Crime

Peter John Peter Q John PTa Mon Thugs Lawyer.jpgLongtime Above the Law readers will be familiar with Peter “P’Ta Mon” John, aka “The Thugs’ Lawyer.” We named him a Lawyer of the Day back in 2007, for his aggressive advertising campaign touting himself as “The Thug’s Lawyer” (along with the catchy slogan, “No Evidence — No Conviction!”). We mentioned him again in 2008, when he started offering a $500 “Expungement Special” (which perhaps the good Professor Jones availed himself of).
Well, Peter John is back in the news again — and not for positive reasons this time. From the Baton Rouge Advocate:

Peter Q. “P’Ta Mon” John, who advertises himself as “The Thugs Lawyer,” was indicted Thursday on charges that he conspired to have attempted murder charges against two local rap music executives dropped….

An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury Thursday accused John, 39, 11110 Boardwalk Drive, of conspiring with Moore, Demond Eames and Carter to commit perjury in the civil cases and obstruct justice in the criminal case.

In an interview with ATL, Peter John explained his “thugs’ lawyer” ad by saying, “Look, I am close to the streets.” Did he perhaps get too close to the streets?

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Gerald Ung Gerry Ung Jerry Ung Jerald Ung Temple Law School 3L shooter shooting.jpgMany law students these days are angry and frustrated. If the allegations are true, one has resorted to gun violence (and not just against his casebooks). From Philadelphia’s Fox 29:

A Virginia man is in custody after a weekend shooting in front of Fox 29′s studio in Philadelphia that was caught on camera. Temple University grad student Gerald Ung allegedly shot Villanova graduate Ed DiDonato at 4th and Market Streets early Sunday morning.

According to WPVI, the suspected shooter, Gerald Ung (pictured), is a third-year fourth-year law student at Temple’s Beasley School of Law.
UPDATE (1 PM): Temple has confirmed that Ung, 28, is — or “was,” to use the exact language from the Philadelphia Inquirer article — a law student there.
CORRECTION: Ung is not a 3L, as we originally wrote. Rather, he’s a fourth-year law student in Temple’s evening program.
It is unclear what exactly provoked the shooting, although it appears that Ung and DiDonato were engaged in an argument before the incident. You can see this by watching (somewhat grainy) video footage of the altercation over here. One tipster’s reaction:

This happened in my hometown, which I miss less and less these days. And the [alleged] perp lived three blocks from where I used to live. I wonder if having an appreciation of the law and how much it’s going to run over you makes it any more difficult to sit in jail knowing you’ve done something like this.

UPDATE (2 PM): A different perspective on this incident, after the jump.

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john michael farren.jpgA former Bush Administration lawyer has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly strangling and beating his wife, a counsel at Skadden Arps.
John Michael Farren, 57, served as deputy counsel to the president under Fred Fielding in the most recent Bush administration, as general counsel at Xerox, and as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade under President George H.W. Bush. Since leaving the White House, the UConn law grad returned to Connecticut.
Last night, he made the news there when he allegedly attempted to kill his wife. From the Greenwich Time:

John Michael Farren, 57, of New Canaan, was charged with attempted murder and first-degree strangulation after police received a panic alarm from his home shortly after 10 p.m.
Farren was arraigned in state Superior Court in Norwalk Thursday. He appeared in court with a large bandage on the right side of his neck and has been placed on suicide watch.

According to CBS News, his wife is Mary Margaret Farren, an energy regulation and litigation counsel in Skadden’s D.C. office.

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Las Vegas federal courthouse Lloyd D George federal courthouse.jpgMonday’s shootout at the Lloyd George Courthouse in Las Vegas can be described as tragic, frightening, and now, surreal. Reports are out this morning that the gunman, Johnny Lee Wicks, previously served prison time for killing his brother. The ABA Journal collects the information:

Stories by the Associated Press, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and the Memphis Commercial Appeal detail Wicks’ criminal past.
Wicks killed his brother after an argument escalated over whether his motorcycle could outrun his brother’s car, according to the Commercial Appeal account. Wicks had claimed he killed his brother in self defense, although no weapon was found near the body. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 55 years in prison. On appeal, the sentence was reduced to 12 to 15 years, and Wicks was paroled after serving six years.

I’m not a huge fan of taking legal advice from the Bible, but surely killing your brother because you’re jealous over his sheep car deserves a harsher penalty than six years.
But we’re not done with Johnny Lee Wicks’s past. More after the jump.

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Las Vegas federal courthouse Lloyd D George federal courthouse.jpgDetails continue to roll in about Johnny Lee Wicks, the shooter during yesterday’s gunfight at the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse in Las Vegas. Apparently Wicks set fire to his own house before heading to the courthouse. ABC News reports:

The senior citizen who is being blamed for a Las Vegas courthouse shooting that killed a security officer had set his condo on fire in a fit of rage before the attack.
Friends and family told ABC News that Johnny Lee Wicks, 66, was so upset that his monthly Social Security check was being reduced that he set fire to his home in a gated retirement community around 5 a.m. Monday.

