Drugs

I didn’t go to Eric Holder’s big speech at the ABA annual meeting on Monday. I kind of halfheartedly tried to go, but there were a lot of people who wanted to see Holder say something they could’ve read about online hours earlier.

If the ABA had invited Secretary of Education Arne Duncan over to speak about the horrendous abuse of federal funds by purveyors of higher education, I’d have smashed my way in. But in the crush of people trying to get a look at the Attorney General trying to dismantle a big part of the United States “War On Drugs,” I was reminded that regulating legal education is a small part of what the ABA does — and a part that isn’t of great institutional importance to the organization. The ABA wants a seat at the policy table when it comes to big sexy issues of justice and legal services. Preventing member institutions from price-gouging young people doesn’t get its logo splashed across all the major news networks.

So, Eric Holder delivered a big policy address. And later, by which point I was on a plane, Hillary Clinton spoke about how she’ll be speaking about other things as she doesn’t run for president just yet. Holder! Hillary! Marvel at the ABA’s relevance in national policy debates!

Except, they’re not relevant. Holder did make an important speech on Monday, and he couldn’t have found a more supportive group for his take-down of mandatory minimums had he been speaking to potheads in Golden Gate Park. But really, the ABA isn’t going to be any more helpful when it comes to actually convincing Congress than a meeting of the 4:20 club…

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* Whitey Bulger was convicted on 31 of the 32 counts he faced. [NBC News]

* Eric Holder announced that the federal government will stop charging certain drug offenders with crimes that carry draconian mandatory minimum sentences. Apparently, he just now realized the prison system is riddled with non-violent offenders. The last horses are finally crossing the finish line, folks! [Washington Post]

* Johnny Manziel has hired counsel for his upcoming NCAA probe. Surprise, surprise, it’s Champ Kind from Anchorman. [Jim Darnell]

* As a follow-up, the lawyer who filed suit against his ex-wife for bad mothering is facing ethics charges in an unrelated matter where he wrote a will giving his own kids 40 percent of his client’s estate. It take something special to try and slip that one past the goalie. [ABA Journal]

* The former escort behind the nom de plume Belle de Jour, whose exploits gave rise to a TV show, is being sued for defamation by an old boyfriend who claims her sexploits are a lie. If you can’t trust a detailed diary of sexual experiences, what can you trust? [Jezebel]

* Here are the top energy law priorities facing Congress after they return from summer recess. Repealing Obamacare, Congress’s only priority, is not an energy policy. [Breaking Energy]

* For IP attorney LOLZ, here’s a fun Tumblr. [IP Attorney]

* A law student at Wisconsin has developed a system that allows easy stalking of someone’s smartphone. While this makes him sound like a jerk, his intention is to prove how unacceptable this lack of privacy really is. It’s not stalking if it’s proving a point! [Ars Technica]

* The Sixth Circuit thinks the emergency manager law in Michigan may violate the state’s constitution. This could throw the whole Detroit bankruptcy into doubt. There’s a lot of talk about how this could help city pensioners, but let’s focus on the victims it could cause — what would happen to Jones Day’s billings? [Constitutional Law Prof Blog]

You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.–Donald Rumsfeld

That line, besides being a viciously subtle slap at this great nation’s servicemen and women, also contains a great amount of wisdom. Rummy’s lines had a way of doing that (known knowns, unknown unknown, gnome noams, etc.). For instance, today the sports world stands on the precipice of two wars. And as we survey the looming battlefields, sabres drawn, guns loaded, war analogies wild and unkempt, we face the very real prospect of going to war not with the army we want, but the army we have. Namely, Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Manziel.

But go to battle we must. Our nation’s sports, all teetering precariously on a foundation of absolute hypocrisy, threaten to come crashing down. We are aghast at the mere presence of performance enhancing drugs. At least, that’s what some dude at GNC told me. And while we believe in the free market reflexively, we do not believe a 20-year-old should share in the fruits of his labors. These are the motivating paradoxes of our current sports age and they are threatening to unravel right before our eyes. Isn’t this exciting!? It’s like when the Berlin Wall came down and the kid in your class brought the little pebble and he said “Look, this was the Berlin Wall.” And you squinted and shivered at the mere sight of such an important artifact but, seriously? You wanted to beat that kid in the face and take his history rock.

