Jury Duty

Brian Zulberti

* The number of women arguing before the Supreme Court is still small, but most of its appellate practitioners follow sage advice like this: “Clerk, work, and don’t be a jerk.” [National Law Journal]

* If you were curious about whether gays and lesbians could be excluded from juries on the basis of their sexual orientation, the Ninth Circuit is about to lay down the law. [New York Times]

* Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in Windsor, Cozen O’Connor will be forced to give a deceased partner’s profit-sharing benefits to her wife, and not her parents. [Legal Intelligencer]

* Who are Biglaw’s top innovators of the last 50 years? There are many familiar names, but one of them is near and dear to our own hearts at Above the Law: It’s our managing editor, David Lat. Congratulations! [Am Law Daily]

* If you’re making a career change to go to law school, you should think about why the the hell you’d do such a thing right now — or try to leverage it in applications. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* In a surprise move, Wendi Murdoch, better known as Rupert Murdoch’s soon-to-be ex-wife, has hired William Zabel to represent her in the divorce. This is going to get very, very messy. [New York Times]

* “Why you mad, bro?” Brian Zulberti, the man with the muscles, is trying to make the most of his 15 minutes of fame. He’s lined up several job interviews, so wish him good luck. [Delaware News Journal]

* When it comes to the U.S. Congress — especially the current one, said to be the least productive and least popular in history — and federal lawmaking, “action isn’t the same as accomplishment.” [Boston Globe]

* The Department of Justice won’t seek the death penalty against Edward Snowden, but only because the crime he’s charged with doesn’t carry that kind of punishment as an option. But oh, Eric Holder can wish. [CNN]

* Sorry to burst your bubble, but Biglaw as we know it is on a respirator, so be prepared to recite its last rites. The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber responds to the critics of last week’s hard-hitting piece. [New Republic]

* The grass isn’t greener on the other side right now. Revenue per lawyer rose at Biglaw firms in 2012 (up 8.5 percent), but small firms struggled (with RPL down 8.1 percent). Ouch. [National Law Journal]

* Let me Google that for you: Hot new technology startups have been looking to lawyers who hail from the innovative internet company’s ranks when staffing their own legal departments. [The Recorder]

* If you’re wondering why more financial crimes haven’t been prosecuted since the Wall Street meltdown of 2008, it’s probably because they’re too just difficult for most juries to understand. Comforting. [NPR]

* In a recent interview having to do with all of the problems that law schools are currently facing, from shrinkage to joblessness, Professor Paul Campos sat down to politely say, “Told ya so.” [Denver Post]

The fallout from the Zimmerman trial continues. A lot of digital ink has been spilled (including on this very site) arguing the meaning of the verdict in the context of race and the law.

Beyond the “Grrr! Murderer!” or “Derp! Self-defense!” discussion, the trial offers an opportunity to examine how the sausage of a verdict is made.

Juror B37, one of the illustrious six who acquitted George Zimmerman, had a meteoric rise — and subsequent fall — over the last 24 hours. B37 is the only juror to speak publicly about the verdict, and notwithstanding your feelings about the result, her tale highlights how lawyers consistently misunderstand the psychology of jurors, especially women jurors, and how juries take the carefully crafted jury instructions judges and lawyers spend hours poring over and go their own way…

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I was a senior in high school when the O.J. Simpson verdict came down. I was in a classroom in Indiana, everybody was watching on television. After the verdict was announced, the first thing I heard was my white teacher saying “bulls**t.” The next thing I heard was a bunch of black people screaming (I went to a pretty diverse high school). Then, basically, all the black people started streaming out of class. Nobody went back to school that day. I found my cousin. We high-fived. At that moment, I really believed that a racist cop had planted blood evidence to frame O.J.

Of course, that’s not what I think happened now. I think O.J. murdered those two people in a jealous rage, got caught and thought about killing himself, didn’t, then hired the best lawyers in the country, and beat the rap.

Still, I’m happy he got off. I know that is a controversial thing to say. It’s not really normal to be “happy” when a guilty person evades justice, unless you’re watching a mob movie. But I think Mark Fuhrman was a racist cop, and I think the O.J. case went a long way towards showing state prosecutors that basing your cases on racist cops is a bad thing. The state knows that putting blatantly racist people on the stand isn’t the best way to get a conviction. I’m willing to suffer the injustice of a guilty man going free to make the larger point that racist cops are not credible witnesses.