Wicks had filed a racial discrimination suit against the Social Security Administration because his benefits were cut. The suit got tossed and, apparently, that is what set him off. Over on True/Slant, Michael Roston hopes that Wicks’s deranged understanding of race in America isn’t used by neocons as a polemic against tolerance:

Of course, I’m still trying to be hopeful that the fact that Wicks was a black man shooting at a federal building won’t also be worked into the kulturkampf by agents of conservative histrionics. Rush Limbaugh is taking a few days off after his brush with the medical system, so he won’t be going on air tomorrow to declare that crimes like this happen only in “Obama’s America.” If anyone else out there was thinking about saying something like that, please, don’t. Let’s just all be thankful that there weren’t any more senseless deaths from this tragedy today.

Hear, hear. Bullets don’t care about skin color. An Above the Law reader who works at the Lloyd George Courthouse provides an eyewitness account of the harrowing minutes during the shooting.
The story after the jump.

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Las Vegas federal courthouse Lloyd D George federal courthouse.jpgA deputy U.S. marshal and a court security officer were shot this morning when a gunman opened fire in the lobby of the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas. The gunman was shot in the head and killed near the courthouse. The identity of the shooter and possible motives for the shooting are not yet known.
UPDATE: Las Vegas Now reports that the court security officer has died. You can check out an amateur video, featuring loud gunshots and the cameraman muttering “holy s**t,” over here. (Gavel bang: commenter.)
If you have additional information — e.g., you were at the courthouse when the shooting took place — feel free to email us. Thanks.
UPDATE: A first-person account appears here.
2 Guards Shot in Las Vegas Federal Building [Associated Press via ABA Journal]

Aaron Biber Gray Plant Mooty.jpgAaron Biber was a principal specializing in business law at the Minnesota law firm of Gray Plant Mooty — until yesterday. As mentioned in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs, he’s been charged with molesting a 15-year-old boy.

His photo appears at right. We’ll let you be the judge.

Biber was a prominent member of the local bar. From the Minneapolis Business Journal:

Biber is treasurer of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and a former president of the Hennepin County Bar Association. He’s being held at the Hennepin County jail. Freeman’s office expects to ask for $1 million bail at his arraignment, scheduled for Tuesday.

South Lake Minnetonka police arrested Biber on Friday at the Eden Prairie Mall, where he had allegedly arranged to meet the boy. Authorities say Biber had previously had sex with the boy in October at Biber’s Shorewood home.

Gray Plant Mooty has put Biber “on leave” and taken down his bio. This Minnesota firm can teach Biglaw a thing or two — they’ve even eliminated the cached version.

UPDATE: Actually, you can find a cached version of his 2007 bio here (gavel bang: commenter). We’ve pasted a portion of it after the jump.

More yucky allegations, and the reaction from his colleagues, after the jump.

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My Job Is Murder.jpgEd. note: Welcome to ATL’s first foray into serial fiction: “My Job Is Murder,” a mystery set in a D.C. appellate boutique. This is the final installment; you can read prior installments here.
Susanna Dokupil can be reached by email at sdokupil@sbcglobal.net or on Facebook.

The loud whack-whack-whack of a helicopter blade caused John, the detective, and Katarina all to look up. It was the police. Someone downstairs had called, Katarina thought excitedly.
“You’re going in for questioning. One way or the other, you assaulted this guy with a poison frog.”
The helicopter landed on the roof.
John panicked and looked over the edge. No sign of Dick. He grabbed his rolled tent and quickly looped its ropes around his body. As John jumped, the detective marveled at how he had made it into a parachute — but it wasn’t effective enough for such a sharp drop.
John landed, but did not move. Clever, but not realistic, thought the detective as he called 9-1-1.

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Kumari Fulbright small Arizona law student beauty queen Above the Law blog.jpgUPDATE (07/01/10): Fulbright has a new lawyer. Her sentencing date has not yet been set (because she’s scheduled to testify at the October trial of a co-defendant, after which she’ll be sentenced).

UPDATE (11/11/10): Here’s a report on how testimony went.

Remember Kumari Fulbright? Of course — how could you forget her? The former beauty queen had her legal studies at the University of Arizona derailed after being accused of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and aggravated assault.

It appears that Fulbright’s criminal case is reaching a resolution. The Arizona Daily Star reports:

A former beauty queen and UA law school student accused of orchestrating the kidnapping of her former boyfriend will spend the next two years in prison.

Kumari Fulbright, 27, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and aggravated assault Tuesday in Pima County Superior Court.

Fulbright agreed to serve two years in prison for the assault charge and she will have to serve a term of probation on the kidnapping charge once she’s released.

Despite having studied law, as well as having interned for a federal judge, Kumari Fulbright didn’t seem to know how a plea hearing is supposed to work.

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British aristocrat lawyer.JPGAn ATL reader sent along this motion, asking us:

Can you get to the bottom of whether this is a hoax? I assume it is, given how ridiculous the motion and response are. On the other hand, it’s Texas.

It’s a challenge to be an out-of-state attorney in some courts. It may be even more difficult to be an out-of-country attorney.

Here’s the motion from the District Court of Travis County, Texas:

The prosecutor is British (and a Duke Law ’02 grad). His bloody funny response explains that he has already acceded to one of the Defendant’s concerns by wearing cowboy boots, but will not be dropping his accent.

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