...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

February 05, 2008

First Trial Result

11-1 for the defense. I won!

Posted by annika, Feb. 5, 2008 | link | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

January 14, 2008

Little Known Legal Maxims

Blogus et billabae horae non mixerae est.

Posted by annika, Jan. 14, 2008 | link | Comments (26) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

January 18, 2007

Wrongful Death

For the last week, the big news here in Sacramento has been the stupid "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest at KDND FM, in which one of the participants died. Now, the case has been taken by Sacramento's pre-eminent plaintiff's firm. I know these guys and trust me when I say they mean big money. But it's a perfect plaintiff's case too. Just look at these facts:

Nearly 40 minutes before kicking off the contest, the "Morning Rave" hosts discussed the dangers of water poisoning. One DJ mentioned he had once drunk two gallons of water.

"Can't you get water poisoning and, like, die?" asked another host.

"Your body is 98 percent water," a co-host responded. "Why can't you take in as much water as you want?"

Someone in the background was heard asking about "that poor kid in college," apparently referring to Matthew Carrington, who died in 2005 after an all-night fraternity hazing.

"That's what I was thinking," a host responded.

"Yeah, well, he was doing other things," someone else said.

About two hours into the contest, a woman who identified herself as Eva called the show. She warned the hosts that "those people that are drinking all that water can get sick and possibly die from water intoxication."

One host replied that "we're aware of that." Another said the contestants had signed releases, "so we're not responsible."

"And if they get to the point where they have to throw up, then they're going to throw up and they're out of the contest before they die, so that's good, right?" one host said. One of the hosts then asked a DJ stationed in the kitchen with the contestants, "Is anybody dying in there?"

"We got a guy who's just about to die," he said.

"Make sure he signs the release," the host replied.

I know what you're thinking. Hey, she signed a release. But with that fact pattern, I don't think the assumption of the risk defense will hold water.

So to speak.

Anyways dude, if I just had a referral fee on that lawsuit, I could probably retire now.

Posted by annika, Jan. 18, 2007 | link | Comments (32) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

August 28, 2006

And Greta Van Susternerneren Wept

So big surprise here . . . John Mark Karr's DNA did not match. I guess it's back to Aruba for Greta.

And I suppose the only mystery left in the JBR case is why Boulder's DA didn't just wait until the tests came back before they spent all that money - only to find out what everybody with a brain and two ears already knew.

Posted by annika, Aug. 28, 2006 | link | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

July 14, 2006

A Lawyer Joke

A lawyer died and found herself before St. Peter. St. Peter flipped thru his book for several minutes, then turned to the lawyer and smiled. "Sorry to keep you waiting, but there's a small problem with you. I can't decide if you belong in heaven or in hell--so I'll let you decide. I'll send you to hell for 12 hours, then to heaven for 12 hours, and you get to decide where you go. OK?"

"That's fair," the lawyer said. "When do I go?"

"Right now," St. Peter answered and he snapped his fingers.

The lawyer blinked once, twice, three times. She was standing on the porch of a beautiful clubhouse, an immaculate golf course before her. Someone cleared his throat behind her, and she turned to see her favorite law school professor, the senior partner who mentored her, and the partner who recruited her standing behind her! "Welcome to Hell," the partner said and she thrust a golf bag at her. "C'mon. We got just enough time to grab some beer before we tee off."

She wasn't the worlds best golfer when alive, and she wasn't much better while dead, but she still got a hole in one! Afterward, during dinner in the clubhouse, a tall, handsome man in a bespoke suit joined them. "I'm Satan," he said by way of introduction and he started telling dirty jokes.

Too soon, however, Satan suddenly snapped his fingers...

...and she found herself on a cloud, wearing a white robe. Obviously, she was in Heaven, and she was bored. Bored bored bored.

There's no golf in heaven. No food or wine or dirty jokes, and there sure as hell weren't any of her old friends there. Before long, she found herself talking with God about...not much. God had a bit of a holier-than-thou attitude and, quite frankly, He was dull.

Soon enough...or not, as far as the lawyer was concerned...God snapped His fingers, and she found herself facing St. Peter again. "Well, my dear? Made up your mind?"

"I have," she said formally. "I want to go to Hell."

St. Peter looked disappointed. "I'm sorry to hear that, my dear." Snap!

Pain. Pain and fire and brimstone and crows picking at her liver and devils with pitchforks and everything you've imagined hell would be, only worse. After just a few hours of excruciating torment, Satan walked by and the lawyer screamed, "What gives? Yesterday it was parties and golf and my old friends, and today it's....it's hell! What the hell is going on here?"

Satan leered down at her. "Haven't you figured it out, my dear? Yesterday we were recruiting you. Today you're an Associate!"

For the really long version, look beneath the fold

The last thing anybody--and I do mean anybody-- does is die. Even lawyers.

And on the occasion of her Last Official Act as a Human Being, a lawyer found herself before St. Peter, waiting patiently while St. Peter flipped thru a book. And flipped...and flipped...and flipped. Finally he looked up and said to her, "I'm sorry to keep you waiting, my dear, but, believe it or not, I don't know where to put you. You're one of those very rare cases where your good points exactly balance your bad points and...well, you could go either to Hell or to Paradise."

The lawyer looked up at St. Peter and asked, "Ummm. How do I...how do you decide where I go?"

St. Peter laughed. "You had it right the first time, my dear. I don't decide--you do. I send you to Hell for twelve hours, then you go to Heaven for twelve hours, and in twenty-four hours you tell me where you'd like to go."

For the first time since she found out she was dead the lawyer smiled. "That actually sounds fair," she said. "When does this start?"

