Author Archives: Rebekah

Just Don’t Department

Oh No!There are countless approaches to the practice of law that will let you express your creativity and ability.  And then there are the things you just don’t do.

*Don’t comment on someone’s social media picture, even if you think you’re paying a compliment.

*Don’t leave voicemails laced with profanity and name-calling.

*Don’t hang Hitler’s portrait in your courtroom.

*Don’t get indicted for fraud.



Today In History: Frederick Douglass Escapes Slavery

Frederick DouglassOn September 3, 1838, Frederick Douglass, American abolitionist, social reformer, and statesman, escaped from slavery.  Wearing a sailor’s uniform (and carrying seaman’s protection documents) provided by a friend, he embarked on a perilous journey from Baltimore to Philadelphia.  Forty years later, he wrote a riveting account of his escape; you can read it here.

What Not To Do Department

There are many things that one can do to invite trouble in any profession, and the legal profession is no different.  Here are some tips for avoiding various sorts of difficulties:

1.  Don’t alter court records.

2.  Don’t ask your paralegal to “friend” a party in a case with which you’re involved.

3.  Don’t let your donkey (or zebra) attack a judge.

4.  Don’t forget to clean out your pockets before going to court.

This Week In Legal News

The Governor of Kansas has signed a bill that would de-fund state courts if they overturn a 2014 law that governs selection of chief district judges.

A Michigan lawyer has called off his campaign to get his pet pig elected as mayor of the city of Flint.

On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court recognized the right to be drunk on your own front porch.


This Week in Legal News

The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear a case from a law school applicant asking that his undergraduate grades from the 1970s be adjusted to offset subsequent grade icon for blog

A Minnesota man has been found not liable for sawing his neighbor’s garage in half, and gets attorney’s fees.

Four people in Mississippi are being charged with disturbing the peace after they ignored a request not to yell during a high-school graduation.

Lawyer-Inventor sues after blogger dubs his patent the “stupid patent of the month.”

The Law of Squirrels and Vampires

Of all the entities you’d expect to gelittle justicet airtime in a courtroom, squirrels and vampires are probably low on your list.  And yet.

Squirrels frequently show up in court (contextually, if not literally) in cases involving utility companies.  A power company was held not negligent in failing to foresee injuries sustained by a man who chased a squirrel up a utility pole (Keller v. Ohio Public Service Co. , 73 Ohio App. 530, 57 N.E.2d 176 (Ohio App. 1943), and another power company was found not negligent for injuries alleged by a cordless phone user when a squirrel got into a transformer and caused a power outage (Pardue v. AT&T Telephone Co., 799 So.2d 710 (La. App. 2001).

    From the Undead angle, not only is there a Vampire Nation (which appears to contain no actual vampires), but it’s been taken to court for a variety of white-collar crimes (U.S. v. Vampire Nation, 451 F.3d 189 (3rd Cir. 2006)). A Michigan carjacker explained his car theft spree as an attempt to “escape from flesh-eating bats and vampires” (People v. Morgan, No. 284986, 2009 WL 1397132, (Mich. App., May 19, 2009)).  A Massachusetts defendant testified to believing that he had been a vampire for years (Com. v. Riva, 469 N.E.2d 1307 (Mass. App. Div. 1984)). An Arizona defendant testified to stealing an ambulance and running it into a building in order to break a vampire curse (State v. Ward, 2015 WL 1516506, (Ariz. App., April 2, 2015)).  And that’s not nearly all, folks.  Numerous defendants have attempted to justify their misdeeds by invoking the Undead.  For an entertaining research romp, go to your favorite research service and run this search query:  vampire! /s crime



      This Week In Legal News

      On Tuesday, the FDA released a set of proposed guidelines that would lift the lifetime ban on blood donations from gay donorsnews icon for blog.

      On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban most abortion procedures after 20 weeks.

      Also on Wednesday, the Missouri General Assembly passed a “right to work” bill that would prevent workers from being required to join a union or pay union dues.

      A Dutch appeals court on Wednesday cleared a man convicted of assisting in the suicide of his terminally-ill mother.


      This Week In Legal News

      On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the same-sex marriage icon for blog

      On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to Oklahoma’s lethal-injection protocol.

      Also on Wednesday, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed legislation to resume executions.  The state has not carried out executions since 2006.

      On Thursday, a terminally-ill South African man won the legal right to physician-assisted suicide, a procedure that is illegal in South Africa.

      This Week In Legal News

      news icon for blogOn Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that extending a completed traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff constitutes an unreasonable seizure and is, therefore, unconstitutional.

      On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on time limits for suing the federal government under the Federal Torts Claims Act.

      Also on Wednesday, a South Carolina lawmaker introduced a bill that would add the firing squad as an option for the state’s executions.

      On Thursday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch as the U.S. Attorney General.

      A Texas bankruptcy court has classified the social media accounts of a business as business assets, and has jailed a former business owner for contempt after he refused to turn over Facebook and Twitter passwords to the new owner.

      An Indiana lawyer has been disbarred following an email and voice mail harassment campaign carried out against his daughter’s former college roommate.