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Sunday, May 30, 2004
Patent Lawyer Wins World Series of Poker
In head-to-head play, Greg Raymer had a stack worth $17.1 million compared with the $8.2 million owned by his opponent. On the seventh hand, his opponent pushed all his chips into the pot and Raymer matched him.
Both had full houses -- but Raymer had eights over twos, while Williams had fours over twos. His opponent, a 23-year-old Dallas college student, busted out.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Local Judge Gets Appointed to Ethics Panel
Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the Federal District Court of Southern Indiana has been appointed to a six member panel to study federal judicial ethics by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer has been appointed chairman. The panel will make recommendations to the Chief Justice; however, it is unclear what Rehnquist will do with the recommendations.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Things I Wish I Had Known
Before Josh and the rest of the Sapere Aude gang kick me off of this blog since I am now a graduated student, I wanted to use the summer months to periodically share some bits of wisdom that I wish someone would have told me while I was in law school.
Take Professional Responsibility before your third year so that you can take the MPRE the summer before your third year (August exam). You'll have classes during the year and you will most likely be working, so studying for the MPRE will be the last thing you want to spend time on. You'll have plenty of time to prepare for the test in the summer. And if, God forbid, you don't pass, you then have 3 more opportunities to take it during your third year. I did it this way and was SO thankful I did so when I saw my friends trying to budget time to study for it during classes our third year.
What Would Solomon Do?
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court judgment ordering a funeral home to split the ashes of a deceased 17-year-old girl evenly between her divorced parents.
The girl was killed in August of 2003 in a car collision. Her parents had been divorced since 1996. Her mother had sole custody and her father had regular visitation. The court determined that custody plays no role in determining what happens to the remains of a minor child.
After attending the funeral of a friend, the girl had indicated to her mother that if she died she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes divided and spread on the coasts of California, North Carolina, and Florida.
The court cited the child's wishes in allowing the division of her ashes as support for its decision.
Monday, May 24, 2004
Legalization of Gay Marriage Gives Way For Loss of Consortium Case
In what lawyers are calling the first case of its kind now that gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, a just-married lesbian couple filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in Worcester yesterday contending that one of the women should be awarded damages because doctors failed to detect breast cancer in her spouse.
Their suit claims a form of damages known as "loss of consortium," a routine provision in malpractice law. It allows spouses, parents, and children to assert that they have lost affection, companionship, and support as a result of an injury to their relative.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
"Extra-Special Indiana Edition"
Evan Schaeffer, author of Notes from the (Legal) Underground, has a nice roundup of bloggers from IU-Indy. His Weekly Roundup might be a good idea for this site to start offering.
I'm posting about this a bit late, but better late than never. The law school has established a new Center for Intellectual Property Law and Innovation. The Center will emphasize "the life sciences and the nurturing of intellectual property in a business context."
Friday, May 21, 2004
And You Thought Law & Order Was Reality TV?
Okay you recent graduates maybe this can be a way for you to get that first job. The Partner will follow a similar formula to Donald Trump and The Apprentice. I find it interesting that the producers want to exploit the difference between Ivy League schools and those "who attended less prestigious schools."
I am glad I don't need to deal with this for another year, but there always could be a sequel.
Tuesday, Professor Volokh brought up the case of a print-shop owner who refused to print invitations for a same-sex marriage ceremony. Due to a local ordinance, the owner of the print shop was forced to apologize and promise never to discriminate again. Amanda Butler at Crescat Sententia linked back with some thoughts of her own, claiming that such a storekeeper was infringing on her "right" to contract:
the storekeeper has imposed on my right (and yes, I will use that word: the right to contract). He has made an offer ... and I have accepted. Now he's trying to back out of the deal.Crescat's Will Baude and the Curmudgeonly Clerk responded that Ms. Butler is incorrect in her interpretation of contract law. An advertisement, of course, is not an offer unless it is "clear, definite, and explicit, and leaves nothing open for negotiation."
