Juror #8 Update

An update in the case where a prosecution witness identified jurors instead of the defendants: Both defendants were acquitted.

No word on whether any charges will be brought against the identified jurors.

Amazing Race:Family Edition

What about this new season of The Amazing Race: The Family Edition?

Man, I have never ever in my whole life watched a television program and thought to myself, "Please, make it end now, because I'm going directly to hell."

First of all, they went through and named all of the families. And the Black Family? Well, they're the Black Family. Yes, that's right, the African-American family is "The Black Family." I know, I know, it's not that funny, it's just their last names, but still, it was weird as Phil announced it. I couldn't help but think, "Sheeesh, can't they call them 'The African-American Family?' Get with the times people!"

And the first family that they introduced that had kids in it? My first thought was, "Oh, great, another season with 'little people.'"

Oh, and it gets worse, I can't even stand it. That family made up of a widow and her kids? Her husband was killed when he was run over by a race car. I spent most of the first episode making bad jokes about how they're going to break down in tears every time they hear the word "race." Some other team will say, "Hurry, we're in a race!" And the widow family will just stop where they are, start crying, and say, "Hey, no fair, rubbing it in!"

I said that I made these jokes for most of the first episode. That was only until the mother got run over by a buggy. You'd think that if your husband died getting run over by something you'd somehow be more careful. And, what if something happened to her? Can you imagine those kids going through the rest of their lives?

Yeah, I totally need to stop watching that show. I can't live with myself being this snarky.

My Advice To The Newbies.

Fresh Pepper has some advice for new attorneys is his office and beyond.

So do I. But rather than make a list, I'll just focus on one thing today.

Be nice to the more senior attorneys. I'm not saying kiss their asses, and I'm not just saying it because I am one of those more senior attorneys who wants my ass kissed.

But, in an office where you start on your first day with a group of people, it's easy to stay clique-ish with those other new people and not make much of an effort to get to know the people who have been around awhile.

But it's so valuable! They can teach you stuff, they can give you advice, they can look out for you, and then, when they have an interesting case, they can say to you, "Hey, want to help me out with this case and second seat me if it goes to trial?" or "Hey, I've got this great misdemeanor, it looks like it'll go to trial, and I'm too senior to try misdemeanors anymore, do you want it?" And you can end up with so much more experience, and with so much more depth to your experience then you would've if you just hung out in your office with the new attorneys.

And, like I said, you don't have to kiss ass. Just be friendly. Say hello, ask how they're doing. (You might be surprised how many people don't make an effort to just be friendly.) You can ask for advice on your cases - but I would warn new attorneys to put some thought into who they're going to for advice and why (and what you want to know). You don't need to go to the most senior felony attorney who specializes in murders for the most basic advice on a shoplifting case. In fact, an attorney who is fairly new might know more about handling shoplifts, because they see them more often. Likewise, when you go to an attorney for advice, come prepared. Know something about your case.

It's annoying when someone comes to your office and says, "Um, I have this trespass case, what should I do?" And you say, "Well, does he have a record?" "Um, I don't know." "Well, is he on parole or probation?" "Um, I'm not sure." "Is he a kid? Is he eligible for any of the juvenile programs? Does he have a drug problem? What's going on? Why was he trespassing there? What's the story? Did you do any investigation to the place where he was trespassing?" "Uh, I don't know." I don't mind helping out with a case, but if you couldn't be bothered to take a look at your file, why should I?

And that's my advice for today.

Oh, ok, one more piece of advice, because I'm feeling generous: Be really careful with the work email system. It's not the same as the college or even law school email system. You don't want to be known as the guy who accidently CCs the entire office on your stupid jokes, or worse.

Another Reason To Proofread

This is pretty funny (you have to read both pages to get it.)

And law related! What more could you ask for?

In other news, I have been watching The Law Firm on Bravo, and there's been a few pretty interesting episodes. It's unfortunate that it's not on NBC, I think it'd make good law school viewing (and, I assume law students are more likely to catch something that's on NBC than on Bravo). One of the recent episodes (1 or 2 weeks ago, I guess? I've been watching them off Tivo, so I'm not sure when it aired) brought up an interesting ethical issue: Can you read to the jury from a document that you know to be untrue, a document signed by your client, after you didn't allow your client to testify because you knew she'd be perjuring herself (and the document that you read was essentially the same as what her perjured testimony would've been)? What if your adversary opens the door by mentioning another part of the same document?

