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Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1573:legal-reasoning-redux-5&catid=38:there-and-never-back-again&Itemid=65

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Georgia town arms every home to stop crime

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Nelson, GA, population 1314, and soon to be home to more guns. Maybe.

The city council has recently enacted an anti-crime ordinance, requiring every household to own a firearm. [Reuters] The town has only one police officer, and has been plagued by petty thefts, so the city counsel decided to essentially deputize every household, but of course without any of the training and oversight that would come from actually deputizing them.

Anyone who understands anything about rights of course will recognize the problem. Almost all of our rights come with a corresponding right to not exercise that right. Freedom of speech comes with the right to no speak at all. The right to counsel includes the right to represent yourself. And the right to keep and bear arms comes with the right to not own a weapon if you don't want to. That's why it's called the right to keep and bear arms, and not the universal mandate to keep and bear arms.

The town thinks it has a workaround to the pesky little 2nd Amendment issue though. Included in the ordinance are several exemptions. Felons are not required to own a weapon, nor are people with physical or mental handicaps. There's also an exemption for people who object to owning a firearm. Bingo-bango, solves the problem. And on top of the conscientious objector exemption, there's also no penalty for disobeying the ordinance, so the entire thing is symbolic.

And as far as symbolic gestures go, this one stinks. The town, in its toothless symbolic ordinance is saying: We don't think you should have 2nd Amendment rights.

If they wanted to promote gun ownership for crime reduction, they should have their one police officer spend some time helping people with gun safety, marksmanship, and getting their license. Or just have a symbolic 2nd Amendment Appreciation Day. The last thing you do is pass an ordinance saying you oppose the choice to not own a gun.

 

Just to pile on though, the idea is going to be completely counterproductive. The town's problem is a lack of law enforcement, and too many thefts. So they're going to put guns in all the homes. Of course most thefts occur during daytime hours when no one is at home. So no one is there to use the gun to stop the thief. So the thief still breaks in and steals your stuff, and now he steals your gun too.

Not only are guns great merchandize for selling on the black market, so there's an increased incentive to break into a home in Nelson, GA, but all the thieves are going to be armed as well.

Let this be a lesson to small town councils: The next time you have an idea, don't.

Not Quite Jamaica, Rhode Island Decriminalizes Marijuana

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Recreational marijuana smokers in Rhode Island can now enjoy that habit without fear of criminal penalties. The new RI law goes into effect today, changing the penalty for being an adult caught with small amounts marijuana from possible jail time and/or $500 fine to a $150 fine.

With Colorado and Washington leading the way last November, many states are having similar discussions in their legislatures. Rhode Island neighbor, Maryland, currently has a bill in the House for decriminalizing marijuana. The measure already passed in the Senate. Maine introduced a bill for legalization with 35 cosponsors last week.

If you like interactive maps as much as we do, check out this one on norml.org, a site working to reform marijuana laws. You can click tags by state to see what states have decriminalized, legalized, and allowed medical marijuana use.

On the one hand, it’s great that we’re making progress on getting rid of stupid pot laws. Lighter punishments and a lack of a criminal record is a nice step in the right direction (especially come C&F time). But on the other hand, decriminalization isn’t quite what it sounds like. Under the new Rhode Island law, your third offense within 18 months is a misdemeanor. The prosecution will get to prove one element of the crime, the two prior possessions, with a diminished burden of proof because those earlier offenses were civil matters without a reasonable doubt standard. To pile on, in civil matters you also don’t have the right to counsel.

We already hear Scott Greenfield asking “but what about the clients?” but come on, fewer criminal marijuana cases means a lot less work for lawyers. Especially young lawyers who need these minor offenses to learn the ropes, and who rely on court appointments while building a network and reputation.

Sure decriminalization reduces the workload for law enforcement and prosecutors, freeing them up to go after serious offenses. And it will reduce overcrowding in jails which is another cost savings to the state, not to mention the savings to the people who don’t have to go to jail. But won’t someone think of the lawyers? This is just kicking the legal employment scene when it’s already down.

In Ohio, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Oregon, possession is still a misdemeanor, but there’s no risk of incarceration, just a fine (ranging from $150 if you’re lucky and in Ohio, or $1000, if you’re not lucky and you’re in Oregon). Of course, for your second offense, incarceration and the need to hire an attorney come back on the table.

California, Mississippi, and Nebraska will let you go with a non-criminal infraction the first time, but it’s a jail-able misdemeanor the second. In Nevada and New York, you get until your third offense before you’re looking at jail time.

If this trend keeps up soon we’re going to see full legalization of marijuana and thousands of attorneys who are out of work and thus unable to afford their own marijuana.

We need to reverse this dangerous trend and go in a new direction: legalization of marijuana for middle-class white people. Keep it criminalized for poor minorities, to provide for a bulk of cases, and also criminalized for 16-25 year old white kids from upper-class families who will pay a lot to keep the charges off their records, to provide for quality cases. That keeps money flowing into the legal market, while protecting the lawyers themselves from prosecution.

UPS to stop delivering drugs, FedEx takes a stand

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Bad news for people who buy prescription painkillers online (without a valid prescription) from bogus pharmacies. Also, good news for the same people. We'll start with the bad.

UPS has agreed to pay the government a fine of $40 million for its role in delivering controlled substances purchased online. The settlement also means that UPS will begin putting measures in place to make sure that you can't get your drugs delivered by them, so don't expect the big brown trucks to keep delivering your little yellow pills. And if you have been getting drugs delivered with UPS, be worried that they'll turn your address over to the DEA.

