Trayvon Martin

* Supreme Court justices employ more strident language in dissents. We didn’t really need a study to prove that justices get salty when they lose. We could just watch Scalia invoke Godwin’s Law. [Washington Post]

* Last year, Ryan Braun, proclaiming innocence, successfully appealed his suspension for steroid use. Right now Braun’s appeal seems a bit disingenuous. [Sports Illustrated]

* Bipolar man who pretended to be a lawyer sentenced to three years. How will he pay off his fake law school debt? [New York Post]

* U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland has enjoined North Dakota’s new abortion law. Turns out it wasn’t viable. [USA Today]

* In the wake of Hollingsworth, Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson forged his own modern family when he married lawyer Justin Mikita over the weekend. [Los Angeles Times]

* Rachel Jeantel, the controversial prosecution witness from the George Zimmerman trial, says the experience has inspired her to become a lawyer. That’s an unfortunate lesson to take from the trial. [Newsone]

* The most interesting thing about the decline of Biglaw is how long a completely nonsensical business model persisted. [Slate]

* USDA requiring a magician to develop a disaster plan for his rabbit. I don’t think this is such a bad idea — have you ever seen Bullwinkle? [Lowering the Bar]

* The Middle Class is disappearing in the country. Why can’t we get a disaster plan for them like we have for that rabbit? [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Patton Boggs is rebooting. Just like when a TV show adds a long-lost cousin in season 8, this isn’t a sign of weakness at all. [Politico]

* President Obama, speaking of the Trayvon Martin case, notes: “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store. And that includes me.” See, he was uniquely prepared for the job of being followed by security guys EVERYWHERE. The difference, of course, is he knows these guys aren’t going to shoot him. [NBC Politics]

* A Miami firm is suing LexisNexis for “deceptive” fees. If they’re going to litigate this case, they’d better hope their Westlaw bill is paid in full. [Miami New Times]

* The reporter’s privilege had a bad day. After all that’s been revealed in the last couple months, let’s all agree it’s only newsworthy when the reporter’s privilege has a good day. [PrawfsBlawg]

In fairness, only one legal story dominated the week. The Zimmerman verdict provided a new twist daily. It even got Kim Kardashian involved, which was a relief to the unwashed masses waiting to hear how a spoiled sex-tape star would react to a verdict at the intersection of race and gun policy.

But the most newsworthy verdict in years was not the only thing happening this week, regardless of what CNN would like you to believe…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “3 Legal Stories That Dominated the Week”


Trayvon Martin

It’s not just about the Trayvon Martin case. Now it’s about your kids. It’s about other kids. What do we tell our sons?

Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, whose first thoughts after learning of George Zimmerman’s fate were of “shock” and “disgust,” in a moving interview with Good Morning America. This is the first time Martin’s parents have spoken out since Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in the death of their son. They are still weighing their options with regard to a civil suit.

Angela Corey

After much fanfare surrounding her arrival on the case, Angela Corey really had very little to do with the George Zimmerman trial. Maybe she wanted to steer clear of a case she expected to lose. Maybe she was too busy pursuing the much easier case to convict a woman who intentionally missed someone.

Angela Corey’s next high profile case is actually eerily similar to the Zimmerman trial. Or perhaps it’s more fair to say disturbingly similar, since it suggests Florida has way too many “guy makes racist statements then shoots black teenagers” cases…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Florida’s Next ‘Black Kid Killed By White Gunman’ Case Is Already Here!”