My best instincts say no, duty of candor to the court, blah blah blah, but I guess if I were in that situation at the very least I'd request a recess and research it and speak to someone about it. (Some states have an ethics hotline that you can call with this kind of dilemma, if you don't have a senior attorney that you can consult.)

In the end, though, it didn't seem to make a difference to Roy Black, or whoever is actually making the decisions, because the attorney who engaged in the ethically questionable behavior was not dismissed. In fact, I don't think he even commented on it in the final "board room" scene.

Also, my favorite attorney, Chris, who I believe may have been a public defender was "dismissed" in the most recent episode, so I was disappointed by that.

The point is, it's getting pretty good, so tune in if you've got Bravo.

Trust Me, I'm a Lawyer

I really like this Trust Me I'm a Lawyer T-Shirt at Cafe Press. And it even comes in pink.

I just wish they had one with a woman on it. Not to be all politically correct or anything, just because I'm a woman.

And, the next obvious question is, could I get away with wearing this instead of a suit? No, probably not.

Socialism Rules!

You are a

Social Liberal
(75% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(18% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

(In the interest of full disclosure, I took the test twice. The first time, I came out as a democrat, but very close to socialist. Then the boyfriend wanted to try it, so I went back to the beginning, and he did it. Then, I did it again so I could paste my answers here and it came out as Socialist. And I'm okay with that too.)

Test via CrimLaw, a Libertarian.

Interview With A Prosecutor

Over at Legally Blonde, our heroine finally had her interview with the Prosecutor's office.

I had previously warned her that they might ask her ethical questions and that the correct answer would always seem to be the exact opposite of what your Professional Resposibility teacher would choose. In fact, the correct answer is just "Whatever puts the most bad guys in jail for the longest time."

Anyway, it seems that the interviewer skipped the (un)ethical questions and, instead, went with a bunch of lame hypos. I suggest that we all take a turn telling her how she should have answered, if she really wanted to be a prosecutor.

Here are my suggestions:

1. The answer is "Jail." And jail for the wife for obstructing justice or perjury or something. And threaten to take away her kids if she doesn't like it. Also, are they here legally? Because, as a prosecutor, you also have a duty to make sure the immigration laws are being followed... Oh, don't worry, by now she's starting to see things my way, and she'll be happy to testify.

2. The answer is "Jail." Being old doesn't excuse you from the law. Being scared doesn't excuse you from the law. Jail, jail, jail. And some more jail.

And if any officer is ever mad at me, I'd stop by the station house with a box of donuts, and that'll solve that.

3. What do you mean "jail" isn't an acceptable answer? Ok, then it should've been, "I don't know, whatever gets the guy in jail sooner?"

Or, how about, "I'd exhume the body, and make her talk. And threaten her with jail if she refused to comply."

And then tell him, "Oh, and by the way, no officer is really dusting a car for prints, so get real, JERK!"

All kidding aside, it sounds like she held her own and, more importantly, probably came to the pretty valuable conclusion that she wouldn't want to work for those jerks anyway.

Momma Said, Momma Said

Words of wisdom from my mother:

And I have just one thing to say about that whole hurricane thing. New Orleans and Katrina. I saw on television, a picture of that FEMA room. And, I don't mean to be sexist, but there wasn't one woman in that room. I say, "If you can't plan a wedding, you can't plan for a hurricane." Their wives probably pack for those guys when they go on vacation!

And she's right.

Juror Number 8 Did It!

This article is a must read.

A witness picked two men from the jury box as the assailants, instead of the defendants.

Hasn't he ever seen Law & Order? He has no clue how a trial works? I'm guessing that he thought the jury box was some kind of line-up.

On the flip side, though, I've always thought that prosecutors here overprep their witnesses. I guess in some places, they don't bother to prep them at all.

How hard would it be to have someone - even an intern or a paralegal - take them into a courtroom and say "That's where the judge sits, that's where you sit, that's where the jury sits?"

"And that's where the guys that 'did it' sit."

Feeling Old

This morning, after church, I stopped in on a conversation between two ladies. One is an older woman, I'm not sure how old, but I know she's a grandmother. I'd say she's probably in her mid-50s. The other girl is a high school student.

