Wednesday, March 12, 2014
A Fresno, California judge has disqualified himself from a civil case after the trial's conclusion but before signing the final judgment following his admission that he was Facebook friends with an attorney in the case. The Fresno Bee reports:
The judge who smacked Paul Evert's RV Country with a $4.5 million defamation verdict has disqualified himself from the case after he admitted that he was Facebook friends with one of the lawyers who prevailed in the Fresno County Superior Court civil trial.
Judge Jeffrey Hamilton's decision to give up the case appears to follow state judicial ethics guidelines. It also puts the verdict in question because he had not signed the final judgment, and could give rise to Evert and his employees getting a new trial.
The story suggests that prior to trial commencing, the judge revealed to all parties that he was friends with the plaintiff's attorney. No party lodged an ojection to the judge presiding upon that revelation. However, the judge failed to disclose his Facebook friendship until after he ruled for the plaintiff, who was represented by his Facebook friend, in a non-jury trial. In the defense motion to disqualify, defense counsel claimed that the judge's relationship with plaintiff's counsel was "was closer than had been previously disclosed by Judge Hamilton," and that had the Facebook connection been disclosed, defendant would not have waived a jury trial.
Notably, California Judge's Association Judicial Ethics Opinion No. 66 (2010) relating to judicial use of social networking states:
When a judge learns that an attorney who is a member of that judge’s online social networking community has a case pending before the judge the online interaction with that attorney must cease (i.e. the attorney should be“unfriended”) and the fact this was done should be disclosed ... Regardless of the nature of the social networking page, maintaining online contacts while a case is pending creates appearance issues that cannot be overcome through disclosure of the contacts.
- Judge is Disqualified After Sending Litigant a Facebook Friend Request
- Texas: Facebook "Friendship" Alone Does Not Require Recusal
- Extraneous Remarks Leads to Remand for Re-Sentencing
- Estlinbaum, Social Networking and Judicial Ethics
- Florida: Facebook Friendship Leads to Judicial Disqualification
- Social Networking Judges and Attorneys
- Judges and Facebook
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Over at the Appellate Advocacy Blog, Tonya Kowalski (Washburn) has an interesting post on popular fonts for legal writing, including some informative links on typeface requirements in the various courts around the country. Recommended.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Tigran Eldred (New England Law) has posted "Motivation Matters: Guideline 10.13 and Other Mechanisms for Preventing Lawyers from Surrendering to Self-Interest in Responding to Allegations of Ineffective Assistance in Death Penalty Cases" on SSRN. The article is forthcoming in the Hofstra Law Review. Here is the abstract:
Defense lawyers whose clients are sentenced to death are virtually guaranteed to be accused of ineffective assistance of counsel. The question is how they will respond. On one hand, lawyers alleged to be ineffective are obligated under Guideline 10.13 of the American Bar Association’s Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases to continue to safeguard the interests of their former clients, a duty that includes full cooperation in appropriate legal strategies chosen to pursue the ineffectiveness claim. On the other hand, lawyers who are accused of ineffectiveness often react defensively to the allegation, reflexively viewing the claim of poor performance as an attack on their competency and reputation. To date, there has been no systematic attempt to understand how these tensions are mediated and resolved.
To fill this gap, this article explores the psychological dimensions of how lawyers can be expected to respond to allegations of ineffectiveness. Relying on empirical research into “motivated reasoning” – a phenomenon that describes the many ways in which people unconsciously seek out, interpret and recall information in a manner that is consistent with their pre-conceived wishes and desires – it argues that motivation can be expected to play a dominant role in how lawyers respond to alleged ineffectiveness. Further, because motivation exercises its power implicitly, efforts to encourage compliance with the obligations set forth in Guideline 10.13 must take into account the subtle psychological forces that influence behavior. Simply put: motivation matters.
Counsel's ethical obligations in response to an effective assistance claim is an important and often overlooked study area. Such such claims are frequent in the criminal system, and are frought with ethical landmines. Attorneys facing such a claim must answer the claim with due regard to the duty to maintain client confidentiality. Under what circumstances may an attorney reveal client confidences when responding to the ineffective assistance claim? This is a serious question attorneys and courts must address in such cases.
Professor Eldred gives criminal law attorneys much to consider when confronting a claim that representation rendered to a client has been deficient. He has highlighted important ethical considerations an attory must weigh when responding to an ineffecitve assistance claim. The paper is also useful to judges that issue orders compelling responses to such claims. I don't agree with everything Eldred has written, but on the whole, this paper covers new ground and will be useful to practicing lawyers and judges.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Readers may find the article, “The 20 Most Infamous Celebrity Mug Shots of All” of interest. hich Here is the link: http://blog.arrestrecords.com/the-20-most-infamous-celebrity-mug-shots-of-all-time/.
