After a Long Day of Applying Conservative Bumper Stickers…

Come by the Lotus Spa for a relaxing “massage.”

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Sorry for the quality of the picture, but I think you get the juxtaposition. I am also not going to imply or state anything about this establishment. You can google it for yourself. I am also not implying anything about Mister-Angry-Conservative-Bumper-Sticker-Guy. For all I know, he is in another shop nearby.

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George Jones: Flawed, And I Don’t Give a Damn

As a kid, most of my Saturday mornings were spent rumbling along gravel roads in NE Kansas in my dad’s beat-up Chevy truck. We meandered from farm auction to farm auction. He bought a lot of dollar boxes–piles of junk in disintegrating and smelly cardboard, but with the possibility of a little piece of farm-gold contained within. They were all still piled-up in the barn when I cleaned it out 20 years later for our own farm auction–the only one of them I wish I could forget.

On those trips, the radio was always tuned to 61 Country, a Kansas City country and western station. AM, of course. Waylon and Willie were always heard on those mornings. So was Ronnie Milsap, and Johnny Cash, and Conway Twitty,  and even the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

On the best of those days, there was always at least one offering from George Jones. His tales were the ones that made my dad listen. Really listen.

I listened, too. But, I’d never admit it. As a kid, I couldn’t admit such a thing to my father.

Now, though, I admit it to all of you, wishing I could do the same with my father and sad that one of the voices from my childhood passed today.

You’re Unbecoming

How about a new law? Sure. Why not?

Here’s the text of the law:

Any citizen of the United States who is convicted of conduct unbecoming a citizen of the United States shall be punished as a court may direct.

Simple. Easy. But, how about the elements? I got those, too.

1. That the accused did or omitted to do certain acts; and

2. That, under the circumstances, these acts or omissions constituted conduct unbecoming a citizen of the United States.

Well, Mister-Smarty-Pants-Law-Writer-Guy, what if the accused is guilty of other offenses, like larceny?

Good news, everyone. You can be found guilty of the larceny and guilty of my new crime, just because of the larceny. Guilty of one means guilty of both. No unreasonable multiplication or charges. No muss. No fuss. How’s that for keeping it real?

Maximum punishment, you say? Well, just to show you that I’m not a hard-hearted guy, let’s keep it at a simple 1 year of confinement.

I feel extremely proud of my newfound law-writing abilities. Only, I really can’t take credit for it.

From the “laws that have been used for decades department,” I give you Article 133 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which states:

Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

 

Boy Scout Homosexual Policy Infographic

Many of you may be confused by the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to “compromise” on the recent homosexual conundrum.

Have no fear. Graphics are here. In my opinion, this infographic accurately and concisely explains the new policy of the BSA on homosexuals. (Click on the image to embiggen.)

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Made, with love, by me.

Past posts about the BSA’s ban on homosexuals can be found here, and here.

Kansas Pride! (Updated)

Being from Kansas, I must derive pride in my home-state in ways that differ from other states.

Regularly, I am saddened and embarrassed by the behavior and decisions of Kansas politicians. The opposite of this, of course, is that I derive pride in the fact that certain badly-behaved politicians are not from Kansas. Therefore, I make the following proud and joyous declarations.

Dennis Johnson is not from Kansas! Never mind that he said something that I heard regularly throughout my childhood. That doesn’t matter. What matters now is that he is not from Kansas.

Nate Bell is not from Kansas! Sure, he said something that probably inspired many nods of approval in cafes and barber shops across my red state, but the most important fact right now is that he is not from Kansas.

UPDATED: Lindsey Graham is not from Kansas! Sure, he (mis)understands the US Constitution as well as those with a Kansas public school education, but he’s not. Score another point for the Land of Dirt.

There you go. I’m as proud as a peacock, for today at least.

Frankly, anything that causes me to momentarily forget the 80s Kansas tourism slogan is a good thing:

“Kansas, The Land of Ahhhhs.”

So Tweeteth…Some Idiot Arkansas Politician (Updated)

Thank goodness America is banding together in concern for the people of Boston. Of course, “banding together in concern” takes a different meaning for some. Consider Arkansas Representative Nate Bell.

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So glad to see that Nate is generous enough to not succumb to an urge to turn the horrible situation in Boston into a partisan plank in his (hopefully reinforced) platform.

So, what is my message here? I’d rather be on lockdown in any large city for a day or two than subject to Mr. Bell’s representation as a resident of Arkansas for any length of time–no matter how short.

My thoughts and hopes now go to both the people of Boston and the people of Arkansas’ 20th District.

Here’s Nate’s profile from arkansashouse.org.

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H/T Popehat

UPDATE:

He did respond on Facebook. The comments thus far appear to be very forgiving, especially the first. This screencap is from when his apology was fairly new, you can watch the growing list of comments here.

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Email Signatures

Conversation with one of my past clients today (scrubbed to, of course, remove any protected or identifying information):

C: Why do you always sign your emails with “Very truly yours?”

Me: It is an automated signature that I created when I started my practice.

C: That’s not really you.

