Legal

Keep Talkin’ Judge

One of the most amazing developments in the legal blogosphere last year was the emergence of the Hercules and the Umpire blog, because it was written by an actual sitting federal judge. It wasn’t just warmed-over pablum, nor was it some sort of scholarly legal blather. Instead, like a classic blogger from the early days, […]

A Few Ways to Look At Criminal Lawyers

(This post started with a few ideas, and then got all long and rambling, but I don’t have time to make it shorter. Sorry.) A few years ago I had a toothache, and I made an emergency appointment with my dentist. Her diagnosis was that the tooth’s pulp was infected around the nerve, and her […]

Paying For Prosecutions in Virginia?

Over at Crimlaw, Virginia prosecutor Ken Lammers writes about the state’s law allowing private prosecutions. It’s a fascinating concept, and Ken goes into a bit of detail, but it comes down to this: So, basically, if doubly approved by the judge and the public prosecutor, the hired gun prosecutor can take part in the case […]

A Modest Solution for Handling Multi-Format Legal Briefs

After reading Daniel Sockwell’s article about writing legal briefs that you expect a judge to read on an iPad, Scott Greenfield is a little bummed out over the suggestion to eliminate footnotes: Initially, Sockwell’s point about eliminating footnotes is a critical one, not just because they’re hard to read on a tablet but because that […]

A Challenge for Prosecutors

Over at Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger writes about one of the philosophical problems with the exclusionary rule: For many years, the U.S. Supreme Court has been pruning back one of the most repugnant notions of criminal procedure — the idea that a clearly guilty criminal can suppress rock-solid reliable evidence of his crime on […]

We Talk to Cops All the Time…

Over at Popehat, Ken White has another of his posts explaining that the most important thing you can do when talking with cops is to stop: One of the most consistent messages I offer here is about interactions with law enforcement, and can be expressed in two words — shut up — although “oh you […]

Maverick Ray At Large

I write a lot about laws and lawyers, but I normally avoid commenting on issues of client representation. I feel comfortable opining on civil liberties or the justice system in general because while I may not have expert knowledge, these things are of general importance to all citizens, and we all have a stake. But […]

Non-Lawyers Talking About the Law

Scott Greenfield has a post up at Simple Justice talking about how often people get legal advice from sources other than lawyers. I’ll skip to the ending: The law is hard to understand, hard to navigate and very hard to practice. If you are not a lawyer, you have no business giving legal advice because […]

Once More With Feeling

Once More With Feeling

To honor the passing of “Ed,” the anonymous editor of Blawg Review, several blawgers have banded together to assemble one last Blawg Review. The chain starts at Blawg Review and continues around through all the usual suspects. I never got around to doing a Blawg Review — it always seemed like too much responsibility — […]

No Jury Duty

I dodged a…not a bullet, more like a slow-lobbed softball…today. I was a standby juror for the Cook County courtroom in Skokie today, but when I called in, only people with last names beginning H through S had to report. I’m relieved. Somehow, this time it just seemed like a drag. Although at least they’ve […]

Physical Reality and the Federal Rules of Evidence

Jamison Koehler has a short post quoting from the Federal Rules of Evidence: According to Federal Rule of Evidence 401, the test for relevance is whether the evidence has a “tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it […]

Just Ignore Those Silly Blue Lights (Updated)

Consider the case of Jonathon Dryer, arrested in Georgia in 2010 for possession of marijuana after a police officer pulled him over as he drove out of a country club parking lot. But during this conversation, the officer smelled the odor of burnt marijuana and noticed that Dryer appeared nervous. Consequently, the officer asked Dryer […]

Someday They’ll Get It

Today’s fun Supreme Court fact (it was today’s when I started writing this) is that according to Justice Elena Kagen, most of the justices don’t know shit about computers and the internet. That makes sense since they’re (1) lawyers and (2) old. “The justices are not necessarily the most technologically sophisticated people,” she said, adding […]

Sophisticated Jurors Or Vigilantes

So I’m working through my feeds (I’m getting used to Feedly now that Google Reader is gone), and I see an article at In These Times titled “The Illusion of Juror Sophistication,” and I know — just know, without even looking — that it’s going to be more complaining about the outcome of the Zimmerman […]

New PD Blog: Defending Dandelions

So yesterday, just because I thought it was interesting, I wrote a post about some of the science behind DUI breath testing. That’s such a competitive area of law that I was pretty sure I’d attract a comment from some DUI lawyer (or his SEO stooge) linking back to his blog in a shameless act […]

Horrors of the Zimmerman Jury

Nathaniel Downes at the highly liberal Addicting Info thinks he’s found shocking evidence of jury tampering in the Zimmerman trial: The image of a murder trial jury often times gives the image from 12 Angry Men, a group holed up, cut off from contact from the outside world, with the weight of life or death […]

A Modest Proposal for Preventing Prosecutors From Overcharging

Scott Greenfield and Gideon have been kicking Glenn Reynolds around the schoolyard because of his ideas for combating overcharging by prosecutors who pile on charges they know they can’t prove. Broadly speaking, Scott and Gid think most of Reynolds’s ideas are silly or dangerous, and they are annoyed that his ideas get so much attention […]

There Goes the Chicago Criminal Law Blogosphere…

It looks like the Chicago criminal law blogging scene is going to be a barren wasteland again. Marcus Schantz is hanging it up. And I’m not just talking about his blog. I first noticed Marcus Schantz’s Chicago Criminal Defense blog two years ago. At the time, I praised his story-telling abilities: Then he starts telling […]

You No Longer Have the Right To Remain Silent

I’ve seen a number of distressing decisions come out of the Supreme Court, but this may be the most gut-wrenching I’ve seen in a long time. Here’s how criminal defense lawyer Bobby G. Frederick sums it up: In Salinas v. Texas, decided today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a suspect’s silence may be used […]

More About Talking To a Lawyer When Arrested

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an organization called First Defense Legal Aid that provides legal advice to people arrested or detained by the Chicago Police, just by calling 1-800-LAW-REP-4. Criminal defense lawyer Matt Haiduk (whose blog I quoted in the original post) adds this note in a comment: …don’t ever think it’s as […]