Indiana

Hit it:

Why the Miami Vice theme song? First of all, that shouldn’t be a question because it’s always the right time for Miami Vice. Second, because this story implicates the coolest guy from the 1980s: Detective Sonny Crockett.[1] How cool was Sonny Crockett? People actually watched Nash Bridges desperately pretending it was the same show except Tubbs got replaced by Cheech Marin playing José Jiménez or some other broad stereotype.

Crockett’s influence upon the 80s Zeitgeist extended to men’s fashion. Not just white suits over T-shirts, but dress shoes with no socks.

An attorney recently tried out his Sonny Crockett look in the courtroom. The judge was not as much of a Vice fan….

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Here’s a sentence from a recent Seventh Circuit opinion:

[T]his case shows every sign of being an overzealous prosecution for a technical violation of a criminal regulatory statute — the kind of rigid and severe exercise of law-enforcement discretion that would make Inspector Javert proud.

This was a sentence from the dissent.

Amazingly, though, the majority voted to reverse the conviction. Judge Sykes, who authored the dissent, would have affirmed the conviction — though, presumably, not because she thinks a Javert-like prosecution is a model that the Department of Justice ought to aspire to.

It’s an odd day when such strong language appears in an opinion that supports a court of appeals affirming a district court decision. And this case, United States v. Abair, is odd. (And thank you, Professor Volokh, for pointing the case out!)

Why is the case odd?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inspector Javert Goes Smurfing In Indiana”

When people in the legal profession screw up in major ways, we are there to chronicle the action, providing entertainment and education (in terms of what not to do). For example, sometimes lawyers volunteer to enlarge the size of opposing counsel’s a-holes — and get canned. Sometimes lawyers bill for 29 hours in a day and get taken to task. Sometimes lawyers blush when they accidentally request a trial “on all the c**ts”.

These things do happen, but they’re usually one-time occurrences that would otherwise be missed by the members of the legal community, if not for our coverage here at Above the Law.

On the other side of the coin, when you screw up so many times that a federal judge feels the need to publicly excoriate you with the ultimate insult — by comparing your work to that of a pro se litigant — maybe it’s time to hang your head in shame for the rest of your days…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Federal Judge Issues Sick Burn, Compares Lawyer’s Filings To Those Of Pro Se Litigant”


Elie here: standing up for bucolic, Indiana.

We were driving back from my girlfriend’s hometown. There are plenty of long silences during these drives. I like it that way. Occasionally, though, the silence is punctured by questions from Stephanie about evolutionary psychology (“Why do I crave sugar sooooo much?”) or animal husbandry (“When are we getting a dog and can we name it Chuck Bass?”). During this last drive, Stephanie asked me a particularly penetrating question. “What is the worst state?” Before I could answer semisolid, she clarified, “I mean, it’s gotta be Indiana, right?”

Probably? I thought about it awhile. Indiana is awful and, yet, boring at the same time. All the boredom of Kansas with all the progressive racial relations of Idaho. I can already hear the complaints that will emanate from this random introduction to a column that is nominally about sports and the law. “What about Florida?” “Has Stephanie ever been to Ft. Wayne in autumn?” “Does Lat even know you’re writing for this website?” These are all excellent questions and I respect the hell out of every single one of them. But I’m not going to apologize for my girlfriend’s bigotry. We’ve had Chuck Bass exactly one week and I love that dog. I love him with all my heart and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what you say about it, we’re going to keep it.

Let’s talk sports…

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It’s that time of year again, and people are starting to get very antsy as they await the results of the July 2013 bar examination. While a handful of states have released test takers from their torturous waiting game, other locales will keep bar examinees on pins and needles until November.

We’ve already heard about the results from North Carolina — as usual, the Tar Heel State was the first to get its results out. Speaking of North Carolina, we’ve heard this year’s results were rather ugly. It seems there was about a 10 percent dip in the passage rate this summer, even though no one had to take the bar in the dark. Yikes! Getting back to the results, next in line came Utah (remember when we released the state’s unofficial results?), followed by Florida, and then Indiana.

Let’s talk bar exam results…

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Florida, Indiana, Utah — any others?

Welcome to law school, sit anywhere you’d like.

In 2011, when Indiana Tech announced it was going to open a law school in Fort Wayne, Indiana for no good reason, Indiana Tech President Arthur Snyder said that access to legal education in Indiana was a big reason for opening the fifth law school in the state: “There are potential students who desire a law school education who cannot get that education in this area, and there are people in our state who need legal services who don’t have access to them.”

This was always an incredibly weak argument. Now, as Indiana Tech is set to welcome its first starting class, we have some measure of proof that those 2011 prognostications were as incorrect as everybody knew they’d be in 2011….

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A while back, someone wrote a book accusing a prominent former Karl Rove aide and conservative commentator of being a scheming, intellectually dishonest shell of a person, with nothing more to commend her than her beauty-queen good looks.

Once you recover from the shock, the wrinkle in this kerfuffle is that the book was written by her long-time friend and attorney, and draws upon what he learned over his years of representing the woman in various legal scrapes from divorce to criminal activity.

If you think writing a book divulging the confidences of a former client sounds suspect, well, the Indiana Supreme Court agrees with you…

UPDATE (1/7/14): Dee Dee Benkie reached out to us and noted that she never spoke to the Indiana Supreme Court, so the details in its decision represent only the former attorney’s side of the story and Benkie was not able to go on the record to defend herself.

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‘Oh my God! My career! Nooooooooooo!’

A few weeks ago, we learned that when it comes to failed professional endeavors, hell hath no fury like a patent attorney scorned. Now we know the same sentiment applies to their failed romantic wranglings.

What would a patent partner do if a summer associate turned away his sexual advances? He’d do what any dork would: in the hopes of ruining her budding career, he’d obtain a movie clip of the girl in a state of undress and pass it around via email to more than 50 Biglaw attorneys.

Of course, this led to a disciplinary action in which the brokenhearted patent practitioner employed some pretty wild defenses, the most entertaining one being that his slut-shaming was beyond ethical reproach because it was constitutionally protected speech….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer Claims His ‘Slut-Shaming’ Is Protected By the First Amendment — Just Like the Founders Intended”

A ‘beauty culturist’ at work.

* The latest update on the law school litigation front represents good news for New York Law School. [National Law Journal]

* Should summarizing a one-day deposition transcript really cost $90,000? Even DLA Piper might blush at such a bill. [Point of Law]

* Ropes & Gray isn’t backing down in the discrimination lawsuit brought by former partner Patricia Martone. (We’ll have more on this later.) [Am Law Daily]

* No, silly polo mogul, you can’t adopt your 42-year-old girlfriend to shield your fortune from litigation. [ABA Journal]

* Replacing “barbers” with “beauty culturists”? This is Indiana and not California, right? [WSJ Law Blog]

* The revised transcript from the day Justice Thomas spoke during oral arguments has arrived, and it seems his record for not having asked a single question from the bench is still intact. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* The Seventh Circuit ruled on Indiana’s social media ban for sex offenders, and the internet’s filth will be pleased to know they can tweet about underage girls to their heart’s content. [National Law Journal]

* Propaganda from the dean of a state law school: lawyers from private schools are forcing taxpayers to bear the brunt of their higher debt loads with higher fees associated with their services. [Spokesman-Review]

* Rhode Island is now the only state in New England where same-sex couples can’t get married, but that may change as soon as the state Senate gets its act together, sooo… we may be waiting a while. [New York Times]

* It’ll be hard to document every suit filed against Lance Armstrong, but this one was amusing. Now people want their money back after buying his autobiography because they say it’s a work of fiction. [Bloomberg]

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