And so as I sit here, watching the news and reading Twitter accounts of people who are just “happy” that George Zimmerman was acquitted of any wrongdoing in the death of Trayvon Martin, I’m forced to wonder what “larger point” is being serviced today by the release of a man who shot an unarmed teenager to death?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Will George Zimmerman Join O.J. Simpson In The Hunt For Real Killers?”

George Zimmerman has been found not guilty.

UPDATE (10:16 p.m.): Here are more details and commentary on the Zimmerman trial verdict.

* If you thought Stephen Kaplitt’s epic cease-and-desist response was awesome, then you’ll love this work of parody in response to the response, courtesy of New York Law School. [Legal As She Is Spoke]

* Eric Holder comes clean on his involvement with the James Rosen search warrant, and to the chagrin of many, he isn’t plotting the death of journalism. That, or he’s a big liar. You pick. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* George Zimmerman is going to be staring down an all-female jury for the next few weeks in his murder trial. And let me tell you, that’s going to be so much fun when everyone’s cycles start to sync up. [CNN]

* It’s amazing that the Framers’ intentions can be applied to true love. Best wishes to Ilya Shapiro on his new marriage. Professor Josh Blackman is one hell of a wedding speaker. [CATO @ Liberty]

* Is there an appropriate way to deal with cosmetic surgery — like a breast enlargement, breast reduction, or a nose job — in the office? Just be ready for people to talk about you. [Corporette]

* Former Above the Law columnist Jay Shepherd offers up the secret to lawyer happiness in just six minutes, while taking shots at the world’s largest law firm and the world’s shortest movie star. [jayshep]

Judge Debra Nelson charged through a string of motions in a pre-trial hearing this morning, including a ruling that the case will actually go to trial on June 10 as scheduled. The defense had sought a delay because apparently a one-witness case was too difficult to prepare in a mere 16 months or so.

But the real action revolved around the evidentiary rulings. Most of the rulings were pretty straightforward. A little, too straightforward.

What I mean is that most of the evidence at issue was so obviously prejudicial that the only purpose served by attempting to introduce the evidence is to take advantage of press coverage to poison the well of potential jurors…

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Joe Francis

I want that jury to know that each and every one of you are mentally f–ing retarded and you should be euthanized because, as Darwin said, you have naturally selected yourself. You are the weakest members of the herd. Goodbye!

And if that jury wants to convict me because I didn’t show up, which is the only reason why they did, then, you know, they should all be lined up and shot!

– Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, offering comment to the Hollywood Reporter on his recent false imprisonment conviction.

(We’ve got some video clips from that interview, and they are… well, there’s no real way to put it eloquently, so let’s just say they’re pretty f**king awesome.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild Calls Jurors ‘Retards’”

* Online gambling wants to come back to the U.S. after the government cracked down last year. Anybody want odds on whether this works? [Wall Street Journal]

* In news that only affects those who want to dress like whores, Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister may systematically mistreat the disabled. [Fox News]

* Post-disaster price gouging is sad, but inevitable. Oklahoma’s Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt is having none of it. [The National Law Journal]

* Obama will address drone policy and Gitmo in a security speech today because, after the last couple weeks of scandal, he’s hoping to introduce fodder for another round of withering criticism. [Huffington Post]

* The Daily Caller is all over the idea that Michelle Obama may have dated the Inspector General of the IRS at Harvard Law. Which proves… actually, I have no idea if the Daily Caller even knows why this might be significant. [Daily Caller]

* U.S. and Chinese law schools are collaborating more. American law schools are really desperate to open themselves to more students, aren’t they? [China Daily]

* The Jodi Arias jury may not be able to make a decision on sentencing. If you cared about this story at all, you’ve already heard Nancy Grace’s opinion. [NBC News]

* Elie argues with folks about Greece v. Galloway and legislative prayer. Video after the jump…

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Jodi Arias

If it seems like the Jodi Arias murder trial has lasted for weeks, that’s because it has — the courtroom drama began on January 2, 2013, and the proceedings have dragged on until today. HLN legal commentator Nancy Grace has had a field day with all of the allegations in this “who-done-it” murder mystery, just as Grace did in the earlier murder trial of Casey Anthony.

Arias originally blamed the killing of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, on masked intruders. Years later, she admitted that she killed him, but chalked it up to self-defense — in the form of 27 stab wounds, one gunshot wound to the head, and a slit throat.

Lo and behold, after more than 15 hours of deliberations, the jury has finally reached a verdict….

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