The United States and Canada are playing “hot potato” with sex offender Malcolm Watson. Here’s the latest development in the story (which we’ve beenfollowing):
An American teacher allowed to serve probation in Ontario for a misdemeanour sex offence was never “exiled” to Canada as was widely reported, the U.S. judge who approved the deal said yesterday.
Even before hearing a motion seeking to amend Malcolm Watson’s probation terms, Judge Thomas Kolbert made a point of addressing the political firestorm ignited by reports that a U.S. sex offender had been “banished” to Canada.
“This court never banished nor exiled Mr. Watson to Canada,” Judge Kolbert said.
Nevertheless, because of the resulting media uproar, the prosecution filed a motion seeking to amend Watson’s probation terms — to make him do his probation in Erie County, New York. The motion is under submission; the parties have three weeks to provide the judge with more information.
How does Mr. Watson feel about possibly having to serve out his sentence in the United States?
Outside the court, defence lawyer Tom Eoannou warned that if Mr. Watson is forced to stay in the U.S., he might yet force a trial.
* It’s not slander if you call him a balding pervert. Or her an opportunist (and probably a desperate one at that — this is really scratching the bottom of the barrel, honey). [Page Six]
* Quakers like to keep their lawsuits confined to townhouse meetings. If you think you knew this because you saw Witness, you are guilty of lumping together all the religious denominations of rural Pennsylvania, and that’s just wrong. [Point of Law].
* The most obscure Baldwin brother, Daniel Baldwin, steals a car — and then some. (Volokh Conspiracy]
* Mitchell Stein, Esq., is one unhappy dog owner. And if you were him, you wouldn’t want this to happen to your dog, would you? On the other hand, it might stop it from humping your leg. [New York Times]
It’s official: The Democrats now control the Senate, too. Everyone has called the Virginia Senate race for Jim Webb, and George Allen just conceded.
So this means that the super-powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which plays a crucial gatekeeping role in the judicial confirmation process, will be chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Here’s the key paragraph from his bio:
At 34, he was the youngest U.S. Senator ever to be elected from the Green Mountain State. Leahy was born in Montpelier and grew up across from the Statehouse. A graduate of Saint Michael’s College in Colchester (1961), he received his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center (1964).
He served for eight years as State’s Attorney in Chittenden County. He gained a national reputation for his law enforcement activities and was selected (1974) as one of three outstanding prosecutors in the United States.
We’ve all done it: Use of office resources for personal purposes. Maybe you take the occasional personal call on your office telephone. Maybe you used the work fax machine to receive a one-page tax document from your accountant. Maybe you took some paperwork home with you one night, along with an office-issued ballpoint pen, and later used that pen to take down your mother’s chicken casserole recipe, as she read it to you over the phone.
If it’s de minimis use, then it’s okay. But this might have been, um, de maximus:
According to court records, while an attorney in the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Seth Zimmerman used his office’s Federal Express account to send Redskins tickets to eBay bidders….
The FTC says he cost the federal government $1,938. FedEx also says it lost $3,880 due to the discount shipping rate given to the federal government. According to the plea agreement, Zimmerman also profited by charging each buyer an additional $12 fee for the FedEx delivery.
Two grand strikes us as a sizable sum. But there is room for argument. Zimmerman might respond: “Come on, feds, lighten up! Isn’t that just, like, three Pentagon toilet seats — not even the padded kind?”
So how was the fraud detected? Was an elaborate investigation required?
In August 2004, investigators at the Office of Inspector General for the FTC were contacted by people complaining that tickets they bought from Zimmerman on eBay were never delivered.
What could have been some difficult Internet sleuthing was made easier because Zimmerman used his FTC e-mail address to set up his eBay account. The inspector general subpoenaed records from eBay showing that Zimmerman had been buying and selling tickets on the site since 2001.
Seth, it’s called Gmail. Try it, you might like it.
(Yes, we know: even if Zimmerman had used Gmail, if he used it from his work computer, messages could still be traced back to him using his IP address. But at least then the investigators would have WORK a little to uncover his identity, instead of having it served up on a silver platter.) Penalty Box: FTC Lawyer No ‘Overnight Sensation’ [Legal Times (pass-through link) via NYLawyer.com]
* Litigator DeMaurice Smith, to Patton Boggs, from Latham & Watkins (DC).
