Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service


Before her claim to fame on American Idol, she was the church cantor at her private elementary school, St. John the Baptist in Costa Mesa, California.


The above is the very first sentence of the Wikipedia biography (at least as of this writing) of one Ashley Hartman. Now go to your favorite search engine and do an images search on Ashley Hartman.

You never know what effect working in a church will have on people.

If you didn't do the search, what you would have found are a lot of pictures of a young, slim blonde without too much clothing. I'm guessing she didn't do her cantoring looking like that.

Why am I writing about this person?

Well, aside from the opportunity to scour the Internet for research purposes, there is a law practice lesson. To wit: advise your clients that if they don't wish to be surprised by their sex videos or their suggestive pictures showing up in very public places, it might be a good idea not to pose for those things in the first place.

Yes, it is possible to be surprised when you pose for lots of interesting photos.

Imagine yourself in this situation as described in a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed on behalf of Hartman:

"In or about July 2008, Ms. Hartman first discovered that the champagne image was being used and published without her knowledge or authorization by CR as she was driving down La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles, and saw the offensive and obscene picture of her on a billboard."

OK, readers, it's time to Beg the Question!

Have you got it?

The correct question is: to whom is a picture offensive and obscene if your own client posed for it? Are you suing to protect the general public from your client?

The only possible answer is multiple personalities - Church Ashley has been offended by Model Ashley.

There's a movie in this somewhere.

FAME IS FLEETING. The following is from a recent Los Angeles Superior Court complaint:

"The Plaintiff Willie Gault, who needs no introduction, is a former NCAA All-American in Track and Football graduate collegiate from the University of Tennessee. Mr. Gault was a key player in the 1985 Chicago Bears Superbowl winning season, and today currently heads a non-profit group, Athletes for Life Foundation International, which devotes its time and energy towards the prevention of heart disease."

Now imagine how long that paragraph would have been if he had needed an introduction.

NEW SOLITAIRE GAME. OK, I know I'm weird. I fully admit that.

But I was having a lot of fun the other day looking at random passages of the proposed bailout plan for the credit crisis. (It hadn't been approved by the House of Representatives as of this writing, but whether it's law or not doesn't affect its entertainment value.)

Try it yourself. The next time you need a break, use the time you'd normally allocate to solitaire or minefield on the computer to look at random pages in the bailout plan.

Lift a sentence you find and then make people guess where it came from.

Example: I flipped to page 177 to discover this: "The Secretary, in consultation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, shall establish regulations for determining adequate security measures for the geological storage of carbon dioxide under subsection (a)(1)(B) such that carbon dioxide does not escape into the atmosphere."

It makes perfect sense. No banker who's choking on carbon dioxide is going to loan you money.

You can have hours and hours of fun with this.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.