Prisons

Hello Kitty Thai police officers Thailand Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgRemember those dancing Filipino prisoners?
Well, these days Asia is abounding with new and interesting approaches to crime and punishment. From the AP:

Thai police officers who break rules will be forced to wear hot pink armbands featuring “Hello Kitty,” the Japanese icon of cute, as a mark of shame, a senior officer said Monday.

Police officers caught littering, parking in a prohibited area, or arriving late among other misdemeanors will be forced to stay in the division office and wear the armband all day, said Police Col. Pongpat Chayaphan. The officers won’t wear the armband in public….

“Simple warnings no longer work. This new twist is expected to make them feel guilt and shame and prevent them from repeating the offense, no matter how minor,” said Pongpat, acting chief of the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok.

pekkle the duck Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgBut Hello Kitty is eminently appealing. Could this strategy backfire? Might there be some police officers who will deliberately misbehave, to win the privilege of having that cute cat straddling their bicep?
P.S. Hello Kitty isn’t our favorite Sanrio character. That honor goes to Pekkle the Duck. He’s unspeakably adorable!
Bad Thai Cops to Endure Kitty Shame [Associated Press]
Earlier: Sentencing Reform: Dancing Will Set You Free

clock time billable hour Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.gifHere at Above the Law, we’re committed to exploring the (sometimes harsh) realities of Biglaw life. One of those realities, of course, is timekeeping. That’s when you sit down and realize that, despite spending twelve hours in the office, somehow you only got eight hours of work done (maybe ’cause you spent too much time reading Perez Hilton and gossiping with your officemate about Project Runway).
Anyway, one curious reader emailed us:

Just wanted to see if there was any interest in seeing what large firms across the country’s policies were for timekeeping (daily, weekly, monthly) and what the penalties were for falling behind. I had heard that one firm withholds paychecks after enough time.

Fried Frank Harris Shriver Jacobson LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgFunny you should ask! A second reader sent us this tip:

The abysmal associate morale at Fried Frank will not be improved by a new mandate to close out all time in full by the next business day or face sanctions.

Wow, that’s a harsh policy — but it’s true.
Check out the memo, and discuss your own firm’s policies on entering your hours, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fried Frank: Doing Hard Time”

We’re guessing you’ve all seen this video of 1,500 Filipino prisoners dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” It has been discussed all over the blogosphere and MSM. E.g, Gawker; Concurring Opinions; Times of London.
(We’re just surprised that sentencing guru Doug Berman — who, by the way, moderated a great panel on the federal sentencing guidelines at the recent ACS convention we attended (and will write about later) — hasn’t weighed in on this innovative approach to criminal punishment.)
In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the clip:
Cebu Philippines Filipino prisoners prison inmates dancing Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Pretty cool, eh? Professor Charles Nesson of Harvard Law School quipped, “I want to meet the warden.”
Well, Professor Nesson, we can help. As it turns out, Byron Garcia — the prison official who came up with this idea, and uploaded the video clip to YouTube — is our uncle!
You can read our correspondence with Tito Byron, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sentencing Reform: Dancing Will Set You Free”


* When the music stopped, Craig Morford, interim U.S. attorney in Nashville, was left standing. So now Morford must fill Paul McNulty’s uncomfortable shoes as Deputy Attorney General — after several others apparently passed on the job. [Washington Post; New York Times]
* New Jersey lawyer Shalom Stone may need to be as charming as Shalom Harlow to win confirmation to the Third Circuit. [The Hill (ATL shout-out!) via How Appealing]
* Dow Jones director David Li could be in trouble with the SEC. Oh Wells. [DealBreaker]
* Go shorty. [MSNBC]

scooter smile.jpg
Well, that was fast.
Smile, Scooter! President George W. Bush has just commuted your sentence!
The President wiped away Libby’s prison term, but the $250,000 fine will stand.
Here’s the grant of executive clemency and the President’s statement, which reads in part:

I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.
My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.
The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby’s case is an appropriate exercise of this power.

