We mentioned this last night in Non-Sequiturs, but it merits more coverage. Judge Richard F. Cebull, current chief judge for the District of Montana, admitted to forwarding a racially charged joke about President Barack Obama from his courthouse email account. Chief Judge Cebull, a graduate of the University of Montana Law School and a former federal magistrate judge, was appointed to the district court by President George W. Bush in 2001. One of the readers who brought this story to our attention described Cebull as “a good judge.”
A good judge who tells bad jokes. Let’s get to what you all want to know: What was the joke? And was it offensive, or funny, or both?
I don’t even know where to begin with this, so let’s just play it straight:
Last week, a now ex-judge in Georgia pulled out a handgun during a bond hearing, pretended to hand it to an alleged rape victim who was testifying, and said she was “killing her case” and “might as well shoot” her lawyer.
I wish this was a joke or a hoax story. But no, it actually happened.
Keep reading to find out who this former judge is (spoiler: it’s not Rooster Cogburn) and why he pulled his piece in court…
I hate reading about pharmacists and doctors (and politicians named Rick Santorum) who actively cause people harm by not prescribing treatment because of their religious beliefs. It’s worse when they’re called out and get all self-righteous about it. Hearing those stories makes me so angry that I start gnashing my teeth and crossing my eyes uncontrollably.
But sometimes I get news that makes me think, “maybe it will all be ok.” Like the story I heard today about a Texas judge turning the tables on the pricks conscientious objectors who use religion to curtail the rights and health of other people. This judge has an ax to grind about the inability of gays to get married.
If you will, please imagine a world where straight people could not get married either…
Remember Isaac H. Stoltzfus from Intercourse, Pennsylvania? After handing out condom-stuffed acorns to women on the street outside the Statehouse in Harrisburg, Stoltzfus became our Judge of the Day back in September 2010. In the spirit of res ipsa loquitur, we kept our coverage short and sweet.
We now know that Stoltzfus was cited with one count of disorderly conduct, but that charge was dropped. In April, the Judicial Conduct Board filed a complaint against Stoltzfus because… well, let’s not split hairs here, the dude was handing out acorns that he had personally hollowed out and stuffed with condoms. That is some pretty bizarre behavior, but Stoltzfus claimed it was just a prank, and filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.
On Wednesday, the state Court of Judicial Discipline dismissed the complaint, but why? We’ve got the scoop, after the jump….
We mentioned this in yesterday’s Morning Docket, and still you emailed. We mentioned it again in Non-Sequiturs, and still the tips kept coming. Well, fine. By popular demand, here is a full post on the Florida judge who stands accused of photograping a guy peeing in the men’s bathroom.
The Honorable Rhonda Hollander is a traffic court judge. But she seems to have a pretty interesting hobby. She was arrested last week for allegedly taking out her cell phone and snapping pictures of a man peeing in the bathroom. A courthouse police officer tried to stop her from taking these photos.
Madam Justice Lori Douglas will be publicly probed.
This week brings good news for law firms in Canada. Apparently they weathered the recession better than their U.S. counterparts.
The news for Canadian judges, or at least one high-profile jurist, is less good. Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas — the Canadian judge featured in pornographic pictures showing her engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys and administering oral sex — will be subjected to a public inquiry.
Let’s take a look at the nudie pics procedural posture and possible consequences, shall we?
Yes, I get that June 14th is a little bit late to be doing the May Lawyer of the Month poll. Yes, I also understand that the person who will almost undoubtedly be June’s Playmate Lawyer of the Month, Reema Bajaj, is ineligible for May — and that fact might leave some of our readers with blue balls.
But you know what? There were some really interesting candidates for May. And they deserve their moment of fame/infamy on these pages. Not every lawyer has to allegedly sell vaginal access in order to be special.
For instance, some people can become famous simply with an attempt at sexual trespass….
Three years ago, we bestowed Judge of the Day honors upon the Honorable Fred Biery, a federal judge in the Western District of Texas. Back in 2008, Judge Biery rejected a religious school’s attempt to join an influential statewide extracurricular organization. In the process of ruling against Cornerstone Christian Schools, Judge Biery took the Bible and turned it around on them, in a snarky opinion quoting religious texts to refute a religious school.
(His Honor apparently enjoys colorful writing. See also this amusing ruling, with shout-outs in the footnotes to such fabulous creatures as Barbra Streisand and Stephen Sondheim.)
Well, it seems that Judge Biery — make that Chief Judge Biery, as of last June — continues to antagonize organized religion. Let’s read about the latest controversy he’s incited, this time involving an imminent high school graduation ceremony….
UPDATE: Judge Biery’s ruling in the case discussed below was overturned on Friday afternoon by the Fifth Circuit. Details and links appear in the update at the end of this post.
Society has a deal with judges. We don’t pay them very well — but, in exchange for salaries that are much lower than what they could earn in the private sector, they get to do whatever they heck they want. And get to be addressed as “Your Honor,” and wear really cool black robes.
One of the perks of judicial office is that it isn’t a nine-to-five job. Judges don’t have to punch a time clock; they come and go as they please. Court isn’t court until the judge takes the bench.
As long as a judge is reasonably current with his docket, he should be left alone. There is no face-time requirement for judges. (Sure, judges have to be on the bench for trials and oral arguments and such — but that’s not “face-time,” since the judge’s presence is actually necessary for the proceedings.)
In light of all this, I’m puzzled by the controversy over Judge Rae Lee Chabot. Judge Chabot has served on the Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan for over 10 years.
Sure, the allegations about how she spends her days are amusing — and we’ll name her our Judge of the Day, just for the heck of it. But is there really a problem here?
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.