A Seattle reader brought a remarkable tale to our attention. He sent along some links about prominent attorney Anne Bremner and her recent brush with the law, along with this commentary:
Anne is a high-profile lawyer — at least here in the Northwest. She is a legal analyst for lots of broadcast media outlets. There is lots of hubris here, so I immediately thought of Above the Law.
Does Anne Bremner view herself as “above the law”? On the night that she was arrested for drunken driving, she allegedlysaid all sorts of things to various police officers, including but not limited to the following:
“I will sue your ass.”
“I’m famous. It’ll be bad for you guys.”
“You can’t arrest me. I represent Seattle and King County. You are making a mistake.”
“I represent you guys. Come on, take me home.”
Sounds like a charming lass, doesn’t she? Let’s get to know her a little better….
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…
CORRECTION AND UPDATE (12/6/2010): We are advised as follows by a knowledgeable source: “There was never a charge of ‘fleeing’ the police or anything of the sort. Todd was, in fact, ‘pulled over’ while parked in the parking lot of his hotel and the only charge against him, driving under the influence, has been dismissed.”
We’ve had quite a bit of fun around these parts with the Northwestern Student Bar Association’s role as PC Police for the entire Northwestern Law community. You’ll remember that the Northwestern SBA admonished students for using “any racial or sexual epithet[s]” around exam time — e.g., “that exam raped me.”
But now tipsters report that outgoing SBA president Todd Belcore is in trouble with duly recognized officers of the law, and it’s got nothing to do with his language:
[O]n a school trip to MS, Todd Belcore was arrested for DUI and fleeing from the police. The people on the trip were warned not to discuss the arrest to avoid the news getting to you guys.
Now here’s something from RadarOnline that I think we can believe:
Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was criminally charged for selling booze to minors at a party at her house — a party that ended with the tragic drunk driving death of one of her classmates, RadarOnline.com has uncovered in a blockbuster exclusive. Snooki was one of three people charged in connection with the 2004 death of teenager Michael Truncali, a RadarOnline.com investigation revealed.
Truncali crashed his vehicle and died driving home from a party at Snooki’s house. His BAC was .18 at the time of the accident.
RadarOnline actually talked with Michael Truncali’s parents, who were understandably upset….
A bunch of North Carolina lawyers have been busted for a scam they were running in the Johnston County courts. They “schemed to make drunken driving cases disappear,” reports the News & Observer.
Two lawyers, Chad Lee and Lee Hatch, have lost their law licenses and are heading to prison for four years. Two more, Jack McLamb and Vann Sauls, are on probation for three years. A former prosecutor who allegedly aided in the plot, Cindy Jaeger, still faces charges.
And all five are suffering the embarrassment of running a scam that didn’t seem to really benefit them in any way.
According to Connecticut DUI lawyer James O. Ruane, I can’t breathe as well as white people. Based on this “analysis” Ruane has determined that the breathalyzer is a racist device.
Really. I’m not making that up. Ruane represents a black man who got busted for drunk driving:
A breath analysis administered at state police Troop G in Bridgeport found Brown had a blood-alcohol content of 0.188. The legal limit is 0.08.
In a motion filed Tuesday in Superior Court, Ruane asked a judge to suppress his client’s breathalyzer test results, contending the device used by the state police, and most other local police departments, the Intoxilyzer 5000, discriminates against blacks. Brown is an African-American.
I’m all for zealous defense of your clients, but I don’t see why you have to insult thinking people of all colors to make that defense. But Ruane argued:
[T]he lung capacity of a black man is 3 percent smaller than a white man and, therefore, black men’s test results vary from the sobriety standard set by the device.
He said Dr. Michael Hlastala, a lung physiologist at the University of Washington, examined research of other lung physiologists and, based on his studies, has determined the Intoxilyzer 5000 does not effectively test the blood-alcohol content of black men.
“He looked at all the research and came up with the bigger picture and found the common thread,” he said.
Mmm … blanket generalizations about an entire people. I wonder what Michael Jordan’s lung capacity is as compared to Alan Dershowitz?
