Monday, June 30, 2014

Contraceptive mandate is overturned for closely held companies with religious objections

Contraceptive mandate is overturned for closely held companies with religious objections.  Hobby Lobby, now I have even more reason to never shop at your store.  I don't know of anyone who has ever shopped at your store.  Maybe people who like to go bowling on the way to a polka where they eat some undefinable mush enjoy this store.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I'm reading a great book on social media law

It is titled Social Media Law: a Handbook of Cases and Use by Ursula Furi-Perry.  It deals with issues from copyright law to defamation, both written and spoken.  Likewise, she talks about issues that arise in the employment law context.  The book is written in chapters with topics and relevant case law from throughout the country.  This book is for lawyers, and it would probably be too complex for those without legal training.
 

Aereo loses copyright challenge; its Internet TV service violates copyright law, SCOTUS says

Aereo loses copyright challenge; its Internet TV service violates copyright law, SCOTUS says.  Sounds like copyright infringement to me.  They are streaming content, and that content can be recorded.  Presumably it can be redistributed without permission.  How is this not copyright infringement?  I don't care about how it affects the free market because the free market doesn't allow you to violate federal law.

SCOTUS rules against warrantless cellphone searches in 'sweeping endorsement of digital privacy'

SCOTUS rules against warrantless cellphone searches in 'sweeping endorsement of digital privacy'.  Interesting case.  I'm not surprised about this ruling given the Court has shown a propensity to project privacy in similar cases.  This is regardless of the justices' politics.  This will make it more difficult for the police, and that's good.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Extreme sports are more popular than ever, prompting questions about legal liability

Extreme sports are more popular than ever, prompting questions about legal liability.  Tough to find liability here.  I do see how the argument could be made that "deliberate" activity beyond the pale may give rise to a theory of liability.  It will be hard to sell that to a jury, especially in North Carolina where we have contributory negligence.  If you are in any way at fault, absent last clear chance, you can't recover.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2,000 Twitter followers!


Law firms’ own employees are among the major cyberthreats to be protected against

Law firms’ own employees are among the major cyberthreats to be protected against.  This is good advice.  Firms who don't check their employees are asking for it.  It would be nice to trust people, but you can't be na├»ve.  People steal.  People cheat on their taxes.  People fudge their time.  Firms should perform criminal background checks and credit checks on their employees prior to hiring.  Likewise, they should perform similar checks periodically throughout the course of employment.

Former law student sues over D grade in contracts, seeks $100K for lost legal career

Former law student sues over D grade in contracts, seeks $100K for lost legal career. One bad grade didn't lose this guy his legal career.  Grades are important but not that important.  Law school is hard.  Sometimes you make good grades.  Sometimes you make crappy grades.  I understand being pissed about law school--we all are--but that's no reason to embarrass yourself and file a frivolous lawsuit like this.  Law school is the ultimate arbitrary place; in this way, it is great preparation for the practice of law.

Monday, June 23, 2014

70th anniversary of #GIBill70th

Hard to believe.  Unfortunately Congress wouldn't pass such legislation nowadays.  At least those from red states wouldn't.  Blue states reps would pass it in a heartbeat.

Student suspended for 7 weeks over 2-word tweet sues police and school officials

Student suspended for 7 weeks over 2-word tweet sues police and school officials.  Why didn't they suspend the student who made the previous tweet?  That would have made more sense.  The student who was suspended technically said nothing wrong in his tweet.  Whether or not his tweet can be combined with the preceding tweet seems to be a bit attenuated as a legal issue.  I don't believe you can be liable for something someone else said even if you agree with it.  Agreeing with it doesn't mean you said it.

CenterPoint projects 3 percent increase in budget - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News

CenterPoint projects 3 percent increase in budget - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News.  This is great news.  Center Point provides much needed mental health services.  Mental health issues are the most significant health care issues facing this country today.  Unfortunately mental health issues are not adequately treated. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lawyer claims Donald Sterling threatened to take him out; judge denies protective order

Lawyer claims Donald Sterling threatened to take him out; judge denies protective order.  Such a scumbag.  I don't care if he was recorded.  You do have the right to free speech, but your right doesn't apply when you are dealing with nongovernmental involvement.  Likewise, your stupid statements have consequences, both economic and social.  Of course Sterling is going to make a few billion before taxes on the sale of his team.

