North Carolina

Would you believe a state supreme court justice received a $50,000 trip to Italy from a lawyer who routinely appears before the court representing major clients?

Oh, it happened. And it could be happening a lot more often than you’d think because most states make it exceedingly difficult to discover. Every now and again someone will do important work pointing out that electing judges in an era of unfettered campaign contributions poses a significant risk to judicial integrity, and everyone will cluck their tongues, stroke their beards and wonder, “What’s to be done with this state court system?” A new study goes further and looks at the financial wheelings and dealings — and the lack of oversight they receive — of judges outside of election season.

How does your state court system fare?

Spoiler alert: Badly…

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It’s been a little more than a month since the administration of the July 2013 bar exam reached its conclusion, and the most epic of waiting games has begun. Test takers are anxiously biding their time until their respective state bars decide to tell them their fates.

Some people have already received their results. Over the long holiday weekend, we received several emails about the results for the North Carolina exam — which is impressive considering that last summer, the state board of law examiners couldn’t even keep the lights on during the exam. North Carolina usually has the quickest turn around time on bar exam results, averaging about four weeks between the time the exam ends and the reporting of results.

But unfortunately, not all test takers are so lucky. Some states take months upon months to get their results out to bar examinees, and the wait is torture. Why the hell does the grading process take so long?

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If we don’t stand up to evil now, then when?

* Most folks think the police overreacted by issuing a civil disobedience warning for a 3-year-old girl, but those people need to watch Children of the Corn. [UPI]

* Speaking of the Brits, authorities detained Glenn Greenwald’s partner (interestingly, Greenwald’s partner is named Miranda) for nine hours and “confiscated his computer, phone, camera, memory stick, DVDs and video games” while passing through Heathrow. Wow, this is the sort of thing that might make Greenwald mad at the surveillance state. [ABA Journal]

* A detailed analysis of confidential sources. I’m pointing this out to publicly clarify that ATL keeps its tipsters confidential unless they specifically ask to be cited. So feel free to tip away! [Talking Biz News]

* Tales of Ted Cruz as a young man. So we’re calling parliamentary-style debate “debate” now? OK. [Daily Beast]

* Professor Rick Hasen examines North Carolina’s new voter suppression law and how it proves that the country still needs the Voting Rights Act. [Slate]

* Maybe bar exams should write better questions that actually cover all the material candidates have to learn. Personally, I was just fine not having to memorize a lot about New York commercial paper law. [Ramblings on Appeal]

* The tale of a wealthy couple evading the law. The article describes the story as an “arthritic version of Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw in The Getaway, perhaps, moving at nursing-home speed.” Hollywood just found a plot for Expendables 4. [Seattle Weekly]

* The government’s obsession with FCPA enforcement has bit JP Morgan over hiring the children of Chinese officials to woo business. [Dealbreaker]

* Chief Judge Michael P. Mills of the Northern District of Mississippi weighs in on a copyright suit between the estate of William Faulkner and Woody Allen. The judge is apparently not a fan of Sharknado because he has no soul. Video of the quirky conflict after the jump…

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‘Raise meow, please?’

He’s the best employee I’ve got and I don’t have to pay his health insurance.

Steve Wyatt, manager of Henderson County, North Carolina, offering high praise for Mr. Jingles, a cat that has solved the rodent problem that previously plagued the county’s historic courthouse.

Former Senator John ‘McDreamy’ Edwards

It’s perhaps unfair to bastardize General MacArthur’s famous farewell speech to Congress, but there’s a fitting juxtaposition between informing politicians of the honor of fading away from the public scene while those very politicians run to law firms to continue lobbying their former colleagues.

It’s a career path ordained by God.