When asked about the move, Eric Bernthal, managing partner of Latham’s D.C. office, said that Smith’s practice “will probably fit a little better over there.”
(Meow? Or just a matter-of-fact statement relating to areas of specialization, client conflicts, etc.? We hope the former.) Legal Academia:
* The three-year contract of Bill Piatt, currently serving as Dean of St. Mary’s University School of Law, won’t be renewed when it expires at the end of this academic year. Randomness:
* We received a press release about three new partners being named at “growing international firm Ogier.” Because Ogier has no U.S. offices — it operates mainly out of the Cayman Islands and Jersey (no, not THAT Jersey) — we have no idea why this was sent to us.
But since we like it when publicists send us stuff — press releases are fine, party invites even better — we reprint some excerpts, with a few comments, after the jump. High-Profile Litigator Switches Firms [NYLawyer.com] Law School Decides Not to Renew Dean’s Contract [NYLawyer.com]
Rumors that Justice John Paul Stevens is about to step down from the Supreme Court are a recurring feature of the legal gossip landscape. As we previously observed, JPS retirement rumors “return each spring, with the birds and the flowers.”
But hey, we’re good sports, so we’ll blog about them. ‘Cause one of these days, they might actually turn out to be true — and we wouldn’t want to be caught flat-footed. (Our personal view, though, is that Justice Stevens will leave the Court as the late Chief Justice Rehnquist did — through death, not retirement.)
Anyway, here’s the latest gossip. Per Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, and an active participant in judicial confirmation battles:
For the past several weeks, there has been a rumor circulating among high-level officials in Washington, D.C., that a member of the U.S. Supreme Court has received grave medical news and will announce his or her retirement by year’s end. While such rumors are not unusual in the nation’s capital, this one comes from credible sources. Additionally, a less credible but still noteworthy post last week at the liberal Democratic Underground blog says, “Send your good vibes to Justice Stevens. I just got off the phone with a friend of his family and right now he is very ill and at 86 years old that is not good.”
Rushton’s rumor was picked up over at ConfirmThem.
If Justice Stevens does resign from the Court, who might fill his robes? U.S. News’s Washington Whispers column offers this intelligence:
President Bush isn’t looking very far for his next conservative pick to the U.S. Supreme Court: His top two candidates work just 12 blocks away in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Insiders say Judge Janice Rogers Brown, appointed in June 2005, tops the list, followed by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, appointed in May.
Also up: Peter Keisler, whose nomination to the D.C. court is pending. So there’s no vacancy, you say? With apologies to Justice John Paul Stevens, 86, it’s his seat they hope to fill.
As ATL readers know, we love ourselves some Janice Rogers Brown. But would this outspoken, conservative judicial diva be able to make it through a Democrat-controlled Senate? The same goes for Brett Kavanaugh, whom Senator Chuck Schumer once described as “the Zelig of young Republican lawyers.”
So we’d be interested in your views on a question that a (clearly conservative) reader sent to us earlier today:
How about a piece on SCOTUS candidates Bush could get through the Senate now that it’s controlled by Communists?
It’s tough enough as it is to make a living as a strip club dancer. Do we really need to make it harder for them?
In Tuesday’s elections, Seattle voters answered this question in the negative:
[L]ap dances will remain legal in Seattle. With a no vote on Seattle Referendum 1, voters were firmly rejecting the city’s “four-foot rule,” which would have banned lap dances by requiring exotic dancers and customers to keep their distance.
In light of the recent spate of law firm mergers, one can’t help wondering: How do these unions generally turn out? Are they storybook romances, in which the two law firms live happily ever after? Or do they turn into dysfunctional relationships, which the partners regret getting into?
In its weddings pages, the New York Times sometimes checks back in on a couple whose nuptials were announced in the Times years ago. Sometimes these couples are still happily married, with a gaggle of kids; sometimes they have gone their separate ways.