"Mad Dog" Lawyering
A New York lawyer, David Fink, who barked like a dog at a witness during a deposition has been fined $8,500 for misconduct and harassment of opponents. The defendant recalled receiving "threatening, 'mad dog lawyer' letters" from Fink. Later in the deposition Fink started barking like a dog when the letters came up.
Perhaps the best quote,"I don't know what motivated him to bark." Oh please are we going to need a dog barking chapter in our Professional Responsibility class?
While on the subject, a potentially mad dog has been appointed a lawyer in Crown Point, IN. Cabic, the dog, has been quarantined for 10 days to determine if he has rabies per animal control regulations after biting a neighbor. The regulations do not apply to wild animals. The lawyer was appointed to help determine if Cabic is a German Shepard/Wolf mix. "If the judge rules that Cabic is a hybrid, the animal's head must be removed and sent to the state Health Department laboratory to be tested for rabies."
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Finish Line Inc. filed suit today against its chief competitor, accusing the retailer of stealing its employees in a corporate spying plot.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, accuses Foot Locker Inc. of recruiting Finish Line workers to obtain secret sales information.
Phil, IU's newest blogger, updates us on news that one of the school's 2L's will be headed to Afghanistan to serve in the Army National Guard.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Former 1L and freshly minted 2L Phil Gregg has just kicked off his new blog - Demurrer.
Guess You Don't Have To Go To Law School To Be a Copyright Lawyer
A Slovakian Catholic bishop says watching illegal copies of The Passion of the Christ violates copyright law.
Bishop Frantisek Tondra says priests and members of the church should also keep the eighth commandment, which forbids stealing.
He made his appeal after news that priests and other religious activists have apparently publicly screened Mel Gibson's controversial film in churches, schools or pastoral centres across Slovakia.
It's also reported they may have distributed or sold unofficial video or DVD copies of the film, says the Slovensko website.
Monday, May 17, 2004
I'm gonna be that guy and say what we all think when we're in the law school. The elevators are way too slow. Did a Purdue engineer design them? Why does it take 5 and a half minutes for the elevator to move one floor? It surely doesn't help when someone carrying nothing but a pen wants to take it from the first to second floor.
Friday, May 14, 2004
Victory for School Choice Advocates
A municipality and its subdivision are a "person" as defined by Indiana Code section 24-1-2-10. Therefore, a school district may be sued for violations of our Anti-Trust Statute.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has sparked a healthy debate on capital punishment throughout the blogosphere. It's a re-hash of all the old arguments you've been hearing for years, but they're intelligent and gifted writers so it's worth checking out. Here's Joshua Davey's original post, a clarification, Joe Carter's thoughs, Jeremy Frank's opinion, a view from Emily Zimmer, and Joshua's repsonse to Emily. These bloggers, many of whom are law students, are also all Christian. You'll find a good diversity of opinion though.
Anytime a discussion arises concerning capital punishment, it must be made clear that there are two very separate arguments against it. The first is a moral one. The second is that the state has a right execute some people, but that the system is somehow flawed (innocent are punished, etc.). Often those opposed on moral grounds will use the second argument in combination with the first. Both arguments can be persuasive, and no matter where you stand on the issue, I think you can agree that it's a very sensible position to have.
A fact that is often lost in the shuffle is that capital punishment is more expensive than life in prison. In fact, it's four to six times more expensive than life imprisonment1. It doesn't take a genius to understand why. Court costs, judicial time, appeals, and the costly nature of "death row" facilities all make the process expensive. It would be less costly to give an eight-teen year old life imprisonment without parole, rather than give him the death penalty.
Since the above bloggers are Christian, I'll note that the Christian and Jewish Holy texts clearly endorses the death penalty in numerous places. God instituted the death penalty through His covenant with Noah (Gen. 9) and made it a centerpiece in Mosaic law (Exodus 21). Although the sixth commandment says "thou shalt not kill," it's literal translation is "thou shalt not murder" (an important difference). Further, one could make the argument that Jesus endorsed the punishment (Matthew 15:3-9) and that the apostle Paul, who was wrongly sentenced to death, agreed he should be executed if he did indeed commit the crime (Acts 25). In spite of all this, the Holy text is also quite clear about the possibility, potential, and utter importance of changed hearts and saved souls. Given that it's cheaper anyway, discarding its use must be considered. In sum, I think the Christian Bible permits its use in certain circumstances, but a whollistic reading does not command its use.
As for one of the most controversial arguments, deterrence, I really have trouble trusting any sort of evidence that claims capital punishment does or does not deter crime. Studies of that nature can't be carried out ceteris peribus, rendering deterrence a nominal argument. Related to this point, for many capital punishment is an easy way out. I would much prefer them to sit in a cell block for the rest of their years to ponder what they've done. But here I must offer a caveat. I have not been inside prisons much at all, save for a brief school tour once of the county jail (although I did work in a probation department for quite some time). People often tell me that they've become too comfortable. If this is true, and I haven't really seen solid evidence to suggest it is, then we might need consider repealing some conditions, such as satellite television, etc.
Another argument also used against the penalty's use is its supposed inequitable use among the races. African Americans account for only 12 percent of the U.S. population, but represent more than 40 percent of those on death row and one in three of those executed. Yet blacks were over 7 times more likely than whites to commit homicide in 2000 (and that's a year when black murders were nearly half their previous levels). So given the difference in murder rates, one would expect blacks to make up a higher percentage of those on death row. In fact, given these numbers, capital punishment does indeed appear to be racist - against whites. I know that some may call me racist for pointing out such a thing, but I believe the initial accusation to be racially charged on half-truths that don't tell the whole story.
Nevertheless, I find the case against the death penalty to be more persuasive than for it, both on practical and principled grounds. This certainly isn't cut and dry, and both "sides" of this issue have very sensible arguments. My apologies that this post is overly simplified, but such is the nature of blogging.
1 McLaughlin, Abraham. "98 Executions in '99 Re-ignites a Capital Debate." The Christian Science Monitor. 27 December 1999.
Indy's Stellar Crime Lab
Read here about Marion County crime lab's waste of funds. Seems the lab purchased an $80,000 DNA analyzer, which runs 4 DNA tests simultaneously, with hopes of reducing a backlog of tests. The problem? They don't have the staff available to properly operate the new equipment.
This news comes amid other reported problems in the crime lab. Some 64 DNA tests have been the subject of independent review due to allegations that a lab technician skipped steps in analysis and tampered with a co-worker's results.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
The number of prisoners serving life sentences has increased 83 percent in the past 10 years as tough-on-crime initiatives have led to harsher penalties, a study says.
Nearly 128,000 people, or one of every 11 offenders in state and federal prisons, are serving life sentences, according to the study released Tuesday by The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based group that promotes alternatives to prison. In 1992, 70,000 people had life sentences.
The report said the increases are not the result of more crime, since violent crime fell significantly during the period covered by the study. Rather, longer mandatory sentences and more restrictive parole and commutation policies are most responsible.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Marcia Oddi notes that Indiana Representative Mike Pence is the first member of Congress with his own ongoing blog. You can read it here.
The National Jurist has just released its report card on diversity. The HTML on the story page is horribly done, so it's hard to tell where IU-Indy placed. But it appears as though we placed 12th in the nation in their arbitrary ranking. This quote stood out:
One way to continue boosting those numbers is to graduate more minority and women law students, and the best way to do that is to create a learning environment that welcomes and promotes them, proponents of diversity say.Another way to promote diversity, which may seem ohbvious to most, is to better educate "those students" prior to coming to law school. There is a deficiency and an inequity in K-12 education. The sad reality is that the education system often does not do an adequate job educating at the younger ages (particularly at inner city schools), and then in an effort to make up for it, colleges and professional institutions promote and accept students less qualified than others because of their color or sex.
