I’m on record as thinking that it’s inappropriate to blame Sarah Palin or any other source of fiery political rhetoric for the horrific shooting that took place in Tucson on Saturday. I said it in real time as facts were coming to light; I said it on Twitter.
There are any number of reasons why psychos like Jared Lee Loughner try to kill people. I don’t think political rhetoric is a useful reason to focus on. The long view of history shows that crazy people will twist any number of words into an excuse for violence.
You can’t talk to crazy. You can’t reason with crazy. You can’t know what crazy will do to your words. I mean, people have used the words of Jesus Christ (a hippie pacifist who hung out with prostitutes and lepers) as a call to violence, bigotry, and hate. If Jesus can’t craft an ironclad message that defies misinterpretation, how can we say that Sarah Palin somehow created a culture of violence? Sorry, but I refuse to live in a world where the rhetorical skills of Sarah Palin explain anything.
Instead, I’d like to blame a much more obvious culprit…
We’re not going to weigh in on all the rampant speculation about what gave rise to the shooting today in Arizona involving Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona). But we did want to inform you that news outlets are now reporting that federal judge John Roll was one of the victims in the shooting in Tucson.
UPDATE: President Obama is also confirming that Chief Judge John M. Roll (D. Ariz.) was fatally shot in Tucson. Here’s a statement from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano:
“I am deeply saddened by reports that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll and others were attacked this afternoon in Tucson, Arizona. There is no place in our society or discourse for such senseless and unconscionable acts of violence. Gabby is a steadfast representative for southern Arizona and both she and John are dedicated public servants.
“The Department of Homeland Security has offered all possible assistance to the FBI and the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, who are leading the investigation. My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her family and staff, and all those who were injured in this difficult time.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
Some more details on Judge Roll, plus several UPDATES, after the jump…
While bonuses are burning up the comments here at Above the Law, there’s another discussion raging over at the ABA’s SoloSez Listserv — where solo and small firm lawyers from around the country share resources, practice tips and the occasional anecdote.
Claiming the debt load for the average ASU grad has increased by $40,000 since she applied, the 3L is “reaching out to the online community to help [her] pay for it.” Good choice, since everyone knows that bloggers are just rolling in cash.
Given its entrepreneurial nature, this seems right up the small firm alley. But the plan has been received quite poorly by a majority of practitioners.
More about the sponsorship, what she’s willing to do for it, and the identity of the student, after the break…
About once every two months, someone sends us an email asking, “Whatever happened to Kumari Fulbright?” Well, now we have an update.
In case you don’t recall, Kumari Fulbright was a Texas high school cheerleader, Arizona beauty queen, and second-year law student at the University of Arizona — until she was accused of participating in a plot to kidnap an ex-boyfriend, which put a crimp in her legal studies.
Last week, Fulbright took the stand — not in a moot court or mock trial competition, but in the criminal trial of her co-conspirator, Robert Ergonis. And it seems that Fulbright’s testimony, despite its occasional evasiveness, was effective. On Tuesday, the jury convicted Ergonis of kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (a gun), assault, and armed robbery.
Fulbright’s testimony against Ergonis was made pursuant to a plea agreement, which provides for her to receive a two-year prison sentence. She will be officially sentenced in early 2011 — and is stuck in jail until then.
Kumari cut a colorful figure on the witness stand….
It’s not yet November, so California and New York test takers still have some time left to wait. But if you took the Massachusetts bar exam, release of the results is imminent, according to Stuff To Do During BarBri.
(Random aside: BAR/BRI isn’t the only provider of bar exam preparation services. For a comparison of BAR/BRI, Kaplan PMBR, and BarMax, see here — including the comments.)
Stuff To Do During BarBri attributes the Massachusetts mailing, said to be taking place tomorrow, to “the grape vine allegedly originating in the Massachusetts Superior Court.” So at this point it’s still rumor.
But we do have confirmed news of bar exam outcomes from other states….
I wanted to wait until I calmed down before I posted on it, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. So I broke into the Bronx Zoo this morning and stole some elephant tranquilizers. I’m going to shoot up and finish this post, now.
