On Saturday, the Macon Telegraph reported on a theory that Stephen McDaniel was framed for the murder of Lauren Giddings. This theory was advanced by McDaniel’s mother, Glenda McDaniel, who steadfastly maintains her son’s innocence. As commentator Kenny Burgamy aptly noted in the Telegraph, “A mother’s love is instinctual, unconditional and forever.”
Yesterday the Telegraph followed up with a detailed profile of Stephen McDaniel, looking at his childhood, family background, and college years. It’s a great read; check it out in full over here.
To whet your appetite, let’s cover the highlights….
* Urging people to kill the president is protected speech, according to the Ninth Circuit. So if you are playing along at home, judges think that talking about killing judges is wrong, but they don’t care if you threaten the executive branch. [Wired]
* The U.S. Government has decided to stop pursuing Randy Quaid. When reached for comment, Russell Casse said: “They’ve got bigger fish to fry now, believe you me.” [Gawker]
* Delaware should make it more efficient for law firms to tax public mergers. If you don’t like it, you’re feel to come up with some other way for your firm to generate half a million in undeserved fees. [Dealbreaker]
I’ll always be grateful to Paul Bergrin, the New Jersey federal prosecutor turned notorious criminal defense attorney. Thanks to him, I’ll never have to worry about being the most scandalous alumnus of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
While working as an assistant U.S. attorney, I wrote a mildly snarky blog about federal judges, pretending to be a woman, until I outed myself in the pages of the New Yorker. That pales in comparison to what Bergrin stands accused of doing, including (but not limited to) the following: operating a real-estate scam, which defrauded lenders of over $1 million; running a high-volume drug dealership, which was apparently big enough to move 120 pounds of uncut cocaine; running an illegal escort service; and, most seriously of all, having witnesses murdered to keep them from testifying against his clients.
It’s hard to believe that Paul Bergrin was once a federal prosecutor. It’s not hard to believe that he is, in the words of New York magazine, “The Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey.”
But let’s recall that the charges against Bergrin are just that — charges, which Bergrin disputes. Last week, represented by prominent defense lawyer Lawrence Lustberg, Bergrin appeared in federal court in Newark and pleaded not guilty to all 33 counts in the 139-page indictment. Bergrin’s trial is currently set for October 11 before Judge William J. Martini.
In light of the astounding charges leveled against him, Paul Bergrin has taken on a larger-than-life aura — the man, the myth, the legend. What is he really like?
Maybe it’s time for us to have a national conversation about legalizing drugs. It’s interesting to see how many folks in charge of enforcing and administering our nation’s drug laws seem to have drug problems themselves.
We all recall the sad story of former federal judge Jack Camp. After years of sending offenders off to prison for narcotics offenses, ex-Judge Camp pleaded guilty to drug offenses of his own. He was sentenced to 30 days in prison — less time than what Paris Hilton got.
And speaking of Paris Hilton, it seems that one of her former prosecutors — a top drug-crime prosecutor in Las Vegas — was just arrested.
It was quite shocking last October when word first surfaced that then-federal judge Jack Camp, at the time a senior judge for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta), might have indulged in cocaine, marijuana, and sex with a prostitute. The charges were hard to believe, especially given Judge Camp’s judicial office.
But, as it turned out, there was some truth to the allegations. In November, Judge Camp pleaded guilty to criminal charges stemming from his role in a scandal that involved drugs, guns, sex, and a stripper named Sherry Ann Ramos.
Now new information has come to light that makes Judge Jack Camp’s behavior perhaps more understandable, even if still illegal….
In December 2008, then-Chief Judge Jack Camp (N.D. Ga.) gave an interesting interview to the Fulton County Daily Report. In explaining his decision to enter the semiretired state available to certain federal judges known as senior status, Judge Camp said that senior status would allow him to do some things “I really want to do, but never had a chance to do.”
Things like cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone, and a prostitute named Sherry Ann Ramos — if law enforcement allegations are to be believed, that is. (Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, especially the exalted legal deities known as Article III judges, and Judge Camp’s attorney has stated that His Honor plans to plead not guilty.)
Let’s behold the hottie who may have been been the Georgia jurist’s downfall — and hear from some folks who have interacted with Judge Camp….
I am not surprised by the bust of Judge Camp, considering the last trip I took with him. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers . . . Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get into locked a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that really worried me was the ether….
There’s no indication that the 67-year-old Judge Camp tried ether. But if the allegations of law enforcement are to be believed, Learned Paw / Hunter S. Thompson is not far off the mark.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, Judge Camp used a wide range of controlled substances — in the company of an exotic dancer / prostitute, who turned out to be a confidential informant….
Would you want your lawyer to do everything in his power to zealously represent you during your trial? What if doing all he can involves snorting a line during your trial?
Hey, don’t be too quick to judge. Coke heads tend to be alert and aggressive — and those are good qualities for a trial lawyer to have. And I don’t know about you, but one of the things I always tell my lawyer upon the first meeting is: “Look buddy, you handle your detox issues on your own time. When you’re billing me, I want you on whatever drug cocktail you need to be at your best.”
Of course, not all clients are as self-interested as I am. And most court officers also have ridiculous “standards” about “drug use in the courthouse.” Sheesh.
So, unfortunately, a Minnesota lawyer is going to have to spend two days in the pokey for his illicit trial prep skills…
When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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