I am not an animal lover.  In fact, I’m closer to an animal disliker.  Sorry.  Today I was reading an article in a PRINT NEWSPAPER (they still have those, who knew) while not studying for contracts.  The article was about a Minnesota man who hit a dog in the middle of the street and is now suing the dogs owners for the damage it did to his car.  At first glance I was like “wow, another example of people trying to use the tort system to pass the buck.”  When I read the article, I started to feel somewhat bad for him (only a little, only for a second).  Basically, a 14 pound dog ran out into the street as he was driving.  It doesn’t appear like there is anything he could do to not hit it.  He hit the dog and damaged his bumper which in turn damaged his radiator.  He is asking for the cost of repairs plus the value of his time (he had to take off work).  Total price tag, about $2,000.

So ignoring the first question of where do you get a lawyer to take this case for that small pricetag, and assuming he is representing himself in small claims court, I don’t know how I feel about this case.  I can actually sort of see it going either way.  To me, it all seems to come down to this: What is the place of animals, specifically dogs, in the legal system.  If they are treated similar to humans, then he loses.  If they are more like furniture, then he wins.  But that isn’t the question I’m actually writting about today.  What I’m really writing is:  What SHOULD the place of animals be in the law?

Lets start by considering the extremes:

Animals as people:  With all due respect to all the people that think their dogs are their kids, but ANIMALS ARE NOT PEOPLE.  Sorry.  They are not.  They never will be.  That animal and somebody’s three year old are not the same.   Dogs are not people.  Dogs aren’t and SHOULDN’T be afforded the same protections as people.  If you see a dog run into the street and your choices are possible kill the dog or possible start a three car accident with the potential to kill somebody, you take your chances with the dog.  I think of it like this:  Somebody comes up to you and says “we are breaking your dogs leg, or we are breaking your neighbor’s son’s leg.  You let them break your dogs leg.  If dogs were people, then running one over would land you in jail.  Thats silly.  Sorry, it is. 

Dogs are furniture:  This isn’t really the case.  I mean, I don’ t like animals, want PETA to be labeled a terrorist organization, think we should test away on them if it can help humans, and think police investigating/prosecuting cruelty to animals crimes is a massive waste of taxpayer money, BUT I don’t think they are people.  If I see somebody take a chainsaw to their chair, I’d be like “whatever.”  If I saw somebody take a chainsaw to their dog, I’d be disgusted.  Then again, I’m not really opposed to a law that treats a dog as a thing for the purpose of CERTAIN parts of the law.  For example, lets say a 10 gallon drum rolls down your driveway and dents a car.  Clearly, you’re responsible.  I’m thinking it should be the same if your dog runs down your driveway into a car and dents it.  Then again, I’m not sure this isn’t the same for people.  Now lets say that drum rolls in front of a car and gets shattered.  Again, your responsible.  If its your daughter, the driver goes to jail.  Hmm, interesting.  This gets us back to the facts of this case, so really accomplishes nothing.  I think the “dogs and things” mentality has a lot of usefulness for certain elements of the law, but I cannot accept it in general. 

Something in between:

Now we reach the middle ground where I think everybody HAS to be.  The question is, where is the balance?  I don’t think there is a right answer.  The more I think about this case, the more I’m drawn towards the “dogs as things” mentality.  I think my ideal situation would be a legal fiction that says:  “in any situation where your dog causes an injury, your liability is the same as if it was a motor-scooter that was left running accidentally.”  Yes you didn’t accidentally do anything in this situation, but you did make a decision that imposed some risk on another person, so I’m thinking -bear the cost.  On the flip side, I realize that most people believe in some form of protection for animals, so this standard has to allow for a different role of dogs as “victims.”  I’m thinking here the rule is something about intentionality.  “The law will not protect accidental acts that harm dogs beyond the extent it would protect property, but it will protect intentional acts that harm them for no legitimate purpose” would be a compromise I can live with.