Let’s talk something other than that jerk kid and his cool commie gravel…

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* The cop who became a global internet meme for pepper spraying protesters at Berkeley Davis is now appealing for worker’s comp, arguing that he suffered psychiatric injury. Pray for him. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Ariel Castro has pleaded guilty. Professor Douglas Berman suggests that the death penalty may have made this possible. An alternative theory is that Castro doesn’t think being locked up in a tiny space for years on end is all that bad. [Sentencing Law and Policy]

* Navigating the archetypes of expert witnesses based on The Office. [The Expert Institute]

* Lawyer arrested for bringing meth into a courthouse. I’d say “better call Saul,” but this sounds more like something Saul would do. [Press Democrat]

* An Akin Gump partner, James Meggesto, is in hot water for Tweeting his disdain for a congressman and a Native American chief. For the record, when a tweet opens with “Resisting urge to tweet…”, you’ve failed. [Politico]

* This story actually reminds me of the plot to the new BSG series — a networked house can easily be hacked by cylons. Or in this case, Kashmir Hill. [Forbes]

* New York’s energy regulations are increasing demand for energy-efficient solutions. The most efficient thing about my apartment is finally getting a break in the heat. [Breaking Energy]

The remnants of the Grateful Dead (Furthur) came to town last week. I was unable to attend, as I was putting on a five-hour benefit show the next day, and I knew a party the night before would not be good for me. Well, the band only got part way into the second set before stopping the show due to “weather.” Granted, there were thunderstorms about, as a cold front was finally lifting the oppressive heat wave of July 2013. But no rain was reported at the venue, and no “weather” ever materialized. Putting on my foil-hat character for a bit tells me that Bobby is still not well, or recovered enough from his bout with something or other earlier this summer. YouTube the clip of “Bob Weir falling” and see for yourself. It is not only sad to see a legend in the throes of some sort of addiction, but it is frustrating as a fan — to pay good money for a show, only to have to leave early because one of the stars couldn’t keep it together.

I have written before about mental illness in the profession, but a more insidious and pervasive issue is alcohol and drug dependency. Everyone who uses has their own story and background about how they got into alcohol or drug use, but I want to focus on the atmosphere in the legal profession: that you cannot have a gathering of attorneys without letting the booze flow. Beginning as a summer associate, and on through your career, wherever you end up, alcoholic beverages, and to a lesser extent drugs, become an omnipresent factor in your daily life. I am not here to preach or judge, just to offer a cautionary tale.

It might also have to do with the fact the we are boring as hell when in a group, and the only way to loosen up is to imbibe….

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Here’s your fact pattern. You’re a young prosecutor and you get assigned a file for a troubled young woman.

She’s charged with a number of crimes, mostly revolving around meth, because it’s Oklahoma and there’s nothing else to do but meth and trade complaints about Texas.

But then you study the file a little more and see that the woman was caught with a loaded gun. Nothing too surprising there.

In her vagina.

Wait, what?!?

You know what they say, if you outlaw guns jammed in vaginas, only outlaws will have guns jammed in vaginas…

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If you take a hard line in your belief in free speech, you need to double that staunch stance when it comes to humor and satire, because they almost universally require an edge or offense of some kind. Quadruple your stance if that humor or satire is aimed at anything having to do with the government, since they’re not allowed to be offended by our speech. Sorry, government, but that’s the deal we made two-hundred-plus years ago: you get to pretend like you represent us and we get to make fun of you for it…

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Last summer, we brought you a tale about some mom-and-dad law grads who had been accused of planting a potpourri of drugs and drug paraphernalia in a school aide’s car for her apparent failure to “properly supervise” their child. At the time, Kent Wycliffe Easter (UCLA Law ’98) and Jill Bjorkholm Easter (Boalt Hall ’98) were charged with conspiracy to procure a false arrest, false imprisonment, and conspiracy to falsely report a crime.

The pair later pleaded not guilty, but were indicted for those crimes in October. A fact that hasn’t been trumpeted from the rooftops — perhaps it wasn’t salacious enough? — is that according to court records, the complaint against the Easters was dismissed in November.

UPDATE (6/26/2013): But note that the grand jury indictment is still pending.

Kent and Jill Easter are understandably upset after having been dragged through the mud for so long, regardless of the fact they’re still under indictment. And so, like any lawyer would do, the Easters are now suing several parties for defamation….

Please note the UPDATES throughout this post.

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We haven’t seen a good Student Bar Association scandal in a while, but that’s all about to change. In case you’re not aware, the law students who are elected to serve on their school’s SBA are tasked with organizing fun events that will make their peers happy, and those events usually cost a lot of money. What can I say, alcohol and vomit clean-up fees are expensive.

So understandably, when that beer money starts to get mysteriously low — in this case, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars inexplicably missing — people start to panic. At what point do you realize the girl responsible for managing your organization’s finances has embezzled more than $30,000?

Probably when she admits to you that she spent the cash to fuel her drug and alcohol addiction…

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Here are three true statements:

(1) Monopolies are generally illegal.
(2) Like baseball, patents make monopoly laws get a little funky.
(3) Courts really really really like to encourage settlements.

So, when two companies get together, and work out a settlement that makes a whole patent infringement lawsuit go away, and the only objection is that pesky Federal Trade Commission complaining that the settlement is anticompetitive, you can understand why a federal court could meditate on points (2) and (3) and dismiss that FTC complaint.

Yet, in FTC v. Actavis, the Supreme Court yesterday made it harder to settle some patent infringement suits, saying that sometimes a settlement of a lawsuit can be an antitrust problem.

How?

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