Fat People

donut doughnut police officer cop Above the Law blog.jpgObesity isn’t just a problem for Biglaw lawyers who don’t get to the gym enough. From the New York Post:

He weighs more than 500 pounds, but that wasn’t enough to tip the scales of justice for ex-cop Paul Soto.

The rotund retiree lost his legal argument that it was a line-of-duty fall outside a doctor’s office that cost him his NYPD career. A judge says it was actually his “morbid obesity.”

“There’s no dispute that [Soto] is physically incapable of performing his duties as a police officer. He is morbidly obese, suffers from narcolepsy and is hypertensive,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Judith Gische wrote in her decision made public yesterday.

Apparently the physical vigor of being a cop doesn’t always keep off the pounds:

When Soto joined the force in 1993, Gische found, he weighed approximately 250 pounds. He is now 40, 5-foot-7 and over 500 pounds.

A former colleague at the 6th Precinct said Soto’s gun belt was an incredible 6 feet long, and his bosses would order him to take walks around the stationhouse for his own good. They would also have other officers shadow him to make sure he didn’t pick up food along the way, he said.

It’s a good thing Soto doesn’t work at a law firm, where office-wide emails about extra sandwiches left in conference rooms make the rounds daily.
He’s Biiig Blue [New York Post via Drudge]

* Mandated calorie watching is struck down. [AP; New York Times]
* Mortgage lenders’ ads may violate FCC FTC rules. [MSNBC]
* Former Philippine prez gets 40-year prison sentence. [New York Times]
* China agrees to prohibit lead paint in children’s toys… [AP via MSNBC]
* Tennessee uses the chair for first time since 1960. [CNN]

Elizabeth Halverson 3 Judge Elizabeth Halverson Liz Halverson Above the Law blog.jpg
Since the last coverage of her on ATL, the Energizer-bunny-esque Judge Elizabeth Halverson has been ordered on the inactive list by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline.
Following an emotional plea by Halverson in a rare television interview, and a similar public plea by two sexy ex-Halverson staffers (a law clerk and a secretary), the hearing transcripts have been released by the Nevada Supreme Court.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal published a story this morning that basically places the final nail in the 425 500 lb jurist’s cavernous coffin career:

District Judge Elizabeth Halverson’s former bailiff testified that she fell asleep daily in court and frequently told him to shoot her husband, according to transcripts of a closed-door hearing that were made public Wednesday.

Yes, you read that right: “frequently told him to shoot her husband.”
(Dozing off on the bench is no big deal. Some highly regarded judges do it all the time.)
The balance of the insanity, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Update on the Large (and Decidedly NOT In Charge) Judge Elizabeth Halverson”


Richard Posner Richard A Posner Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgThe rail-thin Judge Richard Posner (7th Cir.), who favors grapefruit for dessert, has this to say about fat people over at his blog:

It makes sense, as the recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine finds, that friends’ fatness would have an influence distinct from that of the culture as a whole….

In my own ingroup of 16 judges (11 active members of my court, 4 senior members, and 1 nominee, who will replace an active member who will be taking senior status), only 2 are overweight (12.5 percent), compared to a nationwide average of 66 percent. Among my other friends, judicial and otherwise, the percentage who are overweight is probably no greater than 12.5 percent.

When we read this, we guessed that one of the two overweight judges was Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook. After all, a fondness for Arby’s Melts is not a recipe for thinness. But one ex-Seventh Circuit clerk we contacted disagreed:

Actually, Easterbrook has lost a lot of weight. I am not sure who [Posner] meant. Also query whether he used the rigorous BMI > 25 test.

