Courthouses

Just days after the act of terror at the Boston Marathon, yet another bomb scare has occurred in Beantown.

According to media reports that have been confirmed by the police, the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston was evacuated due to a bomb threat after a “Code Red” was announced at the scene. Onlookers describe what’s going on as “utter mayhem.”

This “Code Red” is apparently the first in the courthouse’s history. We hope everyone there is safe, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated as we learn more.

UPDATE (4:30 p.m.): Sources report that the courthouse has been opened to employees only, but that the FBI media briefing on the Boston Marathon Bombing is postponed due to the bomb threat.

‘Code red’ prompts evacuation at South Boston courthouse [FOX Boston]
Heavy Security Around Federal Courthouse in Boston [WBSM]
Updates on the Aftermath of Boston Marathon Explosions [The Lede / New York Times]

Earlier: Explosions Hit the Boston Marathon

‘This sequester thing is going great’ — said no one outside of Washington.

Yesterday, we talked about how an austerity budget in Detroit has led to a broken justice system in Detroit. In fairness, nobody much cares about that story because, well, it’s Detroit and f**k ‘em.

But I wonder if people will care when Detroit’s style of “we can’t afford this” justice comes to a courthouse near you.

While it looks like lawmakers will come to a compromise that will avoid a government shut down (for another couple of months), it looks like that deal will keep the sequester in place.

The sequester, of course, was designed to be a TERRIBLE IDEA that has a serious deleterious impact on our country. But I guess since the sequester didn’t stop anybody from watching fat people diving into swimming pools, Congress isn’t really motivated to do anything about it.

And our system of justice gets crappier still….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Sequester Is A Great Idea, If You Want America To Look Like Detroit”

Earlier this month, we talked about “Punk Defendant” Penelope Soto. Soto was charged with possession of Xanax, and during her arraignment she gave the judge the finger.

Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat cited her for contempt and sentenced her to 30 days in jail.

Soto has cleaned up her act, got her contempt sentence dropped, and appeared in court earlier this week, where she was complimented by a different judge.

And I’ve got to admit, I feel bad about calling her a “punk” in the first place. I now think that she was high during her initial, profane court appearance, and they should have dried her out before sending her up before the judge….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Woman Who Flipped Off A Judge Now Receives Applause From The Bench (And An Apology From Me)”

In recent weeks, we’ve seen a great deal of gun violence — a law firm shooting in Arizona, resulting in the death of a partner, as well as a shooting outside of a courthouse, resulting in the death of a prosecutor.

This morning, multiple people in the New Castle County Courthouse, the home base of Delaware’s Court of Chancery, were shot, and at least one was killed.

The situation is still developing, but here’s what we know right now….

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If you can’t laugh at these defendants, then you can’t be a defense attorney. Or a prosecutor, most likely. You could be a judge, though — a judge with no sense of humor.

We’ve got a couple of stories today about defendants behaving very badly in court. Hilariously badly. “I could have walked out of this courtroom, but now I’m going to jail for contempt,” badly.

Looking at these two stories together will allow us to analyze one important question about courthouse etiquette: is it worse to flip off a judge, or to physically assault an attorney?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Punk Defendant Potpourri: Punching and Cursing in Court Will Get You Held in Contempt”

I was just on HuffPost Live debating gun regulation with Professor Eugene Volokh, among others. It was a good discussion where I argued that guns should be regulated like cars, and Volokh thought it would be a good idea to regulate guns like cars… and then we completely disagreed about what that would mean.

But I wasn’t off the webcam for five minutes when another tragic story about gun violence came across the wire. A man in Alabama shot himself inside an Alabama federal courthouse.

