Archive for the ‘Lawyering’ Category

Scales of JusticeThere is an interesting case out of Pennsylvania where a former partner at a Pennsylvania law firm and former county bar association president has been revealed as never having attended law school. Kimberly Kitchen, 45, allegedly forged her law license as well as her bar examination results and her attendance at Duquesne University. Kitchen is now facing criminal charges, though some have objected that she is being let off lightly.

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305px-USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_CroppedThe Bergdahl case will raise some considerable challenges for the defense in what could be one of the most notable desertion cases in modern U.S. history. That is, if it goes to trial. This would seem a case where everyone may prefer a plea. The evidence is strong against Bergdahl, though there is clearly a great deal of evidence that has yet to be released. Cases always appear stronger for the government at the time of indictment. However, what we know is pretty bad for the defense. On the other side, the Obama Administration would clearly prefer a plea to a trial that would highlight Bergdahl’s actions and the possible loss of U.S. personnel looking for a deserter (who was later traded for five blood-soaked Taliban leaders with terrorist ties). Such issues would be obvious for prosecutors to raise when discussing the appropriate punishment, if Bergdahl is convicted. However, it could be an argument that the Administration would not want pursued by prosecutors. While such interference is prohibited as “command influence” on a military case, there have been allegations of such influence in past high-profile cases, including controversies in this Administration. In this case, the pressure is likely to be considerable for prosecutors to accept a plea, though such a plea could fuel previously accusations that the case was being manipulated to avoid embarrassment for the Administration.

Below is the longer version of my column that ran in print this morning in USA Today.
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Austin-attorney-Adam-Reposa-claims-responsibility-for-White-People-Only-stickers-YouTube-800x430Today we have been discussing the call for disbarment against a California attorney for seeking an anti-Gay measure for the state ballot. In Texas, you have another attorney who has attracted controversy over stickers on local businesses reading “exclusively for white people.” The shirtless Adam Reposa is seen in a video defending the campaign. [Warning this story contains foul language]

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California flagAttorney Matt McLaughlin, an attorney in Huntington Beach, California, is facing a call for disbarment after he filed for a statewide resolution that would legalize the execution of gay people and make it a crime to support gay rights in the state. Anyone can file such papers and, for just $200, force the attorney general to prepare a title and a summary for the proposed new law. The question is whether this despicable act can or should be used for a bar action as conduct that shows that he is not of “good moral character.”

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Glenn Ford_0We have often discussed how prosecutors rarely are held accountable for botched trials due to misconduct or sending innocent people to jail. There remains a body count mentality with many prosecutors that tends to fuel such violations. One former prosecutor has proven the exception, however. Attorney A.M. Stroud III has written a letter, later published in the Shreveport Times, that took responsibility for sending away Glenn Ford (left) for the 1983 murder of Isodore Rozeman, a Shreveport jeweler — a murder he did not commit. Stroud’s letter expressed shame with his own conduct as a prosecutor and further called for an end to the death penalty in Louisiana.

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unnamed-1This morning I will be testifying in the House of Representatives before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary. The hearing is entitled “Child Exploitation Restitution Following the Paroline Decision and addresses a long-standing controversy over the limits on restitution in such cases. My testimony is below.

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16DURST2-master315-v2There is an old criminal defense saying that “one day on the cover of Time, next day doing Time.” That appears to hold for Robert A. Durst, who recently agreed to be interviewed for a documentary for HBO, “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” on his suspicion for the murder of his wife and two other people. The producers uncovered new evidence and Durst was arrested in New Orleans after checking into a hotel under an assumed name.

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