Median salary is $95K for new law grads working in law firms, NALP study shows

Median salary is $95K for new law grads working in law firms, NALP study shows.  That's kind of high.  I guess inflation is on the rise.  Kind of makes you wonder how the average salary can jump thousands of dollars in a year.

Comedy at its finest

Photo via @TheNewslo

Separation of church and state?

Guy on the sticker doesn't want that.  I wonder how he would feel if Buddhism were declared the national religion.  Pastors should stay pastors.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I'm honored to be the NCBA Young Lawyers Division incoming Chair

I will be named YLD chair this weekend in Wilmington at the NCBA Annual Meeting.  It is a tremendous honor, and many great leaders have come before me.  The YLD does a number of wonderful projects such as Wills for Heroes, Project Grace, Legal Link and Legal Feeding Frenzy to name a few.

Lawyers are needed now more than ever.  We have a legislature who has passed and continues to pass unconstitutional laws.  They are trying to kill the legal profession.  We cannot allow them to do this.  Lawyers are too important.

This year I will be focusing on the Innocence Project and minority groups such as LGBT, African American, Hispanic and Latino and Asian Americans.  These groups are the most vulnerable groups, and they need out help.


Prison official faints during execution; sentence was upheld despite jurors' gag gifts, drug secrecy

Prison official faints during execution; sentence was upheld despite jurors' gag gifts, drug secrecy.  This sounds like a comedy of errors.  What a bunch of buffoons.  The juror's gag gift was the worst.  Jurors can be so stupid, and I often wonder whether or not we are better off without juries altogether.  They aren't the enlightened group we think they are.  They rarely have "collective wisdom"--more like collective stupidity.

Redskins name and trademark are no more

Good for the US trademark office.  It is a racist name because it is a slur or at least it used to be.  Indian is a little different, but it isn't a lot better.  Expect Indian to not be used in the future.  This means the Bureau of Indian Affairs will need to change its name.

Wisdom from the Count of Monte Cristo

Edmund Dantes was wrongfully improsoned, but he never lost hope. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

US Treasury building

Stately building.

I enjoyed appearing on 600 WSJS and talking about the NCBA, Chair of the YLD and the Innocence Project

I always enjoy appearing on 600 WSJS.  Today I talked about the North Carolina Bar Association and the good work it does.  More specifically, I talked about what I plan to do as the incoming Chair of the Young Lawyers Division.  I will focus on the Innocence Project.  Too many people are wrongfully imprisoned in this country and on death row.  This should not happen.  It is fundamentally unjust.  Lawyers are supposed to "seek justice," and that's what the Young Lawyers are going to do in helping exonerate the innocent.

The YLD will also help promote diversity through greater emphasis on issues surrounding racial and sexual minorities.  Everyone needs a seat at the table.

Friday, June 6, 2014

700,000 veterans in North Carolina

Many of them are below the poverty line. Members of the General Assembly don't get this.  We need to look after our veterans.

People shouldn't be arrested for protected speech

It happened here.

70th Anniversary of D-Day

This may be the last time soldiers from World War II make the trek to Normandy to observe the anniversary of the Allied Invasion, the greatest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare.  My grandfather and three great uncles all fought in World War II.  My grandfather went over later in the year and fought in the Battle of the Bulge under General Patton.  Fortunately my grandfather and great uncles had the GI Bill when they returned home.  Now, unfortunately, we don't do much for our veterans.  The VA is underfunded and those who sound the trumpets of war routinely vote against funding the VA, in particular, veterans with disabilities such as PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.  This is sad.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

3 lawyers face legal ethics case in claimed mid-trial DUI arrest setup of opposing counsel

3 lawyers face legal ethics case in claimed mid-trial DUI arrest setup of opposing counsel.  This is despicable.  You aren't supposed to use the threat of criminal charges or civil suits to gain an advantage.  The lawyer who got locked up shouldn't have been drinking at all (he was in trial) let alone driving.  Dumb all around.

