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Being a Snitch as a Business Plan

January 17, 2012

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Being a Snitch as a Business Plan

I love it when someone gets all, “Hey, yo, I ain’t no snitch!”  Their nose gets crinkly, and if you’re lucky you can catch the beam of ambient light as it exits their nostrils because there’s no mass to impede its journey from their ears. Let’s deconstruct the situation that leads to that proclamation.  Someone […]

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Opt for the Village: Jury Trial Better for Defendant in Close Evidentiary Calls

January 16, 2012

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Opt for the Village: Jury Trial Better for Defendant in Close Evidentiary Calls

It’s a fundamental issue to resolve for every trial:  Take a jury or opt for a bench trial (over which a judge presides without a jury)?  Commonly agreed reasons for opting for a judge-only trial include highly technical defenses and highly emotional cases.  Judges are less likely to be swayed, so the story goes, by […]

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Your weekend reading, January 14-15, 2012 – Janis Joplin Autopsy

January 14, 2012

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Your weekend reading, January 14-15, 2012 – Janis Joplin Autopsy

All due respect to Janis, but let’s play doctor. One thing an attorney must do to be successful in litigation is to learn the details of other trades.  It’s not enough to know a breach of contract when you see it – the clear violations get settled.  More often, there are technical disagreements that require […]

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SCOTUS Criminal Opinions – January 10-11, 2012

January 13, 2012

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SCOTUS Criminal Opinions – January 10-11, 2012

The Supreme Court of the United States done us right good – two days, four opinions with criminal-law implications.  We may not like them, but final rulings are always a good thing.  Let’s dig in. We were waiting for Perry v. New Hampshire after our writing on eyewitness testimony, and now we have it.  Here’s the […]

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Lawsuit of the Day: Pissing on someone is outside the scope of employment

January 12, 2012

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Lawsuit of the Day: Pissing on someone is outside the scope of employment

The opening act: State troopers took Derena Madison into custody after a 2:30 a.m. traffic stop in which they arrested her friend for driving under the influence. When officers said they would tow the car, Madison exited to protest. Police arrested her for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, putting her into handcuffs and restraining her […]

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Double Jeopardy: And the categories are …

January 11, 2012

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Double Jeopardy:  And the categories are …

We’re gonna talk about the Constitution’s Double Jeopardy Clause – nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb – but excuse me for a moment while I watch this video (sorry about the ad up front):  OK.  That just cracks me up.  Where was […]

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The Incurable Fungus: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

January 10, 2012

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The Incurable Fungus:  Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

We are certainly familiar with the refrain that a federal law that creates jobs for federal employees has zero chance to die a timely death.  A section of a 1965 law was supposed to die in 1969, yet it lives still.  Worse yet, the law gives the feds jurisdiction on the topic over only a […]

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Spousal Privilege in Pennsylvania: When your spouse doesn’t have to testify

January 9, 2012

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Spousal Privilege in Pennsylvania: When your spouse doesn’t have to testify

Some relationships are fundamental to a healthy society. From a legal perspective, these relationships cover religion, physical and mental health, the law, and the nuclear family.  As a general statement, conversations within these relationships are privileged – no one can compel a participant to disclose what was said, not even a court.  We can’t optimize […]

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Sotomayor & Retroactive Sentencing Adjustments: Surprisingly Constrained

January 6, 2012

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Sotomayor & Retroactive Sentencing Adjustments: Surprisingly Constrained

The fears of the judicially conservative during the nomination and confirmation of any SCOTUS justice from a liberal Administration is that the newly seated justice will expand the Constitution like a rubber band until it snaps.  Now-seated Associate Justice Sotomayor had these fears bounced off the side of her head throughout the review process.  I’m […]

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Being HIV+ and committing Assault by Default

January 5, 2012

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Being HIV+ and committing Assault by Default

Having HIV is not the death sentence it used to be.  HIV is, however, a communicable and incurable disease.  As such, recklessly transmitting it to an unsuspecting person is a crime.  Historically, a body part could be a “deadly weapon” only in very limited circumstances, but that seems to have changed.  Under many current laws, […]

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