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Monthly Archives: August 2007

Whack-a-Defendant

A clip from the most recent episode of Adult Swim’s “Robot Chicken” which just made me giggle (and I apologize for the absolutely garish colors Adult Swim has included with their embedded video player):

Gives a whole new meaning to “whacking off,” don’t it? Thank you, I’ll be here all week.


A QuizLaw Update: Hang ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

rickperry.jpgGood news out of Texas. A few weeks ago, we told you about the case of Kenneth Foster, who was sentenced to death under Texas’ absurd Law of Parties statute, which basically makes you equally guilty of a crime your buddy commits if you’d shared a cigarette the night before. Here, Kenneth Foster was about 100 yards away, and allegedly had no prior knowledge of what was about to happen, when a friend of his shot another man to death. Foster, despite never pulling a trigger, was sentenced to death.

Well last night, in an extremely rare move, Texas Governor Rick Perry commuted Foster’s sentence to life in prison. How rare? Well, Perry apparently only grants clemency when he’s pressured by the Supreme Court, and has done so in the case of two mentally retarded men and twenty something juveniles. Of course, bloodthirsty Perry will have plenty more opportunities to satiate his need to kill: There are five more executions scheduled for September and, if all goes as planned, 33 people will be put to death in 2007.


The Daily Memo - 8/31/07

check.jpgApple has been sued … again … this time “over alleged violations of accessibility laws” in its San Francisco retail store. (Engadget)

check.jpgA slew of folks (including AOL, Amazon, Borders, Google and Yahoo) have been sued for patent infringement involving the automatic interpretation of e-mails. (Download Squad)

check.jpg“[P]ursuant to a settlement, Augusten Burroughs has agreed to no longer refer to Running With Scissors as a ‘memoir,’ but instead a ‘book,’ and add materials to future editions making clear that the book is only loosely based on his life.” (ALOTT5MA)

check.jpgA judge rules that it doesn’t matter if she lies online and tells you she’s 18 when she’s really 14, i.e., stay away from underage poon, you perv! (ars technica)

check.jpg“Bobby Brown claims in a lawsuit that Whitney Houston has kept him from seeing their teenage daughter.” …Can you blame her? (Not that she’s much better.) (CNN)

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Gordon Ramsay makes me laugh

gRamsay.jpgSo a little while back, Gordon Ramsay (a celebrity chef most well known on this side of the pond for “Hell’s Kitchen”) was sued over his new show “Kitchen Nightmares.” “Nightmares” is an Americanized version of his British show where Ramsay goes to ailing restaurants and spends a week trying to help them turn things around. One restaurant Ramsay visited for the new show was Dillons, a midtown Manhattan restaurant. It’s this visit that got him sued by Martin R. Hyde, the restaurant manager at the time (Hyde was fired after the show taped). Hyde alleges that the show staged things to make the restaurant look worse than it was, and that Hyde was humiliated by Ramsay.

Ramsay has now spoken out on the lawsuit and I’m not sure he makes his true feelings truly known when he calls the lawsuit and its accusations that his show faked scenes “a fucking joke.” Ramsay goes on to say:

“I would never-ever-ever dream of setting anything up. I want to sleep at night. We were issued a writ because, God bless America, if the toilet paper is not thick enough and you come out with a rash on your ass [you’ll get sued].”

Ramsay also wants to make it very clear that the restaurant in question, Dillons, wasn’t a lovely place:

“We found extraordinary droppings from rats and the most unhygienic kitchen I’ve ever seen in my career. There should be a government health warning before the program saying ‘all dinner should be consumed before watching this program.’”


I wonder if he threatens to send his kids to Gitmo if they bring home B’s?

The following, which is about as spot-on as one can get, is by Mike Luckovich, courtesy of Truthdig:

lkgonzo_resigns500.jpg

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Nicely Packed, Bag Boy

nn_mank_baggy_061024.300w.jpgYou see, this is the problem with city councils: They have so little to do, that they starting making up shit to justify their meager salaries. And now, there’s yet another new trend in city ordinances which is sweeping the nation, preoccupying otherwise bored city council members tired of hearing about zoning regulations and overhangs: It’s ass overhangs.

Indeed, two cities in Louisiana are considering bans on baggy pants, which would bring the total to six (6) cities in the state to ban droopy pants under indecency laws. Fines can range from $25 to $200 and community service. Atlanta is also considering passing a similar ordinance, specific to baggy jeans that reveal thongs or (tacky) underwear.

Of course the ordinances are ridiculous. And of course they’ll probably be challenged at some point and stricken from the books before “belt brigades” and “sagging” courts are put into effect. But, personally, while I’m not keen on the fashion aspects of the baggy jeans, I’m certainly impressed: How the hell do you hold up your pants when they’re six inches below your ass? I have a certain respect for any fashion choice that defies gravity.

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Bone Thugs-n-JD

With a huge hat tip to Above the Law, I give you … the “The Thug Lawyer:”

ptaMon.JPG

If you head over to Lat’s post, you can read all about P’Ta Mon, JD, the reggae musician who’s “close to the streets.”


The Daily Memo - 8/30/07

check.jpgGeena Davis has sued a charity she says she helped create. (Defamer)

check.jpgA federal court has upheld a ban by NYC’s City Council prohibiting the use of metal bats in highschool baseball. (ESPN)

check.jpgAny story including a mobster named Joey “The Clown” just can’t be bad, right? (CNN)

check.jpg“Edwards wants law against ‘Brownies.’” (Reuters)

check.jpgShocking and breaking news: Ethics require lawyers who order court transcripts to pay for them. (Legal Profession Blog)

check.jpgThe Second Circuit is punting on the issue of federal sentencing. (WSJ Law Blog)


Who You Calling Gay?

tucker.jpgCommenting on the Bathroomgate, Larry Craig’s endeavor to get his wet willied over a urinal in an airport bathroom, Tucker Carlson said something kind of unsettling. He tells Joe Scarborough (at around the 2:50 mark in this clip) that he was once solicited by another man in a Georgetown bathroom, and his response was to go get a friend, return to the bathroom, grab the guy, and “hit him against the stall.” What’s so unsettling about it — other than the notion that any gay man would be hard up enough to hit on a douchebag with a bow tie — is the raucous laughter that this little anecdote elicits from both Scarborough and the Aryan fuckmonster hosting this particular show. I mean, Jesus: These are grown men teetering like Beavis and Butthead about the idea that Tucker knocked around a gay guy. If a female prostitute had hit on Tucker Carlson, and had he banged her head against the stall, would they still be laughing like junior high punks who’d just stolen someone’s lunch money?

Besides, where the hell does Tucker Carlson get off laughing about a guy’s sexual orientation. Nice shirt, buddy.

Oh, and the latest on bathroomgate, is that the Republicans are trying to talk Craig into stepping down, not because he’s gay, but because he committed a crime. Of course, of course. It has absolutely nothing to do with his homosexuality, even though it took a federal felony indictment and ample evidence of criminal behavior to get any Republican even remotely behind the Tom Delay ouster.

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So I guess a recommendation is out of the question?

openHouse.jpgHoward Moore recently got out of a Northern California jail after serving an 18 month sentence for robbery. Earlier this month, he decided to celebrate in, apparently, the only way he knows how — he arranged for a 47-year-old real estate agent to show him a house and, during the viewing, he attacked her, raped her and robbed her. While all this was going on, the unidentified woman tried to gain his trust and befriend him, even going so far as to tell Moore that she might be able to help him get a job as a security or body guard. They arranged a job interview for the next day and son of a bitch if Moore didn’t actually show up to the designated coffee shop for his job interview!

The idiot scumbag was promptly arrested by sheriff’s deputies, of course.

And actually, Moore got off lucky. The victim said her original plan was to “exact vigilante justice on him” because she was afraid he would wind up behind bars for his crime. A relative of hers, who happened to be a former cop, managed to talk her out of going Charles Bronson on Moore, and that’s how the sheriff got involved.

But what the hell? I mean, I know it takes a bent mind to commit rape in the first place, but to then actually believe that your victim is going to hook you up with a job? I don’t know why I continue to be dumbfounded by the idiocy of so many people, yet the morons of the world always find a new way to get me. So my hat’s off to you for that, Mr. Scumbag.

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It’s funny cause it’s true

I have no doubt some uppity-up at the RIAA employs exactly this type of logic on a daily basis:

RIAAmatrix.jpg

(Hat tip to Legal Antics.)


Ooops I Crapped My Pants

nowak.jpgEverybody thought Lisa Nowak was all sorts of astronaut shit crazy a few months back when she bought some diapers, a wig, and a trench coat and drove a couple thousand miles to stalk her romantic rival. Well, ladies and gentlemen: The diaper trick is the oldest in the book. I mean, it all but guaranteed that not only would she plead insanity to any charges brought against her (attempted kidnapping, battery and burglary) but that she’d probably even get off Scott free. It’s genius, right? I mean who the hell but a crazy lady decides to risk shitting her pants so she could kill her man’s new lover?

But if you ask me, it was a calculated move that may just set off a rash of diaper-insanity defenses that will flood the legal system. Just think: If Michael Vick had worn his Huggies while torturing and executing dogs, he might’ve avoided a prison sentence. If Paris Hilton had simply shat her Pampers before getting pulled over for that DUI, she’d have never spent a night in jail. Seriously, everyone should wear their Depend undergarments — you never know when you’re gonna get an attack of the crazies, and a wet diaper is like your get out of jail free card.

Crazy like fox.

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Misdemeanor Files: Make Sexy Time with Corpse

13983891_240X180.jpgJesus! Roderick Jones is a kinky motherfucker (and, by the looks of his mug shot, way fucking hiiiiigh). The man likes to get freaky with dead folk. As in, raising up a corpse leg, pulling off her stocking all slow-like, peeling off her plastic covering to the soulful sounds of Barry White, and plundering away at a dead lady like the club-hopping Butabi brothers to Haddaway’s “What is Love.” And just minutes before her viewing at a funeral home, no less.

A man’s gotta get his freak on. And I guess a little thing like death ain’t much of an obstacle.

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The Daily Memo - 8/29/07

check.jpgIrony, thy name is a copyright advocacy group which violates copyright law. (Slashdot)

check.jpgWell of course strippers will know when you’re paying them with counterfeit Benjamins. (UPI)

check.jpgAn ex-Tennessee state senator has been given a nice 5-and-a-half year vacation in the clink, thanks to some bribing. (LawInfo)

check.jpgA judge has ruled that using a program like Kazaa basically opens you up for direct copyright infringement liability. (ars technica)

check.jpg“The latest on Laptopgate” (“Laptopgate” being the New York bar exam debacle). (Above the Law)


If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it…

wWonka.jpgA month ago, a ban was put in place in Brattleboro, Vermont, forbidding folks from being nude in public. While this ban was only temporary, there was recently a proposed ordinance which would’ve made the ban permanent. However, it was voted down 3-2 last week, so once the temporary ban runs out, public nudity will be legal again! Residents against the ban feel that our country is “going down a slippery slope these days” with ever-increasing intolerance.

But 967 people from the town signed a petition showing their support for the ban. The organizer of the petition asks: “What is the point, other than shock and awe, that the nudists are trying make?” Clearly, this is a man who has never experienced the joy of a cool breeze upon his Willy Wonka, unencumbered by anything as pesky as clothes.

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Common Sense Lesson #153

ebay.jpgWe’ve told you before that when you’re planning to commit a crime, you need to cover your tracks. Don’t leave a “weapons to buy” list lying around, don’t ask your neighbor to watch your kids while you go a-killing, etc. It’s just poor criminal sense. And another one of these rules you need to follow is this: If you’re planning to make illegal drugs, don’t use your own account to purchase the ingredients on eBay.

This is the lesson that 29-year-old Carl Andrew Dubois has learned, now that he’s been arrested for making Ecstasy. The Colorado man not only got all of the ingredients he needs off of eBay (using a Pay-Pal account of course tied to his personal credit card), but his e-mail address was the rather on-the-nose “freebasing@hotmail.com.” When he and his girlfriend were arrested a few weeks back, the cops found enough stuff in the house to make over 50,000 tabs of X, which would have a street value of a whopping $3 million.

So this lesson isn’t just about common sense, it’s about good business, since Dubois wound up taking a rather substantial loss by not following this easy rule.


You Don’t Know Where that Thumb has Been

X081820U.jpgHere’s an interesting story that’s only tenuously related to the law, but what the hell: Roger Ebert is currently in contract negotiations with Disney over a renewal of his movie review show, “At the Movies.” While the show used to feature Gene Siskel and Ebert, because of Siskel’s passing and Ebert’s ill health. it’s now mostly Richard Roeper and an assortment of guest hosts who may or may not have their own agendas.

Anyway, negotiations are not going particularly well and Roger got all offended at the meager first-offer Disney made, so Ebert got all pissy and decided to withhold the thumbs up/thumbs down grades that the show gives. And who the hell knew that Ebert and Siskel’s estate owned the thumbs up? It’s trademarked. How about that? You’d think for sure that Henry Winkler owned that. Anyway, Ebert is withholding the designation for the time being, though it’s likely that he’ll never be back on the show and Roeper will have to go on being irrelevant with a permanent co-host. I mean, respect to Ebert and all, but movie criticism has moved on — unless you’re jamming those thumbs into your eye sockets and pulling out a bit of brain matter, no one is gonna be that interested in your opinion.

Man, I miss Fat Ebert.

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He Really Loves Spuds

C000858.jpgIdaho Republican Senator Larry Craig is in all sorts of political hot water — enough to drown a couple of Vegas male prostitutes and top off a gin. Up for reelection next year, after three terms in the Senate, his campaign is in jeopardy after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct in a men’s room at a Minneapolis airport. The arrest happened in June and, early this month, Craig paid a $500 fine, avoided a 10-day jail sentence, and the issue sort of disappeared. It’s hard to say why, as August is winding down, that someone decided to really make this a story — maybe in a slow news week, the media decided to catch up on some old scuttlebutt it missed, and went after Craig — who has a history of hating the gays and was a big supporter of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign (and Craig’s presumed/alleged/supposed gayness is political cooties to Romney’s presidential bid).

At any rate, the Associated Press, reporting on the story, is apparently way too goddamn classy to come right out and say what happened. AP writes that Craig’s sexuality has been in question since the 1980s, it writes that allegations he has engaged in gay sex have never been substantiated, and then it writes that his arrest “changes the dynamic.”

And, presumably, what the AP means by “changes the dynamic,” is that Craig’s political career is completely ruined because the man attempted to pull out his little Senator and have one of the bathroom’s constituents do a little oral gerrymandering on the man’s cock.

How’s that for classy?

And, apparently, all Republican Senators are now having sex in bathrooms.

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The Daily Memo - 8/28/07

check.jpgGot questions for the Democratic presidential candidates? (Slate)

check.jpgA Washington prosecutor “is facing allegations that that he did not properly disclose past sexual relationships with the mother of a victim in one case and the mother of a defendant in another.” (MyPlainView.com)

check.jpgA Scotsman was perfectly happy to go to jail when a Stockholm restaurant called the cops on him after he refused to pay a $20,000 tab. (The Local)

check.jpg“Photographer sues church for slip on water.” No word on whether it was holy water, but if it was, seems to me like God’s plan trumps any claim for damages. (Madison County Record)

check.jpgIf you’re committing crime and you don’t want to be easily identified, maybe you shouldn’t have face tattoos! (SunJournal.com)

check.jpgIn re Blawg Review. (Texas Appellate Law Blog)

check.jpgMedicare is going to stop paying for preventable incidents (“hospital-acquired complications”) like things being left in a patient after surgery (where non-coverage seems to make sense) and infections that come after heart surgery (where I’m a bit more perplexed). (Guardian Unlimited)

check.jpgAllen Iverson’s step-pappy has been indicted on federal drug charges thanks to some crack he had in his car last April. (SI)

check.jpgPulp Law Review tells the truth about its law review submission policy. (Concurring Opinions, via WT&E Prof Blog)


“In my day, we slang yeyo uphill both ways….”

Tinnen93.jpgSo might say 93-year-old William C. Tinnen. The North Carolina nonagenarian was arrested last week after a police raid of his house turned up coke, drug paraphernalia and guns. Three others were arrested as part of this large undercover sting, and they were all hit with a slew of charges (interestingly, those other three have a collective age that’s only a little more than Tinnen’s 93 years). Tinnen, himself, was hit with charges of cocaine-trafficking, possession with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and owning a house to sell drugs from.

Needless to say, Tinnen is facing a sentence, if convicted, which would keep him in jail for whatever years he has left.

The sad part of this story is this — what has this country come to when even our drug dealers can’t retire and enjoy their golden years? Breaks your heart, doesn’t it?


It takes balls to do something like that … some might say it takes Powerballs! (Thank you - I’ll be here all night.)

powerB.jpgRajinder Kauer was recently arrested and charged with grand theft. Kauer works at a 7-Eleven in northern California, and her alleged grand theft actually took place on the job. Get this — a guy came in with his Mega Millions ticket and she told him he won $4, happily giving him the cash. And since the guy was apparently too lazy to check the ticket on his own, he didn’t know that it was really worthy a cool $555,000. In fact, he only became suspicious of the whole thing when he heard a later report about a winning ticket being in the wild, but that a winner had not come forward yet.

