Legal News Roundup for Monday 4/23/2018

Hey guys!  The Boozy Barrister is a little busy today and has no post for Monday, so here’s a quick “Legal News Roundup” from the strange places of the internet, showing the best and worst of the law for all of you to gawk at, with distracted commentary from Boozy.

“Watch this Florida judge berate a woman in a wheelchair in court before she died days later.”

This tale of the judiciary gone heartless comes from the ABA Journal, where a Florida judge decided that open court was the perfect time to lose their shit on a wheelchair bound party.  Listen to such judicial bon mots as “I’m not here to talk about your breathing treatments” and “You’ve already said too much, listen to me!” as the party struggles for breath in their wheelchair.  While Judge Merrilee Ehrlich’s behavior didn’t cause the poor woman to die three days later, you can’t help but think it didn’t help.

Boozy’s Distracted Comment:  “Some judges are little tinpot dictators who forget they’re the mortal representations of our justice system.  A robe doesn’t mean you can’t show compassion.”

“Inmate, 83, is executed in death of federal appeals judge”

Again from the ABA Journal is the advisement that an inmate who killed both a federal judge and a civil rights lawyer by way of mail bomb has been put to death.  Walter Leroy  Moody, Jr. was executed last Thursday for the murder of federal appellate judge Robert Vance in 1989.  Moody sent a mail bomb to the judge, having previously advises the ABA by letter that it should advise judges and lawyers that they “have become targets for assassination because of the federal courts’ callous disregard for the administration of justice.”  Moody’s execution was being delayed on the legal theory that, prior to Alabama being able to execute him, Moody was required to first serve his federal sentence of seven life terms plus 400 years.  Jeff Sessions decided that the government had no objection to executing Moody, and cut off that argument for the convicted murderer’s lawyers, allowing Alabama to execute him (Moody, not Sessions).

Boozy’s Distracted Comment: “Two things: I don’t like the death penalty. Also, please don’t put this one right after the article about the judge that yelled at the dying woman. People may get ideas.”

“‘Making a Murderer’ case may go to Supreme Court: report”

Reuter’s reports that Brendan Dassey, the alleged accomplice convicted for helping his uncle, Stephen Avery, rape, murder, and dispose of the body of a woman, has asked the Supreme Court of the United States to review his case.   Dassey was a minor player in the Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer,” wherein some filmmakers reopened an old case by arguing that Stephen Avery may have been a victim of a vengeful county rather than an actual murderer.  Dassey has previously argued that due to his low IQ, his confession was coerced and should not be admissible, and without it the conviction against him can’t be sustained.  Previously a magistrate judge agreed and overturned his conviction, which a panel of the 7th Circuit affirmed.  However, an en banc review overturned the panel decision and reinstated the conviction, leading to the currently Petition for Cert being submitted to SCOTUS, which will be able to decide whether or not to hear the case.

Boozy’s Distracted Comment:  “I look forward to the next season of the show on Netflix, ‘Making a Complicated Brief.’  Nothing but ten episodes of legal research and drafting.”

“Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?”

From the Tampa Bay Times come a tale of ghoulish law enforcement, where the police attempted to unlock a cell phone by using a dead man’s fingerprint at a funeral home.  Largo police shot and killed Linus F. Phillips during a traffic stop in late March, stating that Phillips tried to flee while an officer was searching the vehicle by jumping in and trying to drive off.  The officer states that he had to shoot Phillips as the car was dragging the officer at the time.  Afterwards, Largo police took Phillips’s phone to the funeral home holding his body and tried to use the deceased’s fingerprint to unlock the phone to aid in its investigation “of the death” and in a drug investigation.  While technically legal, the legal world is in a tizzy over whether or not such an action was appropriate to do.

Boozy’s Distracted Comment: “Yeah, I’m sure they were seriously investigating his death and the whole ‘drug investigation’ thing was merely secondary. Also, departments all over are gonna be fairly fast to start using this as an excuse to access everyone’s phones after they shoot them. That’s comforting. Stop using biometric phone unlock options.”

“Kentucky Could Become Third State Not to Fund Legal Aid”

Back in March U.S. News reported that the Commonwealth of Kentucky was looking to cut legal aid funding from the state government.  Legal aid, as we’ve discussed in the past here on Lawyers & Liquor, is a program that provides civil legal services at low or no cost to those unable to afford an attorney, and is essential for equal access to our courts for all persons.  However, Kentucky’s Governor, Matt Bevin, has made the defunding of legal aid services in Kentucky a cornerstone of his campaign, much like President Trump did. Because, you know, poor people must sort of make them feel icky or something?

Boozy’s Distracted Comment: “I left my home state, but if someone could vote these chucklefucks out of power I’ll consider moving back.”


That’s all for the legal roundup.  Now, on to better things!