How would this work?  Cruelty to animals laws would stay the same.  If somebody walked up and shot your dog, you would be compensated, just like if somebody walked up to you and took a ledgehammer to your car.  If somebody is faced with “hurt and animal or possibly help a human” they are protected from getting in trouble for hurting the animal by the last clause. 

Is this my ideal standard?  No.  I think its too deferential to dogs.  But its a compromise I can live with.  What are your thoughts animal lovers?  Kurzman is much much more pro dog than I am, so don’t think he endorses this post.

If this principle were in place, how would the driver in our original hypothetical fare?  Well he probebally gets his car fixed at the expense of the dog owner (if your run away motor scooter goes into the street and damages a car, you fix it) if he can show there really wasn’t anything he could do to prevent it.   

One of the niceish things about being a law studnt is that, in a not-so-vailed marketing ploy, both Lexis and Westlaw give us free unlimited access to their research database. After reading Kurzman’s post about his class case study, I decided to go find the case. I believe/am assuming that the case he is referring to is:

Roberts v. Myers, 210 Ill. App. 3d 408 (Insert However you Cite Illinois First District here, 1991). Now, I’m a little unsure because Kurzman said the cas was from the 70’s and this case is from 1991, but I think its the right one. Additionally, the facts in the case happen in the late 1970’s, but the suit wasn’t brought until ten years later. Additionally, as Kurzman notes, the facts are screwey. This is due to a few things. First, there was a lot of time in between the event and the case. Next, some evidence was not allowed in at trial (no notes about why so I assume bad lawyering or this was a procedural issue dealt with earlier). Additionally, at some point entries were made on the chart incorrectly and fixed. To answer Kurzman’s first question, “the minor was born with quadriplegia and cerebral palsy”.

In my opinion, there are a few other important facts that lean towards the court’s outcome. First, Dr. Myers had staff privlidges at Rush (the hospital in question), but he wasn’t a hospital employee, his empoyer was a third party called “Health Care Specialists.”

I don’t know what this means, but you med school people might find it useful:

“Dr. Parer testified that there was no evidence that trauma was involved in the mid-forceps delivery. There was a question, although, whether the baby might have bled in-utero which would have been consistent with bleeding from a velamentous insertion of the cord. Dr. Parer testified that a velamentous insertion of the cord was not detectable prior to birth in 1977”

The expert things the damages were the result of asphyxia during labor.

Now, based on my reading, I think the physician should have been open to liability (I don’t know if he did anything wrong medically, the main claim is that he waited too long to deliver, I’m saying I don’t think he should be shielded). Here is why:

In this case, the doctor saw the patient multiple times before the “emergency.” After the woman’s doctors left, Dr. Myers performed several examinations on her during the delivery. During the first few of these, there were no issues. Later, while he was in te Doctor’s lounge, he was called because of the dips in the heartbeat. In my opinion, without any knowledge of the law, if it is you and some residents and you see a patient a few times, you are no longer providing emergency good samaritain relief. If this had been a situation where Dr. Myers, who doesn’t work for the hospital, was just walking by and some nurses grabbed him, fine, I can see the argument. If this had been a case like the main Illinois case dealing with Doctors using this exception while in the hospital (a case called Johnson v. Matvium, 176 Ill App 3d 907 (1988) ) then I could see the claim that he was just being a good doctor, but here he examined her at least three times before this emergency. From the record, it looks like the last time he saw her wasn’t exactly “normal” which makes me less doctor friendly here.

Interestingly, this case was used in Kurzman’s class to debate the ethical issues but the court doesn’t look at the ethical issues (or even the justification for the law) even once. The whole case reads like a common law “let the decision stand” case study.

Interestingly, without knowing the law, I’m going to assert that if the doctor worked for the hospital, then there would have been liability. My reasoning for this is that ther are serveral cases in tort law that I’m too lazy to look up that basically say all of the people in surgery are a “team” and not a group of individuals.

Although the doctor presumably didn’t get paid here (another fact that is unclear from the record), I’m not convinced that this was an emergency and that he didn’t know about it. I’m gonna have to say that if I was the judge, I would have gone the other way, but this case had Judge Lorenz who I believe (but am too lazy to look up) has since been promoted to the District Court and appears on some of the VERY long lists of potential SCOTUS nominees a long time from now. Basically a very able judge.