I mean, if you’re gonna bother playing the lotto, can’t you at least take the ten second effort to check your numbers? That way, if you win, at least you can claim you did something to earn the money, you know?

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It’s so hard to say goodbye….

Yes, there’s a chance Chertoff may take over as our new Attorney General, but let’s enjoy the eye at the center of the storm for a moment, can’t we? Here, as Bonnie Goldstein at Slate puts it, is the “long-awaited letter of resignation, effective Sept. 17.”

AGresignationLetter.jpg

Meanwhile, the WSJ Law Blog looks at some of the folks, including Chertoff, who might be our next AG. So does Slate.

Meanwhile, Bush is still a delusional prick:

It’s sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.


Achy Breaky Lawsuit

billy-ray-cyrus-2.jpgBuddy Sheffield, a comedy writer who has written episodes of “The Smothers Brothers” and “Dolly,” filed suit against Disney, claiming that the studio ripped off his idea and turned it into the Disney Channel show “Hannah Montana.” He is suing for breach of contract, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment. His pitch, he claims, was about a junior high student who lived a double life as a rock star.

According to an IMDB description, “Hannah Montana” is about Miley Stewart, who “leads a completely normal life, except for one factor. She’s teen pop sensation Hannah Montana! She lives with her fun dad Robbie Ray (Billy Ray Cyrus) … and goes through average teen problems including pimples, bullies, and the occasional wicked cousin trying to reveal your secret.”

When asked for comment about the pending litigation, the current writer for “Hannah Montana” could not be reached, as he was too busy trying to color within the lines and preparing for the upcoming Special Olympics, in which he’ll compete against “Hannah Montana’s” casting director.

To relive that Achy Breaky magic, just hit play on the video below!


There Are No Coincidences

owen_wilson_the_royal_tenenbaums_001.jpgIt looks like every goddamn gossip blog in the known universe is reporting today that Owen Wilson — known as the Butterscotch Stallion on Defamer and a lot of other blogs who stole the line from Defamer — attempted suicide and is currently being hospitalized before being detoxed. When I heard the news, I was dumbfounded, mostly because I knew his career is going fairly well (You, Me, and Dupree notwithstanding) — he’s got another Wes Anderson flick coming about this fall (and the kids love the quirky Anderson movies), and he’s got four other films in various stages of production, all of which look very promising. What would compel the man to try to take his own life? It just didn’t make any sense to me.

And then it clicked. As Seth reported exclusively in Georgia font, Alberto Gonzales resigned this morning. It all makes sense now. Owen was a closet-Republican, whose fondness for the GOP rivaled that of his Butterscotch predilections. Word must have leaked early in certain celebrity circles (everyone knows that the Hollywood elite are the Republicans beards) and Wilson must’ve taken the news awfully hard, triggering his suicide attempt.

Hang in there, Owen. Keep your chin up, buddy. We understand that Michael Chertoff may be in line for the position. Stay strong.

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The Daily Memo - 8/27/07

check.jpgI’m shocked this is in Utah and not Florida: “The wife of the Wendover police chief has been arrested for selling drugs at the club where she strips.” (KSL.com)

check.jpgA lawsuit against a pet store, on behalf of a girl bitten by a Rottweiler brought into the store by another customer, has been thrown out because customers bringing in their pets into pet stores is, you know, part of the whole pet store thing. (Overlawyered)

check.jpgWilson Sonsini prefers to kill all its birds with one stone. (Above the Law)

check.jpgMcDonald’s has itself another lawsuit, this time over — ewwww — a bloody bandage found inside a biscuit. (Charleston Daily Mail)

check.jpgThe lawsuit against supermodel Naomi Campbell just got juicier, as a judge has ruled that her past battles with aides and maids can be brought into the case. (FindLaw)

check.jpgThe Las Vegas law banning folks from feeding the homeless has been nixed by a federal judge. (LawInfo)

check.jpgThe chairman of the FCC supports cable plans which would provide for a la carte programming (as opposed to the current scheme of big channel packages). (PC Magazine)

check.jpgBrowsing kiddie porn online, even without saving the images, will still get you a charge of possession of child pornography, says the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. (Law.com)


When good ghost stories go bad

haunted.jpgOne night in August of last year, three high school girls snuck onto the property of Allen S. Davis. They did this simply because they thought his house was “spooky,” and they were looking for some cheap thrills. See, Davis’ house sits across from a cemetery, and has a bunch of unruly shrubs obscuring the view. Plus, Davis, who lives in the house with his mother, is a loner who has a bowl haircut and wears thick glasses and poorly-fit clothes. And in the 80s, neighbors used to hear screams coming from the house, courtesy of Davis’ grandmother. So we’re talking classic Haunted House here, making the girls’ curiosity entirely understandable.

And they were pretty harmless. Using their cell phones as flashlights (modern technology is just so dandy, ain’t it?), they just crept a little onto Davis’ property and, after being sufficiently spooked, they ran back to a car, honked the horn, and drove off.

Trouble is, Davis isn’t keen on trespassers, and he fired off a couple rounds from his rifle at the car. The girls heard the shots and thought it was just some firecrackers, until they stopped around the corner only to have another bullet come flying into the car, hitting one of the girls in her shoulder and head. She wound up with a paralyzed arm and leg, and Davis ultimately wound up pleading guilty to two counts of felonious assault, receiving a 19 year sentence in the clink.

Davis says that he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and that he was just trying to protect himself from trouble: “I didn’t know what their weaponry was, what their intensions were. In a situation like that, you assume the worst-case scenario if you’re going to protect your family from a possible home invasion and murder.” Many feel that Davis’ sentence was too harsh, particularly in light of reports that Davis had repeatedly been harassed in the past by other teenagers.

Others say that the girls should also have been punished for trespassing. The police, however, ultimately decided that the incident didn’t arise to the level of trespassing because the girls “had not gone far enough onto the property and no clearly visible signs had been posted.”

The moral of the story is, of course, clear - that house is totally haunted. I mean, it got a poor girl paralyzed, and a crazy dude thrown in jail. Seriously, if you’re ever in Columbus, Ohio, stay away from Spooky House.

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Adios Alberto!

gonzales.jpg
Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez finally took the hint, and he’s resigned. Good riddance.

Smell ya’ later Al.





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The booze is big. The driving is big. The getting arrested for drunk driving is not big.

johnCincy.jpgAustin Nichols, who played the titular character in HBO’s now-cancelled “John from Cincinnati” was arrested last week for Hollywood’s latest fad, a DUI. Word has it that he caught the suspicion of the po-po when his vehicle was seen driving the incorrect way down a one-way street.

When asked for an explanation of why he was drinking, one imagines Nichols said: “My show was cancelled, so I was drowning my sorrows.” When asked for an explanation of what the hell Milch meant by his enigma of a show, one imagines that Nichols just shrugged and said that he suspects that Milch, too, was hitting the bottle quite heavily.

I mean, seriously, that show wound up making about half-a-lick of sense.

Oh, and here’s some mugshot goodness for you, with Nichols apparently thinking he’s still playing the role of John, based on the goofy smirk:

0824_hbo_oto_mugshot.jpg


The “Stupid Drunk Scholarship” Goes To….

highVolt.jpgIn Indiana, Purdue University has entered into a settlement with the parents of Wade Steffey. Steffey, a freshman at the school, had been at a frat party on January 13. He later tried to get into a dorm building, because he had left his coat in a friend’s room. After it’s believed he was unable to open several doors, Steffey found a door that did open. Unfortunately for Steffey, this door led to a high-voltage utility room, and he was electrocuted.

Purdue agreed to give his parent half-a-million dollars, and to start a $100,000 scholarship endowment. Which would be the aforementioned “Stupid Drunk Scholarship.” I realize it’s unfair to automatically assume he was drunk, but (a) the story goes out of its way to mention that Steffey was last seen at a frat party and (b) you don’t get electrocuted just by walking into a high-voltage room — you gotta do something pretty stupid when you get in there. The kind of stupid thing one does when they’re drunk. You know, a “oooo — look at the purty wires” kind of thing.

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Punches Fly

Seth and I will be out in Vegas this weekend for our annual fantasy football draft. You can mock us when we return. Until then, if you’ve never seen the inner workings of a fantasy football draft up close and personal, it is not too unlike what happens in the Bolivian Parliament when they’re trying to get a law passed. And if you want to know what that looks like, simply check out this video.

After blows were exchanged the the fighting died down, you’ll be happy to know that the bill they were pushing was passed.


Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

fire_01.jpgTwo days ago, we brought you news that Amanda Monti had officially surpassed Lorena Bobbitt in the genital mutilation department, after she so rudely yanked out her ex-boyfriend’s testicle and attempted to eat it. At a party, no less!

Well, one woman in Moscow doesn’t like to be shown up:

A woman set fire to her ex-husband’s penis as he sat naked watching television and drinking vodka, Moscow police said Wednesday.
Asked if the man would make a full recovery, a police spokeswoman said it was “difficult to predict.”
The attack climaxed three years of acrimonious enforced co-habitation. The couple divorced three years ago but continued to share a small flat, something common in Russia where property costs are very high.
“It was monstrously painful,” the wounded ex-husband told Tvoi Den newspaper. “I was burning like a torch. I don’t know what I did to deserve this.”

And he was even drinking vodka … don’t you love it when Russian stereotypes are fulfilled by a man whose penis burns like a torch?

(Thanks for the tip, Jennifer)

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The Daily Memo - 8/24/07

check.jpgQuizLaw - now approved for judges. (Blawg Review)

check.jpgDidja’ hear that Karl Rove is being sued for wrongful termination? The thought of Rovey getting sued makes me giggle like a school girl. (CBS News)

check.jpgMan alive, things are not sounding good for Jabba the Judge. (Review Journal)

check.jpgA New Jersey man has filed a lawsuit because his coworkers allegedly laced his pizza with LSD. I dunno about you, but if I worked in Jersey, I’d probably be begging for a drug-laced slice. (WNBC)

check.jpgOver on the other side of the pond, a coroner’s office is suing the police because — get this — it’s “traumatic” to have to investigate gruesome unnatural deaths. And after all, why should the coroner’s office have to deal with such things? (The Sun)

check.jpg“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the nation’s chicken houses could be added to the list of potential terrorism targets.” (NBC4)

check.jpgLast Tuesday, the director of South Carolina’s prisons “defended a policy of punishing inmates who perform sex acts by dressing them in pink.” (Guardian Unlimited)

check.jpgA New Jersey judge has been sued over the way he reacted when he found his Maserati with a scratch on it. (Law.com)

check.jpgA blogger has been sued for $15 million for writing a less-than-positive review of a book. (Slashdot)


I’m not crazy, I’m just … oh, well, maybe I am just a touch nuts

theSun.jpgOver in Australia, Stephen John Peterson hasn’t been having many g’days (…sorry, I couldn’t help it!). Ten years ago, he assaulted a 62-year-old man at a train station. However, he wound up accepting a plea of not guilty of “wounding with intent to murder” by reason of being mentally insane. Which sounds like a relatively good outcome, all things considered.

But Peterson would beg to differ.

He’s been representing himself in an appeal of this ruling, and his reason for seeking this appeal is fan-tastic. He says he was on drugs at the time of his original guilty plea, and that the drugs are the only reason he accepted his lawyer’s advice to plead not guilty by reason of being mentally ill. And that would be totally fine and normal and dandy, but here’s the kicker:

He also said that despite three psychiatrists agreeing he was mentally ill at the time of the attack, the judge in his Campbelltown District Court trial, Joseph Ford, QC, erred by not consulting with a number of higher beings such as the “sun god” who he said had incited him to assault Mr Lowry.

That’s right folks, it’s the old “I’m not crazy and furthermore, I can’t believe you didn’t talk to the Sun God before declaring me crazy” defense.


The shame of it is, now he can’t even use the bank as a reference

25years.jpgEtni Ortiz is our favorite kind of criminal — the kind that lives in Florida. Last December, Senor Ortiz robbed a Bank of America. When he left the bank, one of the hidden dye backs exploded all over Ortiz and his things. So he dropped the exploded dye pack and some of the stained money outside the bank and carried on his way.

Nine days later, Ortiz held up a second bank, getting away with some more cash. His spree came to an end the following month after he was arrested while driving a stolen SUV. But the reason the cops knew specifically to be on the lookout for Ortiz?

Turns out that at the first robbery, Ortiz didn’t just leave behind some dye-stained money — he also left a copy of his resume and photos of himself!

Last week he was sentenced to over 8 years in the clink, after having previously pled guilty to two counts of bank robbery and a count of transporting a stolen vehicle.

Why does someone take their resume with them when they rob a bank, you ask? And that’s a perfectly valid question because in Florida, there are no stupid questions. Only stupid criminals.


U.S. vs. Iran?

Robert Greenwald, one of the foremost agitprop documentaries on the left, who was responsible for the brilliant (if you’re liberal) doc, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price and Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, among others, has put together this dandy of a video, strongly suggesting that Fox News is pushing us into a war with Iran.

I thought it was enlightening, anyway.

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Whoever Holds the Conch Gets to Speak.

kiddspan.jpgThere’s a television show debuting this fall on CBS called “Kid Nation.” The show basically involves leaving 40 kids, ages 8 - 15, out in a New Mexico ghost town for 40 days, allowing them little or no contact with their parents. The idea, I suppose, is that the producers are trying to create some sort of Lord of the Flies government until the group’s Piggy is killed by a rock a producer left in front of another kid, who the producers just force-fed half a gallon of Tequiza and told that Piggy stole his slingshot and raped his mom. Or something like that.

Anyway, what’s interesting about the show (because, God knows, the show itself won’t actually be) are the contracts that CBS insists the parents sign, lest their child be expelled from the show. Of course, these contracts are standard for adults in reality shows, but here CBS is making the kids (and their parents) solely responsible for “’emotional distress, illness, sexually transmitted diseases, H.I.V. and pregnancy’” that might occur if the child “chooses to enter into an intimate relationship of any nature with another participant or any other person.” Neither can CBS be held liable for the death, injury, or inadequate medical care of the children.

So, what the hell is it that these kids will be doing for 40 days? Well, whatever it is, we may never know the true back story. Not only are these kids (and their parents) forced to sign a confidentiality agreement, which runs for three years after the end of the show’s run (the entire show, not just a season) under penalty of $5 million, but the kids also sign away their life stories “in perpetuity and throughout the universe.”

And what do the kids get in exchange for giving up their right to sue if’n an 11-year-old knocks up nine-year-old Sally and beats her for eating his Trix? $5,000 for finishing the series. $20,000 if they win. And if a kid leaves at any time during the show, they get nada.

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The Daily Memo - 8/23/07

check.jpgTurns out that the government is a big loser when it comes to video game laws. (WSJ Law Blog)

check.jpgIf you’ve got a minimum of $4.6 billion, the FCC has some spectrum for you! (Slashdot)

check.jpgWho knew? Turns out that lawyers can’t take over $14,000 from their clients without doing any work. (WLBZ2)

check.jpgA man has pled guilty “to his role in an elaborate multistate insurance fraud scheme, in which he and his wife collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments after intentionally eating glass in restaurants, hotels and grocery stores.” (MSNBC)


Well if you’re gonna be a drunk driver, at least be an amusing one

reservedDUI.jpgLast week, Justin Callahan was driving his black truck on the highway, cutting off other drivers and flipping them the bird. He also chased after a driver and tried to run another off the road. He was eventually pulled over by the cops, who suspected he might be drinking (an open bottle of Wild Turkey found his truck certainly helped give that suspicion some legs). When they asked Callahan how much he had to drink, however, he threw down the gauntlet: “You figure it out.” He then refused to take a Breathalyzer or field sobriety test, which of course got him an immediate arrest and DUI charge.

Once he was put into the back of the squad car, he did his best to amuse the officers with various drunk statements. First, choosing to ignore the fact that he had just been arrested by a man in a cop uniform, he asked an officer what he did for a living. Later, he told the officer that he thought he was in Rochester, New York (you’ll be shocked to know that he was actually in Tampa, Florida). And lastly, he claimed: “I built this city.” I don’t know what this was in reference to, but I can only hope it was a reference to the wonderful Jefferson Airplane song:


Meth Heads are a Special Kind of Crazy

crystalMeth.jpgIn Eugene, Oregon, members of the police vice narcotics unit went into Gary Puckett’s apartment because he was suspected of being a meth dealer. Puckett was handcuffed and seated on his couch, and one detective was writing him a citation for meth possession and endangering a minor (there was a 15-year-old-girl in the pad). Other detectives, wearing latex gloves, were meandering about the apartment conducting a search.

That’s when James Lewis Wilkinson came into Puckett’s apartment, looking to score some meth. Ignoring the weird latex-gloved men, Wilkinson asked the ‘cuffed Puckett: “Can you hook me up? I really need a 30.” (Meaning a $30 bag.) Puckett said “I don’t think I can help you,” but Wilkinson was insistent. So one of the detectives decided to step into the situation by pointing to the badge hanging around his neck (oh yeah — all the detectives had their badges hanging in plain sight) and asking Wilkinson: “How does this shard look?” (“Shards” being small bits of meth.)

