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Attorneys in the News


Tuesdays & Fridays

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October 24, 2012 -- October 26, 2012


Trustee: Hawker Beechcraft Attorney Fees Excessive

By Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press | ABC News  

10-26-12 -- The Justice Department's watchdog agency objected Thursday to more than $12 million in interim fees racked up during the first three months of Hawker Beechcraft's bankruptcy proceedings, criticizing what it called excessive and unreasonable fees lawyers billed for the company's failed bid for millions in executive bonuses. . . . U.S. Trustee Tracy Hope Davis asked the bankruptcy court to reject any fees sought in connection with the bonus plan for eight senior executives, and hold back an unspecified portion of payments on compensation for other professional services. . . . The government said Hawker Beechcraft's lawyers spent more time working on the executive bonus plan than on other projects. The company's attorney and its financial advisor together are seeking more than $402,000 for services connected to the bonuses.

Scalia’s Advice to Law Students: Take Bread-and-Butter Classes, Not ‘Law and Women’

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

10-26-12 -- Law students have just one chance to learn the basics, so they should avoid “frill courses,” Justice Antonin Scalia said on Thursday. . . . Scalia spoke at the University of Wyoming after a hunting trip in which he did not bag any antelope, the Associated Press reports. Previous coverage said Scalia planned to go hunting in the state with Justice Elena Kagan. . . . Scalia’s speech focused on his originalist views of the Constitution, but he did answer a few questions, including one from Caitlin Wallace, the Wyoming law student and Federalist Society member who wrote the letter inviting Scalia to appear. She asked for the single best piece of advice Scalia would give law students. AP and the Casper Star-Tribune reported on his answer.

Am Law Firms Commit Time, Space to Effort Aimed at Ensuring Orderly Voting

By Tom Huddleston Jr., The Am Law Daily 

10-25-12 -- For thousands of lawyers across the United States, Election Day isn't just about casting ballots for their preferred candidates. It's also about making sure that the system under which Americans vote works as it's supposed to. . . . Take Century City, California–based Reed Smith litigation partner Miles Cooley, who is coordinating his firm's efforts in connection with Election Protection—a nonpartisan initiative backed by a coalition of legal and civil rights groups that has enlisted thousands of volunteers to field voters' questions about election laws and to help sort out legal challenges that may arise at the polls through the group's toll-free hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Election Protection will also have lawyers on the ground at a number of polling sites come Election Day. . . . Cooley says voters can call the hotline "to report voting problems, to find out where their polling stations are, to otherwise ask election-related questions the day before and the day of Election Day."

Out of the Boxing Ring, Into the Courtroom

By Alan "The Equalizer" Bush, Texas Lawyer   

10-24-12 -- Boxing is a contact sport, just like litigation. That's why the boxing ring has a lot to teach trial counsel and in-house litigation managers about the courtroom. . . . I've duked it out in a lot of courtrooms, but I only recently took up boxing, and it has changed my take on litigation. Here are a few things I've learned. . . . • Respect the opponent. The quickest path to defeat in the boxing ring is to underestimate an opponent. That leads to slouching in training and bad-mouthing the other fighter. Next thing the contender knows, he's on the mat wondering what hit him. . . . Humility wins bouts and trials. I always consider myself the underdog to avoid complacency. . . . Besides carrying a big stick, it's important to speak softly. In most cases, I offer to have lunch with opposing counsel up front. That can save lots of time on petty misunderstandings.

Ex-Rite Aid GC Loses Yet Another Case

By Sue Reisinger, Corporate Counsel   

10-24-12 -- Franklin Brown, the ex-convict and ex-general counsel of Rite Aid Corp., is 0 for 3 against his former boss and fellow ex-con Martin Grass. But Brown keeps trying. . . . Brown’s latest effort ended last week when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled against him. The court opinion [PDF] is interesting for suggesting, if nothing else, how $30 million worth of securities could be misappropriated from a company and its shareholders, with apparently no one held accountable. . . . The secret is to hide it long enough until the statute of limitations expires. . . . But back to Brown, the three-time loser. . . . First, Grass testified against the former GC in his 2003 trial over an $18 million accounting scandal at Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid. Brown’s defense attorney blamed Grass and others for the scandal, but Brown was convicted and served 71 months of a 7½-year prison sentence. . . . Brown, who was disbarred, got out of prison in August of 2011.

American Lawyer Poll Finds Large Firm Leaders Overwhelmingly Predicting Obama Win

By Sara Randazzo, The Am Law Daily    October 23, 2012

10-23-12 -- While the relentless stream of polls taking the pulse of voters both nationally and in key battleground states shows a tight race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, those who guide the nation's largest law firms don't see it that way. . . . Asked as part of The American Lawyer's annual Law Firm Leader survey who will win this year's presidential contest, 83 of 106 Am Law 200 managing partners, chairs, and other firm leaders, or 78.3 percent of those polled, said they expect the president to win reelection to a second four-year term when ballots are counted November 6. The remaining 23, or 21.7 percent, predicted a Romney victory.


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Park Service Searches for Missing Hiker, a Polsinelli Lawyer

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

10-26-12 -- Updated: Authorities are searching for a lawyer with Polsinelli Shughart in Los Angeles who didn’t return as expected on Monday from a hike in California's Kings Canyon National Park and the adjacent Inyo National Forest. . . . The missing hiker is 53-year-old Lawrence “Larry” Conn, who is of counsel at Polsinelli and a member of the firm’s health care practice group. Conn was a lateral hire who joined the firm this year, according to a Polsinelli press release. He previously worked at Foley & Lardner for 24 years, according to a LinkedIn profile.

New charge filed against lawyer in ticket-fixing case

Dana Littlefield, North County Times   

10-26-12 -- The state Attorney General’s Office has filed an additional misdemeanor charge against a deputy district attorney accused in a ticket-fixing case. . . . Allison Worden, whose name also appears on the amended complaint as Allison Debow, now faces one count of attempting to dissuade a witness on June 2, 2011. She had already been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and two counts of alteration or destruction of a traffic citation, all misdemeanors. . . . Worden, 37, was expected to be arraigned in San Diego Superior Court Friday, but a judge granted a defense request to postpone the matter until next week.

