Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

RBG, still alive

Last week, RBG appeared before a live audience at UC Berkely.

Do you remember a few months ago, a bunch of morons, some of whom leave dumb comments on my blog, were insisting that there was some vast conspiracy to hide that she was actually dead?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 31, 2019 at 5:10 PM

Posted in Law

My first experience with the internet

A commenter asks:

I’d be curious what your first experience was with the Internet, that you thought it was going nowhere.

I met the two lawyers described in this Wikipedia article in the summer, or maybe the fall, of 1994 after I graduated from law school, and being unemployed I was looking for any crappy sort of legal work, even if it was doing a small amount of part time research for a low hourly rate. Or maybe they wanted me to do some non-legal work for their company (mentioned in the Wikipedia article), such as helping them write a business plan. They were trying to do everything on the cheap, I guess they weren’t clued into to getting venture capital.

These two weird attorneys had their employee, an uber-nerd (the person called “Jason” in the Wikipedia article), demo the internet to me. Using the Mosaic web browser. It was ridiculously slow. And it seemed to be nothing but a bulletin board that was harder to access than Prodigy or Compuserve. I also got the impression that “Jason” wasn’t doing much real work, but also that he wasn’t getting paid much, his payment was that he got to play around on the internet.

I decided to decline any further contact with them, because they gave me a lot of bad vibes. A fellow graduate of my law school who had also met them warned me about them, and pointed out that they weren’t even admitted to the Arizona bar (which was a big sticking point for him). He was also put off by the fact that he was at the female lawyer’s house, and he saw the guy there wearing a bathrobe, or so he claimed. When I met them, the guy was dressed normally. Three years later, one of them was disbarred (from a state other than Arizona, my friend was right).

My impression of the internet, after Jason demoed it to me, was that it was something for uber-nerds and that regular people would never be interested in it. How wrong I was! I have to admit that the two weird lawyers were totally correct that there were huge amounts of money to be made from advertising on the internet. They were just too totally clueless about internet technology or start-up companies to personally cash in on it.

* * *

Holy ****. It just occurred to me that this was 25 years ago, and that means I missed my 25-year law school class reunion.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 18, 2019 at 3:23 PM

Posted in Law, Technology

The Dangerous Federalization of Crime

Read this op-ed by Edwin Meese III written in 1999. It’s worth reading.

Now let’s ponder what Alex Acosta did in the in the Jeffrey Epstein case. He agreed not to prosecute Epstein for crimes committed in Florida that are traditionally state-law crimes (sex with under-aged girls, recruiting them into prostitution, etc), and because Florida already was prosecuting a case against Epstein, prosecuting him again for the same crimes violates the spirit of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution, even though I am, of course, aware that the Supreme Court believes in a “dual sovereignty” doctrine in which they consider federal government and the state government to be like different nations. (The op-ed by Edwin Meese III also talks about violating the spirit of Double Jeopardy.)

As Trump said today about Acosta (who resigned, the latest innocent victim of #metoo), “He made a deal that people were happy with, and then 12 years later they’re not happy with it.” Up until this month, the topic of Epstein was mostly relegated to far-right conspiracy theorists. Epstein was a lot friendlier with bigwig Democrats, including Bill Clinton, than he was with any Republicans. (When Epstein knew Trump, Trump was just a rich playboy type who was not associated with the Republican Party or with conservatives in general.)

* * *

Check out this 2016 article at the Daily Mail with paparazzi-type photos of all the beautiful young (but not under the legal age in New York) women going in and out of Epstein’s Upper East Side townhouse mansion.

Apparently, there are a lot of women out there who like having a billionaire (or at least billionaire-like) sugar daddy.

* * *

Here’s the most compelling thing I’ve read (in New York Magazine) hypothesizing that Epstein was running some sort of blackmail scam rather than a real hedge fund.

And this blog post has an interesting conspiracy theory, almost believable. Especially with the warning at the end: “There’s no need to invoke the Mafia/Russia/Mossad/CIA/etc, that’s just needlessly overfitting.”

So people are obsessing about some girls who were sort of like prostitutes, instead of the real victims who are the extremely rich people who Epstein blackmailed. If this theory is true. Girls being prostitutes are a dime-a-dozen, while a blackmail scheme like this is epic, making Epstein the greatest criminal mastermind of the century.