"Right now," St. Peter answered, and he snapped his fingers.


That's funny...I expected fire and brimstone to be a lot hotter the lawyer thought, then she opened her eyes.

Green. Hell was, apparently, green, with green grass, tall green trees...and blue sky with white clouds...and a white light, right at the other end of this path. The lawyer had seen enough movies to know when you're dead you walk into the light.

The old saint must've gotten his wires crossed, she thought as she walked, and as she walked she could make out a shape inside the light. A shadow...no, a building it was, long and angular, with a cupola or something rising from the middle of the structure.

Almost looks like a clubhouse, she thought to herself, and as she walked she saw two objects coming toward her, faster than a man could walk but not as fast as a car. As they came closer to her she realized what they were and she started laughing.

Golf carts. Heaven has golf carts!
The carts pulled up to her, and then she knew, without a doubt, she was in heaven.

In the first cart was the partner who mentored her at her second firm. Next to her was the senior partner who recruited her from her hated first job. And in the second cart was her favorite law school professor.

"Tee time's in five minutes," the professor called out to her. "And we need a fourth!" She didn't have to be told twice.

She wasn't a particularly skilled golfer when she was living, and while she didn't exactly set the course afire, she had he best round she'd ever had in her life. On the eighteenth, she teed off and watched while the ball sailed toward the green, bounced on the fairway once, twice, then onto the green and rolled into the cup.

"A hole in one!" one of the foursome yelled behind her. "Drinks are on you!"

The lawyer turned around, beaming, then frowned. "Uh," she stammered. "I don't have any money."

Everyone laughed. "Don't worry about it," her mentor said. "We don't use money in Hell."

The lawyer laughed, then she heard that last word. "Hell? I'm in Hell?" she asked.

"Yep. What'd you expect--devils with pitchforks?" and her golfing partners laughed. "C'mon. Let's get some lunch and meet Satan.

The meal was the best she'd ever had, the wine was wine she'd only dreamed of tasting. And Satan...Satan, she had to admit, wasn't a bad guy. He was tall, handsome, well dressed, and spoke with an accent she couldn't quite place. Maybe he told too many raw jokes, and maybe he pinched her one too many times, but had she met him while alive--Yeah, I'd sell my soul to him, she thought.

After telling a joke involving a trampoline, some casaba melons, and a dozen midgets that was easily the funniest and rudest joke she had ever heard in her...uhh...Satan turned to her. "Young lady, you have only a few minutes left. Any questions?"

The lawyer thought for a moment before speaking. "You know, I have to admit this is nothing like what I expected. If I had to make my decision right now..."

Satan cut her off. "Better not say anything just yet. Besides, as a lawyer you should know there's another story." And he snapped his fingers.


Holy shit, I'm bored, the lawyer thought. She had been in heaven for about four hours and she found out Heaven is Dull. Nothing to do, nothing to see, except for white clouds, white robes, white marble fountains...white marble buildings!

She half expected to find white chocolate ice cream.

Eventually, she found a library, filled with every book known to man (in white binding). In the lower level was a string quartet playing...well, nothing exciting. The music was, somehow, white. She was grateful there was no place to eat, as she was sure she'd be served mashed potatos, cauliflower, and Wonder bread. She found a bench by a fountain and sat down, and a man sat down next to her. "Hi," He said. "I'm Jesus. St. Peter told me he couldn't find a place for you?"

She sat and chatted with Jesus about...well, nothing. He was a nice enough guy, but dull. After one particularly long diatribe about....nothing, she decided, Jesus suddenly asked, "Young lady, you have only a few minutes left. Any questions?"

She thought for a moment, yawned, and she made up her mind at that moment. "No. I've made up my mind. Do I tell You?"

"Nope. Tell St. Peter." And He snapped his fingers.


St. Peter smiled from behind his book. "Hello, my dear. I trust you've made up your mind?"

"I have," she said. "Heaven was nice, but dull. Really dull. But in Hell...I ran into my old friends, I had fun, I got a hole-in-one! I hopy you understand, but I'd rather go to Hell!"

St. Peter looked disappointed. "Are you sure, my dear? Remember--eternity is an awful long time!"

The lawyer noded her head. "I'm sure." She turned around, faced the long line of souls behind her, and threw her arms over her head in triumph. "I'm going to Hell!" Behind her St. Peter snapped his fingers.


Pain. Excruciating pain, all over her body, and a smell of copper, and screaming. Lots of screaming!

A blood-curdling scream next to her ear. She opened her eyes and saw a devil spear a man who had been trying to climb out of the pool of...boiling blood?

She was floating in a pool of boiling blood. Her scream joined his as she turned away--the man was someone she had once defended.


After what had to have been an eternity, she felt hands grip her head and she was lifted out of the boiling blood. "Enjoying Hell, young lady?" Satan asked.

"How long...how long have I been here?" she gasped.

"Not long. About seven hours. Things sure have changed since yesterday, haven't they?"

It took a while to sink in. She had been here for less than a half-day? "What gives? What the hell is going on? Yesterday it was my friends and golf and wine and dirty jokes, and today it's...it's Hell!"

Satan smiled a smile only he could smile. "Haven't you figured it out, my dear? Yesterday we were recruiting you. Today you're an Associate!"

Posted by Victor, Jul. 14, 2006 | link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

June 29, 2006

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

I think we all understand that the mainstream media cannot be trusted to analyze Supreme Court decisions within even a basic level of competence.

Accordingly, I've printed out all 101 pages of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, and now that I am home from work, I will attempt to read through it. I may not finish, but even if I only get the highlights, I am confident that I will understand it more thoroughly than the smartest person on staff at USA Today or the L.A. Times could ever hope to.

