Mr. Mnuchin’s Mortgage Marauders

By Mike Appleton, Weekend Contributor

“Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.”

-Ambrose Bierce, “The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary”

I have frequently criticized media coverage of legal issues. For example, news reports often attribute significance to orders on routine procedural motions that is wholly unwarranted. And even reporters with legal backgrounds are not clear and understandable in their explanation of court rulings to laypersons. So when I came across reports that Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin’s bank had filed a mortgage foreclosure action against a 90 year old Florida widow over 27 cents, I was skeptical.

But the story interested me because the subject of the suit resides in Polk County, only an hour’s drive from where I live. In addition, with the advent of electronic filing in court proceedings, I knew that I could access the court files online and review the actual record in the case. I have now done so and have concluded that the stories have been misleading, but not for the reasons one might expect. What has happened to Ms. Ossie Lofton of Lakeland, Florida is worse than what has been reported.

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Women Outnumber Men in Law Schools For The First Time In History

220px-belva_ann_lockwood_-_brady-handyThis year passed a milestone for law schools. For the first time, women make up a majority of law students with just over 50 percent of the seats at accredited law schools in the United States. It is a particularly poignant moment for those of us at George Washington Law School where Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood graduated and ultimately became not only one of the very first female lawyers in the United States but the first woman admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. The incoming class owes a debt of gratitude to pioneers like Lockwood who bravely fought entrenched discrimination and ignorance to reach this incredible moment in history.

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Fool For A Client: South Carolina Rapist Insists on Representing Himself And Secures A Life Plus 20 Year Sentence

8ebaa54c-366a-4112-a3e8-bc1c4a222a4b-large16x9_nathanmartinezIn Columbia, South Carolina, Nathan Martinez, 37, fulfills the stereotype of a man who represents himself and has a fool for a client. Martinez was accused of a myriad of crimes, including rape, burglary, and kidnapping. He insisted on representing himself and secure convictions on all counts and a sentence of life in prison plus 30 years.

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Texas Lawyer Challenges Bar Rules Reserving State Board Positions For Women and Minorities

thThere is an interesting lawsuit out of Texas where a white Austin lawyer has sued to strike down a law that imposes a race and gender quote for the governing board of the State Bar. The law requires that four of the positions be filled by women and racial or ethnic minorities. Family law attorney, Greg Gegenheimer, 38, has challenged the law under the U.S. Constitution and federal anti-discrimination laws. The Project on Fair Representation provided the lawyers assisting Gegenheimer. The Project was involved in Fisher case challenging the admission policies at the University of Texas before the Supreme Court.

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The Scalia Vacancy and the Supreme Court

Supreme CourtToday I have the honor to serving as the keynote speaker for the Federal Bar Association Orlando Chapter’s conference. I will be speaking at noon at the U.S Courthouse on the Supreme Court’s history and current controversies. This will obviously include the long standing vacancy of the seat once held by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

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Former Lawyer For Casey Anthony Arrested in Massive Drug Smuggling Case

th We recently discussed the suspension of Kirk Nurmi, the attorney for Arizona murderer Jodi Arias. Nurmi allegedly sought to cash in on his representation by revealing confidential information in his self-published book, “Trapped with Ms. Arias.” The former lawyer for Casey Anthony has fared little better. Todd Macaluso withdrew from the Casey Anthony case in 2010 after California ethics authorities accused him of mishandling client trust account money. Macaluso has now been arrested for an alleged conspiracy to fly at least 3,300 pounds of cocaine from Ecuador to Honduras in an effort to smuggle drugs into the United States.

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Arkansas Dean Resigns After Trump Election Controversy

dean-schwartzUniversity of Arkansas’ Dean, Michael Schwartz, has resigned after a backlash to his reaction over the election of Donald Trump. Schwartz, who has served four years as Dean, free counseling services to students who “feel upset” following the “most upsetting, most painful, most disturbing election season of my lifetime.”

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