Anyway, thats my take on this case, now I need to go to bed because I have an early (7:15) flight tomorrow. I’ll post more about job searching later.

For the background on this post, you should probably check out Part 1 below. Parts 3 & 4 of the “Ethics in Emergencies” series will be on a different topic entirely–the Geneva Convention & Medical Care. It’s rather interesting, but will probably not be up for a few days.

So as addressed below, the Good Samaritan law is in place to, amongst other things, protect doctors working in emergency situations from being sued for malpractice. I now want to discuss a specific case, Roberts v Myers, and use it to demonstrate just how lenient the GS law really is–more often than not, it leads to findings in favor of the doctor…sometimes surprisingly. Also keep in mind that this case is from 1977, and therefore some of the hospital protocols are QUITE different now.

Background for the case:

a) Dr. Olson, Long, & Voyevidka are the obstetricians for Doris Ray, who went into labor in October, 1977.

b) At some point, all 3 of these doctors left the hospital–while she was in labor–and left her care in the hands of residents and nurses. Note: These residents are then her doctors, and are required to provide full care–their treatment is not considered an emergency or anything like that.

So here’s how things went down–in VERY brief fashion–and also note that I’ll be skipping over certain details…but you’ll get the main idea: At some point during Ms. Ray’s labor, the nurses/residents detected deceleration of the fetal heart tones–which would qualify as an emergent situation. Panicking, they began to search for another doctor and found Dr. Myers–also an obstetrician. When he also confirmed the deceleration, he began the process of using Simpsons forceps, which our case stated as “One of the fastest ways to effect a delivery.”Ms. Ray later filed a lawsuit against Dr. Myers, claiming negligence in the context of prenatal care and delivery (Note: For some odd reason, the case did NOT actually tell us what the negative outcome was…so we worked under the assumption that for some reason the forceps caused damage. That assumption may be wrong, but that’s all we have.) The baby was delivered, but “something” must have gone wrong.

Without actually knowing the negative outcome, it’s hard to say whether or not there was even a case for malpractice–if a quick delivery was needed and the use of the Simpsons forceps was the fastest way, then it would seem that he did the right thing. Nevertheless, the case never even needed to get that far. Dr. Myers argued (successfully) that he was covered under the Physicians provision of the GS law. It was an emergency, he was acting in good faith, and did not appear to willfully/wantonly do harm.

Now, I took issue with this decision at first. To me, the intent of the law was to ensure that a doctor on the street would help in an emergency situation like a car accident–it seemed like a bit of a stretch for a doctor working IN THE SAME HOSPITAL to be covered under the GS law. I guess in my mind, anyone walking around the hospital with the title of doctor should be liable for what they do/do not do. Nevertheless, a few of my colleagues rightly pointed out the following:

Was this situation so different than a doctor coming upon the scene of a car accident? Dr. Myers was NOT her doctor–he didn’t know her, he knew nothing about her pregnancy, and the nature of the situation prevented him from being able to even read her chart. He was just jumping in “cold turkey,” so to speak. Sure, he may have been an employee at the hospital, but that doesn’t obligate him to understand all of the intricacies of patients that ARE NOT under his care.

That being said, it appears that the lawyer and/or advisers for the plantiff made a pretty huge error here. What they SHOULD have done was gone after the THREE doctors that were caring for Ms. Ray that all decided to leave the hospital while she was in labor. Or, they could have gone after the hospital for having regulations/standards that allowed the doctors to act in that way. But instead, they went after the innocent doctor that was probably eating dinner at the time he was informed of the emergency, and whom did the best that he could under the circumstances. I’m not biased enough to think that NO wrongdoing occurred here, but they surely went after the wrong guy.

Pretty interesting case, I think–I never would have expected the Good Samaritan law to cover doctors while on-duty at a hospital.