When Wilkinson was then told he was under arrest, he apparently said “no I’m not. I’m leaving,” and tried to run off. Needless to say, he didn’t get very far and he was quickly arrested. The cops also managed to arrest a dude who wondered into Puckett’s apartment with seven meth bags and when he saw the detectives — at least he recognized that the guys were detectives – he stuffed the meth bags into his mouth. And a fourth man was arrested when he showed up to the apartment with an illegal butterfly knife (which he intended to use to threaten Wilkinson, as he didn’t want Wilkinson sealing drugs to his girlfriend anymore).

The article says: “After that, police stopped answering the door.” Why the hell would they do that? I’d think they’d set up shop in the apartment for days and simply wait for all the crazies to come in and get themselves arrested.

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Lorenna Bobbitt, Step Aside …

bobbitt.jpgHoly Lord. Fellas, there’s officially a fear more terrifying than having your penis lopped off and thrown to the side of the road (where it can be found and re-attached). A 24-year-old lady in England has one-upped the Bobbitt. I mean, she knocked it the fuck out of the park.

Amanda Monti, 24, flew into a rage when Geoffrey Jones, 37, rejected her advances at the end of a house party, Liverpool Crown Court heard.
She pulled off his left testicle and tried to swallow it, before spitting it out. A friend handed it back to Mr Jones saying: “That’s yours.”

She tried to swallow it?!

Wait. Wait. Let’s back up. Let’s look at this from the beginning. So, Amanda and Geoff had some sort of “open relationship” but they broke it off on fairly good terms. Then they went a friend’s house for drinks. There was an argument. And then, as Mr. Jones, said: She grabbed his genitals and pulled hard.

I guess she did.

“That caused my underpants to come off and I found I was completely naked and in excruciating pain.” The court heard that a friend saw Monti put Mr Jones’s testicle into her mouth and try to swallow it. She choked and spat it back into her hand before the friend grabbed it and gave it back to Mr Jones. Doctors were unable to re-attach the organ.

I think I may have just fainted.

(Thanks, Edith, for the head’s up).

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QuizLaw’s Hairstyle of the Day

31990102.jpgYou know the old trick (highlighted in shitty sitcoms): A man gets in a minor fender bender, sees opportunity for a quick buck, fakes injury, falls out of car writhing in fake agony, and shows up to court a few weeks later with a brace around his neck and a $50,000 bill for emotional pain and suffering, as well as a $100,000 bill for bogus medical expenses.

Well, one woman has taken the scenario to the extreme. Indeed, around 4 a.m. on Sunday, a car driven by three woman collided with a police cruiser. Shava Shirlee-Sophia Powell was in another car at the time but — watching floating money signs dance in her eyes — she took that opportunity to jump out, hop into the crashed Toyota, and fake an injury, claiming her back was hurt when paramedics arrived.

At the hospital, after doctors found no evidence of injury, the woman attempted to flee when police were called in. Alas, she was foiled when the driver of the car reported that Powell had merely jumped in with the hopes of suing the police department.

If she wanted to bring a lawsuit, though, she might have considered filing one against her hairdresser. Damn.


The Daily Memo - 8/22/07

check.jpg“Ex-wife attempted to hire hitman to kill ex-husband - court rules ex-husband must still pay spousal support.” (Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog)

check.jpg“A cottage owner in Germany tried to ward off burglars by leaving canned foods on her doorstep, but robbers found the offerings so tasty that they broke into the house to get second helpings.” (Reuters)

check.jpgA “twisted made-for-TV movie” involving an optometrist left at the alter in Vegas and his follow-up assassination of the runaway bride in a Minnesota hotel room. (JS Online)

check.jpgHuck a water balloon, get arrested for elevated aggravated assault. (Sun Journal)

check.jpgWell who wouldn’t want a Supreme Court coloring book? (Above the Law)

check.jpgFour Supreme advocates provide a lengthy discussion of what the first full term of the Roberts Court means. (Law.com)


But we still don’t know if Goofy actually is a dog, do we?

From the entertaining Gary Varvel (an editorial cartoonist for the Indy Star) comes this imagining of Michael Vick’s less-than-dream jury:

vickJury.jpg

(Hat tip to Professor Bainbridge.)


Well if he loses his judgeship in Ohio, he could always move to Florida

judge.jpgOut in Ohio, Judge John Plough has his hands full. He’s currently being “looked at” by the Ohio Supreme Court because of a long list of complaints sent to the state Supremes by another local judge. This judge says that Plough is “making a mockery of justice” by trying to bully unrepresented criminal defendants into entering guilty pleas, by not keeping good court records, and by ignoring the right of defendants to a speedy trial.

And now Plough has gotten himself some more bad press for throwing assistant public defender Brian Jones into the clink because Jones wasn’t ready to take a case to trial. This is the second time he’s tossed a PD in the clink for not being ready for trial, and Plough also threatened the same punishment twice last year.

Dennis Lager, the chief public defender for the county, says that Plough basically expects these lawyers to be ready to take their cases to trial after just one or two days of being assigned to the cases. And this is a problem since, you know, public defenders (like all lawyers) “have an ethical and legal duty to represent our clients competently and effectively.” And things have gotten so bad that Lager’s office’s “standing policy is to insist on jury trials in Plough’s court because of the belief that Plough will not be fair to defendants if he hears the trials without a jury.”

You know, these pesky public defenders just want it all, don’t they? Folks complain that Plough doesn’t respect defendants’ Constitutional right to a speedy trial. So he tries to hurry these cases along and what does he get for his good efforts? More grief. Asked for comment, Plough said, “I know what Rodney Dangerfield felt like man — I don’t get no respect up here. Now where are some more criminals I can fuck over?”


Does this barn have any mood lighting?

barn1.jpgSadly, there have been too many stories about sex with animals here on QuizLaw. One such story is too many, in my book. And yet, here were are again. The subject of this particular story is 63-year-old Arthur Lawton, of Tacoma, Washington. He works in a barn, where witnesses claim they saw him getting it on with one of the goats. Lawton, meanwhile, simply claims he was trying to milk the goat.

It would seem that Lawton is the second person to be charged with animal cruelty under the state’s relatively new bestiality law (a law which was enacted in response to — yikes — “the fatal injury to a man having sex with a horse”). The other man charged under this law was acquitted. What’s more perplexing about that guy’s story in comparison to Mr. Lawton’s (beyond the fact that he was schtupping an animal, of course), was that he was charged with having sex with a pit bull!

I can’t even begin to fathom the mindset of those who seek out the animal love. But I can say that, were I to suddenly to explore the world of Animal Kingdom nookie, I surely wouldn’t go after ferocious beasts that could chomp off my little boy with one bite. Of course, that’s a more general rule of life I established in response to the LA night scene, but it applies equally here.


Damn, It Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Office%20Space.jpgWhat is that joke? Something about how if the apocalypse came, the only life remaining on Earth would be cockroaches and lawyers? Well, I’m pretty goddamn sure the lawyers would figure out a way for the cockroaches to file suits against one another because, damn, there’s always gonna be work for lawyers. And for our legal brethren out there worrying about a lack of billable hours in your future, four states are now considering legislation that would probably create enough new litigation to warrant the opening of another 1,000 law firms.

Indeed, California, Vermont, New York, and Washington state are all considering various forms of legislation that would allow employees to sue their bosses for, basically, being jerks. Apparently, bad bosses are a growing trend, so it’s only natural that state legislatures create abusive work environment bills — because what we really need is another avenue for frivolous lawsuits.

A lot of bosses suck. There are a billion bad boss stories. Some bosses are pricks because it works. Some are pricks just to be pricks. Some are very nice, but completely inept and incompetent. You know what you do about bad bosses? You deal. Or you quit. Or better yet, you tell your boss to jump up your ass and then you quit. Keep the goddamn lawyers out of it, because — in essence — you’re just trading one prick for another.

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A Dingo Ate My Baby

Michael-Vick-R_0.jpgSometimes, I wonder if people even listen to what the hell is coming out of their mouths. Like, Stacey Campfield, who is “just an average guy” that also happens to be responsible for passing legislation in the great state of Tennessee (and I’ll refrain from the use of [sic] lest this post be littered with them):

Does anyone besides me see the hypocrisy of some on the left who go nuts about Michael Vick and the whole dog fighting thing and yet are the same people who don’t care about the loss of human life caused by illegal aliens or are the same people who fight for the right to kill unborn babies?
I hear the battle cry of: “It is my body, it is my property, I can do with it what I want” from the pro aborts, but the opposite cry from the same person against a person who’s property is a dog. Do they respect the life of a dog more then they respect the life of a human?
My friend Lee Frank made a comment to me after the radio show “Lets talk Frank” I was on this afternoon. He said … ‘If Terry Schiavo was a dolphin or a dog (or a wale) she would still be alive today.” I found it hard to disagree.I started to think: How many dogs have been killed in dog fights versus how many babies have been killed in abortion clinics or by illegal immigrants. I bet dog deaths pale by comparison. But what do we see on TV every day on about every news channel?
Dog fighting is cruel and inhumane. But if Vick could have figured out a way to pit two unborn babies against each other in a fight to the death, maybe we’d outlaw killing children as quickly as we rushed to enhance penalties for crimes involving our pets.

First of all, what the fuck is a “wale” and why would being one make it any more likely that a brain-dead coma patient would be alive today? And second of all, is this dude actually suggesting that illegal immigrants kill babies?

And man alive, how awesome would it be if someone could figure out how to pit unborn babies against each other in a fight to the death … in a muddy pen on rural farm in backwoods America? I think Palahniuk has his next novel.

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The Daily Memo - 8/21/07

check.jpgBlawg Review #122 would probably be my favorite one yet, at least from a design and presentation approach, but for the fact that I don’t see Professor Seth or Professor Dustin. (preaching to the perverted)

check.jpgA former New York Giant, wide receiver Mark Ingram, has been arrested and accused with stealing a purse … he’s also been accused of sucking because all New York Giants suck (“E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!”). (SI)

check.jpgDown under, a nine-year-old alcoholic who’s been on a two-year crime spree has been tossed into the clink. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

check.jpg“The mayor of a town in northern Italy is offering overweight residents a cash incentive to slim down.” (BBC News)

check.jpgCarl Malamud is “a self-styled Robin Hood for the Internet age” who is trying to get more court opinions available online for free, much to the likely chagrin of Papa Westlaw and Mama Lexis. (WSJ Law Blog)

check.jpgThe “DVD Jon of coupon-clipping” has got a DMCA lawsuit all his own, over instructions to get around the copy protection of downloadable coupons. (Wired)

check.jpgRobots in court. (Engadget)

check.jpgA court has asked a mother embroiled in a custody battle to stop breastfeeding at the request of the child’s father, who’s concerned about medication the mother is on. (WCCO)


Chung Chung!

The formula is what makes it so comfortable, right?

indexLandO.jpg

(From the always wonderful indexed.)


Well at least he had his priorities in check

corona.jpgLast week, a dude down in the OC got busted for a DUI. Sheriff’s deputies noticed his car driving a bit unusually and tried to pull him over. This, naturally, led to a chase. At one point the unnamed driver even tried to run the deputies down. When that failed, he decided to jump out of the car and take them on a foot chase.

The thing of it is, you surely don’t want to lose your buzz while running from the cops, right? So this drunk made the smart play and took a beer with him!

“There was a 12-pack of Corona he was working on in the front seat,” Orange County sheriff’s Cmdr. Jeff Stonebreaker said. “He decided to take one of those over the fence with him. So, he bails out of the car and runs from the deputies with a beer in his hand.”

Shockingly, he didn’t get away from the deputies, and was promptly arrested and charged with DUI (not his first) and aggravated assault. And while we don’t know the cat’s name, we do have this wonderful image to remember him by forever:

drunkyMcDrunk.jpg


Dustin, please explain your home state

marriage.jpgRegular readers know that my QuizLaw partner-in-crime, Dustin, hails from the wonderful state of Arkansas. So maybe he can shed some light on how the brilliant legislators managed to pass a law allowing children of any age — including infants — to marry with their parents consent. Seems that the state legislature was planning to setup 18 as the minimum age for folks to marry (makes sense), but also wanted to allow pregnant teenagers to get married if their parents sign off.

But, whoopsy, a superfluous “not” wandered its way into the legislation:

In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage.”

So yeah, pregnant teenagers are the only ones who can’t get married under this bill. Nice.

Now to be fair, yes, this is simply the case of a word wrongfully being stuffed into the law. But that just proves that Arkansas’ legislature, much like our wonderful federal representatives, choose not to bother carefully reading the legislation they’re voting on. Nice.

[It’s not that they didn’t read it carefully, it’s that Arkansans can’t read at all. We’re too busy impregnating grade schoolers to learn. But the real question is: Can you marry your cousin if she’s a pregnant minor? — DR]


“If I Have My Period, I Can Go in There”

tdy_sanders2_justice_070817.standard.jpgHave you ever heard of Jimmy Justice? He’s some sort of petty-crime vigilante, I suppose. He carries a video-camera around with him, waits for cops to break traffic laws, and then he confronts them about it because, he says, “writing summonses is not about public safety; it’s about revenue.”

You can apparently find a lot of his handiwork over on YouTube, mostly involving cop cars double parking, making illegal U-turns, or parking in no-parking zones. The clips are pretty entertaining, despite the fact that Jimmy Justice is also quite the dick. Here’s one of the better ones, in which Jimmy takes a traffic enforcement officer to task for blocking a fire hydrant, while a fire is in progress:

And here’s another, where a traffic cop says she’s allowed to park illegally if she’s … er … if it’s her time of the month.


Ain’t No Crazy Like Ron Paul Crazy …

Ron%20Paul.jpgAbout six weeks ago over on Pajiba, we ran a poll asking who — at that time — most of our readers would vote for President if the election were held that day. The early results were mostly expected: Al Gore held a commanding lead, with something like 45 percent of the vote, and Obama was a distance second, with somewhere around 25 percent of the vote. However, there were a few votes for Libertarian freaktard Ron Paul, who would probably win the election in a landslide if voting were limited to the Internet.

Anyway, after about 1000 votes, people had moved on from the comment diversion to something new, probably a debate about whether it is acceptable to refer to a broken metronome as retarded or if it’s OK to taunt Rosie O’Donnell with cupcakes. But I started to notice traffic coming into the site from strange places and, a few weeks later, I went back and checked the poll. And, sure enough: Ron Paul has taken over the lead now with nearly 40 percent of the vote.

It’s because Paul-ites are dedicated. And bored beyond belief, especially to think that anyone would give a shit about the results of a six-week-old political poll on a goddamn pop-culture site.

Anyway, I offer all that as a not-so-amusing introduction to this far more entertaining clip from the old Morton Downey, Jr. show, which you may recall was sort of Geraldo, Donahue, and Springer all rolled up into one. Take a gander at Paul back during his first bid for President of the Libertarian Party, in 1988, here calling a kid a little overweight, which is exactly how he somehow managed to win the hearts of crazies everywhere:

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The Daily Memo - 8/20/07

check.jpgA Federal court has denied the website Suicide Girl’s (kinda NSFW) request for a preliminary injunction against the site God’s Girls (depending on what banner image shows up, definitely NSFW). (43(B)log)

check.jpg“In unprecedented order, FISA Court requires Bush Administration to respond to ACLU’s request that that secret court orders be released to the public.” (ACLU)

check.jpgThe ACLU also won a ruling that a couple arrested at a Bush rally for wearing anti-Bush shirts must be paid eighty grand by the federal government. (Boston.com)

check.jpgA Chicago alderman has proposed a 10 to 25 cent tax on bottled water, because the city needs some cash. (Daily Southtown)

check.jpgThe Department of Justice wants to put together a detailed official list of every porn star. (The NY Post)

check.jpgThe messy lawsuit between sci-fi author Harlan Ellison and Fantagraphics Books has been settled. (Fantagraphics News)

check.jpgWhole Foods has been given the judicial OK to buy Wild Oats, despite the FTC’s protestations. (FindLaw)

check.jpgAmerican Airlines has sued Google over keyword-ads which use protected trademarks. (Technology & Marketing Law Blog)

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Nobody puts Baby on a t-shirt

dDancing.jpgNobody is going to try to claim that Dirty Dancing is great art. Actually, that’s not true — I’m sure that there are totally folks who would try to argue this. Nobody should, that’s my point. However, it is responsible for the rather well known line “nobody puts Baby in a corner.” Delivered in the flick by Patrick Swayze, in the way only Swayze can, the quote has become a favorite of many in my generation, and managed to sneak onto AFI’s list of the top 100 movie quotes as entrant number 98. So it comes as no surprise that there are many places where you can buy clothes and other items with the quote on it.

Although it’s now come as a surprise to some of those retailers that Lionsgate, the film studio behind the flick, isn’t such a fan of the unlicensed merchandise. Last Wednesday the studio filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against 15 companies and retail websites, all of which allegedly sell merchandise with the popular quote without properly licensing the phrase. Lionsgate is seeking permanent injunctions and, of course, moolah.

It’s also trying to find out where Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey’s original nose is, and is seeking its return as well.

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Lord of the Flies

lordFlies.jpgCBS has a slightly controversial reality show slated for its new fall schedule, “Kid Nation.” In a nutshell, the network created a real world Lord of the Flies-type situation, dumping 40 kids (between the ages of 8 and 15) into a New Mexico ghost town without any adults. The kids spent a month-and-a-half there, trying to create a functioning society without any adults their big grown-up hands in the way. And while the show has yet to air, the legal issues are starting up.

First, the mother of Divad Miles (a participant on the show) has filed a complaint with the state of New Mexico, alleging that Divad’s experience was abusive and neglectful. The letter cites an incident where Divad burnt her hand with hot grease, and another incident where some of the kids accidentally drank bleach. To Divad’s mother, I pose this question: “Please explain how, exactly, letting your kid run off to compete on a reality show where they’re stuffed into a labor camp for 40 days isn’t abuse and neglect on your part?” I love the modern trend of parents shifting the blame off on everyone else.

The second issue CBS has to deal with, however, is a bit more serious and less about blame just being tossed around. Romaine Serna, who works for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, says that CBS almost surely violated state laws, especially considering the fact that her department was never contacted by CBS when any of the alleged abusive incidents took place. CBS, of course, says the state knew what the deal was and that a state labor department inspector even made unannounced trips to the set. But a state spokesman says that the inspector wasn’t actually allowed on set when they showed up. CBS ignores this point, but also says that it called the state attorney general’s office and was never told that it wasn’t in compliance with the law. Which, actually, is just more blame-shifting: “Well, they didn’t tell us we were breaking the law, so it’s all their fault!”

Admittedly, I know very little about this beyond what’s in the New York Times piece, but I’d certainly wager that CBS broke some laws with regard to all of this. And they know it. But they also knew this show would be controversial and two simple equations ruled the day on this one:

Controversy = Ratings = Ad Revenue

and

Ad Revenue > Legal Fees

Gotta love Hollywood.

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God Save the Queen

britFlag.jpgOver in London, a British cop found himself in court and facing criminal charges over a sexual dalliance. Massoud Khan had found a lady friend on an internet site catered to uniformed professionals. Khan and his gal pal wound up getting it on in a room at the Gatwick Airport police station, and this is what led to his criminal trial. I guess his superiors didn’t like the fact that he was scrumping while on duty.

But get this - he was acquitted of any criminal wrongdoing because during the whole sexual encounter, he was always ready to respond to any emergency:

The jury quickly came to a unanimous verdict as the policeman proved he was able to respond to all emergencies as he was equipped with an earpiece tuned in to the police radio frequency.
“If there was a call for me, I would have answered it and I would have dealt with it,” he told the court, according to the Times newspaper.


Lightweight!

You’d expect, after watching this video, to hear that the shit-faced Kentucky-based flight attendant involved was way over the legal intoxication limit. Nope. She’s a .03, which is even below the legal limit of .04 for flying. Girl just can’t hold her alcohol.

Money line:

Police dispatcher: Do you require immediate medical attention?
Flight attendant: Yes.
Dispatcher: What for?
Flight attendant: Because I’m thinking about punching some people.


Batman and Identity Robbin

si_cover.jpgY’all remember our friend Jonathan Lee Riches? The man who, a few weeks back, sued Mike Vick for $63 quintillion (backed by silver and gold and delivered by UPS) for, among other allegations, stealing his pit bulls and selling them on EBay to finance missile purchases from Iran? Yeah, that guy.

Well, he’s back. And now Riches (a.k.a. “The White Suge Knight”) has got a bigger and better lawsuit (his 17th) filed against an even more unpopular athlete, Barry Bonds. The hand scrawled complaint, entitled “Fraud Against Mankind; Batman and Identity Robbin” makes these allegations, among many others: Social Security fraud, illegal moonshining, terrorism, and the violation of 8 Constitutional amendments. Apparently, riches thought suing for $63 quintillion was a bit much, so now he’s asking for a mere 42 million in Swiss Francs (to be paid with a money order).

Riches also claims that Bonds and MLB Commission Bud Selig have been conspiring together to raise television ratings for baseball and he alleges that Selig has been supplying Bonds with steroids under the supervision of Sammy Sosa (of course). Allegedly, both Robert Novak and Judith Miller have transcripts. Hmmm.

Moreover, Bonds broke the home run record by, allegedly, using Hank Aaron’s corked bat. He also apparently “bench pressed” Riches “against my will,” sold “steroids to nuns,” and “used his bat to crack the liberty bell.” And my favorite allegation: Bonds gave mustard gas to Saddam Hussein as part of the oil for food scandal.

Wow. I mean: Wow.

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The Daily Memo - 8/17/07

check.jpgIn England, it turns out you might just get fined for wearing a shirt that reads: “Don’t piss me off! I’m running out of places to hide the bodies.” (BBC News)

check.jpgA judge in Ohio tells jury members not to watch the “CSI” or “Law & Order” shows, and not just because they suck. (Law.com)

check.jpgFamily Ties! “The son of a millionaire business guru accused of staging his own shooting during a family dispute testified that his father had threatened to ‘ruin’ him.” (LawInfo)

check.jpgWell that’s dandy - the Feds are planning to pull “$200 million in funding from a troubled [Los Angeles] hospital that serves one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, forcing it to all but shut down.” (Forbes)

check.jpgFolks aren’t respecting the Chicago ban on holding cell phones while driving - shocking! (Chicago Sun-Times)

check.jpgAn Indiana man was pissed off about his property tax bill, so he paid the whole thing — over twelve grand — with one dollar bills and bags of change. (Yahoo! News)

check.jpgA federal judge has ruled that a student is never capable of consenting to sex with their teacher as they do “not have the capacity to welcome that teacher’s physical sexual conduct.” (Law.com)

check.jpgSharper Image says it’ll go bankrupt if it’s forced to settle a $900 million class action lawsuit. (The Legal Reader)

check.jpgThe Violent Femmes’ bassist has sued the group’s lead singer over songwriting credit. (WSJ Law Blog)

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Aybe-may Ee-hay Ould-shay Ent-Ray “The Ire-Way.”

theWire.jpgDown in Australia, Jeffrey Ismail has pleaded guilty “to two charges of using a mobile phone to menace, harass or offend on the day of” some reprisal gang riots. Ismail is the leader of a gang and on the day of these riots, he called various folks to basically put the riots together. And unfortunately for him, the cops had his cell phone tapped.

But he’s no dummy — he knew someone might be listening. So he tried to hide his messages in the deep code that is Pig Latin, referring to “shanks” as “ankshays” and “bats” as “atbays.” But he didn’t use Pig Latin when talking about knives, so maybe that was his downfall. I’ll tell anyone who listens that they should watch “The Wire” because it’s awesome. But if you’re thinking of running criminal endeavors over the phone, you really must rent “The Wire” to learn some real useful tricks.


Common Sense Lesson #152

hitmanContracts.jpgIf you get convicted of a crime and want to enact vengeance on the prosecutor who got you locked up — well, first of all, that’s just a bad idea. You did the crime, take a licking and do your time. But if you must seek revenge, you might want not want to ask the judge who presided over your case if he’d like to be the hitman to do the job.

That’s what Bryan Connelly, a Texas man, did. Convicted of forgery charges, he sent a letter to Judge David Garner, offering him five grand to kill the prosecutor. Connelly also sent a letter to his attorney, offering him five grand to kill the judge and allegedly also saying: “If you decide not to kill Mr. Garner for me, I will kill him myself after I kill you.” Nice guy, that Bryan Connelly.

Judge Garner, meanwhile, said that Connelly was a defendant who “think[s] outside the box.” Which is certainly the polite way of saying he’s a bloody loon.


The Worst Person in the World

0_61_gibson_john_320.jpgSo, after the previous entry on Fox News screwing with Keith Olbermann’s Wikipedia entry, I stumbled across this video over on YouTube from a couple of nights ago. It’s a segment from Olbermann’s “Countdown” show in which he names Fox’s John Gibson the day’s Worst Person in the World (echo) for suggesting 1) that we need another 9/11 for unity’s sake, and 2) that Jon Stewart’s post-9/11 anguish (as a New Yorker who lived near the WTC) was “phony.” Gibson then mocks Jon Stewart for “whining.” So, that led me to the Gibson radio program, in which he does the mocking, which is at the 1:50 mark in the video below and, if you’re a fan of Stewart, you may jump out of your fucking skin wanting to throttle Gibson for his remarks.

And here is the full Jon Stewart video post 9/11, which is kind of heart wrenching.

glumbert.com - Jon Stewart’s 9/11 commentary

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You’ve Been Wikijacked!

wikipedia-globe-sans-text.pngThis is just awesome: There is some online tool called a WikiScanner that allows one to track the identity of organizations that edit Wikipedia entries. And the results are kind of hilarious. For instance, the CIA has screwed with entries on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Porter Goss, and Oprah Winfrey. Allegedly, the Democratic Party also made changes on Rush Limbaugh’s entry, adding these lovely descriptors: “idiot,” “bigot,” and “racist,” while saying that most of his listeners are “legally retarded” (totally true!).

Moreover, Diebold edited out scurrilous facts about itself, including information that its CEO was a top Bush fundraiser. The New York Times also made changes to the Wall Street Journal’s entry, as well as to Tom Delay’s, calling him a “Grand Dragon” of the Republican party — and it compared George Bush to Captain Kirk (controlled by The Vulcans). The NRA tried to suggest that Iraq was involved in 9/11; Scientologists removed criticism from their Wikipedia entry; and a Steelers hater suggested that Ben Roethlisberger “can go die.”

But, the biggest offender, it seems, was Fox News. No surprise, really. They changed entries on Keith Olbermann, taking out references to Bill O’s loofah fetish and suggested that Olbermann talked shit about Peter Jennings after he died. Fox also changed entries on a few of its own personalities, including Brit Hume, Greta Van Susteren, and Shepard Smith.

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The Daily Memo - 8/16/07

check.jpg“Colorado’s top federal judge was too drunk to remember how he spent more than $3,000 at a strip club in two consecutive days.” (9News)

check.jpgWanna’ find out how it’s decided to try a kid as an adult? (Slate)

check.jpgEx-NBA ref Tim Donaghy has pleaded guilty to two felony charges relating to the rigged NBA games debacle. (CNN)

check.jpgTattoo artist, bad acting and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002? This video has everything! (Professor Bainbridge)

check.jpgJacko is being sued by Bahraini Prince Abdullah. (Defamer)

check.jpgLast week, Apple got a one-two punch of class-action lawsuits — one over credit card receipts and the other over a patent for battery status lights. (Engadget)

check.jpgCould Supreme Court jurisprudence mean that some credit card late fees are unconstitutional? (43(B)log)

check.jpgAre we soon going to see the RIAA sitting on a street corner, hat in hand, with a cardboard sign? (Slashdot)


Prosecutors want evidence now? What the?

sTyler.jpgCops and their ilk in Victoria County, Texas, are pissed off at the local District Attorney. They say that he’s not prosecuting enough of the criminal cases they bring to him. DA Steve Tyler (man, how awesome would it be if that Steven Tyler was a DA — those trials would be so entertaining, with the handkerchiefs and hot Aerosmith video chicks in the background) …. Er, uhm, anyways — DA Tyler says that he’s not prosecuting these criminal cases because the cops aren’t giving him enough evidence: “If you cannot do your duty, you need to resign and give the duty to someone who can.”

In response, Police Chief Bruce Ure allegedly said, “heh heh … he said ‘duty.’”

In a more serious response, the Police Chief says that this new DA has declined more than double the cases than his predecessors, despite being given “good, quality cases.” He and other law enforcement folks are worried about their staff being overwhelmed, and the fact that victims want swift prosecutions. Which is all well and good, but does that mean the DA should just ignore the fact that he doesn’t necessarily have a case?

…Actually, in Texas, it probably does. Shame on you, DA Steve Tyler.


More non-Floridian stupid criminals

neimanM.jpgFollowing up on my earlier story, here’s another stupid criminal, this time from White Plains, NY. Although I guess this is more a case of ignorance, rather than flat-out stupidity. Nineteen-year-old Jazmine Roberts decided to snatch a $250 pair of jeans from her local Neiman Marcus — which is totally understandable, because nobody should pay over two bills for friggin’ jeans. Anyway, a store security guard saw her and followed her outside. When he confronted her in the parking lot, the confrontation turned into a full-on brawl, with Roberts biting the guard, choking her and pulling on her hair.

The ignorance comes from the fact that Roberts, while in this attacking rage, was apparently repeatedly yelling “it’s too late, I already left the store.”

Apparently, Roberts just wasn’t familiar with these new-fangled theft laws of ours and was thinking back on the good ol’ days, when it was only theft if you were caught on the premises with the stolen good. …Sigh, I miss those good ol’ day.

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Florida doesn’t hold the lock on stupid criminals

stickEmUp.jpgYou can find stupid criminals throughout this great nation of ours. I suspect that this is really the glue that holds America together — we all appreciate the brilliantly stupid criminals, and it’s comforting knowing that they can pop up anywhere. This story, for instance, takes place in the town of New Hudson, Michigan. That’s where a man, last week, walked into a bank to pull off a heist. He thought ahead and disguised himself with a hooded sweat shirt and sunglasses, and was even wearing winter gloves to keep his finger prints off the scene.

Smart cookie.

So when he gets into the bank, he passes a piece of cardboard to a teller, the cardboard reading “Give me your money.” When the teller wasn’t moving fast enough for him, he told her to “hurry up.” But then the teller noticed a flaw in the fledgling robber’s plan and asked him if he had a bag to put his stolen money into.

Realizing that he had forgotten this crucial piece of the puzzle, he got flustered and took off. But the cops suspect that he pulled off a successful robbery later that afternoon, and that he’s actually done some other ones. So he must’ve simply forgotten to double-check his “bank robbing to do” list that morning.

Of course, he’s still at large with suspected takings from four banks, so maybe he’s not that stupid a criminal.

…But he did forget a bag to carry out the money so, yeah, he is that stupid.


Give This Man a Prize!

taserST2006_468x342.jpgHere’s the deal: A mother and father in Texas have a baby at The Woman’s Hospital. The father, who sounds like a huge honking asshole (he has a history of beating his wife) decides, along with his wife, that they don’t want to stay in the hospital anymore because they feel mistreated (i.e., there was a really good game on TV that night and the hospital didn’t have cable TV). So, Mom and Dad — without requesting a discharge — decide to take their baby and leave.

Staff members caught the new parents trying to leave with the baby and attempted to ascertain the relationship of the father with the baby he was holding. Father gets angry. Verbally abusive. Uses expletives. Mother says, “We want to leave.”

Security guard says, no way. Security guard, who clearly wouldn’t know the difference between his ass and a paper bag, Tasers the father. While the father is holding the baby.

Genius.

“I’ve got to wonder what kind of moron would Tase an adult holding a baby,” said George Kirkham, a former police officer and criminologist at Florida State University. “It doesn’t take rocket science to realize the baby is going to fall.”

And fall is exactly what the baby did. The father is now considering a lawsuit, claiming that his daughter suffered injuries. The child, however, is in child protective services because the father is a danger to the child. Protective services says the baby is fine.

Regardless: Common sense certainly suggests that you don’t Taser people holding newborns. They will fall.

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I Heart Billy Bush

billy-bush1.jpgYou know, I’m one of the last people in the world to give a shit about Britney Spears, much less come to her defense. But I’m a little stupefied by the latest ruling in her divorce case. In L.A., a court commissioner is considering a motion by People magazine and Access Hollywood to have her divorce records unsealed because, he says, “They’re appropriate participants in here.”

Really? And in what way are they appropriate? To a divorce case? I have no idea what’s in these records — though it’s probably some pretty nasty stuff having to do with Cheetos, shampoo bottles, and Camel Reds — but regardless, why is Access Hollywood considered an appropriate participant? Certainly, I understand that divorce records are usually not sealed; that you have a relatively high burden to overcome to prove that divorce records need to be sealed; and for reasons that are beyond me, the public — by default — has a right to see divorce records.

But Access Hollywood and People? How much concern about privacy do you need to outweigh Access Hollywood’s right to access? Is it really that important that douchespigot Billy Bush be able to tease the court documents for 23 minutes on his show before prattling on about meaningless “revelations.”

Whatever.

Anyway, while I’m splashing around in starletard muck, I may as well also mention that Lindsay Lohan is being sued. If you watch Access Hollywood regularly, you probably already know that a few weeks ago, a belligerent and intoxicated LL “borrowed” a car and chased her former assistant’s mother around town for unspecified reasons. Well, the passenger in the car, Tracie Rice, is bringing suit against Lohan, claiming that what “Lohan did that night was extremely dangerous and reprehensible. Someone could easily have been killed or seriously hurt because of her irresponsible decisions that evening.” She’s seeking damages for emotional distress. Personally, I don’t know why she doesn’t just sell her story for $500,000 to Billy Bush and call it a day.