Which is why it’s newsworthy when three prominent, but out of work, political figures eschew a lobbying practice to be real lawyers…

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* Monica Lewinsky’s lawyer is checking out the big stained dress in the sky. William Ginsburg, RIP. [CNN]

* Hoo boy, North Carolina is trying to opt out of the Constitution. As the article notes, they tried this in the 1860s and it didn’t work out so well. [Lowering the Bar]

* New York state government gets another black eye with a couple of arrests for bribery. [Gothamist]

* Judge Richard Cebull is retiring to spend more time on his racist rants. [Billings Gazette]

* Obama is forfeiting $20,000 in solidarity with sequester victims. An excellent opportunity for right-wing hacks to complain about his vacations, as though Secret Service protection is supposed to be free. [Washington Examiner]

* Ken Cuccinelli is running for governor in a state that voted for Obama twice. So, obviously, he’s making a public show of his fight to reinstate a law used to harass gay people. [Washington Blade]

* Conrad Black, the media mogul who served three years in the federal pen, sits for an interview with California Lawyer magazine. Check it out (and earn California CLE credit). [California Lawyer]

* Is this contract for sex based on Facebook likes enforceable? [Gawker]

* Speaking of unenforceable contracts, what in the hell does Bilbo sign before his unexpectedly long journey? [Wired]

* And Jesus, you certainly can’t barter legal services for sex! I think everybody needs to go home and read the Second Restatement. [Indianapolis Star]

* Now you can hear for yourself the three words that Clarence Thomas spoke. It’s at the 41-minute mark. [The Supreme Court]

* Ms. JD is offering lawyers and law students the chance to submit questions to ABA President Laurel Bellows that will be answered at an event on January 31 (with viewing parties around the country). [Ms. JD]

* How to answer a question when an interviewer asks you something that you don’t have to answer. [Lawyers.com]

* Litigation can be a good excuse to get your client to do things they should have been doing all along. [What About Clients?]

* North Carolina dean claims she was forced to underreport sexual assaults at the college. When reached for comment, the Duke Lacrosse team said, “We kind of have the opposite problem.” [Salon]

The 2008 Secession Proposal

In the wake of last week’s election, citizens from all 50 states have signed petitions calling for secession from the United States. These petitions have been filed with the White House’s “We the People” website, an initiative of the Obama administration to encourage public involvement in government. Once a petition reaches the threshold of 25,000 signatures within 30 days, the White House forwards the petition to its policy experts to draft a formal response.

It’s kind of ironic that these neo-secessionists submitted their formal demands through a government initiative specifically created by Barack Obama. It’s ironic because, while each state’s petition varies a bit in substance, the crux of every petition is “we don’t like that crazy Kenyan socialist president.”

Just to recap: Kenyan Head of Government. Not Kenyan Head of Government. Kenyan. Not KenyanKenyonNot Kenyan.

As of this hour, only a handful of states have reached the signature threshold to trigger an official White House response. Wanna take a guess which states are ready to bail? If you guessed “states that have past experience with secession,” you’d be right. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas have all finished their secession petitions.

Do these petitions signal a new round of secession?

(SPOILER ALERT: No)

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Mr. Plum in the observatory with the … Little Buddy?

Well, this is chilling. We’ve heard a lot recently about the privacy implications of warrantless wire tapping. But this is the first we’ve heard of a murder allegedly committed with the help of a GPS device designed to help parents keep track of their children.

A man is currently facing trial for allegedly shooting his wife’s lover after following her with a Little Buddy GPS device.

And to think, normal people feel bad after occasionally creeping around an ex’s Facebook profile….

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They should have a booth at the North Carolina state fair for the best homegrown law graduate.

It is time for bar exam results already?

You know, if state boards of law examiners were actually attuned to the economic realities for recent law graduates, they would be trying to get bar exam results out as soon as possible. Right now there are a lot of kids who can’t even credibly start looking for jobs until they get their bar results.

Of course, when dealing with state boards of law examiners, we’re dealing with a group of people who administer exams under blackout conditions. In large barns. Without air conditioning. Bar examiners are not the most responsive group of people in the universe.

Still, one state got its bar results out quickly — which should allow a lot of time for failing students to challenge their scores…

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