Wednesday, February 28, 2007


According to a Federal Evidence Rule hearsay exception (FRE 803(8)), police investigatory reports cannot be admitted for use against a defendant in a criminal trial. Basically, it would be bad if the prosecutors could rely solely on a report by a cop who isn't even in court to convict someone. (And 6th Amendment right to confront your accuser.)

My Evidence prof picked through the policy reasons on this by playing devil's advocate. In the case at hand, a defendant was prosecuted for selling heroin. My prof suggested that it might be better for a cop to avoid testifying on the stand because a defendant has a motive to off the cop. To tease this out of us, he asked us:

"Are dope dealers just friendly peddlers of pleasure?"
[Laughter from the class.]
"Or are they like Like Westlaw and Lexis, handing out free samples to law students so that you’re hooked forever?"

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Little Ironic Email From the Registrar

Subject: Class Cancellation
The NUTRITION 101 CLASS scheduled for Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 12:30p.m. in CPS 321 with Registered Dietician [Jane Doe] has been CANCELLED due to illness. [Jane] will be at [my school] as scheduled next week on March 1 presenting the scheduled class, ESSENTIAL MICRO-NUTRIENTS AT 12:30 p.m.

Happens to the best of us...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sandbox Speech

I dig this line from Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products Corp. (463 US 60) on why free speech needs breathing room:

"Regardless of the strength of the government's interest in protecting children, the level of discourse reaching a mailbox simply cannot be limited to that which would be suitable for a sandbox."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Penal Eyes

Privacy and First Amendment rights claimed a victory today when a NY federal judge ruled that the police have to stop the routine videotaping of people at public gatherings unless there's an indication that unlawful activity may occur.

Judge Restricts NY Police Surveillance

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

From Another World

From my Copyright text, a little jab at California:

"The facts of the Oliver case are odd, even for California. The defendant was permitted to appropriate material from a copyrighted work because it had been represented by the plaintiff as the revelations of a deceased entity from another world." (41 F.Supp. 296).

You can't copyright facts or historical interpretations. Apparently because this was presented as factual material, it couldn't be copyrighted. You can't claim authorship in material represented as fact, even if a reasonable person wouldn't believe it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I've slipped into the job search. I wanted to say "launched," that I've launched myself into the job search, but that wouldn't be accurate.

The other day my comrade's girlfriend (a civilian) asked about our job search efforts generally: me and other people. I confess to feeling a little taken aback by the question. I told her I have a few leads, but that I didn't know how other people's efforts were going. That's another thing we don't talk about. First and foremost, you don't want to provoke a job search panic attack in someone who hasn't been job searching. Secondly, people guard their leads jealously and probably aren't going to be forthright. Finally, if the person has started his/her job search, but hasn't gotten anything, it's like asking what grade someone got when they C'd the course.

Well, whatever the reasons, it rarely comes up. Only when someone gets a bite does it slip into conversation.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Read Between the Lines

Some interesting and highly disturbing facts about books:

Startling Stats

1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
70 percent of books published do not earn back their advance.
70 percent of the books published do not make a profit.

(Source: Jerold Jenkins,

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Here's to Clueless Lawyers

I want to reproduce part of an email from one of my blog readers who's an attorney. I hope he doesn't mind, because his story made me feel better, even inspired, about my own legal future. Maybe it'll make you feel better too. (If he's troubled by my quoting, he can opt out by emailing me and I'll take it down. ::grin:: )

"I went to law school at _________ in the evening program (4 years - ugh), while I was working full time during the day negotiating contracts with the government at a company called ______. They paid my tuition, which was nice.

After law school I couldn't get any decent law firm to give me the time of day (which I guess was a good thing, in retrospect), so I did what any clueless lawyer would do - I opened my own practice. Someone once said that I specialized in "door law" - in other words, I took any case that came through the door. Some of the cases involved litigation, which seemed to take forever to get resolved, and that doesn't fit well with my personality. I guess I just like closure...but litigation was good when it came to billing.

Anyway, after four years of that, I decided to go "in-house" at a high-tech company here in _______ and I've been doing that (more or less) ever since. After one of my companies was acquired, I took a year and a half off to work at [a university], but that's another story (huge mistake!). Now I have a handful of clients that I work for as GC, either as an employee or as outside counsel. Definitely not your average career path."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I have to relate the hilarious story of a friend of mine, S. On S's Myspace page, he naturally lists that he's a law student. The other day he received a message from a random girl requesting some legal advice. Apparently a friend of her's had been caught by the police masturbating in his car. She wanted to know what kind of punishment he could expect. (Weirdest pick-up line ever, I said, but hey, that's Myspace for you.) S, rainmaker-in-training that he is, couldn't resist looking it up for her. Here's his response:

"I'm not a criminal lawyer, but if your friend is charged, it'll likely be for violating Calif. Penal Code section 314, which for a first time offender is a misdemeanor. Those found guilty of this misdemeanor face maximum punishment of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Without knowing more of the facts, I would guess that your friend 'gets off' with a fine."


I spent the weekend struggling with the flu, and with guilt. The flu hit me in the form of a fever, and the agony of it really came as a surprise, since I haven't had the flu or a fever since I was about 8 years old. The guilt resulted from passing this awfulness on to at least three (the fourth I'm denying) of my friends. Once the fever hit me I didn't make it out of bed, but the 24 hours before are apparently very infectious.

You can check out how bad the flu hits your zip code here. The flu severity in my area currently rates "high," and naturally my ill friends had an idea who was to blame for the local epidemic.

How does the flu affect my legal studies? Not well, in general, with one exception. I worked a few hypos in Evidence, and by god they were crystal-f*cking-clear. Seriously. That's how I wanna take my Evidence final: in the elevated delirium of a fever.

On second thought, I take that back. Who wants to test fate?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Mr. Blobby

Amusing submission from blawger comrade Shane in Seattle:

During International Intellectual Property Law we read the following
case while studying National Treatment and Most Favored Nation. The
plaintiff appeals the dismissal of his complaint based on the doctrine
of forum non conveniens. However, the interesting aspect of this case
revolves around a costume, named Mr. Blobby, which obtained character
status due to popularity, and produced the following quotes:

"The central issue in dispute concerns the circumstances surrounding
the creation of Mr. Blobby."

* * *
"There is … no American policy regarding contingent fees that weighs
in favor of resolving the underlying dispute over the rights to Mr.
Blobby in an American court."
Murray v. British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC), 81 F.3d 287 (2d Cir.1996)

Click the link for a glimpse of this strange creature.
Thanks Shane!

Commerce Clause and Cooking

A friend of mine is a fabulous cook. After he cooked me dinner one night:

Me: You know you'll never taste my cooking.
S: Why not?
Me: I don't wanna look bad compared to you.
S: Come on...
Me: I think you've field-preempted me. Like the Federal government and immigration.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Today in one of my IP courses, me and a classmate assuaged the boredom by IM'ing on Gmail. Nevertheless, the content of our conversation didn't wander far:

[On a case about the copyrightability of a lamp post]
J: its ugly, does that count for anything?
me: lol
it's ugly, nobody would copy it.
J: that should go to access - if they saw it, they would know a copy would turn out so damn ugly, so they probably wouldn't have made it
me: LOL
"your honor, it's clearly not substantially similar. my client's product isn't ugly."
J: haha
me: hahah
J: i'm definitely using that if i ever have to litigate a copyright case
me: awesome. we'll call it a joint work ;)
J: its yours - i'll license it from you though
me: no way. it was a derivative of your access theory
J: we are learning!