Imitating this tradition, the National Law Journal checks back in on Edwards & Angell and Palmer & Dodge, on the first anniversary of their November 1, 2005, merger. This particular merger was the law firm equivalent of a “shotgun wedding”: it took place quickly, with relatively little premerger planning.
The verdict? After some initial growing pains and culture clashes, things are fine. The larger combined firm is scooping up some excellent business. Here’s the money quote:
“Lawyers speculate whether size matters,” said co-managing partner Terrence Finn. “We’ve come to the conclusion that it does.”
A Turkish Internet celebrity is so convinced he was the inspiration for Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” character, he’s traveling to London seeking an apology and a way to get paid from the film’s surprise success.
Mahir Cagri, 44, became a cyber celebrity after posting a personal Web site in 1999, featuring unintentionally amusing photos of himself playing pingpong or the accordion and sunbathing in a skimpy bathing suit. Fans were captivated by his broken English and hilarious invitation to women: “Who is want to come TURKEY I can invitate … She can stay my home.”
No lawsuit yet from Cagri, but given the financial success of Borat — it earned $26.5 million domestically in its opening weekend — one can’t be far behind. And, of course, look for other purported “Borats” to emerge from the woodwork.
In the interests of judicial economy, let’s make this a Rule 23 class action. The plaintiff class: every horny, buffoonish Near Eastern male, who speaks English with an awful accent.
Very niiiice. Internet celebrity claims to be the real-life ‘Borat’ [Associated Press]
* Democrats likely to officially declare victory today in the Senate; Allen “has no intention of dragging this out.” [CNN; Election Law Blog]
* Thank you sir may I have another… .life sentence; Malvo gets life in Maryland. [CNN; Washington Post; Baltimore Sun]
* Another one bites the KCl in Texas. [CourtTV]
* KFed wants the kids, yo. I still say DFACS should take ‘em. [AP via FindLaw]
* California sex offender law found temporarily blocked by judge one day after being approved on the ballot by voters. [AP via FindLaw]
The judiciary was largely upstaged yesterday by developments from the other two branches: the Democratic takeover on Capitol Hill, and the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.
But the Supreme Court was still doin’ its thing yesterday, hearing the cases of Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood. These cases raise the constitutionality of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. So of course there was disorder in the court:
[O]ne man, clad in a shirt that read JESUS, entered the courtroom and sat in the spectator section midway through oral arguments.
Wake up, SCOTUS marshals!!! The guy might as well have worn a shirt reading “ARREST ME” — which is what they did, after this happened:
[D]uring the time allotted to [Priscilla] Smith, the pro-choice lawyer arguing on behalf of Nebraska abortion provider Dr. Leroy Carhart, the man erupted. “ABORTION!” he thundered in a voice that reverberated in the quiet and still courtroom. “REPENT OR YOU WILL PERISH,” he went on. He grabbed the arm of Carhart, who happened to be seated next to him, and pulled him to the ground.
As one would expect, the gracious and unflappable Chief Justice handled the interruption quite smoothly. He “drew polite laughs when he then offered Smith three extra minutes to make her case.” Update: Or was it just an extra 30 seconds? See here and here.
The protester, a gent by the name of Rives Miller Grogan, was charged with violating 40 U.S.C. 6134. Here’s what that statute provides (robe swish: Orin Kerr):
It is unlawful to discharge a firearm, firework or explosive, set fire to a combustible, make a harangue or oration, or utter loud, threatening, or abusive language in the Supreme Court Building or grounds.
* While Gawker seems obsessed with the social-climbing aspiration of ex-Skaddenite Melissa Berkelhammer, hopefully we’ll soon find out what makes her any worse than the others. [Page Six via Socialite Rank]
* Denmark let the little mermaid stay, and yet they won’t let foreign-born spouses of Danish nationals cross the “Love Bridge.” [Bloomberg].
* Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth making. (Sorry we didn’t cover the Hilary Duff stalker story, but there are some celebrity stories even we don’t care about.) [AP via Yahoo! News]
* Something(s) undoubtedly went down, but it couldn’t have been as bad as this. Please, Dr. Huxtable, say it ain’t so. [AP via NY Lawyer]
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
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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