Ex-staffer says she was ordered to pad law school's job numbers

By Karen Sloan, The National Law Journal  

10-23-12 -- A former assistant career services dean at the Thomas Jefferson Law School has filed a declaration in a class action against the institution in which she acknowledges padding graduate employment statistics in 2006. 
Karen Grant said in a sworn statement in August that she counted recent graduates as employed if they had worked in any capacity since graduation. She blamed pressure by her supervisor to improve the school's jobs statistics. . . . Law schools are only supposed to report graduates as employed if they have a job nine months following graduation, according to American Bar Association rules. . . . "I was to ask first if they were currently employed," she said. "If the graduate indicated he or she was not currently employed, I would then inquire whether he or she was employed at any time after graduation. If the graduate indicated he or she was employed at any time after graduation (even though currently unemployed), I was instructed to record the graduate as 'employed' " for the record.


Consumer financial agency draws ire by ruling debt-collecting lawyers now under its supervision

By Jenna Greene, The National Law Journal   

10-23-12 -- Big banks, little banks, credit card companies, student lenders – it seems like just about every player in the financial services industry has complained about the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Now it's the lawyers' turn. . . . On October 24, the CFPB released its final rule for overseeing debt collectors, and included attorneys among those who will be subject to direct federal supervision for the first time. . . . Under the rule, which goes into effect on January 2, the CFPB will have the power to send field examiners out to the law offices of attorneys who engage in debt collection to review their procedures, evaluate the quality of their compliance and identify risks to consumers.


Confused outcome for conservative who accused Iowa Law of discrimination

By Karen Sloan, The National Law Journal   

10-25-12 -- The question of whether the University of Iowa College of Law discriminated against a job candidate because of her conservative views remains unanswered after the trial ended in confusion. . . . A Davenport, Iowa, jury on October 24 found that former Iowa dean Carolyn Jones did not violate plaintiff Teresa Wagner's First Amendment rights when it failed to hire her for a full time faculty position in 2007. . . . However, the panel failed to reach a verdict on the second count, which alleges that the school's hiring process was not impartial and denied Wagner due process and equal protection of the law. U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Shields declared a mistrial on that count.


Detective: Murder Suspect Said She Gave Lawyer Boyfriend the Nose Job He Wanted

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

10-26-12 -- A woman accused of killing her lawyer boyfriend told authorities she shot the man multiple times during a heated argument at his Kentucky condominium, according to testimony by a Kentucky police detective at a preliminary hearing on Thursday. . . . Judge Karen Thomas revoked bond for the suspect, Shayna Hubers, after testimony by Highland Heights Detective Bill Birkenhauer, reports. Hubers is accused of killing 29-year-old lawyer Ryan Poston, who had a solo practice in Cincinnati, on Oct. 12.


Aaron Broussard no longer an attorney; Tom Wilkinson's law license suspended

By Manuel Torres, | The Times-Picayune  

10-26-12 -- Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard is no longer an attorney, as the Louisiana Supreme Court on Friday announced it was accepting Broussard's resignation of his law license. The court also said it was suspending former Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson's license on an interim basis. . . . Both Broussard and Wilkinson pleaded guilty earlier this year to corruption charges as a result of a broad federal probe of Broussard's administration. After his plea deal, Broussard said he would surrender his law license. Wilkinson's suspension, however, leaves the door open for him to petition for reinstatement in the future.


Judge shutters phony law firm run by attorney-poser

By Leigh Jones, The National Law Journal  

10-23-12 -- A Baltimore man found to have represented more than 50 bankruptcy clients through a fake law firm has been blocked from conducting business and ordered to pay $261,000. . . . U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David Rice on October 19 ordered Michael Mancini, proprietor of the fictitious Scalia & Seidel, to close shop and pay fines and damages for practicing without a law license. . . . Between February and July, Mancini, whose education ended with a high school diploma, filed bankruptcy court petitions, schedules and financial statements for at least 54 clients, often using the fictitious name "A. Michael Scalia," and charging a flat rate of $400, according to the decision. Mancini, who changed his name from Michael Antonio Lonardo earlier this year, used the Scalia name to run an office in Baltimore decorated with law books to give the impression of a legitimate practice, according to testimony from the U.S. Trustees Office.


Attorney general candidate Fox returns $32,000 GOP donation

Written by Matt Volz, Associated Press | Great Falls Tribune   

10-26-12 -- Attorney general candidate Tim Fox on Thursday returned a $32,000 donation to his campaign from the Montana Republican Party as his Democratic opponent filed a lawsuit over the contribution. . . . The donation came after a federal judge ruled Montana’s campaign contribution limits unconstitutional on Oct. 3. Six days later, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the limits. . . . Fox on Thursday morning returned the party donation and $12,000 from individual donors that exceeded the reinstated limits because he’d had enough of the “political pingpong the courts are playing with this issue,” spokesman Tyler Matthews said in a written statement.


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Volunteer Work at New Jersey AG’s Office Leads to Paying Jobs for Dozens of Law Grads

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

10-26-12 -- Volunteer work led to paying jobs at the New Jersey Attorney General’s office for the luckiest volunteers in a program created at the height of the recession. . . . Since the Volunteer Associates in Public Service program began in 2009, the office accepted about half of the around 350 applicants, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. So far, 41 of the volunteers have landed full-time positions that became available because of attrition.

Bayonne resident jumped onto tracks to save woman who had fallen at Journal Square PATH Station

By Anthony J. Machcinski, The Jersey Journal 

10-23-12 -- As the PATH train approached the Journal Square station during last Thursday's evening rush hour, a 72-year-old woman stumbled and fell onto the tracks. . . . Heading to law school in Newark, Bayonne resident and Hudson County employee James Baber spotted the woman from the overhead walkway above the platform. . . . In what he describes as a "moment of pure adrenaline and instinct," Baber, 24, jumped onto Track 3 and helped pull the woman off the tracks before the train pulled into the station.


A Lawyer Accused Of A Barroom Brawl Reveals What's Really Wrong With The Justice System

Aleksi Tzatzev, Business Insider  

10-26-12 -- An intellectual property lawyer who took the stand last month in his own criminal case and won is accusing the justice system of doing everything it can to find people guilty. . . . Bryan Brooks was charged with first-degree assault after a 2011 barroom brawl in New York City, which left another man with cuts to his face requiring stitches and staples, according to Above the Law. . . .In an insightful interview with Above the Law's David Lat, Brooks revealed all that's wrong with the American criminal justice system.