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The Daily Memo - 8/15/07

check.jpgSigh … the asshat down in DC who sued the dry cleaners for $54 million has filed a notice of appeal, indicating that he intends to continue pursuing … uhrm … justice? (Yahoo! News)

check.jpg“Bush on track to become the vacation president.” Atta’ boy, W! (Houston Chronicle)

check.jpg“Public defenders plan to challenge a new law that expands Florida’s sex offender registry to include teens as young as 14 who have been convicted in the secrecy of juvenile court.” (Local6)

check.jpgOut in LA, nine Guatemalans have been indicted with running a sex slave ring. (LawInfo)

check.jpgIn Australia, a strip club is getting ready to sue a church over the church’s alleged attempts to disparage the strip club in the media. (news.com.au)

check.jpgAt least in Oregon, an attorney representing himself can’t get attorneys fees from the other side because no actual fees were incurred (so he should bill himself, maybe?). (Legal Profession Blog)


I Heart Florida

florida.jpgEveryone’s favorite state is where we find Ronald Tridico. He had just purchased himself a new bright yellow Lamborghini and he did what any owner of a lush new Lambo would be wont to do — he had himself some celebratory drinks. And you know where this is going — mere hours after dropping down some hefty coin for his Boy Toy, he skidded off the road while taking a curve too fast, plunked through a speed limit sign, and wrecked his new car. And then he really got to celebrate when he wound up getting arrested for a DUI. …Excellent judgment, Mr. Tridico.

Florida is also where, you’ll recall, Mark O’Hara found himself sentenced to 25 years in the clink because he had 50-odd Vicodin pills, obtained with legit prescriptions. Well on the Good News front, he’s been set free — last month an appellate court noted that this situation was “absurd” and “ridiculous,” and ruled that his case warranted a new trial because the jury had never been told that it’s absolutely legal to have Vicodin when you have a prescription. But on the Bad News front, the state Attorney’s Office has decided to actually make O’Hara face a new trial rather than simply dropping the charges. In light of this appellate ruling, I have a very difficult time believing that they can possibly get another idiotic conviction in this case. So why even bother?

Because Florida government lawyers, much like rich guys with too much money and too little common sense, do whatever they want!

(Hat tip to reader Cy for the Lamborghini story.)

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And the number one threat? Bears Google!

threatDown.jpgAccording to court documents filed last week, Google would cordially like to take the depositions of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. You may recall that Viacom has filed a $1 billion (with a whopping “B”) copyright infringement lawsuit against Google over clips of TV shows from CBS, Comedy Central, etc., showing up on YouTube. In connection with that ongoing case’s discovery process, Google filed a list of the folks it would like to depose, including Colbert and Stewart.

Of course, an argument can be made that both have relevant testimony because they have publicly complained about Viacom being so stiff-armed with its copyright enforcement. And yes, Colbert actively used YouTube when he held his fun little Green Screen Challenge. But I’m still guessing that Google would have a tough time convincing a judge to allow these depositions to take place (assuming Viacom takes them to the mat and tries to oppose the depositions, which is a pretty safe bet). I mean, discovery is pretty broad in terms of the scope of things you can look at/for, but I’m really not sure that either of the above-mentioned things are really relevant to the legal issues of the case, or are likely to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence (particularly with regard to the argument that Colbert and Stewart have publicly bitched about Viacom because, at the end of the day, they’re simply Viacom employees, not officers).

But that doesn’t mean I’m rooting mightily for these depositions to happen. And hopefully they’ll be video depositions so we can all watch the eventually-leaked clips on YouTube!

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Can’t the cops and firemen all get along?

iceHockey.jpgIn Wilson, Kansas, the local police chief was recently arrested for misdemeanor theft. The subject of his thievery? Beer. And the original owner of that beer? The Wilson Fire Department.

Seems that the city’s police and fire departments share offices, and while they’re separated by a door, that door is usually unlocked. So the allegations are that Police Chief Hill simply wandered into the fire department office and walked back with some beer (there’s no indication of how much beer was taken, except for the fact that it’s value was less than one grand, which is why Hill was only hit with a misdemeanor charge).

Fire Chief Larry Langerman “declined to discuss why beer was being kept at the fire department office.”

Maybe they need to get some PD vs. FD ice hockey games going on in Wilson, Kansas, like they do on “Rescue Me.” According to the show (and I learn everything important from TV), these inter-department games allow the officers and firefighters to work out much of (tough not all of) their animosity and aggression towards each other.

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Uhm, dude – your Uranium Merit Badge is glowing

milhouse_falloutboy.jpgI had never heard of this Radioactive Boy Scout before, but it seems that the now-30-year-old David Hahn “tried to earn a merit badge [as a teenager] by building a nuclear reactor in his mother’s potting shed.” So he was basically like the kid in The Manhattan Project (a great 80s flick that probably played at least a small part in my eventual undergrad career as a scientist). While no movie was made about Hahn, he did have a Harper’s article and book written about him.

Anyway, the Radioactive Boy Scout has again been arrested for stealing a smoke detector out of his apartment complex. And since smoke detectors contain a teensy-tinsy bit of radioactive material (of the same time found in Hahn’s possession back in ‘95), there is speculation that he might again be trying to build a nuclear reactor. Which the Feds and the EPA aren’t such big fans of, shockingly.

Hahn’s currently been charged with larceny and while he denies stealing the smoke detector, it’s certainly suspicious that eight smoke detectors from Hahn’s building have gone missing, as have eight from another building near Hahn’s apartment.

Hahn lives in the Detroit area, and this is just the latest reason that I’m glad to live nowhere near Detroit.

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What’s More Patriotic than Roosters?

cockfighting.jpgThe Patriot Act — not just for invading your privacy under the guise of fighting terrorism anymore:

Originally touted as a tool in the struggle against terrorism, the Patriot Act now was being used in the hills of East Tennessee as part of a shadowy war that had been going on for decades, a struggle that pitted the federal government against a homespun Appalachian culture that had churned out generation after generation of proud outlaws.

Shadowy war? Proud outlaws? What are we talking about here? Some sort of redneck Al Quaida?

Just after midnight on May 13, 2004, a small team of FBI agents crept into the legendary Del Rio Cockfighting Pit in Cocke County.

Cockfighting? Wha?

The illegal gambling arena was closed, and agents were able to copy a computer hard drive before slipping away. They didn’t notify the property’s then-owner, Michael Maynard of Hot Springs, N.C., of the search for another three months.
Acting under the authority of the Patriot Act, the agents had obtained a search warrant that allowed them to clandestinely enter the property, search for evidence and not tell anyone about it until the government or a judge was ready to let the owners know they’d been there.

God bless America. And the Patriot Act.

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Odds and Ends

0%2C%2C5609997%2C00.jpgHere’s a round-up of two wonderful stories from the world of criminal law (it’s easier if you play the Marv Albert blooper music in your head while reading this entry):

In Elko, Nevada, nothing says love like a DUI arrest:

Charlotte Moore, 36, Spring Creek, was arrested in Elko at 11:41 p.m. Saturday. She was released at 1:47 a.m. on Sunday and placed on paid administrative leave, Elko County Undersheriff Rocky Gonzalez said. Moore, a jail deputy who has been on staff for 11 years, was off duty driving her 2004 Pontiac Grand Am when she was initially pulled over by her husband, Elko County Sheriffs Deputy Mike Moore, a police report said.

And second, one man discovers yet another use for duct tape:

Robbery is a serious problem for retail stores across our region. But the employees of Shamrock Liquors in Ashland, Kentucky, can’t stop laughing about what happened last Friday at the store along 13th street.
Police say Kasey Kazee walked in to the store with duct tape wrapped around his head to conceal his face.
Fortunately, store manager Bill Steele had some duct tape of his own. Steel had a wooden club wrapped with duct tape that eventually sent the suspect fleeing the store.
Store employee Craig Miller says he chased Kazee to the parking lot, tackled him and held him in a choke position until police arrived. An unidentified customer also helped.
Kazee said in a jailhouse interview today police got the wrong man and Kazee says he has no memory of going in to the liquor store. He also says he has no memory of police removing the duct tape.


The Daily Memo - 8/14/07

check.jpg“Pro se litigant to Judge: ‘Bite me, your honor.’” (Above the Law)

check.jpgThe Queen of England is unleashing her legal hounds on the company that made the BBC trailer suggesting that she stormed out of a Annie Leibovitz photo shoot. (smh.com.au)

check.jpgSmell ya’ later, Rove! (CNN)

check.jpgTwo men enter, one man leaves … the OctagonTM! (WSJ Law Blogs)

check.jpgA $32.7 million jury verdict against the operators of a ponzi scheme has been upheld, despite the defenses’ argument that the plaintiffs didn’t disclose damaging expert evidence. (Law.com)

check.jpgTwo judges have now ruled that Virginia’s new ticketing scheme, requiring residents to pay higher fees than non-residents, is unconstitutional and violates the 14th Amendment. (HamptonRoads.com)

check.jpg…but a Virginia appellate court says the state don’t need no stinkin’ 14th Amendment. (The Washington Post)

check.jpgThe three fen-phen lawyers on trial for conspiracy to commit fraud were pretty pissed when a judge granted their request for a delay in their criminal trial only to turn around and revoke their bond, forcing them to hang out in jail until their delayed trial starts. (Kentucky.com)


Sigh … how many times must we tell you people?

GA-FL.jpgWhen you have problems with your drugs, do not take your problem to the cops. They’re not the Underworld Better Business Bureau for Chrissakes.

That’s what 53-year-old Juanita Marie Jones, of Rochelle, Georgia, learned when she called up her local constabulary to complain about some fake crack she purchased. She laid out twenty bucks for some good rock, but she got what she said was “fake” crack. The cops obliged her phone call with a personal visit, and when she took them into the kitchen to show off her crappy crack, she was promptly arrested for possession.

A strong hat-tip to reader Three Elle, who wonders if a little bit of Florida-ness is rubbing off on Georgia, and then answers her own question by noting that Georgia does, in fact, touch Florida.


It’s a free ride, when you’ve already paid

stewart%2520with%2520shake.jpgIrony, thy name is also this guy. I don’t know exactly how old this video is, though it dates back to the first Bush Administration. I also don’t know why it’s suddenly floating around the webernets, though it could be Karl Rove’s revenge after years and years of being called turd blossom. I dunno. And you had to figure that something like this was around, but to see the 1990’s Dick Cheney so irrefutably contradict the 2000’s Dick Cheney is a weird thing to wrap one’s head around. Were Cheney’s intervening years at Haliburton really what changed his mind about an invasion of Iraq? It’s always fun to speculate in a very har har conspiratorial sort of way, but this video — which was filmed before he took over as CEO of Halliburton — actually seems to suggest as much. It really is about the money, huh?

A quagmire indeed, good sir.

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It’s like rain, on your wedding day

Irony, thy name is this guy:

loserShirts.jpg

(Courtesy of The Smoking Gun, of course.)


Exercising your right to free speech? That’ll get you a $500 fine!

firstamendment.jpgKevin Egler, who lives in Kent, Ohio, is pretty fed up with President W. So he put up a little sign which succinctly read “Impeach Bush.” However, the sign was put up on a strip of public property, which got him a $125 citation for violating a city ordinance banning advertising on public property. To my mind, I’m not sure this counts as “advertising.” But Egler is pissed because he says there are a ton of advertisements on public property which go un-cited all the time: “Everything from a lost kitten sign put on a telephone pole to military recruitment posters on poles to signs similar to mine that said ‘House for sale, this direction.’”

Bob Fitrakis, who is representing Egler pro bono, notes that this amounts to selective enforcement of the ordinance: “Military recruiters can place signs, garage sales, Realtors, but if someone doesn’t like the president you arrest them and treat them like a criminal. That’s not what the United States is about.” And so he says this is a situation where the town is trying to curb Egler’s free speech rights.

After this caught some publicity, the local prosecutor decided to drop the charge, but it’s now been implied that Egler may be re-charged with a count of littering, which would carry a fine of up to $500! When asked for comment, the city’s legal representative reportedly said:

The First Whatnow? We don’t got no amendments here. We got people who love and support America, and we got people who are anti-America. And if you’re anti-America, you’re littering our fair state, and you should pay for that.


Texas: Smarter than Florida, but Meaner than Hell

texas22323.jpgNo offense against our Texas readers, but the folks who run your state are batshit, cruel, moronic, knee-jerk religiofucks who need to have their patellas thumped with Louisville Sluggers. Why? Well because, in three weeks, your state — in its all its infinite wisdom — will execute Kenneth Foster. And what was his crime? He was about 100 yards away from Michael LaHood when Maurice Brown killed him.

So, under Texas’ completely absurd “law of parties” statute, the state can impose the death penalty on anybody involved in a crime where a murder occured (Texas is the only state that imposes the law of parties in capital cases). In this case, Foster was the driver of a car with three passengers, one of whom was Brown. Brown left the car, got into a fight with LaHood, and killed him. Nevermnd that there was evidence (inadmissable at trial) that showed that Foster never even knew that Brown was going to kill LaHood; nevermind that the murder was unplanned; and nevermind that Foster never touched LaHood.

Foster didn’t kill anyone, yet under a Texas law where someone can be factually innocent of a crime yet still face the death penalty, Kenneth Foster may soon be dead. For giving a ride to the wrong goddamn person.

Texas: You’re awesome.

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Look How They Shine for You

1025276_coldplay_200x200.jpgLate last week, a woman in a Seattle karaoke bar … ummm … completely lost her shit when a customer decided to sing Coldplay’s “Yellow.” According to the Smoking Gun:

Lindsey Lawrence, 21, assaulted the unnamed victim while he was performing with “two other subjects” at Changes Tavern, where patrons sing karaoke Wednesday and Thursday night from 9 PM until 1 AM. When the assault victim launched into Coldplay’s “Yellow,” Lawrence allegedly told the man that his “singing sucked” and that the song “fucking sucked.” She then grabbed at the man’s microphone and “pushed him and punched him in order to get him to stop singing,” cops reported. When employees escorted Lawrence from the bar, she “became very violent” and struck several other people (and was hostile towards police and fire department medics who responded to the scene).

Lawrence is being held on an assault charge. But, honestly, can you blame the woman? Have you ever listened to the lyrics to “Yellow”? Seriously, they may be some of the worst ever written. Here’s a snippet:

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah they were all yellow,

I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called yellow

So then I took my turn
Oh all the things I’ve done
And it was all yellow

Honestly, with lyrics like those and a voice capable of actually piercing the front lobes of the brain, it’s a goddamn wonder how Gwyneth doesn’t beat the shit out of her husband every night of the week. “Look at the stars — *bwap* — look how they shine — *schtoof* — yellow.”

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The Daily Memo - 8/13/07

check.jpgWell it sure didn’t take long for the wonderful new Protect America Act to get its first in-court attack. (SCOTUSblog)

check.jpgWho gives a parking ticket to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile? (Fox Noise News)

check.jpgBlawg Review #121. (The Inspired Solo)

check.jpgA nerd like me has to love an article with a title like this: “Hi Superman, I’m a Lawyer: A Guide to Attorneys (& Other Legal Professionals) Portrayed in American Comic Books: 1910 - 2007.” (SSRN via 43(B)log)

check.jpg“Freer Speech: The Lower Courts Give, as the Supreme Court Taketh Away.” (Slate)

check.jpg“The trials of Ave Maria School of Law.” (WSJ Law Blog)

check.jpgA Minnesota DUI defendant has won a court ruling that he can get the source code to the breathalyzer used to test him. (c|net news.com)

check.jpgA Judge has ruled that the jury can’t consider whether Jose Padilla and other terrorists’ actions were justified by Islamic law. (FindLaw)

check.jpgA false advertising lawsuit against Microsoft over “Windows Vista Capable” labeling has been permitted to move forward. (Information Week)


Can’t you just curl up and die already?

prescriptionPills.jpgThe Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that “patients with terminal illnesses do not have a constitutional right to use medicines that have not yet won regulatory approval.” This decision stems from a lawsuit filed back in 2003 by the Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs against the FDA. This group argued that folks with terminal illnesses can’t wait for drugs and medical treatments to work through the multi-year regulatory process. They’re obviously willing to accept the risks that come with trying out pre-regulation drugs still in their testing phases, and the group argued that denying them access to these things was tantamount to violating the Fifth Amendment clause by depriving them of life, liberty or property without due process.

The Abigail Alliance lost in the lower courts, and while that was originally reversed by a panel on appeal, the full appellate court affirmed the District Court decision, ruling that there was no deep-rooted right to experimental drugs in our country’s history. A former deputy commissioner of the FDA said that a decision the other way “would have undermined the entire drug approval process,” while a dissenting judge found this decision a “startling” one which winds up leaving the right to save one’s life “out in the cold.”

