* Awesome diary of a rich wife trying to cut back on expenses. [Going Concern]
* Justice Elena Kagan — who currently lives in D.C., and apparently plans to stay there — was called for jury duty by the District. She wasn’t seated, since we don’t let supremely qualified people sit on juries. [ABC News]
* Bros at George Washington have been charged with being bros. Given what I think about bullying, you can imagine how little tolerance I have for anti-hazing laws. [Jezebel]
Who the f*** wears a shirt like this to court, we asked via Twitter on Friday. The resounding response: someone who wants to get out of jury duty.
An alternate juror, Nneka Eneorj, 19, who appears not to be familiar with Kanye West, found an easy way to get herself kicked off a police brutality trial in New York. From the New York Post:
“WHO THE F— IS KANYE WEST?” the shirt read, the offending obscenity resting just above the wood veneer rail of the jury box. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber ordered the other jurors out of the courtroom — directing Eneorj to stand before his bench.
“Do you think it’s appropriate to wear a shirt that says ‘f—’ on it in my courtroom?” the judge asked, anger in his voice.
When Eneorj started to protest about having a sweater on — not that it covered the front of the shirt — the judge cut her off, demanding, “You’re excused.”
We have not yet had the pleasure to serve on a jury. While we would relish the front row seating for a trial, we understand that others are not as eager to sit in judgment of their fellow citizens.
The Supreme Court handed down a tasty opinion [PDF] today. The issues at hand though make for an odd coupling: the death penalty and chocolate genitalia.
In 1993, Marcus Wellons was convicted of the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl. The jury sentenced him to death.
Apparently the case was a bonding experience for the Georgia judge and jurors. According to the SCOTUS per curiam opinion:
Only after the trial did defense counsel learn that there had been unreported ex parte contacts between the jury and the judge, that jurors and a bailiff had planned a reunion, and that “either during or immediately following the penalty phase, some jury members gave the trial judge chocolate shaped as male genitalia and the bailiff chocolate shaped as female breasts.”
It’s unclear why the jurors gave a chocolate penis and breasts to the judge and bailiff, but the high court is asking the 11th Circuit to reexamine the case as the gifts “raise serious questions concerning the conduct of the trial.”
Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts dissented, apparently feeling nothing raised….
* President of San Francisco’s Federal Reserve says the economy is getting better. “For the first time in a while, there is some good news to savor.” If by good news, you mean that laid-off lawyers have taken to wearing track suits around the house “savoring” comfort food instead of 6-figure salaries, then yes, there is reason for optimism. [Bloomberg.com]
* Meanwhile, Chrysler’s bankruptcy judge Arthur Gonzalez paved the way for a fire sale of most of the company’s assets. [Reuters]
* A Miami juror, who was on the jury deliberating the case of 6 men accused of conspiring to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago, was replaced for refusing to deliberate. Got to hand it to her for getting out of jury duty. [The New York Times]
* Souter says goodbye, telling the U.S. Court of Appeals that a jurist’s satisfaction is “not in the great moments, but in being part of the great stream.” [The Washington Post]
* Should there be more women in the “great stream” Souter described. Justice Ginsburg says the Court would benefit from another woman. [USA Today]
* Senator Chuck Schumer went to bat for Loretta Lynch, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, who held the job under Clinton and who has just been re-appointed by Obama. [The New York Times]
Personally, I love jury duty. I’ve never been picked to actually sit on one, but I still hope to have the opportunity one day. It’s a great opportunity to participate in your community.
I know I hold the minority opinion on this. Most people find jury duty annoying, some find it outright insulting.
But few are willing to put it in writing. That’s what makes the jury affidavit below so special.
“I don’t believe in our ‘justice’ system and I don’t want to have a goddamn thing to do with it.” This is why we need states like Montana. It’s important for these people to have someplace where they can go, breed, and keep America just a little bit closer to the edge.