Is Lady Justice weeping, or doing the wave? Here’s an open thread for comment and debate.

Scooter Libby.jpg
All eyes turn toward President George W. Bush today, as a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit (Sentelle, Henderson, and Tatel) denied Scooter Libby’s request to stay out of an orange jumpsuit while he appeals his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Today’s decision further increases pressure on President Bush to pardon or commute the sentence of the 56-year-old lawyer who was Cheney’s right-hand man and an architect of the administration’s national security policies. The White House repeatedly has said that Bush is not intervening in the case, at least not yet, but many conservatives have been urging Bush to grant Libby some form of reprieve.

We’re sure it’s occurred to the White House that there’s a major holiday coming up. Whatever Bush decides to do, he should announce it tomorrow around 5:00 pm. That way it’ll be old news by the time Chuck Schumer pops up on Meet the Press this weekend.

Monopoly Go Directly To Jail Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgFrom The BLT, shortly before 2:00 p.m.:

From Emma Schwartz, inside the courtroom:

Scooter Libby’s stable of legal thoroughbreds failed him. Moments ago Judge Reggie Walton ruled that Libby does not get bail pending appeal. It’s jail time.

Update / clarification: Libby wasn’t taken into custody today. It will take at least six to eight weeks for the Bureau of Prisons to determine where Libby will be imprisoned and to set a reporting date for him to show up to prison.
No. Bail. [The BLT: The Blog of the Legal Times]
Judge Won’t Delay Libby Prison Term [Associated Press via Washington Post]

OJ Simpson Paris Hilton Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGAnd he’s coming out on top, you know you’ve hit rock bottom. From TMZ.com:

We now have quantifiable proof that it’s better to be O.J. Simpson than Paris Hilton. What is wrong with the world?

You can now buy t-shirts that read “L.A. Court Scorecard: O.J. 1, Paris 0″ from the Cafepress.com website. Some might call it ironic that O.J. got away with murder, while Paris is serving time for driving when she wasn’t supposed to.

You can purchase merchandise featuring the graphic at right by clicking here.
Paris Hilton, O.J. [CafePress.com]
It’s Good to Be O.J., Sucks to Be Paris [TMZ.com]

Paris Hilton 3 mugshot Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSo what’s the latest news about our favorite celebrity heiress? We’re guessing you’re already familiar with the story about how she “was so terrified guards would snap a cell-phone picture of her on the toilet that she didn’t eat or drink for three days.”
The most recent update comes from the AP:

The parents of Paris Hilton didn’t have to wait long to visit their daughter Tuesday, raising more questions of whether the hotel heiress was receiving special treatment. The Hiltons breezed past some waiting in line for hours to see loved ones….

The visit angered some others who were waiting to see inmates. Shatani Alverson, 23, said she was hustled out of the visiting room at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility moments after her husband walked in because of the Hiltons. She was told to come back after lunch.

We’re guessing Paris was unsympathetic to the complaints of the little people. We can just imagine her saying, while gesturing grandly towards the vending machines, “Let them eat Tastykake.”
P.S. In case you’re curious, the final (and unsurprising) results of our Paris Hilton poll appear after the jump.
Hilton’s Parents Visit, Breeze Past Line [Associated Press]
Poo-hoo, she isn’t life of the potty [New York Daily News]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mom! Mom! It’s Not Right (That You Get to Cut the Visitors’ Line)”

A friend of Paris Hilton, who saw the hotel heiress during her all-too-brief house arrest, had this to say about how Hilton was treated in jail:

“It’s so cruel what has happened to her. She wasn’t allowed to wax or use a moisturiser. Her skin is so dry right now.”

Judge Michael Sauer: Have you no sense of [evolving standards of] decency?
Paris banged up … again [The Sun - UK]
Roper v. Simmons [Legal Information Institute / Cornell Law School]
U.S. Constitution: Eighth Amendment [FindLaw]
Paris Hilton bird in cage caged bird anal herpes Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg

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