Law firm Dinsmore & Shohl hit with $12.6M judgement

by Jon Newberry, Business Courier Staff Reporter  

10-26-12 -- George Vincent, managing partner of Dinsmore & Shohl, Cincinnati’s largest law firm, has had better weeks. . . . He said so Friday, two days after the firm got hit with a $12.6 million damage award. It was the first judgment against the firm ... ever, he said. . . . On Wednesday an eight-person Hamilton County Common Pleas Court jury unanimously found the firm and Dinsmore partner Harvey Cohen liable on fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims and awarded damages to a Florida company, TurboCombustor Technology Inc.


Attorneys for homeless shelter seek $1.9 million from Boise for fees, costs

By The Associated Press | The Oregonian        

10-25-12 -- The city of Boise could see its tab for losing a lawsuit over housing for the homeless climb from $1 million to nearly $3 million once attorneys' fees and costs are added. . . . A federal jury ordered the city to pay $1 million to Community House in September, after finding that the city discriminated against homeless women and children and retaliated against the organization when board members complained. Now the attorneys that represented Community House in the lawsuit are asking that their client be compensated for fees and costs -- which they say total nearly $1.9 million. . . . Under federal law, the winner of a lawsuit can generally seek to recover attorney's fees and costs from the losing side. The fees and costs have to be approved by a judge and they can be appealed, just like the verdict itself. But they can substantially raise the financial stakes for the losing party.


Men Who Hired Fake Lawyer to File Phony Tax Returns Get 1-Year Sentence

By Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal

10-26-12 -- Two Texas men who hired a phony lawyer to allegedly help them file fraudulent tax returns were sentenced to prison Thursday. . . . Richard Tilford and Bartlett Smith each were sentenced to serve a year for for tax evasion, the Dallas Morning News' Crime Blog reports. According to the article, Tilford, a self-employed insurance agent, hired Phillip Monroe Ballard to file late tax returns claiming that Tilford earned no income in the “constitutional sense.” . . . Prosecutors say that Smith, a drywall construction operator, hired Ballard to set up a fake church and corporation for him so he could avoid paying taxes for six years.

Texas AG Continues Spat over International Election Monitors with ‘Bring It’ Tweet

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

10-26-12 -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has a message for international poll watchers protesting his threat to prosecute them: “Bring it.” . . . Abbott delivered the challenge in a tweet to the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, the Associated Press reports. The OSCE sends observers to poll locations throughout the United States, but Abbott has bristled at the group’s plans to visit Texas. . . . OSCE took offense after Abbott warned the group in a letter that Texas law bars campaign workers and loiterers from maintaining a presence within 100 feet of a polling location entrance. Violations, he said, could result in criminal prosecution.

A Death Row Struggle Between Advocates and Lawyers

by Maurice Chammah, The Texas Tribune 

10-26-12 -- Preston Hughes III, a death row inmate, is 46 but seems much older, with white hair, thick glasses and a quiet, slow voice that rises only when the subject of his lawyer comes up. . . . Hughes, convicted in 1989 of fatally stabbing two youths, has tried multiple times to fire his court-appointed lawyer, Patrick McCann. He said that McCann, who has been his lawyer for 14 years, has not raised his claims of innocence and is “helping the state cover this up.” . . . McCann says he cannot comment on why he will not pursue these claims, which were not introduced in Hughes’ original trial. But Texas and federal law set a high burden of proof for new claims of “actual innocence” so late in the judicial process, a bar that McCann said is “almost impossible” to meet. . . . Hughes, who says he did not commit the murders, is scheduled to be executed Nov. 15. He says all of his attorneys have failed him. “They just want to do things on their own,” he said recently from death row in Livingston.


Bail reduced for Seattle attorney charged with rape

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan, The Seattle Times 

10-23-12 -- A judge this morning reduced the bail for a Seattle attorney charged with rape from $3 million to $1 million. Also, prosecutors have added an additional charge against the attorney, Danford Grant, who is accused of raping massage therapists and a cashier of a massage clinic. . . . Grant had sought to have his bail reduced to $250,000. Grant, 47, is now charged with seven felony counts. . . . Seattle attorney Richard Hansen, who is representing Grant, said he’s  hopeful that Grant will be released from jail by next week now that his bail has been reduced. Grant has been held in lieu of $3 million bail since Sept. 26. . . . In court filings, Grant wrote: ”I very much need to be out of jail to defend against these charges and to help my attorneys work on the case. It is awkward and difficult to meet them in jail, and nearly impossible for me to review the police reports and other discovery …”


October 20, 2012 -- October 23, 2012


Legally Speaking: Halloween — lawyer style

By John G. Browning, Southeast Texas Record            

10-23-12 -- It’s that time of year again, when our thoughts turn to ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night. . . . Halloween is right around the corner, and with it come the creatures of the night that haunt our collective unconsciousness: vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies and the like. . . . But Halloween also figures prominently on the mind of the scariest creature of them all—the lawyer. . . . If you think I’m about to regale you with a tale of ghosts inhabiting haunted courthouses, well that’s for another time.  Instead, allow me to first send shivers up your spine with stories about something that first year law students find more terrifying than bloodsucking fiends or reanimated corpses—lawbooks. . . . Courtesy of Texas Tech University law professor Victoria Sutton, law students and lawyers alike can now learn all about the spookier side of the law in Halloween Law: A Spirited Look at the Law School Curriculum. Using Halloween as the unifying theme, Sutton examines the scarier side of first year law school subjects like torts, property and criminal law.

Finicky In-House Counsel Refuse to Pay Law Firms for ‘Legal Miscellany’

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

10-22-12 -- Legal consultant Rob Mattern remembers when law firms used to charge up to 25 cents for each photocopy. Other so-called “soft costs”—word processing and faxes—were also billed to clients. . . . "I remember having conversations with executive directors who said the soft costs were one of the larger individual areas of revenue for their firms,” Mattern told the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). . . . That was before the economy declined and cost-cutting in-house counsel began scrutinizing bills more closely. Now charges for meals, photocopies, legal research and first-class travel are drawing protests. “Clients are increasingly raising objections to big bills for legal miscellany,” the story says.

