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Quote of the Day - When in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns. - Raymond Chandler
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Courthouse Security Procedures Need Revamping, But How?

Courthouse security will be the focus of attention in the coming months. We can expect that it will begin to look more like airport security, but even so, that won't stop the shootout that happened in Atlanta last week.

Put people with guns in a courthouse, and ... well, think about it. Should we be surprised? Not at all. In fact, the Atlanta situation isn't the first time a defendant grabbed a Deputy's gun. Can it happen where you live?

The main courthouse here in Orange County has a bulletproof bench area for the judge, but that leaves everyone else in the courtroom exposed. Unlike Baltimore courthouses (first link of the last paragraph), I don't think there are trap escape doors for the judges. How do we solve those problems?

Handcuff criminal defendants? What about the other non-criminal defendants who bring guns to court? And what about outlying courts? Here in "The OC," there are four other courthouses that have no security at all. Only the main courthouse and the family/juvenile courthouse have security in place.

In fact, when I was in one of these non-secure courthouses last week, a deputy noticed a large backpack next to someone in the courtroom. The deputy questioned the owner: "Do you have any weapons in there? Any bombs?" The owner shook his head no. No searches, no look in the backpack. Nothing.

Wow. Made me feel secure.

Heck, it's not even safe to go to church anymore.

Some courtwatchers have proposed two deputies, one unarmed that handles the inmate, the other - who doesn't come near the inmate - is armed. Sounds logical to me. It doubles the labor costs of a trial, but given the consequences, it certainly seems worth it.

Should we be arming judges and court clerks so they can defend themselves? Should the deputies be completely unarmed? Should we move criminal trials to the jailhouse where security is tightest?

Atlanta gets to do it all over again sometime this coming week, when the shooting suspect returns to court. Something tells me security procedures will be different this time.

What do you recommend to solve this problem?

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, March 13, 2005 at 22:14. Comments Closed (0) |

MIPTC Speaks Your Language

If English is not your primary language, never fear. MIPTC is now available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. Look to the left navigation bar, scroll down and pick the flag of your country.

We were thinking about adding an Elmer Fudd translation, too, but I put my fwoot down. MIPTC is bucking the conventional wisdom. That last link is a federal court ruling that hospitals don't have to provide translators for people that don't speak English well. Good thing you're only looking for some legal information.

As you can see from our External Links page (see the "Categories" links on the right), MIPTC is featured on several foreign blogs, including German, Russian and Spanish legal blogs.

We thought we'd return the favor and speak in the same language. If you have suggestions for other translations, please let me know.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, March 12, 2005 at 13:55. Comments Closed (0) |

MIPTC's Friday Series: Grape Radio - Winemaker Spotlight: Brian Loring – Loring Wine Company - Part 1

As a companion service to MIPTC's Friday At The Movie series, my other buddies want to encourage you to drink some wine with that popcorn. So, give a listen to their podcast spotlighting Brian Loring and Loring Wine Company. Here's what the guys have to say:

Grape Radio #11: Brian Loring, founder of the Loring Wine Company has rocketed to success as one of California’s top Pinot Noir winemakers. In fact, Wine Spectator Magazine recently profiled Brian as one of “California’s New Generation”. In today’s show he walks us through the story of how he got started. This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Part 2 can be found at Grape Radio

To contact: Loring Wine Company


Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by Brain, Leigh, and Jay on Friday, March 11, 2005 at 11:12. Comments Closed (0) |

MIPTC's Friday At The Movie Series: Reel Reviews Looks at: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

It's Friday again, and time for another installment in the Friday At The Movies series, brought to you by my friend Michael Geoghegan. Here it is:

Reel Review #29: “Nobody loses all the time.” Well, actually sometimes they do. This Sam Peckinpah classic is a tough film, a difficult film and one that rewards the viewer. Almost universally panned upon its release, by all but a few critics that saw the greatness hidden behind it tough exterior, today it is recognized as a classic. This is Peckinpah’s most personal film and one in which Warren Oates gives a performance to be remembered. The best synopsis of this film I have seen is: “the story of two losers who challenge destiny". Time to see Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia - DVD at Amazon

IMDB

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by Michael W. Geoghegan on Friday, March 11, 2005 at 09:57. Comments Closed (0) |

Play Ball! Your Congress At Work.

While driving to school this morning I heard an interesting story on NPR reporting that the United States House Government Reform Committee has issued subpoenas to a number of current and former major league baseball stars to testify regarding steroids. What exactly are our Representatives up to? I may be wrong, but the last time that I checked steroid use in baseball wasn’t a matter of national security, won’t fix Medicare or Social Security, and probably isn’t even a matter of pressing national interest.

