State Judges

People who love their dogs almost always love them forever… But with divorce rates at record highs, the same cannot always be said for those who marry.

– Justice Matthew Cooper, who will preside over New York’s first dog custody case. Two Washington Heights women are divorcing and both want custody of their dog “Joey.” When reached for comment, Joey licked his butt and stared intently at a discarded Chipotle wrapper.

Would you believe a state supreme court justice received a $50,000 trip to Italy from a lawyer who routinely appears before the court representing major clients?

Oh, it happened. And it could be happening a lot more often than you’d think because most states make it exceedingly difficult to discover. Every now and again someone will do important work pointing out that electing judges in an era of unfettered campaign contributions poses a significant risk to judicial integrity, and everyone will cluck their tongues, stroke their beards and wonder, “What’s to be done with this state court system?” A new study goes further and looks at the financial wheelings and dealings — and the lack of oversight they receive — of judges outside of election season.

How does your state court system fare?

Spoiler alert: Badly…

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If you’ve ever wondered what a difference your $150K+ legal education makes, watch a pro se litigant. If you’ve ever wondered what a difference your $150K+ legal education and a clean bill of mental health makes, watch this pro se litigant.

Pro se litigants are often entertaining with their hare-brained theories about law and fervent yet unwarranted conviction that everyone is out to get them. Ironically, pro se litigants tend to hate the judge most of all, even though the most frustrating part of litigating against a wingnut is the way judges bend over backward to help out — prolonging the inevitable while slowly bleeding your patience and your client’s wallet. But it’s rare to have video of one launching into a full tirade against a judge before storming out of the courtroom.

So what’s this guy’s deal?

(Be careful — on some computers the video just starts automatically so be prepared)

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Amanda Knox

* Oh baby (or the lack thereof): the Supreme Court has decided to take on two of the cases asserting religious challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate. [Blog of Legal Times]

* “[H]e has a Rolodex like a Ferris wheel.” Delaware’s Supreme Court Chief Justice is retiring from the bench to join Potter Anderson & Corroon, where that Rolodex will come in handy. [Wall Street Journal]

* Italian prosecutors think Amanda Knox should be convicted of murder (again) and given a 30-year sentence in a retrial she’s not even there for. This kind of sounds like it’d be a double-secret conviction. [CNN]

* With fall finals right around the corner, law students can take comfort in the fact that next week they’ll be soothed by therapy dogs — ones that’ll need therapy after dealing with law students. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If you’re considering applying to law school against all odds, you should determine when the right time to apply would be. Don’t listen to your parents, listen to your gut. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* If you haven’t heard, the Beastie Boys are having a copyright fight with toymaker GoldieBlox over a parody of the song “Girls” that’s been used in a commercial. Fair use? Decide after the jump. [NBC News]

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* At MSU Law, a couple of law professors are getting serious about figuring out how to leverage technology in the profession. They envision making legal hiring into “Moneyball” with MSU Law representing Oakland. So they plan to raise false hopes and ultimately fail too? [Lansing State Journal]

* A real estate attorney is hosting a boot camp to train slumlords. Yay? [SF Gate]

* If you never thought electing state judges was a matter of life and death, read this. [Huffington Post]

* Here’s a fun one: Should TheDirty.com be liable for encouraging readers to submit gossip? Our old friend Sarah Jones hopes so. [Forbes]

* The Steubenville rape case is back in the news after a grand jury has indicted four school officials for covering up the school’s infamous rape. [Jezebel]

* A couple of former Harvard Law roommates have a fashion startup called ShopRagHouse that allows customers to design their own clothes. They’re seeking some additional funding for their next collection with a Kickstarter campaign now. [Kickstarter]

* If you’re in New York and interested about legal careers in banking, swing by the Fordham Law amphitheater tonight from 6 to 8 for a free panel discussion featuring representatives from some of the largest banks in the world hosted by the Chinese Business Lawyers Association. [Eventbrite]

It’s Election Day today. Go vote. Go vote now, or make sure you go before the polls close. Whatever you are doing today isn’t as important as participating in your community. Sorry there’s no “president” on the ballot. Instead it’s just a bunch of local officials and local issues that affect your day-to-day life way more than the President of the United States. GO VOTE.