Claims of indigence by criminal defendants aren’t taken at face value in this county

Claims of indigence by criminal defendants aren’t taken at face value in this county.  You are supposed to have a right to counsel in this country or so the Constitution says.  This is true even if you cannot pay for one.  Some states regularly trample on that right.  This is a new permutation of the deprivation of this sacred right.  The logic is: you aren't indigent, so I won't appoint you an attorney.  But I won't check to see.  That makes a lot of sense if you are a bubba with a gun and no brain.

Remembering murdered Freedom Riders 50 years later


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bringing Bowe Bergdahl home was the right thing to do, and he deserves VA disability

Bowe Bergdahl deserved to come home.  He served his country, and he was in a Taliban prison camp for 5 years.  It is disgraceful that people are trying to smear him.  In particular, FOX News co-host Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) should be ashamed of himself for saying Bergdahl's father looked like he was in the Taliban because he wore a beard.  The father grew a beard as a tribute to his son.

If Bergdahl is honorably discharged, he should receive VA disability benefits for PTSD and whatever other physical and psychological issues he may have.  He served his country, and he deserves it.  He is likely a hero, and he will be vindicated eventually.

Veteran lawyer fined $1K for using b-word to describe trial court in contempt-case appeal

Veteran lawyer fined $1K for using b-word to describe trial court in contempt-case appeal.  Kind of a dumb thing to do.  Don't use vulgarity in a court proceeding or court paper unless you are quoting someone. 

Was Charleston law school a cash cow or is it bleeding red ink? Finances at issue before sale vote

Was Charleston law school a cash cow or is it bleeding red ink? Finances at issue before sale vote.  I'm glad this place isn't doing well.  I can't believe lawyers and judges are the financial backers for this.  That's terrible.  Hey...they do have the idiot from #SouthernCharm.  Isn't that something?

Judge on leave, seeking counseling after reported fight with public defender outside courtroom

Judge on leave, seeking counseling after reported fight with public defender outside courtroom.  I am glad to see this.  He deserves it.  This kind of behavior is unacceptable and highly unprofessional.  It will be interesting to see if they guy ever goes back to the bench.  I'm not sure if he should. 

NCBA Young Lawyers Division to help out with the Innocence Project

I will be YLD Chair starting in late June.  I want my project to be assisting the Innocence Project.  The YLD is going to help out with the Innocence Project.  The particulars have not yet been determined, but we are going to screen for possible cases.  It is likely we will be working with Duke University School of Law.

North Carolina and other states have hundreds if not thousands of innocent people wrongfully imprisoned each year.  Some of them are on death row.  Many of them go because of bad police work, racial profiling, overzealous prosecutors, bad juries, bad lawyering, racism or a combination of all of those things.  Anyone who believes in justice or in the ideals this country was founded upon should support freeing the innocent when there is evidence to support their innocence.  If you don't, you are un-American. 

I want to find that evidence and help free those who are innocent. 

North Carolina General Assembly establishes 3 judge panel to hear challenges to its unconstitutional laws

During its horrendous session, the  North Carolina General Assembly passed a number of horrible bills.  This isn't surprising given the "race to the bottom" mentality of our current government.  One law in particular rankles me more than others.  Revisions to Article 26A of the North Carolina General Statutes changes the law to where ALL challenges to state statutes are heard by a 3 judge panel appointed by the North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice.  Prior to this bill only redistricting cases were heard in this manner, and that was bad.

This sounds like a separation of powers issue to me.  Likewise, it is a stupid law.  How do we know the Superior Court judges picked are fair and impartial?  We don't.  That's the problem.  Essentially this makes it very difficult to challenge any state statute, and there are many statutes that need to be challenged and thrown out.

Domestic violence victim put on stand in pajamas, then jailed overnight for refusing to testify

Domestic violence victim put on stand in pajamas, then jailed overnight for refusing to testify.  This is a tough call.  Domestic violence victims are often reluctant to testify and for good reason--they are afraid.  I do think jailing the woman overnight was a bit extreme.  The pajamas part seems immaterial to me, but it makes the headline here catchier.

