[W]e abide by the principle which dictates that somebody will always position himself or herself to systematically harvest anything of value in this world for the sake of money, power and/or ego-fulfillment. We aim to be that somebody.


Continue Reading On Splogging

This excerpt from the ABA Journal speaks for itself, so I’ll just file it in the “don’t try this at home” category, and move on:

A lawyer says his letter threatening to reveal a prosecutor’s alleged car registration violation was intended as a joke, but Gage County Attorney Randy Ritnour didn’t take it that way.


Continue Reading I’ll Dismiss Yours If You Dismiss Mine: Innovative Negotiating Tactics

On the heels of my latest Sharon Keller post, comes this gem from this month’s Texas Bar Journal under disciplinary actions: the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public warning to Judge Gustavo Garza, justice of the peace, in Los Fresnos, Tx. What sorts of judicial No No’s could merit a public warning? Among other things:

Failing to inquire into the students’ or their parents’ ability to pay a fine or to provide them with the options of a payment plan, performing community service in satisfaction of a fine or court costs, or waiving the fine or costs after a determination of indigency;

Sounds like made-for-TV Podunk I’m-a-JP-and-I’m-here-to-collect-$$$ garbage. “Hey, I’ve just made a finding that you have no money, but since no one else gets community service in my court, neither do you…” What else?


Continue Reading Speaking of Crappy Judges…

Overwhelming immutable facts that tend to show the defendant is indeed guilty of the crime charged can lead to some pretty creative excuses. For example, defendant gives consent to search on tape and a baggie of cocaine is found in his right front pocket.

Extensive legal training isn’t necessary here. The client intuitively knows that unintentional possession is the only realistic defense, and so from time to time you’ll hear a lawyer in the courthouse saying, “Hey, my guy told me the I-was-wearing-someone-else’s-pants story…”
 


Continue Reading Sharon Keller: But I Was Wearing Someone Else’s Pants

This is an exaggeration, but sometimes I feel like I could start a whole blog responding to Randy Cohen’s incorrect answers in his weekly “Ethicist” New York Times Sunday Magazine column. (The truth is I’d probably only get one good post every other week, but that’s still an astonishingly high rate of bad “advice” – if that’s even what it is attempting to be. On the opposite end of the hypothetical niche blog topic spectrum, I would have to quit my full time job to track Mike Lupica’s bad predictions and silly statements; and that’s really just counting the 30 minutes of Sports Reporters, never mind his columns in the Daily News.)

Back to Cohen… I’ve got several 80% complete yet-not-quite-fully-polished posts about his column in my “unfinished” folder regarding past logical transgressions, but this morning I felt compelled to ask Mrs. ACDL to watch the kids by herself – I’ll have to pay that back – while I came over to tap out a few thoughts about today’s column.

If you’ve already read the column, Truth in Suspension, you may be guessing that I objected to the first scenario, where a reader asks Cohen if it had been ethical for a private school to label the discipline meted out to some kids caught using marijuana a “restriction” instead of a “suspension”, presumably, the reader posits, so as not to ruin their college admission status.


Continue Reading Mathematics and Faulty Ethics Advice

An attorney advertises (in one place) that his ‘specialties’ include ‘criminal motion practice’ and then posts this to a general someone-please-answer-my-question site:

What are some of the standard pre-trial motions attorneys file in criminal cases?

Most of my court-appointed cases usually end up with a plea deal at the preliminary hearing, or the DA and

Houston criminal defense lawyer Mark Bennett has been writing recently about lawyers who promise or guarantee good or great (or impossible?) results in criminal cases.

His example was one where the unethical lawyer promised a jail release in a federal drug case where the potential sentence could be more than 10 years (triggering presumptions of