Women Are Now 70 Percent of Staff Lawyers, But Stuck at 15 Percent for Equity Partners

Vivia Chen, The Careerist   

10-22-12 -- You know that old adage—"What gets measured gets fixed"? Well, the National Association of Women Lawyers has been carefully tracking women's progress in the nation's 200 largest firms for seven years, and things aren't getting fixed. . . . Arguably, the pieces are more broken than ever. NAWL's 2012 report just rolled off the presses, and it's hard to put a positive spin on the results. Here's a quick summary of some of the findings: . . . That cursed 15 percent figure again. Women make up barely 15 percent of equity partners, and just 26 percent of nonequity partners.

Divorce Lawyer's Favorite Dirty Trick

Diana Mercer, Co-Author, Making Divorce Work  Huffington Post (blog)- 

10-21-12 -- People talk a lot about dirty tricks in divorce. You can find articles and resources about the usual dirty tricks all over the place. Most of them will also get you in a lot of legal trouble if your hijinks are discovered. . . . Not so with my favorite dirty trick. . . . I don't usually get to give people mischievous advice. I value my law license, after all. Plus the time that people spend on revenge is a waste of valuable emotional resources. And I really don't endorse that. . . . But there are some things you can do which are above-board and which may actually facilitate settlement. This topic came up as a close friend asked me for advice about her upcoming divorce court hearing. My friend happens to be a woman with a son, so I'm going to use those pronouns here, but it works just the same for men and daughters.

 Total DUI

Total DUI is a Victims-of-Law Associate


Class Claims Lawyer Took 'Secret' $6M Deal

By Jamie Ross, Courthouse News Service  

10-23-12 -- A California law firm accepted a $6 million "secret settlement" of a labor class action against a bank, agreed to dismiss the claims without telling 600 clients, then tried to convert the whole settlement into legal fees, a class action claims in state court. . . . Lead plaintiff Kendra Cutting sued Mark Yablonovich; an attorney in his law office, Michael Coats, and The Law Offices of Mark Yablonovich, in Alameda County Court. . . . Yablonovich's office is in Los Angeles, according to the California Bar Association web page. Cutting claims the defendants "wrongfully collected and continue to unlawfully retain substantial sums belonging to plaintiff and the other members of the proposed class." . . . Cutting and other sold mortgages for Wells Fargo and alleged that the bank improperly classified them as exempt from overtime wages.


In the Supreme Court, a Fight Over Sanctions for Government Misconduct

Posted by Mike Scarcella, The BLT, The Blog of the Legal Times  

10-22-12 -- The Justice Department doesn't want the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a dispute over alleged prosecutorial misconduct, urging the court to keep in place a ruling that voided an award of more than $600,000 in attorney fees to a Miami doctor who was acquitted in a drug case. . . . Responding to the Justice Department today, Dr. Ali Shaygan's lawyers continued their effort to convince the high court to review the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to dismiss the legal fee award. . . . At issue is this: Under what scenario is a criminal defendant allowed to recoup legal fees under the Hyde Amendment? Federal law says a defendant can try to obtain fees if the legal position of the United States was vexatious, frivolous or in bad faith. But those terms are not defined.


Conservative lawyer says she was 'devastated' when passed over for job at Iowa law school

Associated Press | Fox News  

10-22-12 -- A conservative lawyer testified Monday that she was shocked when she was passed over for a teaching job at the University of Iowa law school in favor of a less-qualified candidate who ended up resigning after performing poorly. . . . Teresa Wagner took the witness stand as her lawyers finished presenting her case, laid out during a weeklong trial in federal court in Davenport, that the liberal-leaning law school faculty blocked her appointment because of her conservative views and prior work for groups that oppose abortion rights. . . . The case is being closely watched in higher education and legal circles because of longstanding allegations of political bias at left-leaning law schools. Some experts say that, if successful, it could lead to more lawsuits. Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday afternoon before a jury of eight women and four men starts consider whether Wagner was discriminated against and, if so, how much she should be awarded.


Volunteer lawyers project to assist veterans applying for benefits

Bangor Daily News   

10-22-12 -- Local veterans can get free help with Veterans Affairs disability benefit applications and appeals, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square, through a free clinic sponsored by the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project. Several volunteer attorneys and law students will provide free legal assistance to veterans. . . . To make an appointment, call Rob Liscord, AmeriCorps VISTA member, at 400-3232, although no appointment is necessary. . . . “With an increasing number of veterans returning home and having difficulty accessing the benefits they’ve earned, there is a great need for this clinic” said Juliet Holmes-Smith, director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project. “We hope this clinic will be the first of many in Maine.”


Leopold lawyer tab now at $42,000

County executive promised, with caveats, to repay costs if found guilty

By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun   

10-22-12 -- Taxpayers have now been billed more than $42,000 in legal fees in the gender discrimination lawsuit against Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold, who has promised to repay the sum under certain conditions. . . . The latest invoice doubles the previous tab charged to taxpayers by Thatcher Law Firm, the private attorneys hired by the county to defend Leopold after a conflict arose.


Lawyer Who Skipped Trial, Traveled to Paris Wedding Is Convicted of Contempt

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

10-22-12 -- A lawyer who clashed with a Minnesota judge says an appeal is likely after she was convicted of misdemeanor contempt for skipping a trial last year to attend her brother’s wedding in Paris. . . . After the verdict on Thursday, lawyer M. Tayari Garrett declared that “an injustice has been done,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. She was sentenced to a year of probation and fined $1,000. . . . The story says Garrett intentionally skipped her client’s mortgage fraud trial to attend the wedding. Previous coverage said Garrett had claimed she was hospitalized on the trial start date and left for France two days later.


Missouri Plaintiffs Lawyer Starts Program to Target Distracted Driving

By Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal

10-22-12 -- Douglas Horn, a Missouri plaintiffs lawyer, thinks that texting while driving has become more dangerous than drinking and driving. Laws that prohibit phone use while driving don’t go far enough, he recently told Kansas City’s WDAF TV, and he’s launched his own driver safety program. . . . Called Drive By Example, it focuses on education programs, legislation and bringing awareness to the problem.



