08 June 2005

Around the Web

1) SCOTUS has everybody under the sun commenting on the federal supreme court's decision making the federal government able to illegalize the sale of marijuana even if it has no real connection to interstate commerce (yeah, I remember the grain case - thought it was wrong too). Tom comments here and Mike here.

2) A PD's office doing away with guilty pleas at arraignment. We don't have this issue in Virginia because the first court appearance (usually within 48 hours) is only to make certain the defendant knows his charge and to determine what he's going to do about an attorney. I really don't understand why States (and the feds) have pleas at that early stage.

3) Yep, if your client wants you to file that useless appeal you have to file it. I know he pled guilty. I know he signed away his right to appeal. I know that the judge's sentence was entirely legal. I also know (as does every criminal defense attorney) that you file that appeal.

4) The right to abortion apparently does not protect the person who ends the existence of the unborn, even if the mother asks him to do it (I guess there must be a doctor exemption).

5) Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over [in ever failing attempts to stop repeat DUI drivers] and expecting a different result.

6) There's nothing illegal about running away from your family so long as you don't lie to the police.

7) Remember, in Virginia you cannot sing religious songs too loudly.

8) Imagine being the guy who failed the bar by 3 points and then getting a letter telling you that they guesstimated your score on one section of the exam (because your answer was stolen).

9) Don't give your college professor your social security number unless you want him to ruin your credit.

10) You kill someone. You head for the border (probably a smart move). You bring along the bloody chain saw (not so smart). You cross at a border post (Darwin award time).

11) It's harder to prove a white collar crime than your basic shoplifting case.

12) Committing crimes bad. Committing crimes with mandatory minimum sentences particularly bad.

13) Is it kidnapping if it's consensual?

14) Want fame? Hire a prostitute in Oakland.

15) More comment from an appellate judge: "Judges are a lot like dogs - usually friendly and mostly attentive - but beware when they travel in packs. "

16) Banishment's back!

17) And it's always interesting to look at the most over the top prosecution website. However, if memory serves me, it seems to have toned down a little.


Anonymous said...

Luckily I archived the old version of the DA's office in #17, and there were a large number of things they said that could probably be considered unethical. The new version, is mostly just human interest stories and rants about other parts of the executive (or the executive in other states.) Some of them are wildly incorrect, but this is to be expect on a website aimed at non-lawyers.

Also, why do they have so many unpaid interns?

Michael D. Pratt said...

#17- If you want to have fun sometime, talk to some of the Judges that use to be mentioned frequently in the outrage of the month section.

Anonymous said...

I expect this kind of website out of non-lawyers, but for lawyers it is unpardonable and unethical. He seems to have come to the conclusion that if he can say bad things about judges that his lawyers do not appear before he is in the clear. He also refrains, it seems from mentioning Supreme Court cases. Since this is a website for lay people he doesn’t cite to actual cases, because he figures that they will buy just about any piece of propaganda. And they do. What is sort of funny is he quotes from the article about a judge telling a rape victim to “get over it” that was later found by a jury to be defamatory!

Ken Lammers said...

A large office having a number of unpaid interns isn't all that uncommon (in my experience). I think that a lot of law students think it is something good to have on their resumes and hope it might lead to a job.

Mister DA said...

Based on the number of Assistants profiled (14, I think, including the chief) is this a large office? We have the elected PA, a chief assistant, 11 full time APAs and one part-time APA. 13.5 attorneys. No on considers us a large office.

With three full-time, paid interns for the summer, we're at about maximum capacity. On the other hand, out interns do real work - research and writing, pre-trial hearings in misdemeanor court, misdemeanor bench and jury trials, witness prep, etc.

When I saw the "class" picture, I thought this must be a major metro area office.

Anonymous said...

I have a problem with using unpaid interns for anything, or requiring that people work for free.

Now, when I was in law school, I never applied for any of those unpaid internships, and I still got the same amount of experience others did. However, a few of my classmates were lured in by a "line of sh**" (as one person who hires unpaid interns termed it) about how their office respects summer interns and hires them. (Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.)

There is something profoundly wrong about asking people to work for free. In fact, if the private sector was doing it, in most cases it would be illegal. Their employment status is nebulous, and most of them are operating under the belief that people see them as talented. They don't. Everyone knows that ANYONE can work for free in a DA's office and it is hardly an impressive thing to put on a resume.

If their skills are so valuable they could simply pay them. It isn't as if DAs are hurting for money, or there is a real shortage of lawyers. Likewise, there is a robust market for legal work, so it isn't a circumstance where the free market can't provide low-level legal work to a DA's office. Instead, they seem to be relying on some sort of moral argument to convince

As a citizen I am somewhat disturbed by the fact that uncompensated non-lawyers are representing the “people” (or “commonwealth” or “state”) at trial. This essentially means that someone with less than the minimal amount of competence required for a bar exam is protecting me from the anarchy that the sum-total of misdemeanors in any jurisdiction represents.

Finally, my family would disown me if I worked for free. Although I don't have the final say in hiring, any candidate who admits that they "volunteered" for a government agency will get a negative recommendation from me. Take it off your resume before someone with self-respect spots it.

Michael D. Pratt said...

It's a fairly large office, second largest in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Only Louisville's prosecutor's office is bigger.

I have no personal expereince with the internships in his office, I did mine up in Louisville and that was for course credit and the chance to get out of the court room.