And he’s BACK! After the latest round of exams, I’m making my triumphant return to the blog. When I get the results to the last one, I’ll probably post an overview of that entire shitshow–and all my thinking that went into it. I actually have a lot to say, but I’d rather have the finality of the grades before I write my “how it went down” post. But that’s ok, because I have a few interesting topics I’m going to explore–the first being the Good Samaritan Law.

Today–as part of our Essentials of Clinical Medicine course–we participated in our first “special topics” session. We selected two random topics related to medicine that interested us, and have 2 sessions each about them. My first is entitled “Ethics in Emergencies.”

I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but I’ve always liked ethical debates & dilemmas so I figured I would enjoy it–and I was right. The first topic we addressed was what is known commonly as the Good Samaritan Law: a person that comes across an emergency situation and acts in good faith to help the person–but actually causes more harm than good–cannot be sued/prosecuted unless it was deemed that they caused harm on purpose. Well as it turns out, the main purpose–or at least one of them–was to ensure that doctors got involved in such situations w/o fear of malpractice.

Truth be told, the ethical standards of the AMA seem to dictate that there should never be a question in this situation–doctors have an ethical obligation to help when needed. Speaking on the “Duty to Treat,” the AMA states:

“A physician shall, in the provision of appropriate patient care, except in emergencies, be free to choose whom to serve, with whom to associate, and the environment in which to provide medical care.” (Principle of Medical Ethics, VI).

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to ignore the implications of this “free to choose” provision–that taps into the whole mess of the uninsured and whether or not the doctor should treat someone with a non life-threatening problem. But the ethical standards make an exception for emergencies and obligate the doctor to act.

Nevertheless, a few cases come up in the litigious United States in which a doctor–doing the best he could in an emergent situation–was blamed for a negative outcome. So while the ethical standards said one thing, the “on the ground” mentality was a bit different, thus necessitating the good samaritan law.

As it currently stands in Illinois law, it is written:

“Any person licensed under the Medical Practice Act of 1987 or any person licensed to practice the treatment of human ailments in any other state or territory of the United States who, in good faith, provides emergency care without fee to a person, shall not, as a result of his or her acts or omissions, except willful or wanton misconduct on the part of the person, in providing the care, be liable for civil damages.” (745 ILCS 49/25)

There are a few key phrases in this provision that I’d like to explore a little bit.

a) “In Good Faith.” This one is a bit obvious, but suffice to say that the doctor is generally assumed to be acting with the intent of doing GOOD for the injured.

b) “Without a fee.” This addition seems a bit strange–and was something we explored in particular cases testing this law. Payment would seem to be obviously ignored on the street, but we also talked about cases in which a woman brought her nephew into the doctor–a boy without insurance and for whom she could not pay–and the fact that the doctor acted in good faith and did not seek payment for his services aided in the use of the GS provision to throw out a malpractice claim against the doctor (For what it’s worth, there didn’t seem to be a case anyways–the woman’s testimony didn’t make sense and contradicted the medical record). The phrase is still a bit irksome, however. While a jury wouldn’t go for it, a hospital could use a defense of “Well, we didn’t charge, and it was an emergency, so you can’t sue.” Sketchy.

c) “Acts or omissions.” It’s one thing to say that the doctor performed X and it caused a bad outcome–it’s another to parade a bunch of experts out and say, “He should have done Y–that’s what we do!” So the provision is clear that the doctor is protected for what [s]he DOES and DOES NOT do.

d) “except willful or wanton misconduct.” This is the consumer-protection aspect of the provision. The doctor must still follow certain standards of care in attempting to help in order to be protected. You could imagine it would be difficult for a doctor to use the GS defense if he treated a badly sprained ankle by performing a below-knee leg amputation.

We also had an interesting discussion about the question of, “What actually defines emergency care?” It’s one of those topics that seems easy to define at first, but is actually a bit complicated. The phrase “life-threatening” is absent from the provision and, while it seems implied in “emergency,” what does this mean for non-acute cases? More specifically, why does a doctor have an obligation to treat a man bleeding on the street, yet can turn away an uninsured, overweight patient with diabetes? Maybe the diabetes won’t kill the guy TODAY, but it is life-threatening, correct?

Part 2 of this topic will address a specific case from the seminar in a bit more detail.

First off, I want to preface this post by saying that what I’m talking about only applies to Illinois Health Care Law. Given that statutes about healthcare vary IMMENSELY from state to state, I have no idea to which others these will apply–and I don’t intend on looking them up. I pretty much plan to live and practice medicine in Illinois for the rest of my life, so I don’t wanna confuse myself with OTHER states’ laws.

Let me start with some background.

We’ve been talking a lot lately about when minors are considered emancipated; that is, when they are allowed to make their own medical decisions and have their medical information withheld from their parents. Minors can apply for emancipation for a few different reasons, and some of them require court proceedings. Illinois statute permits all minors to make healthcare decisions for themselves–with parental involvement–if certain conditions are met. Pertinent to our discussion is the following:

“And, for such purpose, a married person who is a minor, a parent who is a minor, a pregnant woman who is a minor, or any person 18 years of age or older, is deemed to have the same legal capacity to act and has the same powers and obligations as has a person of legal age. (410 ILCS 210/1)

So basically, if a girl is pregnant she can be considered emancipated. Fair enough. Neither she nor her doctor are required (her) or allowed (doctor) to tell her parents about the pregnancy and subsequent care. Of course it’s usually in the best interest for them to know, but that’s not what we’re discussing right now. There are certain things we should notice about this. She is emancipated WHILE pregnant or if she is a parent. If she has a miscarriage or an abortion, she is NO LONGER EMANCIPATED if she is still a minor. If the girl has a live birth, she is then considered a parent and is therefore permanently emancipated–you cannot lose parent status if the child later dies.

Stillbirth is more of a gray area for this, since the female never actually gives birth to a live baby.There’s a lot of debate, especially in regards to the issuing of birth certificates. By definition, birth certificates signify live births–so they are not appropriate for stillborns. Yet, parents ARE issued death certificates…and how do you have death without birth? From what I remember, stillbirth DOES NOT emancipate a female in Illinois–but I am admittedly unsure about this.


So after that lengthy background, let’s get to my problem with what we addressed–specifically, let’s talk about abortion.

OK. So when a girl decides to get an abortion, that is HER business. She is pregnant and therefore considered emancipated. She could have been seeing a doctor without her parents knowing about it, and they might not even have ANY IDEA that she’s pregnant. The girl had no legal obligation to tell them, and the doctor had not legal right to tell them. But here’s where it gets tricky.

According to the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 (750 ILCS 70/1), a physician has an obligation to notify the parents of the girl that she is getting an abortion at least 48 hours prior to the procedure. This statute REEKS of lobbyist influence & political maneuvering/compromise and simply does not make sense. The statute states:

“The medical, emotional, and psychological consequences of abortion are sometimes serious and long‑lasting, and immature minors often lack the ability to make fully informed choices that consider both the immediate and long‑range consequences. “

Fine, I suppose. But does pregnancy not ALSO have serious consequences? If we’re going to give emancipated status to a minor that is pregnant and subsequently a parent, why does this minor lose medical privacy specifically when getting an abortion? The abortion is occurring while emancipated. And her parents would not be notified if she was going into labor or if she miscarried–only when she is seeking an abortion.

Talk about a tumultous 48 hours. Not only is the girl getting an abortion, but NOW she has to deal with her parents–whom I’m assuming don’t know ANYTHING yet–finding out that:

a) She’s sexually active

b) She’s pregnant

c) She’s getting an abortion

d) She was withholding ALL OF THIS from her parents

How in the hell is this girl supposed to be getting an abortion after all of this? Are the parents just going to step aside and say, “OK honey, go ahead and deal with it.” Hardly. They’re going to be mad about the entire situation and possibly attempt to stop it. And how is this not violating her medical privacy to which SHE IS ENTITLED by being emancipated?