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Long Island lawyer loses bid to overturn misconduct charges

By Jessica Dye, Thomson Reuters News & Insights     

10-23-12 -- New York's highest court on Tuesday affirmed nine out of 10 professional misconduct charges against a Long Island matrimonial lawyer whose brother stole more than $4 million from his firm's escrow accounts. . . . Peter Galasso was a founding partner of Galasso Langione Catterson & Lofrumento in Garden City, where his brother, Anthony, was employed as a bookkeeper. Between 2004 and 2007, Anthony Galasso diverted more than $4 million being held for clients of the firm and took elaborate steps to cover his tracks, according to court papers. . . . The Grievance Committee for the 9th Judicial District brought 10 charges of professional misconduct against Peter Galasso, saying he had failed to safeguard his clients' money. The Appellate Division, Second Department, sustained all 10 charges and suspended him from practicing law for two years. Galasso appealed.

Tax Lawyer Raises Profile of Revolutionary War General

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

10-23-12 -- For the past 16 years on the Fourth of July, New York tax lawyer James Kaplan has been leading a 2 a.m. walking tour of Lower Manhattan that emphasizes the achievements of a little known Revolutionary War general, Horatio Gates. . . . During his walking tours, Kaplan would note Gates’ unmarked grave, according to a 2009 article he wrote for Last Exit magazine. The situation changed on Sunday, when about 150 people gathered to celebrate the installation of a marker honoring Gates at a Wall Street district cemetery where he is buried, the New York Times City Room blog reports. “This is a great day in my point of view in the history of the city of New York,” Kaplan said.

Firms Grow Bolder About Suing Clients for Unpaid Legal Fees

By Christine Simmons, New York Law Journal  

Suing clients for unpaid legal fees could become routine as firms are growing more assertive about collecting overdue bills. . . . "There was a time when a lot of firms would feel it was unseemly to bring an action against a client" regardless of the amount owed, said Martin Wasser, a partner at 75-lawyer Phillips Nizer. "I think that's changed." . . . "Firms are more aggressive in following up with bills than they've ever been," said Wasser, whose firm is among the many that have filed suit to collect fees from former clients this year.

With Help from ‘Old Sage’ Environmental Lawyer, Inmate Wins Review of Conviction

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

10-23-12 -- At the age of 70, Syracuse, N.Y., lawyer Sidney Manes took on a new cause. . . . Manes had developed an expertise in environmental law after giving up criminal defense in the 1950s, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports. But when he received a letter from inmate Hector Rivas in 1996, Manes started working to dig up exculpatory information. . . . “Manes, then 70, was a rich lawyer with his own little island in the Thousand Islands,” the story says. “He’d paid no attention to the murder trial in 1993 when Rivas was convicted of strangling his former girlfriend, pediatric nurse Valerie Hill.”

Dish Network Executive Apologizes for Emotional Outburst Aimed at Gibson Dunn Lawyer's Father

By Sara Randazzo, The Am Law Daily 

10-22-12 -- A long-running legal battle between Cablevision and Dish Network ended Monday, but not before a Dish executive publicly apologized for accosting the elderly father of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher litigator Orin Snyder last week on her way out of the courtroom where the elderly man had just finished watching his son work. . . . "I'm a woman of integrity," Dish Network vice president of programming Carolyn Crawford said to New York state Supreme Court justice Richard Lowe III after the jury that had been hearing the three-week-long trial filed out of the courtroom. "My emotions got the best of me." . . . While Crawford did not say specifically what she was apologizing for, Reuters and several other media outlets have reported that on October 16, after conferring with Lowe and lawyers for both parties in the case, she stormed out of court, stopping briefly to slap Snyder's father on the back while saying, "Proud of your son?"


DA: Pa. attorney pilfered $200K from clients

Associated Press |       

10-23-12 -- A former public defender in eastern Pennsylvania is accused of stealing more than $200,000 from clients of his private practice and using newly pilfered cash to repay earlier victims. . . . Authorities in Northampton County say Anthony Martino stole money from the escrow accounts of two clients and failed to repay a personal loan, using the stolen funds to repay money he allegedly took from an estate he'd administered.


State Bar Says Dallas Attorney Tom Corea Can No Longer Be Dallas Attorney

By Eric Nicholson,  Dallas Observer (blog)     

10-23-12 -- After his father died in a nursing home operated by Healthsouth Corp., Howard Wright sued the company for medical malpractice and in January 2011 agreed to a $225,000 settlement. A good chunk of that, 36 percent, went to his lawyer, Tom Corea, and another $20,000 went to pay off a pair of liens, but that still left Wright with $124,000. . . . Wright, like quite a few of Corea's clients, never saw a dime. When Wright demanded his money, Corea balked, claiming that the agreement had been for a 40 percent cut. Then, Corea claimed he had to renegotiate the agreement to pay off the Medicare lien, which went on for several months until Wright discovered that the settlement money was nowhere to be found.

Hurst attorney says fire bombs were thrown through her office windows

By Deanna Boyd, Star-Telegram

10-22-12 -- Federal agents are investigating whether a Hurst attorney was the intended target of an arsonist who threw incendiary devices into the building where she has an office. . . . Attorney Ginger Weatherspoon said Monday that she believes she was the intended target behind the weekend fire and that investigators have already begun questioning people connected with cases that she is working. . . . "It will shake you up, but I do a lot of family law, and family law is crazy," Weatherspoon said. "I told my staff it's like being in the Pelican Brief. It's like being in a John Grisham novel." . . . Weatherspoon said the homemade devices had been thrown through side-by-side windows of the multioffice building at 1240 Southridge Court, two landing in her office but not igniting because they had lost their wicks.


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October 17, 2012 -- October 19, 2012


The Hot Seat

Stories on lawyers and judges in trouble, expanded roundup of ALM coverage.

Bribery. Money laundering. Investment scams. Lawyers don't just represent folks accused of such crimes. They often are the accused. Here we've collected stories of lawyers accused of defrauding clients; judges charged with abusing their power; and individuals who've just plain gone off the rails with behavior so bizarre we can only wonder: "What were they thinking?" While some have been cleared of the charges, others have been reprimanded, sanctioned, or sent to jail. Their tales are funny, sad, weird -- and not to be missed.

