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Category: Legal Material

New California law eliminates ‘gay panic’ as a defense for attacks on LGBT people

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By: David Ferguson

On Tuesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would outlaw so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses in court for offenders who commit acts of violence against LGBT people.

The East Bay Express reported that Assembly Bill No. 2501 outlaws the use by defendants of a victim’s sexual orientation or gender status as a defense for attacking or killing someone.

Defense attorneys have successfully used the defense in the past, getting reductions in their clients’ sentences for hate crimes because the victims supposedly “came on” to their attackers or made unwelcome advances, causing the defendant to react violently.  Read the rest of this entry »

Prosecutor obsessed with jailing MN mom who treated son with marijuana oil to stop painful seizures

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By: Scott Kaufman

Minnesota prosecutor will proceed with a child endangerment case against a mother who provided medical marijuana to her son to treat symptoms of a traumatic brain injury — despite the fact that Minnesota recently passed a law allowing cannabis oil to be used for medical purposes — ThinkProgress reports. That law, however, will not go into effect until 2015.

Angela Brown’s son, Trey, suffered the injury at a baseball game three years ago.

“It just hurts in my brain everywhere,” Trey said. “I really can’t explain the pain.”

Along with the pain, he suffers from uncontrollable muscle spasms and seizures so severe that he had to stop attending school and caused him to be suicidal. Read the rest of this entry »

Subpoena Service – Out-of-State Subpoenas

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Jail escape isn’t noticed until lawyer tries to visit his client

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By: Debra Cassens Weiss

City jailers in Marysville, Washington, didn’t figure out that an inmate had escaped until his lawyer came to visit.

Jailers couldn’t find the inmate, Rhyan Vasquez, 19, and realized he had been missing for two days, the Everett Herald reports. He is now back in custody.

A review of surveillance footage show that Vasquez escaped on Sept. 22 while returning from Bible study class in the visitation area, the story says. Vasquez backed out of a hearing-room door, went down a hallway, and left the building through a door used by police department employees. Read the rest of this entry »

How to do the most good? Be a corporate lawyer and donate 25% to charity, Harvard Law student opines

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By: Debra Cassens Weiss

The assertion is getting a lot of pushback: Want to save the world? Then go into BigLaw, make a lot of money and donate 25 percent to charity. It’s the “greatest utility maximizing option.”

That conclusion, advanced in an opinion column published by the Harvard Law Record, is getting noticed and spurring a debate over whether the proposal is realistic, whether it’s self-serving logic, and whether the critics are missing the point. Criticisms are posted at Above the Law, TaxProf Blog and PrawfsBlawg.

In the opinion piece in The Harvard Law Record, Bill Barlow lists four possibilities for law grads: corporate lawyer, public-interest lawyer, government lawyer and academic. “Decisions, decisions, decisions,” says Barlow, a 2L at Harvard Law. “But where will you do the most good? Conventional wisdom tells you that going into the private sector is bad because you will be working for big corporations that are invariably evil because they are big and because they are corporations. Save the world by going into public interest, fighting for the indigent and the oppressed, or by regulating those greedy corporate types by joining forces with the presumptively beneficent state! Such is the party line. Read the rest of this entry »

Did law grad make the wrong choice? Her $300K in education debt easily fails ROI calculation

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By: Debra Cassens Weiss

Lisa K. graduated from Pepperdine law school, but she easily flunks the return-on-investment calculation.

Forbes tells Lisa’s story in a two-part article (here and here) that explains how to calculate whether grad school is worth the investment. The 39-year-old woman racked up more than $300,000 in student debt getting a master of fine arts and a JD, and is now working as a solo in a small Minnesota town where she earns about $20,000 a year. Read the rest of this entry »

Pennsylvania Senate OKs on Medical Cannabis Act

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By: P.Aiden Hunt

Pennsylvania senators on Wednesday approved the state’s proposed medical marijuana act. The vote was 43-7 and the bill now goes to the state’s House of Representatives.

State Senators Daylin Leach, a Democrat, and Republican Mike Folmer introduced the bipartisan bill last November. But after amendments were added by the Law and Justice and Appropriations committees, the legislation is significantly watered down from its original language.

S.B. 1182 was formerly known as the “Governor Raymond Schafer Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act.” Sponsors originally named it for the Pennsylvania governor who headed up President Richard Nixon’s National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. After the commission was formed in 1970, Schafer led the two-year study on the potential harm of marijuana use and concluded in a report that marijuana should be decriminalized nationwide. Read the rest of this entry »

How to enforce a money judgement

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Judge Modifies $48 Million Verdict Against ‘Manipulative’ MP3Tunes Founder

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By: Eriq Gardner

U.S. District Judge William Pauley, who since 2007 has presided over what might be the most complex copyright lawsuit of all time, took the opportunity on Monday to slam both sides of litigation that produced a $48 million jury verdict against MP3Tunes and its founder, Michael Robertson.

Record labels and music publishers sued Robertson for running websites that allowed its users to upload music, listen to music, and transfer — or “sideload” — music from third-party websites to storage lockers. The case dealt with many complex issues, and not even legal observers closely following the case were exactly sure of what was happening in the run-up to the trial. The jury’s verdict (which included $7.5 million in punitive damages) nevertheless got tremendous attention, and afterward, Robertson asked the judge to set aside the verdict as being unsupported by evidence. Read the rest of this entry »

Apple Suing Headphones Entrepreneur for Claiming to Be a Beats Co-Founder

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By: Eriq Gardner

The story of how Beats Electronics was founded just got more interesting.

On Friday, the new Apple subsidiary filed a false advertising and unfair competition lawsuit against Steve Lamar for holding himself out to be a co-founder of the headphones company alongside Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.

As we’ve been detailing since January, Lamar is involved in a separate dispute over whether Beats owes as much as 4 percent of royalties on newer headphone sales. In May, Lamar brought a cross-complaint that contended that in 2006, he took his concept for celebrity musical artist-endorsed headphones to Iovine, the co-founder of Interscope Records, and that the two worked with a design firm before the partnership crumbled. Read the rest of this entry »

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