Monday, April 30, 2007

Conviction Affirmed In Mississippi Murders

On April 12, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Edgar Ray Killen for the 1964 murders of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman. The court rejected a variery of contentions on appeal of the manslaughter conviction. The court found no error in the jury instructions and rejected the claim that the statute of limitations had run as there is no statute of limitations for manslaughter. The court rejected the claim that the defense had been prejudiced by the delay in bringing the matter to trial. In particular, the court found no basis to grant relief on Killen's contention (which the court accepted) that conviction would have been less likely if the case had been tried to an all-white jury in 1964. The court responded: "We shall do no more than add that we find this argument has no merit, and we are surprised it is made." (Mike Frisch)

April 30, 2007 in Law & Society | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

And Yet My School's Spam Filter Is Thrown By CiaLI$ and Thinks Doggie Style Is About Innocuous Pet Grooming

Posted by Alan Childress

This from New Zealand, actually News.com.au:

A WOMAN'S email to the help desk of Telecom New Zealand was rejected by a computer system because her name was Gay and "inappropriate for business-like communication".

Gay Hamilton, from the northern South Island town of Nelson, said while she was actually gay, she was concerned that the country's biggest public company was spending its time and resources on trifling issues, the Herald on Sunday reported.

"If they do have to put content filters on, then maybe they should ensure that it only gets genuinely abusive words," she said.

I am shocked that someone of any name would normally expect a response from a telecom's Help Desk.  Must be a NZ thing.  Anyway, the story is called "Gay's too gay for phone giant."

Hat Tip to the media law blog Freedom to Differ by Peter Black, a law prof at Queensland, who linked the story in his post, "Well, this is just silly."  Elsewhere he reports (from tomorrow, in fact) some interesting (and unsilly) internet and speech issues such as noting, "One of Egypt's most prominent political bloggers has decided to call it a day, citing harassment by security services as his main reason to quit."  And this report from Sydney, echoing our own recent worrying about public presences and bar licensing applications:

A woman denied a teaching degree on the eve of graduation because of a MySpace photo has sued the university.  Millersville University instead granted Stacy Snyder a degree in English last year after learning of the web-published picture of her, which bore the caption Drunken Pirate.

April 30, 2007 in Blogging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sorry, Jeff--I've got the contest all sewn up already.

It's day 1 of our move.  Cats are locked in the bathroom downstairs, w/a picture of cats on the door and a "please don't open the door--cats inside" sign on the door.  I tell the movers not to open the door, the cats are our life, yadda, yadda, yadda.  I run an errand and, when I come back, I find that "someone" has let the cats out of the bathroom.  The garage door was open, and I spent an hour worrying that the cats had not just escaped inside the house but had actually made a break for it outside (and they're INDOOR cats).  An hour and a half after I came back home, we found Grace and Shadow.  At the risk of embarrassing myself worldwide, I have photographic evidence of what happened when I put Grace back into the downstairs bathroom. 

Beat that, Jeff!

Posted by a very sore Nancy Rapoport.

April 30, 2007 in Law & Society, Lawyers & Popular Culture, Rapoport | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Traumatic Moving Story Contest

We are set to move in mid-June from Indianapolis to the Boston area, and it occurred to me, what with Larry Solum's list of 160+ new law professor hires, and the extensive list of lateral moves over at PrawfsBlawg and Concurring Opinions, that a schematic of all those moves would look like the orbitalVan paths of a heavy atom.

I figured, come September, there should be some truly memorable stories of moves gone terribly, terribly wrong.  It seemed to me that we here at LPB could offer some consolation in advance.  So we'd like to announce the "Most Likely to Induce Heartfelt Sympathy" Moving Story Contest. Even as your furniture is being broken, or your car scratched, or your books lost, or your apartment not ready, or your basement flooded, or your buyer in the old house backing out of the closing two days before you have to close on the new house, you'll have a chance to tell the story Katrina and, if our judges like it (they are currently residing in an undisclosed location), you'll have a chance to win the pictured t-shirt (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) right out of Alan Childress's top drawer.

Here are the contest rules:

1.  You must be eighteen years or older to enter, and must be moving your household more than fifty miles in connection with a full-time entry level or lateral law professor job.  Tawdry and/or sickening tales of area code marriages and awful commutes are not welcome (that's what Delilah is for).

2.  Stories may not exceed 250 words unless they are capable of peer review scrutiny in which case please don't send them to us.

3.  We cannot guarantee that we will acknowledge receipt or even read them.  Funny is good.  Sending a link to a well produced You Tube works.