Guess who number one is? Tim Allen
Hat Tip: Ashleigh Bell
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Adjunct professors at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have voted to form a union, becoming the second adjunct group to unionize. Tufts University adjuncts in Boston became the first local group to unionize in the nation last fall. Matt Rocheleau at boston.com has the full story here.
Missouri-Kansas City professors Allen Roston and Nancy Levit, have for the last five years been posting on SSRN, "Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals." They most recently updated the survey in January 2014. This update includes contact and submission information, suggested format, and expedite/withdraw information for 203 law reviews and journals.
Since 2009, South Carolina professor Colin Miller has been regularly updating a similar article on SSRN -- "Submission Guide for Online Law Review Supplements, Version 7.0." As the name suggests, this guide contains valuable information for authors seeking to publish shorter essays in the various online supplements found at leading law review and journal websites. With the latest update, the article surveys 49 online law reviews and includes online law review name and contact information, the types of articles published, submission information and suggested format.
These two surveys are invaluable resources for prospective authors.
Monday, February 24, 2014
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court, in a 6-1 split, has ruled that a school district violated a transgender student’s rights under the Maine Human Rights Act when it prohibited her from using the girls’ communal restroom at school.
- See more at: http://legalclips.nsba.org/2014/02/06/maine-supreme-judicial-court-rules-in-favor-of-transgender-student-on-bathroom-issue/?utm_source=NSBA+e-Newsletter+Subscribers&utm_campaign=f0060b79c1-Legal+Clips+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_498fb22860-f0060b79c1-309615025#sthash.kTjL9NbB.dpuf
Doe v. Regional Sch. Unit 26, No. 12-582 (Me. Jan. 30, 2014)
The son of legendary Delta bluesman Robert Johnson can keep profits from the only two known photographs of his father, the Mississippi supreme court ruled Thursday.
Robert Johnson died at the age of 27 in depression-era Mississippi having lived his brief adult life as an itinerant Delta bluesman. In his life he only recorded 29 songs, and there are only two known photographs of him in existance. He died before he turned 30 and the exact location of his grave is unknown (though there are three markers for him -- one in Morgan City MS, one in Quito MS, and one north of Greenwood MS). After his death, Johnson became one of the most influential guitarists in music history --- in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Johnson 5th among the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
The case is Aynne Anderson v. Stephen C. Lavere, No. 2012-CA-00601-SCT (Miss., February 20, 2012). Mississippi courts had previously declared Robert Johnson's son, Claud Johnson, to be his sole heir in 1998. This case turns on the relevant federal and state statute of limitations' application to the facts. The case is interesting not only for its historical significance to music fans, but also as illustrating how testimony in once case case turn fatal in a subsequent claim.
According to the case, Plaintiffs Anderson, et al., initially believed they were the heirs to the Robert Johnson Estate -- Johnson died intestate in 1938 and left no estate of value, or so anyone then thought. Plaintiffs opened Johnson's estate in 1989 believing themselves to be the bluesman's only heirs. During the proceedings, they testified under oath that the recordings and two photographs were the Johnson Estate's property. However, Mississippi courts ultimately found Claud Johnson to be Robert Johnson's only heir.
In this subsequent litigation over rights to the two photographs, Plaintiffs' asserted the those same photographs belonged to them personally. The court wrote:
Also, we note that during the [prior] heirship proceedings, Anderson and Harris did not claim the photographs belonged to Thompson. Rather, they claimed the photographs were assets of the Johnson estate. They assert that they did not bring a separate action because they thought they were the only heirs to the Johnson estate, and thus they were entitled to the photographs as Johnson’s heirs. So, only after losing the estate case did Anderson and Harris bring a separate action claiming that Thompson – and not the estate – owned the photographs. This strategy cannot serve to toll the statute of limitations.
A collection of Robert Johnson's recordings, "The Complete Recordings" won a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best Historical Album.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Matter of Capello v. Commissioner of Labor, ___A.D.3d___(3rd Dep't. Jan. 16, 2014), is an interesting case. The employee tried to argue that he was not terminated for misconduct because the employer delayed firing him. The employee was absent a week after the incident and it then took the employer 2 weeks to investigate.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Texas Tech Law Review will host its 2014 Criminal Law Symposium on the subject of Homicide on April 4 at the Mark and Becky Lanier Auditorium on the campus in Lubbock. The schedule includes Carol Steiker (Harvard) as keynote speaker and panels on intentional homicide, unintentional homicide and capital murder. For more information, look here.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Galbraith v. Westchester Medical Center, ___A.D.3d___(2d Dep't. Jan. 15, 2014), is an interesting read. A hospital perfusionist stated a cause of action under N.Y. Labor Law Section 741. He alleged that alleging that he was demoted in retaliation for his objections to the rapid infuser policy, which he voiced because he was concerned that it threatened the quality of patient care.
