State Judges Are Clowns

Would you believe a state supreme court justice received a $50,000 trip to Italy from a lawyer who routinely appears before the court representing major clients?

Oh, it happened. And it could be happening a lot more often than you’d think because most states make it exceedingly difficult to discover. Every now and again someone will do important work pointing out that electing judges in an era of unfettered campaign contributions poses a significant risk to judicial integrity, and everyone will cluck their tongues, stroke their beards and wonder, “What’s to be done with this state court system?” A new study goes further and looks at the financial wheelings and dealings — and the lack of oversight they receive — of judges outside of election season.

How does your state court system fare?

Spoiler alert: Badly…

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* Chief Judge Philip P. Simon of the Northern District of Indiana has ruled that being a federal judge is better than being an equine semen collector. Agreed. [The Kentucky Trial Court Review]

* The Supreme Court lets tradition trump technology. Because if the Founders wanted cameras in the courtroom, they would have written it into the Constitution. [Washington Post]

* NBC is developing a TV show based on Shon Hopwood’s memoir Law Man (affiliate link). Could NBC have a watchable drama? [Variety]

* Congress keeps telling us the D.C. Circuit is not overworked. They’re wrong. [People for the American Way]

* A poem about the lawyer as shark. Wasn’t this a whole TV show once? [Poetic Justice]

* Legal education needs to adapt to reflect the fact that 50 percent of law students don’t intend to use their law degrees to work in traditional legal fields. In other words, legal education needs to adapt to people too stupid to figure out the only jobs that require a law degree are those in traditional legal fields. [New York Law Journal]

* Harvard is hosting an event on the “business of college sports.” You can learn all about the business of college sports from this video right here. [Sports Agent Blog]

* The judge who forced a family to change their baby’s name from “Messiah” is getting disciplined. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Flash mobs are disturbing enough without being composed entirely of lawyers. [Daily Report Online]

* Elie and Staci appeared on CNBC’s Power Lunch today to discuss the Orrick and Pillsbury merger talks and the Clifford Chance memo. Video embedded after the jump… [CNBC]

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She holds you in contempt.

Congratulations to Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler. The voters have spoken, and he is our latest Lawyer of the Day. Maybe this honor will help Doug Gansler close the gap in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor.

We enjoyed the process so much last time that we’re going to do it again. We’ll give you three nominees, identify the arguments for or against Lawyer of the Day status, and let you vote for your favorite.

Our latest slate raises this question: what’s worse, criminal or crazy?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers Of The Day: Additional Allegations Of Attorney (And Judicial) Misconduct”

* The author of Even Greater Response to a Cease & Desist Letter fame sent the ATL office some glitter pens because Staci asked for one in the comments. Keep being awesome Andrew Delaney! [Twitter]

* Tired of the National Zoo Panda Cam? A USPTO attorney has created the Substitute Panda Cam. I wonder if the cam will survive the shutdown. [Substitute Panda Cam]

* Well, wonder no more! Here’s a rundown of how the shutdown is treating the intellectual property world. [Patently-O]

* So if you’re part of the intellectual property legal regime that’s shut down (or any government employee off because of the shutdown), here’s a list of all the drinking specials in D.C. you can use to fill your day. [Washington Post]

* An update on Bike Dude. [Racked]

* Some advice on handling terrible clients. Alternate title: 50 Shades of Grey. [The Careerist]

* St. Charles Parish Judge Michele Morel has finally agreed to recuse herself in a trial over the rape of a 10-year-old girl. And why should she have recuse herself? Just because she has a personal relationship with the defendant’s family? Pshaw! [Times-Picayune]

* Happy 100th birthday to income tax! Back then, someone with around $12 million (in 2013 dollars) paid about 7 percent in taxes. Meanwhile, today that same person would pay… well, with deductions and carried interest exceptions, probably about 7 percent. [TaxProf Blog]

* This Term, both wings of the Court will be making originalist arguments because “slaveholders from 200 years ago said so” is the most compelling argument in our legal toolbox. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* Yale Law grad Ronan Farrow, supposedly Woody Allen’s son, might really be Frank Sinatra’s son. Looking at him that… makes sense. [Vanity Fair]

* Looks like the FTC is finally going after patent trolls. Or would be if we still had a government. [Ars Technica]

* Based on the look and address, the Law Librarians blog appears to have left the Law Professor Blogs Network. It must have been too loud in there for the librarians. [Law Librarians]

* So… you’re saying lots of trial judges out there don’t understand hearsay? [The Legal Watchdog]

* Avast! Russia is going after Greenpeace (probably illegally) for piracy. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* A reminder that the federal government shut down is the result of state laws, so maybe you should vote in those off-year local elections. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Big data is coming for the law. I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords. [Associate's Mind]

* Judge tells a Sikh man to “remove that rag” or go to jail. Guess which state! [ACLU]

