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….
Before we get to the meat of this story, let’s quickly state the obvious: if you plan to commit a violent crime, you probably should not post details about it on Facebook or Craigslist. If you simply must tell the Interwebs of your devious agenda, it’s probably best to close the incriminating window ASAP, so visitors to your home do not see it on your the PC in your living room.
Glad we got that out of the way. Today, we have another fun dumb criminal story for you. It even comes complete with a thought-provoking judicial ruling. Did you know that if a police officer simply moves a computer mouse or presses a key to wake a computer up from sleep mode, that it constitutes a Fourth Amendment search? Well, neither did a Wisconsin police officer who was investigating a man who allegedly threatened to shoot up a shopping mall (gavel bang: Legal Blog Watch).
More on the case, US v. Michael Musgrove, plus Musgrove’s, original thug life Craigslist posting after the jump….
There’s one guy in your outfit who understands the need not to write stupid e-mails: That’s the guy who just spent all day in deposition being tortured with the stupid e-mails that he wrote three years ago.
That guy will control himself. He’ll write fewer and more carefully phrased e-mails for the next couple of weeks. Then he’ll go back to writing stupid stuff again, just like everyone else.
You can’t win this game; no matter what you say, people will revert to informality and write troublesome e-mails. But you’re not allowed to give up. What’s an in-house lawyer to do?
[W]asting the Court’s time with nonsense is not the way for plaintiff to have any hope of prevailing in this case…. Plaintiff is either toying with the Court or displaying her own stupidity. She made the correct redactions when she re-filed her Complaint and Amended Complaint. There is no logical explanation she can provide as to why she is now wasting the Court’s time, as well as the staff’s time, with these improper redactions.
'How do I get these stupid marks to disappear from my document?'
Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about some über expensive and embarrassing examples of lawyers making technological mistakes.
Those stories involved sexily scandalous blunders, but they were relatively extreme scenarios. (If turning over thousands of privileged documents happens regularly at your firm, may God help you.)
More frequently, firm employees deal with little technological snafus that are just annoying, pointless, and a waste of time. In a world where attorneys might literally be working themselves to death, every second of the day counts. It’s when people can’t handle mundane, seriously easy computer tasks that daily tasks become inefficient and infuriating.
Keep reading for some true stories of the technologically challenged….
The following tale of legal technology took place in our nation’s capital, although it seemed to draw more attentionoverseas.
Last December, as winter’s grip began to take hold over Washington, D.C., Rodney Knight Jr. found himself in serious need of a heavy jacket. So he did what any of us would have done in these circumstances: he broke into someone’s house and took one. Knight kicked down the back door to the home of Marc Fisher, a metro columnist for the Washington Post, where he found his new winter jacket. In addition, being in a proactive mood, Knight decided to swipe two laptops and a bunch of cash.
Knight was so proud of his little heist that he felt the need to do a little bragging. Check out what one of the greatest criminal masterminds of the early 21st century did next….
Usually I’m happy to stand with law students against the slings and arrows of outrageous law school administration.
But not this time. This time, instead of a noble law student fighting the good fight, I see an annoying whiner who wants law school to be about teddy bears and rainbows.
A student at the University of Miami School of Law is trying to get the student body to adopt a “Student Bill of Rights.” The proposal lists a number of things that “shall not be violated.” Even though I agree with some of these points, codifying them as “rights” makes me flaccid. We’re talking about law school, not summer camp. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s not supposed to be fair.
We can condemn law schools until the cows come home for inducing students to sign up under false pretenses. But once you matriculate, law schools turn into the warden from Shawshank Redemption: “Put your trust in the Lord; your ass belongs to me.”
It’s Christmas morning here at Above the Law. Thomas M. Cooley Law School has released a new set of law school rankings designed to make Thomas M. Cooley Law School look good. Back in 2009, Cooley incredibly ranked itself the 12th-best law school in the country.
Now the farce reaches new and glorious heights. In this latest edition of Cooley’s own Judging the Law Schools rankings, Cooley has rated itself — wait for it, wait for it — the SECOND BEST law school in all that land. That’s right, #2! Harvard is #1, so according to Cooley, if you can’t get into HLS, you’d be making a wise career decision to go to Cooley instead of, oh, I don’t know — YALE. Click over to the Cooley website if you want to see the full list; I don’t want to befoul ATL’s pages with a breakout of Cooley’s top ten.
This, my friends, is funny. But it’s also serious. Because there are real people studying at Cooley right now, and I don’t think they understand how horrible it makes the school look when the administration publishes things like this….
I’m not a constitutional scholar, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night. But I really struggle to find the ambiguity in this line from the Fourteenth Amendment: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
That statement seems very, very clear to me.
Of course, I’m not an unabashed racist. Maybe if I was I’d be able to be as intellectually dishonest and willfully ignorant as State Legislators for Legal Immigration, and have the gall to argue that this section of the 14th Amendment has been misinterpreted for 150 years.
Actually, check that. Even if I woke up in the middle of the night terrified that dirty foreigners were stealing my country, I’d grab a shovel and start digging a moat around this country before I fixed my mouth to argue utter tripe like what we’re hearing from the State Legislators for Legal Immigration.
In a world full of spurious legal arguments, theirs is truly one of the stupidest things you’re ever going to hear…
Professor Joel P. Trachtman (JD Harvard Law School) has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!