In a criminal case in federal court, if you are acquitted at trial of almost all of the charges against you, you can still be sentenced as though you were convicted of all of the charges against you, when the judge disagrees with the jury’s decision. That is off-the-rails crazy.
The point of a trial, of course, is to figure out if someone is going to go to prison for doing something. The jury’s decision about what a person did should be what controls what crime the person is sentenced for committing. Yet that’s not what judges do.
But that’s a judge using her power to set a sentence while respecting the decision of a jury. She accepts what the jury decided, then takes that into account — in addition to other things — when imposing sentence.
When a judge gives someone more time in prison based on something that a jury already decided the person wasn’t guilty of, it’s very different. That’s an insult to the jury and is really hard to square with how the law of federal sentencing has been developing lately.
This week, the Supreme Court had a chance to fix that. It didn’t.
The white-collar bar is a varied and wonderful thing.
On one hand, there are the large-firm players — the FCPA mongers and the folks doing criminal antitrust work who fly all over the globe representing clients in lucrative conference room litigation that will rarely see a courtroom.
These cases are well-funded. Even if the client has a higher chance of French kissing the Chief Justice during the State of the Union address than of being indicted, as long as he’s indemnified by a large company, many firms will do everything they possibly can to be completely and fully ready for an indictment that will never come. I haven’t yet heard of a mock jury for a client in an investigation that isn’t going to be indicted, but I think that’s only because no one has thought it up yet. (And, to my friends currently representing such indemnified clients, you’re very welcome for the suggestion.)
For these folks, attorney-client privilege exists and is relatively easy to preserve. It’s good to be pre-indictment and it’s good to be indemnified.
But, for the rest of the folks accused of white-collar crimes, our Department of Justice is only too happy to make folks choose between a preserved attorney-client privilege and the Sixth Amendment.
It’s a brutal attack on an attorney running for governor, blasting him for representing criminal defendants. How can he protect battered women when he helped their abusers beat the rap? How indeed. Oh, and it’s not just that he helped their abusers, he did so for money. Because counseling the accused for fees in this country is where all the money is. It’s a seedy racket no way at all as admirable as, I don’t know, lobbying elected officials for political favors at the expense of the citizenry. If only this guy was smart enough to take hundreds of thousands to poison rivers and streams he wouldn’t be such a scumbag.
This ad is just goddamned brilliant at connecting the disingenuous dots for the easily duped.
And this message was “approved” — ultimately — by a former prosecutor who’s now being investigated by the office he once led….
* There’s a guy called the “Good-Grammar Bandit” out there and he’s a high priority target of the FBI? Allow me to take this opportunity to tell the FBI their doing a good job. [Lowering the Bar]
* Some folks have asked me incredulously about yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs item about Louisiana and Oregon allowing convictions with non-unanimous juries. So here’s some background on how that came to be. [Constitutional Accountability Center]
* Speaking of Louisiana, a lawyer has filed suit against Morris Bart, a major personal injury law firm, for unpaid wages. From what we’re hearing this may be the tip of the iceberg for these sorts of allegations — lots of people have been leaving the firm recently and that’s a recipe for complaints going both ways. [Louisiana Record]
* Florida may not regulate real guns any time soon, but one 11th Circuit judge is ready to regulate the hell out of shotgun pleadings! [South Florida Lawyers Blog]
* Lawyers are bad at social media. They’re bad at social reality, why did we expect them to be good at social virtuality? [CMS Wire]
* ADA’s father was kidnapped (and recovered). Yikes. [WRAL]
* A look at the legal issues in the most recent episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you saw it (and Captain America to the extent they are intertwined), you know there were some heavy legal issues at play. [Legal Geeks]
* Want to see a really terrible version of 12 Angry Men? Watch it in Louisiana or Oregon, the two states that allow criminal convictions even when jurors are holding out. The Supreme Court has an opportunity to fix that, let’s see if they will. [Constitutional Accountability Center]
* Speaking of 12 Angry Men, this chart of the Dungeons & Dragons alignments of each juror is entertaining. [Imgur]
* The judge in the Janice and Ira Schacter kerfuffle invoked Above the Law in her decision as proof that the accusations against Ira Schacter were in the public eye. Thanks for specifically promoting us over the rest of the NY media Justice Laura Drager! [NY Post]
* Watch a bunch of law students talk about cats on Facebook. Will it end in douchebag posturing and threats of lawsuits? Of course it will! [Legal Cheek]
* “Volunteer Liquor Commissioner” was disciplined for operating a Facebook page for people complaining about the police. He’s suing. Better question is what does a “Volunteer Liquor Commissioner” even do? [IT-Lex]
* Allegations that Disney ripped off the trailer for Frozen from an animated short. They should really let it go. [Hollywood Reporter]
* Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP. The IRS decided to keep going with the old product. So now your tax records are at risk. Enjoy the fruits of budgeting with anti-IRS legislators! [TaxProf Blog]
* So much for occupying the court system, eh? This judge won’t budge on dismissals, and more than half of the OWS protesters who appeared in court yesterday accepted an offer over going to trial. [Bloomberg]
Facebook’s lawyers have been looking for a rumble over the company’s responsibility to turn over user account information in legal cases. Now they’ve got one, thanks to a California juror and his grandstanding defense attorney.
The case stems from a gang violence criminal trial. Members of the Killa Mobb were being tried for a 2008 attack on a San Francisco man at a gas station. One of the 12 angry apathetic men in the jury box, Arturo Ramirez, posted to Facebook during the course of the trial that it was “boring.” Now the Killa Mobb’s defense attorneys want to get a hold of those postings, and any responses from Ramirez’s friends, to prove that he may have been biased — so the Mobb members can get a new trial.
Facebook refused to turn over Ramirez’s information, citing a 1986 law that protects Americans’ electronic communications. Ramirez originally told the Sacramento Bee that he was willing to turn the status messages over, but that was before he linked up with his own defense attorney, Ken Rosenfeld, who looks like he might like a little media attention. Rosenfeld’s now planning to fight tooth and nail to keep his client’s Facebook privacy settings high…
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.