Death Penalty

Convicted murderer Joseph Wood’s execution began at 1:52 p.m. yesterday. He was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., according to a statement from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne. Some witnesses insist that Wood continued to gasp for air at least 600 times after he was supposedly fully sedated. Others argue that he was merely snoring. Everyone agrees that the lethal injection process took a lot longer than the expected. Death by lethal injection typically occurs within ten minutes or so.

America has grown accustomed to long delays in carrying out the death penalty. Inmates sit on death row for years, even decades. As Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote, “Old age, not execution, is the most serious risk factor for inmates at the San Quentin death row.” We may be used to delays before denizens of death row get to the death chamber, but we have only recently started to see delays once an execution has actually begun….

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Joseph Wood

This man conducted a horrific murder and you guys are going, “Let’s worry about the drugs.” Why didn’t they give him a bullet? Why didn’t we give him Drano?

– Richard Brown, brother-in-law of Debra Dietz, the woman whom the recently executed Joseph Wood murdered in 1989. Wood was the subject of the latest botched execution in Arizona, where he reportedly gasped about 640 times throughout a nearly two-hour period as he lay dying on the excutioner’s gurney. It typically takes 10-15 minutes for lethal injection procedures to run their course.

Joe Francis

* The day after the Supreme Court lifted a stay on Joseph Wood’s execution, it took nearly two hours for Arizona authorities to kill him using the very drug cocktail he contested on appeal. [New York Times]

* So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu: Spencer Barasch, the lawyer at the center of some blowback due to his dealings with Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford, is now leaving Andrews Kurth. [Am Law Daily]

* A dead body was found inside of this West Texas law firm, and the man who was pegged as a suspect claimed he lived at the firm, along with his recently deceased friend. This seems sketchy. [KCBD 11]

* Suffolk Law is hosting a contest where students, coders, and entrepreneurs will try to figure out a way to hack the justice gap. Start by creating an app to help new lawyers earn a living wage. [BostInno]

* Donald Sterling isn’t going to let the fact that he’s already involved in one contentious lawsuit about the L.A. Clippers stop him from filing another contentious lawsuit about the L.A. Clippers. [Bloomberg]

* Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild infamy is in some trouble with the law. He just got hit with a $5,000 per day fine until he returns two luxury cars to the pornography company’s bankruptcy estate. [WSJ Law Blog]

The old ball and chain, dischargeable in bankruptcy only in the most limited of cases. Go ahead, try and prove you’ve got a ‘substantial hardship’ preventing you from paying. We dare you.

* Now that a federal judge has classified California’s death penalty as unconstitutional, it’s only a matter of time before the issue reaches the Supreme Court. We have a feeling the justices will likely roll their eyes. [National Law Journal]

* Word on the street is that Bingham McCutchen has got the urge to merge, and has apparently spoken to a handful of potential partners over the course of the past three months. We’ll have more on these developments later. [Reuters]

* As it turns out, it was neither Wachtell Lipton nor Jenner & Block that managed to snag the coveted GM litigation oversight job. Nice work, Quinn Emanuel — you’re considered a “well-respected outside law firm.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Congrats, Flori-duh, you did something right. A state court judge has ruled that Florida’s ban on gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution in the latest post-Windsor victory for equality. Yay! [Bloomberg]

* Thanks to their hundreds of thousands of dollars in law school debt, many graduates are considering declaring bankruptcy. Too bad most won’t be able to get their loans discharged. [Connecticut Law Tribune]

Amal Alamuddin, ready to graduate from law school

* There’s a very good chance that if you go in-house, you could wind up making more money than even the wealthiest of Biglaw partners. But how much more? Take a look at the latest GC compensation survey. [Corporate Counsel]

* GM has hired outside counsel to review the way the company handles its litigation practices. Since we’re not sure which, we’ll take bets on whether this “well-respected outside law firm” is Wachtell or Jenner & Block. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A federal judge in California ruled that the state’s death penalty was unconstitutional. It seems that allowing a defendant to live with the “slight possibility of death” violates the Eighth Amendment. Damn you, appeals! [New York Times]

* “He hasn’t been charged with anything at the moment and we’ll deal with the charges when they’re filed.” Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is currently being represented by Yale Law lecturer Eugene R. Fidell, a recognized military law expert (and husband of noted legal journalist Linda Greenhouse). [New Haven Register]

* We all know that George Clooney’s fiancée, Amal Alamuddin, has both beauty and brains. What we didn’t know is that she poses for incredibly embarrassing pictures, just like the rest of us. [Us Weekly]

* How do Americans feel about the Supreme Court’s recent cellphone privacy ruling, Riley v. California? [Digital Constitution / Microsoft]

* Donald Trump slapped with sanctions. [South Florida Lawyers]

* The very, very, very long arm of Canadian jurisdiction. [Slate]

* Alafair Burke, author of All Day and a Night (affiliate link), lists her favorite “lawyers are people too” books. In other words, fiction. [Omnivoracious]