I stopped to comment to the high school age girl that she looked "kind of mopey... Is everything ok?" She told me that yes, everything was ok, she was just tired.

"Why? Were you up late last night?" the older woman asked her.

"Yeah, I went to a concert," the girl replied.

"Oh really? What concert?" the woman asked.

"Oh, you've never heard of them," she replied.

Well, I'm young, I'm cool. "Maybe I would have heard of them?" I asked.

"No, you've never heard of them either."

And then she refused to tell me! Can you believe that? Who in the world could she have gone to see that I haven't heard of? I'm cool!

I was tempted to say, "Try me. I know everyone, A to Z. Who was it, Arlo Guthrie? Billy Idol...?" But I know she would have looked at me like I was crazy.

I'm consoling myself with the thought that she probably went to... I don't know... her high school band's concert, to see the geeky flute-playing boy she has a crush on, and just didn't want to admit it because she was trying to act cool. Yeah, that's probably it.

Kids these days.

Here Comes Puppy In The Baby Carriage

LQ writes about the weird stares she gets pushing an empty baby carriage.

Let me tell you.

Yesterday, I was at the park, enjoying a bite to eat, when I, honest to goodness, saw a woman pushing her silky terrier in a kid-sized stroller. He was even belted in. I noticed that the little dog had some of those little doggy diapers under him, so I thought maybe he was elderly... but, still, it was a strange sight to see.

Happy Scapula Blogs Jury Duty

I am always so fascinated when people blog their jury duty experience. I like to hear how they come to their decisions, what they view as important in the jury room, and how they view the attorneys.

I found Happy Scapula's jury duty review via Arbitrary & Capricious, and I actually was the first to comment on his blog!

So, first, read it (if you like) and then I'll give you my comments:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Of course, I read this from a defense point of view. But, here of a few of my general thoughts.

I haven't yet had a juror stick around to talk to me - whether they convicted or acquitted. I'd like to hear what they'd have to say. Although, I did have one trial where we dismissed the alternates before jury deliberations, and they stuck around because they wanted to know what the verdict would be. I guess that means I kept it interesting.

This write-up makes me wonder (again) how my would jurors describe me? Hopefully not something like "too big lips."

Now onto this case specifically... For example... "Happy" wonders why the prosecutor didn't present more evidence about when the defendant was moved from one police car to another. For example, he didn't mention how far the distance was, whether she was assisted, etc. But, I would wonder if he didn't bring it up because it was a bad fact for him. Maybe she walked a few hundred feet gracefully and without assistance, so it wouldn't be something the prosecutor would mention. I'm not saying that would have made a difference in the verdict, but I guess that's how I would analyze the evidence that is presented (or isn't).

"Happy" also wonders whether the defendant was represented by a public defender, based on the fact that there was a law student second seating the trial. I'd say that that's probably true. (Unless it was summer, which makes it slightly more likely that the law student was a summer associate at a law firm.) But what I really want to know is, would it have made a difference if you knew that?

I would think that in a drunk driving case, it wouldn't really matter whether the client is rich or poor. Rich people are just as capable of committing this crime as poor people (and celebrities get arrested for it all the time).

On the other hand, I do worry about jurors knowing that my client is represented by a public defender in a case like crack possession or shoplifting (although, who can forget Winona Ryder?)

Here's what I think is more interesting... do you think the defendant was in jail while the case was pending? Probably not, on a drunk driving, but it might give you a clue as to what her warrant was for (presumably something more serious if she was in jail). Generally, courts try to hide this information, but sometimes it's unavoidable that a juror sees the defendant entering the courthouse, either in handcuffs or not. And, of course, is it a good factor or a bad factor?

Perhaps a juror, learning that a client was in jail, would think, "She may be guilty of something, but not something that serious, she shouldn't be in jail, I'll lean toward acquittal." On the other hand, I think a juror might just as easily say, "If they put her in jail during this case, she must have some really bad criminal record or done something more serious that they didn't tell us about... and therefore she's more likely to be guilty of whatever she's accused of now."

So, I guess that's all my thoughts on that. Except...
Next time, ACQUIT!

Just kidding. =)
At least partially.