Me: So, what should it be?

C: Something like “fuck off” fits your personality a bit better.

An Almost Free Quotable Quote

Feel free to use this phrase. I accept payment for its use in the form of you telling me the reactions it garners from those to whom you say it.

“You don’t need an aggressive lawyer. You need one who regularly sniffs glue.”

You’re welcome, and enjoy.

Incoming!

I’ll do a more comprehensive listing of incoming google searches to UA later, but this one came from nowhere today.

Someone used these terms in Google to reach this blog:

“Mormon lies to get son to join Boy Scouts”

Talk amongst yourselves.

Wanted: Social Media and Marketing Guru

This position will remain open until filled.

Position Description: Social media and marketing guru needed. Must be able to leverage internet interoperability in order to multisource dynamic environs to absolutionize and capitalize primary and secondary marketshare. Must be capable of utilizing existing resources and emplacing cost-effective and proportionately sizable accentuated habitats in order to facilitate the growth of articulated and reticulated bloviations. Should have specific experience personifying absolutionist, but acquiesational, understanding of dynamic organizationalizations. Should also possess specific knowledge on launching Twitter and Facebook statusizational assessments deep into the awesomesauce.

 

Specific Requirements:

  • Law Degree (JD or LLB) required. Online degrees are acceptable. Must creatively imply top 5% standing in graduating class.
  • Must possess bar membership in at least one state or DC. If not a member of a bar, must include a justification that addresses why bar membership is not really important and  merely an exercise in test-taking ability.
  • Must have practiced less than 1 year. (Note: less is better.)
  • Must have graduated law school prior to 2010.
  • Ability to obtain references from practicing attorneys is discouraged.
  • Must possess the ability to articulate why practicing lawyers are not smart enough to understand the simple shit you do.
  • Ability to become highly enraged when questioned about abilities is preferred.
  • Ability to block detractors on Twitter is a coveted trait.
  • Prior employment for Lexis-Nexis or Westlaw in their sales division a huge plus.
  • Bring a list of conferences you wish to attend during first year of employment to the interview. If any of these conferences provide meaningful, substantive CLE credit, you will be eliminated from consideration immediately.
  • Knowledge of the substantive and ethical practice of law is highly discouraged.
  • A fabulous smile!

 

Compensation

Payment on contingency only. Contingent upon satisfaction of the following factors:

  • Completely abolish initial contact by callers and emailers who fit any of the following descriptions: crazy, needy, batshit crazy, wierdo, spazzy, poor, pro bono, overbearing, frumpy, grumpy, lumpy, complex, dirty, icky, particular, persnickety, elitist, dreary, petulant, know-it-all, possessing both JD and MD, difficult, sleazy, skeezy, sneezy, poor hygiene, and psycho.
  • Entice clients to the office equaling $50,000 in new business each week. Failure to achieve new client goals will result in deductions for the same amount from monthly base pay.

A willingness to be paid in regular beatings and emotional abuse is preferred.

Be Mine. Be Aggressive.

I’m not a fan of Twitter, but I look occasionally out of morbid curiosity. Occasionally, true gems are posted (in 140 characters or less). Here’s one that deserves its own sign:

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Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I think highly of the Fishtown Lawyers. They seem to have a lot of fun as a sort of Philly Laurel and Hardy. Jordan tends to be the more mischievous of the two, and Leo acts as comic foil while interspersing pearls of hard-earned wisdom. They also practice law the right way, knowing that clients come first. Personal comforts come a distant, distant second.

Anywho. I love what Leo said in 140 characters or less. I wish more potential clients understood it. Clients who are focused on obtaining the services of an “aggressive” lawyer present us with a no-win scenario. How is it no-win? Consider a few possible legal courses of action and how a demand for aggressiveness causes them all to fail, even if the legal outcome is positive.

Note: I’m putting this in terms of criminal representation, but you could easily change a few words to make it apply to any flavor of adversarial practice of law.

Course of Action 1: The Amicable Negotiation

Lawyer: Hey, Biff, I talked to the prosecutor, and he’s willing to settle your case for X. This is great because most cases like yours result in X+Y. I think he was feeling pretty good when I talked to him at the local bar golf tournament, and I caught him in his happy place. Otherwise, I think you’d be looking at 2 or 3 times this result, since they had you on video, you gave a written confession, and it was witnessed by 40 sober people during daylight. I know from my 20 years of experience that you’d probably get a lot more from a judge or jury.

Biff: What the hell, dude? You played golf with the guy? I want you to kick his ass and make the prosecutor suffer. You’re supposed to fight for me. I thought you were AG-RES-SIVE?! I want to fight this thing the whole way. You suck.

Course of Action 2: Your Standard, Ho-Hum Ethical Practice

Biff: Hey, Lawyer, thanks for sending me a copy of this motion you filed with the court. I looked through it and saw that you didn’t make any mention of the fact that the police officer who questioned me served detention in high school back in 1999 for not bringing a calculator to his Algebra 2 class. Remember, I told you that my mom, who is a secretary at the school, looked up his disciplinary records and found it. I gave copies to you. Remember?

