Spotlight on the Northern Territory
Some drivers would be deterred from driving at night with no headlights — not so in the Northern Territory. As reported in News.com.au, a rather inventive driver was recently pulled over for driving at night with a torch strapped to his bonnet because his headlights were broken.
Folklaw suspects that there might have been a bit of Dutch courage at play — the 25-year-old was caught with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit and he had two female passengers and a baby in the car. Northern Territory Road Safety Superintendent Bob Rennie described the act as “ludicrous”.
“The driver has shown a total disregard for the passengers in the car, in particular a baby,” he said.
The man was charged with disqualified driving, having a blood alcohol level exceeding 0.8 per cent, driving an unsafe motor vehicle and dangerous driving.
Justice for all in Pakistan
What’s the one thing the High Court of Australia is severely lacking? That’s right, it’s a theme song.
One of Folklaw’s favourite blogs, stumblng.tumblr.com, has posted that the website for the Supreme Court of Pakistan features a link to the Court’s official 50th anniversary song called “Justice for All”, complete with a stirring video clip featuring images of the people and monuments of Pakistan.
Not to detract in any way from the artistic merits of “Justice for All”, Folklaw has faith that if Chief Justice Gleeson and his team put their heads together and let their creative juices flow they could come up with something even catchier for Australia’s highest court.
He doesn’t like green eggs and ham
An inmate in New Hampshire was left with egg on his face after he underestimated the imagination of a Federal Magistrate in an attempt to protest about the quality of the state prison diet. Inmate Charles Jay Wolff, who is serving 10—20 years in prison for felonious sexual assault, had taken out a case against prison officials for refusing to feed him a kosher and medically adequate diet.
As reported on website cfic.org, Wolff apparently thought that a clever way to draw attention to the case would be to mail Judge James Muirhead a hard boiled egg. In response, Muirhead took inspiration from the Dr Seuss book Green Eggs and Ham to deliver his judgment, which read:
“I do not like eggs in the file. I do not like them in any style. I will not take them fried or boiled. I will not take them poached or broiled. I will not take them soft or scrambled, despite an argument well rambled.”
Muirhead then ordered that the egg be destroyed stating “Destroy that egg! Today! Today! Today! Today I say! Without delay!” Eggs are apparently one of the foods that Wolff, aged 61, cannot tolerate. The stunt appears to have paid off for Wolff though, with Muirhead ordering the prison to come up with a better meal plan.
In addition to the news, features and Folklaw’s insights, the pages of Lawyers Weekly make plenty of room for advertisements informing you of fantastic employment opportunities in Australia and overseas, exciting events to attend, and kitchen design and renovation services. In another part of the publishing world, RollOnFriday has reported that The Wall Street Journal is making inroads in the disgruntled client market, and Folklaw wonders if we couldn’t get some of that action.
Denver-based company General Steel has taken a pot-shot at highly-regarded law firm Hogan & Hartson, and paid for a little ad complaining that they aren’t happy with Hogan & Hartson’s performance in a recently-settled deceptive advertising case. The Attorney-General of Colorado sued General Steel for deceptive advertising, and eventually settled for US$4.5 million ($5.1 million) without admitting any wrongdoing.
Unimpressed with Hogan & Hartson’s effort, General Steel paid for the following message to be communicated to the readers of The Wall Street Journal:
Have you recently been represented by the law firm of Hogan & Hartson?
Were you expecting that your case would have the representation of a senior partner, but you found that your representation was handled by a less experienced junior member of the firm?
Do you believe this was detrimental to the outcome of your case?
We want to hear from you!
Hogan & Hartson billed General Steel US$1 million (A$1.1 million), US$300,000 (A$359,000) of which is outstanding. General Steel is trying to get the money they’ve paid to the law firm returned to them, claiming that when the experienced litigation partner handling their case moved to an interstate office, their case was handed over to an inexperienced associate. The company’s CEO, Jeff Knight, said it was like hiring the best heart surgeon “and you wake up with a botched surgery and find out that a podiatrist did it”.
Maybe the American Podiatric Medical Association could now place an ad claiming injury, and keep the revenue rolling.
I’m in love with my car
I’m not sure if this is what Roger Taylor had in mind when he wrote “I’m in love with my car; got a feel for my automobile” for Queen’s A Night at the Opera. Then again, maybe he did.
Metro.co.uk reports that a Canadian man has been arrested, sentenced to 90 days in prison and put on probation for two years for … “pleasuring himself” on the roof of a car. Psychiatrist Dr Curtis Wood told the court that Sandy Wong — who was caught masturbating on the roofs of classic cars at the Edmonton Home and Garden Show — claimed that he was “sexually attracted” to cars because they’re “curved like a woman’s body, the sex appeal, it felt good”.
Just as some gentlemen have a preference for blondes, brunettes or gingers, Wong is known for have a thing for Chevrolets (particularly the 1967 Camaro and 1955 Bel Air), and in 2005 he was arrested for rubbing his genitals all over a Mini Cooper.
Being a buses and trains kind of commuter, Folklaw doesn’t really understand Wong’s fondness for cars, although the newer Mini Coopers are indeed kind of cute. Make of that what you will.
Hold the phones!
Cinemagoers, conference presenters, lecturers and judges; what do these people have in common? Generally speaking, they’re all easily annoyed by anyone who brings a mobile phone into an enclosed space where people are trying to pay attention to. Which of the four do you really not want to piss off? Judges, dear readers. Judges.
Unfortunately for 46 people in a Niagara Falls court, one of whom forgot to put their phone on silent, Judge Robert Restaino snapped when no one would admit to bringing in the mobile phone that he could hear ringing in his courtroom. The Associated Press reports that in response the judge threatened: “Every single person is going to jail in this courtroom unless I get that instrument now. If anybody believes I’m kidding, ask some of the folks that have been here for a while. You are all going.”
Nobody confessed. The group was taken into custody, then taken by police and packed into crowded cells in the city jail. Fourteen people who were unable to post bail were put in irons and taken by bus to the county jail.
When he learned that reporters were interested in the story, the judge ordered that the accused should be released.
The subsequent inquiry by the New York state Commission on Judicial Conduct removed the judge from the bench, and described the incident as “two hours of inexplicable madness”.
Speaking of madness, Folklaw would like to think that the offending ringtone was a Crazy Frog ditty, so at least one person has spent time in jail over that appalling version of “Axel F”.
Words we’d like to see judicially defined
Definition: “(say gohsh) adjective awkward; clumsy; tactless: her apology was as gauche as a child’s. [French: left, awkward, from Old French gaucher trample, walk clumsily, of Germanic origin, related to German walken to full cloth, referring to the awkward gait involved in treading the cloth in a vat]” — Macquarie Dictionary online.
One of only two uses in Australian case law: “The defendant proposed to prove this letter, which enclosed an article published by the defendant containing criticisms of the plaintiff’s radio programme as ‘rambling and structureless’ and of the plaintiff as not only ‘gauche, tasteless and philistine’ but also as ‘boring’, and consistently so” — Singleton v John Fairfax & Sons Ltd (unreported, NSWSC, Hunt J, No 9919/82, 5 and 6 December 1983, 16 December 1983, BC8300039).