Police

Facts enjoy mythical stature in our society. In a diverse community with many competing and often conflicting views, facts ring out with a promise of objective clarity. You are entitled to your opinions, but not your own facts. I’m sure you’ve said that/had that said to you.

Facts are bullshit. A skilled lawyer can turn a competent eyewitness into a blathering idiot. A skilled rhetorician can make facts dance on strings for the amusement of the masses. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. Fact.

Truly objective facts are few and far between. Evolution is what happened. Annie is not okay. Light travels at 299,792,458 meters per second. Much beyond that, who can say? People like to say, “Let’s wait for all the facts to come out.” What they are really saying is, “Let’s wait for additional information that I can fit into my preconceived world view.” There have been studies about this. If a “fact” doesn’t fit into a person’s standing world view, that fact is likely to be ignored and have no impact on the person’s judgment.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the video of Kajieme Powell getting shot to death in St. Louis. You’ll remember Powell as the alleged “knife wielding” crazy man who seemed to be trying to commit suicide by cop when St. Louis PD eagerly obliged. Tell me what you see…

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* Full, fair, and independent: In a St. Louis Post-Dispatch op-ed, Attorney General Eric Holder promised “robust action” in Ferguson, Mo., in light of Michael Brown’s killing. [National Law Journal]

* Biglaw firms have taken notice of the crowdfunding scene, and some have started up their own practice groups dedicated to the cause. Goodwin Procter just got in on the ground floor. [Crowdfund Insider]

* Who will be honored with induction to the American Lawyer’s Legal Hall of Fame in 2014? Take a look at a list of past winners of the title to see if you can guess which legal luminaries will be next. [Am Law Daily]

* “We are actively investigating. We will not rest until we bring this case to a close.” Police still have no leads or suspects in the tragic murder of FSU Law Professor Dan Markel. Sad. [Tallahassee Democrat]

* Is your fantasy football league legal? Like the answer to all questions of law, it depends. Not for nothing, but we’re willing to bet that you won’t really care if it’s legal if it’s going to impede on your fun. [Forbes]

I would like to throw a brick at a cop in Ferguson. Any cop. All the cops. As a black male, I would like to fight back, violently, against the forces that have hunted me all my life, and will hunt my son all his life.

I’m not going to, but that is because history is not on my side. I no longer give a damn about the moral virtues of non-violence, but recorded history tells us that an oppressed minority population cannot succeed through violence. I don’t have a magic staff that can bring locusts and selectively drain or flood rivers, and without such a weapon, being peaceful out there is the only effective and reasonable option. I have just enough education to understand that, and just enough restraint to practice it. I believe in non-violence because it’s the only thing that works.

Thomas Jefferson has a famous quote about slavery. He was talking about the Missouri Compromise, which allowed Missouri to enter the union as a slave state (a fact way more relevant to the current situation than Mike Brown’s alleged shoplifting). On the slavery question, Jefferson offered: “We have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go.” Everybody remembers that part, but here’s the next line: “Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.” Jefferson is talking about justice for the slave, and self-preservation for America.

What America has done since 1820 is to gain self-preservation for itself without granting justice to those it oppressed. It’s been a neat trick. Go ahead, name any “justice” statistic: incarceration rates, conviction rates, homicides, homicides by cop, death penalty rates, drug prosecutions, forced plea bargains, diversity in the police force, diversity on the bench, name ANY JUSTICE STAT YOU CARE ABOUT. You have just named a statistic that illustrates how African-Americans are denied equal justice as compared to white Americans.

Continue reading on Above the Law Redline…


“Tear gas?”
“Wait, was that a flash grenade?”
“Oh, now there’s a picture!”
“They arrested journalists… just for being in a McDonald’s?”
“Now the arrested reporters are back online!”

Last night, many of us fixated on our Twitter feeds to follow, in real time, every breaking development in Ferguson, Missouri. The hashtag acted as a latter day, crowdsourced ticker tape keeping those miles away from the town — clear to Gaza — abreast as the peaceful protests brought on a symbolically striking military-style occupation, complete with the use of gas and rubber bullets and the arrest of journalists for performing their constitutionally protected jobs.

That’s what Twitter did that was awesome. Unfortunately, last night also put on display everything awful about Twitter. Everything that people mistake it to be when they set up a handle and broadcast their message to the world in 140 character segments. Others have tackled what Ferguson means in the grand scheme of criminal law and what lawyers should do in response to Ferguson. But there are also lessons to be learned from “#Ferguson” — the cyber place that conveyed the events of Ferguson — and the opinions of casual observers — to the world.

Lessons that all technologically connected lawyers, and frankly everyone, can use….

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Michael Brown, age 18 and a high school graduate, was scheduled to begin college classes on Monday.

He won’t be. He was shot, unarmed with his hands in the air, by police near his apartment on Saturday afternoon. The shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, a mostly black working-class St. Louis suburb of 20,000, has ignited outrage and skepticism of the police’s explanation for the shooting.

As Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, told Steve Giegerich of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the shooting took place as her son was walking to his grandmother’s residence.