With Eyes on Jobs, NYU Law Launches New 3L Programs

By Christine Simmons, New York Law Journal   

10-18-12 -- Responding to criticism that law schools aren't doing enough to prepare graduates for employment, New York University School of Law has decided to bolster its third-year offerings with enhanced opportunities to study abroad, practice area-specific tracks and a new government law clinic. . . . Dean Richard Revesz, who announced the plans to students yesterday, said in an interview that the changes would make students "better lawyers and better able to succeed as lawyers." . . . NYU Law yesterday announced enhanced programs for its third-year students. On the panel, from left, are Melody Barnes, NYU vice provost for global student leadership initiatives; Evan Chesler, presiding partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Dean Rickey Revesz; Vice Dean Kevin Davis; and Sally Katzen, a visiting professor and senior adviser at the Podesta Group. NYLJ/Rick Kopstein. . . . Students expressed mixed feelings, reacting with enthusiasm but wondering whether the offers could directly impact their employment prospects.

Courts Not Exempted From Senator's List Of Wasteful Spending

Posted by Todd Ruger, The BLT, The Blog of the Legal Times  

10-17-12 -- Several court and legal related programs were criticized this week in one Republican senator's annual "Wastebook," which chronicles the top 100 projects that voters might consider a waste of tax dollars. The priciest of those: $322 million for a new federal courthouse in Los Angeles, a project that has been stalled for more than a decade. . . . Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) also singled out a $500,000 science grant that went for online lawyer training, the Department of Justice's use of old x-ray technology for prisoner health care, and $500,000 for a security system at an Alabama courthouse that had to be partially shut down over privacy concerns. . . . Congress is looking to cut spending and reel in the national debt, so inclusion on the list could mean more than just the embarrassment of being labeled the equivalent of "A Bridge to Nowhere," the phrase now synonymous with wasteful government spending. Coburn published the report on his website.

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Jefferson County's top lawyer, who makes $375,000, could leave in dispute over pay raise

By Barnett Wright, Birmingham News  

10-18-12 -- Jefferson County faces the departure of its top in-house lawyer in a dispute over pay, Birmingham News has learned. . . . County Attorney Jeff Sewell has requested that the County Commission honor a resolution passed by the previous commission that gives merit raises to the county's in-house legal staff. . . . It is unclear when Sewell might leave, but boxes in his office were packed this week and his desk cleaned. However, talks to resolve the pay dispute were expected to continue through next week. . . . The decision on the pay raise -- about $30,000 annually for Sewell -- will be made by Commission President David Carrington, who is the appointing authority for the county attorney's office.


After Appeals Court Nixes Reversed Conviction of Anna Nicole Smith’s Boyfriend-Lawyer, What Next?

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal

10-19-12 -- Confusion reigned following news that a California appellate court has determined that a trial judge erroneously reversed the conviction of Anna Nicole Smith's onetime boyfriend and lawyer, in a relatively minor criminal conspiracy case concerning prescription drugs supplied to the now-deceased celebrity and former Playboy bunny. . . . Lawyers said they aren't certain exactly what the Thursday appellate ruling means to defendant attorney Howard K. Stern, reports the Associated Press. It appears that he can't be retried, because doing so would violate double jeopardy rules. However, the trial judge may be able to reinstate the conviction on remand.

Judges Testify to Culture of Discord in DA's Discipline Trial

By Cynthia Foster, The Recorder  

10-16-12 -- During day two of the State Bar misconduct proceedings against district attorney Jon Alexander, prosecutors called two Del Norte County Superior Court judges who testified to a culture of hostility in the small, tightly-knit legal community in which Alexander allegedly gave and received improper loans. . . . Judge William Follett, currently the only permanently assigned judge sitting in the county of 28,000 residents, and retired Judge Robert Weir both testified that while they weren't sure a loan made by Alexander to a deputy probation officer and a loan made to Alexander by a local defense attorney constituted illegal conduct, they felt the activity could give the appearance of impropriety. But both noted it was the state bar's interest in and investigation of the allegations that gave them a certain weight. The improper financial dealings are among seven counts of misconduct charged by the State Bar in connection with Alexander's tumultuous legal career.


Crunch time coming up for GOP's DOMA fight

Posted by Todd Ruger, The BLT, The Blog of the Legal Times     

10-19-12 -- House Republicans have paid Washington law firm Bancroft nearly $1.5 million in the past two years to have former solicitor general Paul Clement defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal courts. So far, they have lost all six decisions in district or circuit cases. . . . House Democrats say the Republicans must now decide whether to keep paying Bancroft, after another high-profile loss Thursday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. The U.S. Supreme Court is also considering whether to take up DOMA this term. . . . The contract with Bancroft was capped at $1.5 million. House Democrats released statistics this week showing that the legal bills – including $750,000 this year – have reached just $50,000 short of that amount as of mid-October.

D.C. Attorney General Criticizes Judge's 'Vituperative Rhetoric'

Posted by Zoe Tillman, The BLT, The Blog of the Legal Times  

10-15-12 -- The strained relationship between the District of Columbia's Office of the Attorney General and U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth took another hit late last week when the city filed a motion (PDF) characterizing Lamberth's language in a recent opinion as "vituperative rhetoric." . . . Calling Lamberth's language "unjustified, defamatory, and injudicious," lawyers for the city on Friday asked Lamberth to strike the "inappropriate language" and reconsider sanctions ordered against the city for discovery violations. The motion was signed by Attorney General Irvin Nathan, Deputy Attorney General Ellen Efros and Grace Graham, chief of the equity section. . . . The motion was in response to an opinion Lamberth published on October 4 slamming city lawyers for violating a discovery order. He criticized the city's "dilatory, wasteful action" and accused them of asking the court "to enter an Orwellian world where all arguments are devoid of context, and all Court orders magically mean whatever the District wishes them to mean."


Disbarred Lawyer Takes Plea in Attorney ID-Theft Case, Gets a Year in Prison Followed By Probation

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal

10-17-12 -- A now-disbarred Georgia lawyer accused of impersonating another attorney and practicing in that lawyer's name after his own license to practice was suspended took a plea Wednesday. . . . Elliott J. Vogt, 34, who was also accused of forging legal papers while ineptly representing dozens of clients, pleaded guilty to theft by conversion, forgery and identity-fraud charges in Muscogee County Superior Court, reports the Columbus Ledger Enquirer.