I’m not sure that there’s any regulation, up to and including abolishing the Second Amendment entirely, that would stop these kinds of situations entirely. But I am, again, shocked that courthouse security was such that this guy was able to get a firearm in there in the first place….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Attempted Suicide at an Alabama Courthouse”

I don’t know who to believe about the so-called fiscal cliff. I think Steve Kornacki is right and it’s more like a fiscal slope. But if the markets keep acting like petulant children who are easily frightened, then it will really have a deleterious impact on our economy. Then again, Wall Street being happy doesn’t necessarily translate into Main Street being happy, so who knows? The only thing I’m sure of is that conducting politics by holding the nation hostage is freaking stupid. I hope they fix the fiscal thingy and the debt ceiling in the same deal, so America can get back to problems that we haven’t created for ourselves on purpose.

In any event, if we do going tumbling off the cliff or down the slope or around the bend, there will be pain for those who don’t deserve it. While Article I fights it out with Article II, Article III prepares to lay people off, while the fourth estate just wants to see more people fighting.

People who work for federal courts, prepared to be caught in the crossfire….

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* “[L]awyers aren’t trained as accountants,” but Gibson Dunn, Freshfields, Drinker Biddle, and Skadden may have some splainin’ to do when it comes to Hewlett-Packard’s M&A blowout with Autonomy. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Looks like it’s time for some holiday musical chairs: Dorsey & Whitney’s managing partner Marianne Short will be leaving the firm at year’s end to join UnitedHealth as its chief legal officer. [Twin Cities Business]

* The court-ordered mediation between Hostess and the bakers’ union broke down last night. If Judge Drain approves the company’s liquidation plan, the Twinkie may disappear from whence it came. [Reuters]

* Remember the students from Texas Southern who sued because their contracts prof allegedly “curve[d] them out of the class”? Yeah, that got dismissed faster than you can say R2K §90. [National Law Journal]

* You shall not pass — or use Lord of the Rings characters in online gambling games! J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate is suing Warner Brothers for $80M over improper licensing of the late author’s characters. [Bloomberg]

* Please don’t tickle me, Elmo. One week after an accuser recanted his allegations against puppeteer Kevin Clash, another one filed suit over an underage sexual relationship. [Media Decoder / New York Times]

* There’s nothing like some man-on-man sexual harassment to get you going in the morning. Sparks Steak House paid $600K to settle charges lodged by 22 male servers over an eight year period. [Corporate Counsel]

* Seems like this pulchritudinous plaintiff’s contract case is still kicking, and Emel Dilek testified that sleeping with the boss was “absolutely not” one of her roles during her time at Mercedes-Benz. [New York Post]

* Lululemon and Calvin Klein have settled their patent spat over elastic waistbands on yoga pants. Here’s hoping the Canadian yoga-wear company turned this lemon of a lawsuit into lemonade. [Businessweek]

* What do divorcées do in their spare time? They go to Florida’s $350M courthouse to spray paint it with broken hearts and notes for the judge who presided over their proceedings. [Riptide 2.0 / Miami New Times]

In the past few months, we’ve had some extensive bathroom coverage here at Above the Law. From bathroom naming rights at prestigious law schools, to proper bathroom etiquette for dropping a deuce at the courthouse, it seemed like the potty humor would never come to an end. But honestly, we never thought that we’d have to talk about having sex in a toilet stall.

But as a man in New Orleans has allegedly proven, sometimes you just need to get down on the floor of the men’s bathroom at the courthouse and plumb a girl’s drain….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Courthouse Bathroom Stall Isn’t the Best Place to Have Sex With a Minor”

In the past week or two, our bathroom coverage has exploded. We’ve written about a law firm and a law school experiencing toilet shortages, a law school that has a sense of humor when selling naming rights to its bathrooms, and a law firm that wants its employees to follow proper restroom etiquette.

Do we talk too much about bathrooms? Well, not necessarily. Think about it this way: how much time does a person spend over the course of a lifetime in the bathroom, engaged in excretory functions?

(By the way, that’s a great management consulting case-study interview question. Try to answer it if you can; put your reasoning and calculations in the comments.)

If you’re tired of the toilet humor, stop here. But if you want to see a funny sign from a courthouse bathroom, keep reading….

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