* * *

My dream scenario is that Epstein disappears after he is let out on bail, becoming the worlds’ most wanted fugitive, but releases all of the blackmail he has on the rich and famous and connected in order to punish them for letting this happen to him, and they all go to prison.

But anything that sounds too good to be true probably isn’t true.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 12, 2019 at 12:59 PM

Posted in Law

Hay un nuevo fiscal de distrito en Queens

Richard Brown, who was the DA forever (and Jewish despite his gentile-sounding name), died last month.

I remember meeting Richard Brown when I worked as an intern at the Queens DA’s office a long, long time ago, and I remember that he was short and had a very large pot belly. (And I also remember Jack Ryan, who was taller and skinnier than Richard Brown, but still had an impressive gut.)

There was a primary election yesterday, and the more qualified candidate, a Jewish woman named Melinda Katz with a long record of public service (which includes being the Queens Borough President), lost to a 31-year-old extreme liberal Hispanic woman, Tiffany Cabán, a public defender who promised to go easier on criminals (normally the opposite of what gets you elected as a DA).

Queens is only 31% non-Hispanic white. Some of those whites are Republicans, so the Democratic primary has an overwhelming majority of “minority” voters. I’ve pointed out before that the SWPLs running the Democratic Party will eventually lose control of it to minorities.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 26, 2019 at 9:49 AM

Posted in Law

Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc. (2019)

Click to access 18-483_3d9g.pdf

Lower courts held that Indiana’s law to “prohibit the knowing provision of sex-, race-, and disability selective abortions by abortion providers” is unconstitutional because it places an undue burden on a woman’s right to abortion, and the Supreme Court denied certiorari. It only takes four justices to grant certiorari, so we can presume that at minimum Roberts and Kavanaugh were against granting certiorari. As I predicted during the Kavanaugh hearings, he would be much friendlier towards abortion rights than just about anyone else on Trump’s list.

On the other issue, decided per curiam (which means that the Supreme Court is telling us the law is so settled that it’s stupid that they have to reverse a lower court decision and don’t have anything legally new to say), the court said that the litigants failed to pursue the undue burden argument with respect to the regulation of the disposal of fetal remains, and the 7th Circuit was totally off-base to say that such a law has no rational basis. Only Sotomayor dissented to that.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 28, 2019 at 12:54 PM

Posted in Law

Insane anti-abortion laws

Very low class of southern Republicans to pass these stupid laws.

Kavanaugh hasn’t been on the Court long enough to feel comfortable overruling a landmark decision like Roe v. Wade, and Roberts is too moderate to join a 4-man minority, there will be at least 6 votes in favor of declaring these laws unconstitutional.

Christian types should stop being obsessed with abortion and work on things they can do something about, like fighting against all the casual sex which is causing all the unmarried women to get pregnant (which is why they need to get abortions in the first place).

* * *

Frau Katze writes in a comment:

Anti-abortion legislation may well be motivated by genuine concern. But all the burden falls on the poorest and least intelligent, as the rest will simply travel to another state. This is plain unfair.

* * *

Jay Fink writes in a comment:

I am not a fan of these abortion laws. If women gave birth to every baby they ever aborted we would be worse off right now. There would be millions of unwanted children and most would grow up to be dysfunctional. The crime rate would be much higher than it is now. Also our debt would be all the more out of control with all the welfare we would give to the mothers who gave birth instead of aborted.

* * *

Tanturn writes in a comment:

The only realistic path to getting abortion banned is convincing people to value traditional monogamy, so they wouldn’t NEED abortion. As long as they feel they need it, they won’t care much for moralistic arguments against it.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 17, 2019 at 7:18 AM

Posted in Law

What happened to attorney-client privilege?

It looks like the biggest source of dirt on Trump came from two people who Trump thought of as his lawyers: Michael Cohen and Don McGahn.

You’re supposed to be able to tell stuff to your lawyers without it being used against you by law enforcement. It seems unseemly to me, as someone who is theoretically a lawyer (although I’ve never practiced law), that lawyers are helping to take down someone who sort of looked like their client.