But for now, I have some Gitmo related questions.

I hear that the ruling does not mean that the U.S. must release the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. (Democrats and foreign types who want us to close the prison are probably disappointed about that.) So, if that means that holding these whatever you want to call them people at Gitmo is okay, then is it only that trying them by military tribunal is not okay?

If so, is the only reason we're insisting on trying them in the first place because that's the only way we can kill them? Otherwise we'd just hold onto them until the end of the war, like we've always done with people we capture on a battlefield.

And if just holding onto them until the end of the war is something that every country has always done in every war, why do some people want us to close down Gitmo? Are people like Carter and Koffi Anon arguing that we don't have the right to hold people we capture on a battlefield?

What do the Gitmo critics want us to do with these prisoners, release them like they were illegal aliens? If so, won't they end up back here again, just like illegal aliens?

Now, if the only reason we are trying these detainees is so we can get the death penalty on them, then we shouldn't be risking the chance that they might be acquitted. I'd rather they just languish in jail until the war is over. And I'm not talking about the Iraq war. As we all know, the "War On Terror" will be going on for a long long time.

If these guys are now "prisoners of war," so be it. I haven't heard of any requirement in international law that a country must unilaterally release prisoners of war before a war is finished. Effectively, these guys probably already have a life sentence. So why bother with a military tribunal at all?

Update: Okay, page three of the decision says, "Hamdan apparently is not subject to the death penalty (at least as matters now stand) and may receive a prison sentence shorter than 10 years . . ."

So again, why do we even need to put him on trial? Can't we just hold onto him indefinitely?

Update 2: This opinion is kicking my ass. I'm at page 27. Someone put some coffee on.

Update 3: Fuck if I'm going to sit here reading this crap on my vacation when I'm a) not getting paid for it, and b) not getting graded for it.

The pool is calling. I'm out.

Oh, here's the USA Today article I cracked on earlier. Not so cocky now, I guess.

Update 4: Check this out:

Hamdan my walkin’ cane
Hamdan my walkin’ cane
Hamdan my walkin’ cane
I’m a gonna catch that midnight train
All my sins they've taken away, taken away

If I die in Gitmo jail
If I die in Gitmo jail
If I die in Gitmo jail
Send my body back C.O.D.
All my sins they've taken away, taken away

Hamdan my book of Koran
Hamdan my book of Koran
Hamdan my book of Koran
I’m gonna get drunk sure as you’re born
All my sins they've taken away, taken away

It just came to me. Make of it what you will. Here's The Knitters' version.

That's why I'm the cool connector... makin' connections between things that maybe... don't need connectin'.

Posted by annika, Jun. 29, 2006 | link | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

June 15, 2006

Hudson v. Michigan

Reading some of what passes for journalistic analysis regarding today's Supreme Court decision in Hudson v. Michigan, only reinforces my opinion that 90% of all reporters are idiots.

Check the AP reportage for example:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police armed with a warrant can barge into homes and seize evidence even if they don't knock, a huge government victory that was decided by President Bush's new justices.

The 5-4 ruling signals the court's conservative shift following the departure of moderate Sandra Day O'Connor.

Dissenting justices predicted that police will now feel free to ignore previous court rulings that officers with search warrants must knock and announce themselves or run afoul of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said Detroit police acknowledge violating that rule when they called out their presence at a man's door, failed to knock, then went inside* three seconds to five seconds later. The court has endorsed longer waits, of 15 seconds to 20 seconds.**

The errors in that article are too numerous to list. For one thing, the cops in the Hudson case didn't "barge in," they announced themselves first then waited before trying the door, which was unlocked. But more importantly, the Supreme Court never said that police "can barge into homes and seize evidence even if they don't knock."

On the contrary, the Court upheld the knock rule. The Fourth Amendment still requires police executing a search warrant to knock first, announce their presence and provide the occupants a reasonable opportunity to open the door voluntarily. Today's ruling did not change that rule.

What the Court did do is apply the brakes to an out of control "exclusionary rule." Hudson v. Michigan is a quite sensible decision, and not even particularly conservative, in my opinion. I wonder if the AP reporter even read it.

Proponents of an expansive exclusionary rule want it to apply to any evidence obtained in the prosecution of a suspect, whenever the police fail to follow a procedural rule. In other words, some people believe that a judge should throw out all evidence against a defendant whenever the police fuck up, no matter what kind of fuck up it was. As Scalia noted, that would mean a "get-out-of-jail-free card" in many cases. This is what is known in the popular culture as "getting off on a technicality."

So, wouldn't it have been more accurate for the AP to describe today's decision as the Court limiting the ability of criminals to "go free" on "technicalities?"

The Hudson case does not overturn the exclusionary rule. It simply says that if police screw up on their constitutional requirement to knock before serving a search warrant, and the search later turns up a bunch of evidence that proves the dude was guilty as sin, the judge does not have to throw out all the evidence and let the guy go. I think that's totally reasonable. The exclusionary rule still applies when the cops commit more serious constitutional violations, like searching a house without a warrant.

Critics of the Hudson decision will say that without the exclusionary rule police might simply ignore the knock and enter requirement. Maybe so, maybe not. The Court pointed to other means available to punish cops for failing to knock, civil lawsuits and disciplinary measures for instance. Also, the Court pointed out that the knock requirement isn't even a hard and fast rule. Police can legally enter without knocking if they have reason to believe that evidence might be destroyed were they to knock first.