Judge Carlton Vines presides over traffic violations and DUIs in Chattooga County, Georgia. It’s a tiny county with a population of just over 25,000. The local newspaper, The Summerville News, has an ongoing investigative series examining the county’s drunk-driving phenomenon and growing number of DUI arrests.
Unfortunately, Judge Vines has become a part of the phenomenon. He was arrested in November of last year for driving drunk and leaving the scene of an accident after swerving into another car. The coppers just released the dash-cam video from the arrest. The man was trashed, slurring, and stumbling… though still cogent enough to refuse the breathalyzer.
Vines pleaded guilty to DUI charges in April. He has since spent three nights in jail, paid fines, done community service and was on house arrest.
On the tape, Vines can be heard admitting he has had “over the limit.” At one point on the tape, an officer asks, “Do you remember the wreck you were involved in?” Vines can be heard responding, “I’m not going to admit or deny it but I will take responsibility.”
A nolo plea — or just good drunken logic? Vines is under voluntary suspension, and the Georgia State Judicial Commission gets to decide whether he returns to the bench.
Judge Vines makes some bizarre comment about sharecropping at the end of the YouTube video. Can someone from rural Georgia please explain? Caught On Tape: Georgia Judge Arrested For DUI [WSB TV] Drunk Judge Arrested [YouTube.com]
Dann was an ATL lawyer of the day honoree last month for running a dysfunctional office with staff accused of sexual harassment, DUIs, and ethics law violations. Oh, but there’s more.
On Friday, Dann held a press conference where he revealed his affair with a staffer. Two of his staff were fired and two resigned last week, including the 28-year-old scheduler with whom Dann had the affair. If sleeping with the boss doesn’t get you a raise and a promotion, what’s the point? From the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
Dann announced the affair at a news conference Friday morning, after investigators released a report on the sexual harassment investigation. The former state senator who once worked in a small Youngstown law firm blamed his inexperience and said he was not equipped to take over a state agency with more than 1,400 employees, including 400 lawyers.
“I don’t know how many people here expected me to win the election, but I certainly was not among them. It was a surprise that I won,” he said.
Saying that you didn’t think you would actually win is the worst defense ever (and seems off-topic). Despite that, Dann says he plans to stay in office and clean up the mess. Good luck with that.
Dann had been slated to be Case Western Law School’s commencement speaker on May 18, but the dean e-mailed the school this morning to announce Dann’s withdrawal. Too bad. His speech could have been fun: “Hey kids, you too can use your Case Western degree to be a total f*#k-up, reward your friends with jobs, sleep with your scheduler, and tap state resources for personal use!”
Dann-related links, collected below. Dean Simson’s email, after the jump.
Marc Dann has had a rough tenure as Ohio’s attorney general. When the media start crafting timelines of your troubles, the end may well be nigh. One of Dann’s biggest problems seems to be judgment calls. Such as when choosing staff members. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a write-up on this stellar Dann staffer:
One of Attorney General Marc Dann’s top managers, who is accused of sexual harassment, has a history of problems with cars and alcohol, including a drunken driving arrest months before he was hired and a smashed state car after.
Dann knew about the arrest because, according to State Highway Patrol records, he was the one who picked Anthony Gutierrez up at 2:30 in the morning at the Canfield post after Gutierrez blew a .149 on a blood-alcohol test nearly twice the legal limit.
Aren’t staffers supposed to be the ones picking their drunk bosses up, and not the other way around?
Reflecting another poor hiring decision, Dann had to discipline his communications director for sending a "profane, abusive e-mail to a co-worker." His COMMUNICATIONS director.
The list of poor staffing choices goes on.
Dann's staff is not entirely to blame for his troubles. From the timeline:
June 2007: Dann, standing on a street in an upper-middle class neighborhood, spots a reporter who had written a story he didn’t like. Dann says, “Hey Steve, write this down: Go (expletive) yourself!”
Maybe Dann’s communications director suggested that.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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.
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