It’s a topic that really bugs me–and will likely come up in my health insurance discussion sometime within the next few days. The only way anything can get passed as legislation is through massive amounts of compromise that cripple its very effectiveness. So what’s the point?

OK. I think that’s enough for now.

If for some reason, you want to read the Emancipation of Mature Minors Act in its entirety, here it is:

Emancipation of Mature Minors Act

Law: Blatant Copying

January 30, 2008

No not me talking about how I plan to try and get through Securities Regulation (if I stay in the class).  Today’s post is going to be me copying from a half dozen other blogs today and posting the best benchslap I have seen in a while.  This slap comes in the form of a District Court Judge creating a top ten list mocking the Supreme Court.  The list appears here and may be further proof that I’m a huge dork.  Either way, when a District Court judge takes aim at the Supreme Court, its work passing along.

I was reading CNN today when I came across this article

So I thought about it for a while, and I can’t get over the fact that the PARENTS are mad at the SCHOOL.  There are a handful of things that bother me about this situation, lets go through them.

First, Since I just took a Torts test, lets compare the duties that each group had to the other.  The parents have what I would consider a duty to society to raise what most would call an unstanding citizen.  The school has a duty to parents to educate their children and insure their saftey in that process.  Who failed who?  Did the school make some massive mistake by serving Pizza and/or allowing students the ability to get near that piazza?  Should that have hand fed it to the students so this event couldn’t happen?  No.  Between the school and that parents the parents are the ones that messed up, so where do that parents get off telling the school what would be good or fair.  Hey dad that gave that quote, clearly your conception of appropriate isn’t working, your kid got involve in a food fight, lets try the schools way.

2.  But Clegal you say, we can’t hold parents liable for the actions of their children, good parents can raise chidren that misbehave too.  I agree.  100%.  My mom was a great parent, but as Kurzman can attest, I got in my share of trouble growing up (E.g. misuse of chem lab waterbottles, the “Knoth” incident, my lack of marksmenship, etc).  That said, when I screwed up, the last thing my mom did was make excuses, heck, the school was nothing compared to the rath of my mother.  And where did I end up….. clearly a failure that wasn’t property socialized……. oh wait….. thats this guys kid.

3.  $300 fine is crazy, they should clean up the cafateria.  Ok dad, I have a few thoughts about this one.  First, you’re an idiot.  Wow, strong argument there Clegal.  But seriously, I think there are about 180 days in the school year.  For th sake of my math, lets say that I am right.  Its the start of second semester (mabye even the end of first semester), so about half of those are complete.  To make up for the possibilty that I overshot it, lets say that there are about 75 days left in the school year.  Now lets say that it takes roughly 1 hour per day to do a good job cleaning up the cafateria.  Thats 75 hours of labor.  To make the math easier, lets say 70 hours total.  That means that, your “rediculous punishment” if billed even at minimum wage (I don’t want to look up what WI minimum wage is, lets call it $5, I’m sure its higher than that.  That means that the time your kid spends cleaning up, if billed at minimum wage, comes out to a little over what they are charging.  Ya, thats right, if your foot-fighting kid decided to take those hours you are suggesting he spend cleaning up at school and got a job, he could pay off the fine you think is “too harsh” and still have a little bit of money left over.  Great argument pops, replace a “harsh” fine with something that, in terms of your sons “time value of money” actually costs him more. 

4.  The punishment doesn’t fit the crime.  Depends on what you mean by “fit”.  If you mean the punishment is unrelated, then you are right.  I mean, a perfect “fit” would be to let the food workers make a huge mess, then have them clean it up, but that “fit” wouldn’t be the best use of anybody’s time, so lets have them pay some money and take a suspension and get this over with.

5.  Suspension.  In situations like this, where the parents are clearly not in support of the school, I never understood why you would suspend somebody.  You send them home for four days with a parent that doesn’t think they did anything wrong.  They can sleep in if their parents let them, perhaps play alittle Wii, etc.  Wouldn’t it be a better idea to give them in school suspension…. all day in a small boring room without their friends to socialize with, no fun, same school, but worse.  Heck, put it on their transcript as a suspension even.  Or better yet, since we are so worried about “fit” give them four days of manual labor community service, (ideally cooking and serving food at lunch, but I think there are some labor laws preventing that) that would be a great use of their time.