The legal theory used by Mueller, presumably, is that Michael Cohen was an executive for the Trump Organization and not Trump’s personal attorney, and that Don McGahn was the lawyer for the “office of the Presidency” and not Trump’s personal attorney. And also that Trump waived attorney-client privilege by agreeing to “fully cooperate” with the investigation.

So there are lessons to be learned here:

1. Don’t assume what you tell a lawyer is privileged. Ask first.

2. If the lawyer is someone you aren’t paying with your own personal money, then what you tell him is probably not privileged. An exception is if you’re an indigent criminal defendant and the state gives you a free lawyer, then your conversations with that lawyer are privileged. Otherwise, you’d better ask. I am not even sure of a lot of different situations. Is the free lawyer provided by your insurance company representing you or representing the insurance company? I don’t know. You’d better ask. I do know that if you work for a corporation, a lawyer who is paid by the same corporation is definitely not your lawyer.

3. Never cooperate with any investigation if you think you might be a target of the investigation.

It still seems wrong that Don McGahn provided Mueller with so much dirt on Trump. Since the new rule is that, when you become president, the sore-losers from the other side start legally gunning for you, how can someone who’s not rich enough to afford to keep a staff of personally-paid attorneys afford to be President?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 23, 2019 at 12:48 PM

Posted in Law

Jussie Smollett refuses to pay Chicago

This seems like a really boneheaded move. He could have paid the $130,000, then complained that he was forced to settle because of the racist homophobic powers-that-be working against him.

Now, all of the facts will be aired in court, and being a civil proceeding, the burden of proof as well as the rules of evidence will be a lot more favorable to the city of Chicago than would be the case in a criminal trial.

* * *


I erroneously stated that the jury verdict wouldn’t have to unanimous. That’s the majority rule for civil trials, but Illinois is in the minority and requires a unanimous 12-man jury even in civil trials.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 5, 2019 at 3:13 PM

Posted in Law

Jussie Smollett update

According to TMZ, sources connected to Rahm Emanuel say that the city is definitely going to sue Smollett for the $130,000, and Smollett insists he’s innocent and refuses to settle, so it looks like a courtroom showdown is going to happen!

The great thing here is that, as correctly pointed out by TMZ, a civil trial means that the trier of fact only has to find Smollett liable based on a preponderance of the evidence, and not beyond a reasonable doubt.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 29, 2019 at 2:14 PM

Posted in Law

Released details of Michael Cohen warrant show bogusness of it

According to the NY Times:

The April 8, 2018, search warrant said that the F.B.I. and Manhattan federal prosecutors were investigating Mr. Cohen for a range of crimes, including defrauding several banks dating back to 2016 and a scheme “to make an illegal campaign contribution in October 2016 to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.” The warrant also indicated they were investigating him for wire fraud and conspiracy.

“Wire fraud” and “conspiracy” mean nothing, they are just ways to add more jail time for underlying crimes.

And the alleged underlying crimes are bogus.

The “illegal campaign contribution” is based on the assertion that Michael Cohen paying Stormi Daniels with his own money is actually a contribution to Donald Trump’s campaign. The purpose of campaign finance laws is to prevent rich donors from owning politicians and influencing legislation. But Michael Cohen is Trump’s employee and not a rich donor. His apparent goal was to keep his number one client happy, and Cohen doing this sort of stuff appears to be his business-as-usually working relationship with Trump that predates Trump’s campaign for President.

“Defrauding several banks” is based on the assertion that Cohen used money borrowed from home equity loans to pay Stormi Daniels, and that when Cohen opened the home equity lines of credit, he never told the banks he would use the money to pay hush money to porn stars, and therefore it’s bank fraud. But no banks actually lost any money or complained to the FBI about Cohen. It’s generally expected that people can use home equity lines of credit for whatever they want (because the loans are guaranteed by the value of a home). And this is actually a legitimate business expense for Cohen. As I’ve pointed out before, it’s not illegal to pay hush money. There was no intent by Cohen not to pay back the loan, nor any evidence that Cohen was under financial distress at the time (he might be now because of the Mueller investigation financially ruining him), he was just using the home equity lines of credit for liquidity purposes.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 19, 2019 at 12:44 PM

Posted in Law

%d bloggers like this: