Pennsylvania

Johnathan Perkins

When it comes to the protagonists of 2011’s biggest legal stories, our readers want to know: Where are they now? Last week, for example, we brought you an update on Casey Anthony, which generated keen interest (and traffic).

The recent alleged misadventures of certain UVA Law School students — students accused of breaking and entering, students accused of bothering bikers (to be fair, some bikers are obnoxious and deserve what they get) — have caused commentators to wonder: Whatever happened to Johnathan Perkins?

Johnathan Perkins was the then-3L at UVA Law who confessed to fabricating a tale of racial harassment by university police. As a result of his dishonesty, did he have to go before UVA’s famously strict Honor Committee? Did he end up getting his law degree? There was some ambiguity over whether he would graduate.

We have an update, based on a statement from the dean of the law school….

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Susan Finkelstein is NOT a prostitute! Is that clear? NOT a prostitute.

* A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled that selling sex for Phillies tickets doesn’t make you a prostitute. She was already a Phillies fan, so calling her a whore was redundant. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Occupy Wall Street is looking for a few good accountants. Man, they are about six months from telling us that some of us are more equal than others. [Going Concern]

* If the mainstream media is afraid of speaking out against the TSA, it’s only because they’ve gotten used to simply regurgitating the spin fed to them by their precious government sources. [Popehat]

Congrats to Ronan Farrow and all the other members of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

* If this is what Forbes is publishing for its “30 Under 30 in Law & Policy,” then Above the Law should publish “20 Legal Leaders Under 20.” Look, here’s a college freshman who takes color-coded notes, keeps an extra raised hand in her purse, and has no womb — she’s a future SCOTUS justice! [Forbes]

* Move over, Memoirs of a Geisha; make way for Memoirs of a Gunner. [Smashwords]

* An interesting look at how five federal circuit courts manage their caseloads, by Marin Levy. [Jotwell: Courts Law and SSRN]

Prospective law students always get excited when they’re offered application fee waivers. Law school application fees can run high, and getting tossed a freebie is a nice way to give your bank account a break. Normally, these kind of fee waivers aren’t that out of the ordinary. Offering application fee waivers is standard practice at most law schools.

But what happens when a law school offers prospective applicants a fee waiver after its undergraduate institution is involved in one of the biggest college sports scandals of all time? Talk about bad timing….

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* Pennsylvania may have new child abuse reporting requirements by the year’s end. Apparently the key to efficiency in state government is to sully the reputation of the state’s pride and joy. [CNN]

* “There is always room for a good law school, regardless of the climate.” Say hello to Peter C. Alexander, the founding dean at the Indiana Tech law school that nobody wants. [Journal Gazette]

* The hunt for the remains of Mercer Law grad Lauren Giddings is playing out like an episode of Scooby Doo. Will the gang be able to investigate at Old Man Jenkins’s Browning’s farm? [Macon Telegraph]

* A paralegal-cum-prisoner is suing over his soy-based diet, saying it’s cruel and unusual punishment. He’s doing life for child sexual battery, so I say bring on the soy! [New York Times]

* Lat once said that lawyers are like cockroaches: you can’t kill them. Probably why this lawyer bugged out when he saw his creepy-crawly brethren on an AirTran flight. [New York Daily News]

And by 'work,' I mean 'review documents.'

We’ve been talking lately about career services officers who don’t seem to know, or just plain deny, that it’s their job to find jobs for law students. Guess what? You might not like it, but that’s the job that you signed up for. You have to find jobs for these people. We don’t really care how you do it (and you probably don’t, either), but you have to do it.

Apparently one career services official has taken our words of wisdom to heart. At least this guy is trying to find jobs for graduates.

Alas, his efforts made us realize how sad it is when a law school that claims to have a 92% employment rate nine months after graduation literally has to beg its alumni to employ recent graduates….

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Rapper or criminal mastermind?

I am constantly amazed at how dimwitted some criminals can be. We have covered them in these pages before, from the guy who left evidence of his violent plans open on his desktop, to the robber who reached out to his victim via Facebook.

On Thursday in Pennsylvania, a federal jury convicted Anthony D. Elonis on four counts of threatening his estranged wife, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Berks County Sheriff’s Department, a kindergarten class, and an FBI agent. The vehicle for his litany of threats was none other than Facebook.

The case goes to show that producers of cool heist movies like Ocean’s 11 or The Italian Job have no idea of the context in which your run-of-the-mill petty criminal exists.

What did Elonis threaten to do? Some pretty bad stuff, actually. Keep reading to see why it is lucky he’s no criminal mastermind….

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Judge Maryesther Merlo. Who will play her in the movie? Suggestions welcome.

Earlier this year, we brought you the story of Judge Rae Lee Chabot, a state court judge in Michigan. Judge Chabot was accused of taking three-hour lunch breaks and long shopping trips to the Gap, in the middle of the workday.

I wrote in defense of Judge Chabot, whose judicial work was well-regarded despite her, ummm, flexible work schedule. I opined that “[a]s long as a judge is reasonably current with his docket, he should be left alone. There is no face-time requirement for judges.”

But even I would have a hard time defending the latest judicial diva under fire, Judge Maryesther Merlo of Allentown District Court in Pennsylvania. Judge Merlo — or make that ex-judge Merlo, since she just got removed from the bench — allegedly missed 116 days of work, from September 2007 to December 2009. That amounts to over 23 weeks, in a period of about two years.

And that’s not all Maryesther Merlo stands accused of. Her treatment of defendants appearing before her may have strayed beyond the merely tough into the downright rude….

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(Not that she spent much time on it anyway.)

Today, we have news that both Virginia and Pennsyltucky Pennsylvania have released the results of the July 2011 bar exam. Our congratulations go out to everyone who passed. And for those who didn’t, better luck next time (but on the upside, it’s Friday, so it wouldn’t be completely inappropriate for you to drink yourself into a stupor today).

Here’s an open thread for discussion of July 2011 bar exam results from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and any other states that have already announced their results….

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Pennsylvania, Virginia — any others?

* With yesterday’s decision from Pennsylvania, the game is now tied for Obamacare at the federal district court level. Come on, SCOTUS, just grant someone certiorari already. [Bloomberg]

* Keep this in mind if you’re applying to law school this year: if you’re white, it ain’t aight. Who knew that there could be “anti-white bias” in a place where everyone’s white, like Wisconsin? [National Law Journal]

* Mark McCombs, the ex-Greenberg Traurig partner who overbilled for prestige, was sentenced to six years. Not a good way to thank your town for naming a street after you. [Am Law Daily]

* An Indian restaurant is accused of forcing Indian customers to give 18% tips. Here’s a tip: don’t punch customers in the face, and maybe they’ll give you a tip on their own. [New York Daily News]

* No soup (or supplements) for you! Curtis Allgier, a Utah prisoner awaiting his murder trial, wants seconds during dinner so he can get back to his fighting killing weight. [Boston Globe]

Image via Getty

Yesterday, we (and every other media outlet) ran our solemn 9/11 remembrance post. In general, I thought the media handled the day fine. I thought the NFL handled it in an unseemly “Are we not RESPECTFUL” fashion, and don’t even get me started on the companies who used 9/11 to push their products. I thought it was assumed that most companies were against global terrorism but until the Budweiser Clydesdales bowed, I wasn’t sure. I guess I should be happy that they didn’t have the Miller High Life guy busting into a cave and taking away a case of non-alcoholic beer from a terrorist.

In any event, today will be the predictable day where the media now takes a closer look at the aftermath of 9/11. And by “closer look,” I mean “report on everything that’s gone horribly wrong since 9/11.”

Gawker already got that ball rolling. I’ve got a really heartwarming story from a law firm that I want to share before I “take a closer look” at the week after 9/11….

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