Since the lastcoverage of her on ATL, the Energizer-bunny-esque Judge Elizabeth Halverson has been ordered on the inactive list by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline.
Following an emotional plea by Halverson in a rare television interview, and a similar public plea by two sexy ex-Halverson staffers (a law clerk and a secretary), the hearing transcripts have been released by the Nevada Supreme Court.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal published a story this morning that basically places the final nail in the 425 500 lb jurist’s cavernous coffin career:
District Judge Elizabeth Halverson’s former bailiff testified that she fell asleep daily in court and frequently told him to shoot her husband, according to transcripts of a closed-door hearing that were made public Wednesday.
Yes, you read that right: “frequently told him to shoot her husband.”
(Dozing off on the bench is no big deal. Some highly regarded judges do it all the time.)
The balance of the insanity, after the jump.
Okay, she looks like a cross between Chelsea Clinton and your fourth-grade English teacher. But make no mistake about it: Judge Marian Shelton is a true judicial diva, and not to be messed with.
From the New York Daily News:
Bronx Family Court Judge Marian Shelton allegedly yelled at a lawyer to “shut up,” tossed a woman from court for wearing “inappropriate” clothing, told a Caribbean man to “take those stupid things out of your hair” and said a lawyer had “mental health issues.”…
“Go to therapy, but don’t act out in my courtroom,” Shelton allegedly snapped at one law guardian in a 2005 case.
In another instance, she allegedly mocked the accent of lawyer Mariana Toledo-Hermina.
“How is Toledo-Hermina an attorney when you cannot understand what she is saying?” Shelton allegedly said.
But Judge Shelton has her defenders. Like her husband:
In May, anticipating the [disciplinary] charges, Shelton’s husband, wealthy former Proskauer Rose lawyer Saul Cohen, took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to bash the commission.
As the State Legislature slouched toward adjournment late Thursday with no breakthrough on the issue of pay raises for judges, an infuriated judiciary began to contemplate an escalation in the salary wars.
For many that might mean new or expanded litigation. Some are even whispering “strike.”
New York judges haven’t had a raise in 9 years, and they’re getting pretty pissed about it:
“Judges don’t need to hire lobbyists or public relations people, we need to hire an FBI hostage negotiator,” said Montgomery County Family Court Judge Philip V. Cortese in an interview — distilling the judges’ collective belief that the Legislature essentially held salary negotiations captive to other legislative priorities.
Of course, there are some slight problems with a judicial strike, such as the fact that they can’t legally do it:
Just like the transit workers, judges are explicitly prohibited from striking under New York’s labyrinthine Taylor Law — a statute governing labor organizing of state public servants.
According to Jerome Lefkowitz, chairman of the Public Employment Relations Board, the law treats judges as “management” whose members are not allowed to unionize. At the same time, it prohibits them from striking.
In other words, judges have even fewer options than transit workers or other public employees. “The law says that managerial employees are excluded from the Taylor Law, except Part 210 which says: ‘Thou shalt not strike,’ ” Lefkowitz explained.
In the stern language of that section, no judge can “cause, instigate, or condone a strike.”
So one judge suggested they all just get really lazy instead:
“Another idea is to review all papers submitted very carefully for any errors — typos, misspellings, matters left out — particularly orders and decrees. No handwritten corrections or having your own secretary retype to fix them up. Return them to attorney for correction, and return them again until they are totally correct. Particularly for any firms with legislators in them.”
Judge Larry Seidlin is best known for tearfully presiding over the Anna Nicole Smith proceedings in Florida state court. But perhaps it’s the American people who should be shedding tears right now. From the Daily Business Review:
Broward Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin – the weeping probate judge who presided over the recent legal fight for custody of Anna Nicole Smith’s body – announced today that he is leaving the bench at the end of this month.
“It is now time for me to devote more of my daily life to my own young family and to pursue the many opportunities that have been offered to me outside the judicial system,” Seidlin wrote in his resignation letter to Gov. Charlie Crist.
So why should we shed tears over the departure of this fine jurist?
It has been rumored that Seidlin has a television show in the works.
You graduate from Harvard Law School. You head off to a good-sized but not enormous city, thinking you’ll be a big fish in a smaller pond. You make it on to the local bench; you can see a federal judicial appointment in the distance. What could go wrong?