* The latest assault on Hillary Clinton — dusting off an old story about a particularly nasty case where she served as a court-appointed attorney — is the latest in a string of political attacks on the foundation of the criminal defense system. [Washington Post]

* Tomorrow, the Family Violence Appellate Project is throwing a battle of the bands! “Banding Together To End Domestic Violence” features bands from law firms and businesses competing at San Francisco’s 1015 Folsom club. Voting is “Chicago-style,” with each vote $1. Buy tickets and submit “votes” at their website. [Family Violence Appellate Project]

* Professor Glenn Cohen of Harvard Law appeared on Rachel Maddow last night to discuss whether or not doctors should participate in executions. I guess no one would be around to complain about the six-month-old issue of People in the waiting area. Video below. [Rachel Maddow Show]

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Ed. note: Above the Law will not be publishing on Monday, May 26, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

* Who cleans up after Godzilla rolls into town? I figure it’s Damage Control. [The Legal Geeks]

* So we all know University of Texas Law admits politically-connected students with bad grades and scores. But did you know they let in someone with a 128 on the LSAT? ONE. TWENTY. EIGHT. [Watchdog.org]

* Do we even need the Supreme Court? Well, that’s one way to get RBG to retire. [Huffington Post]

* Seriously, the Boston Public School system is eliminating its history department. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Yesterday I talked about a devastating takedown of the latest National Review article contending that sexual assault is no big deal. Perhaps I crowned a champion too soon, because this is an even better whipping of that article. [Concurring Opinions]

* Wait, ID laws ultimately suppress voter turnout? What a surprise! [Election Law Blog]

* The last word in the death penalty debate after the jump… [The Onion]

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

* If you want to become a Supreme Court justice, you can start by attending one of these three schools. The schools that produced the most justices are Harvard Law, Yale Law, and Columbia Law. [TIME]

* Many of the transactional practice areas that took a bruising during the height of the recession, like corporate work, M&A, real estate, and tax, seem to be coming back. Sorry litigators. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Following Oklahoma’s botched lethal injection, another death row inmate has been given a new lease on life — for the next six months — while an investigation is being carried out. [Associated Press]

* Members of the defense team for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev not only want their client’s comments after arrest stricken from the record, but they also want the death penalty off the table. Good luck. [CNN]

* A lawyer was arrested after a school board meeting because he complained for too long about a graphic sex scene in a book his daughter was assigned to read for school. That’s typical. [New York Daily News]

* Pet therapy? This is what you’re doing with your time? This is why Cardozo can’t have nice things. [Cardozo Law]

* Nobody likes name-calling, but opting for the death penalty just because you don’t want to be called “retarded”? That’s, um, what’s the word I’m looking for? [Cincinnati Enquirer]

* Remember when Mary Jo White was going to bring teeth to the SEC? Well, that’s all over. [New Republic]

* Live tweeting a prostitution sting. Yeah there’s no way this could go wrong. [Slate]

* Law student says cops beat him so hard he lost a testicle. Um. That’s horrible. [KOB]

* Do you fancy yourself a funny lawyer? Then enter New York’s Funniest Professional competition. Lawyers square off later this month. [Gotham Comedy Club / Manhattan Comedy School]

* Judge sentences rapist to 45-days and community service… working in a rape crisis center. Because the victim was “promiscuous.” How could anyone be this tone-deaf? Oh, it’s in Texas? Never mind. [CNN]

* California lawyers now must promise to be courteous. Play nice, kids. [LA Times]

* Finally, it’s time to wish a happy birthday to Winston & Strawn’s Jonathan Amoona, who was on the 2014 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. I guess he won’t be anymore. His 30th birthday invitation went out to the managing partner and a bunch of the top rainmakers, which isn’t toolish at all. The invite is available after the jump….

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* Are you a judge or former judge interested in being on television? All you have to do is move into some quasi-Survivor commune. Who would be the best jurist to send out there? I’d say Thomas so he can just stare at everyone silently and offer no assistance. [LawSites Blog]

* Law students fight to get an immigrant lawyer admitted to the bar over 100 years later. Just what California needs. Another lawyer. [UC Davis News & Information]

* Speaking of California needing more lawyers, California law schools are reaching out to community colleges to find students who saved on their undergraduate education and might be willing to start taking on some serious debt. [SF Gate]

* The State of Texas has intervened in a legal brawl between two breweries over the use of the Alamo. One more liberal government trying to take over the free market. [Brewery Law Blog]

* Professor John Banzhaf has an interesting suggestion regarding the death penalty: why are we still using injections anyway? [PR Log]

* Most people shouldn’t sue just because they can: a commentary on Alex Rich’s recent piece. [Law and More]

* More feedback on the ATL Top 50. [Most Strongly Supported]

* “Tacoma needs a law school like I need a hole in the head.” Exactly. [Post Defiance]

* The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education took a big step toward invalidating their own name by approving the sale of Charleston to Infilaw. By the way for comedy’s sake, attached below is a screenshot of the Google News alert I got on this story…. [The State]

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