Got Security?

So, suppose you use the cloud and various web-based services to manage your practice.

Also suppose you take a fairly hot-button case such as representation of an alleged war criminal.

Now, suppose that the alleged war criminal cuts a deal with the government. It gives a little and takes a little, just as most deals do. You worked hard for it as his attorney, and your hard work paid dividends.

Hackers, upset when they discover that the outcome favors the alleged war criminal, go nuts with your practice’s cyber presence. Essentially, it is a raid of your cyber underwear drawer. You lose oodles of email files.

Where does your practice go from here? Some people might be pessimistic and predict death for your firm.

Those pessimists? They might be right.

I don’t know either of these lawyers, but that’s a damned shame.

I hope you all have fantastic passwords, and never forget that legal pads aren’t hackable online.

A Full White Caddy

I need a driver this week. Been thinking about Hunter Thompson. Not sure why. Don’t really care. He can’t drive though, but I wish he could.

So, who to drive?

Dan Hull leaves me no choice. He ripped out this week, jumping on all 8 cylinders of pure Detroit iron. He painted one helluva picture, but my eyes are looking at the frame. Solid, strong, uncompromising, and demanding your attention away from the splatters of paint.

Once he got behind the wheel of our white baby, the lines on the road weren’t law. They were just helpful hints.

He talked about what others wrote. That was nice, but I looked at the way he framed it. That’s what mattered. He collected three materials for absolute testosterone-infused-intellectualism. You know, the type that makes you feel like a crank addict upping the high with a shot from a defibrillator.

What do the three deserve as a ride? This'll do just fine.

So, who’d he use for a frame? Who’s he chauffeuring in the backseat?

None need introduction, so I’ll put it this way.

He starts by throwing-in a bit of William Shakespeare. Say what you want, join the trendy alternative believers, and claim him for less. This guy stands for one thing–moxie. Don’t believe it, just look what he wrote, and when he wrote it. You don’t do that without at least 25 gallons of mox in the tank.

Then he rode Teddy Roosevelt through the front plate glass window, splintering the hardwood floors, and ripping the fine upholstery. He doesn’t care, and why should he. You’ve got no choice but to look up and take notice. And listen.

Finally, he let Hunter Thompson in the back door, but not out of lack of respect. That’s just the door Hunter knocked-at. Don’t know why. Don’t care. He’s here, and that’s all that matters. He has a briefcase, too. That’s important.

I can’t lie. I think it’s missing something. Although, I’m partial. All three make a fine elixir, but I was born in the year that Oscar Acosta boarded a boat filled with white snow. I’ll never omit him from this party. That just wouldn’t be right.

Anyway, I felt the Caddy needed a spin. It’s been a great week, with some great writing, and people taking chances and leaving no room for regrets (here’s looking at a fiercely uncompromising Mark Bennett helping people in Houston to “get it”).

And we get to take it all in. How great is that?

Military Lawyer Firing Epidemic

Well, it happened in Bales. Now, it is happening in Manning.

Pfc. Bradley Manning has a new military lawyer working with his civilian defense attorney as he faces charges in connection with the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history.

The Army intelligence analyst is suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military and State Department documents while serving in Iraq. Many of those documents ended up on the WikiLeaks website.

At a hearing Tuesday, Manning requested that the two military attorneys who were assigned to him, Maj. Matthew Kemkes and Capt. Paul Bouchard, be removed and replaced with Capt. Joshua Toomes. No reason was provided.

The judge in the case, Col. Denise Lind, granted the motion.

This seems to be en vogue for high-profile cases. Luckily, Manning’s lawyers have shown some self control when facing the microphones of the press, and we are left to wonder as to the specific reasons for the change.

The linked article also notes that prosecutors have also changed in Manning. However, this is actually not news because military prosecutors are fungible and regularly change during lengthy trials.

Just Say No to These Boots

If you are a self respecting man, you will not be caught dead in these “boots.”

If you need to wear sneakers, wear sneakers.

If you want to wear cowboy boots, wear cowboy boots.

These…..things……are abominations.

Oh, and you obtain the “worn look” on boots by wearing them. That is the only way.

I’ll be throwing up now.