Note, that this is a public sector employment law case. The law is far my restrictive in the private sector in New York.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Assessment Across The Curriculum
Institute for Law Teaching and Learning
Spring Conference 2014
Saturday, April 5, 2014
“Assessment Across the Curriculum” is a one-day conference for new and experienced law teachers who are interested in designing and implementing effective techniques for assessing student learning. The conference will take place on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Conference Content: Sessions will address topics such as
- · Formative Assessment in Large Classes
- · Classroom Assessment Techniques
- · Using Rubrics for Formative and Summative Assessment
- · Assessing the Ineffable: Professionalism, Judgment, and Teamwork
- · Assessment Techniques for Statutory or Transactional Courses
By the end of the conference, participants will have concrete ideas and assessment practices to take back to their students, colleagues, and institutions.
Who Should Attend: This conference is for all law faculty (full-time and adjunct) who want to learn about best practices for course-level assessment of student learning.
Conference Structure: The conference opens with an optional informal gathering on Friday evening, April 4. The conference will officially start with an opening session on Saturday, April 5, followed by a series of workshops. Breaks are scheduled with adequate time to provide participants with opportunities to discuss ideas from the conference. The conference ends at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Details about the conference are available on the websites of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning (www.lawteaching.org) and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law (ualr.edu/law).
Conference Faculty: Conference workshops will be taught by experienced faculty, including Michael Hunter Schwartz (UALR Bowen), Rory Bahadur (Washburn), Sandra Simpson (Gonzaga), Sophie Sparrow (University of New Hampshire), Lyn Entrikin (UALR Bowen), and Richard Neumann (Hofstra).
Accommodations: A block of hotel rooms for conference participants has been reserved at The DoubleTree Little Rock, 424 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR 72201. Reservations may be made by calling the hotel directly at501-372-4371, calling the DoubleTree Central Reservations System at 800-222-TREE, or booking online atwww.doubletreelr.com. The group code to use when making reservations for the conference is “LAW.”
Kelly S. Terry | Associate Professor of Law
Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning
Director, Externship Programs & Pro Bono Opportunities
UALR William H. Bowen School of Law
Friday, February 14, 2014
Northwestern Law and the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning (http://lawteaching.org/) are sponsoring the following conference: What the Best Law Teachers Do: Educators in Action, June 25-27, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois.
What the Best Law Teachers Do: Education in Action is a two-and-a-half day conference that will provide a forum to hear the insights and teaching techniques of one-dozen remarkable law educators, among those interviewed in Harvard Press’s newly-released book. The educators will share their insights and teaching techniques over the course of two full days. For more information, to register for the conference and to make reservations please visit website
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
A proposed sale of the Charleston (SC) Law School to a Florida-based company has captured the state legislature's attention, and it appears some there may have other plans for the stand alone law school.
Some powerful S.C. lawmakers are trying to stop the sale of the Charleston School of Law to a Florida-based company to clear the way for it to merge with a state-supported school, a move that would give South Carolina two publicly funded law schools.
But other lawmakers say South Carolina already struggles to sustain the state’s 33 publicly funded colleges, universities and technical schools, adding the state should not interfere with private business transactions.
Here is the full story from Adam Beam of thestate.com. According to the story, some legislators proposed to merge the law school with the College of Charleston, a public university located in downtown Charleston.
The University of Georgia School of Law is hosting its 14th Annual Legal Ethics & Professionalism Symposium on February 21, 2014, at the law school campus. The symposium is titled, "Who Are They to Judge? Ethical and Professionalism Issues Facing the Bench." Here is the description from the symposium website:
This annual legal ethics symposium is titled "Who Are They to Judge? Ethical and Professionalism Issues Facing the Bench." Members of the judiciary are facing increasing ethical challenges and being subjected to enhanced scrutiny as a result of the changing dynamics of both their jobs and the legal profession more generally. During this symposium, an impressive lineup of judges, attorneys and professors will examine three important areas in this regard: (1) judicial elections and their effect on the decision-making process; (2) collegiality, decorum, and civility between the bench and the bar; and (3) the process, results, and aftermath of investigations into alleged judicial misconduct.
Here is the link for registration and program information.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Harvard Law Review will host its Symposium 2014: Freedom of the Press this Saturday, February 15 at Harvard Law School. The Symposium's focus will be the 50th Anniversary of the landmark First Amendment case New York Times v. Sullivan. Here is the Symposium webpage.
Acknowledgement: Ronald L. K. Collins at Concurring Opinions.