- California, Elena Kagan, Immigration, Money, Morning Docket, Partner Issues, Pornography, SCOTUS, Student Loans, Supreme Court
- Celebrities, Food, Gay Marriage, Hair, Hotties, Kids, Morning Docket, Old People, Pregnancy / Paternity, Texas, Weddings, Women's Issues
* Things are getting hairy for Kim Kardashian, and not just because she’s Armenian. A hair removal company is suing her, saying she’s lying about how she gets all of that hair off her body. [Fox News]
Let’s see what else the ladies are up to this morning….
- Facebook, Football, Immigration, Kids, Morning Docket, Nauseating Things, Real Estate, Trademarks, Women's Issues
* Alabama “welcomes visitors,” but reserves the right to question their papers. The state won’t get the chance to show visitors this kind of southern hospitality any time soon thanks to an injunction. [CNN]
* Someone in the Facebook marketing department must have realized that there’s no publicity like free publicity, because the company’s trademark battle with parody site Lamebook is over. [The Recorder]
* Guys at my high school used to sext nasty pictures to 13-year-old girls all the time, it was no big deal. It’s only a big deal when one of the guys is the high school’s assistant football coach. [Los Angeles Times]
From partner to pedophile. From Super Lawyer to Super Creep. It’s time for an update on the story of Aaron Biber, the high-profile Minneapolis lawyer who was going to be the next president of the Minnesota State Bar Association but is now going to be a prison inmate. For a very long time.
Aaron Biber first appeared on our radar screen in December 2009, when we named him a Lawyer of the Day. At the time, Biber — a partner at the prominent Minnesota firm of Gray Plant Mooty, and co-chair of its antitrust practice — was charged with molesting a 15-year-old boy.
The charges were true, and Biber pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct back in July. Last week, Biber was sentenced.
What kind of sentence did he get? And what additional disturbing details have emerged about his heinous crime?
Guess we won’t have Kenneth Kratz to kick around anymore. Kratz, aka the Sexting District Attorney, will soon step down as DA of Calumet County, Wisconsin. According to his attorney, Kratz’s resignation will take place before October 8, the date set for his removal hearing. The news was reported on Tuesday by the Associated Press.
Losing his post as chief prosecutor will definitely cramp Kratz’s dating style. He’ll forfeit his high-profile job and its $105,000 salary. He’ll no longer be able to hit on women victims seeking help from his office by sending them text messages that read “Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA?” and “I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!”
And no more romantic dates at the medical examiner’s, either.
On a more serious note, one aspect of Kratz’s conduct in particular merits special condemnation….
A domestic violence victim who turned to Kratz’s office for help claims that the DA sexually harassed her via numerous text messages, trying to convince her to have an affair with him. One of his texts read, in pertinent part, “I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!”
(Someone should put that on a t-shirt: “You may be hot, but I am the prize!”)
Alas, the recipient of Kratz’s “I am the prize” text may not be the only woman he harassed. Two other women have come forward with allegations against the district attorney — and one of them claims Kratz has some weird ideas about what constitutes a fun date….
Everyone thinks of Midwesterners as so wholesome. Perhaps this perception is unfounded.
For example, why are Wisconsin lawyers so darn horny? First there were the Biglaw Bad Boys, accused of sexual assault. Now we’re hearing about a government lawyer — an elected district attorney, in fact — who apparently let his libido get the best of him.
Here’s the story: Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz sent a flurry of text messages to a woman, 30 texts over three days, in an effort to start up an affair with her. The woman, who described Kratz’s harassing texts as putting her through “three days of hell,” was a victim of domestic abuse. Kratz met the woman in course of prosecuting her ex-boyfriend for the violence against her.
OMG. Legal ethics FAIL.
Today the Supreme Court decided City of Ontario v. Quon, a very important privacy case regarding a California SWAT officer who argued that the text messages sent on his work pager were entitled to privacy. The case has gained fame for two reasons — because oral argument revealed that the Supreme Justices are not very tech savvy, and because journalists and Court watchers saw this case as a sign of whether we’re entitled to privacy in our communications and emails on work devices (relevant to everyone who uses a work-issued Blackberry for occasional personal email).
The SWAT officer, Sergeant Jeff Quon, is out of luck. The Court decided that the police department’s search of his steamy text messages was reasonable (and reversed the Ninth Circuit, which had held otherwise). Today’s SCOTUS ruling led to headlines like this one from Joan Biskupic at ABC News: High court: Texts on government gear not private.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the Court’s opinion [PDF] in the case, hoped not to see headlines like that….
Yesterday, I paid a visit to the Supreme Court to sit in on oral argument for City of Ontario v. Quon. The case is about a California SWAT officer who alleged that his privacy and constitutional rights were violated when his superiors reviewed the messages he sent out on his work-issued pager. A good number of them had more to do with scheduling sex romps with his girlfriend and estranged wife than housing raids.
The facts in the case make it complicated enough to warrant SCOTUS review. But what seemed especially complicated to The Nine were the technological issues.
Stepping into One First Street is like stepping back into the 1950s. No Blackberries or electronic devices allowed. No cameras (in spite of C-SPAN’s fervent wishes). The most technologically advanced items in the courtroom are the microphones. So it seemed appropriate then that many of the justices’ questions strayed away from reasonable expectations of privacy and proper searches, and got into how exactly texting works…
As Quinn Emanuel folks are well aware (“CHECK YOU EMAILS”), there are many employees out there who are expected to be chained to their work at all times. The BlackBerry goes to bed with you, and not just because of its vibrate function. Sometimes the bedroom talk makes its way onto the BlackBerry.
Such was the case for Jeff Quon, a SWAT officer in California. He was fired after his lieutenant read hundreds of steamy text messages sent from Quon’s work pager. Quon sued the police department, arguing that the search of his texts was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.
Funny, we didn’t know SWAT officers even knew that there was a Fourth Amendment.
Now SCOTUS will be weighing in on privacy rights for personal communications on work-issued devices. Emily Bazelon sketches out the case’s path to One First Street over at Slate:
In June 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with [Quon]. He had a reasonable expectation of privacy, the court said, given what his supervisor told him about paying for extra messages — the department’s “operational reality.” The court also found that there were other, less intrusive ways for the police chief to figure out whether Quon was frittering away his time: Warning him ahead of time to quit sending so many messages, asking him to count the characters himself, or asking him to cross out the personal parts before the department reviewed them.
This ruling, by Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw for a panel of three judges, implicitly recognizes that company pagers and e-mail accounts often turn into personal ones.
Should Quon be protected against the eyes of the boss, and in this case the law, reading the responses to “What R U wearing?”