The lethal injection room at San Quentin State Prison.
Debating the death penalty never gets old in the United States. Sometimes it cools off for a while, but if you wait long enough it always bubbles up again. These days it’s getting hot out here on the West Coast, where a ballot initiative aims to roll back the state’s death penalty and replace it with life without parole. The initiative would replace Proposition 7, passed in 1978, which made California’s death penalty law “among the toughest and most far-reaching in the country.”
At the center of the debate are two men — one of them a former prosecutor from New York — who helped pass the death penalty bill in California 30 years ago. Now they have completely changed their tune. What prompted this change of heart?
But sometimes — perhaps most of the time? — alert and engaged citizens are a good thing. Today we bring you the happy and heartwarming story of two Florida law students who helped apprehend a fugitive from justice.
How did they do it? Through keen observation and quick thinking….
At first glance, the post seemed like it could be a smoking gun. But things are never as simple as they seem: rumors are going around that the post is a fake. Because, as Above the Law readers know, don’t believe everything you read in online comments…
[T]he fact that it is constitutional and commonplace does not quiet the nagging sense that hate crime legislation resembles something from an Orwell dystopia. Horrific crimes deserve stern justice, but don’t we want to be careful about criminalizing a defect of character? Because our founders believed that democracy requires great latitude for dissent, America, virtually alone in the developed world, protects the right to speak or publish the most odious points of view. And yet the government is authorized to punish you for thinking those vile things, if you think them in the course of committing a crime.
* Alexander Wang says that he wasn’t running a sweatshop and that the former employee making the allegations was actually mean to all the other indentured servants workers. [Fashionista]
* We’re well into the phase of the Trayvon Martin investigation where people are trying to blame the victim, but until they show me a guy who was killed by a pack of Skittles, I really don’t think we’ve learned anything new. [New York Daily News]
* You don’t think your Skype chats at work are private, do you? In fairness, who still thinks anything they do at work is private? If you want to keep your privacy, you best work in disguise. I mean, you don’t really think I’m a large black man who talks about race all the time, do you? [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]
* Defending child pornographers. Somebody has to do it, and I’m so glad it’s not me. [Underdog]
After the jump, we’ve got some video footage of Lat dancing around like heathen as he throws fresh dirt on Dewey’s grave….
Yesterday, a French judge charged embarrassing grandpa and former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn with “aggravated pimping” for his role in a prostitution ring run out of upscale hotels in Lille, France. The charge is the latest in a series of sexual allegations against liver-spotted DSK, including attending sex parties with hookers, sexually assaulting his goddaughter, raping a maid in a hotel, and having sex at age 63.
DSK’s most recent charge raises an important issue: What is aggravated pimping? And if pimpin’ ain’t easy, isn’t all pimping “aggravated pimping”? According to this blogger, whose analysis sounds good to me because I’m too lazy to check it, the French charge of “aggravated pimping” likely involves some aggravating circumstance, such as paying for prostitutes with corporate funds or paying for annoying prostitutes with your own money. Apparently most U.S. states also have “aggravated promotion of prostitution” statutes, which make angry pimping a more serious crime than relaxed pimping — which makes sense from a public policy perspective.
But what about the millions of permissible P.I.M.P.s who just happen to be having a bad day? Are they at risk of breaking the law? And where do we draw the line between perfectly legal Big Pimpin’ and illegal aggravated pimping?
To help make sense of this mess — and to keep you on the legal side of where the true players are at — see my Guide to Pimping chart below….
Florida’s “stand your ground” law has received a lot of attention this week as people struggle to understand how a teenager named Trayvon Martin, armed with Skittles, was gunned down in the street. The FBI, the Justice Department, and a Florida grand jury are now all investigating the incident where Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, claims he was acting in self-defense.
I don’t want to get into the racial aspect of the instant situation — mainly because it’s too obvious. Don’t get me started on what the police would have done if a black man shot a white teenager to death and claimed he was standing his ground. It’s not even worth debating.
But even if race played a role here, it doesn’t mean a prosecutable crime took place. As many now know, that’s because Florida’s “stand your ground” law does not require people to retreat, even if they can do so safely.
Sure, “real men” don’t run. You can’t find a culture on Earth where running away is “honorable.” But in light of what’s happened with these laws on the books, do they really make sense? Is the enforcement of these laws racially prejudiced? Do “stand your ground” laws really just make it open season on black youths who might “scare” prejudiced people who incorrectly think they’re in danger of their lives?
I think so, but at least that’s a position where reasonable people will disagree….
If you took a professional responsibility course in law school, or even studied for the MPRE, then you’re familiar with the the main takeaway on legal ethics for attorneys. You know that you have to zealously represent your clients without doing anything illegal. (And if you do decide to take a walk on the wild side, you know that you should try not to get caught.)
It looks like an attorney from New Mexico — one who had already been disbarred for cocaine possession — missed the memo on that one. Apparently his definition of zealous representation includes kicking down doors and burglarizing homes.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, we’ve got it on film….
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.