Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Mr. Mo-Judge Rising
Wed, May 18, 2005 | link
Anytime I get a case that has some media interest (about three times in 10 years so far), I get nervous. Getting
a high-profile case has been a miserable experience for some, like George Greer
, the judge in the Terry Schiavo case.
I met him once. He and my dad have been friends since college when they were roomates with someone else who
gained fame. The article is a good read, check it out.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Silence is golden
Mon, May 16, 2005 | link
If I could give my criminal defense clients just one piece of advice, it would be a lot like this:
You have the right to remain silent. So SHUT THE FUCK UP. Those cops are completely
serious when they say your statements can and will be used against you. Thereís just no need to babble on like itís a drink
and dial session. They are just pretending to like you and be interested in you.
After all we wouldn't be wasting time trying to get the statement suppressed if you had just had the sense not
to make one. And another thing, could you try saying "no" when someone asks for consent to search?
Something nice to look at after an afternoon at the High Point Jail
Mon, May 16, 2005 | link
These showed up in my e-mail box. A nice break from the Viagra, mortgage, and Nigerian bank scams that seem
to collect there.
It is somewhat unusual to see someone with a black and fawn pug. I like the contrast myself. When they curl
up to sleep in the winter they form a kind of Yin and Yang design.
Giving credit where it is due
Mon, May 16, 2005 | link
I was on the phone the other day with an attorney for a large credit card issuer about settling a dispute.
First, a little background. In order to protect the shamelessly greedy I will identify the bank only by its initials, MBNA.
Several months ago after my client filed bankruptcy MBNA drafted money from her checking account using an electronic draft
it prepared. This violates the "automatic stay" that bars creditors from attempting to collect debts owed outside the bankruptcy
process. The client called MBNA to ask that the funds be returned to her account. MBNA refused. She asked me to contact MBNA.
Clients often believe that a call from an attorney will scare a company into doing something, it usually wonít. I called MBNA
pointed out that a bankruptcy was pending and asked that the money be returned. The response was "suck wind" in various dialects
of corporate speak. I said that if the money was not returned I would ask the court to order its return. I was told a manager
would call me. No return call. I then filed the motion sending a copy to MBNA. There was no response to the motion so the
judge ordered MBNA to appear for a hearing next about whether it should be held in contempt for submitting the draft. Hence
the call. The attorney did not like the fact that I donít consider the matter resolved just by a refund of the money. I told
him this story.
A young man once went to U-Haul to rent a truck for a move. The place was plastered with signs that read
"Rent a truck for $19.95." The parking lot was full of trucks at 7 a.m., opening time. Upon asking the attendant about a truck
he was told, "We donít have any trucks available." Incredulous the young man asked about all the trucks parked outside. The
answer "I donít have to tell you what those trucks are for." The young man had heard that tone before, it is the tone a person
uses to say: "I am screwing you over and there is nothing you can do about it. In fact I am employing this tone just to rub
your nose in it."
That disillusioned young man was me, and I burn with a hatred of U-Haul to this day.
Large companies play the percentages, they take advantage of large numbers of people knowing that few of
them are in a position to anything about it. When absolutely caught with their hand in the cookie jar they can apologize call
it an oversight. Iím suspecting it is not really an oversight so much as a strategy, especially since I deliberately asked
for the name of the person I spoke with on the phone and now the company says they have never employed anyone by that name.
Fortunately in some cases I am now in the position to do something about it, sometimes. I will not
bring the credit card behemoth to its knees, but I can cost it a little extra cash. This is the "cost of doing business" for
times it got away with it. So it is a small thing to a big company, but I like the fact that occasionally I can keep someone
from getting their way every time.
While I was in law school I had the idealistic notion of being a crusader for justice, but most weeks I have
to settle for being a transaction cost. Oh and U-Haul, as Jackie Childs once said, "Iíve been waitiní a long time to get my
hands on some of that money."
Thursday, May 5, 2005
Byline is mine
Thu, May 5, 2005 | link
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
In the mailbox
Tue, May 3, 2005 | link
From a client (in prison) I am representing on appeal:
"Don't worry about me bugging you with small simple matters, yet if I have a
ligament question, I will write and ask."
That's OK with me if he doesn't mind that my answer will involve Ben Gay