Spanking the Monkey H Dewain Herring Above the Law blog.gifWe meant to link to this amusing story last Friday. Unfortunately, between salary coverage and entertaining visitors at our office hours, it fell through the cracks.
Anyway, to find out why H. Dewain Herring, Esq., currently on trial for murder, is ATL’s Lawyer of Last Friday, click here. You’ll be treated to the story of a prosecution featuring “salacious themes of lap dances, drug use and public nakedness.”
Herring’s defense: accidental discharge. Which, to be sure, happens all the time in strip clubs.
To pique your interest, here’s an excerpt from the trial transcript, courtesy of a source on the ground in Columbia, South Carolina:

q. and when you entered the champagne room he was masturbating, right?
a. yes, he was spanking that monkey
q. and when you entered, he saw you and kept masturbating.
a. yes, he kept on spanking that thing.
q. kept on spanking it, ok…

If he were still on the bench, and if this had happened in Oklahoma rather than South Carolina, we know the perfect judge for this trial.
Defense Stresses Lack of Intent [The State]

syringe lethal injection death penalty Above the Law legal tabloid.jpgMaybe it’s time to change the formula. The inventor of the three-drug cocktail used by many states to carry out the death penalty now believes it’s due for an overhaul. As reported by CNN:

“[T]here are other agents that work much faster and much easier,” [Dr. Jay] Chapman said, specifically pointing out an anesthetic called Diprivan. “Absolutely [Diprivan] would be better [for an execution]. If you’re wanting to give someone something so there’s no sensation, no awareness of what’s going on, that’s the drug.”

Chapman notes that to administer the formula that he created, “you have to have some skills to do it. You have to have the ability to find a vein and mix the drugs, because [some of them] come as a powder.”

Chapman still stands by his formula as a sound — if not perfect — method of execution. “It works if it’s administered competently,” he said.

And prison officials are just paragons of competence. As we’ll surely hear from Paris Hilton later this year.
Lethal injection creator: Maybe it’s time to change formula [CNN]

* No do-over for Vonage. [c|net via How Appealing]
* Legislature approves $5 million settlement in Florida boot camp death case. [CNN]
* Katrina wrongful death claims blown away by judge. [Jurist]
* Reno trial lawyer faces his own trial. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* Fen-Phen plaintiffs have a horse in Saturday’s race. [WSJ Law Blog]

Law Order.jpg
We don’t know about you, but we’re despondent about the news that NBC is considering pulling the plug on “Law & Order.” (And we know of at least one L&O fan on the federal judiciary who’d go into deep mourning if McCoy and company got the ax!)

“The mothership is a real discussion,” NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly told Variety last week. “Nothing goes on forever.”
Industry insiders use the term “mothership” when distinguishing “L&O” from the other “L&O” shows, but it’s more than that. It’s the detective show that prepped TV viewers to get sucked into all other existing detective shows.

Think about how many truly awful cop/lawyer shows have come and gone since “Law & Order” was born. Remember the one about the AUSAs, with Jennifer Garner’s ex-husband? There were two other short-lived L&O spinoffs: “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” starring Bebe Neuwirth, and “Conviction”. And worst of all: the atrocious CBS Supreme Court drama “First Monday,” where the Chief Justice would gather his clerks in a huddle before oral argument and say “Let’s go out there and make history!”
So, ATL readers, cancel your glamorous plans tonight and stay home to watch L&O. The alternatives are so much worse. And we don’t want Sam Waterston to have to go back to pitching robot insurance.

library Above the Law blog.jpg* The headline screams “Britney!” But, in fact, this plaintiff was not wearing too-long jeans and fleeing the press — he was tasered. [Houston Chronicle]
* In my college days, this kind of activity was confined to private study booths known as “weenie bins.” We respected the books. [AP via Yahoo! News]
* Are royalties drying up, or is this (PDF) a legit lawsuit? [Los Angeles Times]
* Is teamwork encouraged in law school? Well, there is no “I” in team, but there sure is one in “Order of the Coif.” [Law School Innovation]

Virginia Tech shooting VT Above the Law blog.JPGWe’ve learned more about the tragic killings at Virginia Tech since our brief post from yesterday. We’re guessing you’re following the case as closely as we are. But in case you’re not, here are some new facts:
1. The final death toll — at the time of our last post, it was over 20 — is now 33 (including the shooter, who killed himself).
2. We now know the identity of the killer. “He is Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old resident alien of the United States, as first reported by ABC News.”
Feel free to discuss further in the comments.
Virginia Tech Killer Identified [ABC News]
Virginia Gunman Identified as a Student [New York Times]
D.C. Area Man Was Va. Tech Shooter [Washington Post]
Earlier: Breaking: Gunman Kills At Least 20 at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech shooting VT Above the Law blog.JPGFrom the AP:

A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 21 people and wounding another 21 before he was killed, police said.

