Lunacy

Students at Hofstra Law noticed a curious sign posted in a stairwell door the other day. Apparently, Hofstra’s maintenance staff is well-versed in combating the forces of the netherworld and closed the stairwell after noting a spike in their PKE meters.

I guess it makes some sense. Hofstra is only about 20 minutes from Amityville, which is best known as the city that inspired a terrible Ryan Reynolds film, and evil like that is hard to keep down for long.

And a little further away there’s a house that is haunted “as a matter of law,” so New York knows what it’s talking about when it comes to hauntings.

Check below the fold for the Hofstra Law ghost warning sign in all its glory….

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* As President Barack Obama’s position on gay marriage continues to “evolve,” we’re left wondering what exactly Solicitor General Donald Verrilli will say come Supreme Court oral arguments showtime in late March. [New York Times]

* “This is a chilling document.” The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived: the DOJ memo about the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial policy, the legal justification of drone strikes against American citizens, was leaked. [NBC News]

* In the litigation blame game, the Department of Justice has a lawsuit cooking against Standard & Poor’s, the supposed “key enablers of the financial meltdown,” over the agency’s mortgage bond ratings. [Reuters]

* Many pieces from Dewey & LeBoeuf’s massive art collection were auctioned off on Friday for $528,120. The failed firm’s creditors must be chomping at the bit as they wait to receive the proceeds. [Blog of Legal Times]

* You must remember Cynthia Brim, the Chicago judge who was declared “legally insane.” She’s too insane to be found guilty of a battery charge, but not quite insane enough to lose her reelection bid. [Chicago Tribune]

* Apologies to those with disabilities in California, but this ruling has given the Law School Admissions Council free reign to continue to flag your applications if you got extra time on the LSAT. [National Law Journal]

* GW Law School is adding a new question to its application to gauge the LGBT status its applicants. Not sure how this will affect cratering applications, but drink more of the Kool Aid if it makes you feel better. [GW Hatchet]

* Here’s some sage advice from our managing editor: “If you’re not okay with working for free, don’t take the internship.” Or, in the alternative, you can sue, and win a fat settlement check. [International Business Times]

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

Same-sex marriage will destroy this nation. If the leaders of this country treat what God has called abominable as something to be respected, revered, and blessed with the seal of approval of the government, that will cross a final line with God. The harm that will befall this nation, when the condign destructive wrath of God pours out on a nation that purposefully, in a calculating manner, institutionalized marriage licenses for same-sex unions, is the ultimate harm to the health, welfare and safety of the people.

Margie Phelps, counsel to the Westboro Baptist Church, in the Church’s amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Hollingsworth v. Perry (aka the Proposition 8 / gay marriage case).

(A closer look at the lunacy, after the jump.)

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RIP, Turk.

* “I’m sorry Ms. Jackson, I am for real. Never meant to make your planet cry, I apologize a trillion times,” is likely what Barack Obama told Lisa Jackson when he found out she was stepping down as EPA administrator. [New York Times]

* Cook County, Illinois, is experiencing problems wherein the kookiest of judges get “electoral mulligans” every six years. Public humiliation and harsh ratings might be a great way to finally put an end to this practice. [Chicago Magazine]

* Another way to get revenge against the schools that screwed grads with their allegedly misleading employment stats: disciplinary action for ethical violations committed by those licensed to practice law. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, unless you’re accused of being a murderer birderer. Boalt Hall law students Justin Teixeira and Eric Cuellar have now been criminally charged for their alleged roles in the decapitation of an exotic bird. [Las Vegas Sun]

* Harvard Law is offering a free online copyright class, and anyone can enroll — even 13-year-olds. This may be your only chance to take a course at an Ivy League school, so hurry up and apply. [National Law Journal]

* George Zimmerman and his lawyer are being sued by a private detective for failure to pay $27K for security services, which included a detailed escape plan to get the murder defendant into a hidey-hole. [Boston Herald]

So it’s December 21, 2012, otherwise know as the day that the world is supposed to end, at least according to the Mayan calendar. Bars were playing that R.E.M. song on repeat last night, and people (myself included, since it’s my birthday, bitches!) were drinking like there was going to be no tomorrow. But, as it turns out, it’s today, so we all got that “end of the world” hangover for nothing. It sure was fun, though, so it was definitely worth it.

Anyway, I’m more than willing to bet that all of those doomsday preppers are pretty pissed off right about now. But in reality, they probably don’t even know that everything’s still the same because they’re down in their underground bunkers snacking on Spam and sardines, drinking powdered milk, and gently stroking their precious AK-47s while murmuring Bible passages to themselves like crazy people.

And as luck would have it, one of those end of days loons might be a lawyer….

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Carolyn Barnes

If the law allows a mentally incompetent lawyer to represent a citizen, then the law needs to be changed, because that is ridiculous.

John Bradley, the outgoing District Attorney for Williamson County, Texas, commenting on Carolyn Barnes’s ability to represent clients from inside her unit at a state psychiatric facility. Barnes has been involuntarily committed since mid-2011, when she was found incompetent to stand trial on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Deep inside me there’s a serial killer lurking somewhere. But I keep him amused with cocaine, Formula One, booty calls, and coruscating cross-examination.

– a comment made by a successful lawyer who was interviewed by renowned psychologist and author Kevin Dutton for his new book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success (affiliate link).

(Want to see where lawyers rank on the top ten list of the most psychopathic professions? Check out the list, after the jump.)

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Judge Cynthia Brim

The Honorable Cynthia Brim, a two-time winner of Judge of the Day honors, has returned to the headlines. But this time the news for Judge Brim is positive — well, for the most part.

On Tuesday, Judge Brim won re-election to the Cook County Circuit Court. The following day, she showed up in court — not as a judge, but as a defendant in a battery case.

You might be surprised by how much of the vote she won. Take a guess, then keep reading to find out (and to see Her Honor’s mugshot, which isn’t pretty)….

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Judge Susan McDunn

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Al Gore famously alluded to “powerful forces and powerful interests” that were out to get ordinary Americans. He received derision from some quarters for his vague invocation of mysterious forces that were conspiring to keep the people down — but maybe he had a point? As Henry Kissinger famously observed, “Even a paranoid has some real enemies.”

This brings us to the first of our two Judges of the Day, both out of the Chicago area. The first claims that she is “being persecuted extensively by many people in many ways.”

Let’s learn about the mysterious forces who are supposedly causing trouble for this jurist. Does she have actual enemies, or is she simply cuckoo in Cook County?

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* While “Dewey remains a great firm with terrific lawyers” for the time being, check back in after five percent of the firm’s attorneys have been laid off. Then tell us how great and terrific things are, we dare you. [DealBook / New York Times]

* The University of St. Thomas School of Law really “take[s] data accuracy very seriously.” That’s why the employed at graduation rate the school reported to U.S. News was off by 47.7 percentage points, right? [National Law Journal]

* John Edwards has a judge’s permission to use Rielle Hunter’s lawyers at his campaign finance trial. Mmm, there’s nothing like getting some legal sloppy seconds from your former mistress. [Bloomberg]

* After two days of deliberations, jurors in the Dharun Ravi privacy trial still haven’t reached a verdict. Just think, if he had taken the plea, he wouldn’t be worrying as much about deportation right now. [New York Post]

* If Hemy Neuman’s delusions about Olivia Newton-John were about getting physical, instead of getting murderous, maybe he wouldn’t have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. [CNN]

* It’s the most wonderful time of the year: March Madness! Are NCAA bracket pools legal in your office? It depends. Either way, all I know is that I’ll be betting on Lehigh. Go Mountain Hawks! [Businessweek]

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