Lunacy

Carolyn Barnes

If the law allows a mentally incompetent lawyer to represent a citizen, then the law needs to be changed, because that is ridiculous.

John Bradley, the outgoing District Attorney for Williamson County, Texas, commenting on Carolyn Barnes’s ability to represent clients from inside her unit at a state psychiatric facility. Barnes has been involuntarily committed since mid-2011, when she was found incompetent to stand trial on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Deep inside me there’s a serial killer lurking somewhere. But I keep him amused with cocaine, Formula One, booty calls, and coruscating cross-examination.

– a comment made by a successful lawyer who was interviewed by renowned psychologist and author Kevin Dutton for his new book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success (affiliate link).

(Want to see where lawyers rank on the top ten list of the most psychopathic professions? Check out the list, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: Think Your Boss Is a Psychopath? Well, He Might Actually Be One…”

Judge Cynthia Brim

The Honorable Cynthia Brim, a two-time winner of Judge of the Day honors, has returned to the headlines. But this time the news for Judge Brim is positive — well, for the most part.

On Tuesday, Judge Brim won re-election to the Cook County Circuit Court. The following day, she showed up in court — not as a judge, but as a defendant in a battery case.

You might be surprised by how much of the vote she won. Take a guess, then keep reading to find out (and to see Her Honor’s mugshot, which isn’t pretty)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Legally Insane’ Judge Wins Re-Election in Chicago”


Judge Susan McDunn

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Al Gore famously alluded to “powerful forces and powerful interests” that were out to get ordinary Americans. He received derision from some quarters for his vague invocation of mysterious forces that were conspiring to keep the people down — but maybe he had a point? As Henry Kissinger famously observed, “Even a paranoid has some real enemies.”

This brings us to the first of our two Judges of the Day, both out of the Chicago area. The first claims that she is “being persecuted extensively by many people in many ways.”

Let’s learn about the mysterious forces who are supposedly causing trouble for this jurist. Does she have actual enemies, or is she simply cuckoo in Cook County?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judges of the Day: Cook County Kookiness”

* While “Dewey remains a great firm with terrific lawyers” for the time being, check back in after five percent of the firm’s attorneys have been laid off. Then tell us how great and terrific things are, we dare you. [DealBook / New York Times]

* The University of St. Thomas School of Law really “take[s] data accuracy very seriously.” That’s why the employed at graduation rate the school reported to U.S. News was off by 47.7 percentage points, right? [National Law Journal]

* John Edwards has a judge’s permission to use Rielle Hunter’s lawyers at his campaign finance trial. Mmm, there’s nothing like getting some legal sloppy seconds from your former mistress. [Bloomberg]

* After two days of deliberations, jurors in the Dharun Ravi privacy trial still haven’t reached a verdict. Just think, if he had taken the plea, he wouldn’t be worrying as much about deportation right now. [New York Post]

* If Hemy Neuman’s delusions about Olivia Newton-John were about getting physical, instead of getting murderous, maybe he wouldn’t have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. [CNN]

* It’s the most wonderful time of the year: March Madness! Are NCAA bracket pools legal in your office? It depends. Either way, all I know is that I’ll be betting on Lehigh. Go Mountain Hawks! [Businessweek]

Hemy Neuman is standing trial for murder. His defense is unusual.

Right now in Atlanta, a former operations manager at General Electric is standing trial for allegedly murdering the husband of his female coworker and alleged lover.

It’s a twisty tale of romance, deception, and violence, something you might find in an airport bookstore.

The strangest part of what has been dubbed the Dunwoody Day Care Killing, though, is the bizarre defense put forth by accused murderer Hemy Neuman. He says an angel and a demon, in the form of two celebrities, made him shoot his alleged lover’s husband.

Yes, you heard that right.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Introducing the ‘Celebrity Angels and Demons Made Me Do It’ Murder Defense”

Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.” In contrast, Thomas Jefferson School of Law does not tremble before the toothless authority of the ABA. In fact, the school feels free to respond to utter institutional FAIL with peevish blame-shifting. Either TJSL has a serious problem with its admissions standards or it fails students once they arrive. Or some combo platter thereof. Does it matter? Let’s all stipulate that this is a “bad thing.” But what, if anything, should be done?

There are obviously a range of legal/societal stances toward the treatment of “bad things.” Bad things like cigarettes are legal but have mandatory warning labels. Bad things like the New York Lottery are just a Darwinian tax on the ignorant. Predatory subprime mortgage lenders are subject to a patchwork of federal and state laws. Ponzi schemers face criminal fraud charges. Where a law school charging $120,000 for a dubious product fits into the scheme of bad things is open to debate. So we reader-sourced the question. Last week, we conducted a research poll asking:

• Should the ABA impose national minimum LSAT and/or GPA standards for entry into accredited law schools?
• In what range should the LSAT & GPA cutoffs be?
• Should law schools lose their accreditation if their graduates’ bar passage rates fall below a certain threshold?
• Below what level should a school’s accreditation be in jeopardy?

After the jump, you tell us whether and where the lines should be drawn….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Readers to ABA: Enforce Stricter Standards”

Earlier this morning, former IRS tax attorney and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann held a press conference to announce that she’d be dropping out of the race. Although she won the Iowa straw poll in August, with a percentage of votes in the single digits, she placed sixth during last night’s caucuses. In her concession speech, Bachmann stated that “[l]ast night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice.” They sure did: they told her to STFU. Not even her high-powered lawyers from Patton Boggs could save her.

Let’s face it, she did the honorable thing. Unlike Rick Perry, who announced that he’d be going back to Texas to cry “reassess his campaign,” Bachmann grew a pair and decided end her embarrassment — but she has “no regrets, none whatsoever.”

It really is a shame that she decided to call it quits, because people love Michele Bachmann. Although she looks like a semi-retarded deer caught in headlights in her Newsweek cover, she’s usually one of the more attractive women in American politics.

She’s like Sarah Palin, but dumber, and with an inept stylist. With that said, we present you with a recap of Bachmann’s finest moments on the campaign trail….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Michele Bachmann: Out of the Race, But Still in Our Hearts”

UPDATE (5 PM): Sigh. According to the Smoking Gun, the “poop tattoo” story — reported by The Sun and picked up by Drudge, among many other outlets — is full of crap. But it was fun while it lasted, no?

Some people love tattoos, other people hate them. I’m one of those “other people.” I have no idea why people would want to turn their bodies into coloring books. But if people want to permanently decorate themselves, then by all means, go right ahead.

Besides, if people weren’t so obsessed with inking their bodies, we wouldn’t have awesome lawsuits like this one to talk about. Here’s some background information before we get into the heart of this case:

Boy, a tattoo artist, meets Girl. Girl is a nerd who has a thing for Narnia. Boy and Girl fall in love. Girl decides that in addition to Narnia, she has a thing for Boy’s best friend. Girl cheats on Boy, thinking Boy is none the wiser. Girl asks Boy for a Narnia tattoo. Boy finds out Girl’s dirty secret, and begins to plot his revenge….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Love Hurts, Especially When Your Boyfriend Gives You a ‘Tatt-poo’”

It’s been a week of violence here at Above the Law. Between the murder-suicide guy and the judge who beat his disabled daughter, there’s been too much disturbing sadness.

Here at Above the Law, we prefer violence that is maybe, just a little, funny. For those who appreciate the lighter side of crime, we’ve got Joshua Monson. Here’s a guy who has stabbed his way out of his right to an attorney.

How do you lose this fundamental right to representation? Well, by stabbing all of your representation….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “It’s Like Having Hannibal Lecter as a Client”

Page 3 of 6123456