Crime

There are a lot of angry job hunters in the legal marketplace right now, thanks to lots of debt and little in the way of prospects. They’re desperate, frustrated, and may be dangerous. The Great Recession has turned some of these poor legal puppies into Cujos.

In May, we wrote about a heated exchange between a Massachusetts law student and a potential lawyerly employer. The lawyer, Rose Clayton, had hesitations about hiring the law student as a paralegal and offered to hire him on a trial basis. When he objected, demanding a full-time offer instead, she laid out exactly what he had done wrong. That set him off and the conversation deteriorated into an exchange of unconstructive criticism. The law student, Jesse Clark, ended with this:

It’s amazing that the Ma Bar lets women practice law. Shouldn’t you be home cleaning and raising children? As for your practice, its just Bankruptcy. It’s not difficult, and many Petitioners file pro bono and get discharges.

Clayton posted the exchange online, redacting the student’s name, and Massachusetts Law Weekly picked up on it. And then we picked up on it. Jesse Clark responded on his blog and thus shed the cloak of anonymity.

Noah Schaffer at the Massachusetts Law Weekly’s Docket identified Clark in a second story, which led Clark to create a nude modeling profile for Schaffer.

After corresponding with Clark, my photo and phone number found their way into a Craigslist casual encounters ad. I deflated quite a few, um, hearts when I let the many callers know that it was a prank.

Then all was quiet on the digital terrorism front for over a month. Until this week. Rose Clayton became the victim of a nasty new prank…

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It has been a while since we last wrote about Gerald Ung, the Temple Law student who was arrested in January for shooting Edward “Eddie” DiDonato Jr. (a former college lacrosse star who also has a legal connection — his father is a partner at Fox Rothschild, the prominent Philadelphia firm). Today we have two updates.

First, a reader alerted us to some updates in the criminal case against Ung, who faces five charges, including attempted murder. According to the docket, it appears that a scheduling took place last week, on June 24, and a trial date was set.

The trial date: February 7, 2011. Wondered our reader: “Huh? Do they usually wait that long for an attempted murder trial?”

We have some thoughts on this, plus an update on Eddie DiDonato….

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And the victim, Eddie DiDonato, continues to recover.

In August 2006, Robert Wone, a promising young Asian-American attorney, was murdered while staying at a friend’s house in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. Wone, then general counsel for Radio Free Asia and a former Covington & Burling associate, was stabbed to death. The housemates claimed that Wone had been attacked by an intruder, but the crime scene seemed to suggest that was not the case.

The unsolved murder inspired the birth of the site WhoMurderedRobertWone, which has tracked the progress of the investigation in excruciating detail. Prosecutors charged the three housemates, including former Arent Fox partner Joseph Price, with conspiracy, obstruction, and tampering, but not for his murder.

The verdict in the four-and-a-half week trial came today.

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CHECK YOU EMPLOYEE BACKGROUND. That appears to be the lesson learned by the New York office of litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel.

A source at QE recently sent us an email with this dramatic subject heading: “A rapist among us.. Quinn Emanuel.” Here’s the allegation:

[Earlier this month] our Records Manager, [name redacted - hereinafter "Got-a-Record Manager"], was fired. He’s been employed at Quinn for over 2 years. Termination Reason: He was a convicted rapist. He’s been convicted since 1987. He was charged with sodomy and first degree rape. I shudder to think that we had a rapist among us and the firm who claims to do background check on employees did not even catch this. An employee did a simple Google search on him and came up with it…. How did the firm miss this?

The tipster provided links to Got-a-Record Manager’s (1) LinkedIn profile, showing his employment at Quinn Emanuel as a “Records Manager,” and (2) a sex offender profile on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website, containing Got-a-Record Manager’s name and photo. If you enter Got-a-Record Manager’s (uncommon) name into Google, the first result in his sex offender registration and the third result is his LinkedIn profile.

How did this come up? According to our source, “People just like to Google others for fun, and this time someone got a surprise.” Indeed.

Was Got-a-Record’s criminal record “a surprise” to the powers-that-be at QE? We reached out to the firm for comment….