Whatever you do, lets all agree, this parent is an idiot.

Law: Ring Ring

November 29, 2007

Today while surfing CNN I came across this article about a judge gone bonkers.

When I first read it, I was thinking “there has to be more to this story” because no judge would actually outright send a whole room to jail over a cellphone.  Was I ever wrong.

When I looked around for more details, and the more I looked around, the worse the situation seemed.  First, this judge didn’t just send everybody in the room to jail.  The judged called everybody up, asked them about it, and proceeded to enter judgment.  The details I have read don’t even make it clear if they were sent to jail with a charge RELATED to the cell phone, or if he entered stricter punishment on their action domestic violence charges because of the phone going off. 

Here is a another take on the story coming from the NYT: 

After a brief recess, Judge Restaino returned to the bench and asked the defendant who had been standing before him when the phone rang — from the back of the room — and if he knew whose phone it was.

“No,” the defendant, Reginald Jones, said. “I was up here.”

Nonetheless, the judge scrapped plans to release Mr. Jones, set bail at $1,500 and sent him into custody. He was the first of 46 defendants to be sent into custody because of what could be called the case of the ringing cellphone.”

Even more peculiar about the case is the judges reaction to the complains of defendants.  When one defendant complained that what was happening wasn’t fair to the rest of the people sentenced, the just said “I know” and when somebody said “this ain’t right, this ain’t right at all” the judge said “you’re right, this ain’t right.”  WHAT THE HECK?  It almost sounds like the judge knows he was going crazy but continued to do it! 

Anyway, as you can see, sanctions were swift and harsh for this judge, and I have to say, I think he completely deserved it.   I hope, in the interest of justice, all of these people get the opportunity to b resentenced if they were actually punished on the merits.

Question for my torts professor Monday:  Are there any immunities provided for judges against tort suites for false imprisonment stemming from a gross abuse of discretion?  My guess is he is protected, but I am curious to find out.

Law: Can’t turn it off

November 26, 2007

I have noted a lot of changes in the things that pop into my head when talking with friends since I started attending law school.  In addition to seeing life as a walking tort and not being able to keep from hearing about peoples “Plans and schemes” and thinking “well I see problems with this and this” I also find myself wanting to ask questions that nobody knows or cares about.  Take for example this article which a friend sent my a few minutes ago.  I read the article and started to evaluate the claims based on what the article says (which seems reasonable given that it is about an intentional tort, something I actually have learned about).  But then, into my head jumped a stupid question:  I wonder what firm represented the school?  I dont know why this popped into my head, but whenever I hear about cases, this is always the first thing I think about.  Perhaps its an indication of my belief that lawyers have more impact on the outcome of litigation than they should, or perhaps its just a perverse part of applying for jobs, but either way, I do it all the time and it is just another example of how law school makes you think things you could never say without seeming like a wierdo to the general population.

Law: Barry Bonds I

November 16, 2007

I imagine there will almost certainly be several Barry posts coming from me and perhaps Kurzman.  Since I am trying to sneak this one in between lunch and class, I’ll kick it off by saying here is a pdf of the actual court documents filed against Bonds.

The most interesting thing to me in the whole document is near the top when the document states:

During the criminal investigation evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing FOR BONDS and other professional athletes.  (emphasis added)

This isn’t some crackpot on ESPN saying he thinks Bonds is guilty by applying a common sense approach.  This isn’t two guys at a bar tossing around their competing opinions.  This isn’t a bitter ex-player trying to get you to read what he wrote so he can make a buck.  This is a UNITED STATES ATTORNEY swearing that he has proof that Bonds took performance-enhancing substances.

As far as I’m concerned, this pretty much closes the book on this scumbag.  Thanks for ruining a great game tool.

Oh, and Barry’s middle name is Lamar…….  I dunno why, but I find that entertaining.