But the main point is that the cure would be much worse than the disease. If we were to let criminals go free just because the police failed to knock even though they had a valid search warrant, there would undoubtedly be crooks walking around who should be behind bars. The Hudson decision prevents this potential miscarriage of justice and restores balance to a small part of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Or to put it in Johnny Cochran-ese:

Just 'cuz the cop didn't knock,
don't mean we let the perp walk.
I'm glad the new Court is refusing to expand the exclusionary rule beyond its already unreasonable scope. I just wish that the media would explain the reasoning behind today's decision instead of trying to scare people unnecessarily.

I give the New York Times opinion writer more slack for his wrongheaded piece, because at least that's an editorial. I would be disappointed if I didn't find wrongheadedness in a NYT editorial.

To be fair, some reporters seem to understand the Hudson case better. Two examples of more balanced articles can be found at CNN's site and at The Christian Science Monitor. Although I do have a semantic nit to pick about the Monitor's assertion that the decision is a setback to "privacy rights." While the right to privacy is related to Fourth Amendment freedoms, the two are not identical. As everyone should know by now, the right to privacy is not enumerated in the Constitution, whereas protection from unreasonable searches and seizures is.

* Again, the AP reporter "forgot" to mention that the criminal's door was unlocked.

** Here the AP reporter "forgot" to mention that the standard for deciding how long to wait is based on how long it would take a suspect to flush the evidence. Therefore, a reasonable wait time might be only a couple of seconds, depending on the particular evidence in the case.

Posted by annika, Jun. 15, 2006 | link | Comments (30) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo & annikapunditry

May 03, 2006

Until The King's Pleasure Be Known...

So ZM got life.

I'm no criminal lawyer, but I think there's got to be some way to simplify a jury verdict form that's 42 pages long. That's just insane.

One interesting tidbit I gathered from the jury verdict (until I got bored and gave up reading it) was that the jury unanimously rejected two of the most often cited arguments against the death penalty in this case, namely

That a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release . . . will be a more severe punishment . . . than a sentence of death
That the execution . . . will create a martyr for radical Muslim fundamentalists, and to al Qaeda in particular. [see pages 6 and 7]
The jury unanimously refused to buy either argument.

But nine jurors seemed to agree that the touchy-feely rationales of "unstable childhood," "dysfunctional family," "physical and emotional abuse" blah blah blah, were mitigating factors in this case. [id.]

That's disturbing.

So let's say we catch OBL? If he claims a bad childhood would another jury let him off? Even if he killed 3000+ people, was unrepentant, and the jury agrees that life in prison is not the most severe punishment available? Dr. Laura should have sent the jury a copy of her book.

I don't know. I can't say I undersand how the jury came to its decision, and I don't really have time to study all 42 pages of this thing, but something stinks.

Anyways, I don't have a major problem with sticking the guy in jail for the rest of his life. Except for the fact that Amnesty will probably be agitating for his release within about six months. And how much you wanna bet the lefties will be carrying signs with his picture on it during the next anti-war rally. Right along with the free Mumia signs.

And how long do you think it will take for al Zarqawahiri to kidnap another hostage and then demand this guy's release from prison?

Oh well. They say he won't be in the general population, so there's little chance he'll get the shiv. But you know, these things have a way of happening, even when you think they won't. I wouldn't be surprised if ten years from now we hear about ZM's unexpected "suicide." If you know what I mean.

Findlaw link via Dr. Rusty.

[CP: A Western Heart]

Posted by annika, May. 3, 2006 | link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

May 02, 2006

This Would Make A Great First Year Torts Question

Okay, issue spotting this bizarre story I see fraud, conversion, IIED, NIED, breach of contract and a good faith purchaser issue. I don't see defamation, but those facts might have been left out of the story. And you have to throw in negligence, whether or not the facts are there, just to get the insurance coverage involved.

Okay, back to the real studying.

Via Old Skool.

Posted by annika, May. 2, 2006 | link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

February 10, 2006

So I'm In Law School Because... Why?

Oh yeah, the money Arthur, the money.

Guest blogger Drobbski, at Clareified:

There are basically three types of partners: the successful, the hungry, and the failing. Although their motivations differ, they are all mean in one way, shape, or form.
The successful partner has a book of busines that is way too large to manage, so she is stretched so thin she doesn't have time for family or work.
So she is mean.
The hungry partner doesn't yet have his book of business, and strives to get it. He is more concerned with self-promotion and client development then billable work. He needs associates willing to put in the non-billable time that does the associate no good. He can't get the support he needs.
So he is mean.
The failing partner does not have enough business and efforts to find more fail. He is hoping to hold on a while longer working on other partners' matters, and he is bitter about it. So he is mean.
See? I told you.
Partners are mean.
It's a rule.
P.S. Shelly, I know you're the exception.

Posted by annika, Feb. 10, 2006 | link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

December 31, 2005

2006 Will Be A Tougher Year For California Teens

Starting tomorrow, California teens will be subject to two new laws.

Thanks to the passage of Assembly Bill 646, children can no longer put holes in their heads without parental permission. The measure by Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, R_Lancaster, bans body piercing of a minor without a parent being present or sending notarized consent.
Assembly Bill 1474 Bans new teenage drivers, their first year, from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by an adult 25 or older or traveling to school, work or to a medical appointment.
Poor kids. Having to tell your parents before you get your ears pierced or go on a beer run can be quite a hassle. What if they say no?

On the other hand, you can still kill a baby anytime you want without telling anyone, so it's not all bad news for the kids. And really, it's all about the kids ain't it?

Posted by annika, Dec. 31, 2005 | link | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

December 18, 2005

Some Thoughts On The End Of Exams

i know what wills are, but what's a trust? i kind of zoned out by the middle of the semester in that class.

On the other hand, i am considering legally changing my name to "the evidence queen."

