Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Power ball.  With my luck all my new Bugattis won't start in the morning.

Kenya conspiracy.   Cruz born in Kenya?

$30 oil.  Why isn't there an  investment opportunity here?  Unless you think in the future they will be giving away oil.

What was the point? Would have been nice if we had a Congress that would work WITH a President for a better America.  Instead Congress worked really hard and spent a lot of energy to send him a bill that a child would know he would veto.  How can all that effort possibly help us?  What a huge pointless waste.  We already know they don't like it.  We already know he isn't going to repeal the thing he's proud of. Move on please to something that would help America and not yourself.


Obama Celebrates Last Time He Has to Talk to These Ba**ards

Asked which member of Congress he would most enjoy never looking at again, Obama responded, “That’s tough.”


I was pulled over last night and ticketed for excessive ego. 


GOP Leaders Mostly Quiet on Abbott Plan to Amend Constitution, by Edgar Walters — Three days after Gov. Greg Abbott called for a convention of states to dramatically amend the U.S. Constitution, few high-ranking Republicans in Texas have backed his proposal.



Supreme Court Strikes Down Part of Florida’s Death Penalty

by jonathanturley
13scotus-web-master180A nearly unanimous Supreme Court struck down part of Florida’s capital punishment system this week. It found that Florida had given judges part of the role of jurors in determining whether to impose the death penalty. Only Associate Justice Samuel Alito (who has a pronounced record opposing rights for criminal defendants) voted to uphold the law. The case is Hurst v. Florida, No. 14-7505.
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Study: Twenty-Five Percent Of Law Students Had Been Diagnosed For Depression, Disorders, and Other Mental Illnesses

by jonathanturley
Square_academic_cap_(graduation_hats)There is an interesting survey published this month on mental health and substance use issues for law students. The Bar Examiner report (available here) found that a quarter of all law students had been diagnosed at some point for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis, personality disorder or substance use disorder. I am not surprised by the figure and speak every year to my classes about dealing the mental health and dependency issues as part of my first year classes. I try to tell them that there is no barrier to practice for students who have these issues. Indeed, the real danger is found among students who ignore these issues in the highly pressured legal profession.


The Brief: Perry Lands a New Gig Working for Former Donor

by John Reynolds | Jan. 13, 2016
Former Gov. Rick Perry during Texas Legislative Medal of Honor award ceremony on Aug. 26th, 2015

The Big Conversation

Word broke Tuesday that former Gov. Rick Perry has a new paying gig with the largest privately held dental insurance company in the country that was also the top donor to his 2016 presidential campaign.
As the Tribune's Jim Malewitz reported, word of Perry's new job as chief strategy officer for MCNA Dental emerged as part of news coverage of a meeting between Perry and Florida Gov. Rick Scott. "First reported by POLITICO Florida, the meeting was organized by Southern Strategy Group, a lobbying firm that represents the dental company," Malewitz wrote. "The insurer is pushing for a 'dental carve-out' in the state’s Medicaid program that would allow it to cover children."
Malewitz went on to note that the company "was the top donor to Perry’s presidential bid, which ended in September, donating $37,800 directly to his campaign, according to MCNA Dental also gave $20,000 to Texans for Rick Perry, Perry's state political action committee, in 2010, according to state records."
In addition, Albert Hawkins, who was appointed by Perry to lead the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, sits on the board of MCNA Dental, serving as the body's vice chair.




Several Chinese lawyers are arrested; state media said one was 'blabbering about the rule of law'