See the Viral Bar Mitzvah Video in Which a Future Chicago Attorney Dances to Madonna’s Vogue

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal

10-18-12 -- Nobody knew Shaun D. Sperling was a lawyer when his 20-year-old bar mitzvah video went almost instantly viral on YouTube, with help from Perez Hilton. . . . Family and friends cheer and whistle as the then-13-year-old doffs his suit jacket, revealing a white shirt with an image of Madonna's face on the back, and lets his tie fly as he confidently struts his stuff to Madonna's "Vogue" at the suburban Chicago event. The nearly 6-minute YouTube video quickly accumulated over a million hits after it was posted a little over two months ago and made the 33-year-old attorney something of a household name. . . . The Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa commercial litigation associate has since appeared on Today (YouTube has a clip), Jimmy Kimmel Live! and, on Oct. 29, is scheduled to be a guest on Ellen. As the show was taped earlier this month, Sperling actually met Madonna, who agreed at the last minute to be a guest.


Lawyer Blasted by Ky. Judge Who Called Case ‘Ridiculous,’ Client a ‘Carcass’ Now Seeks His Removal

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal

10-16-12 -- A lawyer who was blasted by a senior Kentucky judge during a videotaped hearing that has generated much comment from observers has now filed a removal motion seeking a new jurist to oversee his client's motion for a new trial in a capital murder case. . . . “It is my opinion that throughout the proceeding, Judge [Martin] McDonald expressed his personal disgust and disdain for me and made clear he harbors a bias towards me and my client,” said attorney David Barron in a motion and affidavit he filed Monday. The filing asks state Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. to take McDonald off the Jefferson Circuit Court case, the Courier-Journal reports. Barron is seeking a new trial for death-row inmate Roger Dale Epperson, contending that his trial counsel was ineffective.


Top La. Court Nixes Lawyer’s Argument That Judicial Bribery Scheme Doesn’t Call for Disbarment

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal

10-19-12 -- A suspended Louisiana trial lawyer has been permanently disbarred for his role in a Mississippi judicial bribery scheme. . . . Rejecting arguments by Paul S. Minor that attorney discipline should not take place until his criminal appeals are final and that disbarment is too harsh a punishment, given the mitigating circumstances, the Louisiana Supreme Court in a Tuesday ruling noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied his certiorari petition and said disbarment is merited.


Retaliation Claim Allowed in ‘Macho Culture’ Suit by Fired Dechert Associate

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

10-19-12 -- A former Dechert associate who maintains he was fired partly because of the firm’s macho culture will be allowed to proceed with a retaliation claim. . . . Ariel Ayanna claims the firm retaliated against him, for taking leave to care for his children and mentally ill wife, in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act. In an Oct. 17 ruling (PDF), U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton of Boston allowed Ayanna’s retaliation claim but dismissed his sex discrimination claim under state law, the National law Journal reports.


St. Louis Attorney Indicted On Federal Mail Fraud Charges

St. Louis Post-Dispatch staff report 

10-18-12 -- A local attorney was charged in federal court here Thursday with mail fraud for allegedly keeping insurance money that was owed to his clients. . . . According to the three-count indictment, Stephen B. Evans, 45, of St. Louis, illegally collected between $70,000 and $120,000 from 2007 to 2012 that had been awarded by insurance companies to his clients on lawsuits, instead of just taking the contingent fee he was owed.

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N.J. Court Weighs Requiring Pro Bono for Bar Applicants

By David Gialanella, New Jersey Law Journal   

10-19-12 -- Following New York's lead, the New Jersey Supreme Court is about to give serious thought to mandating that bar applicants put in a quantum of pro bono work as a precondition for admission. . . . A New York court rule amendment adopted in September requires prospective lawyers to show they have done at least 50 hours of law-related volunteer work before admission to the state bar. . . . Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and the Supreme Court have requested an evaluation of the New York rule and of whether New Jersey should emulate it. Judge Glenn Grant, acting administrative director of the courts, is leading a working group. . . . In his Oct. 16 letter to group members, Grant said New York's new mandate "furthers a number of commendable aims" and "is aimed at expanding access to citizens who otherwise would not have representation." . . . "We know that in New Jersey, as in states around the nation, the number of people who come to court with no attorney remains high," Grant wrote.


Former Holland & Knight Partner Owes Firm $351,000

By Sara Randazzo, The Am Law Daily  

10-19-12 -- A former Holland & Knight partner who has waged a years-long court battle against the firm over what he says was his unfair dismissal from the partnership in 2002 received a further setback this week: A bill for $351,163 that a court ruled he now owes his one-time professional home. . . . John Weir, who had joined Holland & Knight in 1997 through its merger with Haight Gardner Poor & Havens and at one point led the firm's New York labor and employment practice, first sued the firm in New York federal court in 2005 claiming he was let him go because of his age—at the time, 55—and because the firm didn't want to pay retirement benefits he says he was owed. In court filings, Holland & Knight argued that Weir's termination stemmed from differences of opinion related to the direction of the firm's labor and employment practice.

Ex-Associate Gets Sentenced for Stealing Client Funds

By Andrew Keshner, New York Law Journal  

10-18-12 -- A former Crowell & Moring associate who pleaded guilty to embezzling $10.7 million in client funds choked back tears yesterday and said he was "consumed with remorse" during his sentencing. Douglas Arntsen, 34, said he was "so sorry" for his actions, apologizing to his family, former clients and ex-employer before Acting Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser in Manhattan gave him a four-to-12-year prison sentence. . . . Arntsen pleaded guilty earlier this month to three counts of first-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. Prosecutors had pressed for a five-to-15-year sentence. At his plea, Arntsen agreed to a restitution order for the stolen $10.7 million (NYLJ, Oct. 3).

