State Judges

Oh my god, I’m going to kill you.

Lindsay Lohan, muttering under her breath in frustration during her court appearance yesterday after her lawyer, Mark Heller — a man who was previously scolded by Judge James Dabney for being “incompetent” as to California law — kept speaking even though the starlet had already directed him to shut up, numerous times.

(Don’t believe us? We’ve got the video to prove it.)

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‘We have ways of making you talk…’

Earlier this week, Judge William Sylvester, the Colorado state judge presiding over the James Holmes trial, ruled that prosecutors are allowed to apply “truth serum” to Holmes if/when he decides to plead not guilty by way of insanity.

Holmes, you may remember, is the jackhole who allegedly (to the extent he has not yet entered his own plea) murdered 12 people and injured 58 others in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater during the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. He’s expected to cop an insanity plea, citing a bunch of troubling facts, including the fact that he was obsessed with the Joker, leading him to dye his hair orange, which, when you think about it, undermines his obsession claim since the Joker clearly has green hair.

But the decision to forcibly inject Holmes with so-called “truth serum” to test his insanity claims, not only sounds like a plot device from a really terrible Bond movie (let’s just assume Die Another Day), but it also seems like a genuinely terrible legal ruling….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Tell the Truth and Nothing But… Aw Screw It, Bring Out the Truth Serum!’”

The job market sure is rough right now, but the blow job market is an entirely different playing field. If you really want to be counted as one of those employed nine months after graduation, you’ve got to to put up or shut up — or in this case, put out or get out.

It seems that Scott Steiner, a California judge and adjunct law professor at Chapman University School of Law, allegedly decided to trade sex for job placement opportunities. The woman whom he allegedly entered into an affair with eventually landed a position with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the place where he used to work. Steiner used to work in the DA’s Gang Unit, but given the allegations here, the good judge may as well have worked in the Gang Bang Unit.

Oh, and we should probably mention that this woman may have been a law student….

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* Congratulations on your law degree! Here’s a list of the other professions you can go into, because “being a lawyer” might not be in your future. [Associate's Mind]

* Deleting unhelpful text messages is a poor litigation strategy [IT-Lex]

* Aaron Zelinsky wants your help coming up with legal aptonyms for an upcoming article. Do you not know what an aptonym is? It’s okay, just read his post and he’ll explain it for you. [Concurring Opinions]

* Rand Paul spoke for 13 hours. It only took two sentences to make him stop. Eric Holder has a great ROI. [Balloon-Juice]

* Cleveland Judge Pinkey Carr has issued another sentence making a convict wear a sign in public. [Columbus Dispatch]

* This grammar rant figuratively blew my mind. [3 Geeks and a Law Blog]

There are two schools of thought on drafting a benchslap. One method involves laying out the most egregious behavior of the target right up front to set the tone for the scathing punishment to follow. The other, subtler method involves slow-playing the transgressions in a glorious crescendo of suspect conduct.

Senior Judge Victor Musleh of the 5th Judicial Circuit in Lake County, Florida ascribes to the latter school. When his February 28th order in Wells Fargo v. Granger hit the ATL tips inbox, I thought it was a mild story. But this page-turner of an order raised the stakes with each paragraph….

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Stroking the gavel of justice?

Don’t come knocking if the jury room is rockin’.

– An instant message that was allegedly sent by Judge Eugenio Mathis to his wife, a court employee, prior to his resignation from the bench.

(The New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission notes that the good judge allegedly engaged in “communications of a sexual nature” with his wife during court proceedings, “including intimations that he had or would be having sexual relations with her during the workday and/or on court premises.” Mathis continues to deny those claims.)

Earlier this month, we talked about “Punk Defendant” Penelope Soto. Soto was charged with possession of Xanax, and during her arraignment she gave the judge the finger.

Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat cited her for contempt and sentenced her to 30 days in jail.

Soto has cleaned up her act, got her contempt sentence dropped, and appeared in court earlier this week, where she was complimented by a different judge.

And I’ve got to admit, I feel bad about calling her a “punk” in the first place. I now think that she was high during her initial, profane court appearance, and they should have dried her out before sending her up before the judge….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Woman Who Flipped Off A Judge Now Receives Applause From The Bench (And An Apology From Me)”

Texas attorney Ray Marchan (Stanford ’82) has leapt from the Queen Isabella Bridge before turning himself in to federal authorities to serve a 3 1/2 year prison term. Marchan was convicted of six counts of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, aiding and abetting extortion, and mail fraud in connection with the bribing of former 404th District Judge Abel C. Limas to the tune of over $11,000

At this time, it’s unknown if Marchan was killed in the fall. Investigators are considering the possibility that he used the fall to escape….

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A few weeks ago, a young woman named Penelope Soto became an internet legend after she was caught on camera flipping a Florida judge the bird and telling him to go f**k himself during a court proceeding. Soto’s behavior earned her a 30-day stint in jail for contempt of court, but she apparently changed her ways at a later hearing and convinced the judge to vacate the month-long sentence.

But not all mouthy defendants are so lucky. Some of them do go to jail. Take, for example, the case of Brian Noval, a Florida man who in 2009 called a judge a c*ck — twice. Why do all of these things happen in Florida? Anyway, Noval’s antics were captured on film, and he earned himself 120 days in the pokey for his indiscretions. Noval only served four days of that sentence before the judge decided that this cocky defendant had learned his lesson.

As we all know, the internet is for porn, but it’s also for wonderful videos like these. And thanks to Daniel Tosh of Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, sometimes the stars of embarrassing viral videos are given the chance to redeem themselves on cable television. Ms. Soto hasn’t been given the opportunity to participate in one of these yet, but Noval was featured on the show last night.

For reasons that escape me, we never covered Noval’s incident in 2009, but now that he’s been brought back into the pop culture limelight, we’ve got some funny videos to entertain you with….

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Justice Joan Orie Melvin

Justice Joan Orie Melvin is a member of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. As touted on the court’s website, it is “the highest court in the Commonwealth and the oldest appellate court in the nation.”

Yesterday the court acquired a more dubious distinction: it’s the latest state supreme court to see one of its members convicted of a serious felony. And yes, we mean “latest,” not “only” or “first.” Just last month, for example, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud. Here in New York, Chief Judge Sol Wachtler of the Court of Appeals, our state’s highest court, served a prison sentence back in the early 1990s.

(Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Back in 2004, I opined that “state court judges are icky.” Article III all the way, baby.)

Back to Justice Orie Melvin of Pennsylvania. What could send Her Honor from the high court to the big house?

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