4.  All decisions of the judges are completely, totally, and irrevocably final, unless we make a mistake.

5.  Delivery of one Harrier jet to Alan Childress's house in River Ridge, Louisiana (please don't park it on the street) along with a word for word perfect recitation of the opinion in Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. will make that entrant the presumptive winner.

6.  If Alan doesn't want to give up that t-shirt, the sponsors have the discretion to substitute any other valueless khazzerei as the prize.

7.  Offer void where prohibited and to anyone moving to assume a chair endowed by a resident of Kalispell, Montana.

8.  The best stories will be published here, and submission constitutes permission to publish.  Consider this when submitting stories about disputes with the dean about reimbursement.

9.  Employees of Legal Profession Blog and their families are not eligible to participate.

10. Entries must be e-mailed, postmarked, or sealed with a kiss before 11:59 p.m. on September 30, 2007.

[Jeff Lipshaw]

April 30, 2007 in Hot Topics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Welcome Wagon: New Blog by P.D.

It is called Woman in Black and it is also featured by the Arbitrary & Capricious "Skelly Wright" blog written by a public defender (in Idaho, I think).  Welcome.  [Alan Childress]

April 30, 2007 in Blogging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ethics Stories This Morning: On Logos as Deceptive Ads, Judge+Prosecutor In Camera, and Suing The Pants Off Someone

Posted by Alan Childress
New today is Blawg Review's survey of recent blogposts of interest, hosted this week by Blawg IT and written by Iowa patent attorney Brett Trout.  In addition to recognizing Jeff's ode to lawyers knitting as a "great summary" of the top ten reasons, Brett covers three LP-related posts.

First, he links this David Giacolone "f/k/a" post on the Florida Bar's rather inconsistent dealings withPanterfirmlogo logos:  lion good, panther bad -- that sort of thing.  That was especially problematic for a firm named Panter, Panter, and Somebody (so the bar seems to have eventually relented there), leading David to refer to the "Florida Bar’s Dignity Police and Advertising Nannies."  The logo-debate's most recent incarnation is going after a firm (our story here) for its pitbull icon and the phone number 1-800-PITBULL.  That firm defends itself withPitbulllogo_2 this post

Second, Brett reports on possible ethics charges up to disbarment for a prosecutor and a judge in Colorado, linking from Al Nye.  The AP news account is "Ex-judge, prosecutor face discipline for admitting having sex in judge's chambers."  Brett notes that "I have had that happen to me several times -- but it has always been in more of a metaphorical sense."  We have previously noted the issue of prosecutor-on-prosecutor action in the stadium ladies' room during a Seattle Seahawks football game (you know you are getting old when you think:  don't they realize those tickets cost a fortune?).  We sincerely hoped Law & Order did not feature Fred Dalton Thompson in a story "ripped from the headlines" there.  As for the new Colorado story, there is no truth to the rumor that Angie Harmon will return for a guest spot for yet another headline-ripped plot.  Anyway, the prosecutor is fired and the judge's case is before the judicial review board.

Third, the Blawg Review links to this and this recent account of the D.C. lawyer/administrative law judge who is suing his dry cleaner for $67.3 million (not just a paltry $62.2 million), for a pair of damaged pants.  Here is the take of the local newspaper from Ward 5 on that as well.  Some pants.  [UPDATE:  WSJ Law Blog and its readers react here.]

Finally, and not via Blawg Review but via Yahoo!News (I still have trouble with an important newssource other than E! having an ! in its name), is this defense of Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank, Wolfowitz:  Ethics Panel Knew of Pay Deal.  Really it is from the Associated Press.

April 30, 2007 in Blogging, Ethics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hing on Collaborative Lawyering and the Example of Yen

Posted by Alan Childress

Bill Ong Hing (U.C. Davis), below left, has posted to SSRN Law & Soc'y: The Legal Profession his article, "Coolies, James Yen, and Rebellious Advocacy."  His goal is "to remind contemporary rebellious advocates of collaborative possibilities" through the example of James Yen.  Here is the first part of Bill's abstract, with the rest of it beneath the fold:

Those of us who engage in progressive legal work need to be constantly reminded that we do not know everything -- that we are not knights in shining armor swooping in to save subordinated communities. We should be collaborating: working with rather than simply on behalf of clients and allies from whom we have much to learn. Though lawyering for social change is arduous work, there is much to gain in these battles against Hing2 subordination, not simply from the potential outcome but from the collaborative process itself: as our clients gain strength and confidence, we too are renewed. Thus invigorated by the talent, spirit, and innovation that our clients and allies bring to the table, we aspire to bring that same sense of renewal to those with whom we work.

