Michael Phelps pot marijuana bong.jpg* In case you are wondering, I’m in the foreground on the right in this artist’s depiction. [Courtoons]

* Are doctors now more hated than lawyers? That probably depends on how sick you are. [What About Clients?]

* Should you friend your boss on Facebook? [Corporette]

* It might be in poor taste, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s surgery was the opening bell on the Kagan v. Sotomayor steel cage match. [CQ Politics]

* Michael Phelps lost one of his sponsors, after being photographed smoking from what looked like a marijuana pipe. ESPN is doing 24/7 analysis about what this means for Phelps, kids, and America. I’m sure Katie Couric is going to get involved soon. Thank God I only smoke tobacco, drink alcohol and caffeine, eat red meat with lots of salt, take whatever Pfizer tells me I need, and gamble away all of my disposable income. A real role model follows the law! [Popsquire]

My best friend's bong.jpgWe expect ATL friend Mark Herrmann at Drug and Device Law to weigh in on this matter fully and with much glee. But in the meantime, we wanted to alert the more botanical subset of our readership of some breaking news: if the cops surprise you, you don’t have to drink the bong water. At least not in Minnesota … unless of course you want to.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has decided:

Because the post-use by-product of a methamphetamine bong is created through drug use and not prepared for the purpose of drug use, sale, or manufacturing, the water contained in the post-use by-product is not a mixture as defined in § 152.01, subd. 9a.

That is very interesting news, but don’t tell the kids. Hilarity will ensue, trust me.

For instance, you might be able to get somebody to do this:

[A] police officer testified–at a contested omnibus hearing–that drug users who are indigent or who do not have a readily available source for drugs retain the water from a methamphetamine bong for future consumption either orally or by injection. The officer testified that he knew of drug users who had consumed bong water containing methamphetamine.

God I miss college.

Anyway, after the jump, if bong water is distinguishable from a controlled substance, what is it comparable to?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bong Water: The Uncontrollable Substance”

[Ed Note: Do you have a question for next week? Send it in to [email protected]]

pls hndle copy 2.jpgDear ATL,

As a 3L, coasting through his last year of school, I find the occasional moment to partake in a bit of “relaxation” by way of an unmentioned illegal plant.

I’m wondering though, other than a question about this on the Bar application, would I be subject to any type of drug testing for the bar or at my post-bar big law firm? Do firms ever drug test their employees?

– Panama Red.

Dear Panama Red,

If you show up to work with bags of White Castle or pester secretaries with questions about where your car’s at, firms may demand a drug test (based on boilerplate paperwork you fill out at the outset of your job permitting them to do so), and they can fire you without cause anyway. But as far as I know, no law firms routinely test associates for drugs, and neither does any bar-related process.

However, firms do prohibit associates from moonlighting or engaging in activities that would be detrimental to the business or reputation of the firm. Practically speaking this means you’ll have to get off Phish tour (editor’s note: they’re not reuniting, give up the ship) and turn in that ridiculous shell necklace from Hollister. The hemp one, too. God, this is embarrassing.

Since it would have only taken a Google search for you to have answered your own question, I’ll take your email as a cry for help and give you some actual advice. You need to lay off the weed and focus on passing the bar and keeping your job. Also, I see you didn’t get the memo about how everybody switched over to coke. Um, yeah. AWKWARD.

Your friend,


After the jump, Marin passes the blunt to Elie, who’s wearing a “Take Me Drunk I’m Home” t-shirt.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: The Chronic”

medical marijuana protected class.jpgEverybody wants to be a part of a protected class. Trust me, it’s great fun (right up until the moment I try to get a cab home in the rain tonight). But unless you are a racial minority, a woman, or have suffered some sort of horrible disability, the joys of having to go through years of costly litigation to secure a job you never should have been fired from in the first place are unknown to you.
Unless you live in California. The state legislature passed a bill that would require employers to hire medical marijuana users.
Now this is a protected class that all races can get behind. It has been well established that white people like marijuana. According to leading experts:

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should [you] ever imply that people just smoke weed to get high, they do it for medical/spiritual/social reasons, etc, or that there are any negative consequences. This will likely alienate you from white people.

I’m somewhat surprised that all Californians are not united in song over this gross extension of governmental authority. Alas, Hans Bader at writes:

The idea that the government should just stay out of the matter and leave both private employers and medical marijuana users alone is apparently beyond the comprehension of most California legislators, who think that everything permitted must be made mandatory.

Way to use logic to ruin it for everybody, Mr. Bader
Banned or Required, With Nothing In Between [ via Overlawyered]

Beth Modica Elizabeth Modica prosecutor sex teenage boys Above the Law blog.jpgFor Monday’s Lawyer of the Day, we faced an embarrassment of riches — of embarrassment. So we nominated a quintet of contenders: a North Carolina lawyer caught reading Maxim in court, a former prosecutor who allegedly had sex with two teenage boys, an AUSA arrested on DUI charges, a Canadian lawyer/politician who allegedly overbilled an order of nuns, and a Chicago lawyer who keyed a Marine’s car. Then we had you vote on who should take the honors.
Participation was enthusiastic, with almost 1,300 votes cast. Two contenders emerged early in the voting: Beth Modica, the allegedly predatory prosecutrix, and Jay Grodner, who pleaded guilty to keying the Marine’s vehicle. Competition was fierce. But in the end, Mrs. Modica came out on top.
So congratulations, Beth Modica. You take the prize as Monday’s Lawyer of the Day!
Read more about her alleged misadventures, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day, People’s Choice: Beth Modica”

marijuana pot cannabis doobie Above the Law blog.jpgWith the police, who pulled you over for a traffic infraction. But the good news is that you’re getting it back. From CBS:

Eight grams of medical marijuana seized from a Garden Grove man during a traffic stop must be returned to him, according to an appeals court ruling directing local law enforcement to uphold state, not federal law.

