Flori-duh

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…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Monsoon Inside Florida Courthouse”

Would you accept this guy at your law school?

Last month, we wrote about a law school graduate who decided to “renounce” his U.S. Citizenship in a departure memo to no one in particular. The letter was somewhat threatening and was sent in the wake of the Boston Marathon attack, so it was a little bit difficult to make fun of him.

But now the guy is out with a video. And it seems like maybe he’s been checked out by the FBI? At the very least, he doesn’t seem to be actively threatening to go on a shooting spree.

Also, a tipster says his “Calvin Candie” voice is a recent affectation. I think we can all feel safe laughing now…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update On Augustus Sol Invictus, Now With Video”

I really think this guy is just a troll, but it’s too soon to be funny.

Around here, we love crazy departure memos. Today, we have us a real whooper.

Unfortunately, some guy sent out a crazy, slightly unhinged “renunciation” of his U.S. citizenship to some of his law school classmates just this past Saturday, mere hours after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, was finally captured. All of a sudden, a dude claiming that he’s going to go into the Florida wilderness and will return as a “revolutionary” sounds less “OMG, look at this crazy law graduate,” and more “Umm, is anybody taking a look at this crazy law graduate?”

I mean, we’re talking about a guy who apparently changed his name to “Augustus Invictus.” So we’re almost certainly talking about some kind of troll. A “too soon” troll, at least I hope….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Kind Of Unhinged Departure Memo That Would Have Been WAY Funnier Before The Marathon Attack”

Melvyn Weiss, founder of the famous (or infamous) plaintiffs’ firm Milberg LLP, and the man who put the “klass” in class action litigation, landed in hot water back in December when cops pulled him over on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The 77-year-old lawyer was still serving out the last couple months of probation stemming from his 2008 guilty plea for paying kickbacks to lead plaintiffs. Now the judge is calling Mel Weiss back into court to figure out what to do about this violation of Weiss’s probation.

But in the meantime, we can get a giggle out of the alleged details of Weiss’s arrest….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mel Weiss Learns You Can’t Say Your ABCs Without D, U, and I”

Thomas Edwards

Under the American criminal justice system all individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Thomas L. Edwards, a Florida lawyer who handles DUI defense, offering comment on his recent legal wranglings. Edwards was criminally charged this weekend in an alleged drunken hit-and-run accident, and a banner ad for his law firm appeared on the same page as his mug shot.

A few weeks ago, a young woman named Penelope Soto became an internet legend after she was caught on camera flipping a Florida judge the bird and telling him to go f**k himself during a court proceeding. Soto’s behavior earned her a 30-day stint in jail for contempt of court, but she apparently changed her ways at a later hearing and convinced the judge to vacate the month-long sentence.

But not all mouthy defendants are so lucky. Some of them do go to jail. Take, for example, the case of Brian Noval, a Florida man who in 2009 called a judge a c*ck — twice. Why do all of these things happen in Florida? Anyway, Noval’s antics were captured on film, and he earned himself 120 days in the pokey for his indiscretions. Noval only served four days of that sentence before the judge decided that this cocky defendant had learned his lesson.

As we all know, the internet is for porn, but it’s also for wonderful videos like these. And thanks to Daniel Tosh of Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, sometimes the stars of embarrassing viral videos are given the chance to redeem themselves on cable television. Ms. Soto hasn’t been given the opportunity to participate in one of these yet, but Noval was featured on the show last night.

For reasons that escape me, we never covered Noval’s incident in 2009, but now that he’s been brought back into the pop culture limelight, we’ve got some funny videos to entertain you with….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Tosh.0 Gives a Rather ‘Cocky’ Defendant a Web Redemption”

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