In New York, we’re going to elect a new mayor, I can only hope that Mike Bloomberg actually allows the new guy to take office.

But if you are going to vote in New York, make sure you flip the ballot over and vote on all the propositions. There are some fun things there: should we institute the regressive, idiot tax that is opening a casino? I say yes! We need money and regressive, idiot taxes are the only ones you can pass in this environment.

Gothamist has a good breakdown of all the New York ballot issues. But the one that’s most legally interesting is Proposition 6: raising the mandatory retirement age for judges to 80.

Eighty! That’s having somebody decide the latest issues in eDiscovery who was alive for D-Day.

Of course, judges are in favor of this…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Old Can Your Judges Be? Decide Today In New York.”

What better way to do it than with my wand? This is the best part of my day.

– Judge Cynthia Giuliani of the Clark County, Nevada Family Court, explaining why she decided to put her gavel aside on Halloween as she finalizes adoptions — because she thinks that “what adoption does for children actually is sort-of magical.”

Judges can irk you. Sometimes they mess up a decision and screw your client. Sometimes they’re almost negligently slow. Sometimes they turn out to be helping your adversary.

You want to complain about these judges, but you have to be very careful about how you do it because you may end up in front of them again and trial judges have almost tyrannical power to mess with you in court. Most judges — when they think no one is looking — practice Judge Dredd’s “I AM THE LAW!” into a mirror.

But if you’re a lawyer and you’re going to go ahead and criticize a judge, perhaps doing it publicly on a popular radio show isn’t the best option. Especially if it’s a radio show the judge listens to.

Well, that’s exactly what one lawyer decided to do.

Wouldn’t you know it, the judge was listening.

And then he called in.…

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* Chief Judge Philip P. Simon of the Northern District of Indiana has ruled that being a federal judge is better than being an equine semen collector. Agreed. [The Kentucky Trial Court Review]

* The Supreme Court lets tradition trump technology. Because if the Founders wanted cameras in the courtroom, they would have written it into the Constitution. [Washington Post]

* NBC is developing a TV show based on Shon Hopwood’s memoir Law Man (affiliate link). Could NBC have a watchable drama? [Variety]

* Congress keeps telling us the D.C. Circuit is not overworked. They’re wrong. [People for the American Way]

* A poem about the lawyer as shark. Wasn’t this a whole TV show once? [Poetic Justice]

* Legal education needs to adapt to reflect the fact that 50 percent of law students don’t intend to use their law degrees to work in traditional legal fields. In other words, legal education needs to adapt to people too stupid to figure out the only jobs that require a law degree are those in traditional legal fields. [New York Law Journal]

* Harvard is hosting an event on the “business of college sports.” You can learn all about the business of college sports from this video right here. [Sports Agent Blog]

* The judge who forced a family to change their baby’s name from “Messiah” is getting disciplined. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Flash mobs are disturbing enough without being composed entirely of lawyers. [Daily Report Online]

* Elie and Staci appeared on CNBC’s Power Lunch today to discuss the Orrick and Pillsbury merger talks and the Clifford Chance memo. Video embedded after the jump… [CNBC]

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* Police called in to find out who stole the Jell-O from the office fridge. I’m not sayin’, but Bill Cosby has been lurking around the copier. [Lowering the Bar]

* Notorious troll, Prenda Law, is hopping mad that its financial data might be entered into evidence. It has a bunch of (conflicting) reasons why this shouldn’t happen. [Ars Technica]

* New York now has a law protecting child models. The fashion industry will have to be content only torturing adults with body dysmorphic disorder. [Fashionista]

* San Francisco is adopting e-filing. Unfortunately, the system may carry with it a stain akin to a poll tax. [Post & Found]

* How to dazzle at meetings — without wearing glitter. [Corporette]

* The proposed amendment to raise the retirement ages of judges doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. [WiseLawNY]

* With all the talk about whether law reviews are worth it or not, here’s a gathering of major law review publishing agreements. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Why aren’t more women rising to the top of Biglaw? [The Broad Experience]

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