This is definitely a thorny issue. I totally get why terminal patients want access to things that aren’t yet approved and regulated, and I support that access, but I’m also not so sure they have a Constitutional right to those drugs. I think we need to see the FDA set up some type of formal system or program that would allow terminal patients access to drugs that are still in the clinical phases, as long as these patients are going in with a full knowledge and understanding of all the risks involved. That’s probably a pipe dream, since the FDA, like most governmental agencies, seems unable of getting its head out of its ass, but a girl can dream.

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Blinky strikes again!

pacman.jpgPacman just can’t get a break. All he wants to do is eat some pills, maybe munch on one or two of those ghosts that are always chasing him, get some Ms. Pacman tail. But no, the courts just have to get in his way and say he can’t do what he loves. Although in this case, we’re not talking about the yellow dude, but Tenneesee Titans cornerback, Adam “Pacman” Jones.

Pacman Jones has been suspended from playing for the Titans for a year because of various legal troubles he’s mired in. To pass the time, Pacman decided to do some wrestling with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. He was set to make his debut yesterday, but the Titans ran to court last Friday and got a temporary injunction prohibiting him from such shenanigans. Although he’s suspended, he’s still under contract with the Titans, meaning he still has to abide by the contractual language banning him from activities which “involve a significant risk of personal injury.” Prior to this injunction, Pacman was already bitching about the Titans trying to stop his good times:

I don’t know what you all want me to do. Just sit in the house and be miserable all day? I can’t do that. I have to keep my spirits up high. I have a whole family to take care of.

Maybe next time, Mr. Jones, you won’t do things that get you suspended for a year, yeah?

Of course, Pacman managed to work out a last minute deal so that he could still be on the program last night. He just wasn’t allowed to “touch or be touched, grapple, shove, throw or have anything thrown at him by anyone working for or watching the show.” You should go read ESPN’s write-up of his appearance — sounds like a real class act. I’m sorry I didn’t shell out the $29.95 for pay per view.

…Actually, it might’ve been better than last night’s confusing season (and likely series) finale to “John from Cincinnati.”

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Some fairy tales hit too close to home

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(Yesterday’s Non Sequitur, courtesy of GoComics.)

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That’s a Royale with No Cheese

smpulp.jpgA man in West Virginia — where high school graduation is the sixth grade and as long as you have one incisor you’re considered to have a “full set of teeth” — is suing a McDonald’s restaurant for $10 million (that’s a 1 with 7 zeroes after it, for our West Virginian readers) because he asked for no cheese, goddamnit. Jeromy Jackson and his mother filed the suit last month:

According to the suit, Jackson, his mother and friend went to the drive-thru at the McDonald’s on Chaplin Road in Morgantown on Oct. 30, 2005. Jackson claims he ordered two “Quarter Pounders” without cheese, stating he was allergic to cheese.
“From this point forward, Mr. Jackson repeatedly asked as to the status of his food and whether it had no cheese, and took multiple preventive steps to assure his food did not contain cheese,” the suit says.
The suit says Jackson received his food, bit into one of his sandwiches and immediately began to have a severe allergic reaction. He was rushed to United Hospital Center in Clarksburg.
“Mr. Jackson was only moments from death and/or seriously debilitation injury when hospital staff intervened,” the suit says.
Jeromy Jackson suffered injuries to his body and mind and has incurred medical expenses. Jackson, his mother and friend claim to have suffered mental anguish, pain and suffering and a loss of enjoyment of life.

Here’s some advice perhaps everyone should heed: Don’t put your life in the hands of a McDonald’s Drive-Thru employee.

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OMG! OMG! OMG!

capt_sge_jrl10_100807062146_photo00_photo_default-341x512.jpgJust when I thought today would be a slow day for legal news, get this: Brad Pitt reported to jury duty yesterday. He’s just like us, y’all! I bet he even goes to the DMV. I understand he had Subway for lunch. I have Subway for lunch sometimes, too! We’re, like, the same person. Me and Brad Pitt. I bet he even gets the turkey and ham with provolone, toasted, too. Who knew we had so much in common? TMZ even said he only showed after asking for a couple of extensions, first — me too! me too! You know what? I bet his shit stinks, too! We’re like brothers, man. Brothers! We should totally hang out, Brad and I. We’d have so much to talk about. Jury duty. Subway sandwiches. Being carbon-based life forms. Oh, it’d be a blast.


Oh, Happy Day! Happy Day!


The Daily Memo - 8/10/07

check.jpgBar exams aren’t exactly caught up with this new-fangled technology stuff. (Sui Generis)

check.jpgLetting a hot girl ring your bicycle bell at 1:45 a.m. after the cops told you to stop ringing it? That’s a paddlin’ $572 fine. (WNBC)

check.jpgJohnson & Johnson is suing the Red Cross, claiming that it’s misused its well-known red cross trademark, and the Red Cross says the lawsuit is “obscene.” (BBC News)

check.jpgFacebook’s getting sued for patent infringement. (Download Squad)

check.jpgJustice Alito wishes it was easier for him to get a question in during oral argument. (Law.com)

check.jpgAn Administrative Law Judge has ruled that North Carolina must review its execution rules and hear arguments from lawyers representing death row inmates. (LawInfo)

check.jpgThe House approved a bill that would give troops guaranteed time back home between Iraq deployments, a proposal which Bush has threatened to veto. (Yahoo! News)

check.jpgAnd that same Bush is said to be like a “jukebox that only plays one song,” as he’s decided that the best way to fix things in our country is to give new tax cuts to corporations. (Crooks and Liars)

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Speaking of Church/State lawsuits…

prayer.jpgDown in Texas, the Croft family is suing their local school district (and Texas Governor Rick Perry) because their three children are required to “suffer” through a moment of silence at their elementary school. The Croft family says this amounts to state-sanctioned school prayer, and they want nothing to do with it. Fox Noise News says that the Crofts have “a history of complaints against religious-affiliated words and images in schools, having previously complained about Boy Scout rallies held during school, fliers sent home about Good News Bible Club meetings and the inclusion of ‘Silent Night’ and a Hanukkah song in holiday concerts.”

Texas is among twenty-five states which have a moment-of-silence law, requiring schools to hold a moment when students can reflect or pray or just shut the F up. In thirteen of the laws, including the Texas law here at issue, the statutes specifically say that prayer is one of the things students can do during this moment of silence. The Crofts claim that these laws are all unconstitutional, but that the ones which include the word “prayer” are particularly unconstitutional. They are relying upon the 1985 Supreme decision in Wallace v. Jaffree, which struck down an Alabama law requiring a minute of “silent meditation or voluntary prayer.” There’s an important distinction, however, in that the Alabama statute originally did not have “or voluntary prayer” — that language was added later, and the record said that the addition of this language was as a step to returning prayer into schools. That is, the moment of silence law was expanded to be given a specific religious purpose. That’s different from the Texas law, where (I believe) there has been no such expansion. Plus, the Supremes also said there’s nothing inherently wrong with a moment of silence.

Seems to me that the Crofts are sucking up judicial resources on an unnecessary and losing case. Why not just tell their kids to use that minute of silence to think anti-religious thoughts, or to think about what chores they have to do when they get home, or whatever? I’m just saying.

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Not every physical intersection of “church” and “state” is actually a violation of the First Amendment

firstamendment.jpgWhile I’m not as Lefty as they come, I’m definitely on the liberal side of things, and that includes holding a firm position of “keep the church out of the state’s business.” But sometimes things on this side of the aisle can get just as ridiculous as they often get over on the other side. Down in Florida, for instance, Jerry Rabinowitz filed a lawsuit against the election officials of Palm Beach County, claiming a First Amendment violation. Specifically, Rabinowitz (a member of my fine Jewish tribe, if the name didn’t tip you off) was tweaked that the polling place for his voting precinct was a Catholic church.

Last week, a District Court told Rabinowitz to take his lawsuit and shove it, ruling that the placement of a polling site in a church had a secular purpose and that it “does not have the effect of endorsing religion, and it does not create an excessive entanglement between the Church and state.” The Palm Beach County elections supervisor was obviously relieved with the decision, noting how complicated life would be if the county had to relocate the 100-or-so polling places that are currently placed in religious places. He said it would’ve “caused tremendous upheaval” and then joked “as if we don’t have enough problems” (which is, of course, a reference to the chads that are still hanging over his head from the 2000 election).

Rabinowitz had argued that he was made uncomfortable by having to walk past various crucifixes and an anti-abortion banner to place his vote, which is totally understandable. However, the Court notes that his discomfort didn’t amount to a violation of any Constitutional rights since the stuff wasn’t but up by county officials. As I say, this seems like the right call to me. I’m the first to jump up against the insertion of religion into political places it doesn’t belong, but I see no problem with this type of situation. My current polling place happens to be a fire station, but I would have zero problems going to cast my vote in a church, even knowing that those who run the place think I’m damned to suffer in the fiery pits of hell because I’m Jewish. …Of course, I probably am already damned to suffer in the fiery pits of hell, but it hasn’t nothing to do with me being Jewish.

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But the third pair of handcuffs fit juuuuust right.

The always brilliant indexed gives us the following fairy tale, with the moral of the story being that “she’s blonde, so she just got community service.”

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Mmmm … Sock.

wi20010401_FyvushFinkel_Granitz_163750.jpgOne of the neatest — skeeviest — legal tricks* I ever learned came from David E. Kelley, back when he was writing “Picket Fences.” A man was pulled over for running over someone in his car, and the pull-over driver was shitfaced. Before police arrived, the driver ran into a neighboring house and called his lawyer, Douglas Wambaugh (the awesome Fyvush Finkel), and asked for advice. Knowing that the police officer would administer a breathalyzer, Wambaugh told his client to drink all the alcohol in the house that he could find and claim that he drank it because of the stress of the accident, thus rendering the breathalyzer’s results inaccurate. I don’t remember the outcome, but I suspect it worked.

Anyway, I wonder if a 19-year-old in Canada saw that episode before he was arrested for a DUI. The man was pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated and arrested. However, while the officer was readying the breathalyzer test, the man reached into his pocket, pulled out his contact solution and drank it, along with a contact. Somehow, he then managed to eat portions of his shirt and socks before the police officer gave him a breakfast of pepper spray.

Of course, once he was taken in and placed in a holding cell, he still refused to take a breathalyzer, sticking his head into the toilet to avoid doing so. That’s a very determined drunk.

* Do not try at home.

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Hate Crimes Get a Makeover

no_hate.jpgThree men decide they want to pull off a robbery, but they don’t really want to work too hard at it. So they go online to a message board for gays and find their victim, picking him because he’s a homosexual and, they reasoned, wouldn’t put up a fight or resist very much (clearly, these men had never met a gay man before).

During the course of the eventual robbery,the three men beat up Michael Sandy and he fled; however, he ran into traffic, got hit by a car, and eventually died from injuries sustained by the accident.

So the three men were naturally charged with murder. But, they were also charged with hate crimes. The catch: They didn’t choose Sandy because they hate homosexuals, they chose him because they felt homosexuals would be an easy target.

The question is: Should they be charged with a hate crime if they don’t have the requisite hate? The answer, at least according to the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, NY, is: Yes.

“This is a case where the defendants deliberately set out to commit a violent crime against a man whom they intentionally selected because of his sexual orientation. Thus, the hate crimes charges in this case are consistent with the intent of the Legislature.

And so, many argue, the slippery slope begins: Will people be arrested merely for expressing their dislike for the homosexual lifestyle? According to some, it’s already happening:

Madison, Wis. David Ott, a former homosexual, was arrested for a “hate crime” for sharing his testimony with a homosexual at a gas station. He faced a $10,000 fine and one year behind bars. Seven thousands dollars in legal fees later, he was ordered to attend re-education classes at the University of Wisconsin conducted by a lesbian.
St. Petersburg, Fla. Five Christians, including two pastors, were arrested at a homosexual rally for stepping onto the public sidewalk instead of staying caged in their officially designated “free speech zone.” Their signs were also “illegal” because they were slightly “bigger than their torsos.” Apparently, large people are entitled to more speech than those with smaller frames.
Elmira, N.Y. The Elmira police arrested seven Christians for praying in a public park where a homosexual festival was getting started. A female officer told the group, “You’re not going to enter the park, and you’re not going to share your religion with anybody in this park.” The group of seven didn’t say anything, but got down on their faces and silently prayed. They were promptly placed in handcuffs.
Crystal Lake, Illinois. Two 16-year-old girls are facing felony “hate crime” charges for the content of their fliers.

But, then again, all of this is coming from a crazy, right-wing newspaper. Personally, I agree with the Brooklyn judge.

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The Daily Memo - 8/9/07

check.jpgThe poor jurors in the Phil Spector murder trial had to sit through testimony from Michael Bay earlier this week, though I guess it’s better than suffering through Pearl Harbor. (CNN)

check.jpgCalifornia pot growers have offered to give the state $1 billion to cover its current budget crisis. (LAist)

check.jpgAnd speaking of Cali, Governor Ahnold says he’ll appeal a federal court’s ruling that a state law (concerning video games and minors) was unconstitutional. (Nota Bene)

check.jpgJ.K. Rowling and the Lost Case over a Photo of Her Son. (LawInfo)

check.jpgDoh! A man is suing 1-800-Flowers.Com for accidentally letting his wife know he was having an affair. (Above the Law)

check.jpgFour San Diego firefighters are planning to file a lawsuit over being forced to take part in the city’s gay pride parade. (Nota Bene)

check.jpgThe FBI and CIA have been sued by various airlines and related companies, which want to interview agency investigators about September 11 in connection with victim lawsuits. (Business Week)

check.jpgA pilot has been smacked with a cease and desist letter from the “Big Brother 8” producers, as he was planning to fly over the house with a banner giving the contestants info they’re not supposed to have. (Reality Blurred)

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A horse is a horse, of course of course.

mrEd.jpgGarrett Redmond owns a racing a horse and he wants to name it Sally Hemings (you may recognize that name as the name of one of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves, and a possible bedmate to boot). But out in Kentucky, the Jockey Club put the kibosh on this, since its rules say that you can’t name your horse after notorious people, or with a name considered in poor taste or offensive. And “Sally Hemings,” the Club argued, meets the bill on all accounts. So in May of 2005, Redmond temporarily renamed the filly “Awaiting Justice” and sued the Club. As the Jockey Club’s president recently said:

Since we first denied this name, we’ve issued over 100,000 names…. It’s pretty silly. I can’t think of another example in 24 years where we rejected a name and it started a fight. People just pick another name.

It does indeed seem pretty silly to go to court over this, especially since Redmond got bubkis for his efforts — he lost in District Court, and now the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that decision, ruling that the club can absolutely limit the names Redmond can use for his horse. As the Court explained, while Redmond does have First Amendment rights, those rights aren’t absolute, and because the Jockey Club is a private organization (albeit one with some powers delegated by the state) it can limit speech as long as it doesn’t do so in a discriminatory manner.

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Guns don’t kill people. Chuck Norris kills people.

chuck.jpgAnd did you know that his chief export is pain? It’s true. And now, through his lawyers, he’s looking to unleash that pain on Tchirts.com. The website had been selling a t-shirt which had Chuck on it and, in the site’s words, “made him look like a bad motherfucker.” But Chuck don’t play that with unauthorized merchandise, so he released the lawyers.

Of course, the site was clearly in the wrong here, and rather than getting all snarky about it and claiming it had some entitlement to sell unlicensed goods, Tchirts agreed to stop selling the shirts. Although their response to Norris’ lawyers did include a little bit of a dig at Chuck:

This t-shirt was only put up about a month ago. We sold a total of 0 (zero) Chuck Norris t-shirts, because nobody thought it was as cool as we did. In fact I don’t think Chucky got any publicity this past year other than through our website and the Bowflex. So we don’t mind removing an unsuccessful t-shirt from our website.

They might want to be careful on mocking Norris — you don’t poke a stick at a wild dog and, after all, Chuck’s only got two speeds: walk and kill.

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With the current Congress, you don’t need to justify your existence or explain your mistakes, since they’ve got a lovely pair of Federal blinders

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(Tuesday’s “Non Sequitur,” courtesy of Go Comics)


Chaos in the Courtroom

Often, if you see a video like the one below — where a huge fracas breaks out in a courtroom — your first instinct is to sort of laugh at the Jerry Springer shenanigans: Ha ha … look at the crazy man go after the fella in a jumpsuit. But, then you recognize that the guy trying to choke the defendant was the victim’s father. And the defendant just pleaded guilty to killing the victim, shooting him in the back of the head for a few fucking dollars. And then you sort of see it differently — it’s actually very sad. And I’m surprised that these sort of reactions aren’t more common.

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There’s No Shit in “ool”

wtoo1.jpgAt least, that’s the way they’d have it at an Akron, OH condo association:

Suzanne Malcom filed complaints with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission this month after Seven Stories East Condominiums told her that her one-year-old son Lucas wasn’t welcome in the outdoor pool, she said.
“As a parent, it’s my responsibility to defend his rights,” Malcom said.
Malcom, 35, claims a condo board member approached her twice while she was swimming with her son and asked if the boy, who was wearing a swim diaper, was potty trained. The second time the member asked Malcom not to bring her son into the water, she said.
The board then enacted a rule barring children under the age of 3 from the pool for health and safety reasons, Malcom said.