See that girl, she knows the F.R.E.,
diggin' the evidence queen!
Oh yeah!

Posted by annika, Dec. 18, 2005 | link | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

November 03, 2005

One Liner Of The Day

From the legal world:

. . . the very worse thing about sleep: when you're sleeping, you're not billing!

Posted by annika, Nov. 3, 2005 | link | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

October 20, 2005

Things A Law Student Knows

Vibrators are illegal in eight states.

(Hey, i'm a law student. i'm supposed to know all about laws and shit.)

Posted by annika, Oct. 20, 2005 | link | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

September 04, 2005

William Rhenchrist, RIP

Another Supreme Court Justice gone, another chance for a lazy blogger to recycle an old post. Remember my Guide to the Supreme Court?

Posted by annika, Sep. 4, 2005 | link | Comments (16) | TrackBack (1)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

August 22, 2005

California Handgun Safety Certificate

i took the California Handgun Safety Certificate written test last weekend and passed with flying colors. That means that the State of California has deemed me worthy to purchase a handgun within the next five years if i so choose.

The test is so easy even one of Victor's rats could pass it (assuming that Victor has taught them how to read, as i'm sure he has). But the State of California still got 25 bucks out of me for the privilege of taking the test.

Publicola fisked the test's review booklet and showed how, despite the simplicity of the questions, even an expert can have trouble. This sample question seems to have tripped him up:

Hmmm. They have a self test.

'Safety Rule Number Two is keep
the gun pointed:

A. To the north.
B. In the safest possible direction.
C. Up.
D. Down.'

Well being a Southerner I gotta go with A. . . . we never really trusted those damn yankees . . .

Very funny.

Publicola was also nice enough to answer two questions i posed to him:

if Cali does not have the worst gun laws in the country, who does? and on a related note . . . Are there any decently industrialized nations that recognize the rights of gun owners similar to or better than the US?
You can read his answers here.

Posted by annika, Aug. 22, 2005 | link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo & On The Blogosphere

July 02, 2005

The Freaking Idiot's Guide To The Supreme Court

You ever listen to those early morning CSPAN call-in shows? What a bunch of freaking idiots.

It's like this:

Hello? Is this CSPAN?

Well, I liked that Sander Day O'Conner 'cuz she seemed like she was fair and all. And I think Bush needs to pick someone who's not all for the corporate America with all the Halliburton things and stuff.

Or the angry idiots:
She was just another right wing fascist who selected Bush and wants to roll back Medicare and Social Security with all his fascist crony corporate America and Halliburton things and stuff.

The right wing callers are no better:

Bush needs to pick somebody who's a mainstream American, like someone who hates them despicable homosexual things and stuff.
i often wonder why so many neanderthals are watching CSPAN instead of, say, Jerry Springer re-runs or those used car dealer infomercials they show on like eight stations every Saturday morning? i think it's because they have trouble figuring out the remote control and just get stuck on the channel.

In my attempt to remedy the ignorance of these people, i've prepared a pocket guide to the Supreme Court for any such CSPAN watchers who may have made it over to my blog and read this far down the page.

My handy pocket guide contains a picture of each Supreme Court justice, their name, and then a short bio. You can print it out if you'd like and refer to it whenever you want to express an opinion out loud about the Supreme Court.

Here it is. You can trust me on this stuff, i'm a law student.


Don't forget, it's also suitable for laminating, or pasting onto the dasboard of your VW Beetle.

Glad to be of help.

Posted by annika, Jul. 2, 2005 | link | Comments (15) | TrackBack (4)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo & annikapunditry & photoshopaholic

June 27, 2005

There's Only One Thing To Do...

...repeal the Establishment Clause.


Okay, maybe just Marbury, then.

Read Justice Scalia's dissent in McCreary County v. A.C.L.U., starting at screen page 39. It's too long to excerpt here, while i'm supposed to be working, but it is beautiful and worth the effort to read.

Posted by annika, Jun. 27, 2005 | link | Comments (2)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

June 13, 2005

The Jackson Verdict: It Was Just Milk And Cookies

Not guilty on all counts.

Today's big winner: Geraldo.

Posted by annika, Jun. 13, 2005 | link | Comments (16)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

June 08, 2005

Legal Update

i've worked in and around the legal profession in the Bay Area, in Los Angeles and now in Sacramento. i'm not yet a lawyer, but i've dealt with them enough to form some rudimentary judgments.

And in my opinion, the Sacramento plaintiff's bar contains a vastly higher percentage of treacherous sons-a-bitches than either of the aforementioned major metropolitan legal communities.

Those fuckin' a-holes better hope i don't end up practicing here when i pass the bar, because i will hold grudges. And i will enjoy kicking their ass.


What i was thinking: "Don't yell at me, muh-fuh. i can count, and i know the Code, do you? Ass-wipe."

What i said: "i'll pass that along to the attorney."

Posted by annika, Jun. 8, 2005 | link | Comments (11)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

May 15, 2005

My Final Silly Texas Bill Update

The Texas anti-cheerleader bill is dead.

The measure was approved in the Texas House on May 3, with supportive lawmakers waving pompoms as the bill moved to the Senate's Education Committee, where the cheering abruptly stopped.

'We will not be hearing it,' committee chairwoman Sen. Florence Shapiro said Friday.

'We have some very important work to do in the next two weeks, and that's not one of them,' said Shapiro, R-Plano.

Rather than being a 'mandate from the state,' she said, the problem of students performing suggestive acts should be addressed by parents and school districts.

Isn't that what i'd been saying all along? Sheesh. What a waste of legislative time. That's the type of thing they do in the California legislature, but at least the boondogglers out here work full-time at it.