Good point. Did Judge Posner run around the Dirksen Courthouse with a pair of body-fat calipers? Or did he just eyeball his colleagues in the robing room, to see who was sporting muffin tops?
To Seventh Circuit groupies: Which judges are packing a few extra pounds underneath their robes? Please enlighten us, in the comments. Thanks.
Social Obesity — Posner’s Comment [The Becker-Posner Blog]

Elizabeth Halverson Judge Elizabeth Halverson.jpgJane Ann Morrison, columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, had a column yesterday that put quite a smackdown on two-time Judge of the Day Elizabeth Halverson (see her previous honors here and here). Along with some catty renditions of some of the facts we already knew (like the fact that Judge Halverson’s pre-judicial legal experience apparently consists of 9 years as a state court law clerk, getting FIRED from that job, losing her first election, and then somehow winning her second), Morrison provides some of the juicy details of the hefty judge’s outrageous behavior that led to her needing her own security force in the first place.
From the column:

Halverson spent nine years as a fairly lowly law clerk. (I always assumed the 425-pound woman, according to her driver’s license, stayed as long as she could for the county’s health insurance coverage.)

Zing!

After she was fired, she ran for one judgeship, lost, but in 2006 won on her second try.
Before long, stories started coming out of the Regional Justice Center about her contemptuous behavior toward her staff, particularly her bailiff, Johnny Jordan. Halverson, who had never had real power, was relishing it, throwing a pencil on the floor and ordering him to pick it up. Jordan was ordered to give her foot rubs and back massages. He has since filed a complaint against his former boss alleging discrimination based on sex and race. He is black and says she treated him like a “house boy.”

Yikes.
Apparently the other judges in the courthouse felt the need for a judicial intervention with Halverson:

Court officials realized they were going to be slapped with multiple lawsuits alleging hostile work environment if no action was taken. Three judges were asked to help Halverson, Family Court Judge Art Ritchie and District Judges Stewart Bell and Sally Loehrer.
A memo details an April 6 meeting between Halverson and the three judges:
• She’s told it’s inappropriate to have staff rub her feet or her back. Her answer: She’d told the bailiff to stop that, that he’d become too familiar with her.
• She’s told she should not require staff to show up at 6:45 a.m. to wait for her arrival at 8 or 8:30 a.m. Her answer: She’d told the bailiff not to come early, but he wouldn’t listen.
• She’s told she should not have staff make her lunch. Answer: The bailiff wants to make her lunch.
• She’s told there are 20-25 orders missing. Answer: She’s shocked.
• She’s told it’s unethical to make statements showing bias against attorneys, particularly those who didn’t give to her campaign. Answer: Yes, she said it, but since nobody gave her money for her campaign, she’s not discriminating against anyone.
• She’s told the demeaning way she talks to her husband, Ed, referring to him as a “bitch” (and worse), is offensive to staff. Answer: She doesn’t know why that would upset the staff, but the solution is to have him not come to her chambers.
• Told she should treat people with dignity and respect, Halverson said she didn’t know specifically what she was doing wrong.
After she answered every allegation made against her, Judge Bell told her, “If you can’t see it, you can’t fix it. Get some psychological help.”
On April 12, the three judges tried to meet with Halverson again at 4:30 p.m. She was in a civil nonjury trial. The three judges waited until 6 p.m. before leaving. Later, the judges said they confirmed her trial was over, but she waited in the courtroom until she confirmed they had departed. The judges said Halverson will “falsely” claim she was in trial. Essentially, the judges called her a liar.

We also have it on good authority that she told her doctor she was just “big-boned.”
But despite all of this, Las Vegas voters will have to wait 18 more months to get rid of the behemoth they so nonchalantly voted into office. That is unless a complaint is filed with the Judicial Discipline Commission; the article says that investigators are working on putting one together.
Oh yeah, did we mention that she’s huge?

It’s time for a quick update on Judge Elizabeth Halverson. As you may recall, Judge Halverson — a Nevada state court judge, with her chambers in Las Vegas — was recently named our Judge of the Day. She achieved this honor after being banned from the courthouse by the chief judge.
Anyway, we’re pleased to report the Honorable Elizabeth Halverson is now back at work. Congratulations, Your Honor!
Also, she is still really large.
P.S. Speaking of Las Vegas, we’re going to be out there over Memorial Day weekend, to attend the wedding of a friend (no, not Britney).
If you’ll be in Vegas at the same time, and would be interested in shooting craps grabbing drinks with us, please drop us a line. If there’s enough interest, maybe we’ll hold another ATL happy hour, or office hours. Thanks.
Halverson returns to court [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Earlier: Judges of the Day: Elizabeth Halverson and Fred Axley

Elizabeth Halverson Judge Elizabeth Halverson.jpgState court judges are like bratty kids, or pets that aren’t housebroken. You can’t take them anywhere.
Because they’ve probably already been banned from where you were planning to take them. Even if the place in question is the courthouse.
Consider the Honorable Elizabeth Halverson (at right). From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

The District Court chief judge on Thursday banned District Judge Elizabeth Halverson from the county courthouse.