The best and most equitable way to ensure meritocratic diversity is to ensure equal and fair education in K-12 grades. Peter Wood wrote last year, "Racial inequities and personal bigotry do indeed persist in the United States and there is much to be said about the real causes, but enforced exclusion of African Americans from the opportunity to compete in the marketplace or to pursue higher education aren't among them." I agree, but only to a point. Inequities exist, but one of the primary causes surely lies with a poor educational foundation prior to law school. Solve that and we may have solved a host of others.
Monday, May 10, 2004
I purchased a book on legal ethics with a credit card today. As I was buying it, the cashier asked to see my ID to "make sure" the card was actually mine.
Saturday, May 08, 2004
Pay or No More Play
For some men showing up in court for being habitually behind in child support, their choice is jail or a vasectomy.
Family Court Judge D. Michael "Mickey" Foellger has given the option to a few men who had multiple children and were tens of thousands of dollars behind on their child support.
Foellger said he considers it an effective way to get his message across — that having children is a responsibility. "If these children are in poverty because these guys are not paying their child support, I have no qualms about it," he said of his policy. "I don't think these men deserve to have any more children."
In his 17 months on the family court bench, Foellger said, he has made the proposal six or seven times. Two men reported back with doctors' notes saying they had the procedure. Three or four others are in the process of doing so. One chose jail time.
Friday, May 07, 2004
CNN reports that President and Mrs. Bush will not be attending their daughters' college graduations "in order to avoid disruptions for families of other graduates."
A Lancaster High School student in Ohio "was expelled from school earlier this year after school officials found a Web site that he created," according to NBC 4. An article in today's Lancaster Eagle-Gazette clariefies that Thomas Seifert was expelled for a Web site he "maintained off school grounds after school hours, and used no school resources." There's no claim that the school officials were threatened on the site; Seifert apparently just didn't like some of them and said so. The article says:
[T]he ACLU of Ohio stated its belief that the Lancaster City Schools has no legal authority to punish Siefert for exercising what amounts to speech protected by the First Amendment.Seifert's now-defunct site, which NBC 4 reported had some profanity on it in the comments section, "skewers various administrators and high school staff," according to Thursday's news release from the ACLU of Ohio.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Dude, where's our classroom?
Spring Finals are not quite finished yet, but we now some of us have to worry about summer classes. For those who did not know where which classrooms to go to next week, including myself, I have found the answer. The little entry room that goes into Student Affairs has a stack of paper that has the locations and times of our summer classes.
The bookstore in the basement of Cavanaugh Hall is also having an early bird special. 5% off the price of your textbooks for the summer if you buy before Saturday May 8th.
Monday, May 03, 2004
Last Day Of Finals
Congrats 1Ls, no more finals after today!
Another year down and everyone survived.
Have a good summer.
For the 2Ls and 3Ls with two more days to go. Good luck.
For those with the 5:30pm finals on Wednesday, are they trying to torture you?
A Guided Tour
A good way to relax tomorrow during lunch and something practical for law students who just finished finals would be guided tours of the Federal Courthouse and the Indiana Statehouse. Come see where our laws are created and cases decided.
The tours are conducted by the Dept of Natural Resources as a part of Historic Preservation Week 2004.
Sunday, May 02, 2004
Marcia Oddi points to two good pieces on the high court. The first is "In Re Scalia the Outspoken v. Scalia the Reserved," a front-page feature story by Adam Lipak in the Sunday NY Times. The second is "Bush Executive Powers in the Balance: Supreme Court Opinions Expected to Define Authority to Combat Terrorism," a story by Charles Lane in today's Washington Post.
Saturday, May 01, 2004
"Supreme Court Justice David Souter suffered minor injuries when a group of young men assaulted him as he jogged on a city street."