July 14 roundup

  • “‘Ding Dong Ditch’ Left Shorewood Insurance Agent an Emotional Wreck: Lawsuit” [Joliet, Ill., Patch]
  • “Why Lawyers Should Be on Twitter – And Who You Should Be Following” [Kyle White, Abnormal Use]
  • “New GMO law makes kosher foods harder to find” [Burlington Free Press, Vermont]
  • “The Justice Is Too Damn High! Gawker, The High Cost of Litigation, and The Weapon Shops of Isher” [Jeb Kinnison]
  • Wisconsin judge uses guardian ad litem to break up uncontested surrogacy, dissolves both old and new parental rights, now wants Gov. Scott Walker’s nod for state supreme court vacancy [Jay Timmons, Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel; legal orphanization of kid averted when new judge revoked orders in question]
  • Ninth Circuit affirms sanctions against copyright troll crew Prenda Law [Popehat, our coverage]


  • The Wisconsin judge thing exemplifies gavelitis better than anything. Whatever one thinks of gay marriage or gay adoption or what have you, a respect for one’s own limitations and a respect for others’ ability to organize their own lives counsels against such actions.

    I don’t particularly care for a lot of parenting methods or a lot of parental choices (e.g., religious beliefs that enforce gender inequality), but so what? We live in a pluralistic society and my job is to raise my kids right, not be a busybody.

    That judge ought to be excluded from polite company. He is an ogre. I wouldn’t shake his hand, and Walker should not appoint him.

    • On the other hand, that couple apparently went forum-shopping. They lived in Virginia and had every intention of moving back to Virginia but decided to go to Wisconsin just to have their case heard where they thought the law would be favorable. That gives me a lot less sympathy for them when things don’t go their way.

      • Um so what? The arrogance of the interference is the problem, not the forum-shopping.

      • People have been going to different states to get married and divorced for decades, if not centuries. This is not the typical forum shopping issue, where the initiator of litigation achieves an advantage over another party. Here, there was no other party to be disadvantaged.

        • “People have been going to different states to get married and divorced for decades, if not centuries.”

          I’m sure some people do that. But, Wisconsin statute 765.04(3) states:

          “No marriage shall be contracted in this state by a party residing and intending to continue to reside in another state or jurisdiction, if such marriage would be void if contracted in such other state or jurisdiction and every marriage celebrated in this state in violation of this provision shall be null and void. ”

          So no, you can’t do that with marriage, at least not here, and at least not to take advantage of more lax laws. But marriage is kind of a sidetrack. For custody, according to 822.21:

          “(1) Except as provided in s. 822.24, a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial determination only if any of the following applies:
          (a) This state is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within 6 months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this state…
          (2)?Subsection (1) is the exclusive jurisdictional basis for making a child custody determination by a court of this state.
          (3)?Physical presence of, or personal jurisdiction over, a party or a child is not necessary or sufficient to make a child custody determination. ”

          This state was never going to be the home state of the child. Going to this court was improper.

          “Here, there was no other party to be disadvantaged.”

          The child, who no longer had the protection of his state’s custody laws? You can argue that the child would have been more injured if custody had been denied, but remember that what you read was just a one-sided account and might not be the whole story.

          • Once again, so what? Whether or not they were forum-shopping seems irrelevant–where judges have a proper respect to the lives and choices of people, we don’t have people punished like this. If the judge was reacting to the forum-shopping issue, then he’s just being vindictive. Is that the petard on which you would like him hoisted?

          • But the child did reside in the state until his parents removed him from it. All the various judges who acted presumably agreed that the court had jurisdiction and was the appropriate forum for determining the legal issues.

          • First of all, it’s relevant as it pertains to complaints that this was unfair because the proceedings were dragging on in Wisconsin while they wanted their existing daughter to go to school back in Virginia. That part of it, at least, was a problem of their own making.

            Secondly, maybe it set off big alarm bells in the judge’s head, that someone wanted to travel halfway across the country to have their case heard where it didn’t make any sense to hear it. That might, at least, be enough to convince him to appoint a guardian ad litem to make sure the child’s interests are being considered. Maybe there were other things that set off alarms in the judge’s head.

            Once again, that article was directly written by one of the people who wanted the child. Are you really going to declare a judge unfit for office based on what one person who lost in front of that judge says about him? If we did that, I’m not sure we’d have any judges left. I’m not saying nothing was wrong here – I’m saying that you cannot determine much from one obviously biased blog post, and that the judge *might* have had other reasons for doing what he did.

  • “Secondly, maybe it set off big alarm bells in the judge’s head, that someone wanted to travel halfway across the country to have their case heard where it didn’t make any sense to hear it. ”

    But that isn’t what happened. The entire surrogacy arrangement was done in Wisconsin under Wisconsin law. The surrogate was a Wisconsin resident. If Troupis’ actions were based on 822.24 and lack of jurisdiction over the custody motion, why was the surrogate also denied custody?

    In any case the Judge did not raise lack of jurisdiction or a violation of 822.24 as the basis for setting aside the prior orders and re-hearing the custody petition from scratch.

    You are also ignoring that a third judge called what Troupis did harsh, weird, faulty and a manifest error of the law.

    “One month later, a new judge, Peter Anderson, reaffirmed the value and dignity of our family, as well as the law. He completely vacated Judge Troupis’ horrific order – and all of its vile language. He called the Troupis order “harsh” and “weird” and “faulty.” He declared it contained “manifest error” of the law.”

    Stop trying to defend the indefensible.

  • The weapon shops of Isher had a slogan that would appeal to NRA, but NRA is more skeptical of “smart gun” technology. The weapons of Isher were 100% intelligent, able to decide independently whether a proposed shooting is justified. In reality, I can testify as a former USAF communications officer that any current electronic gun technology can be hacked or “fried” by rogue governments, rogue cops, rogue ex-cops, or professional criminals. NRA reasonably demands that no electronics-dependent “smart” gun technology be required for the public, unless and until elite combat and police units vouch for its effectiveness by adopting it themselves.