Well, lots — if you allegedly load up a state-owned computer with porn, then allegedly steal it. Meet Larry Manzanares:
Manzanares, 50, was charged with three felonies Wednesday in the theft of a state-owned computer from the courthouse. Investigators found “massive” amounts of pornography on the computer, which Manzanares tried to delete before turning the computer over to police.
“This is a hard fall for a person whose career appeared to be on a rapid rise to even greater achievement, said Denver lawyer and former prosecutor Craig Silverman.
“It’s a sad and tragic situation. Larry Manzanares had a wonderful reputation. I think it’s going to be tough for him to resume a legal career in Colorado even if he’s acquitted,” he said.
“Even if” he’s acquitted? Somehow we doubt Judge Manzares will have trouble getting off.
P.S. We rolled our eyes at the mention of “massive” amounts of pornography on the allegedly stolen laptop. What exactly qualifies as “massive”?
Everyone with a wank collection wants a certain amount of diversity in the materials. Does a stack of Playboys under the bed constitute a “massive” collection of porn? Update / clarification: Sorry if the foregoing was unclear. As a commenter explains, the allegation is that Larry Manzanares stole a state-owned computer, THEN filled it to the gills with porn.
It’s the “stealing” part that’s potentially criminal, NOT the downloading of porn. Last time we checked, Denver was not governed by Sharia. Black Cloud Will Linger for Judge [Rocky Mountain News]
* So what’s the solution here? Let another state’s appellate court hear the appeals? [AP via Kane County Chronicle via How Appealing]
* Come on, you can get the man a bond hearing earlier than three weeks from now. They’re killing me with this; let him go, damnit! [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Mississippi sues State Farm for bad faith. [Jurist]
* Texas is uncharacteristically deliberate about executing somebody. [CNN]
* What is it with lawyers and sports tickets? [WSJ Law Blog]
There aren’t many two-time winners of ATL’s Judge of the Day award. The members of that distinguished group are true pieces of work — jurists like Judge James M. Brooks and Judge Elizabeth Halverson.
But we think that Judge Wilbur Mathesius, of Mercer County, New Jersey, richly deserves membership in the club. If you question this conclusion, just click here, to read what one tipster described as “a judicial hissy fit, with great footnotes.”
Some background. The New Jersey Supreme Court recently disciplined Judge Mathesius, suspending him from the bench for 30 days, and directing him to “reflect on his position of authority and the manner in which he exercises that position of authority.” So Judge Mathesius did just that:
I removed to a remote and undisclosed location to encourage contemplation and reflection. To provide further catalyst to my reflective capacities, I subsisted on a Zen macrobiotic vegetarian diet, an occasional leaf or two of organic radicchio and Evian water, foraging as best I could for native fruits and nuts. The occasional tuna sushi was like gold. I report herewith the product of that reflection…
Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer made his ruling after a hearing that followed a tumultuous sequence in which Hilton was brought to court in a sheriff’s patrol car. Earlier, it seemed that she would only attend the hearing via telephone.
“The defendant is remanded to L.A. County jail,” Sauer said after an hourlong hearing. “The order is final and forthwith.”
Wearing a beige zippered sweater, Hilton crumpled into tears.
The Honorable James M. Brooks — a California trial judge and prior Judge of the Day honoree, with a history of getting himself into hotwater — might want to leave comedy to James L. Brooks.
Judge Brooks’s attempts at humor didn’t go over too well with the folks upstairs. From On Point News:
A California judge’s jocular behavior backfired as an appeals court ordered a new trial in an employment bias case, ruling that he had created a “circus atmosphere” and “a courtroom is not the Improv.”…
Brooks’s performance in the bias case against Ricoh Electronics suggests the CJP let him off lightly. The jury returned a defense verdict after a 31-day jury trial during which, the 4th District Court of Appeal said, the judge “allowed, indeed helped create, a circus atmosphere, giving defendants’ lawyer free rein to deride and make snide remarks at will and at the expense of plaintiffs and their lawyer.”
Among other things, Brooks flashed a hand-lettered sign saying “Overruled” when plaintiffs’ counsel Michelle A. Reinglass made objections. “It’s lightening things up,” he said when she objected to the sign.
The appellate court was not amused:
[A] courtroom is not the Improv and the presider’s role model is not Judge Judy. We can only imagine what was in the jurors’ minds as they endured a 30-plus day trial in this atmosphere or the impression of the judicial system they took away with them posttrial.
When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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