- In Mississippi, a “mother has been forbidden from any contact with her newborn for 14 of the 18 months the child has been alive” because of unpaid misdemeanor fines [Radley Balko, WLBT/MSNewsNow; judge has now resigned, but similar practices reported to be common] Is Biloxi going to do better? [ABA Journal]
- “They … didn’t give it back”: outrageous tales of asset forfeiture from Alabama [Connor Sheets, AL.com]
- Efforts afoot in Lansing to write down nearly $595 million in unpaid Michigan drivers’ fees [Chad Livengood, Crain’s Detroit Business] Warren, Mich., residents invited to turn in neighbors on suspicion, win bounties from forfeiture funds [Scott Shackford]
- Ethical red flags: maker of heroin-cessation compound “marketing directly to drug court judges and other officials.” [Jake Harper, NPR]
- In Craighead County, Arkansas, private probation firms sue judges who cut them out of the process [Andrew Cohen, The Marshall Project]
- From Ohio “mayor’s courts” to asset forfeiture, prosecution for profit imperils due process [Jacob Sullum]
A lawyer recruitment ad from Birmingham, Alabama is raising some eyebrows [Keith Lee]. “Maintaining professionalism and decorum” is important, at least up to a point: “You should want to destroy your enemies and leave their tattered bodies littered around the courtroom.” The pay? It starts at $35,000 a year.
1/ The Most Hilaribad Lawyer Job posting you'll read this year. "Destroy opponents and make lots of money!!!1!" pic.twitter.com/Uy1wiOFAkj
— Keith Lee (@associatesmind) August 1, 2017
- “Days after Nooksack Judge Susan Alexander ruled against the tribal council, she was fired.” [Seattle Times, earlier]
- Alabama’s Roy Moore not a good exemplar of the rule of law, part 23 [Kyle Whitmire/AL.com, earlier]
- Failed small municipalities around St. Louis may need cleanup, yet consolidation is no cure-all either [Aaron Renn, Urbanophile]
- In doubly aggressive legal stance, Obama DoJ claims controversial North Carolina bathroom law violates federal law, threatens state with fund cutoff unless repealed pronto [Scott Shackford, Reason]
- “Vice Media Sends Cease And Desist To [Indie Rock Band] ViceVersa Over Trademark Infringement” [TechDirt]
- “Federal regulation is a hidden tax at nearly $15,000 per U.S. household each year.” [Wayne Crews, Competitive Enterprise Institute “Ten Thousand Commandments” for 2016; Ron Bailey on Mercatus study]
- Libertarians warned about this: New Jersey’s broad “anti-bullying” law used to silence 15 year old student’s political tweets [Robby Soave, Reason]
- “New proposal would put armed, retired cops in New Jersey schools” [NJ.com]
- Chapters ostensibly agreed, though their leeway to refuse not clear: “University of Alabama quietly testing fraternity brothers for drugs” [Al.com]
- About time Congress noticed: Sen. James Lankford asking questions about Department of Education’s Dear Colleague letter [FIRE]
- Schools vigilant against danger of grandparents reading aloud to class without background checks [Lenore Skenazy]
- No helicopters in sight: German preschool/kindergartens send kids as young as three to camp in woods [WSJ]
- Los Angeles and New York City school officials got same anonymous threat, but only L.A. closed schools [Ann Althouse]
“West Virginia courts have a well-deserved reputation for favoring plaintiffs, but the state’s Supreme Court may have gone too far this year when it said drug addicts who broke the law to obtain narcotics could sue the doctors and pharmacies who supposedly fed their addiction.” Rulings like that, writes Daniel Fisher, are one reason West Virginia perennially ranks at the bottom in the U.S. Chamber’s ranking of state legal climates, and did again this year. Louisiana, Illinois, and California are other cellar-dwellers, while Alabama and Texas, despite extensive reforms and the success of business-oriented candidates in many judicial races, also languish in the lower ranks with continuing problems such as the litigation atmosphere of east Texas [Lou Ann Anderson/Watchdog Arena] More: Bob Dorigo Jones. Related, from ALEC: State Lawsuit Reform.
During pregnancy “occasional, small doses of diazepam (the generic name for Valium) are considered safe… But one morning a few weeks later, when Shehi was back at her job in a nursing home and the baby was with a sitter, investigators from the Etowah County [Alabama] Sheriff’s Office showed up at the front desk with a warrant. She had been charged with ‘knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally’ causing her baby to be exposed to controlled substances in the womb — a felony punishable in her case by up to 10 years in prison. The investigators led her to an unmarked car, handcuffed her and took her to jail.” [Nina Martin, ProPublica]
P.S. Expanded into a longer post at Cato at Liberty.
People who come to the United States from other countries often have trouble believing our TV lawyer advertisements could possibly be real. Multiple injury lawyers over the years have billed themselves as the “Hammer,” following the rise to prominence of Rochester’s Jim (“The Hammer”) Shapiro of “hand you their severed heads” fame.
- “Woman who lost $500K calls ex-lawyer’s 5-year sentence for stealing $10M ‘a joke'” [Alabama; Martha Neil, ABA Journal]
- Canada: “Mom Lost Custody After She Left Her Kid Alone at Home for 90 Minutes” [Lenore Skenazy and Paul Best, Reason] “New British Law Will Call All Sorts of Things ‘Child Abuse.'” [Skenazy]
- “If I End Up On Life Support, My Family Knows The Type Of Long, Protracted Legal Battle I Would Want” [The Onion]
- Stiff training mandates for new drivers? Don’t be surprised if trainers develop into lobby in favor of keeping program going [Maggie Thurber, Ohio Watchdog, thanks for quote]
- “Law prof’s Garlock testimony details asbestos lawyers’ change in strategy” [Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine on Lester Brickman analysis] Plus, new ATRA website on asbestos litigation abuse;
- “BakerHostetler 2014 Year-End Review of Class Actions (and what to expect in 2015)” [via Paul Karlsgodt]
- R.I.P. legal ethicist Monroe Freedman [Washington Post; a 2012 post of his I admired, re: showboat prosecutors]
“An Alabama man who sued over being hit and kicked by police after leading them on a high-speed chase will get $1,000 in a settlement with the city of Birmingham, while his attorneys will take in $459,000, officials said Wednesday.” [Reuters/Yahoo] Readers may argue about whether this kind of outcome is fair, but note that it seems to happen more often, rather than less, in this country (with its putative “American Rule” that each side pays its own fees) than in other industrialized countries which tend more to follow “loser-pays” or “costs follow the event” fee principles. One reason for that is that the U.S. does not actually hew consistently to the so-called American Rule; across wide areas of litigation, including civil rights suits, it follows “one-way shift” principles in which prevailing plaintiffs but not prevailing defendants are entitled to fees, and whose encouragement to litigation is greater than either the American Rule or the loser-pays principle.
Related: The Pennsylvania legislature is moving to adopt a rule adopting one-way fees for some cases in which municipalities trample rights protected by the Bill of Rights’ Second Amendment, provoking peals of outrage (“dangerous,” “outrageous,” “threatens municipalities’ financial stability,” etc.) from elected officials few of whom seem to be on record objecting to one-way fee shifts when plaintiffs they like better are doing the suing. [Free Beacon]