Hat tip to gcotharn, who is now atop the leader board in my fantasy league. Guess who's at the bottom?

Posted by annika, May. 15, 2005 | link | Comments (16)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

May 04, 2005

Silly Texas Bill Update

Back in March i alerted you to the silly Texas bill that seeks to outlaw suggestive cheerleading routines. As a former high school cheerleader this is an issue close to my own heart, although i will admit the routines have gotten racier in the ten years since i used to shake it on the track. But i'm still a libertarian on this issue.

i'm sure there's a heck of a lot more urgent problems that they could be worrying about in Texas than sexed-up cheerleaders or even this lowlife? Both are symptoms of bad parenting - a failure to teach kids the meaning of "respect" - but not a reason for the state to crack down on freedom of expression.

The committee's revised bill was weakened somewhat, removing the former draconian punishment of suspending the team for the rest of the school year and the punitive reduction in the offending school district's funding.

Instead, the revised bill gives the school district the authority to "take appropriate action against the performance group and the group's sponsor, as determined by the district." Pretty vague, but of course the whole law is hopelessly vague, in my opinion.

Speaking against the bill at the March 29th hearing were two ACLU representatives (see trolls? i can agree with the ACLU sometimes), including eighteen year old high school senior Margeaux Goodfleisch (that's got to be a stage name, right?), who made this quite reasonable point:

I agree that sexually suggestive performances are inappropriate for school events and school-sponsored competitions, but exactly what is a sexually suggestive performance? It could be someone’s opinion that any time a group of young, attractive girls dance, it’s sexually suggestive. If you put on paper those moves we specifically cannot do, we would be more than happy to comply.
Well, you had to know that the legislature wasn't going to do that. Too much work and too easy to get around. A law like this has to be written vaguely or not at all. And the vagueness is what makes it so ridiculous.

Texas House Bill 1476 was voted out of committee by a vote of six to nothing, with three committee members absent. Today the Texas House of Representatives approved the bill by a vote of 85-55 with three present but not voting. Next, it goes to the Texas Senate for consideration.

See also: Grits For Breakfast with props for Margeaux.

Yet more: Blogger Jason Plotkin was apparently in the chamber for the debate and recorded these fun snippets:

What was funny is how they also had the song 'shake, shake, shake, shake, shake your booty' in the background at one point, I'm assuming, someone in the gallery played it.

. . .

'This is a ridiculous bill. I don't know how it got to the floor,' said Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston in a Chronicle article. 'We don't have any business mandating anything. We are spending time on "2-3-4, we can't shake it anymore." It's an embarrassment.'

. . .

Rep. Carter Casteel, R-New Braunfels, who agree legislators should not be legislating morality or telling people what to do, but she voted for the bill.

. . .

'When I was 15, anything a cheerleader did was interesting to me. When I was 17, I knew better' said [Rep. Rene Oliveria (D-Brownsville)]. Oliveria brought up how President George W. Bush, Governor Rick Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson were cheerleaders and we should recognize them to vote no.

i should "revise and extend" my previous comment regarding the Democrats legislating morality with this bill. Despite being introduced by a Democrat, it appears that on the floor quite a few Dems were on the right side of this one.

Finally, In The Pink Texas gives us a timely warning about what happens to cheerleaders gone bad. And Frank J makes the connection between terrorism and slutty cheerleaders... sort of.

Posted by annika, May. 4, 2005 | link | Comments (3)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

March 22, 2005

Dura Lex Sed Lex II

i've read Judge Whittemore's ruling on the Shiavo case. The question before him was narrow, and i am persuaded by his reasoning. Reluctantly and sadly persuaded.

Judge Whittemore was constrained by the well established law regarding the issuance of restraining orders and injunctive relief. It cannot be otherwise. Ultimately i blame the trial court for getting it wrong, but the appelate process has limited ability to question the findings of fact made by the original trial court.

"The law is hard, but it is the law."

“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.”

Posted by annika, Mar. 22, 2005 | link | Comments (4)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

March 18, 2005

Silly Texas Bill

Currently pending in the Texas House of Representatives is H.B. No. 1476, which i've posted below, in full:

AN ACT relating to regulation of sexually suggestive performances at certain public school events.


          SECTION 1. Subchapter D, Chapter 33, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 33.088 to read as follows:


          (a) A school dance team, drill team, cheerleading team, or similar performance group may not perform in a sexually suggestive manner at an athletic or other extracurricular event or competition sponsored or approved by a school district or campus.

          (b) A school performance group that violates Subsection (a) may not perform for the remainder of the school year in which the violation occurs.

          (c) If the commissioner determines that a school district or a campus in a school district knowingly permits a sexually suggestive performance prohibited by Subsection (a) or knowingly permits a school performance group to perform in violation of Subsection (b), the commissioner shall reduce the funding the district receives under Chapter 42 by an amount the commissioner determines appropriate.

          SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2005.

This silly bill, introduced by Al Edwards of Houston, a Democrat (what a surprise), is currently in committee.

i'll keep an eye on it.

i don't understand why people think conservatives are prudes, when it's Democrats who want a new law for every perceived threat to morality. Remember Tipper?

Posted by annika, Mar. 18, 2005 | link | Comments (10)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

March 16, 2005

The World's Worst Lawyer?

Robert Blake is breathing two huge sighs of relief tonight. One for being found not guilty and the other for his incredible stroke of luck months before his own trial began. Yes, when Blake was shopping around for lawyers after firing his legal team a couple of times, Mark Geragos was busy!


i have a theory why Michael Jackson fired Geragos a few months back. Winona Ryder must have called to warn him. Lucky for MJ, he's got a much better lawyer now in Thomas Mesereau.