PI Lawyer’s Face Is Blazoned Around Big Apple in NYC Marathon Ad Campaign

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal

10-18-12 -- It all began with a photo taken by Eric Turkewitz's eight-year-old son not quite two years ago. . . . The attorney, smiling broadly, holds up the medal he just received for completing the New York City Marathon in November 2010. Turkewitz included the photo in an off-topic post about the race in his New York Personal Injury Law Blog. . . . Turkewitz initially thought it was a joke when someone who ran across the post emailed him in August seeking permission to use the "inspirational" photo in an ad campaign for this year's race. However, instead of following his first instinct and deleting the email as spam, Turkewitz replied. Soon he had negotiated a contract that paid a fee to his son, as the photographer, the lawyer explains in a Wednesday post.


Questions surround slaying of young attorney

He tried to end 'tumultuous' relationship, loved ones say

Written by Amanda Van Benschoten.   

10-16-12 -- Three days after Ryan Poston was found fatally shot inside his Meadow Lane home, more questions than answers surround the death of the promising young attorney. . . . Poston, 29, was found shot to death on the floor of his dining room around 9 p.m. Friday, according to a police report of the incident. His girlfriend, 21-year-old Shayna Hubers, called 911 at 8:54 p.m. to say she had shot him and he had stopped breathing, according to the report. No motive is yet known, and police and prosecutors refuse to discuss the case, citing the ongoing investigation. . . . Poston was “shot more than once in different areas of the body,” according to Deputy Coroner Al Garnick, who responded to the scene of the crime and conducted the preliminary autopsy Saturday morning. Police have identified a handgun as the weapon involved.


State Bar Seeks Disciplinary Action Against Anderson

by Brandi Grissom, Texas Tribune  

10-19-12 -- On the one-year anniversary of Michael Morton’s release from prison, the State Bar of Texas filed a disciplinary case against the prosecutor who secured his wrongful murder conviction. The lawyer oversight agency alleges that former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson — now a state district judge — deliberately withheld evidence and made false statements to the court during Morton’s 1987 trial. . . . Anderson, who was appointed to the bench by Gov. Rick Perry in 2002 and who the State Bar named “Prosecutor of the Year” in 1995, is facing civil and criminal legal action and could be disbarred if he is found to have violated professional rules of conduct in securing the wrongful conviction. Morton was sentenced to life and spent nearly 25 years in prison for the August 1986 murder of his wife Christine Morton.

Hartford Settles Lawyer’s Suit Involving Treasury Deputy

By Laurel Brubaker Calkins, Bloomberg 

10-18-12 -- Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG) settled a lawsuit by a Texas attorney who accused the insurer of causing him to be prosecuted on bribery charges that were later dropped after a mistrial, a lawyer for the man said. . . . The lawyer’s negligence allegations against Hartford included claims that the company’s former general counsel, Neal S. Wolin, now U.S. deputy treasury secretary, took part in a cover-up linked to alleged extortion by two employees, attorneys for the lawyer told jurors in opening statements last week. . . . “We settled today, and I can’t discuss the terms,” John Flood, who represents Texas lawyer Todd Hoeffner, said yesterday in a phone interview when the trial in state court in Houston was halted before Hoeffner was to take the stand.


Specials / Evidence Of Misconduct

By David Boeri, A WBUR Series

02-19-10 -- When Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn joined Boston’s war on organized crime, he turned his focus to an up-and-coming mobster named Vincent Ferrara. The operation was called “Tunnel Vision,” fitting for a case in which prosecutors were willing to break the rules to bring down their target. Auerhahn thought he had a smoking gun in a witness who testified that Ferrara ordered a hit. Problem is, the witness lied. Worse, a judge ruled Auerhahn knew he lied — and covered it up. . . . The case raises troubling questions from critics — including judges — who worry that withholding evidence has become a tactic of some federal prosecutors. Those critics question whether Justice can police itself. In three parts, WBUR’s David Boeri examines the case, the actions of the Boston prosecutor and how it was handled by the Department of Justice.

Part I: A Prosecutor, Mobster, A Witness Who Lied

In 2003, a judge found that a federal prosecutor for the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston, Jeffrey Auerhahn, intentionally withheld evidence that could have cleared two men charged in a murder case. In the first report, we consider the crucial evidence that Auerhahn never turned over. Full story »

Part II: ‘The Smokingest Gun’

The Department of Justice has never taken public action to discipline Auerhahn. Now the chief federal judge here has set local proceedings in motion to do what Justice hasn’t: publicly punish him. In the second report, we dive into the misconduct case against Auerhahn. Full story »

Part III: The Judges’ Rebellion

In the third report, we consider how the Department of Justice dealt with Auerhahn, and how it’s come to the point that federal judges in Boston could suspend or even disbar him. Full story »

The Courts:

Rochester resident puts American justice on trial

By Tim Louis Macaluso, rochestercitynewspaper

11-25-09 -- In the opening pages of "Ordinary Justice: How America Holds Court," Amy Bach recounts the story of a Texas defense lawyer, Joe Frank Cannon, who literally fell asleep during the trial of his client, Calvin Burdine. . . . After being convicted of murder for shooting a man during a convenience-store robbery, Burdine was sentenced to death. But in a sadly comical turn of events, a panel of federal appellate judges vigorously debated whether Burdine's attorney had violated the Constitution by repeatedly falling asleep, chin-to-chest, during his client's trial. . . . Burdine's death sentence was overturned and he was granted a new trial. But the real question, Bach says, is how did a defense lawyer sleep through a murder trial without a single objection from the judge, prosecutor, jurors, or courtroom witnesses? . . . After eight years of research, Bach found that such cases are not extraordinary. Instead, she says, they occur with disturbing regularity in courtrooms across the country, and require surprisingly little effort to find.

Missing: Ray F. Gricar Centre County, PA District Attorney FBI MISSING PERSON


 If you have information regarding the disappearance of Centre County, Pennsylvania District Attorney Ray F. Gricar, please contact the Bellefonte Police Department at (814) 353-2320 or your local law enforcement agency.

Please direct all media inquiries to
Tony Gricar at (937) 287-3841


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Information on New Jersey’s Attorney Disciplinary System

Did you know that only about 5% of grievances filed against lawyers with the New Jersey attorney discipline system are made public?  The remaining 95% of ethics grievances remain secret forever.  They are dismissed, declined or diverted, behind closed doors, by the lawyers who run the system.  Can we trust a lawyer-run government agency to hold other lawyers accountable?

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INAUGURATED ON: September 6, 2004
Updated 10/28/2012