As a legal services attorney, a law school clinical instructor, and a volunteer with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), I am constantly amazed by the talented clients and non-lawyer allies I have encountered. From my contact with such allies I have drawn the invaluable lesson that the fight against discrimination -- in essence, the fight against subordination -- is one that community lawyers wage most effectively with allies and clients. In their work, these allies demonstrate that the struggle requires skills, techniques, and approaches that, unfortunately, conventional law school classrooms neglect.

If we seek to become more effective collaborative lawyers, then we should keep our eyes open for individuals from whom we can learn. Long before I became a lawyer, I met such a person named Y.C. James Yen. Though perhaps little-known among contemporary community lawyers, Yen's work has merited accolades all over the world, as well as broadened and enriched my own perspective of progressive lawyering.    [
continued]

Continue reading

April 30, 2007 in Abstracts Highlights - Academic Articles on the Legal Profession | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Prosecutor Sanctioned

An assistant county attorney who had forged a judge's name to a court order in a juvenile matter was suspended by the Iowa Supreme Court for not less than nine months. The attorney had a prior record of similar misconduct as well as a previous sanction for a conflict of interest. The attorney had a history of depression but the court was not convinced that his mental state was sufficiently causally related to the misconduct to be treated as a substantial mitigating factor. (Mike Frisch)

April 29, 2007 in Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Defense Counsel "Springs" Video of Plaintiff Not Paralyzed on Plaintiff's Counsel

On Law.com's Inside Opinions: Legal Blogs, Carolyn Elefant has a thoughtful and interesting post entitled, "Who's More Ethical: the Lawyer With the Client Who Lied or the Lawyer Who Withheld Evidence of the Lie?"  She discusses a Florida med mal case involving a plaintiff who could actually walk (as caught on candid Empty_wheelchair camera) and her own attorney's finding out about the defendant's Clients Gone Wild video much later, on a motion to dismiss for fraud -- after nearly two years of working on and investing in the case.  The reader's comments after are worth reading too.  She links to Mike Cernovich's post, "It's a Miracle!"  Mike asks, "What would you have done?"  His view, somewhat in contrast with Carolyn's: "I think [defense attorneys] made the right choice.  By sitting on the evidence for a while, they prevented the plaintiffs from explaining it away."

The original Law.com account of the court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim adds:  "Lawyers on both sides are facing ethical questions about their own conduct in the case, though both sides say no Florida Bar complaints have been filed."

[Alan Childress]

April 29, 2007 in Ethics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sanctioning Recovering Addicts For Ethics Violations

The Kansas Supreme Court decided a disciplinary case last week that addresses an important and sometimes controversial aspect of professional regulation. The attorney had been a cocaine addict since 1981. He was able to control his drug use during a period of time when employed in a job that involved random drug testing. After leaving, he had periods of controlled and uncontrolled abuse of crack cocaine. For one year, he sat in his basement smoking crack. He also had been in treatment but had relapsed.

As one might imagine, he had a series of unhappy neglected clients. The bar prosecuted a case that found misconduct in a significant number of cases. The attorney has now been on a path of recovery since 2005.

What is the proper sanction? In light of the recovery, should the court order probation with conditions rather than suspension or disbarment?

Here, the court was not prepared to simply order probation in lieu of indefinite suspension with the prospect of reinstatement on a showing of continuing recovery and a solid plan for close supervision. The court considered the ABA Standards for disciplinary sanctions in reaching its result.

In its seminal case In re Kersey, 520 A.2d 312 (D.C. 1987), the D. C. Court of Appeals allowed immediate probation without suspension for an alcoholic attorney who had engaged in more serious misconduct including three instances of misappropriation. The attorney was farther along in his recovery than in the Kansas case and had a detailed probation supervision plan. The Board had recommended a one year suspension with probation to follow assuming continued recovery. The D.C.court has also declined to treat cocaine addiction as a mitigating factor in attorney discipline cases. (Mike Frisch)

April 29, 2007 in Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Top Ten Most Common Passwords Used Online (#1 is a Tad Self-Referential)

Posted by Alan Childress37709_61143721

1. password         6. monkey
2. 123456             7. myspace1
3. qwerty              8. password1
4. abc123            9. blink182
5. letmein            10. (your first name)

Says PC Magazine in May 8 issue, and threadwatch.org.  [HatTip to Electronic Ephemera, which also suggests that "HintDropper.com takes the guesswork out of gift giving for you."]  Quick, Jeff, change the LPB backdoor . . .to letusin.

April 29, 2007 in Blogging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)