The good news though is that FedEx is taking the opposite position, not cooperating with the feds, and preparing to defend against whatever criminal action the government brings. FedEx's spokesman said about potential charges, "It is unclear what federal laws UPS may have violated." [WSJ]

We have to agree. The Controlled Substances Act makes it illegal to distribute a controlled substance except under certain exceptions (the normal method for getting a prescription and going to a pharmacy). However, these are specific intent crimes. FedEx would need to know more than the fact that it's services are being used to commit crimes. It would need to know what specific transactions are illegal. It's going to be hard to prosecute when everything is automated and FedEx just delivers a package no questions asked.

They can't be hit with a conspiracy charge either. Anyone who's taken the bar exam should know that the sale of ordinary goods, in an ordinary manner, for an ordinary price does not create a conspiracy, even if the other guy tells you that he's going to commit a crime. Mobster comes in to your hardware store and says "I need a shovel to bury some stoolies I'm about to whack," you can sell him the shovel and there's no problem. BarBri didn't cover the provision of ordinary services, but it's safe to assume the same rule applies.

FedEx taking a stand against whatever the feds throw at them raises one serious question though, ...why did UPS fold so quickly? If the cases were progressing in the same way, and FedEx really doesn't even know what crimes they might be charged with, what was UPS doing? You don't plead guilty before the prosecution even tells you what you're charged with. Sounds like someone's legal counsel was a little bit paranoid. We can't think of anything that causes paranoia.

NYU finally posts some jobs data, let's take a look

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Some of you may remember that a year ago Paul Campos and NYU got into a pissing match over the number of graduates NYU was sending to BigLaw positions. Here's a bit from NYU's response:

Focusing on 2010 data, Campos notes (accurately) that NYU reported 296 of our 2010 graduates going to work for law firms, with 91% going to firms with more than 250 attorneys. He then estimates that NYU Law would have placed 273 of these graduates at NLJ 250 firms. “In fact, the school placed 209,” he writes. In fact? The source of Campos’s certitude is a chart the NLJ publishes each year that purports to show how many first-year associates each law school sends to the NLJ 250. To gather its data, the NLJ contacts each of the NLJ 250 law firms. But not all release this information. NLJ editor-in-chief David Brown told NYU Law that in this year's survey, the results of which he just published, 71 of these 250 firms provided no school-specific 2011 hiring data. And, if a firm didn’t participate and a law school declined to say how many graduates it sent to that firm, the NLJ simply recorded that as a zero. “If we didn’t have information from the law firm or the law school, we didn’t publish information we didn’t have,” Brown said. Presto: a sizeable group of entry-level lawyers vanish into the ether.

NYU then invited Campos to come inspect their books, knowing damned well that Colorado isn't one of New Yorks boroughs. Law School Transparency asked NYU to publish their NALP report, which was met with a response to go fuck themselves.

Something in the internal workings at NYU has changed, because the school recently did decide to publish their NALP report, though it's for the class of 2011, not 2010, so it doesn't speak at all to the dispute between NYU and Campos. (And wouldn't really have done so anyways, because the law firm size categories NALP uses are not the same as the NLJ 250 division.)

Now that we do have NALP data though, let's take a look at it.

If NYU was being honest that in 2010, 91% of students (in private practice) were at NLJ 250 firms, then 2011 was one helluva bad year. Only 70% found jobs in firms of 501+ attorneys. Another 10.8% landed in 250-500 attorney firms. That's only 80.8% in big firms, a drop of 10 percentage points. ...Okay, it's not quite that simple. NLJ250 firms dip down into the mid-100s in size, but that won't affect NYU's numbers too much. 2.9% of students in private practice were in 101-250 attorney firms; some of them NLJ250, but perhaps some of them not.

Amazingly, of the 201 grads at firms with at least 101 attorneys, NYU managed to track down 200 salaries. Either NYU's CSO has a tight relationship with their students, or they're engaging in the relatively widespread practice of filling in information that students don't provide. You can figure out on your own the problems with that.

...Or if you can't: Not all of the NLJ250 pay the "market" rate of $160,000, and not all firms paying $160,000 pay that rate at all of their offices. For instance, Warner Norcross & Judd based in Grand Rapids, MI, the 185th largest firm pays $100,000. #168, Roseland, NJ's Lowenstein Sandler pays $140,000. Davis, Wright, Tremaine pays $140,000 in LA, $145,000 in San Francisco, $120,000 in Seattle, and $110,000 in Portland. Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, the 14th largest US firm, pays $145,000 in Philadelphia,

K&L Gates, the 8th largest firm, pays $160,000 in LA and Boston, but $105,000 in Harrisburg, PA.

It's not hard to imagine someone in the career services office seeing K&L Gates listed as the firm, the salary field left blank, and filling in $160,000 without investigating further.

 

One other thing stands out on NYU's NALP report, and that is the number of graduates listed as earning $24,000. That figure was listed as the 25th percentile for all public sector jobs, the 50th percentile for government work (a subset of public sector), the 25th percentile for business jobs, the 75th percentile for business jobs requiring bar passage, and the 25th percentile at law firms of 2-10 attorneys.

Given the exact sameness of these salaries, and that NYU provides funding for 12% of its grads jobs, it's safe to say that $24k is the going rate for NYU funding. Most of these jobs are public interest and government, which means that the students should also be receiving loan repayment assistance. And NYU's LRAP is known for being extremely generous. ...Except that you don't get it just for working one year. You have to work in a qualified public interest position for 10 years. If the funding for your current position is coming from NYU, you may find it hard to stay in the program, especially since unpaid positions don't count.

And in addition to people falling out of LRAP eligible jobs, there are at least 4 people in business and 2 in private practice who are probably getting their $24k and no help with their loans.

Page 16 of 340

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