Jan 13, 2016, 7:52 am CST



Avvo readies rollout of fixed-fee legal services

The lawyer directory website Avvo has begun testing a service that offers fixed-fee, limited-scope legal services through a network of attorneys, and plans to roll out the service more broadly over the next few months.
Called Avvo Legal Services, the service offers a variety of limited-scope legal services at a fixed fee. Services range from review of legal documents such as business contracts and nondisclosure agreements to more involved matters such as uncontested divorces and citizenship applications.
Avvo is testing the service in five cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix. It will begin rolling it out to additional markets in February, said Laura Moriarty, Avvo’s vice president of communications. Moriarty declined to identify the markets where it will initially be offered except to confirm that one will be Massachusetts.
Avvo first got into the business of offering legal advice last year when it launched Avvo Advisor, a service that provides on-demand legal advice by phone for a fixed fee of $39 for 15 minutes. With this new service, Avvo will determine the types of services to be provided and the prices. Attorneys who sign up will be able to select which services they want to offer. When a client buys a service, Avvo sends the client’s information to the attorney. The attorney then contacts the client directly and completes the service.
Clients will be able to choose the attorney they want from a list of those within their geographic area who have registered to participate. Clients pay the full price for the service up front.
After the service is completed, Avvo sends the attorney the full legal fee, paid once a month for fees earned the prior month. As a separate transaction, the attorney pays Avvo a per-service marketing fee. This is done as a separate transaction to avoid fee-splitting, according to Avvo. Attorneys pay nothing to participate except for the per-case marketing fee.
Among the services to be offered will be document review for $199, for which the attorney will pay a $50 marketing fee; formation of a single-member LLC for $595, with a $125 marketing fee; uncontested divorce for $995, with a $200 marketing fee; and green card application for $2,995, with a $400 marketing fee.
The terms of the service require attorneys to contact a new client within one business day for a 30-minute introductory call. If the attorney determines the client is not the right fit, the attorney can decline the representation.
In an FAQ about the service on Avvo’s website, Avvo’s general counsel Josh King says lawyers should not be concerned about the ethics of the fee arrangement.


Bankruptcy lawyer suspended for 'screwing banks' ads

Jan 13, 2016, 6:15 am CST


Lawyer’s $350K win for defamatory online review is upheld on appeal

A Florida appeals court has upheld $350,000 in punitive damages awarded to a Florida lawyer who claimed she was defamed in online reviews.
Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled on behalf of lawyer Ann-Marie Giustibelli in a Jan. 6 opinion (PDF), report the News Service of Florida,BNA’s Electronic Commerce and Law Report and the Financial News & Daily Record.
The court ruled that there was no First Amendment protection for false allegations that Giustibelli falsified a fee contract and misrepresented her fees. The court said the statements purported to be factual allegations, rather than statements of opinion, “and the evidence showed they were false.”
The former client, Copia Blake, had agreed to pay Giustibelli $300 an hour, as reflected on the written retainer agreement, the court said. At trial, Blake admitted that Giustibelli had not charged more than the quoted fees.
Yet Blake and her ex-husband had claimed in online reviews that Giustibelli “altered her charges to 4 times the original quote with no explanation. Do not use her. Do not mistake sincerity for honesty.”


Bill Cosby filing says former DA made binding agreement not to prosecute

Jan 13, 2016, 7:22 am CST

Attorney takes plea deal in marijuana 'grow house' case

grow lights
Image from Shutterstock.
A Raleigh, North Carolina, attorney accused of playing a role in a marijuana “grow house” operation and using his law office to help prepare fraudulent applications for bank loans has taken a plea deal.
Joseph Lee Levinson pleaded guilty Friday to a federal conspiracy count concerning false statements made to federally insured financial institutions, says a news release from the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina. He faces a maximum five-year prison term and $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in May.
The government alleged that Levinson conspired with a college friend involved in a grow house operation in Orange County between 2005 and 2010 and worked with the friend to get bank funding to purchase grow houses, falsely claiming the homes would be used for legitimate purposes.
He was also accused of acting as closing attorney in the transactions.
When the marijuana operation ended in 2010, the friend stopped making payments, and the grow houses went into foreclosure.


Federal judge crossed the line with imprudent comments and trial interruptions, 4th Circuit says

Jan 13, 2016, 5:45 am CST


Disbarred lawyer faces likely prison time after admitting theft of more than $1M from 2 clients

Disbarred by consent in 2010, a former New York lawyer is now facing likely prison time after admitting to stealing more than $1 million from two ex-clients.
Janice Jessup, 68, pleaded guilty to grand larceny Monday in Nassau County Court, Newsday (sub. req.) and the Associated Press report.
Prosecutors said she diverted more than $1 million won by a mentally and physically disabled client in an eminent domain case, persuading a judge the client had OK’d the transaction by arranging for someone else to impersonate the client during home visits by a court worker.
Jessup also stole $85,000 from an 85-year-old, the government said, using information she obtained while helping the woman get a reverse mortgage.
The judge said she could expect to get three to nine years in prison when she is sentenced in March, the newspaper reports.
Jessup left court without commenting but her lawyer, Ira Weissman, told Newsday she has “great remorse” about her crimes and “to the day she dies, she’s going to try to repay what she’s taken.”
Related coverage: “DA’s office: Ex-lawyer charged in $1.2M theft got the money by having someone impersonate her client”
New York Law Journal (sub. req.): “Disbarred LI Attorney Facing New Theft Charges”


Retired judge takes felony plea deal after shooting at police, gets probation and community service

Jan 12, 2016, 1:40 pm CST




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