Now, come on, Ms. Malcolm. You know how dangerous and unhealthy it is to swim with feces. That’s why you should take your son to a lake or river, where the water is crystal clean — well, except for the sewage, toxic run-off, and environmental hazards. But, there’s no chlorine! And your son can crap in the water all he wants.


The Daily Memo - 8/8/07

check.jpg“Time to saw South Carolina off from the US And set it free” because the state legislature has decided to give financial aid to students going to Bob Jones University, at the expense of those who need aid to go to public universities. (Bad Astronomy Blog)

check.jpgA wonderful Florida mother has been charged in a scam where she allegedly faked her 13-year-old daughter’s death to get some cash. (TampaBays10.com)

check.jpgFinally, “the controversy on whether watermelon is a fruit or vegetable has been officially decided by the Oklahoma Legislature,” which has declared watermelon the official state vegetable. (KOTV)

check.jpgGod has finally found his way into the Texas state pledge of allegiance. (Houston Chronicle)

check.jpgTom Hanks wants some more of the Greek. (THR, Esq.)

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Gunga galunga

daliLama.jpgSo China has banned reincarnation. More specifically, in a 14-part regulation, the State Administration for Religious Affairs has said that Buddahs cannot reincarnate without prior governmental approval. This is an attempt to limit the influence of the Dalai Lama, who’s currently living in exile, by essentially saying that he cannot recognize any new Buddhas. In other words, China’s government has “the power to ensure that no new living Buddha can be identified, sounding a possible death knell to a mystical system that dates back at least as far as the 12th century.”

This is definitely a sad step in the ongoing battle between China and Tibet. But it does bring to mind the following clip from Caddyshack, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice:

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Well Holbrook Jackson did say “your library is your portrait”

library.jpgLast week I told you about the wonderful Maria Daniels who, with the help of four kids, managed to steal seventeen grand worth of stuff from her local library. Well, to borrow a turn of phrase from Fark, the Library Theft Trifecta is now in play. Out in Colorado, 33-year-old Thomas Pilaar has been arrested for running a very similar scam. The man-with-one-too-many-A’s-in-his-last-name basically did the same thing as Daniels, but without the help of kids - he had seven library cards under different names, and used each card to check out about 300 library items. He then hopped on Craigslist and started selling his stolen goods.

Pilaar hasn’t yet been arrested or charged with this crime, although he was arrested for an unrelated parole violation and is being held without bail while the D.A. investigates this whole thing. You gotta’ applaud Pilaar for his effort, though — Daniels only managed to get $17,000 worth of library good with the help of four other people. All on his own, Pilaar got about $11,000 worth of stuff, so just imagine what he could’ve accomplished with an army of kids.

The highlight of the article, by the way, is when a branch head librarian said: “One day, when he tried to check out 100 (items) or so, we said: ‘That’s probably enough.’” You think?


A man who clearly doesn’t understand the meaning of “stop” and “yield”

streetSigns.jpgLast week, a South Dakota man was arrested. Sixty-year-old Peter Dills charged with burglary, unlawful occupancy and several counts of indecent exposure. This arrest came after a guy found Dills chilling in his yard with a video camera set up on a tripod. The man chased Dills out of his yard and eventually went back home. Dills returned to the man’s house, with his camera, and was again chased. This time, the dude saw Dills enter a garage and called the cops.

The cops arrived at Dills’ home and arrested him. When they searched his house, they apparently found a whole bunch of tapes Dills had recorded and this is where things get bizarre — the tapes showed “Dills engaged in masturbation and sex acts with traffic signs near his home.”

Masturbation. And sex acts. With traffic signs.

I don’t even know what this means and, frankly, I’m not sure I’d ever like to find out.

(Hat tip to Jalopnik)


No. I Double Double Triple Dog Dare You

lohan.jpgI love the entrapment defense. Every time some douchebag does something illegal, he inevitably screams, “Entrapment! Entrapment!” as if that hooker flashing her hoo-ha and yelling, “Come and get it, boy,” counts as entrapment.

Still, while this particular case may fit the definition of entrapment a little more closely, it’s still a bullshit defense. Here, Dr. Maurice Wolin claims that he was lured by the staff of “To Catch a Predator” into trying to bump uglies with a 14-year-old, or at least a Perverted Justice employee posing as a 14 year old (the team of law enforcement folks who work for “Catch a Predator” are called Perverted Justice). He claims that the employee accused him of being “a chicken and a liar and a ditcher and a player” after he told her he was “not ready yet” and “couldn’t do anything.” Wolin told police, “She begged me to come. I know that doesn’t make it right … but I never would have done anything.”

I see. So, basically, what you’re saying here, Dr. Wolin, is that she dared you. Right? You wouldn’t have tried to roll up on no underage poon had she not pulled out the triple-dog dare, huh? I hear that — that’s totally valid, my friend. It’s like how that cocaine is always daring Lindsay Lohan to snort it — it’s like, “Just take a little bump of me, LL. You know you want it. You want that firecrotch to burn tonight, don’t you, little girl. Pull out a $100 bill, roll it up, and taste the dragon. I dare you, bitch. Do it. You scared, little girl. Huh? Huh? Can’t handle the beast, huh? You don’t even deserve the name, Blohan.”


Helloooo Captain Obvious ….

It’s not just criminals who are dumb, folks. It’s also potential plaintiffs, like the woman here who slips and falls in a supermarket. I wonder why the floor is slippery? And that “slip” looks an awful lot like the angle I used to take when approaching a slip n’ slide in my backyard.

I’m sure, when the woman brings suit against the supermarket, that she’ll be able to find a competent lawyer, like any one of the lawyers representing these six upstanding citizens.

(Hat Tip: Overlawyered)


The Daily Memo - 8/7/07

check.jpgThe Feds are looking to regulate cigarettes and to ban cloves altogether. (Yahoo! News)

check.jpgProfessor Hoffman asks if you should buy divorce insurance and I’d wager that Michael Strahan currently wishes he’d purchased some. (Concurring Opinions)

check.jpgNY’s Mayor Bloomberg was a good boy, fulfilling his civic duty by showing up for jury duty yesterday. (CNN)

check.jpgYes the billable hour seems to have long outstayed its welcome, but I remain quite dubious that we’ll see a new system anytime soon. (Concurring Opinions)

check.jpgThe bill that could potentially save internet radio is mucked up in the House, thanks to Congress’ unwillingness to really get into the mess of it all. (Wired)

check.jpgDo lawyers make better test subjects than rats? (WSJ Law Blog)

check.jpgCalifornia’s Supremes ruled that a state lawsuit against Big Tobacco over its alleged marketing to kids is preempted by federal law and a 2001 US Supreme decision. (Law.com)

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I object on the grounds that … I want you sooo bad.

LEGAL_BRIEFS_320_240.jpgIf you think dating someone you work with can lead to awkwardness in the workplace, prosecutor Michael Golden has got you beat. Apparently it came to the attention of the court that he had an intimate relationship with … wait for it … the defendant’s mother.

The defense in the case, which represents a teenager accused of arson, has asked that the charges be dismissed. Golden has stated that he terminated the relationship once the boy was arrested.

Which makes sense, because it would totally be awkward to be cross examining little whatshisname while his mom is in the back of the courtroom mouthing “I’m not wearing panties”.

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You gotta love a truly honest lawyer

bikes.jpgCourtesy of Above the Law comes now a direct and to-the-point request by an attorney to have an oral argument rescheduled. The reason? Because at the time of the scheduled hearing, the attorney would be on a 350-mily bike trip “for no other reason than to please his wife.” The attorney goes on to assure the Bankruptcy Panel “that Oral Argument would be more enjoyable than the aforementioned bike trip.” As I say, you gotta’ appreciate the dude’s candor, though his wife may not appreciate it quite as much.

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When logic and the law fail to meet

homelessBeer.jpgBack in 1994, Larry W. Moore, Jr. was convicted in North Carolina of “indecent liberty with a child.” This is a felony sex crime which earned him the joy of joining other kiddie piddlers on the sex registry. Moore is now in Georgia, where a new law requires all offenders to register on the registry or face a life sentence in prison. Moore failed to register and was recently convicted under this law, so he now faces such a life sentence.

The thing of it is, Moore couldn’t register even if he wanted to because he’s homeless. In other words, he’s got no address to register with. The Sheriff’s office doesn’t care: “One of the requirements when you become a sex offender is you have to have an address.” Moore’s public defender argues that this is preposterous, amounting to cruel and unusual punishment.

Now I’m certainly not a fan of anyone convicted of sex offenses, particularly those dealing with kids. And I have no problem with Moore being subject to the requirement that he stay 1,000 feet away from school and day care centers and bus stops, etc. Had he violated that portion of the law, I would similarly have no problem with his conviction. But that he’s basically going to get tossed in the clink for life because he’s homeless? Well, yeah, that I do have a bit of a problem with. To be fair, I don’t know if there was an option of registering with a shelter address - if there was, and if he declined to stay in a shelter (as many homeless do, for a variety of reasons), then I have less of a problem with this outcome. But otherwise, it seems a bit hornked up to me.

On the plus side, I guess, it looks like Moore will have a permanent home for the rest of his life.

(In a somewhat related story, an admitted Californian pedophile has been issued a statewide restraining order to stay more than 10 yards away from any kid, and Eugene Volokh thinks this is unconstitutional.)

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Chris Dodd Rips Bill O’Reilly a New Asshole …

Dodd (D-Connecticut) has no chance in hell in ‘08, but dear God, I think I feel a little man crush coming on. There is nothing I love more than to see Mr Falafel lose his cool. I mean, Bill got the smack down, and then — in the clip’s final seconds — has the nerve to say, “We appreciate you coming in and taking the fire, though.” Hmm mmm.

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You take the good, you take the bad, you them both and there you have - the US Congress

capital3.jpgLast week, the Senate approved a bill, previously passed by the House, which is intended “to fix several of the most glaring problems with the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.” This is a good thing - FOIA is an important part of our government structure as it gives at least a little transparency to government entities, allowing folks like you and me to get our grubby hands on various documents to understand what the people living off of our taxes are doing. One thing the new bill requires is for all FOIA requests to get tracking numbers so that they don’t get lost in the shuffle. As someone who has issued FOIA requests before, I can tell you that this is a great idea (and as someone who has probably never issued a FOIA request before, you still no doubt realize what an obvious idea this is, which is of course why it took Congress so long to get around to it). Point being, this legislation is a good thing.

Congress also did a good thing in “adopting a significant, tech-friendly increase in basic science research and more training and support for math, science and foreign-language programs.” We’ve seen a steady decrease in our country’s prominence in the science and technology spheres, and more support for research and education is exactly the way to attack this problem, so again, kudos to Congress.

But all these good things are practically negated by actions taken over the weekend. In a 227-183 vote, the House approved the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, giving El Presidente the legal authority to continue with the warrantless surveillance program, and even expanding it. Bush quickly jumped at the chance to sign this into law, of course. The only good news is that the legislation will expire in six months unless it’s actively renewed by Congress, but there’s no reason to believe that Congress won’t renew it.


The Daily Memo - 8/6/07

check.jpg“Senate Democrats cave - agree to give Bush more power to spy on Americans than ever before.” (Crooks and Liars)

check.jpgSenator Mark Pryor (D-AR) wants to expand the V-chip censorship capabilities. (Engadget)

check.jpgYarrrrr, matey - there be pirates on thy plane! (Above the Law)

check.jpgThe Free Flow of Information Act, a bill pending before the House, seeks to create a federal privilege for journalists trying to protect anonymous sources. (Concurring Opinions)

check.jpg“Christian court watchers keep tabs on judges.” (CNN)

check.jpgThe TTAB continues to, foolishly, refuse the idea of a rebuttable presumption that PTO records are accurate. (The TTABlog via Likelihood of Confusion)

check.jpgMexican charges against Dog the Bounty Hunter have been dropped. (TV Squad)


The Silence of the Lambs

blackSheep.jpgI’m still not convinced that this story isn’t an Onion-type gag, so take this with a big, fat grain of salt. In the Netherlands, 36-year-old Bert Meijer was facing charges of animal bestiality. Christiann de Jong, a local farmer, found Meijer hanging out on his grounds. With a flock of sheep. And without his pants. And holding a sheep from behind.

So de Jong called the police and Meijer was arrested. However, he was later released because the charges wouldn’t stick. And the reason they wouldn’t stick is because, apparently, Dutch law says that bestiality isn’t a crime. The only way to prosecute someone is if it could be proven that the sheep had suffered emotional distress. De Jong was bothered by this outcome, saying “I know my sheep and can tell that the animal was traumatised.”

When Meijer was asked for a comment, he said that the sheep was begging for it. I hope he doesn’t ever move to New Zealand, because I’ve seen Black Sheep and I just don’t think they’d take his kind of, uhm, treatment down there.


Does he really think this is a better story to go with?

mensRoomLogo.jpgLast month we told you about Florida State Representative Bob Allen, who got busted for offering a cop $20 in exchange for the cop allowing Allen to blow him. Well the story is so much better now. Representative Allen says that he totally wasn’t there to engage in some man-love. No sir - he’s just a racist. Seriously, that’s the story he’s going with, claiming that he was intimidated because there were a lot of black men around:

“This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park,” Allen, who is white, told police in a taped statement after his arrest. Allen said he feared he “was about to be a statistic” and would have said anything just to get away.

Meanwhile, a written statement from the undercover officer in question offers a slightly different version of the story. Officer Danny Kavanaugh says that he and two other cops were in the area, undercover, conducting a stakeout to try to catch a burglar. When they spotted Allen entering the park bathroom and behaving suspiciously, they came to the conclusion that he might be looking for sex, so Kavanaugh twice went into the restroom. The second time, he was in a stall drying his hands when he says that Allen popped his head up over the stall door:

After peering over the stall a second time, Allen pushed open the door and joined Kavanaugh inside, the officer wrote. Allen muttered ” ‘hi,’ ” and then said, ” ‘this is kind of a public place, isn’t it,’ ” the report said.
The officer said he asked Allen about going somewhere else and that the legislator suggested going “across the bridge, it’s quieter over there.”
“Well look, man, I’m trying to make some money; you think you can hook me up with 20 bucks?” Kavanaugh asked Allen.
The officer said Allen responded, “Sure, I can do that, but this place is too public.”
Then Kavanaugh said he told Allen, “I wanna know what I gotta do for 20 bucks before we leave.’ ” He said Allen replied: “I don’t know what you’re into.”
According to Kavanaugh’s statement, the officer said, “do you want just [oral sex]?” and Allen replied, “I was thinking you would want one.”
The officer said he then asked Allen, “but you’ll still give me the 20 bucks for that … and that the legislator said, “yeah, I wouldn’t argue with that.”
As Allen turned and motioned for the officer to follow him to his car, Kavanaugh identified himself as a police officer by raising his shirt and exposing his badge.
When Allen was being placed in a marked patrol car, he asked whether “it would help” if he was a state legislator, according to a police report. The officer replied, “No.”

(Hat tip to reader Ali for the link.)


Friday Video …

I spent the last hour trying to find a halfway amusing video to send you folks off to the weekend with, but this is all I could find. So, enjoy it. And check out Bourne Ultimatum this weekend. You won’t be sorry.

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More from the annals of unnecessary federal regulation

trunkOfBooze.jpgIt seems that there is a proposed federal regulation that would require all beer, wine and booze to have nutrition labels listing calories, carbs and percent of alcohol by volume, among other things. One official says that including calorie counts “could provide a constant, low-cost reminder that alcohol consumption adds generally empty, discretionary calories to the diet.”

Yeah, because people don’t know that beer and alcohol serve no good dietary function. “Oh, wait — I might put on weight while using this bottle of wine to drown my sorrows? Well then, never me mind.”

Please.

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The Daily Memo - 8/3/07

check.jpgHarry Potter and the Law.(Concurring Opinions)

check.jpgThe 11th Circuit says the First Amendment is trumped by fear of violence in school. (Law.com)

check.jpgBy this rationale, I’m an expert witness in, like, tons of stuff. (Legal Antics)

check.jpgRemember that kiddie porn case weighing over R. Kelly’s shoulders? Looks like jury selection is finally set to start on September 17. (Defamer)

check.jpgThe Senate is thinking that a second airport for the Atlanta-area should be in Tennessee instead of Georgia. (ajc.com)

check.jpgThe ACLU is in another legal fight over Jesus in the courthouse, this time with a judge in a little Louisiana town who hung a portrait of J.C. in the lobby. (ABC News)


Please sir, can I have some more DVDs?

oliverT.jpgAn Ohio woman has been accused of being a modern-day Fagin (the nasty dude from Oliver Twist). Seems that Maria Daniels was using four kids to run a scheme where they stole $17,000 worth of DVDs from a library, which she then sold to line her pockets with good ol’ American greenbacks. Three of the kids were Daniels’ own (aged 5, 9 and 17) and the fourth was a 14-year-old who also lived with her. She and the kids obtained a ton of fake library cards from a Cincinnati public library (and when I say “a ton,” I’m not exaggerating by much — they obtained 22 adult cards and 70 children’s cards). Over a six month period, they “checked out” 837 items on these various cards, and Daniels would then take them all to a store for resale.

