Alameda County

Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a blood pressure raising article about hundreds of District Attorneys offices that allow debt collectors to use their stationery to chase down folks who write bad checks.

Why does anyone give a damn about prosecutors who help businesses to bully people into ponying up cash under threat of prosecution, before a lawyer ever looks over the case? Well, for starters, the DAs get a little somethin’-somethin’ from the deal, too….

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Tim Pori

[A]lthough we do not condone Pori’s conduct where he improvidently overscheduled himself and then tried to pick and choose which cases he would try, the contempt judgment is void due to technical procedural noncompliance, and the imposition of sanctions . . . is not supported by the record.

– the State of California’s First Appellate District, overturning a contempt-of-court order against Tim Pori. The Bay Area attorney was held in contempt for missing a trial because he was tied up at another court hearing.

Alameda County Judge Paul Seeman

Usually when we talk about judges in the United States, we give them a pass on the old saying, “judge not, lest you be judged,” seeing as judging is kind of their job and whatnot.

Not so much for one local judge in Alameda County, California. This jurist has been arrested for allegedly financially abusing an elderly woman who was his neighbor.

As of last night, our Judge of the Day was languishing in a cell in the district he used to preside over. Where did the veteran jurist, who had long worked in juvenile justice, go wrong?

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I was called to serve jury duty yesterday morning in the pastoral East Bay suburb of Walnut Creek, in Contra Costa County, California.

I only had to stay until about lunchtime, because I actually don’t live in that county, and shouldn’t have been called anyway (my driver’s license still has my parents’ address on it, blah blah). I spent the morning waiting and getting general instructions from the jury clerk. But I was excused pretty much as soon as we actually got into the courtroom, so I didn’t have to have my friend call in a bomb threat to escape serving, like this brainiac.

My colleague Elie Mystal wrote about his jury service somewhat recently, and I have no desire to be repetitious. What was interesting about my experience yesterday was how completely different was from when I was called last year in Oakland.

Let’s just say, “the wilderness downtown” has very different meanings depending on whether you’re in the suburbs or the city….

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Tim Pori

Time conflicts are an unavoidable part of litigation. Scheduling and re-rescheduling trials and court hearings — it’s simply part of the litigation process. It’s a pain, but most of the time, an attorney shouldn’t get too much flak for a legitimate scheduling conflict.

But this week, one Bay Area criminal defense lawyer has gotten caught between a rock and two murder trials. A local judge was unhappy when he missed a hearing for one murder case because he was in court for another murder case of in another county. Now he’s facing contempt charges and jail time.

This is just another reason why we really should be investing more in teleportation technology….

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