Earlier this month, lawyers for a building products company asked an Arkansas judge to overturn a $12.6 million judgment because “Juror Johnathon” had been sending out tweets on Twitter about his thoughts on the trial. Here are our thoughts in Twitter fashion:
atlblog: Everyone’s talking about Twitter these days and the ability to broadcast your thoughts continuously in 140 character tweets.
atlblog: We really should have done a full post on it last week when that NYT story about twittering jurors and mistrials made its way around the Web.
atlblog: Jurors aren’t supposed to talk about a case outside the courtroom. Twittering is talking. What will judges do about this?
atlblog: We wonder which firms will go to the Final Four in the ATL March Madness contest… Oh. Sorry. Off topic.
atlblog:@WSJ’s Ashby Jones. We liked the headline for your piece: Twelve Twittering Men? Very clever. We imagine Henry Fonda with a BlackBerry.
atlblog: That WSJ article has a weird Bob Dylan non-sequitur at the end. Apparently, Dylan’s outhouse stinks up his neighborhood… Sorry. Off topic.
atlblog:@davidlat. Please stop twittering about the recession and how the ship be sinking. It depresses us… Sorry. Off topic.
atlblog: Why are we so addicted to broadcasting our thoughts that we can’t not tweet and update Facebook statuses during jury duty?
atlblog: Jurors doing their own online research is the more serious problem. Lots of good letters to the NYT editor from lawyers & one law student.
atlblog: Please feel free to tweet your thoughts about jurors, social networking, technology, and twittering in the comments.
O.J. Simpson is set to stand trial, but this time the jury is all white (“So it’s all right,” says Chris Rock).
But let’s dig beyond identity politics for a moment.
Over at Deliberations they’ve posted a study that looks at jury issues based on jurisdiction, instead of ethnic origin. The study compares juries from urban districts to suburban ones. One can argue that splitting jury pools in this way is “code” for making a black-white distinction, but once the jurisdiction is picked it becomes harder to voir dire yourself into a conviction/acquittal.
The study finds urban juries to be “softer” on crime than suburban juries. D’uh. What is interesting is why there is this split.
Apparently, urban juries don’t trust the police, while suburban juries do.
Isn’t this a point that makes a lot of sense? Regardless of your race, if you live in a big city most of your interaction with the police involves them hassling you, your friends, and your rights. A tourist breathes a sigh of relief when they are walking down a dark alley and a patrol car rolls by. A city dweller avoids the stupid alley altogether, unless they are doing something that requires the privacy of dark, dank urban escapes.
Tempting fate after the break.
When it comes to seating juries, desperate times call for desperate measures. Like arresting — and shackling — jury duty deadbeats, which is what’s done in D.C.
Out in Oregon, they conscript jurors from off the street:
A juror shortage forced a judge to look through a phone book before sending sheriff’s deputies out into the street to round up enough people for a trial.
Lane County Presiding Judge Mary Ann Bearden said an unusually large number of criminal trials combined with an equally unusual number of no-shows for jury duty forced her to invoke a little-used state law.
“I dealt with some angry people,” the judge said. “They didn’t think it was fair.”
Their anger is understandable. These folks were out for a nice morning stroll, on a sunny day in August. The next thing they knew, they were jurors on a sex abuse trial — for a man accused of screwing the pooch aggravated animal abuse. And the defendant wasn’t even a federal judge.
Democracy: what a bitch. Oregon judge tries dialing, rounding up jurors [AP via Seattle Times]
Suspended District Judge Elizabeth Halverson returned to the Regional Justice Center on Friday — for jury duty.
While waiting for an assignment, Halverson, who can’t roll through the courthouse on her motorized scooter without attracting attention, turned quite a few heads, including those of several prosecutors at the district attorney’s office, which is on the same floor as the jury service room.
Las Vegas lawyers: If you’re hoping to have Halverson on your jury, sorry. Her Honor wound up being assigned to a civil trial that was subsequently postponed, “bringing an abrupt halt to her brief public service on the other side of the bench.” Suspended judge can’t even get out of jury duty [Las Vegas Sun]
* NRA defends the rights of hurricane victims to shoot at the National Guard keep guns. [AP via How Appealing]
* French “aid” workers sentenced to eight years of hard labor in Chad “orphan” case. [Jurist]
* Apparently if you’re a rapper you can show up at court when you damn well please. [Athens Banner-Herald]
* If you feel guilty about it, at least you can take comfort in the fact that you’ve helped set up an appeal. [CNN]
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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.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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