Exhibit 1 of the evidence that Geragos is the world's worst lawyer was introduced on Larry King Live tonight. King asked a juror whether it would have made a difference if Scott had testified. The juror said that if Scott had spoken during the penalty phase, he could never have voted for execution. It seems all the jury wanted was to see some sign of emotion from the defendant.

Instead, Geragos' brilliant strategy was to yuk it up with Scott in front of the jury during the trial. i guess the theory was that an innocent man doesn't show emotion. Not even if his wife and son have been brutally murdered, by a killer who is still out there.


But hey, i'm not complaining about the verdict or the fact that Geragos was so incompetent with this particular case. What bothers me is how much the media seemed to deify Geragos during the trial. Like he was another Johnny Cochran or something. When in fact, Geragos deserves to be ranked somewhere near Marcia Clark on the list of world's worst lawyers.

As a final thought, my opinion on the death penalty has moderated quite a bit since i wrote this post almost two years ago. But the offer still stands.

Posted by annika, Mar. 16, 2005 | link | Comments (6)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

February 21, 2005

BL Line Of The Night

We all hate our clients. It's good to hate. It allows us to overcharge and still sleep at night.
--Denny Crane

Posted by annika, Feb. 21, 2005 | link | Comments (2)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

January 29, 2005

Which Tort Am i?

and go to mewing.net. because law school made laura do this.

Cool, that's my favorite tort anyways. It's like khaki, 'cause it goes so nicely with all my other torts.

Via Micah!

Posted by annika, Jan. 29, 2005 | link | Comments (0)
Rubric: Dumb-Ass Quizzes & Legal Mumbo Jumbo

December 18, 2004


In case anyone’s interested, here’s my take on law school exams. i finished with civil procedure, torts and contracts (my favorite). Next up are criminal law and property. i've been in school most of my life and i've mastered just about every type of test there is. But the law school exam is a different kinda bitch altogether.

One key to taking a law school exam, which i just learned this week, is panic management. How come nobody told me about the panic thing? i first discovered this phenomenon while doing timed practice exams during the week before finals. Panic attack severity seems to be inversely related to the amount of time remaining for exam completion.

i’ve finished three exams so far, and i’ve had three panic attacks. Each one occurred somewhere between the halfway mark and three quarters of the way through the exam. Each was accompanied by dry mouth, an increased heart rate, and a curious rushing sound in my ears; not to mention a morbid feeling of dread helplessness, as if i were drowning or being buried alive.

The first panic attack occurred soon after i congratulated myself for having completed question two of the civil procedure examination well ahead of schedule. That should have been a warning - i ain't that smart. i suddenly realized that i had completely missed the arcane issues of ancillary and pendent jurisdiction. Instead of having extra time for the third question, this blunder required me to go back and add shit to my previous answer. I ended up having to rush through the third essay. Luckily, i managed to finish just as time was called.

The torts panic attack came not from any brain fart of my own - i got that subject down cold - but from the sick realization that there was too much to write and not enough time to do it. Time management again rears its ugly head. The final essay, though easy, simply had too many issues for the amount of time left. i raced through it, abbreviating as much as i could without degenerating into something akin to IM speak.

D prvlgd by prvt ncssty b/c D’s invsn of P’s ppty was rsnbl 2 prtct D’s ppty, t/f no trspss, h’ver b/c prvt ncssty = qlf’d prvlg, D mst py 4 dmg csd by non-trts cndt.
Well, not quite that bad, but i was definitely in what i like to call “finished product mode.”

By Friday, i greeted the panic attack as if it were an old friend. The thing to do is recognize that it is coming and push through it. i never had panic attacks in undergrad or grad school exams. That’s the cool thing about the liberal arts. i always knew if i got stuck i could always b.s. my way out of it. If i wasn’t sure about one aspect of the subject, i could always emphasize the stuff i knew really well. Distract the professor with my brilliance on what i did know, so he couldn’t in good conscience penalize me for what i didn’t know. It usually worked.

But the law school exam is not so forgiving. If there are five elements you have to apply, and you do an awesome job applying four of them, but miss the fifth, you still blew 20 percent of the grade. That’s what worries me. i think i spotted all of the issues presented in the exams. But how would i know if i didn’t? i guess i won’t know until grades come out.

Posted by annika, Dec. 18, 2004 | link | Comments (14)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

September 07, 2004

A Couple Of Useful Legal Maxims

Mike (a third year):

"Annika, there is only one secret to law school and it is this: time management."
"Okay, so what's the secret to time management, then?"
Mike (with totally straight face):
"Cooking in bulk."

Posted by annika, Sep. 7, 2004 | link | Comments (5)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

August 02, 2004

Hacking Arrested

Maybe i'm getting cynical watching the Scott Peterson debacle prosecution in progress, but i'm anxious to see how the Salt Lake DA fucks up this open and shut case.

Posted by annika, Aug. 2, 2004 | link | Comments (2)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

July 21, 2004


Here's a letter that Martha Stewart wrote to the judge in her recent criminal trial. i defy anyone to make it to the end of the four page letter, it's so boring. As i commented at Dawn's (from whom i stole this link), didn't they teach Martha anything about run-on sentences at Barnard?

I have spent most of my professional life creating, writing, researching, and thinking on the highest possible level about quality of life, about giving, about providing, so that millions of people, from all economic strata, can enjoy beauty, good quality, well made products, and impeccably researched information about many hundreds of subjects which can lead to a better life and more rewarding family lifestyle.
Just on and on and on. Shit woman, just get to the point! No wonder they wouldn't let her testify. Gawd, wouldn't she be the worst lunch partner ever?

