State Judges

When we last checked in with the justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, one justice stood accused of allegedly choking a bitch in chambers (no, not the “total bitch” that he had previously threatened to “destroy” — another one). Although the kerfuffle did not result in any criminal charges, it seems that Justice David Prosser isn’t as charismatic as Wayne Brady, because now he’s facing possible ethics sanctions over the two incidents.

What did the outspoken justice have to say about the request for sanctions?

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It’s time to crown February’s Lawyer of the Month. Yes, we realize that it’s a little late to be conducting a poll for February, but we’d still like to give our candidates a chance to extend their 15 minutes of fame (or infamy).

Last month, we saw some wacky antics from judges and former Biglaw associates, and some lawyering that has the potential to rock the world of legal education for the rest of time.

That being said, let’s check out our nominees for the month of February….

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* A photoshopped image that liberals will love: John Yoo as Dirty Harry. [Ricochet]

* Lawyers are people too. They get scared, and sometimes they suffer bad car wrecks. Unfortunately, sometimes, to be able to see life from the client’s eyes, it takes understanding in a car crash. [Stephen Hoffman]

* Fix-it ticket, fixing a ticket. What’s the difference? I’m a judge. Whatever, whatever, I do what I want. [Winston-Salem Journal]

* With the impending arrival of spring also comes the ABA Journal’s annual peep diorama contest. I would be terrible at it, because all the candy chickens would be missing their heads. Because I ate them. [ABA Journal]

* A Wisconsin-based look at the new U.S. news rankings. [Althouse]

* Squeezing insider trading information from the person you are supposed to be sponsoring in Alcoholics Anonymous is probably not the best way to help them beat their addiction. [Dealbreaker]


The nameplate is like only $40, not that big of a crime, but what an idiot. He puts it on Facebook.

Al Lamberti, Broward County Sheriff, commenting on the pictorial evidence supplied by Steven Mulhall, a young Florida man who stands accused of stealing Judge Michael Orlando’s courtroom nameplate.

As much as some people glorify being a “Jack of all trades,” the truth is that in order to succeed, most professionals have to specialize. After all, the full idiom is actually “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

At a certain point in a person’s career, if he really wants to go somewhere, he must become an expert at something specific and be able to do that one thing better than anyone else. No one wants to get complacent, but at some point work hopefully becomes comfortable.

And that’s what makes Judge Ann Pfau’s story so intriguing and unique. The 64-year-old was, until recently, the chief administrative judge for the State of New York. But late last year, after massive budget cuts, the lifelong administrator ended up as a trial judge, “in the gray courthouse that hulks next to Brooklyn Borough Hall like some weird tribute to bleak Soviet architecture.”

Talk about an unexpected career move…

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Ex-judge of the day, David E. Barrett.


I don’t even know where to begin with this, so let’s just play it straight:

Last week, a now ex-judge in Georgia pulled out a handgun during a bond hearing, pretended to hand it to an alleged rape victim who was testifying, and said she was “killing her case” and “might as well shoot” her lawyer.

What?

I wish this was a joke or a hoax story. But no, it actually happened.

Keep reading to find out who this former judge is (spoiler: it’s not Rooster Cogburn) and why he pulled his piece in court…

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Zombie Mohammed

What can we say? Around these parts, we enjoy talking about zombies. Zombies that usher in the apocalypse. Zombies that can do document review. Even zombie law firms.

So let’s discuss what everyone else is discussing: the “Zombie Mohammed” case. Earlier this month, Judge Mark W. Martin dismissed a harassment charge against Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim man who allegedly attacked Ernie Perce, an atheist who was dressed up as “Zombie Muhammad.” The incident took place during last year’s Halloween parade in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Since news of the ruling became public, things have gone crazy. Let’s discuss, and take an opinion poll….

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If I were in charge, people would look forward to getting one of these.

For my entire life, Republicans have been telling me government doesn’t work. It’s not true, government works just fine: taxes get collected, snow gets removed, communism gets toppled.

Government works, it’s just extremely inefficient. It’s bureaucratic. It’s unable to effectively deal with exceptions. It wastes time.

The waste of time is an unforgivable sin to most Americans. We believe that time is money. We believe our time is our own. We hate when somebody else wastes our time. When the state does it — at the DMV, or at the post office — we’re likely to blow a gasket.

Watching people’s faces in the jury room is like watching time itself being ripped away from people. And half of the people in here have the Liam Neeson face like they’re about to talk to the time thieves and say: “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

Does jury duty have to be like this?

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* Apparently attorneys at a “prestigious firm” in Washington, D.C. are fans of hobo hunting. What the hell does that mean? Well, there’s an app for that (one that Apple has rejected three times for its outrageous offensiveness). [VICE]

* “I want to (blank) Michelle Bachmann in her (blank) with a Vietnam era machete.” First of all: eww. Second of all: not a proper use of Twitter. Third of all: this is going before a grand jury. [Suits & Sentences / McClatchy]

* When your kid is an alleged aficionado of pilfered products, it helps to have friends in high places — like judges who look like Christopher McDonald and expect people to respect his authoritah. [Houston Chronicle]

Justice Jim Sharp

* I don’t think “gunner” means what you think it means. A 1L from Osgoode Hall Law in Toronto is accused of shooting up a residence hall with a 12-gauge Remington 870 shotgun. O Canada! [CityNews]

* It’s been a while since we wrote about law license plates, but just in case you’re thinking of getting vanity plates that read “NO TAGS,” don’t do it. You could get $20K in tickets like this clever guy. [Legal Blog Watch]

* FYI: you can only sometimes get away with paying kids to slap you in the face and pee on you. The rest of the time, you’re going to jail. [Legal Juice]

I have successfully avoided jury duty since I moved back to New York in 2003, but this week they finally caught up with me. This week, I’ve had to perform my civic responsibility of sitting in judgment of my peers (like I don’t do that enough already).

Sorry, I had to “be available” to sit in judgement of my peers. Nobody is ever going to pick me for a jury. I blog about law for a living, hold two Harvard degrees, and have a checkered past. I’m not getting impaneled. Instead, I was just looking forward to the rare business day when I didn’t have to invent an opinion or listen to “the internet” pontificate on my weight.

Then the lady who seemed to be in charge of the proceedings told me that I was looking forward to three days of that. I went to protest, but Nurse Ratched told me to sit down and wait for my lobotomy. So i started paying attention to my surroundings — because blogging is how I cope with the slings and arrows of outrageous people asking me to behave like a normal person.

I’ll deal more directly with Nurse Ratched at another time. Today I got an up-close look at the voir dire process in a criminal trial. While I was not picked, I feel like my McMurphy-esque fingerprints will be all over the case.

Let’s take a look inside our clearly broken jury system…

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