* The feds are at it again, posting a job opening for an uncompensated “Special Assistant U.S. Attorney.” Finally a government job that contract employers can point to and say, “See, $10/hour isn’t so bad…” [A Connecticut Law Blog]

* Law firms are getting out-hustled by a number of other service providers. [ABA Journal]

* Lawyers are terrible leaders. And if you don’t understand business, you can’t really be a good advocate. This also explains why firms are getting out-hustled per the prior item. [Fashion Law Blog]

* The Supreme Court Historical Society & The Historical Society of the New York Courts Present are hosting a CLE event called “Learned in the Law: Role of the U.S. Solicitor General…a New York Point of View” on October 25. Tickets are $30. [Historical Society of the New York Courts]

* Paul Konigsberg, Bernie Madoff’s tax lawyer, has been arrested. Hopefully he won’t get screwed. [Crain's New York Business]

* Is the series finale of Breaking Bad a trade secret? A better question is whether the recipe for Blue Sky is a trade secret. Video after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 09.27.13″

He may not look like much, but this little guy’s name is ‘John Holmes’ for a reason.

* A woman and her husband are charged with making dog porn, which is… well, it’s filming dogs having their way with the woman. So if you’re in North Carolina and get called for jury duty, that might be in your future. [Huffington Post Weird]

* Instead of a gun fight over getting cut off in traffic or someone dissing a sports team, this Russian guy opened fire with rubber bullets over an argument about Immanuel Kant. Much more cultured over there. [Critical-Theory]

* Gypsy family tries to pay bail with gold and the state judge cried foul, probably because he feared he was being… ugh. What followed was a thorough investigation of Romany culture. [New York Times]

* Judges in Chicago have to comply with a small sampling of the demeaning security procedures everyone else has had to deal with for the last 12 years and they deal with it graciously throw an absolute bitchfit. I mean, their complaints are sound, but still… [Chicago Sun-Times]

* Man held by authorities for peacefully protesting a photo enforced traffic light. Some things, like a guaranteed stream of city income, are too important to let free speech get in the way. [Autoblog]

* A judge has ordered a new trial for the cops convicted of the Danziger Bridge slayings in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Among the reasons, the prosecutors were writing disparaging comments about the defendants on online comments sections. As if anyone takes internet commenters seriously. [The Times-Picayune]

* Only a few more hours to register for this event featuring Kathy Ruemmler, counsel to President Obama, talking about women in law, leadership, and government. [Ms. JD]

Judge Wade H. McCree

I don’t agree with it, [but] I’m not surprised.

Brian Einhorn, the lawyer representing Judge Wade McCree in his judicial misconduct case, commenting on the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission’s recommendation that McCree be removed from the bench. Wade had been accused of sexting a shirtless photo of himself to a bailiff and having an affair with a litigant, sometimes using his chambers for sexual rendezvous.

In this Court’s opinion, imposing a sentence which suspends more than the mandatory minimum would be an illegal sentence.

– Judge G. Todd Baugh, in an order setting a new sentencing hearing for Stacey Rambold, the teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old student who the judge claimed was “older than her chronological age.” Last week, all but 31 days of Rombold’s 15-year sentence were suspended, with a one-day credit given for time already served. Rambold’s victim committed suicide in 2010.

* After three years on top, Baker & McKenzie has lost its place as the top grossing firm in the Global 100. But which firm dethroned the once king? None other than… [Am Law Daily]

* Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, and yet some of the things he sought to change still remain the same in 2013. [Washington Post]

* The house always wins: Navin Kumar Aggarwal, the ex-K&L Gates partner who stole client funds to pay gambling debts, was jailed after receiving a 12-year sentence. [Am Law Daily]

* “This is like a triple-overtime win.” Merrill Lynch is making a huge $160 million payout in a racial bias case that’s been stuck in the courts for nearly a decade. Congrats, plaintiffs! [DealBook / New York Times]

* As eager young law students return to school, maybe it’s time for you to consider brushing up on the basics. Now is an excellent time to take care of those pesky CLE requirements. [Corporate Counsel]

* Husch Blackwell is teaming up with WUSTL Law to launch a training program for… partners. Take this for what is is, law students: a great opportunity to résumé bomb the hell out of them. [National Law Journal]

* Career alternatives for attorneys: judicial drug mule. Following an investigation by the DEA, a former Utah judge pleaded guilty to the possession of enough Oxycodone to kill a small horse. [Salt Lake Tribune]

* Don’t even think about texting anyone, ever again, in the state of New Jersey, especially if they might be driving, because the appeals court says you could be held liable for negligence. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild has been sentenced to 270 days in jail and three years’ probation after being convicted of assault and false imprisonment by a jury of “stupid, stupid idiots.” [Los Angeles Times]

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