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August 2006
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October 2006

Sue the Television Makers, and the Studios!

The results are in, and they are conclusive: Sleep deprivation causes obesity.  (NPR has a nice summary here.)  Here's how: When you are sleep deprived, two things happen.  First, your body's ability to dispose of carbohydrates decreases.  Second, your body craves carbohydrates and fats, especially those found in fast foods.  Thus, your body craves exactly what it doesn't need.  Perverse, huh?

And why are so many people sleep deprived?  It isn't because people are up late reading Shakespeare.  Show me someone who is sleep deprived, and I'll show you a BigLaw lawyer (a fortunately small segment of society) or a person who watches a lot of television.  Thus, television is causing sleep deprivation.  (Incidentally, couples who cut back on watching television ar also more likely to burn a few nocturnal calories.)

And sleep deprivation is causing people to crave fast food.  So the people suing the fast-food makers have the wrong defendants, don't they?

After all, if people slept more, they would crave less fast food.  Fast food, you can now see, is way down the causal chain.  So the people acting in the public interest needs to go after the real problem: television makers and studios.

Sue Zenith!  We have nothing to lose but our waistlines!

Fitter Cops = Fewer Mistakes?

Could a lot of wrongful shootings and other police accidents be prevented if police officers were in better physical condition?  The answer seems to be, Yes, according to strength-and-conditioning expert (and all around braianiac), Charles Poliquin.  Read the first question of this Q&A for more details.  Among many interesting tid-bits is this:

The University of Montreal did a study and found that the average cop has a body fat of 23%. The average felon's body fat was 8%. The average cop's VO2Max [a measure of cardiovascular fitness - the higher the number, the better ] was 37; the average felon's was 55. 

Check it out.

Mike To The Rescue

Thanks, Mike, for dropping everything and lending a hand during a busy time.

I recommend Mike to anyone in a jam. He is a good writer, has a great legal mind and is an independent thinker.

He spent a week out here in Connecticut, and already I wish he were back. If only he and his wife would outgrow their attachment to California and move East.

Mexico Wants the Dog

Duane Dog Chapman, is the charismatic star of the A&E reality series "Dog the Bounty Hunter."  In 2003, he went to Mexico to arrest Andrew Luster.

Luster was wanted because he had a bad habit: He liked to give women date-rape drugs, and then videotape himself having sex with their passed-out bodies.  After his wealthy family posted his bond, he fled for Mexico. 

Fortunately, Dog was able to find this sociopath.  He returned Luster to the United States to serve a well-deserved prison sentence.

Now Mexico wants to prosecute Dog.  Apparantly Mexico has no problem with a convicted rapist living in its borders.  But it does have a problem with "bounty hunting."

Amazingly, a Hawaiian judge approved an arrest warrant.  Dog now faces extradition hearings. 

This case is a painful reminder of two things: Mexico is a cess pool, and international law is a dangerous thing.  American citizens residing on American soil should not be extradited to third-world countries for bringing a rapist to justice. 

Free Dog!

Nancy, Nancy, Nancy. Please Get Lost

I'll bet that wall-eyed weaselette, Nancy Grace, is as pleased as a, well, wall-eyed weaselette, to have had a guest on her show commit suicide. There is no such thing as bad publicity, right Ms., er, Grace? Perhaps next time the person will kill themselves on stage. What great reality television, huh, Nance?

The battling blonde blimp recently invited 21-year-old Melinda Ducket to her nationally televised trough. While on the set, the former prosecutor berated, abused and tormented the young mother. She all but accused the young woman of murdering her own child. Tormented To Death

Ms. Ducket's two year old son has been missing for two weeks. Police no doubt suspect her. But as for the former prosecutor turned prime-time vigilante, she screamed at the poor mother in the kleig-lit interrogation: "Why won't you tell us where you were?" She pounded her fist-let, eyes bulging, the female twin of Rush Limbaugh.

The next day, Ms. Ducket killed herself.

Grace is a burnt out lawyer who couldn't cut it in the courtroom any more, so she bottled up her rage and sold it to network television. Now she spews without consequences. In a world of images dominated by those with gifts of either beauty or glib, Ms. Grace, who is neither beautiful nor well-spoken, has made a niche for herself in the vineyards of rage.

Nancy Grace didn't kill Ms. Ducket. But I'll bet she wishes she did. She's a killer prosecutor, after all. A mouthpiece for justice, she thinks.

In fact, she little more than sour flatulence. Pity poor Miss Ducket dying with that stench fresh in her nostrils.

In Search Of: Fancy Latin

I'm drawing a blank in remembering the Latin phrase/legal doctrine covering this situation:  A and B agree to steal money from C.  After A and B steal the money from C, A steals the money from B.  What legal doctrine stands says that B can't sue A for the money.

I'm not looking for "unclean hands."  There's a more specific doctrine.  It's Latinized, which is why I can't remember it.  Please leave a comment if you know. 

Thanks To Mike's Wife

Every busy lawyer knows what it is to hit a tipping point: A moment when there is simply too much to do all at once. When that happens, you need help.

So who you gonna call?

I just flew Mike out here from California to Connecticut to help me with some issues in cases. I am grateful to him for coming out to lend a hand, and am grateful also to his wife for cutting him loose for a week. I promise he will be well fed, well paid and taken care of while he is here.

Thank the stars for brilliant friends and generous spouses.

Lawyer Beware

We all know the Latin term, caveat emptor -- buyer beware. But when it comes time to selling your services as a legal professional, heed the following: Lawyer beware!

Consider the following: A recent ethics seminar sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association recommended that a lawyer return each and every telephone call from a client. The same panel then went on to say it is a lawyer's duty to send a copy of each pleading to the client. Question? When did the duty to keep a client reasonably informed of the status of their litigation become a duty to service every whim?  Every call? Every pleading? Why?

Do we as a profession think so little of ourselves that we are prepared to sacrifice our professional independence to the lowest common denominator in the community? Experienced lawyers know what "sticky" clients are. They are clients who can never get enough of your attention. Ask them to answer a question, and they pepper you with three new requests, often far afield from the cause of action at hand. Do you answer each new request, thereby getting sucked into a vortex of infinite need? Or do you do your job, and advance the material issues as best you can? These days, you better jump right into the arms of your client, regardless of whether their demands suffocate.

Lawyer cops among us appear to demand that the client be coddled at all costs. I recently put the following question to an ethics panel: Suppose in a case you come to believe that a certain issue is without merit. Are you obliged to obtain your client's consent before withdrawing the claim? The unanimous decision was "yes." If a client insists on pursuing a meritless claim, then you must do what the client wants, whether it makes sense or not.

That's not law. That's little more that intellectual pinball. Of course, these same ethics experts remind us that we can move to withdraw when a client insists on an unreasonable objective. So I guess that is the answer in the brave new world of legal ethics. Worship the client, and then beg to be relieved by the Court when you learn that you should perhaps have had the client consent to an independent medical examination at the same time they signed the retainer.

Oh, don't get me wrong. Most clients are not a problem, and it is a privilege to represent people in need. But any lawyer with more than a smattering of gray hair will tell you that amid the sheep are clients with howling needs that can never be satisfied.

Lawyer beware. An unhinged client can cost you a bundle in terms of time, expense and professional reputation when they decide that you are next target in their lifelong parade of horribles. Advice to the new lawyer: When it comes to a new client follow your gut. When in doubt, don't sell your services. Trust your gut.