Who is Congress trying to appease? With the exception of a very small percentage of the population, I would suggest that sports are simply entertainment. When I go to the ballpark, I want to see the game and enjoy the atmosphere. I am not worried if the second baseman has too much pine-tar on his bat or the right fielder’s glove is an inch too big. I have heard the argument that baseball has to be cleaned up so that our kids aren’t following “juiced-up” role models. How many of them will be tuned-in to C-SPAN for the hearings anyway? I am sure you know my guess and those who do tune in and actually take note probably aren't the kids your representative is concerned about anyway.

Here are the men and women we elected to run our nation spending their time and our tax dollars investigating our national pastime. As much as I hope that each and every sporting contest that I watch is inherently fair, I don’t expect Congress to insure it. This is a matter for baseball to take care of internally. If they don’t, fans leave and baseball suffers. Eventually, baseball either fixes the problem or it becomes hockey I say let the market take care of sorting this out and let Congress get back to some real work.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by Michel J. Ayer on Thursday, March 10, 2005 at 14:29. Comments Closed (0) |

Don't Want To Learn Your Lessons? File Suit Instead.

Maybe it's hard to imagine with the East Coast swathed in snow, and perhaps even harder to remember back to high school.

But think back to summer vacation. Pause with me a moment here. Remember back to the day you bolted out the school house doors in June, with three months of bliss in front of you, and no Mrs. Howell.

Then, you get a homework assignment. Actually, not one, but three. And, long ones, all in pre-calculus. Instead of three months of no school, a high-schooler in Wisconsin got these three assignments to do over the three-month summer vacation, most likely due one a month. Apparently he didn't want to do the homework, so he filed suit. He and his father thought he should concentrate his time on his summer job as a camp counselor.

I went to law school because I don't do math. I was way over my head in differential equations. That's why I have some sympathy for this kid who filed a homework lawsuit. The judge who heard the case thought there was a reason the people in the state elected school boards.

Why didn't I ever think of a homework lawsuit when I was in school? I could have shut Mrs. Howell down in an instant. It's a good thing my kids are all in graduate school, or after reading this, they'd be bugging me to file one for them.

The suit, as you have already surmised, was dismissed and the judge told the high-schooler to do his homework. Think the high-schooler learned his lesson?

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 at 23:34. Comments Closed (0) |

Ninth Circuit Clears The Path For A Decision Perhaps Already Made

While some are complaining about the work ethic of Gen Y and they're expressing their opinions, the Ninth Circuit is busy discussing the law.

That discussion yesterday returned to the continuing saga of whether a business owner can be personally liable for the civil rights violations of his employees. Here, a real estate agent allegedly used racial epithets in denying an interracial couple the opportunity to buy a home. The case has been up and down the appeals route, all the way to the Supreme Court and back, now once again before the Ninth Circuit.

The Supreme Court overturned the Ninth Circuit's holding that the business owner could be held liable, but left open two questions:

  1. Does the "right to control," together with other aspects of the broker-agent relationship, establish a sufficient agency relationship to hold the owner liable?
  2. Is there sufficient evidence to pierce the corporate veil (evidence not developed or analyzed below)?
These questions, with some guidance and a free pass, now go back to the trial court. The Ninth Circuit disregarded the owner's arguments that the home-buying couple had waived certain claims and also permitted the couple to amend their complaint to "get to the merits."

In talking about an tangential issue on discipline of brokers, the Court said: "[t]his personal obligation is independent from that of the normal responsibilities of a corporate officer or of the corporation itself. This is a direct personal responsibility on the part of the officer/broker ... "

Read between the lines here: the Ninth Circuit wants to make law, and it would appear that they're ready to hold (again) that a business owner can be individually and personally liable for the civil rights violations of her employees. We'll see, but that's my prediction. We should be able to know in a few months.

In the meantime, if you own a business, you may want to check your company's insurance policy to make sure you're covered. Better yet, if the Ninth Circuit holds that owners are personally liable, check your homeowner's policy. The lesson in any event: make sure you're covered.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 at 11:19. Comments Closed (0) |

The Attackers Support The Underdog

Disclaimer here: I used to work for a big conglomerate (AT&T) before it was broken up. Post-Bell System, I still believe in the value of big. Microsoft does most things well, like AT&T did. But not all.

This is about one of those.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Word drives me batty. It won't format documents easily, and no one has been able to teach me that tab, indent and paragraph interface.

Don't get me started.

Well, just one little comment about the delete block function (I'm not willing to call it a feature). Does Microsoft have to ask twice about everything? ARRRGH!

So, it was with some pleasure that I see the Department of Justice is buying WordPerfect from Corel, not Word. The government is spending $13.2 million for 50,000 licenses for WordPerfect. You may remember the DOJ's attack against Microsoft for its alleged anti-trust activities.

With rumors of WP's impending demise, this news is a welcome relief to the long list of lawyers who love WordPerfect.

Microsoft needn't worry, though. It sold $2.8 billion of Microsoft Office software in 3Q 2004, and the DOJ still buys MS Office for about $150/copy.

Small victories are apparently hard to come by.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, March 07, 2005 at 23:27. Comments Closed (1) |



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