Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lisa Bloom’s Moment As A Lawyer

Even a faux-feminist show pony needs to earn a living, you know. Nobody paid Lisa Bloom to talk to the microphones about the pain and suffering of sad victims, even though that was her brand.

Stop giggling. When Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey included the $895 per hour in their book, “She Said,” it was to inflame the masses with her outrageous fee, even though it’s second tier, teetering on third, for good lawyers. But that was the problem for Lisa Bloom. She was a pseudo-celebrity lawyer, much like her mom, Gloria Allred, but that didn’t pay the bills. Guys like Harvey Weinstein paid the bills. At least that’s what Bloom thought. Continue reading

Scolding Mosley

Not that Walter Mosley needs anyone’s help to tell a story, but a commenter, Patti Jacobs from San Diego, was too perfect to pass up. Let’s assume she’s female, because in a sane world her name would be a giveaway, and she’s likely white because I assume she would have said she wasn’t if she wasn’t. Regardless, Patti Jacobs put the cherry on top:

The dialogue has already been opened, and the change has already taken place. The n-word is offensive at all times, by all speakers.

Says who? Says Patti Jacobs, the person who gets to tell you, and Walter Mosley, what can and cannot be said. All words. All speakers. It’s unclear what Patti Jacobs’ day job is, but it wouldn’t be surprising to learn she works in HR, keeping the work world safe from discomfort. Continue reading

Maryland Court of Appeals Abrogates Accomplice Corroboration Rule

Why? Why would a defendant rat out his “accomplice” to the cops or prosecutors? A few general reasons come quickly to mind: First, sometimes it just happens, when a suspect is being interrogated and the name just comes out. Second, there’s misdirected anger, when a defendant gets nailed for something and believes it’s unfair that he has to go down but the other guy is going to get away with it. Why him? Why should he take the fall?

Third, because a defendant comes to the realization that he’s not going to walk and sees opportunity. Whether it’s the chance to snitch and get credit that will serve to reduce his sentence or there’s some hated person, and this is a chance for revenge. It may even serve to accomplish both purposes, a sentence reduction and vengeance. As long as the defendant is going down anyway, why not make the most of it?

There is only one hurdle to making this work, the accomplice corroboration rule, which “requires that accomplice testimony be independently verified to sustain a conviction.” It’s not much. Any independent corroboration will do, no matter how slight. Continue reading

The Legacy Bump

When my son and I met with the dean of admissions at my alma mater, he could not have been more accommodating. My son didn’t want to go, but I tricked him because they were holding the Cornell Open fencing competition that weekend and it made the perfect lure. He won, despite only being in high school, and they wanted him to fence for Cornell.* Plus, he was a direct legacy.

Of course, my son didn’t care. He didn’t want to go there, no matter how sweet the dean’s endearments. And he didn’t need my legacy bump to get where he wanted to go.

In a 2012 blog post, Chris Peterson, an assistant director in the M.I.T. admissions office, put the issue in stark terms. “I personally would not work for a college which had legacy admission because I am not interested in simply reproducing a multigenerational lineage of educated elite. And if anyone in our office ever advocated for a mediocre applicant on the basis of their ‘excellent pedigree’ they would be kicked out of the committee room. So to be clear: if you got into M.I.T., it’s because you got into M.I.T. Simple as that.”

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Dirty Money, Dirty Donor

Joi Ito was about as odd and quirky a choice for director of the MIT Media Lab as imaginable. He had no college degree, yet held a professor’s rank at the Institute and was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. His background was like a shotgun blast, with buckshot spread everywhere. And yet, he was director of MIT’s flagship program in innovation.

Then came Jeffrey Epstein, who turned out to be a significant donor to the program, even as no one is entirely clear where Epstein’s money came from. But Ito knew one place it might go, and that was his lab and his personal enterprises. Part of the job is to get donations, and Epstein was one of Ito’s “go-to” guys. Was it wrong to take his money?

I’m writing about Ito, not because I think he ever participated in the heinous acts Epstein was accused of, but because his willful ignorance of Epstein’s record contributed to the harm of the victims. A well-written New Yorker article by Amy Davidson Sorkin details how much of Epstein’s power lay in his powerful network of men, many of whom were in academia. Another article, by Philip Weiss in 2007, says that when asked about his child prostitution charges, Epstein responded, “Have you managed to talk to many of my friends? … Do you understand what an extraordinary group of people they are, what they have accomplished in their fields?”