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Not that we’re in the business of giving free legal advice, but there are a few things every lawyer should know. Lawyers should know how to handle a traffic stop, for instance. They should know how to handle cops who shout slurs at you from across the street. And of course, lawyers should never snitch.

Some of these lessons come as a shock to laypeople, and even some lawyers who didn’t pay enough attention during Criminal Procedure. But high on the list of things that trained attorneys should never do is submit to a breathalyzer test. You don’t need to be a DUI defense attorney to know that you don’t blow.

The unwritten rule isn’t there to protect drunk drivers (okay, it kind of is there to protect drunks who operate high-speed killing machines); it’s also there to protect innocent people who don’t want to get caught up in the criminal justice system.

An article in today’s Washington Post underscores the point: the breathalyzer simply cannot be trusted, and juries can’t be trusted to know that…

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Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Left to right: John Michael Farren, Scott Rothstein, Michael Margulies.


For some reason, today brings lots of news about lawyers and the criminal justice system. And we’re not talking about lawyers representing clients, but lawyers who are the clients: John Michael Farren, the former White House lawyer accused of attempting to murder his wife; Scott Rothstein, the Florida attorney who ran a massive Ponzi scheme; and Michael Margulies, the former Lindquist & Vennum partner who misappropriated millions in client money. We’ve decided to hit this rogues’ gallery in a single, omnibus post.

Let’s start with John Michael Farren, the former Bush Administration lawyer and Xerox general counsel charged with attempted murder and first-degree strangulation of his wife, Skadden counsel Mary Margaret Fadden. As reported by the ABA Journal, John Farren has posted $750,000 bail and been released to the “Institute of Living” — which sounds like a fancy spa where you eat seaweed and do yoga, but is actually a mental hospital in Hartford.

The news coverage also reveals that the wealthy couple’s divorce has been finalized. How were their millions distributed?

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Some of you apparently feel that your law degrees aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. But there’s no denying that what you learned in first-year contracts class comes in handy — and not just for understanding the gobbledygook in your apartment lease.

Check out what happens when laypeople try to do contract law….

Charge: Seattle man forced pregnant teen to sign abuse contract [Seattle PI Blogs]
Graydon Smith Accused of Forcing Pregnant Teen Girlfriend to Sign “Abuse Contract”
[Seattle Weekly]

Henry Hams

Yesterday’s Lawyer of the Day was a public defender who could use a little defending himself — after he allegedly choked a prosecutor. Inside a courthouse, of all places.

The story is even better than we first reported. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The men went downstairs to the first floor, where [public defender Henry] Hams allegedly lashed out at the prosecutor outside a snack shop, authorities said.

At some point, Hams got on top of the victim and was choking him with both hands around his neck, Patterson said. When two sheriff’s deputies tried to pull Hams off the victim, Hams continued choking him with one hand and attempted to resist the deputy’s efforts with his other hand, Patterson said.

Choking a prosecutor with one hand, while resisting a deputy with the other? Impressive! Welcome to Cook County.

So, where did Henry Hams get his gift for brawling? And who’s representing him in the criminal case he’s facing?

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Apparently there was a choking in Chicago — and it didn’t involve the Cubs. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

A Cook County prosecutor was hospitalized this morning after being choked in a hallway of the 26th and California criminal courthouse, allegedly by an assistant public defender, police said.

The 50-year-old assistant state’s attorney “might be injured very badly,” an official could be heard telling prosecutors at the courthouse. But another source said the prosecutor was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital only for observation.

So what led to the alleged choking? It may have originated in a scheduling dispute….

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When you think of Notre Dame Law School (ranked #22 in the latest U.S. News rankings), you generally don’t think of lies and deceit. But there have been some troubling campus security issues at the school. We previously reported on a creepy, fake 1L that was posing as a Notre Dame law student.

And we’ve heard rumors of the mysterious Notre Dame kleptomaniac. Some kid who has been stealing books around campus. Apparently this person has made the trip to London along with a number of Notre Dame students studying abroad.

The change of time zone hasn’t changed this person’s desire to steal. A tipster reports on “Petty Theft Law School: London”…

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