Jury Duty

Just as a joke, I didn’t think I could really be held in contempt charges for writing something on a questionnaire.

– Drayke Jacobs Van-Tol at his hearing, where Judge Vito Geroulo held him in contempt of court for filling out a jury questionnaire with profanity, crude language, and racial slurs. It didn’t work out for Sarah Silverman either.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just hang out in the venire assembly room and observe all the potential jurors? You could make note of conversations they have, what they’re wearing, books they’re reading, and generally get a head start on the opposition when it comes to evaluating preemptive strikes. If your firm hired a jury consultant, they could get a jump on working out the psychological profiles of the potential jurors.

That’s probably why courts don’t let lawyers hang out in the venire room.

But that didn’t stop one partner from sending his associate on a fact-finding mission against the court’s express rules. And now the whole Biglaw defense team faces a motion from a cranky adversary….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “That’s One Way To Pick A Jury. Maybe An Unethical One, But It Is One Way.”

Judge Ito? Have some of my burrito!

None of what happened in this unusual case would ever have occurred if this law clerk had done his job of minding the jury with proper care, away from the hustle and bustle of a busy downtown diner.

F. Anthony Lubkin, an attorney who was jailed for contempt of court for five days after saying the words “guilty,” “not guilty,” and “innocent” in the presence of an impaneled jury in a murder case he was not associated with. The Michigan Court of Appeals later vacated the contempt order.

Mathew Martoma

This afternoon, here in Manhattan, a jury found former SAC Capital portfolio manager Mathew Martoma guilty of insider trading. The verdict wasn’t a shock, given the strong evidence against Martoma and the fact that another former SAC trader, Michael Steinberg, got convicted in December on weaker evidence.

The trial involved a number of boldface names of the legal profession. The office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (S.D.N.Y.), one of our 2013 Lawyer of the Year nominees, was represented by assistant U.S. attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown, one of the office’s most prominent prosecutors (and a star of the college debate circuit, for those of you who used to do debate). Martoma was defended by a team from Goodwin Procter that included Richard Strassberg, an S.D.N.Y. alumnus, and Roberto Braceras, another former federal prosecutor — and the son-in-law of Judge José Cabranes. The prosecution’s lead witness, Dr. Sidney Gilman, was represented by Bracewell & Giuliani’s Marc L. Mukasey — son of former S.D.N.Y. judge and U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

And some of our readers might know Mathew Martoma. He was a student at Harvard Law School back in the 90s, before he got expelled for fabricating his transcript while applying for clerkships.

Here are some notable numbers relating to the Mathew Martoma mess:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Mathew Martoma Case, By The Numbers”

If every jury heard cases like this, it would almost be worth it to blow a week sitting on a trial. Speaking of blowing, a 61-year-old man allegedly tried to get some gentle cows to show him a good time back in September. I say “tried” because apparently the cows didn’t go for either the carrot or stick and rejected the man’s overtures.

Shut down in the barnyard, eh? Talk about failing to find love in a hopeless place.

Anyway, getting jilted by a cow was only the beginning of his alleged real-life game of FarmVille, and the man’s trial has provided non-stop entertainment for the jury as everything from the testimony to the judge’s instructions have elicited laughter from the jury box.

Bow Chick(en) Bow Wow!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cow Rejects Man’s Sexual Advances. What Happens Next… Is the Jury Laughs At Him.”

Got a pedigree problem?

* The Supreme Court isn’t sure how to address restitution in this child pornography case, but the justices agreed that they didn’t like the “50 percent fudge factor” offered by a government attorney. [New York Times]

* No, stupid, you can’t strike a juror just because he’s gay. By expanding juror protections to sexual orientation, the Ninth Circuit recently added a new notch on the gay rights bedpost. Progress! [Los Angeles Times]

* The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board says the NSA’s domestic surveillance program is illegal and should be stopped. Sorry, Edward Snowden beat you to the punch on that one. [New York Times]

* While Blank Rome was busy denying a possible merger with Nixon Peabody, it picked up 21 attorneys from two small firms in California to open a San Francisco office. Sneaky. [Philadelphia Business Journal]

* Dennis T. O’Riordan, the ex-Paul Hastings partner who faked his credentials, was disbarred — not in New York, where he claimed he was admitted, but across the pond in the United Kingdom. [Am Law Daily]

* The ABA Journal wants to know if your law firm considers law school pedigree during its hiring process. Please consider the law schools your firm shuts out from OCI, and respond accordingly. [ABA Journal]

* Word on the street is UALR School of Law is trying to push an affirmative action program that’s “likely unconstitutional.” It might also be insulting to prospective minority students, so there’s that. [Daily Caller]

* Kanye West sent out a cease and desist letter to the makers of Coinye, a Bitcoin alternative with a mocking, parody image of Kanye. This whole Bitcoin thing may be incredibly stupid, but these poor entrepreneurs are going to have to junk all their work just because they shamelessly stole the artist’s image. I guess it’s back to their electronic currency based on a busted-up parody of Kim Kardashian, which they call “Khloe.” [Ars Technica]“>Ars Technica]

