Cyberbullying

Emoticons Of Death

To paraphrase Paula Cole: “where have all the gangstas gone?”

Back in my day, if you stiffed a drug dealer on a drug deal, you’d be signing yourself up for a world of hurt. Nowadays, backing out of a drug deal gets you Insta-bombed with meany emoticons.

Well, the law can adjust to this new softness. If drug dealers are going to threaten people with hateful emoticons (or “emoji” as is the technical term), then the law is fully capable of recognizing the threat. You know how the song goes (NSFW):

Grab your gifs when you see 2pac
Close the comments when you see 2pac,
Who snarked me, But your punks didn’t finish
Now you ’bout to feel the frown of a menace
Nigga, I gram ‘em up

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* “Save me from the nothing I’ve become. (Bring me to life.) I’ve been living a lie, there’s nothing inside. (Bring me to life.)” — Legal Job Market. [The Atlantic]

* “They see me rollin’. They hatin’. Patrolling, they tryin’ to catch me ridin’ dirty.” — The State of Virgina. [Salon]

* “I think I’ll find another way. There’s so much more to know. I guess I’ll die another day. It’s not my time to go.” — Estate Tax dodgers. [Forbes via Tax Prof Blog]

* “What I’ve felt, What I’ve known, Never shined through in what I’ve shown, Never free, Never me, So I dub thee unforgiven.” — Casey Anthony. [Michigan Bankruptcy Blog]

* “It’s an eminence front. It’s an eminence front – It’s a put-on. It’s a put-on… Come and join the party, Dress to kill. Won’t you come and join the party? Dress to kill.” — Department of Justice. [Opinio Juris]

* “I heard that you were talking s**t, And you didn’t think that I would hear it. People hear you talking like that, getting everybody fired up. So I’m ready to attack, gonna lead the pack. Gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out.” — Cyberbullying law opponents. [ABA Journal]

The Eighth Circuit recently backed a Missouri High School in a bullying case against students. Lee’s Summit North High School suspended two boys who created a website to “discuss, satirize, and vent” about their classmates. Apparently the website made sexist and racist comments about some of the other students.

Ooohh. I am shocked, SHOCKED to find out that schoolboys make sexist and racist comments about their classmates.

The boys had filed for a preliminary injunction that would stay their 180-day suspension, which was granted by a lower court. But the Eighth Circuit denied the injunction on the grounds that the boys’ website was unlikely to be viewed as protected speech. That’s because their speech caused a “substantial disruption” to the educational environment at the school.

What was the nature of the disruption? Apparently two teachers described the day that the website went viral within the school as the “most disruptive day they had experienced in their careers.”

So, for those playing along at home, your right to protected speech ends approximately at the point that public school teachers can’t establish classroom order over a cacophony of “OMG, did U C this” texts, or something….

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Welcome to the Matrix, err, 7th grade…

After what feels like years of schools trying to regulate every aspect of children’s social media lives, it looks as though we may have finally hit a threshold. There may actually be an electronic bridge that schools cannot cross in their attempts to spy on educate underage students.

In a particularly egregious case, a Minnesota federal court handed down a ruling that protects off-campus speech and prohibits schools from forcing students to hand over private login information. The ruling will hopefully put the kibosh on a practice that never should have been acceptable to begin with…

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A large portion of the strenuous life of bloggers consists of cruising various news sites, looking for some tidbit ridiculous interesting enough to merit a couple hundred words. You do this long enough, and you wind up getting picky pretty quickly. So, last night, when I clicked over to Wired, it was surprising in and of itself that when I saw the following story I literally stared at the screen, slack jawed, for close to a minute.

That’s how ridiculous this proposed legislation coming out of New York is. The only thing I can say is that if this bill somehow managed to become law, the Above the Law commentariat would not be happy at all…

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Can this man help JPMorgan?

