Shirley Strickland Saffold

Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold

Ohio judge Shirley Strickland Saffold got Judge of the Day honors here last month for nasty comments made anonymously on the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s website by someone with the handle “Lawmiss.” After Lawmiss made a comment about the mental state of a relative of a reporter, the reporter decided to find out who the person behind the account was. The AOL email address associated with the account was Judge Saffold’s. The Dealer outed her, running a story about all the things Lawmiss had said about trials Saffold had overseen and about specific attorneys, defendants, and other judges.

Saffold denied making the comments. Instead, Judge’s Saffold’s 23-year-old daughter claimed she was the one snipping about the antics in her mom’s courtroom, saying that she shares the AOL email address with her mother. The Plain Dealer got a hold of the browser history from Saffold’s courtroom computer, though, and discovered that she had accessed certain articles at the same time that Lawmiss made comments on them, which made her denials seem a bit dubious.

One of the attorneys described by Lawmiss as a “buffoon” with an “Amos and Andy mouth” is currently appearing before Judge Saffold, defending Anthony Sowell, an alleged serial killer. He has filed multiple motions that Saffold recuse herself from the case. She both refused to step down and sued the Plain Dealer for $50 million for invasion of her, ahem, daughter’s privacy. Saffold wrote to the court yesterday arguing that she not be removed from the case.

The Ohio Supreme Court was not convinced, though…

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* Outed commenter Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold is suing the Cleveland Plain Dealer for $50 million. [Associated Press]

* Sex-addicted paralegal gets shafted by New York City. [New York Post]

* Lindsay Lohan’s lawsuit against E-Trade over a milkaholic baby is preventing that baby’s voice from getting paid. [New York Post via Gothamist]

* Photographers are the latest group to sue Google’s digital Library of Alexandria. [Wall Street Journal; Wired]

* Judge goes overboard in punishing man with overdue DVD. [Denver Post]

* Twitter for Dummies (at law firms). [Stem]

* So how did Judge of the Day Shirley Strickland Saffold get outed anyway? Well, it started with some hurtful anonymous comments. [On the Media]

* Wait a minute, you’re saying that playing football could cause head injuries that lead to dementia? But the game looks so peaceful. Why weren’t we informed of this? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Why would you pay extra money in rent for a man to hold the door open and spy on you every time you enter or exit your building? [True/Slant]

* Virginia declares April to be “Confederate History Month.” That’s a great thing. It’s about time Virginians learned that they actually lost the Civil War. [Huffington Post]

* Let’s say you aced the job interview. What’s the best way to follow up? [Law.com]

* The Brennan Center for Justice has a very good legal book review website going. Hey, it’s not like the Times Book Review has the space to give these books the coverage they deserve. [Brennan Center for Justice: Just Books]

* Lat, Elie, and Kash want to drink with you. Don’t forget to sign up for our summer kick-off party. [Above the Law]


* Virtual offices unethical? [New Jersey Law Journal via ABA Journal]

* Lil Wayne has a lil’ prison blog. [Gothamist]

* Goodwin Liu bares it all. [Confirm Goodwin]

* Former Judge of the Day Shirley Strickland Saffold refuses to step down in Ohio serial killer case. [Associated Press]

* New York personal injury attorney Marc Bernstein admits to stealing $2.2 million from his clients’ settlement money. [Business Week]

* Dennis Hopper: dying and divorcing. [BBC News]

* Duke Law students have an excuse to be douchey today. [ESPN]

Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold (aka Lawmiss?)

When weighing in on cases, it’s best for judges to limit their opinions to their Opinions. They’ve been warned before to be careful on Facebook and on blogs they author. But the case of Ohio judge, Shirley Strickland Saffold, shows they should exercise caution with anonymous online commentary as well.

An online commenter named “lawmiss” registered on the Cleveland Plain Dealer website with Judge Saffold’s AOL e-mail address in 2007. Since then, Lawmiss has had some critical things to say on articles about cases that came before Judge Saffold.

In one, Lawmiss threw one of the attorneys defending a bus driver in a vehicular homicide case… well, under the bus. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“Rufus Sims did a disservice to his client,” the Nov. 21, 2009, post reads. “If only he could shut his Amos and Andy style mouth. What makes him think that is [sic] he insults and acts like buffon [sic] that it will cause the judge to think and see it his way. There are so many lawyers that could’ve done a much better job. This was not a tough case, folks. [The bus driver] should’ve hired a lawyer with the experience to truly handle her needs. Amos and Andy, shuffling around did not do it.”

Sims is now appearing before Judge Saffold defending, in the words of one of our tipsters, “the most notorious serial killer in Cleveland history,” Anthony Sowell. Sims is not pleased to see this evidence of possible bias against him.

When accused by the Dealer of making these comments, Judge Saffold threw her daughter under the bus. Sydney Saffold, 23, “a one-time law student” claims she made the comments associated with her mom’s account.

Judge’s children might lie, but a computer’s browser activity history doesn’t…

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