Rudeness

In case you haven’t noticed by now, law students tend to be an overly dramatic bunch. If something inconveniences them, their lives have been ruined. If they don’t immediately get their way, they’ll storm off to Change.org and write a petition about it. And if something bad happens to them and they’ve got access to a school-wide listserv, then my God, abandon all hope ye who open that email.

Around these parts, we’re prone to calling these people “Millennials” — the special little snowflakes who’ve been raised to believe that they can do no wrong. That’s why we love it so when one of them gets smacked down by one of their more cynical peers.

Earlier this week, an enraged student from a T14 law school sent out a fiery email to the entire school because oh nooooes, someone had stolen her lunch, which is obviously the worst thing that’s ever happened in this chick’s life. But we’re kind of happy that this most awful event occurred, because the reply email is absolutely fabulous….

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‘Do not shout at me!’

The record should reflect that you keep interrupting me, Your Honor.

Frank Carson, a California criminal defense attorney, during an unprecedented 20-minute shouting match with Judge Linda McFadden at a scheduling hearing earlier this week.

I’ve got better things to do than be in this class right now.

The douchebag has a point. It’s going to be hard for some people to see, what with the kid huffing and puffing and doing all the things that make people hate gunners who spend half of class with their hand in the air. But trust me, at the heart of this story, this kid is making a reasonable point about law school and the value of in-class lectures.

Luckily for us, he’s making that point by acting like a petulant, entitled law student, one who drew the ire of his professor and the ridicule of his classmates.

So, this should be fun for the whole family… .

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Remember Judge William M. “Chip” Watkins III? He’s the temperamental West Virginia jurist who was recorded on video yelling at — and we mean literally yelling at, not just “scolding” or “raising his voice at” — a pastor. In another case, Judge Watkins called a woman seeking a protective order against her husband “stupid,” criticizing her for “shooting off [her] fat mouth about what happened.”

Last summer, Judge Watkins was hit with expedited ethics charges. This week, the West Virginia Supreme Court issued its ruling. What do you think happened? Take a guess….

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* So, after being shut down for more than two years, Caitlin Halligan asked President Obama to withdraw her nomination to the D.C. Circuit. This is how democracy works in our country, folks, and it’s pretty sad. [People For the American Way; Post Politics / Washington Post]

* In America, we’re trying to get official recognition for gay marriage. In Scotland, they’re trying to get official recognition for weddings performed by Jedi Knights. Please, by all means, proceed to stroke each other’s lightsabers over this exciting nerd news. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Oh my god, this is something I’m definitely going to have to sit down and read, it looks so salacious and — oh. *eyeroll* This just in from the subtitle letdown department…. [Overlawyered]

* A political consultant in Nebraska apparently got himself fired because he called Sen. Danielle Conrad a C-U-Next-Tuesday on his Facebook page. That was way harsh, Tai. [Jezebel]

* Click here to listen to Professor Brian Tamanaha and Dean Lawrence Mitchell talk about rethinking the future of legal education. Tamanaha thinks the tuition is too damn high, whereas Dean Mitchell simply thinks that “life is expensive.” Not even kidding, he really said that. [Associate's Mind]

* At Target, you can definitely expect more and pay less, but that’s probably because your money’s allegedly being stolen out of the cash register. [Legal Juice]

* And just because I love just about everything that Lindsay Lohan does because she’s the hottest of all messes, here’s a timeline of her mug shots ranked in order of her sex appeal. I love that we live in a world where such a thing actually exists! [Gawker]

Oh my god, I’m going to kill you.

Lindsay Lohan, muttering under her breath in frustration during her court appearance yesterday after her lawyer, Mark Heller — a man who was previously scolded by Judge James Dabney for being “incompetent” as to California law — kept speaking even though the starlet had already directed him to shut up, numerous times.

(Don’t believe us? We’ve got the video to prove it.)

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Earlier this month, we talked about “Punk Defendant” Penelope Soto. Soto was charged with possession of Xanax, and during her arraignment she gave the judge the finger.

Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat cited her for contempt and sentenced her to 30 days in jail.

Soto has cleaned up her act, got her contempt sentence dropped, and appeared in court earlier this week, where she was complimented by a different judge.

And I’ve got to admit, I feel bad about calling her a “punk” in the first place. I now think that she was high during her initial, profane court appearance, and they should have dried her out before sending her up before the judge….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Woman Who Flipped Off A Judge Now Receives Applause From The Bench (And An Apology From Me)”

A few weeks ago, a young woman named Penelope Soto became an internet legend after she was caught on camera flipping a Florida judge the bird and telling him to go f**k himself during a court proceeding. Soto’s behavior earned her a 30-day stint in jail for contempt of court, but she apparently changed her ways at a later hearing and convinced the judge to vacate the month-long sentence.

But not all mouthy defendants are so lucky. Some of them do go to jail. Take, for example, the case of Brian Noval, a Florida man who in 2009 called a judge a c*ck — twice. Why do all of these things happen in Florida? Anyway, Noval’s antics were captured on film, and he earned himself 120 days in the pokey for his indiscretions. Noval only served four days of that sentence before the judge decided that this cocky defendant had learned his lesson.

As we all know, the internet is for porn, but it’s also for wonderful videos like these. And thanks to Daniel Tosh of Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, sometimes the stars of embarrassing viral videos are given the chance to redeem themselves on cable television. Ms. Soto hasn’t been given the opportunity to participate in one of these yet, but Noval was featured on the show last night.

For reasons that escape me, we never covered Noval’s incident in 2009, but now that he’s been brought back into the pop culture limelight, we’ve got some funny videos to entertain you with….

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You loved that story, huh? Couldn’t get enough of Ms. “F**k You” to the judge. Everyone ran right to YouTube, 7,000,000 times. Non-practicing “legal experts” claimed they knew exactly why this was the wrong/right thing for the judge to do, while the coddlers and tough-love morality commentators claimed this was an example of a bigger problem.

So yeah, young people just in to the jail from a drug-induced night out don’t always have the best manners. Sometimes they say “f**k you” to people who are in a position to help them.

So do lawyers and law students.

Lawyers, you are the worst at valuing your colleagues time. You have a legal issue or question, you feel entitled to advice, case law, representation. You feel entitled to the extent that your appreciation is often nonexistent. You often want referrals to lawyers that will help you or your client for free because, well, now that you’ve been paid, there’s no more money.

Relax, I actually do have some examples….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Practice: So She Flipped Off A Judge, And Your Manners?”

If you can’t laugh at these defendants, then you can’t be a defense attorney. Or a prosecutor, most likely. You could be a judge, though — a judge with no sense of humor.

We’ve got a couple of stories today about defendants behaving very badly in court. Hilariously badly. “I could have walked out of this courtroom, but now I’m going to jail for contempt,” badly.

Looking at these two stories together will allow us to analyze one important question about courthouse etiquette: is it worse to flip off a judge, or to physically assault an attorney?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Punk Defendant Potpourri: Punching and Cursing in Court Will Get You Held in Contempt”

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