* Andrew Sweat claims fear of concussions made him hang ‘em up and go to law school. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be scared of football, I’m saying he should be worried about law school, too. [Deadspin]

* Studying for the LSAT helps your brain. No really. It can even make you smart enough to avoid law school all together. [LSAT Blog: Ace the LSAT]

* Looks like Jamie Dimon decided to send in The Wolf. [Dealbreaker]

* How famous do I have to be before weight loss companies compete to make me take their diets for free (plus hire me a personal trainer) so they can say their weight loss program “works”? Surely, I’m fat enough. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Instead of making laws against bullying, parents could also be less lazy and just learn how to use Facebook. [Orlando Sentinel]

* Lawyer on lawyer name-calling. [Legal Newsline]

* Hey, you’re going to be able to buy liquor on Sundays in Connecticut. Cool. Good to see that laws based entirely on weird, religious tradition are being found to be stupid. [WTNH]

* This is a fun time to think about law firm branding, don’t you think? Sorry, let me make that a little more clear: Dewey think this is a fun time to think about law firm branding? [Law and More]

* Looking ahead to the Facebook IPO in Blawg Review, which is also posted on Facebook this week. [Preaching to the Perverted via Blawg Review]

* The Am Law numbers are out. PPP is up 3 percent. Dollar, dollar bill y’all. [American Lawyer]

* Hasbro — the makers of Nerf guns, a.k.a. the best toys ever — apparently hired some Baker & McKenzie attorneys to intimidate a guy who runs an Australian Nerf fan site. I hope they “intimidated” him with Nerf guns, because it would be funny, and no one would actually get hurt. [Crikey]

* At 85 years old, Congressman (and Georgetown Law grad) John Dingell learned that “teabagging” doesn’t mean what he thinks it means. Better late than never! [The Daily Dolt]

* I’m surprised that there are enough businesses horrible brave enough to ask for potential employees’ personal electronic information that it necessitates legislation. But I’m not complaining. [RedTape / MSNBC]

* Finding out that repeated concussions and head injuries may cause long-term brain damage is only surprising to people who have suffered repeated concussions and head injuries. [LexisNexis]

* A 14-year-old Georgia girl and her parents have sued some of her classmates because they acted like bitches on Facebook. Are these girls bullies? Yep. Is it the proper solution to turn the situation into 90210: Courtroom Edition? I still don’t think so. [Threat Level / Wired]

* Support local businesses, like your high-end neighborhood brothel. The Manhattan Madam is now accepting donations… to help her make bail by Mother’s Day. [Dealbreaker]

* Vote for Lat as the most likeable lawyer of 2012! [Likeable U]

I really, really hate being the one to defend stupid teenagers who get expelled from school. The ones who are kicked out for cursing online or for other forms of bullying.

Because I was a teenager once — not even that long ago — and I still clearly remember what it feels like to be on the receiving end of horrid teenage evilness. But somehow, I can’t help myself.

So here you go. Keep reading to see why the ACLU is doing the right thing by defending three eighth-grade girls who were expelled for talking about killing people on Facebook

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* Another victim of the vengeful prosecution of Tyler Clementi’s roommate might be the guy Clementi was hooking up with when Dharun Ravi broadcast it. [Gawker]

* As I said on Twitter, you have to give Obama a little credit: when he uses suspect legal reasoning to do whatever he wants abroad, he comes home with scalps. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Here’s a job opening for an attorney that might not actually exist. [Constitutional Daily]

* This job opening is much cooler. But, don’t get me wrong, no Cooley grads are allowed to apply. Seriously. [The Legal Satyricon]

* I think the lesson here is there’s no reason anybody should ever want to immigrate to Alabama. [Huffington Post]

* Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Halley Catherine Shaw, a law student at Texas Southern University who died in a car crash earlier this week. [ABA Journal]

When I was in college, it was not altogether uncommon for people to leave their laptops unattended with their Facebook accounts still logged in. It was not altogether uncommon for an enterprising prankster to creatively twiddle with said account. A little switch of sexual preference here, a mildly offensive profile picture there, and maybe a nonsensical new profile quote.

It was annoying, and at worst required minor social media damage control, but nobody seemed to care much.

Nowadays, people definitely care. The California Court of Appeals ruled on July 21 that the same sort of online mischief can lead to felony identity theft conviction.

Let’s learn more about Rolando S., a teenager who messed with the wrong Facebook account….

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