She got busted when the store clerk got suspicious and called a branch of the library to look into things.

Daniels was offered a choose-your-own-adventure type of sentence by the judge this week, after pleading guilty to charges of theft and forgery:

[Judge Ethna] Cooper gave Maria Daniels a choice - six months in prison and then probation during which she’ll have to pay almost $17,000 restitution to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County or two years behind bars.
Daniels’ decision will come Aug. 30 when she is set to return to Cooper’s courtroom.

You gotta figure that a lady who resorted to stealing from the public library has absolutely no means to pay back seventeen grand, meaning she’s gonna have to go with the two-years-in-the-clink route, right? In any event, here’s hoping the prison library has tighter security than the public library.

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“I’m sorry Dave, but you can’t have the antique vase.”

halEye.jpgArtificial intelligence is coming to a divorce proceeding near you! There’s a relatively new software program called “Family Winner” which purportedly helps couples come to a rational resolution of their divorce. The program uses artificial intelligence and aspects of game theory developed by John Nash (the guy who Russell Crowe played in A Beautiful Mind) by asking each person to give a rating to any item that’s in dispute:

A wife might assign 30 points to the car, for instance, while the husband might assign only 20, indicating that the car is more important to the wife than to her spouse. In total, each person has 100 points to assign to all of the items or issues.
The software tallies all the points, creates an initial “trade-off map” and begins by solving the easiest dispute — the one for which there is the largest point discrepancy.
“The result, then, is a direct reflection of the priorities set by the disputants,” [developer Emilia] Bellucci told LiveScience.
The person who “loses” the first dispute is given extra points to assign to the remaining issues. The trade-off map is revised and the software moves on to resolve the next “easiest” dispute, continuing on this way until all are resolved. The idea is to create a “win-win” scenario.

This program isn’t commercially available yet, but it seems like something which there would surely be a market for. And the computers get one step closer to ruling us all.


Don’t Mess with … North Carolina …

arrestedbastard.jpg .. cause they will fuck you up.

Check this: A couple in West Asheville, NC put a flag upside down on their front porch, as a form of protest, right? Well the Bumblefuck Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office had their own form of protest. It’s called: “My foot. Your ass.”

The upside-down flag had a picture of the President and the words “Out Now,” on it. It’s a misdemeanor in NC to desecrate the flag, so the police responded to the scene. There are two accounts to the story, but I’m going to give you the account of the Kuhns, because it’s actually backed up by several eye-witnesses.

According to the Kuhns, deputy Brian Scarborough came and told them they were desecrating the flag. The Kuhns said that they didn’t mean to, that they were simply put the flag up as a sign that the country was in distress. Nevertheless, the Kuhns took the flag down.

But the deputy wasn’t happy with that. He wanted them to show ID. The Kuhns refused and walked back into the house. So the deputy kicked in the door, knocked out the glass, unlocked the door, and came after the Kuhns. He then chased Mr. Kuhn into the kitchen, pulled out his billy club, and beat the shit out him. Mrs. Kuhn, meanwhile, had to call 911 to report that a cop had broken into their home and was assaulting her husband.

Deborah Kuhn asserted that no warrant was displayed or permission asked to enter the house. After calling 911, she says, she ran outside and began screaming for help.
Sam York, who lives nearby the couple, was awakened by the struggle, as the Kuhns and Scarborough both came out into the yard. “I woke up to Debbie screaming,” he said. “Mark and Debbie were saying ‘you assaulted us’ and the officer [Scarborough], was demanding their identification. Then another officer threatened them with a taser. He told Debbie to back away or he’d taser her and demanded that Mark get on the ground.”
Sorrell confirms this part of the account: “When they were outside, one of the other officers produced a taser and he [Mark Kuhn] surrendered and submitted.”
Deborah Kuhn’s screams also drew the attention of Shawn Brady and several of his roommates, who live next door to the couple. “I run outside and ask them what’s going on and there’s cops chasing Mark around his car,” Brady said. “They threaten to taser him and demand that he get on the ground. He gets on the ground and we ask them what they’re being charged with. They tell us it’s none of our concern. I tell them they’re our neighbors and it is our concern.”
Neal Wilson, who lives with Brady, also saw the deputy produce the taser, he says. After repeated questions, Brady and roommate Tony Plichta said that the deputies replied that “they didn’t know yet” what the couple would be charged with.

So, to all you North Carolinians out there: You best watch which way you hang your flag. And if you vote for a Democrat in 2008, don’t be surprised if there is an officer waiting outside your polling booth with a billy club in hand.

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Fattest Wallet Ever!

fat_wallet.jpgHave you ever found a lost wallet, say, at the roller rink while you’re out scoping underage poon? And did you wonder, “Hmmm. Should I turn this into the lost and found or take it and run?”

Well Elizabeth Cabrera-Rivera found a lost wallet and you know what she did with it? She bought a house. A $419,000 townhouse, to be exact. Liz stole Jose Lara’s identity and used it to get a home loan with no-money down. She had her brother pose as Lara, on several occasions, to pull off the feat.

The poor woman, who couldn’t get a house with her own credit, moved her family into the home and had even made all the payments. Unfortunately, there was a $2800 overpayment, which was sent to a very confused Lara, who was told it was from his second mortgage. Fortunately, Lara never lost any money in the scam.

Meanwhile, Cabrera-Rivera pleaded guilty and is facing up to two years in the clink. But her lawyer is probably right in saying that she wasn’t the only one to blame here. He said the scam was “a result of not only her unclean hands, but also the mortgage brokers from the beginning, who allowed this loan to go through without checking the income taxes of Jose Lara.”

And you wonder why the housing market has gone into the toilet. Predatory lenders, baby. They just devalued your house by $50K. Thanks, assholes!

(Hat Tip: Galley Slaves, where there is a very spirited discussion of the matter going on.)

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The Daily Memo - 8/2/07

check.jpgEminem is suing Apple for copyright infringement, claiming that his music was never authorized for sale on iTunes by Em’s publisher (even though his label has signed off on the online sales). (Machinist: Tech Blog)

check.jpgYikes! A doctor has been charged with speeding up a man’s death so that his organs could be harvested. (Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog)

check.jpgLindsay Lohan has now officially been served by the woman who claims that Lohan and her bodyguard hit the lady’s car and then gave her a false name before driving off. (TMZ)

check.jpgSony is, yet again, facing a patent infringement lawsuit over the PS3. (Engadget)

check.jpgA Florida woman (naturally) has been charged with child neglect after leaving her 22-month-old daughter at a Chuck E. Cheese’s for at least two hours. (Tampa Bay’s 10)

check.jpgYou might not want to invite cops into your home when you’re getting high and your living room still has “a visible cloud of marijuana smoke.” (Edgefield Daily)


Sometimes rules that make sense turn out not to make much sense

twoDollarBill.jpgThere is a federal court rule (and I believe many states have similar rules — at least, I know California does) relating to settlement offers and attorneys’ fees. Let’s say you’re involved in a case where the law says that the prevailing party is entitled to some type of recovery for attorneys’ fees. And let’s say that, before your case goes to trial, the other side offers to settle for $1,000. You say “get bent” and take the case to trial. You win, but you’re only awarded $100. Well this rule says that you are not entitled to attorneys’ fees (or that you may be entitled to lower fees) because the trial verdict was for less than the settlement.

This seems to generally make sense. The idea is that you would’ve been in a better position if you had taken the settlement, and you wouldn’t have used all the judicial resources required for a trial. So this rule is intended to make settlements more attractive to litigants. I’ve got no problem with this.

But there does need to be some serious flexibility with these rules. In Utah, a family recently won a civil rights lawsuit against the state’s Division of Child and Family Services. Seems their kid was wrongfully taken from their home for a week back in 1999, which led to this lawsuit. They ultimately won, getting a ruling that the Fourth Amendment applies to social workers, but the jury only awarded them a nominal $2 in damages. Their fees were over half-a-million dollars, and they of course want the state to pay. But the state is relying on this settlement rule, saying it offered the family much more than $2 before trial, an offer which the family rejected. So, says the state, they shouldn’t get all or most of their fees.

The family’s attorney argues that this was a significant decision and that the lawsuit served a “strong public purpose” which warrants payment of the fees anyway. And the Tribune article says that the suit did result in new policies and changes to state law, which certainly supports the attorney’s argument. And that’s the problem with this settlement rule - it ignores the fact that lawsuits aren’t always about money, and that sometimes there are more important purposes served by a suit.

I don’t know the intricacies of this federal rule or how flexible it is, but I surely hope that it allows the judge to use her discretion in awarding this family their fees despite the low damages they received by the jury. If it doesn’t, the rule needs some updating.


I am so sick of this kind of crap

pharmacy.jpgIn Washington, several pharmacists have sued the state over a regulation which mandates that pharmacies make the morning-after pill available to customers. Their lawsuit claims that this regulation violates their civil rights, because it forces them to choose between their religious/moral beliefs and their professions. This new Washington law says that folks don’t need to personally fill an order for the pill, if they object, as long as there is someone else on staff who can fill the prescription for the patient during the same visit. But since these plaintiffs own their pharmacies, they want more than just being able to avoid personally filling the prescription — they want to be able to prevent their store from having to fill it at all.

Look - I totally get that they may be against the pill on moral and religious grounds. And while I don’t agree with this position, I don’t begrudge them for having it, nor do I mean to suggest that they’re not free to believe in whatever they’d like to believe in. But the hypocrisy here is just infuriating. They don’t want the state’s decisions forced upon them. Yet they seek to force their own decisions and beliefs upon their customers. But because they’re beliefs come from morals and religion, it’s ok in their case, right? Of course, they chose to ignore the that they’re running a pharmacy, not a church or clinic. And when they get permission from the state to sell drugs, presumably that process includes an agreement on their part to provide all legal drugs. And that’s the end of the game.

This is the same BS as the asshat who is suing the Massachusetts bar because he doesn’t support gay marriage, despite it being legal in the state. I just don’t get why the morally and religious righteous always think that they’re above the law. A little help here?

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Missed Opportunities

peoplesLawSchool.jpgCourtesy of 43(B)log I learned about this new documentary called The Trials of Law School. It purports to be, as the title suggests, a documentary about the law school experience. I’ve watched the trailer for this flick, which you can catch at the end of this post, and I gotta say — this looks like a big pile of missed opportunities.

To be fair, I’m basing my opinion on a two minute trailer — but from that trailer, it seems like this documentary just flat-out misses the mark. It seems to play up law school as an important institution to be cherished and respected (see the clip of a professor proudly claiming that he thinks students see his bullshit six-hour exam as “a right of passage” when, I guarantee you, 98% of his students probably use vulgarities about him that would even make me blush). And that’s not to say that I don’t think law school is important — it’s an important and fundamental part of our legal process. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a vastly flawed institution desperately in need of change and improvement. Yet the trailer suggests that the flick doesn’t focus on that at all.

Instead, the film seems to focus on the experience of going to law school. And I would consider forgiving it for the biased and one-sided portrayal of the institution, if its real purpose was to expose what it’s like to be in law school. But the trailer claims that this is “the first documentary about the U.S. law school system,” which sorta suggests that it’s going to be a more even-handed look into the institution of law school. And my complaint here goes doubly so for the students being portrayed in the film. The trailer shows every one of them basically working their tails off non-stop and I just don’t think that’s the experience for many law students. For some, yes. But not all.

Over at 43(B)log, Rebecca Tushnet takes issue with the statement, made in the trailer, that law school takes twice as much time as anything in undergrad. She calls BS and I second that. Yes, I worked quite a bit for much of first year, and during selected windows of time in my second and third year. But I also partied (hard) and had fun, as did all my friends and, I’d wager, the majority of folks at my law school. And this was a top-20 law school, not a podunk fourth-tier (where I think folks actually may work harder, sometimes, because it’s even more important to get to the top of your class when you’re at a lower-ranked school).

I really think there is a ton of great material to be mined from the law school experience, the type of stuff that would make for a fascinating and entertaining documentary. But my cursory judgment of this flick based on nothing more than ~2% of its footage is that it’s not such a flick. Plus, it just looks dull and frankly, law school was anything but dull (the classes might’ve been dull, but the law school experience is barely about the actual classes, if you’re doing it right!).

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If We’ve Told You Once, We’ve Told You a Million Times

cows.jpgDamnit, people. How many times do we have to tell you! Stop shagging the farm animals! You just never listen, do you?

A man caught in a dairy barn just before midnight in late May was not only violating the boundaries of the farmer’s property, but he admitted to police that he was there sexually molesting the cows.
Fifty-six year old Gregory Viens, of Fayston, pleaded no contest last week in Vermont District Court to the misdemeanor charge of unlawful trespass and paid the court $601 in fines for his crime.

But then again, if you use the Hand rule (B < PL), where $601 is the gravity of loss, I think Mr. Viens got off relatively cheap. But those poor cows.


The Washington Post Lets Me Down

wpLogo_250x42.gifEr … Wow! This story was so “important,” it made the WaPo, which even took up some valuable real estate with a picture. I mean, it’s one thing when Britney Spears disturbs the peace (that’s news worthy of a front page headline!), but Gary Coleman? Arnold gets 250 words in the WaPo’s Arts & Living Section?! C’mon now, surely Paris Hilton was sporting a new hairdo or something. Where the hell was Lindsay Lohan? Have things gotten so bad in the hard-news world that Arnold banging his hands on his steering wheel and waving his arms around in a parking lot warrants an actual news story? It was a fucking citation, for God’s sake. There are more important things, you know. Didn’t anyone hear that Star Jones admitted to gastric bypass surgery? Now, that’s an important story. I’m really disappointed in you, Washington Post — you had an opportunity to give us some real,hard-hitting news — like the fact that Anne Hathaway got into a fight with her boyfriend — and instead, you give us this crappy little story about a midget who hasn’t been relevant in 20 years.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. It’s a sad day when the NY Post is more relevant than WaPo


The Daily Memo - 8/1/07

check.jpgLooks like the Supremes’ recent patent ruling in KSR is already having the predicted effect of allowing lower courts to throw patents out for being obvious. (WSJ Law Blog)

check.jpg“Every joke could use a lawyer.” (Legal Antics)

check.jpgI dunno — I have no trouble believing that a cop offered a prostitute drugs and money for sex. (Herald Tribune)

check.jpg“A Taiwan waitress is suing one of her work colleagues because he had given her the nickname ‘Looking for Death.’” (Weird Asia News)

check.jpgIf you publicly brag about the fact that you robbed a liquor store and killed the store’s owner, and another employee, you might just find yourself on trial. (SignOnSanDiego)


What are ya … chicken?

chickenSuit.jpgIn Painesville, Ohio (“Painesville?” Seems like the kinda place a bad horror movie should be set, no?), a judge has hit three guilty men with a rather bizarre sentence. The three men recently pled guilty to soliciting sex from a prostitute who — whoops! — turned out to be an undercover cop. Judge Michael Cicconetti seems to take the “Ciccon” part of his last name very seriously, as he agreed to suspend the men’s 30-day jail sentence in exchange for each of them taking turns wearing “a bright yellow chicken costume” outside of the court while carrying a sign reading “No Chicken Ranch in Painesville.”

And this isn’t the first time that Cicconetti has issued such a bizarre sentence, as he has “used barnyard animals to dispense justice in the past.”

He ordered a man who called a policeman a pig to stand next to a live pig in a pen and hold a sign that read “This Is Not a Police Officer.” A couple who stole a baby Jesus statue from a manger were sentenced to dress as Mary and Joseph and walk with a donkey.

Awesome.

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We can add this to the long list of reasons I’m glad I don’t live in Florida

vicodin.jpgIf I lived in Florida, I might be blogging this entry from jail. See, Mark O’Hara has been treated by two doctors, for over a decade, for pain related to a car accident and the gout. As part of his treatment, he’s been given prescriptions for Vicodin. Well several years ago he was put on trial for illegal drug trafficking because he had 58 Vicodin pills in his possession. Pills that the prosecutors admitted he wasn’t actually selling, and for which he had a legit prescription. But they prosecuted him anyway because the law in Florida says that simply having that many pills in your possession automatically constitutes trafficking. And so O’Hara was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in the clink!

In Florida, I could be convicted of the same damn thing — I recently had back surgery and, as part of my recovery, was given a prescription for 60 Vicodin pills. The pain wound up not being that bad, and I think I only took two or three pills following the surgery. So I’ve got 50-odd Vicodin tablets sitting in my medicine cabinet and, despite having a legit prescription for them, the Florida prosecutors might want me hung (although at least I don’t have a prior drug conviction, as O’Hara had, nor would the cops find any pot in my possession, as they did with him … but still).

Common sense prevailed recently, however, as an appellate court ruled that this whole thing was “absurd” and threw out O’Hara’s verdict. So he’s now a free man, although the prosecutors are apparently considering an appeal. Frickin’ Florida.

(Hat tip to Overlawyered.)

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