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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Random Thoughts|on Assorted Topics

OOPS. My favorite paragraph of the week comes from a news report in the American Bar Association Journal website:

"The court found that the mens rea requirement was established when Judge Willie Singletary displayed two pictures of his privates, the Legal Intelligencer reports. Singletary claimed he had completely forgotten about the pictures and he unintentionally displayed them. They were among dozens of photos Singletary showed to the contractor, including photos of his church and family."

Oh, so many questions and so many punch lines.

First off, why does one keep a photo of one's privates with photos of church and family? Is it possible to forget what they look like? Can't one just look down?

If you're going to expose privates, why not expose the real thing?

Maybe this was perfectly innocent. If you're going to share the highlights of your life with someone, shouldn't you be complete about it?

Full disclosure.

In case you're wondering, the judge (a traffic court judge in Philadelphia) was suspended and then resigned. I'm dying to know his next career move.

HAIR OF THE JURY. Do you cure people's sweet tooth by giving them candy?

Maybe the analogy isn't perfect, but consider what a judge in the state of Washington has done to solve the problem of people not showing up for jury duty. According to a news report, the judge has issued about 100 court summonses to people who didn't respond to jury summonses. It seems that almost half the people who got jury summonses ignored them, so the judge got a little frustrated.

The immediate problem - the sweet tooth thing - is pretty clear.

A mass roundup may be next.

Now have you spotted the second problem?

What happens when the people rounded up for avoiding jury duty request jury trials?

I'm thinking change of venue to a densely populated area and some fascinating voir dire.

COULD IT BE VOLDEMORT? I guess I can appreciate discretion by lawyers but the secretive urge can get a bit silly.

Case in point: a suit filed in Los Angeles last week on behalf of an artist management company against a lawyer that, in large part, revolved around representation of an unnamed "famous musical artist and television personality."

This unnamed person, according to the suit, also happened to be male, in a band, and a judge on "American Idol" last year.

Who could this possibly be?

Maybe there's some sort of curse if you utter his name.

SIGN OF THE TIMES. Yes, the economy is getting better.

JPMorgan last week announced it was setting aside an additional $684 million in the third quarter for litigation expenses.

There's hope for the legal profession after all.

It's nice to know that at least one big corporation is taking this job-creation thing seriously.

LOST IN TRANSLATION. Bet you didn't know the U. S. Constitution was written in a foreign language.

Well, actually, it wasn't, but that hasn't stopped a lot of people from translating it as they see fit. And I'm not talking just translations in court rulings. There is now a website - The Constitutional Law Reporter - that offers a translation of the entire document.

According to a press release, the site offers a "plain language version of the constitution written in a way that everyone can understand."

So here's a challenge for you. Below are passages from the Constitution and the translation. See if you can decide which is which.

A: To make rules for how people do business, including buying and selling things with people in other countries, among the states, and with Native Americans.

B: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes.

OK, the capital letters give it away. The second one is from the Constitution.

Apparently, the translation is meant for people whose language doesn't include the word "commerce," but are reading the Constitution and then navigating the Internet to find a translation.

And Native Americans will be fascinated to learn they were once grouped into tribes.

I love the Internet.

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