A three-justice panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal [in California] weighed in on the issue in a published decision that sets precedent for future cases on similar issues.

The marijuana, which belonged to Felix Kha, 22, was confiscated during a traffic stop on June 10, 2005.

The city of Garden Grove tried to argue “that to the extent state law authorizers or mandates the return of Kha’s marijuana, it is preempted by federal law.” The appeals court didn’t see it that way:

Kha’s attorneys argued that the 10th Amendment to the Constitution effectively prohibits federal interference with California’s medical marijuana laws, and the three-justice panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal agreed.

The justices found that because, under state law, Kha was lawfully entitled to possess the marijuana, “due process and fundamental fairness dictate that it be returned to him.”

Indeed. Pass the bong, Your Honors!
P.S. The headline that CBS gave to the story is wrong. It was a state court, not a federal court, that issued the ruling.
Federal Court Rules Pot To Be Returned To Driver [CBS]

* Bong hits 4 farmers. [Washington Post via How Appealing]
* If looks could kill, then maybe this guy would have had a defense. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Privacy is so 20th century. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* Good for him I guess, but isn’t this a little weird? [CNN]

Maximilia Cordero small Jeffrey Epstein Dealbreaker Above the Law blog.JPG* Our DealBreaker colleagues receive email from William Unroch, the lawyer / ex-boyfriend of Maximilia (née Maximilian) Cordero, the transsexual model suing high-flying financier Jeffrey Epstein. Did you get all that? [DealBreaker]
* Congratulations to (soon-to-be-Chief) Judge Kozinski, who just won the Witkin Medal! [Blogonaut]
* Speaking of Judge Kozinski, here’s a counter-plea from perhaps his most famous former clerk. We may have to issue another bleg in response. [Volokh Conspiracy; 2007 Weblog Awards]
* “Uh, there’s no pot here, Beavis — just monkeys.” [What About Clients?]

Al Gore III mugshot mug shot marijuana pot Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIf you’re driving 100 miles per hour, but in a hybrid vehicle, can you still get pulled over? Unfortunately for Al Gore III, yes. From Reuters:

The 24-year-old son of former Vice President Al Gore was arrested for drug possession on Wednesday after he was stopped for speeding in his hybrid Toyota Prius, a sheriff’s official said.

Al Gore III — whose father is a leading advocate of policies to fight global warming — was driving his environmentally friendly car at about 100 miles per hour on a freeway south of Los Angeles when he was pulled over by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy at about 2:15 a.m.

Speed limits suck. Why can’t we institute a system of “speeding offsets,” like the market for carbon offsets? Grandmothers in Boca Raton, who consistently drive 10 miles under the speed limit, could supplement their incomes by selling the right to speed. Who needs Social Security?
After the traffic stop, things only got worse for young Al. From the New York Daily News:

Deputies then searched the car, and Gore faced an inconvenient truth when they allegedly found a small amount of pot and mind-altering pills – Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and Adderall.

“He does not have a prescription for any of those drugs,” [a sheriff's spokesman] said.

Finally, we loved this little detail:

Al the 3rd lives in Los Angeles and works for GOOD magazine, which describes itself as “media for people who give a damn.”

If this arrest is BAD for Al’s career at GOOD, we hear they’re accepting résumés over at High Times.
Al Gore’s son busted for drugs in hybrid car [Reuters]
He’s our li’l eco-maniac! [New York Daily News]
Al Gore’s Son Busted! [TMZ via Jezebel]

Supreme Court morning Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid blog.jpgThey prefer crack, thank you very much.
Because why else would the justices rule against noble, crusading students, and in favor of the mean old school officials, in Morse v. Frederick — aka the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case?*
But free speech proponents shouldn’t despair. Over at SCOTUSblog, Marty Lederman notes:

Morse is a very limited holding — essentially limited to the drug context. The Alito concurrence, joined by Kennedy, is controlling. He writes:

I join the opinion of the Court on the understanding that (a) it goes no further than hold that a public school may restrict speech that a reasonable observer would interpret as advocating illegal drug use and (b) it provides no support for any restriction of speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue, including speech on issues such as ‘the wisdom of the war on drugs or of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.’”

In other words: Hey liberals, this Alito guy might not be as bad as you thought.
* As we previously observed, petitioner Deborah Morse, one of the prevailing school officials, is “a curvaceous, dark-haired beauty.” But we would hope that Supreme Court justices would decide cases based on the merits, not on the attractiveness of the parties.
Of course, sometimes both factors point in the same direction. See, e.g., Marshall v. Marshall — the Anna Nicole Smith case.
Quick Preliminary Notes on Hein and Morse [SCOTUSblog]

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