(A stock photo of a teen driver — not actually Ethan Couch.)
I’m sure that by now you’ve all heard the story about the wealthy white teenager who killed four people while drunk driving. As we mentioned in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs, 16-year-old Ethan Couch got off — sentenced to therapy — because the judge agreed that the kid was a victim of “affluenza”: his parents gave him everything he wanted, and he believed that being rich meant that he wouldn’t have to face consequences for his actions.
The kid’s not wrong; the fact that he’s not facing incarceration for killing four people kind of proves the point. A poor white kid would be in jail right now. A rich black kid would be in jail right now. A poor black kid would be picking out items for his last supper right now. Anybody who thinks that this kind of lenience would be given to anybody other than a wealthy white dauphin is wrong and stupid (and probably racist). The rich kid isn’t in jail because rich people don’t suffer the full force of consequences for their actions.
That said… the judge isn’t wrong either. When you have a jerk-off prick of a 16-year-old, as this kid appears to be, it’s probably not his fault. Not really. My outrage isn’t that Couch is getting off, it’s that so many other teens and young people are being incarcerated without this kind of compassion.
Not that there aren’t people who deserve jail time behind this. It’s just that those people are Couch’s parents….
All childhood stars who grow up to become sought-after celebrities are entitled to have a breakdown or twelve involving legal drama. It happened most recently to the once-luminary leading lady Lindsay Lohan, and it happened to Britney Spears, the preeminent princess of pop, before her. These women were entitled to their meltdowns, and they both earned them the hard way: by bolting breast implants, the gateway drug of choice for young celebutantes, to their chests. Things all went down hill from there.
When lesser stars get into trouble with the law, the world watches, if only to point and share a laugh at their expense. Exhibit A: Amanda Bynes. In the past year or so, the fading star’s legal infractions have been outnumbered only by the number of times a plastic surgeon has put her on the table. Most recently, Bynes was hospitalized under a 5150 mental health evaluation hold, and her assets were placed under a conservatorship by a California court in her mother’s name.
Today, we’ve got the latest news on Amanda Bynes and her never-ending courthouse kookiness. Let’s check out the latest Hollywood legal gossip…
* A lawyer fresh out of law school botched a domestic violence case by gushing all over Tom Hanks… who was serving as a juror. Which, in fairness, was awfully Big of him. [TMZ]
* Federal prosecutors are seeking at least 27 years in prison for a Massachusetts man who authorities say plotted to kill and eat his children based on a search of his home and car, which is presumably a Saturn. As one law professor observed, “Perhaps the lawyer will make a free exercise argument and claim that eating children is a requirement of his religion.” [CNN]
* If you’re going to drink and drive, be sure to toss a few back with the judge first. [KVUE]
* A criminal defense lawyer who begins every cross by making the cop look more humane and respectable. I thought the public defender from My Cousin Vinny was the lowest criminal defense could go in the comical incompetence department. [Katz Justice]
* Putin crony claims 100 percent of profits in a “public” oil company by flat ignoring minority shareholders. Shhhh! Stop giving Exxon ideas. [Breaking Energy]
* Elizabeth Wurtzel knows music (a subject she covered for the New Yorker for New York Magazine). In this article, she writes about The Replacements (something Wurtzel has made her past employers, including Boies Schiller, become familiar with). [The Daily Beast]
* On Monday, the American Constitution Society will host a preview of the upcoming Supreme Court session. Panelists include Pamela Harris, Randy Barnett, Joshua Civin, Andrew Pincus, and David Strauss. [American Constitution Society]
* A DWI attorney shows up to court drunk. Kicker? He was in the wrong courtroom. Still, the best way to defend a client is to stumble a mile in their shoes. [KRQE]
* A sitting appellate judge shares his poetic stylings. [Law Poetry]
* Here’s a brutally honest letter from a hypothetical senior Biglaw partner to a new associate. Since this week established that we need to point this out, this is a satirical letter. [Associate's Mind]
This world is absolutely crawling with DUI attorneys. You wouldn’t know it to look at this website, but it’s fairly clear out here in Amurrica that DUI attorneys outnumber other attorneys by at least a seventeen or eighteen-to-one margin. If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe Google? A search for “DUI attorney” returns over 27 million hits. Whereas a search for “clown gingivitis” only returns 638,000. So yeah, there are a ton of DUI attorneys in this world.
If you’re wondering why I’m wasting your time and mine on hilarious Google searches, it’s because this is the week that sports figures decided to get all sorts of liquored-up and go on joyrides. Well, this is the week I decided to write about sports figures getting all sorts of liquored-up and going on joyrides. Because, truthfully, athletes and those who employ them have a long history of drunk driving. I refer you to my first paragraph. Those lawyers didn’t multiply like wet Gremlins because work was hard to come by. Indeed, drunk driving is a crime that is enjoyed by a wide swath of Americans, from a young me to a slightly older me to those who aren’t even me. Now, this is not to downplay the seriousness of the crime. It’s a terribly reckless thing to do and it should be punished harshly.
Erin Brockovich and her not-so glamorous mug shot.
After a day in the sun and with nothing to eat it appears that a couple of drinks had a greater impact than I realized.
It is very important to note that I was not operating the boat in open waters, I was moving it within its own slip. At no time was the boat away from the dock and there was no public safety risk. That being said, I take drunk driving very seriously, this was clearly a big mistake. I know better and I am very sorry.
Driving while drunk is wrong. I’m not going to dispute that. In fact, that’s why I live in New York, where my drinking habit hobby can never put anyone at risk. Except me, I suppose.
And the drive to drive drunk-driving incidents down further is in full swing, with the National Transportation Safety Board suggesting that states reduce the legal limit for driving to .05% — the level of intoxication achieved by inhaling while walking past a bar.
That said, are there ever any exceptions to the ironclad rule? And might one of those be fleeing an attacker?
* Justin Bieber has apparently abandoned his 20-week-old monkey, Mally, after having her confiscated because he couldn’t comply with animal control laws in Germany. Now in a shelter somewhere in Germany, there’s one more lonely girl. [Lowering the Bar]
* Ann Althouse posted FOUR TIMES about Barack Obama’s umbrella over the weekend. Somebody is really putting off grading those papers. [Althouse]
* Alabama judge faces $25 million lawsuit alleging he improperly took a case from another judge and issued damaging rulings. This is the judge who ran against Chief Justice Roy “Don’t Remove the Ten Commandments From the Courthouse” Moore. The moral of the story is: don’t use the Alabama judicial system. [Legal Schnauzer]
* The FBI may be looking into whether lawyers conspired to have opposing counsel arrested on DUI charges by using a “comely paralegal” to get the lawyer drunk and then ask him to drive her home. [Tampa Bay Times]
* Statewide Virginia Republican candidates are no friends of the libertarian wing of the conservative movement. On the other hand, are there viable conservative candidates not named “Paul” that are friends of the libertarian wing of the conservative movement? [CATO at Liberty]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
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