Mo' Money, Mo' Problems

I just want to know if any other defense attorney has ever had, or even just seen, any of these cases... because all of the sudden I've been getting a lot of them:

Client, typically a white guy, typically earning at least double and sometimes triple my salary, and usually arrested wearing a suit, was at a bar all night before he was arrested. He was buying rounds or drinks for friends, maybe some women, maybe the whole bar.

At the end of the night, he gets his tab, and...

Here's where the cases can vary slightly. Maybe he refuses to pay and is charged with some kind of larceny. More likely, though, he refuses to pay and gets in a drunken fight with the bartender and/or bouncer(s), and is charged with the larceny and the assault. And, most likely he also fights the cops when they show up, and adds a resisting arrest charge to the mix.

And, on a good night, it's not just drinks he couldn't pay for, but lapdances too. And lapdances for his friends. Maybe this makes it a grand larceny, because those lapdances can really add up.

Has anyone else had cases like these? Or am I somehow the only one attracting these white still-mostly-drunk frat boy jerks?

Because, the truth is, I don't really give a crap. I'm poor. My clients are poor. My mouth, no matter how drunk it is, will never ever utter the words, "How 'bout a round for the bar on me?" Well, maybe if I won the lottery or something, but never in this lifetime.

I have two things to say to these clients. One: "Don't run bar tabs your ass can't cash;" (Or whatever that saying is) and two: "Ha ha, now you're going to spend more than that bar tab hiring a lawyer. Should've just paid your bill."

The Law Firm

I tried to watch the latest episode of The Law Firm (now on Bravo), but my tivo cut out about halfway through for some reason. (I think maybe the power went out.) So, what happened?

This was the one where the African-American woman was complaining about damage done by the Latino kids or teens in her neighborhood, but then she pointed to dents or dings that were pretty much invisible. And, truthfully, she came off as a little crazy.

Then, they went into court and decided to spring a harassment/stalking/civil rights kind of claim on the defendants and abandon the original property damage claim. Then, they put the plaintiff on the stand... and she was just terrible. She was asked three times what the defendants did to threaten her and she responded, "Well, their dog pooed on my lawn," and other irrelevant things before she finally came out with, "And they said they would 'off' me."

Now, really, if someone said they'd "off" you, wouldn't that be the first thing you'd mention? Before you mention the "poo" on your lawn?

This is the kind of case, I suspect, that if the plaintiff really walked into your lawfirm looking to sue, you'd at some point tell her, "We're not really taking this case to trial. Either we can look for a little settlement if that will make you feel better, or you'll just have to let it go." But, we can't all pick our clients. Well, I know I can't.

It was looking like a loser of a case. But I would think that the producers would have realized that... So, what happened? Is anyone recapping this show anymore? I know Ditzy Genius was, but now she can't because she doesn't get Bravo. Anyone else? I'll even offer up a deal - you recap this last episode, I'll get the next one. Any takers?

Comment Spam

I'm sick of the comment spams, so I'll be turning on blogger's "word verification" for the comments.

I hope this isn't too much of an inconvenience, and that you'll continue to comment with fervor.

(Ok, I'll admit, I just felt like using the word "fervor.")

Winner: Best Defense I Had Never Heard Before

And this week's winner of the best defense I had never heard before?

I'm a Libra. Libras don't fight. We're peacemakers.

(On a resisting arrest charge.)

Hmmm... I can sort of see a voir dire on that. "You mentioned you read newspapers, how about your horoscope? Do you read your horoscope regularly?" "And you mentioned that you're single. Have you ever dated someone, or not dated someone, because of their sign?"

Or, what about using it as a reputation for peacefulness? I could bring in an astrologer as both an expert witness and a character witness?

All I know is that from this point forward, I will always check the birthdate of my prostitution clients.

"But Judge, of course she's not guilty, she's a Virgo... the virgin!"

I'm back, Feel free to comment

So, I'm back.

And, one of the interesting things about when I don't blog, is that you, the readers, don't comment. Which means I check my gmail account over and over to find nothing new.

But not this time. Thank goodness from someone named "Adam" who must have been reading through all of the archives and commenting. Maybe Adam needs to start a blog for himself.

(Update: He does have a blog, it's here, and also, he just got a job at the Dekalb P.D.'s office. Congrats!)

So, now it's September. Back to school, back to work, back to blogging more regularly, and hopefully back to not needing to take ice baths just to cool off.