Don’t Overcook

Why would you intentionally overcook a goose? This is not an idle question. Well, OK, it is an idle question but it sounds better if you say it isn’t. I bring this up to demonstrate that you sometimes you have to go deep – all the way to a concurring opinion – to find entertainment and interesting questions in appellate rulings.

Case in point from last week: a Ninth Circuit ruling called Jeffries v. Metropolitan Police Department that might have been totally boring had it only contained the majority ruling.

Fortunately, there was more, in the form of a concurring opinion by Judge Stephen Trott, a former folk singer, that began with the sentence: “Ordinarily it makes no sense to turn up the heat when the goose has already been cooked, but this case is an exception.”


You could have added spices. You could have sautéed the goose in butter. You could have made some mouthwatering side dishes.

Overcooking makes no sense because that’s not what happened here. Instead, Judge Trott added some vital missing ingredients and actually explained the case – something the majority mysteriously failed to do. The only explanation I can come up with is that the other judges like their geese plain and wanted to stay out of the tabloids.

Have I piqued your interest with that last sentence?

I won’t spoil the story for you except to say that it involves celebrity domestic abuse and a guy (and his lawyer) who couldn’t seem to understand why he was turned down for a job with the local police department after he got drunk, swore at some cops and caused enough of a scene that a SWAT team was called in.

One other thing to consider from the concurring opinion: “The most important thing an attorney can have is judgment, not a word processor.”

OK, but you don’t usually have to choose, do you?

I advise having both.


Problem solved. You may recall a few months ago that a California Committee of Bar Examiners, after intense study, came up with “two potential options” for the score needed to pass the state’s bar exam: Either lower it or leave it the way it is.

So do something or don’t do something.

This, as I so perceptively noted then, oddly left out the third option cited in the study: Raise the score.

We’ve been in suspense ever since, but finally, as you may know, the California State Supreme Court – after getting more input – decided the issue last week: There will be no change in the passing score.

You get the feeling reading the court’s statement that the input it got wasn’t all that helpful. I’m picturing Supreme Court justices throwing up their hands and giving up.

Noted the court: “Opinions of the study were mixed:  two independent psychometricians identified flaws in the study but ultimately found its process and conclusions sound, while a number of legal educators and others concluded the flaws of the study were so significant as to render it unreliable.”

So the passing score might as well be arbitrary because we’re not getting a lot of agreement.

And it is arbitrary – the statement admits it: “(T) his score was not established through a standard setting study. At the same time, there is no information indicating that many or most states selected their lower pass scores for their respective bar exams based on a standard setting analysis.”

Apparently, everyone is winging it.

Expect more studies in the near future.


Please advise me. Should I be taking nude photos of myself and storing them on my phone?

Please let me know. I feel as if I’m missing some sort of social obligation.

I say this because of a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles last week against what was described as an “iconic yoga studio” that contains this perplexing statement:

“Plaintiff Jane Doe, and at least five other female Golden Bridge patrons, have suffered the mortifying embarrassment of having their nude photographs stolen from their smartphones while attending a yoga class at the studio.”

Why do all these women have nude photos on their phones?

Is this part of the yoga process?

Am I missing a social norm?

I need to know because I’m going to have to start working out before taking my pictures.

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