Trials

We’re a little bit late with April’s lawyer of the month reader poll. First of all, we’ve been doing a lot of reader voting so far in this month. (There are still a few hours for you to vote in our Law Revue Video Contest.)

The other reason why we’re a bit delinquent this month is because we think we know who is going to win. It’s not every day that a recent law grad finds himself trying a murder case — and getting reprimanded by the judge for “lack[ing] knowledge of proper trial procedure.”

Such is life during the Obama “recovery.” Check out this month’s nominees below…

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Don't sucker punch David Prater.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater: you, sir, are poised to receive the coveted “everybody now knows you’re a bad ass” award. Expect your phone call from Badass-in-Chief President Obama shortly.

The story from the Oklahoman (gavel bang: ABA Journal) starts off in scary fashion. A defendant, Emanuel “E Man” Mitchell, took a swing at prosecutor Prater, after the jury found E-Man guilty of felony murder. Prater never saw the punch coming.

But that wasn’t the end of the fight….

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After seven days of deliberations, one juror in the insider trading trial of Raj Rajaratnam has been dismissed, for unspecified medical reasons. An alternate has been seated, but this means the jury has to begin its deliberations anew. The original jurors must be thrilled.

Let’s hope that the dismissed juror was a holdout (either way). The suspense is killing us!

Readers: Any predictions on how this will turn out? Will celebrated criminal defense lawyer John Dowd — who successfully represented the fabulous Monica Goodling, among others — pull this off? Or will the prosecutors of the legendary S.D.N.Y. get their man?

Did Raj Rajaratnam Rub His Athlete’s Foot All Over A Just Dismissed Juror? [Dealbreaker]
Rajaratnam Trial, Take 2 [WSJ Law Blog]

I don't think anybody needed to hear testimony from this guy.

As you might have heard, United States special forces killed Osama Bin Laden. Let’s take a moment to be happy about that, but also to remember Bin Laden’s many, many victims.

Thank God he was killed, not “captured.” If he had been captured, there would have been some kind of trial. Some kind of fake, orchestrated, television show of a trial. Lawyers, judges, and others would have danced around trying to give Osama bin Laden the appearance of a fair hearing before his inevitable execution. It would have been a farce — a farce that our military and/or civilian courts are not equipped to handle.

Better for Bin Laden to meet his end as he did: via a double tap from a Navy Seal….

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I hate you, I’m not telling you a thing.

John Dowd, leading criminal defense attorney and Akin Gump partner, responding (or not responding) to reporters’ inquiries about the whereabouts of his client, Raj Rajaratnam. The jury in Rajaratnam’s insider trading trial is still deliberating.

After four days of deliberating over whether or not former baseball great Barry Bonds lied about his use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, the jury could not reach agreement on a number of charges the government made against Bonds.

But the feds nailed him on the obstruction of justice count. From ESPN:

The guilty verdict on obstruction of justice means the jury believed Bonds hindered a grand jury’s 2003 sports doping investigation by lying.

The judge, after speaking to the jury foreman, said she believes the mistrial is the proper decision given that the jury believes it has reached a crossroads.

Below are some instant reactions….

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Judge Eric Melgren (D. Kansas)

A trial was scheduled to start in Kansas federal court on June 14, 2011. Defendants moved for a short continuance because one of their lawyers is expecting his first child on July 3. (The lawyer in question, Bryan Erman, is quite cute — check out that chin dimple.)

Plaintiffs’ counsel objected to the continuance — strenuously. This took Judge Eric Melgren by surprise. And not in a good way.

Judge Melgren granted the continuance — and took the opportunity to benchslap the lawyers who refused to consent….

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Raj Rajaratnam

* Raj Rajaratnam’s got a cute insider trading friend named Octopussy. Maybe he’s been doing some other insider trading, if you know what I mean. [Bloomberg]

* Florida redefines “beating it.” It may be time to reconsider things if you’re paying $2.99 to watch a hate crime with your pants off. Come on, at least look into some free porn. [Washington Post]

* Speaking of beating it, here’s a memo to file for John Branca from Katherine Jackson: she doesn’t wanna see your face, you better disappear. [Newark Star-Ledger]

* Listen, Frank, Bingham might be trying to “defend conduct that is indefensible,” but you were thinking about trading Chad Billingsley. Give me a break. [NBC Sports]

* Google v. Government. The DOJ isn’t buying what Google’s selling because Microsoft is a little bit less evil, and a little bit more FISMA compliant. [Los Angeles Times]

* Nothing says corporate equality for women lawyers like a picture of a woman in a fugly suit trapped inside of a dog cage. [The Careerist]

Jeff Skilling

* Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s appeal was denied by the Fifth Circuit. While he remains the smartest guy in the room, the room consists of him and a half-wit cellmate whose only discernible talent is making Prune-o. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Bruce Fein, an attorney who worked on Clinton’s impeachment and called for Bush’s impeachment as well, has drafted articles of impeachment for Barack Obama. His high crime and misdemeanor? Time theft. [Politico]

* An Ohio man has been charged with a misdemeanor for barking at a police dog. When asked why he was barking at the female dog, the man calmly replied, “Bitch owes me money.” [CBS News]

Raj Rajaratnam

* The government rested its case in the Raj Rajaratnam trial yesterday. Of additional note is the fact that Rajabba sits ten feet behind his defense table, partially obstructed from the jury box. You can’t completely block Rajabba from view. You can only wish to contain him. [New York Times]

* The government has warned attorneys for former Madoff employees not to use money that might be associated with Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. That includes, for their own health, any ass pennies. [ABA Journal]

* The Fourth Circuit rules in favor of a pundit-professor, in a case about the free speech rights of faculty members at public universities. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Charlie Sheen is trying to trademark his catchphrases now. He’s overexposed like a frostbitten penis — is there anything funny left to say about him at this point? (We might try; check in later.) [Forbes]

Honestly, I don’t understand why people hate jury duty so much. What’s the big deal? You don’t have to go to work. You can sit down and read stuff on your iPad or play Angry Birds. Then you go home. How is this a hardship to be avoided at all costs?

And if you are extremely lucky, you get to be a part of the justice system. What kind of fairweather citizen is too busy to participate in justice?

Well, not everybody appreciates the awesome responsibility of jury duty. Today we’ve got two stories of people trying to shirk their civic responsibilities — unsuccessfully…

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