George Zimmerman

Jodi Arias

* Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder took a much needed break from attempting to prosecute NSA data-leaker Edward Snowden to “strongly condemn” Stand Your Ground laws in a speech given to the NAACP. [Washington Post]

* So much for “caus[ing] it all.” Disgraced Illinois politician Rod Blagojevich is appealing his conviction and 14-year prison sentence to the Seventh Circuit, and he was this close to missing the midnight filing deadline. [NBC News]

* Yes, Virginia, there’s a law school crisis at hand, but only second- and third-tier schools seem to have been affected. Please don’t worry your pretty little head about the HYS strand; they’re doing just fine. [Businessweek]

* But speaking of highly ranked law schools, are there any reputable institutions of legal education that fall outside of the T14, but are just as good? Apparently there are, are here are the top five. [Policymic]

* Is Marty Singer, lawyer to the stars, guilty of extortion for allegedly threatening to expose a TV host’s sexual liaisons via lawsuit? According to this judge, he isn’t. [Hollywood, Esq. / Hollywood Reporter]

* Amid all of the rage over the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, people seem to have forgotten that Jodi Arias is back in court this week. I, for one, hope the femme fatale grew out her bangs. [ABC News]

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”

* The Zimmerman verdict allows us to sit back and reflect on how bad Atticus Finch really was at his job. [Criminal Defense Blog]

* In case you’d forgotten about the shenanigans at Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, here’s your update: a former employee has been charged for promising students more scholarships than the school had. Rick Pitino needs to show the law school how to work within scholarship limits. [Courier-Journal]

* State licensing boards are trying to put the kibosh on advice columnists. Next thing you know, they’ll be trying to shut down Dr. Demento. [Lexington Herald-Leader]

* Fun with patents: Monkey Dog Saddle! [Lowering the Bar]

* Transgendered workers are successfully challenging workplace discrimination using the Civil Rights Act. These sound like cases Justice Alito will get right on overturning. [Buzzfeed]

* McDonald’s is trying to show how it provides its employees a living wage. It just requires working a second job for a total of between 62-74 hours. No biggie. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]


My heart goes out to Trayvon Martin’s family & loved ones. Thought & prayers being sent their way #NoJustice

– Reality star Kim Kardashian, expressing her sympathies on Twitter after the George Zimmerman verdict was announced. She was slapped with a swift backlash by the public because her late father, Robert Kardashian, played a role in O.J. Simpson’s acquittal by serving on the athlete’s defense team.

The fallout from the Zimmerman trial continues. A lot of digital ink has been spilled (including on this very site) arguing the meaning of the verdict in the context of race and the law.

Beyond the “Grrr! Murderer!” or “Derp! Self-defense!” discussion, the trial offers an opportunity to examine how the sausage of a verdict is made.

Juror B37, one of the illustrious six who acquitted George Zimmerman, had a meteoric rise — and subsequent fall — over the last 24 hours. B37 is the only juror to speak publicly about the verdict, and notwithstanding your feelings about the result, her tale highlights how lawyers consistently misunderstand the psychology of jurors, especially women jurors, and how juries take the carefully crafted jury instructions judges and lawyers spend hours poring over and go their own way…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Rise and Fall of Juror B37 and How Verdicts Are Made”

* The role of lawyers in America’s Syrian policy. Everyone always tries to throw the lawyers under the bus. [Lawfare]

* Pippa Middleton has some lawyers trying to crack down on a parody Twitter account. Thankfully, the law exists to protect wealthy socialites from being mocked. [IT-Lex]

* GCs are not happy with the rates charged by outside counsel. I, for one, am shocked that GCs don’t like paying upwards of $1000 an hour for “further work.” [Consero]

* Honestly, we should have seen this coming: a Zimmerman juror is seeking a book deal. This is the juror who assumed black people had rioted over the shooting and called Trayvon a “boy of color,” so you can tell the prosecution was doing a bang-up job with its jury selection procedures. [AlterNet]

* Conservatives rejoice after several unions complain about Obamacare. Oh, the irony! Except the unions’ complaint is not that Obamacare is bad, but that it doesn’t go far enough in providing incentives to non-profit insurance plans and penalizing companies that are cutting back on hours to avoid the law. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* The Top 50 Legal Innovators, Techies, Visionaries, and Leaders: meet this year’s Fastcase 50 (Lat appeared on the inaugural list). [Fastcase via TaxProf Blog]

* After the jump, a short video about Superman and the duty to rescue. I understand that people are miffed that the most recent film version of Superman takes a laissez-faire view of saving lives, but Superman’s always been a dick

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 07.15.13″

George Zimmerman, Esquire?

He wanted to be a cop for awhile, but he’s talked about going to law school.

He has a real interest in the law and … prosecuting appropriately — not like what he got — is something he’s very interested in. I will not be surprised if he ends up in criminal law. His dad was a judge, and he wants to be a prosecutor or a lawyer.

Mark O’Mara, one of George Zimmerman’s defense attorneys, speaking about his recently acquitted client’s law school ambitions.

(Which law school do you think will accept Zimmerman as a student? Will he have any issues with bar admission? Do you think he’d be a good lawyer?)

I discussed the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial with my mother, a 65-year-old white woman. She, unlike me, is politically and socially liberal. She was perplexed, though, by the media response to the verdict. Why the outrage?

What I explained to my mother was my best exercise in empathy, because I struggle to understand the outrage too.

If we were a black family, especially one living in the Deep South, this might look different to us, I reasoned. If she had been born black, when she was a little girl, white people wouldn’t feel the need to apologize for calling her a “n*gger child,” or telling her she couldn’t eat near them, or shuttling her off to an elementary school that was certainly separate but was only equal in theory. My mom would have grown up watching white police officers call her father “boy.” She would have had to observe my grandfather grow meek and obsequious when approached by a white man, especially one with a badge or a gun. He wouldn’t shrink into obeisance because he wasn’t strong and proud, or because he wasn’t law-abiding. He would do so because he couldn’t risk being perceived as “mouthy” or “uppity” by someone who could hurt him or his family for social transgressions as minimal as that….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “It Was Just Another Criminal Case: Why The Outrage Over George Zimmerman’s Acquittal?”

George Zimmerman: Not Guilty

* Size matters when it comes to hourly rates. Because when you work in Biglaw, it’ll be all the more odious for your poor clients when you “churn that bill, baby.” [Corporate Counsel]

* Would you want this Cadwalader cad, a former mailroom supervisor, at your “erotic disposal”? The object of his affections didn’t want him either, and she’s suing. [New York Daily News]

* In the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, the NAACP is pressing for federal charges and a civil suit may be in the works. This trial isn’t over in the court of public opinion. [Bloomberg]

* This experience inspired George Zimmerman, fresh off his acquittal, to go to law school to help the wrongfully accused. If it makes you feel better, when he graduates, he’ll be unemployed. [Reuters]

* Here’s the lesson learned by Prop 8 proponents: If at first you don’t succeed at the Supreme Court, try, try again at the state level and base your arguments on technicalities. [Los Angeles Times]

* You do not want this patent troll — one of the most notorious in the country — to “go thug” on you. Apparently this is just another danger of alleged infringement in the modern world. [New York Times]

* Asiana Airlines is considering suing the NTSB and a California television station over the airing of “inaccurate and offensive” information (read: wildly racist) about the pilots of Flight 214. [CNN]

* Ariel Castro was slapped with an additional 648 counts in the kidnapping case against him, bringing the total to 977. Prosecutors are not yet seeking the death penalty. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

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?”

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