Federal judge tosses challenge to NSA surveillance, with reluctance

Federal judge tosses challenge to NSA surveillance, with reluctance.  I am really torn about this issue.  On the one hand, people voluntarily give up lots of information about themselves to third parties all the time.  Does this mean they are partially waiving a right to privacy from government surveillance?  Can NSA use the commerce clause or national security to mine the date?  I don't know.

On the other hand, we do not want to live in a police state.  Is reading the data without knowing who sent it a violation of the right to privacy?  Again, I am unsure.

It is always a balancing act between freedom and safety.  There can be too much freedom and too much safety.  No one knows the answer to how much freedom is too much freedom and how much safety is too much safety.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sheriff investigating judge's reported fight with public defender outside courtroom

Sheriff investigating judge's reported fight with public defender outside courtroom.  Nice to know the Sheriff is "investigating" this incident.  Somehow I suspect nothing will be done.  Who wants to mess with a judge?  No one. 

Posner tosses 'scandalous' settlement, says judge didn't heed danger signs

Posner tosses 'scandalous' settlement, says judge didn't heed danger signs.  72% attorney fee.  I didn't know that was possible.  Class actions can be a good thing.  This type of class action sullies the class action as a type of law suit, but you cannot paint all class actions with this case's brush.  I'm sure members of Congress will try and do this.  Many of them hate all lawsuits.

Jury dress code violated defendants' rights, lawyers say in new-trial motion

Jury dress code violated defendants' rights, lawyers say in new-trial motion.  These jurors shouldn't have been turned away.  A dress code?  Seriously?  What if you don't have any other clothes?  It is kind of like making people leave their cell phones in their cars.  What if they took public transportation?  Not everyone has a car.  Good Lord, give me patience.

Report: Judge went back on bench after court deputies broke up fightwith public defender

Report: Judge went back on bench after court deputies broke up fight with public defender.  And this guy is still a judge?  This is about the worst behavior I've ever heard of.  Punching (assault and battery once punched) someone in the hallway when you are a judge?  That's crazy. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Report: Lawyer uses wife's car, with her judicial license plate, to park in courthouse lot

Report: Lawyer uses wife's car, with her judicial license plate, to park in courthouse lot.  Why can't the guy just waddle a little farther?  It irks me when people take advantage of parking spaces reserved for others.  The best example is when people who aren't handicapped use parking passes for people who are.  It isn't right.  I can't believe this guy thinks using a parking place meant for a judge is okay.  It isn't his parking place.

Was motorcycle trip a rainmaking event? Appeals court says no, denies workers comp to injured lawyer

Was motorcycle trip a rainmaking event? Appeals court says no, denies workers comp to injured lawyer.

This is why people shouldn't ride motorcycles.  It is disingenuous to argue this was a "marketing trip," but I don't know all the facts here.  Hard to say.  It does undercut your credibility when you argue playing poker and riding your motorcycle to a poker tournament when you haven't made one dollar off fees from poker buddies or motorcycle buddies.

VA backlogs are nothing new

If you've had any experience with the VA, then you know backlogs are a way of life.  The problem is there are hundreds of thousands of veterans out there, and Congress refuses to provide adequate funding for the VA.  Sadly those members of Congress who are crying the loudest now about the embattled former VA secretary sit on the VA committee.  They knew or should have known the problems, and they did nothing.  And why did they do nothing?  They were busy sending men and women to war thus making their defense contractor donors rich.  When the time came around to give money to the VA, they opted to give tax cuts and credits to their rich, big business donors.  Why didn't a certain Senator from Arizona know what was happening at the Phoenix VA hospital in question?  He's on the Senate VA committee.  Kind of makes you wonder.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

How often do you need to renew your passport?

Generally every 10 years although some countries may not recognize a passport 6-9 months before it expires.  Check with each country you visit.  Renew your passport well in advance if it is close to expiring.