Legal Note: Wearing these in Texas is a capital offense.

FBI vs. Cheese

This is a post about the FBI and Cheese. No, not the same cheese from “The Cheese Stands Alone” which caused a resumption of my Xanax habit. This is a different story, and I think the second-grader who drew it wanted to illustrate why some law enforcement have finally run plum out of patience. Read and learn.

The Cheese
A person sees Cheese ON THE FLOOR!
Call the FBI! Cheese is on the floor!
The FBI arrives!
They detain Cheese!
The FBI attempts to interrogate Cheese!
During interrogation, Cheese slaps the FBI!
Cheese drinks something.
Cheese grows huge!

There you have it. I think this explains a lot about law enforcement, all from the perspective of a 2nd grade student.

You Can’t Handle The CLE

Where was this when I was securing my 12 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE)(10 regular, 2 ethics) this year? (typed from the brochure I received today)

Film and Law Series:

“The Social Network”: CLE Credit: 8.3 Missouri, Kansas Applied For

“The Lincoln Lawyer”: CLE Credit: 8.3 MO, KS Applied For, 1.0 ethics

“My Cousin Vinny”: CLE Credit: 9.0 MO, KS Applied For, 2.7 ethics

Description of Series: Enjoy a movie and earn CLE credit! The $245 registration fee includes lunch. Attend two films at the discounted price of $395. The registration desk will open at 8AM and the seminar will conclude at 5PM.

So, let’s recap. I can get all but 3 of my required Kansas hours (plus all of my ethics requirements (with .7 to spare)) by watching “My Cousin Vinny” and talking about it for a few hours.


A Glowing Sentencing Case

After my (slightly) academic analysis about military sanity boards, you may be looking for something that has more literary value and attention-grabbing qualities. Look no further than this post by M. Night Pattis.

After reading the first paragraph, I supposed it would be a poetic description of a young man boarding a Navy cruiser and embarking on a 1-year tactical Navy deployment. Just as I assumed that premise, Norm knocked me to the ground and kicked two of my teeth-out (in a literary sense). SPOILER ALERT: The ending is sad. Really sad. And it establishes that discretion is not as bad a thing as lawmakers claim.

This brings-up something that I always took for granted: Mandatory Minimums.

In my little niche in the legal world, very, very few crimes have minimum sentences, and they are outliers in the grand scheme of Military Justice. 99% of all alleged military crimes lack any mandatory minimums.

I am accustomed to hearing this jury instruction:

In adjudging a sentence, you are restricted to the kinds of punishment which I will now describe or you may adjudge no punishment. There are several matters which you should consider in determining an appropriate sentence. You should bear in mind that our society recognizes five principle reasons for the sentence of those who violate the law. They are rehabilitation of the wrongdoer, punishment of the wrongdoer, protection of society from the wrongdoer, preservation of good order and discipline in the military, and deterrence of the wrongdoer and those who know of his crimes and his sentence from committing the same or similar offenses. The weight to be given any or all of these reasons, along with all other sentencing matters in this case, rests solely within your discretion. (Taken from the Military Judges’ Benchbook)

That leaves just about anything (up to the maximum and down to no punishment) possible.

I must confess that I have largely taken this for granted. Unfortunately, public furor and the desire of public officials to be reelected demands that the bar for “tough on crime” be raised at a constant and consistent pace.

How do they get tough on crime? Two ways: increased maximums and established mandatory minimums. Usually, the mandatory minimums arise because some judge (who does that (typically) experienced lawyer think he is, using his experience and judgment?) awards a relatively light sentence after hearing matters presented in extenuation and mitigation. So, what do we do? We make a law that rips some of that discretion away and forces the judge to do nothing more than read from an excel spreadsheet. It is wonderful, unless you are someone who knows of the convict’s rehabilitative potential. Those darned people who weigh all the evidence.

So, thanks to Norm for that extremely insightful post, and thanks to society for demanding that all convicts wear a one-size-fits-all sentencing suit. Sure, it may cling to some like a glove, but others are left looking, feeling, and living the rest of their lives like absolute crap–deserved or not.

H/T to J. Kindley and anonymous for helping me to find the Pattis post again.