In an administrative order, Chief Judge Kathy Hardcastle said Halverson jeopardized security at the courthouse this week by bringing her own two bodyguards into the courthouse and allowing them to bypass security checks.

As for why Judge Halverson needs two (2) bodyguards — and no, we won’t make the obvious joke — there’s quite a backstory, full of juicy judicial infighting. You can read all about it here.
Fred Axley Judge Fred Axley Above the Law blog.jpgAnd Judge Halverson isn’t the only state judge getting banned from public places these days. Meet the Honorable Fred Axley.
From the Legal Reader:

A Memphis judge is banned from a Florida resort. He is accused of sexually harassing an employee. Eyewitness News Everywhere uncovered this is not the first time Criminal Court Judge Fred Axley has been accused of sexual harassment….

Now he has been banned from a resort in Destin, FL, after an employee there says he sexually harassed her last week….

When we called the resort, an employee who asked not to be named, told us Axley had propositioned a massage therapist there for oral sex.

We commend the resort employee for having the courage to turn down the judge (and report him). Because saying “no” to a judge isn’t easy — even if the request involves sucking his gavel.
You can read more about Judge Axley’s history of alleged harassment, including incidents that led his law clerks to file lawsuits, by clicking here.
Judge Halverson banned from courthouse [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Memphis Judge Banned From Florida Resort For Harassment [Legal Reader]

Michael Moore Michael F Moore Michael Francis Moore Above the Law blog.jpg* Michael Moore being investigated by DOT for possible violation of Cuba embargo while filming new movie “Sicko.” [MSNBC]
* Purdue Pharma and former execs guilty of misleading consumers on OxyContin addiction risks. [MSNBC]
* Lawsuit focuses on Planned Parenthood and duty to warn. [AP]
* McNair arrested in DUI despite not driving. [SI.com]
* No charges for police officer and wife who made “special” brownies. [MSNBC]

prom high school senior prom Above the Law blog.jpg* It’s prom season, when schools discriminate against singles (and misguided girls hope that a “prom baby” will save them from the trials and tribulations of college). [Boston.com]
* Decent folks (and despite all my hating, that’s most of us) have a visceral reaction to hate crimes — but out on the horizon also loom 1984 and Minority Report. [Agoraphilia]
* To my knowledge, Mr. Chow has never been a Biglaw partner. [Yahoo! News]
* That is 750 years of bitch servitude. [TwinCities.com]
* At least the plaintiff spared the Mets from an additional lawsuit by cushioning the fall of the 300 lb. man and has not defected to the Yankees, although the latter probably turns on the outcome of the lawsuit. [Sports Illustrated]

* The point of this fluff piece feature is that Ferraris are not always penis substitutes. [Legal Times]
* Is there actually a rental market (Netbux?) for books-on-tape? [Patry Copyright Blog]
* New York fashion week starts soon, and I will yet again be reminded that as a woman living in the cultural capital of the world (arguably), I will never amount to anything because I am not 6 feet tall and 105 pounds. So would I really care if they keeled over and died? [Access Hollywood]
* She also claimed to have coined, “I’m listening.” [New York Law Journal]
* Must-see TV, PBS-style. Those of you who know me also know I only discovered PBS when I got to college. And then, I just didn’t care. (Nah, just being obnoxious — I’ll occasionally watch a well-intentioned documentary or a live concert by some 60s band). [Legal Blog Watch]
* Defense should probably open with a clip of The Birds. [Los Angeles Times]

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