State Judges

A very Simpsonian sentence.

Boys do not hit girls.

Pacer Anthony Ferguson, 5,000 times, between December 23, 2013 and May 23, 2014. Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Ferguson to write this phrase on a numbered list as punishment for punching his girlfriend in the face.

(If you recall, Judge Baugh is known for sentencing a convicted rapist to 30 days in jail because the victim looked “older than her chronological age.” Perhaps he’s turned over a new leaf.)

The kind of person who makes the rules about lawyer advertising through text messages.

When I find myself pontificating on lawyer propriety, you know things are bad. But a new ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court leaves me with no choice. Ohio has decided that it’s okay for lawyers to text message accident victims to advertise their services.

Can you imagine sitting in a hospital, recovering from injuries, and then getting a text message from an unknown number: “R U OK? I can get U $$$. I sue ppl 4 U!”

We live in a world where the Ohio Supreme Court said that such solicitations are “helpful.” In other news, we live in a world where old judges who don’t know what the f**k they’re talking about get to make the rules about technology they don’t understand….

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He lived a life prior to becoming a justice. We can’t say you have to give it all up once you are on the bench.

– Professor Bert Kritzer of the University of Minnesota Law School, commenting on the fact that one of Minnesota’s Supreme Court justices, Alan Page, made almost $50,000 in extrajudicial compensation in 2013. Justice Page is a former defensive tackle with the Minnesota Vikings.

Sometimes in life you face choices. When faced with a slight, you can either walk away or you can keep it real.

Take the case of this benchslap. The lawyer felt the judge was being unfair because an appearance was scheduled for the date of the office holiday party. He could have just sucked it up, but he decided to “keep it real.”

And like so many of the protagonists of the Dave Chappelle skit of the same name, it ends with an important lesson about what happens when keeping it real goes wrong….

(Please note the UPDATE added below.)

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People who love their dogs almost always love them forever… But with divorce rates at record highs, the same cannot always be said for those who marry.

– Justice Matthew Cooper, who will preside over New York’s first dog custody case. Two Washington Heights women are divorcing and both want custody of their dog “Joey.” When reached for comment, Joey licked his butt and stared intently at a discarded Chipotle wrapper.

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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If you’ve ever wondered what a difference your $150K+ legal education makes, watch a pro se litigant. If you’ve ever wondered what a difference your $150K+ legal education and a clean bill of mental health makes, watch this pro se litigant.

Pro se litigants are often entertaining with their hare-brained theories about law and fervent yet unwarranted conviction that everyone is out to get them. Ironically, pro se litigants tend to hate the judge most of all, even though the most frustrating part of litigating against a wingnut is the way judges bend over backward to help out — prolonging the inevitable while slowly bleeding your patience and your client’s wallet. But it’s rare to have video of one launching into a full tirade against a judge before storming out of the courtroom.

So what’s this guy’s deal?

(Be careful — on some computers the video just starts automatically so be prepared)

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Amanda Knox

* Oh baby (or the lack thereof): the Supreme Court has decided to take on two of the cases asserting religious challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate. [Blog of Legal Times]

* “[H]e has a Rolodex like a Ferris wheel.” Delaware’s Supreme Court Chief Justice is retiring from the bench to join Potter Anderson & Corroon, where that Rolodex will come in handy. [Wall Street Journal]

* Italian prosecutors think Amanda Knox should be convicted of murder (again) and given a 30-year sentence in a retrial she’s not even there for. This kind of sounds like it’d be a double-secret conviction. [CNN]

* With fall finals right around the corner, law students can take comfort in the fact that next week they’ll be soothed by therapy dogs — ones that’ll need therapy after dealing with law students. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If you’re considering applying to law school against all odds, you should determine when the right time to apply would be. Don’t listen to your parents, listen to your gut. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* If you haven’t heard, the Beastie Boys are having a copyright fight with toymaker GoldieBlox over a parody of the song “Girls” that’s been used in a commercial. Fair use? Decide after the jump. [NBC News]

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* At MSU Law, a couple of law professors are getting serious about figuring out how to leverage technology in the profession. They envision making legal hiring into “Moneyball” with MSU Law representing Oakland. So they plan to raise false hopes and ultimately fail too? [Lansing State Journal]

* A real estate attorney is hosting a boot camp to train slumlords. Yay? [SF Gate]

* If you never thought electing state judges was a matter of life and death, read this. [Huffington Post]

* Here’s a fun one: Should TheDirty.com be liable for encouraging readers to submit gossip? Our old friend Sarah Jones hopes so. [Forbes]

* The Steubenville rape case is back in the news after a grand jury has indicted four school officials for covering up the school’s infamous rape. [Jezebel]

* A couple of former Harvard Law roommates have a fashion startup called ShopRagHouse that allows customers to design their own clothes. They’re seeking some additional funding for their next collection with a Kickstarter campaign now. [Kickstarter]

* If you’re in New York and interested about legal careers in banking, swing by the Fordham Law amphitheater tonight from 6 to 8 for a free panel discussion featuring representatives from some of the largest banks in the world hosted by the Chinese Business Lawyers Association. [Eventbrite]

It’s Election Day today. Go vote. Go vote now, or make sure you go before the polls close. Whatever you are doing today isn’t as important as participating in your community. Sorry there’s no “president” on the ballot. Instead it’s just a bunch of local officials and local issues that affect your day-to-day life way more than the President of the United States. GO VOTE.

In New York, we’re going to elect a new mayor, I can only hope that Mike Bloomberg actually allows the new guy to take office.

But if you are going to vote in New York, make sure you flip the ballot over and vote on all the propositions. There are some fun things there: should we institute the regressive, idiot tax that is opening a casino? I say yes! We need money and regressive, idiot taxes are the only ones you can pass in this environment.

Gothamist has a good breakdown of all the New York ballot issues. But the one that’s most legally interesting is Proposition 6: raising the mandatory retirement age for judges to 80.

Eighty! That’s having somebody decide the latest issues in eDiscovery who was alive for D-Day.

Of course, judges are in favor of this…

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