One witness, Piaget Crenshaw, gave this account to Giegerich:

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Just try telling him to put out his smokes. Not gonna happen.

* Looming legal battle over the confidentiality agreement at the center of lawsuit over which team John Travolta plays for. [Gawker]

* The fallout from yesterday’s Obamacare Appellageddon continues. The D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit are going to have some awkward parties until this gets resolved. [Federal Regulations Advisor]

* Somebody got confused and thought that Stand Your Ground laws applied to protect black people. [News 4 Jax]

* In Louisiana, a justice of the peace is given public money to hire all their staff and buy all their equipment and pay themselves whatever salary they want out of the remainder. One guy had a very clever idea about how to allocate that money and it set off a legal fight. Oh, and apparently the best job in Louisiana is to be a constable. So now you know. [Times-Picayune]

* Do you know the 12 Rules of Client Service? Are you at least ready to fight over them? [What About Clients?]

* Newark police can’t even come up with constitutional excuses for 75 percent of what they do. [Slate]

* Lululemon figured that patent trolls were onto something and patented its clothing designs and aggressively pursues anyone who dares design a tank top with a built-in bra. Who would ever have thought of such an original idea? [Jezebel]

* The University of California is increasing non-resident enrollment for budget reasons. Law schools presumably follow suit. [TaxProf Blog]

* Man claims his former employer discriminated against him because he was an atheist. Yep, this Hobby Lobby thing isn’t going to have any repercussions at all. [Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal]

* Speaking of atheists and SCOTUS, the Court may have authorized the Town of Greece to get all religiousy at town board meetings, but an atheist is stepping up to the plate to deliver an invocation. Freedom of religion does mean he gets a turn. [Rochester Homepage]

* There’s an icky sexual harassment story coming out of an elite L.A. school. And they’ve hired an elite law firm to investigate. [Gawker]

* Cops do hear some pretty funny stories when they pull people over. [Legal Juice]

* If you’re out of work, here’s an idea: this solicitor-to-be posted a selfie with a pigeon on Facebook and got an offer — along with a lot of publicity. [Legal Cheek]

* Is the future of legal education online? Perhaps the better question is, “How will law schools overcharge when they no longer have brick-and-mortar facilities?” [Tipping the Scales]

* A judge explains that incest and pedophilia aren’t such big deals anymore because gay people are accepted. Wow. [Jezebel]

* Are you keeping up with Kirby v. Marvel? Because Jack Kirby’s estate is making a run at the Supreme Court in a case that affects billions. Embed below… [Bloomberg]

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(c) Image by Juri H. Chinchilla.

Yesterday, Krispy Kreme celebrated its 77th birthday. The popular doughnut chain opened its doors on July 13, 1937, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. And what goes better with doughnuts than coffee? Cops. This week, On Remand looks back at Krispy Kreme’s history and a half-dozen cases involving doughnuts and cops, including the strange tale of a man who held a Krispy Kreme truck for ransom.

The Krispy Kreme we know today began in the 1930s when New Orleanian Joe LeBeau moved to Kentucky and sold his secret recipe and the name “Krispy Kreme” to a local, who hired his nephew, Vernon Rudolph, to sell the doughnuts door-to-door.  By 1937, Rudolph and a friend had moved to Winston-Salem and opened the first Krispy Kreme doughnut factory. Although the pair set out to sell doughnuts to grocery stores, a new marketing ploy quickly revealed itself:  human weakness.  People passing the factory could not resist the delicious doughnut smell, and wanted to buy them hot off the press.  Vernon obliged, cutting a hole in the outside wall to sell fresh glazed doughnuts directly to people on the street.

Today, Krispy Kreme operates nearly 900 stores in 24 countries. But, like its founders intended, Krispy Kreme continues to sell doughnuts to grocery and convenience stores. Over the years, deliveries to these stores have made Krispy Kreme trucks an easy target for thieves.  One Michigan man may take the cake doughnut for the most comically unsuccessful Krispy Kreme truck theft.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “On Remand: Cops, Courts, And Doughnuts”

* Federal judges frequently fly across the globe on other people’s dime for conferences and symposia, but 2012’s most frequent flyer is a judge who was recently embroiled in an ethics scandal: Randall Rader of the Federal Circuit. [National Law Journal]

* Even though she claims nothing is “fundamentally broken,” Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Jo White proposed “sweeping” new stock market regulations in an attempt to get with the times. [DealBook / New York Times]

* U. of Maine wants to combine its business and law schools, but professors are concerned about pressing questions like, “What will the diploma say?” rather than, “Do I get to keep my job?” [Portland Press Herald]

* Law schools are seen as cash cows for their affiliated undergraduate universities, but this law school is hurting so bad for cash due to low enrollment the university is infusing it with millions. [Minnesota Daily]

* A Pennsylvania man is suing his local police department for First Amendment violations after he was arrested for cursing in front of officers. N.W.A has a song this guy would like. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Some law students are still naive enough to believe that they’ll be able to take a stand against every day injustices and walk away victorious — just because they’re law students. That’s simply not the case, especially when you’re a law student who’s trying to come between a police officer and his lunch…

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