Animal Law

It just wouldn’t be prudent to let him back into society. (Image via Sunday Mercury)

* Remember the chimps seeking habeas? Well, bad news: they’re staying in custody, per an order from Judge Ralph A. Boniello III. Now their freedom is up to the Army of the 12 Monkeys. [Wired]

* Elizabeth Coker has announced she is seeking the office of Polk County Criminal District Attorney. While some may disagree, I think this is a great idea. She’s been directing the litigation strategies of prosecutors for some time now. So why does a judge drummed out of office for texting prosecutors think she should go back into public service? Prayer. Of course. [Polk County Today]

* Judge Steven Rhodes is overseeing the Detroit bankruptcy. He’s not taking any guff off anyone, including an investment banker who pledged that it was “very important” that his firm help the city, prompting Judge Rhodes to point out, “What’s very important to you is to make money.” He’s also a badass rhythm guitarist. [Associated Press via Yahoo!]

* A Colorado judge has declared that a discriminating baker can no longer prevent gay couples from buying wedding cakes. It’s unclear if he’s ordering the baker to stock those stupid plastic cake toppers in groom & groom format. [Consumerist]

* Proofreading law school exams. This article is aimed at law students, but maybe it should be directed toward a certain St. John’s professor… [Law School Toolbox]

* George Zimmerman’s girlfriend wants him out of jail. She originally told police that Zimmerman pointed a shotgun in her face. That’s Princess Bride-level true love s**t right there. [Slate]

* Michigan State celebrated putting Ohio State in its place by setting “at least 57 fires.” Can someone holding a sign encouraging people to “Burn the Couch” be held liable? A better question is whether West Virginia can sue Michigan State for stealing their hillbilly intellectual property? [PrawfsBlawg]

* Sadly, Akerman partner Richard Sharpstein was found dead in his home today. He was 63. [Daily Business Review]

* A few tipsters sent this one in. They claim it’s a law student acting like a jerk trying to buy cigarettes in a drug store. The sound is spotty, so none of us could figure out exactly what was going on, but it’s worth it for the guy who yells: “Yeah, tell him! Tell him when you were born!” Video after the jump….

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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.

“Baaah.”

– Goat. That’s what the goat said when called into a courtroom as a witness against 28-year-old Katana Kitsao Gona in the latter’s sentencing for bestiality. It must have been compelling testimony because Gona got 10 years.

(Video of a news report on this story, after the jump….)

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Do chimpanzees deserve legal personhood? A “first of its kind” lawsuit will ask a court to answer that question. Steven Wise, founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, has filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of four chimpanzees.

I will now pause while James Franco auditions for the role of Steven Wise.

I’m not sure what rights chimpanzees (or pets) deserve in our human society — but “zero” seems to me to be the wrong and certainly unenlightened answer. Wise argues that the chimps are being held as prisoners against their will. I don’t think anybody can seriously disagree with that assessment.

But if chimps have a “will,” do they also have rights that we are bound to respect?

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* Justice Sonia Sotomayor thinks that the lack of diversity on the federal and state judiciaries poses a “huge danger,” one that might even be greater than her complete inability to dance. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Because “love [shouldn't be] relegated to a second-class status for any citizen in our country,” Illinois is now the 16th state in the U.S. to have legalized same-sex marriage. Congratulations and welcome! [CNN]

* “His discrimination claim was not about discrimination.” After only 2.5 hours deliberating, the jury reached a verdict in John Ray III v. Ropes & Gray, and the Biglaw firm came out on top. [National Law Journal]

* One thing’s for sure: big city bankruptcies ain’t cheap. Detroit has paid about $11 million to Jones Day, emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s former firm, since this whole process kicked off. [Detroit Free Press]

* The entire judicial panel overseeing Judge Lori Douglas’s ethics inquiry just quit. Justice apparently wouldn’t be served by continuing to examine a middle-aged woman’s porn pictures. [Winnipeg Free Press]

* Baylor Law is being overrun by a colony of feral cats. Someone please tell the administration these kitties can’t be used as therapy animals before finals — students will have their faces clawed off. [Baylor Lariat]

* Guy Cellucci, managing partner of White & Williams who died unexpectedly, RIP. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

A large raccoon has secreted itself in a tree on Gordon Plaza. While it is unusual for this type of animal to be in the middle of Baltimore City, it does not appear to be sick and/or injured; nor is it aggressive. Baltimore City Animal Control and Physical Plant personnel have been notified. Do not approach the raccoon, and call the UBPD [Redacted] if circumstances dictate.

– A bulletin sent out to the University of Baltimore Law community, after a masked mammal took up residence near campus.

Oyez, oyez, oyez! It’s the first week of October.

* Say what you will about Justice Scalia, but the man is hilarious — more funny than his four liberal colleagues combined, according to a statistical analysis of oral argument recordings. [New York Times]

* The government shutdown is slowing down the judicial confirmation process, already famous for its speed and efficiency. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* More about news for Steven Donziger in his long-running battle with Chevron. Maybe it’s time to surrender, Steve? I hear Ecuador is a great place to retire. [New York Law Journal]

* Law firm merger mania continues, as Carlton Fields combines with Jorden Burt. [Carlton Fields (press release)]

* Herbert Smith Freehills says “you’re hired” to Scott Balber, the lawyer for Donald Trump who got mocked by Bill Maher on national television. [The Lawyer]

* You might see your dog as harmless and cuddly, but the law might see your dog as a weapon (and rightfully so, in my opinion). [New York Times via ABA Journal]

* Congratulations to all the winners of the FT’s Innovative Lawyers awards. [Financial Times]

* And congratulations to Heidi Wendel and Deirdre McEvoy, high-ranking government lawyers headed to Jones Day and Patterson Belknap, respectively. [New York Law Journal]

* Today the Supreme Court will hear argument in McCutcheon v. FEC, a major campaign finance case that some are calling “the next Citizens United.” Check out an interview with one of the lawyers behind it, after the jump. [UCTV]

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Even if I had had an AK-47 in my tent, I never would have had time to use it. I was saved by a lot of good luck and brave companions.

Matthew Dyer of Pine Tree Legal Assistance, the lawyer who was mauled by a polar bear during a camping trip in Canada, noting that nothing would have stopped the animal’s wild attack. Dyer is still in recovery.

‘Man, I could really use a soda.’

It turns out that I care about the global population of sharks way, way more than I care about the epidemic of obese people in New York. Not only that, but I have much more faith in the ability of laws and governments to do something to protect sharks than they can protect fat people from themselves.

Today has been an interesting day for the nanny state. An appeals court has once again knocked down knocked down New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s overbroad soda ban. And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation banning the sale of shark-fin soup in New York.

I couldn’t be happier with both developments…

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‘Raise meow, please?’

He’s the best employee I’ve got and I don’t have to pay his health insurance.

Steve Wyatt, manager of Henderson County, North Carolina, offering high praise for Mr. Jingles, a cat that has solved the rodent problem that previously plagued the county’s historic courthouse.

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