish to be identified yet, according to University of Miami law professor Mary Anne Franks, who is helping draft the bill. Continue reading
Not long ago, Dr. SJ (for those unaware, that would be my darling wife, who prefers that her real name not appear anywhere on the internets) gave a medical equipment vendor a fax number to send some paperwork. As she was home at the time, she gave out our home fax. Big mistake.
We have been getting mid-night faxes from a scam business loan operation, night after night. Yes, it violates the CAN-SPAM act of 2003, 15 U.S.C §7701 et seq., but so what? The operation, traced back to its roots based on a website found at the BBB (communitybf[dot]com), appears to be out of Panama, or Russia, China or a million other places, but otherwise provides a phony telephone number and address. Continue reading
The only possible way this could have happened is if some cop in the Cornelius, Oregon, police department had whispered in someone’s ear. That, or it was the most mind-bogglingly lucky screw-up imaginable when volunteer certified law student, Stacy Du Clos, decided to subpoena some officers of the department to testify at trial on behalf of the defense.
Via The Oregonian:
In a rare move, defense attorney Stacy Du Clos, who is a certified law student, had summoned Officer Dustin DeHaven’s colleagues as character witnesses. It was DeHaven’s arrest of her client that led to the trial. Continue reading
I have nightmarish memories of talking to prosecutors and judges in an effort to explain why a client didn’t behave the way they thought a “normal person” should. It’s reminiscent of Angry Nancy Grace’s screeching, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Why don’t people do what reasonably well-educated middle class people think they should?
Two things came across the twitters over the weekend that helped me enormously to understand why. The first is from Huff Post by Linda Tirado, entitled “This Is Why Poor People’s Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense.” The second is a 1996 article from the Instructional Leader by educator Ruby Payne entitled “Understanding and Working with Students and Adults from Poverty,” courtesy of Shoirca.
There is much here worthy of discussion, but you have to read both pieces first. They are worth your time.
Update: While I appreciate the emails about other posts that you think are relevant or related, these are the two that I have chosen to commend here. The reason is that one is a first-person, as opposed to a third-person (of which there are millions), narrative, and the second is a somewhat empirically based analysis as opposed to an anecdotal commentary (of which there are millions). While I appreciate your interest and effort to “help me out,” these remain my choices. Feel free to post other things on your own blogs.
Update 2: As it turns out, the Linda Torado piece at HuffPo is a fraud. What a shame. My apologies.
Reactions to my post about non-lawyers offering legal advice have raised some interesting points, ranging from the distinction between talking about the law and giving specific advice about what to do to avoid being a guest of the government for a long stay. It went on to questions whether simplified generic advice was good enough, or the best we can do. It’s important stuff, and seemed worthy of further discussion.
On my sidebar to the right, it says: Nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice. This is free. Legal advice you have to pay for. It’s a snarky way of saying that what you read here is not, by definition, responsive to any individual’s legal situation. If I were to give you legal advice, I would ask you very specific questions, delve into the material aspects of your conduct and what happened, and then tell you what I think is appropriate to your particular circumstances. That isn’t what happens here. Continue reading