Arizona attorney Tajudeen “Taj” Oladiran came onto our radar back in 2009, when he filed one of the craziest motions we’ve ever seen. Solo practitioner Oladiran, a former associate at Greenberg Traurig, filed a racketeering lawsuit against “Suntrust Bank and its pimps” for allegedly suckering him into predatory housing loans.
The motion that caught our eye — “Motion for a [sic] Honest and Honorable Court System” – was filed to vent Oladiran’s frustration with the “dishonorable” Susan Bolton, whom Taj called “a brainless coward.” That would be the same Susan Bolton who, in a not-so-cowardly move, blocked part of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.
Taj ended the motion:
Finally, to Susan Bolton, we shall meet again you know where.
Hazleton, Pennsylvania, is a lovely little town (or so Lat tells me — his aunt used to live there). But it’s not bigger than the federal government or the Constitution of the United States of America.
That’s the lesson the Third Circuit handed down today with its decision in the Lozano v. Hazleton case. At issue: Hazleton city ordinances making it illegal for undocumented immigrants to work or even rent a house in Hazleton.
Apparently, the Third Circuit still believes in federal supremacy. From the opinion:
Although our reasoning differs from that of the district court, we agree that the provisions of the ordinances which we have jurisdiction to review are pre-empted by federal immigration law and unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause.
Did you hear that, Arizona? Your quixotic quest to deal with illegal immigrants without consulting the Constitution is almost over…
Please note: people get Academy Awards for acting like they can talk to dead people.
Full disclosure: I belong to the South Park school of thought, which says that claiming you can speak to dead people makes you a candidate for Biggest Douche in the Universe. Even my priest, who believes that the will of an omniscient and all-powerful being can be easily flummoxed by a thin film of latex, doesn’t believe that he has a direct line of communication with the dead.
One would think that telling a client you are “channeling” his dead wife would violate multiple rules of legal ethics. But not so in Arizona. Nope, in Arizona you can get away with this, reports the ABA Journal:
[Lawyer Charna Johnson] began representing the client during his divorce proceedings in 1999. The client’s wife committed suicide the following year, and Johnson later co-represented him in probate proceedings.
Johnson and the client both testified that they genuinely believed the client’s wife was within Johnson. Two witnesses agreed. The client felt his wife had come back to heal some of the damage from her prescription drug use.
Yeah, that’s perfectly cool in ‘Zona. Remember, this is the state where Bryan Cave lawyers conducted an exorcism. Obviously they’re down with the supernatural in Arizona, so long as the spirits are American-born.
But still, having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a client is a no-no. Luckily for Charna Johnson, the client’s dead wife apparently no longer wanted to have sex with the client. Whew. Johnson really dodged a bullet there…
This is going to come as a major surprise to many of you, but the Obama administration just won a victory in Federal Court.
I know, it’s crazy, but a federal judge actually sided with the Obama administration’s request for a preliminary injunction that will stay the effects of some provisions in Arizona’s controversial new immigration law. The Wall Street Journal reports:
A federal judge blocked key sections of Arizona’s tough new immigration law on Wednesday, granting the Obama administration’s request for an injunction based on the belief that immigration matters are the purview of the federal government.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton agreed to enjoin several provisions, including one that required police officers to check the immigration status of a person stopped for an alleged other violation, such as speeding, if reasonable suspicion existed that the individual was illegally in the U.S.
It’s a preliminary victory of U.S. citizens who happen to look like illegal immigrants in the eyes of Arizona police officers…
If you think most legal technology misses the mark, LexisNexis Firm Manager® wants to change your mind. Read more about it here.
Built with input from hundreds of solo and small-firm attorneys across the country, it’s made for practitioners who’d rather build the firm of their dreams than deal with the hassles of running a business.
· Go Mobile, Stay Connected.
See all your firm’s information, wherever you are, on whatever device you’re using. Access and update client files, enter billing, search & share documents and more. It’s just like you’re in the office, only you’re not.
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…
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!