Posted by annika, Jul. 21, 2004 | link | Comments (4)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

March 25, 2004

Santa Monica Bans Beach Smoking

No more smoking at the closest beach to my house (unless you have a doctor's note, i would guess).

Even as a smoker, i still have to ask: Who wants to smoke at the beach anyway? It's hard to light up and even a small breeze will make the cig burn so fast it's gone before you know it. i tend to smoke less when i'm out in the hot sun anyways. i also feel guilty just sticking the butt in the sand like so many people do.

i got the link from L.A. Observed. There's a couple of comments from people calling this new law "fascist." Then there's an interesting rebuttal chiding those commenters for not understanding the import of the word "fascist." Interesting, if somewhat vitriolic.

i generally don't get too worked up over anti-smoking laws. Some people claim that if we smokers want to do something harmful, we should be able to do it. They also claim that second hand smoke is harmless. But i know i shouldn't be smoking and if a law makes it inconvenient for me to continue a dangerous habit, i think that's a good thing. And as for second hand smoke being harmless, that's an argument that seems to go against common sense. Why not err on the side of safety?

Still, banning smoking on the beach seems a bit much. The only logical justifications would seem to be 1) anti-litter, 2) encouraging quitting and 3) minimizing children's exposure to viewing people with cigarettes. Those are thin justifications, but hey, like i said, it's a bad habit so i'm not gonna get too upset about it.

Posted by annika, Mar. 25, 2004 | link | Comments (21)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

March 21, 2004

Results Of Linda’s Trial

Last week i wrote about the trial i was helping my friend Linda with. She represented the defendant and made her closing argument on Friday. The jury came back after about an hour and fifteen minutes.

The jury found our client negligent, but only awarded $1800 to the injured plaintiff, the amount of her medical bills. The jury unanimously awarded nothing to the wife for pain and suffering and nothing to the husband for loss of consortium.

The jury’s verdict was substantially below Linda’s last offer before trial. i could tell by the look on the plaintiffs’ faces as they walked out of the courtroom on Friday that they regretted not taking the pre-trial offer.

We suspect that the jury did not like the way the plaintiffs were making a mountain out of a molehill, especially in regard to the loss of consortium claim. Linda tells me that it's very hard for plaintiff attorneys to get good verdicts on cases that only involve minor muscle strains. The more money the plaintiffs ask for, the less the jury seems to like them, she says.

i was impressed with Linda’s skill as a cross-examiner and her eloquent closing argument. This was only her third trial, but i’d never have known it by watching her. Of course it’s the first real trial i’ve ever seen, but i thought the plaintiffs’ attorney was far less prepared than Linda.

i told Linda how great i thought she had been, but she was characteristically humble. “The facts won this case, not me,” she said.

“But you were so much better than the other lawyer,” i said. “You laid some traps for him that he had no idea how to get out of.” That was true, Linda got the plaintiff’s doctor to admit to a couple of innocuous facts during cross-examination and then during closing she sprung the trap by using those facts in a way that the other attorney had not anticipated. He didn’t see her argument coming and so he had no answer to it in his rebuttal. It was beautiful.

Linda has less of an ego than any lawyer i’ve ever met. She simply refused to take credit for her trial victory. She thanked me profusely for my help, even though the judge denied both of the motions in limine that i wrote.

Friday, after work, Linda and i met up with our other team members, Grace, Paul, Patricia and Kathy for a round of Guinnesses. Finally, we got Linda to admit that she was good.

“Well, if there’s one thing I did do well,” she said, “it’s that i didn’t let [the plaintiffs’ attorney] get away with any mistakes.”

i agreed. She really exploited every weakness in the plaintiffs’ case, including some weaknesses that i didn’t see at first. Linda had this way of taking the arguments that the other guy thought were very clever and turning them around to use against him. i don’t know how she did it, but if i ever make it through law school, i want her to teach me.

Posted by annika, Mar. 21, 2004 | link | Comments (14)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

March 17, 2004

Loss Of Consortium

i've been silent this week because i'm helping Linda out on a trial. This basically means that i either sit in the audience and run errands for her, or do research and write little motions back at the office. Which is why i'm here tonight and not out drinking on St. Patrick's Day.

The trial is quite interesting. Hard to predict how it's going so far. Both sides are scoring points and the jury is hard to read.

The plaintiffs' case includes a claim for loss of consortium. In case you don't know, this is a claim that can be made when one spouse is injured and the other non-injured spouse says they lost out on sex, affection, love, help around the house and other stuff like that. We represent the defendants.

What i want to know, just out of curiosity, is what you folks think about that type of a lawsuit. In Linda's case, one plaintiff received some minor injuries: sore back, sore neck, etc., which went away with some physical therapy after two or three months. During those two or three months, the husband complained that they weren't able to have sex their usual two times per week, and the wife couldn't help around the house as much. They're both in their late thirties and they've been married 14 years.

Assuming that the defendants were negligent for causing the wife's minor injuries, what would you do about the husband's claim if you were on the jury?

Posted by annika, Mar. 17, 2004 | link | Comments (33)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo

February 09, 2004

Idiot Alert

Fail me once, shame on you.

Fail me twice, shame on me.

Fail me forty-seven times, shame on the California Bar examiners . . .

Would you hire this lawyer?

And what does this idiot intend to do now?

He wants to challenge laws denying ex-felons the right to vote. He hopes to file a class-action suit in the next six months.
My dad was right. There's too many damn lawyers in this state.

Posted by annika, Feb. 9, 2004 | link | Comments (9)
Rubric: Legal Mumbo Jumbo