Jodi Arias

* Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder took a much needed break from attempting to prosecute NSA data-leaker Edward Snowden to “strongly condemn” Stand Your Ground laws in a speech given to the NAACP. [Washington Post]

* So much for “caus[ing] it all.” Disgraced Illinois politician Rod Blagojevich is appealing his conviction and 14-year prison sentence to the Seventh Circuit, and he was this close to missing the midnight filing deadline. [NBC News]

* Yes, Virginia, there’s a law school crisis at hand, but only second- and third-tier schools seem to have been affected. Please don’t worry your pretty little head about the HYS strand; they’re doing just fine. [Businessweek]

* But speaking of highly ranked law schools, are there any reputable institutions of legal education that fall outside of the T14, but are just as good? Apparently there are, are here are the top five. [Policymic]

* Is Marty Singer, lawyer to the stars, guilty of extortion for allegedly threatening to expose a TV host’s sexual liaisons via lawsuit? According to this judge, he isn’t. [Hollywood, Esq. / Hollywood Reporter]

* Amid all of the rage over the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, people seem to have forgotten that Jodi Arias is back in court this week. I, for one, hope the femme fatale grew out her bangs. [ABC News]

Before the George Zimmerman verdict, I said that the case had nothing to do with Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. I said this because Zimmerman and his attorneys were not arguing “Stand Your Ground.” Stand Your Ground has to do with Florida’s wild west approach to the duty to retreat. Florida extends the castle doctrine to public spaces. To take the legalese out of it, Stand Your Ground simply means that if you are attacked in public, you don’t have to run, even if you can safely and reasonably do so. You can stand and fight, meet force with force, and shoot to kill if you fear for your life or a serious injury.

But that wasn’t the case Zimmerman was making. He argued that he had no opportunity to reasonably and safely escape anyway, so it was a simple issue of self-defense. Stand Your Ground had nothing to do with it.

Anyway, I wrote that, and then an hour later, the judge gave jury instructions ripped right from the Stand Your Ground statute. And now the idiot juror B37 is going on television talking about how Zimmerman had a right to stand his ground, so what do I know? It’s my fault for even thinking for a second that the people of Florida could apply their own laws correctly.

So, I agreed to go onto HuffPost Live and debate whether Stand Your Ground laws are essentially a “license to kill.” Interestingly, one of the people on the panel was a Florida state representative who accepted the challenge of defending Florida’s statute….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Florida Lawmaker Stands His Ground Against Me Over ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law”

* The Zimmerman verdict allows us to sit back and reflect on how bad Atticus Finch really was at his job. [Criminal Defense Blog]

* In case you’d forgotten about the shenanigans at Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, here’s your update: a former employee has been charged for promising students more scholarships than the school had. Rick Pitino needs to show the law school how to work within scholarship limits. [Courier-Journal]

* State licensing boards are trying to put the kibosh on advice columnists. Next thing you know, they’ll be trying to shut down Dr. Demento. [Lexington Herald-Leader]

* Fun with patents: Monkey Dog Saddle! [Lowering the Bar]

* Transgendered workers are successfully challenging workplace discrimination using the Civil Rights Act. These sound like cases Justice Alito will get right on overturning. [Buzzfeed]

* McDonald’s is trying to show how it provides its employees a living wage. It just requires working a second job for a total of between 62-74 hours. No biggie. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

My heart goes out to Trayvon Martin’s family & loved ones. Thought & prayers being sent their way #NoJustice

– Reality star Kim Kardashian, expressing her sympathies on Twitter after the George Zimmerman verdict was announced. She was slapped with a swift backlash by the public because her late father, Robert Kardashian, played a role in O.J. Simpson’s acquittal by serving on the athlete’s defense team.

The fallout from the Zimmerman trial continues. A lot of digital ink has been spilled (including on this very site) arguing the meaning of the verdict in the context of race and the law.

Beyond the “Grrr! Murderer!” or “Derp! Self-defense!” discussion, the trial offers an opportunity to examine how the sausage of a verdict is made.

Juror B37, one of the illustrious six who acquitted George Zimmerman, had a meteoric rise — and subsequent fall — over the last 24 hours. B37 is the only juror to speak publicly about the verdict, and notwithstanding your feelings about the result, her tale highlights how lawyers consistently misunderstand the psychology of jurors, especially women jurors, and how juries take the carefully crafted jury instructions judges and lawyers spend hours poring over and go their own way…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Rise and Fall of Juror B37 and How Verdicts Are Made”

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