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Kopf: Magic Mirror On The Wall, Who Is the Fairest One Of All?

An amusing thing recently happened at the Fifth Circuit.[i] It all started with a  qualified immunity (QI) case. Cole v. Carson, No. 14-10228, No. 15-10045 (5th Cir., August 20, 2019) On a petition for rehearing en banc following remand from the Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit once again affirmed the denial of summary judgment on an excessive force claim. Plaintiff and his parents had filed suit against police officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officers violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment during an incident in which the officers shot the kid who was holding a gun near his head as he suddenly emerged from a tree line.

Although the majority decision is patently wrong and, given the remand, appeared to thumb its nose at the Supreme Court, the result of that opinion is not what I care about. Instead, I write about two dissents. Those dissents remind me of an iconic Disney movie and the pertinent question it recalls, “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

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Raise The Bar On Cancel Culture

Thought you heard the end of “I know you are but what am I” when you were on the playground in third grade? No, of course you didn’t, because you are no doubt following the smartest and most persuasive people your tribe has to offer, and they’re hurling variations of this infantile reply fast and furious.

Breitbart, that bastion on deep alt-right thought, dug up some old twits from a University of Alabama Dean of Students.

Jamie Riley had dared to criticize the American flag and the police, writing in 2017 that they represent “a systemic history of racism for my people.”

Breitbart decided that this and other tweets of Riley’s merited an article. Reporter Kyle Morris wrote that “a series of resurfaced tweets from Dr. Jamie R. Riley, the University of Alabama’s assistant vice president and dean of students, show he once believed the American flag and police in America are racist.” But the tweets didn’t just resurface on their own—they were publicized by the right-wing news site in order to send a social media mob after Riley.

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Seaton: The Case of the Stolen World Championship

This week, dear readers, we’re taking a break from Mud Lick and the usual shenanigans within to share a current events story combining several of my guilty pleasures: absurd humor, law, and professional wrestling.

Chris Irvine, better known as Chris Jericho, is a professional wrestling superstar, frontman for the heavy metal band Fozzy, and spokesperson for cat litter. On August 31, Jericho became the first ever All Elite Wrestling World Champion after beating “Hangman” Adam Page during All Elite’s “All Out” show in Chicago.

Sometime Sunday, the All Elite Championship was stolen. According to the police reports, Jericho flew from Chicago to Tallahassee and took a limo from the airport to a Longhorn Steakhouse, presumably to celebrate his championship win. Once at the Longhorn, Jericho realized he’d inadvertently left his luggage at the airport and asked the limo driver to fetch the correct luggage. Continue reading

Short Take: System Failure

While Theresa Brown’s “inside nursing” op-ed might be seen as limited to the sphere of hospitals, it’s not.

The nurses were hiding drugs above a ceiling tile in the hospital — not because they were secreting away narcotics, but because the hospital pharmacy was slow, and they didn’t want patients to have to wait. I first heard about it from Karen Feinstein, the president and chief executive of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, who reported it at a board meeting several years ago. I wasn’t surprised: Hiding common medications is a workaround, an example of circumventing onerous rules to make sure patients get even basic care.

Workarounds are legion in the American health care system, to the extent that ECRI (formerly the Emergency Care Research Institute) listed them fourth among its list of top 10 patient safety concerns for health care organizations in 2018. Workarounds, the group writes, are an adaptive response — or perhaps one should say maladaptive response — to “a real or perceived barrier or system flaw.”

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Bad And Badass In Boston

News out of Boston was deeply disconcerting. The progressive district attorney, Rachael Rollings, had decided against prosecuting “counter-protesters” at the ridiculous Straight Pride Parade. The reports showed that Judge Richard Sinnott refused to dismiss the cases.

Even more outrageous, an attorney representing one of the defendants, was held in contempt and taken into custody.

Susan Church, a prominent Cambridge-based immigration lawyer, was in court to represent at least one client who was arrested by Boston police during the controversial so-called “Straight Pride” parade and counter-protests on Saturday. Continue reading