Flori-duh

She holds you in contempt.

Congratulations to Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler. The voters have spoken, and he is our latest Lawyer of the Day. Maybe this honor will help Doug Gansler close the gap in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor.

We enjoyed the process so much last time that we’re going to do it again. We’ll give you three nominees, identify the arguments for or against Lawyer of the Day status, and let you vote for your favorite.

Our latest slate raises this question: what’s worse, criminal or crazy?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers Of The Day: Additional Allegations Of Attorney (And Judicial) Misconduct”

One lawyer had pictures of his staff with skirts too short. He kindly removed them when we asked.

Kathy Bible, advertising counsel for the Florida Bar, in comments made about the Sunshine State’s crackdown on lawyer advertising via social media platforms, including “inappropriate” Facebook photos.

Two people were killed during their Labor Day barbeque and another was seriously injured when their neighbor sneaked up behind them and opened fire.

In pretty much any other state, I’d be confident that their assailant would face justice for his actions. But this went down in Florida so who knows — who knows whether some nutjob jury down there will accept the various defenses his lawyers have offered to justify the slaying of two people.

Of course the shooter is asserting a “stand your ground” defense. I mean, that pretty much goes without saying at this point in Florida. A byproduct of the Zimmerman trial is that there will be a lot of additional death in Florida as crazy people think they’re allowed to shoot anybody who looks at them funny.

I don’t intend to post about every wacko who shoots first and stands his ground later. But this guy… this guy and his “sure, why not” lawyers are also asserting a defense under the Bush Doctrine.

Let me give Sarah Palin a moment to look that up before we continue…

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Why would a lawyer think that being a lawyer would help him get into this place?

I get it, having to stand in line to get into a club is annoying. It’s emasculating. You feel if you were more famous or important or rich, you’d be let in right away. And usually you’re right. Standing in line for a club is like public confirmation that you are not that cool.

But let me tell you something, saying “I’m a lawyer” doesn’t make you cool. In fact, it creates a rebuttable presumption that you are an uncool d-bag who says things like “rebuttable presumption.” Certainly, flashing your little “lawyer badge” that you got from the prosecutor’s or attorney general’s office is not going to help you cut in line. You really think these bouncers want your judgmental and probably litigious ass up in their clubs?

Earlier this year, we had a Florida prosecutor you tried to use his badge to get into a strip club. Now we have another Floridan who thinks being a lawyer should get him ahead, but instead it just got him arrested…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Do Prosecutors Think Their Badges Should Get Them Into Clubs?”

Before the George Zimmerman verdict, I said that the case had nothing to do with Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. I said this because Zimmerman and his attorneys were not arguing “Stand Your Ground.” Stand Your Ground has to do with Florida’s wild west approach to the duty to retreat. Florida extends the castle doctrine to public spaces. To take the legalese out of it, Stand Your Ground simply means that if you are attacked in public, you don’t have to run, even if you can safely and reasonably do so. You can stand and fight, meet force with force, and shoot to kill if you fear for your life or a serious injury.

But that wasn’t the case Zimmerman was making. He argued that he had no opportunity to reasonably and safely escape anyway, so it was a simple issue of self-defense. Stand Your Ground had nothing to do with it.

Anyway, I wrote that, and then an hour later, the judge gave jury instructions ripped right from the Stand Your Ground statute. And now the idiot juror B37 is going on television talking about how Zimmerman had a right to stand his ground, so what do I know? It’s my fault for even thinking for a second that the people of Florida could apply their own laws correctly.

So, I agreed to go onto HuffPost Live and debate whether Stand Your Ground laws are essentially a “license to kill.” Interestingly, one of the people on the panel was a Florida state representative who accepted the challenge of defending Florida’s statute….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Florida Lawmaker Stands His Ground Against Me Over ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law”

I was a senior in high school when the O.J. Simpson verdict came down. I was in a classroom in Indiana, everybody was watching on television. After the verdict was announced, the first thing I heard was my white teacher saying “bulls**t.” The next thing I heard was a bunch of black people screaming (I went to a pretty diverse high school). Then, basically, all the black people started streaming out of class. Nobody went back to school that day. I found my cousin. We high-fived. At that moment, I really believed that a racist cop had planted blood evidence to frame O.J.

Of course, that’s not what I think happened now. I think O.J. murdered those two people in a jealous rage, got caught and thought about killing himself, didn’t, then hired the best lawyers in the country, and beat the rap.

Still, I’m happy he got off. I know that is a controversial thing to say. It’s not really normal to be “happy” when a guilty person evades justice, unless you’re watching a mob movie. But I think Mark Fuhrman was a racist cop, and I think the O.J. case went a long way towards showing state prosecutors that basing your cases on racist cops is a bad thing. The state knows that putting blatantly racist people on the stand isn’t the best way to get a conviction. I’m willing to suffer the injustice of a guilty man going free to make the larger point that racist cops are not credible witnesses.

And so as I sit here, watching the news and reading Twitter accounts of people who are just “happy” that George Zimmerman was acquitted of any wrongdoing in the death of Trayvon Martin, I’m forced to wonder what “larger point” is being serviced today by the release of a man who shot an unarmed teenager to death?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Will George Zimmerman Join O.J. Simpson In The Hunt For Real Killers?”

George Zimmerman has been found not guilty.

UPDATE (10:16 p.m.): Here are more details and commentary on the Zimmerman trial verdict.

What if this the last ‘reasonable man’ you ever saw?

Like many Americans, I’ve spent the last 24 hours seriously considering the physical and scientific evidence available to support or refute the contentions being made in one of the greatest television events of our time. I’m talking, of course, about Sharknado. Would a tornado carry sharks miles inland, and could those sharks be stopped by a chainsaw-wielding Ian Ziering?

Of course, if they had hired a black actor to kill great white sharks, he’d be on trial for murder now.

Based on our traffic numbers, a lot of you want to talk about the George Zimmerman trial. As closing arguments wrap up today and the case goes to the jury, let’s talk about the legal standards in play. What will the jury actually be trying to decide? We’re talking about the legal standards in Florida, so you know it’s going to be interesting…

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That was tiring, huh?

A dizzying array of legal news delivered almost non-stop for an entire week. Emotional highs when DOMA is struck down, lows when a pillar of the legal landscape for nearly 50 years is swept aside, leaving millions of Americans even more concerned about their constitutional rights than they were before. There was an epic filibuster and failed jokes. This was a hell of a week to be covering the law.

As the frenzied week draws to a close, I decided to look back and compile my personal review of the major events of the week, gathered in one omnibus post.

So let’s take a look at the week that was ranging from Aaron Hernandez to the Supreme Court…

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Your Honor, I object

Turns out, it rains in Florida. I know this because the entire state is basically a reclaimed swamp whose natural, soggy wildlife has been replaced by hot women.

Unfortunately, there are some people in Florida that don’t understand that it rains there often. These people seem to be in charge of the maintenance of one South Florida courthouse. You see, occasionally the government actually needs money to function properly. Otherwise you end up needing a kayak to go to court…

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