* The FBI classified Juggalos as criminals and the Insane Clown Posse has gone ahead and filed a federal suit. And who better for the New York Times to consult about this case than our own Juggalo Law! [New York Times]

* Justice Kagan once again performed her civic duty and showed up for jury duty today. Unfortunately, this report doesn’t explain what book she brought with her to kill time, which is the best part of people-watching at jury duty. [Washington Post]

* For those that think we always focus on the negative, here’s a nice narrative about lawyers who really help people. [XO Jane]

* How do you deal with a blazer that just won’t button? Advice from our occasional contributor. [Corporette]

* A group of Vietnamese fishermen sued a Texas lawyer alleging that he falsely claimed to represent thousands of deckhands to get rich serving on the committee of attorneys representing victims of the BP oil spill. BP’s just happy someone might come out of this looking worse than they do. [Miami Herald]

* Sergio Garcia, the newly-minted California lawyer and not the racist golfer, says he’s looking to a future as the governor of California. [Fox News]

* The judge who sentenced a convicted rapist to a month in jail is retiring. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out! [USA Today]

* Clients don’t grow on trees. So what are you gonna do about that? Huh? I’m talking to you! [At Counsel Table]

Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey: Sashay, shante!

[T]he role of the district judge is not to gloss over serious issues for the sake of preventing additional work for the court. Rather, in a criminal trial, the judge is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the constitutional rights of the accused are safeguarded from the whims of public opinion, prejudice, and expediency.

– Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, in an opinion reprimanding Judge David Dudley Dowd Jr. for failing to remove a juror whose comments gave “some indication that he could not decide the case fairly and impartially” (due to its unsettling subject matter, child pornography).

Earlier: Ouch! So What Does That Make Magistrate Judges?

* Santa Claus arrested for sexually harassing an 18-year-old elfette. She started getting suspicious when he kept looking at her and proclaiming “Here Cums Santa Claus.” [The Smoking Gun]

* Atlanta jury questionnaire lists “slave” as an occupational option. There’s a lot of outrage, but they were just covering their bases — a potential could have just moved there from Mississippi. [11 Alive]

* Speaking of juries, a long-time prosecutor ends up on a jury and sums up the 10 things he learned from his jury experience. [Texas Evidence]

* The Second Circuit’s decision to remove Judge Scheindlin from the stop-and-frisk case was bad enough — especially since it was an unprecedented overreach for a circuit panel when no one requested her removal — but its true cost is in chilling justice down the road, when judges start to look over their shoulders for fear that an activist appellate panel is out to get them. [WiseLawNY]

* Interesting question: what do you wear under a 3/4-sleeved blazer? I’d wear a T-shirt that says, “I give 3/4 of a damn today,” but most lawyers would disagree. [Corporette]

* Apple hired CPA Julie Davis as a damages expert in its case against Samsung. Whatever she was paid, it wasn’t enough — the jury singled out Davis as the reason they awarded Apple $290 million. [The Expert Institute]

* Remember when we talked about how much the government profits off your law school debt? Well, the totals are in, and the government pulled down $41.3 billion off you this year. [USA Today]

* In the spirit of funny flowcharts, here’s a decision tree to help make that decision about going to law school. Image after the jump…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 11.26.13″

Look out Inspector Gadget!!!

* CeeLo Green, through his attorney, tells the judge and prosecutors in his criminal case to, um, Forget themselves. He’s miffed that the judge and prosecutors set up cameras during his arraignment and left themselves out of the shot creating a false impression of guilt. This marks the first time this guy didn’t want a camera fixated solely on him. [TMZ]

* Samsung wants a mistrial in its case with Apple because Apple’s attorney, Harold McElhinny, implied in his closing argument that American-made jobs building TV sets moved overseas because companies failed to protect intellectual property. Samsung is arguing that this is racist. [Bloomberg]

* Remember the matter of the attorney supposedly stalking a jury? Well, the judge has overturned the verdict over it. [Courthouse News Service]

* A week in the life of a Biglaw litigation associate. It’s a decent list, but where were the Thursday Night Football and Netflix? [Big Law Rebel]

* JPMorgan is awfully sorry for making the conscious decision to sell toxic securities that helped destroy the economy. “Our bad, y’all!” [Gawker]

* The justices who penned Bush v. Gore shamelessly admitted how terrible the decision was by trying to claim it had no precedential value. Unfortunately, no one listened to them. [Mother Jones]

* In addition to the many law firms that are contributing to Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts, several Asian-American lawyer groups are organizing a fundraising event this coming Monday. If you’re in New York, please consider attending! [Facebook; AABANY]

* In sad news, the son of Ninth Circuit Judge Jay Bybee shot and killed himself in the courtyard of the LDS Temple in Henderson, NV. Our thoughts are with Judge Bybee and his family. [Las Vegas Review-Journal (gavel bang: Las Vegas Law Blog)]

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