Lawyer: I understand, but that really doesn’t help, and I think we’ll win based on—

Biff: He’s an asshole! I thought you were going to show this and destroy him. I thought you were AG-RES-SIVE!?

Lawyer: I know, but I think we’ll lose credibility with the judge. I think we can use his conduct on the day of your arrest to show that you did not voluntarily gi—

Biff: Also, I see at the end of the motion that you provided the prosecutors with a copy of the motion on the day you gave it to the judge.

Lawyer: Yes, I did.

Biff: Why are you sharing it with them? I thought we were supposed to have confidentiality. I thought you were going to be aggressive and protect me from them!

Lawyer: Well, I’m required to—

Biff: I’m your client!

Lawyer: Yes, but the judge will—

Biff: I don’t care what the judge will do. I want you to be AG-RES-SIVE! Fight for me!

Lawyer: …

Course of Action 3: Aggressive

Lawyer: OK, here’s what I did. First, I filed this motion by throwing it in the court clerk’s face. After all, that old bag works about 50 feet from the prosecutor’s office, so you know they’re part of the conspiracy against you. Then, I went into the prosecutor’s office and told them that, if they wanted a copy of the motion, they’d have to go get one from the court clerk. When they left to retrieve the motion, I grabbed your case file from their desk, found their work-product notes, and took pictures of them with my cell phone. Then, I took a copy of the motion, put it in a paper bag. I pooped in the bag, went to the judge’s house, lit the bag on fire, and placed it on his front step. Then, I hid in the bushes. The judge walked out and stomped on the bag, causing poop to splatter. Then, I ran out of the bushes, pointed at him, and said “You just stepped in my poop! Ha! Ha!” They all hate us, and I’ll probably end-up in jail. Plus, they’ll never negotiate or cut us any slack, and I’m sure they’ll ask for a higher sentence in the end. However, I really showed them that we aren’t going to take any of their crap. I totally own them.

Biff: That sounds nice, but I wanted you to be a bit more aggressive.

More on Hagel’s Proposed UCMJ Change

Following is a short article from Air Force Magazine about Secretary Hagel’s proposed changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Monday that he’s directed the Pentagon to prepare legislation for Congress that would modify Article 60 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He wants the code amended so that convening authorities could no longer change the findings of a court-martial for major offenses like sexual assault. He also wants Article 60 modified so that the convening authority would have to explain in writing any changes made to court-martial sentences. “These changes, if enacted by Congress, would help ensure that our military justice system works fairly, ensures due process, and is accountable,” reads Hagel’s April 8 statement. His action came after the Pentagon’s general counsel completed a review of Article 60 that Hagel ordered last month after Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, 3rd Air Force commander, overturned the sexual assault conviction of an Air Force colonel at Aviano AB, Italy. Some lawmakers have condemned Franklin’s action, but there has been no public pronouncement from Hagel or the Air Force leadership thus far that Franklin’s justification for dismissing the conviction was flawed.Hagel also said he is reviewing other options and actions to strengthen sexual-assault prevention and response efforts, and would announce his decisions soon.

Just a few questions/comments from us unwashed folks that come to mind in the 5 minutes after reading this blurb:

1. How does restricting the power to grant clemency and approve/disapprove findings and/or sentences somehow ensure due process? It seems to me that it merely eliminates the first line of appeal for an accused (if convicted of a serious crime).

2. The clemency power of the convening authority helps to facilitate plea bargaining because he/she is empowered to disapprove certain adjudications based on the terms of  a pretrial agreement. How is this going to be preserved? Having not seen the proposed changes, I fear that knee-jerk legislation may forget the useful and time-honored processes and legal fictions created within the UCMJ.

3. There is actually a joint committee that constantly reviews the UCMJ and recommends changes to Congress as part of the process of creating and passing annual defense appropriation acts (usually each fall). One of their primary functions is to thoroughly apply the law of unintended consequences to any and all proposed changes to the UCMJ. This takes time. Are they going to be rushed through this process in order to satisfy the desires of very vocal advocacy groups?

4. OK, so a lot of people think that Lt. Gen. Franklin abused his Article 60 powers. I understand. However, aside from his act, are there numerous others that indicate that Article 60 is broken?

5. Are there less intrusive means of checking the power of Article 60? What about allowing appellate review of Article 60 findings disapprovals and causing each convening authority to specify, in writing, reasons for disapproving findings in serious cases in order to create an appellate record. This way, Article 60 is preserved but subject to checks.

Thanks to JMo for pointing us at this article.

If Hagel Asks, It Will Probably Happen

Just in from Reuters:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has decided to ask Congress to change U.S. military law so that senior commanders no longer have the power to set aside jury convictions for major crimes like murder or sexual assault, a defense official said on Monday.

The decision follows a month-long review prompted by a controversial decision in which a senior commander in Europe set aside the sexual assault conviction of an Air Force lieutenant colonel, throwing out his one-year prison term and dismissal from the service.

We talked about this previously here and here.