From the New York Times:

At least 20 people were killed today, some of them students, and more were injured during shootings at Virginian Tech University, some of them at a classroom on the campus, the police said. The gunman was also shot to death, officials said at a news conference, but details about the incident and about the identity of the gunman were still unfolding.

Virginia Tech Shooting Kills at Least 20 [New York Times]
Gunman Kills 21 at Virginia Tech [Associated Press]

Empire State Building Above the Law legal blog.jpgThis is tragic rather than funny. But it’s the subject of much gossip right now, and several of you have written to us about it. So here’s a quick post.
On Friday, Moshe Kanovsky, a 31-year-old lawyer from Brooklyn, jumped to his death, from the 69th floor of the Empire State Building. From the New York Daily News:

It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted Kanovsky’s suicide.

“He was interviewing a client,” said a man who works in the suite. “He just got up, opened the window and jumped.”

A police source said that Kanovsky met with the client in one room and jumped from another.

Jokes about the misery of Biglaw driving people to suicide would be misplaced:

Investigators questioned employees at Levine & Blit, a personal injury practice, and at Ashok Karmaker. Both law firms share a suite on the 69th floor where Kanovsky “did odds-and-ends work” for Karmaker.

Our condolences go out to the Kanovsky family.
Empire State Building Suicide Shocks Neighborhood [Gothamist]
Lawyer dies in Empire suicide horror [New York Daily News]

Monica Goodling 5a Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.JPGIt’s Good Friday — the Friday before a big holiday weekend. And we all know what that means: a high-profile resignation, timed in an attempt to avoid the news cycle.
Today we bid a fond farewell to the fabulous Monica M. Goodling. As de to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Monica Goodling helped coordinate the controversial firings of eight United States attorneys. When called upon to testify about the matter before Congress, she invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
Oh, Monica — you will be missed. Long after you disappear from the newspaper headlines, you will live on in our hearts. We will always carry a torch for you.
Like so many great blonde icons — Marilyn Monroe, Lady Diana Spencer, Anna Nicole Smith — you left us before your time. So it is fitting and proper that we quote from these lyrics, as we mark your passing from the halls of justice:

Marilyn Monroe Norma Jean Above the Law Blog.jpgAnd it seems to me, you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in
And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did

Eternal rest grant unto the Justice Department career of Monica Goodling, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon it. May it rest in peace. May her DOJ career, and the careers of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.
Gonzales Aide Goodling Resigns [Associated Press]
Top Gonzales Aide Monica Goodling Resigns [Washington Post]
Gonzales Aide Who Refused to Testify Resigns [New York Times]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Monica Goodling (scroll down)

Jenkens Gilchrist Above the Law blog.jpgMaybe you’re grumpy because your firm hasn’t matched the latest associate pay raises. Maybe your clerkship bonus isn’t as big as the $50,000 now offered by Sullivan & Cromwell.
But at least you still have a job. From Bloomberg:

Jenkens & Gilchrist, a Dallas-based firm that once had 600 lawyers, is shutting down after reaching an accord with authorities to avoid prosecution for selling tax shelters that generated more than $1 billion in phony losses.

The firm admitted it developed and marketed fraudulent tax shelters and faces a $76 million fine, the Internal Revenue Service said.

The firm points a finger towards its Chicago office:

Jenkens & Gilchrist blamed its demise on unnamed lawyers in its Chicago office. That branch was closed on March 22.

“The Chicago tax shelter practice seriously undermined the firm’s long-standing reputation,” the firm said in a statement. “We deeply regret our involvement in this tax practice.”

This was probably ill-advised on the part of the firm:

Among the fraudulent shelters were transactions known as BOSS, BART and HOMER, prosecutors said in the agreement.

Guess those IRS types aren’t Simpsons fans.
Update: This Jenkens & Gilchrist promotional video is nothing short of mortifying.
Jenkens to Close After U.S. Agrees Not to Prosecute [Bloomberg]
U.S. Enters Non-Prosecution Pact With Jenkens & Gilchrist [WSJ Law Blog]

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