Cars

Check out the amusing license plate below, sent to us by a reader in Los Angeles (of course)….

UPDATE (5:45 PM): Our original tipster adds, “Not sure if you can see the ‘Harvard Law Graduate’ brackets….”

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

Quick! What short form will you use in your brief to identify your client, Porsche Cars of North America, Inc.?

If your guts are screaming “PCNA,” then your guts need reworking.

But I chose this example for my column today because I’ve seen this very thing happen. I’ve seen a lawyer (at a perfectly good firm) assign the short form “PCNA” to this entity.

What was he thinking?

If I’m at the steering wheel of the case, then we’re not representing PCNA.

Who do we represent?

We represent Porsche, for heaven’s sake. Porsche.

It’s a word. I understand it. It creates an image in my mind. It communicates with me quickly and compellingly. That’s (generally) good….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: On Alphabet Soup (Hereinafter ‘OAS’)”

Is wearing this necktie a firing offense?

I saw this story on Mike & Mike this morning, and it’s just been gathering steam all day. A Green Bay Packers fan showed up to his job on Monday at a Chicago area car dealership wearing a Packers tie. As many of you know, the Packers defeated their hated rivals, the Chicago Bears, in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. The man’s boss asked the Packers fan to remove the tie. He refused. The Packers fan was then fired.

When I first heard about this, my initial thought was “Good, serves him right.” I’m not a Bears fan. And I often wear my own sports paraphernalia into the ATL office. But if your boss tells you to take off your gear, you do it. It’s not a hard question for me. I’ll stand up to my CEO on any number of professional issues, but over some team bling? Are you kidding me? It’s called “picking your battles,” or “not being a idiot,” if you prefer.

Over the course of the day, however, more and more media types have been coming to the defense John Stone, the Packers fan who was fired. Some are even saying that this will lead to a wrongful termination lawsuit.

You know how I hate telling the MSM that their cute little puppies are going to die, but does rooting for the Packers make you a member of a protected class now?

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Listen, little Johnny police officer, the Taser is not a toy.

As an overweight man, adult onset diabetes is one of the things that makes me consider dropping a few pounds. But I’m still so young, so invincible, that long-term health concerns aren’t really enough to stop me from having an extra helping of Christmas goose (not that I even know anybody who eats a freaking goose like some character in a Dickens novel).

But overaggressive cops beating the crap out of me because of the color of my skin? That is a real threat. That is a “health concern” I respect. I know that, for instance, I should never ever jog with a golf club if I want to avoid police suspicion.

I didn’t think that having diabetes could lead to a police beating. But according to a lawsuit filed by John Harmon against the sheriff’s department in Hamilton County, Ohio, that’s exactly what happened to him. Harmon alleges that the cops kicked the crap out of him because he was driving while having diabetes.

Driving with diabetes while being black, of course…

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You know the only thing worse than getting run over by some rich joker in a Mercedes-Benz? Getting run over by a rich joker in a Mercedes-Benz who gets a slap on the wrist because his Mercedes-Benz is a brand-new Mercedes-Benz.

Dr. Steven Milo knows that pain all too well. Our sister site, Dealbreaker, explains the situation:

Back in November, it was reported that last summer, Morgan Stanley financial adviser Martin Joel Erzinger… had driven over a doctor who was on his bike and then kept going, “until he reached a Pizza Hut parking lot, where he stopped and called Mercedes auto assistance to report the damage to his vehicle.”…

The part of the story that was somewhat more shocking was that rather than be slapped with serious to quite serious charges, a court decided that for his crime, MJE would be hit with two misdemeanor traffic violations and restitution to the victim. People were somewhat outraged, to say the least. But! That was prior to hearing all of Marty’s side of the story.

According to Erzinger’s defense lawyers, Erzinger suffers from sleep apnea, and that condition was exacerbated by the new car smell of his month-old Mercedes. And that all caused him to lose consciousness during the hit-and-run fiasco.

I knew having a new Mercedes was a status symbol; I didn’t know it was a designer drug…

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The Google Car has been heralded as the future of automobiles: an autonomous, driver-less car that combines our love of technology with our endless desire for mobility.

The so-called “Google Car” is a Toyota Prius outfitted with data-recording cameras that has already traveled more than 140,000 miles, in a variety of real-world conditions without an accident. Well, there was that one.

A driver rear ended a Google Car while it was stopped at a red light, according to The New York Times piece that broke the story. While a technician sits behind the wheel, it’s the car’s programming that does most of the driving, with only occasional human adjustments, as needed.

There are many potential benefits from cars that drive themselves, such as tuning the engine to coast as efficiently possible, increasing the capacity of existing roads, and the unassailable fact that machines don’t get tired, they don’t get drunk, and they don’t get distracted. But they’re still machines. Even a reliability rate of 99.99 percent means that an accident is bound to happen at some point. And this means that somebody’s gonna get sued.

Read and comment about who should be held liable, over on our sister site, Alt Transport

If you spend any time around criminal defense lawyers, progressive lawyers, or people in a black barber shop, you’ll hear the claim that African-American criminal defendants receive harsher sentences than their white counterparts. People have done studies about this, people have written reports about this, people have held conferences about this institutional expression of discrimination.

Rarely do we see anybody trying to do anything about it. There are many reasons this fundamental unfairness persists, but only one of those reasons makes any sense: at the end of the day, nobody wants to be more lenient on a convicted criminal just because that criminal is black. And nobody wants to be more harsh towards a white criminal just because he’s white. So while we have these wide variations in sentencing outcomes, judges can’t re-balance the system from the bench. They have to sentence the criminal in front of them.

But that doesn’t mean judges are blind to the racial injustice of the system. And it doesn’t mean that judges can’t do what they have to in order to make sure that a particular punishment fits the crime.

I’m sure that Judge Joseph Williams of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, will be making all of those arguments shortly. Because he just threw out a plea on the grounds that the prosecutor had been too lenient on the young criminal, just because the criminal is white.

And to be clear, this wasn’t a passing or offhand remark from Judge Williams. Instead, he really laid into the prosecutor in this case…

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A few weeks ago we wrote about Kate Carrara, who left the law to launch Buttercream, a “mobile cupcake shop” — i.e., a cupcake truck — in Philadelphia. As we mentioned in our post, a surprising number of attorneys have launched cake-baking businesses. One of the most famous and successful, whom we forgot to mention in our earlier post, is Warren Brown of CakeLove in D.C.

Speaking of D.C. and lawyers turned cupcake makers, Carrara was recently interviewed by the Washington Post about her business. The snobs among you might scoff at the idea of leaving the law to drive around dispensing baked goods. But would your scoffing stop if you were to learn, as Carrara reveals in the Post interview, that this is a six-figure business?

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Do public officials in Michigan need to jump in the lake? Last week, we covered an assistant attorney general in the Wolverine State who is on the hunt for a gay student at the University of Michigan. Today we bring you news of a misbehaving judge.

According to court records, Judge James M. Justin, a state district judge in Jackson County, dismissed nine traffic cases against himself and his wife. The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports that the judge fixed four illegal-parking tickets that he received from 2002 to 2004. He also dismissed five traffic tickets received by his wife, Kim R. Justin, over a ten-year span. Who says chivalry is dead?

Judge Justin’s tickets were, amusingly enough, “dismissed after explanation” — to himself. Presumably Judge Justin found his explanations very convincing.

So what does His Honor have to say about all this?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: ‘I find myself… not guilty!’”

Based on our earlier coverage of traffic stops, here are some dos and don’ts for the next time you get pulled over:

Now that we’ve covered the basics of traffic stops, let’s move on to the advanced course….

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