When I find myself in times of trouble

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

The sun will come out …Another day, another lawyer complaining about clients. Legal blogger Blonde Justice has raised the issue of how much “BS” she hears, including excuses from…

The sun will come out

Another day, another lawyer complaining about clients. Legal blogger Blonde Justice has raised the issue of how much “BS” she hears, including excuses from unemployed clients about why they don’t have jobs.

As a routine she asks every client if they have a job. If they say no, she asks what they do with their days so she can explain to the court that her client’s time is not spent breaking the law.


“If you don’t work because you’re taking care of your elderly grandmother or your handicapped child, saving your family the cost of a home health attendant, that means something to the judge. If you fill your days selling crack on the corner, well, let’s not mention that. (And, yes, there are clients that say, ‘I sell crack. What do you think I’m here for?’)”

But in amusing insight, she asks why every client that doesn’t have a job tells her that he has a job interview “tomorrow”.

“I think I might have believed it when I was a newbie. I think that maybe for my first five, 10 clients, I thought, ‘I have to get my client out … he’s got that job interview and rehab appointment tomorrow.’ Now I’m just like, ‘Let me guess … tomorrow?’.”

But being loyal to her clients, she still repeats the promise to the judge and carries on with the masquerade. “I put on a good show about how my client needs to get home for his important job interview tomorrow, or his appointment for rehab intake, or the Medicaid appointment so he can afford rehab. Even though I know the judge has probably heard it as many times as I have,” she writes. See www.blondejustice.blogspot.com.

When I find myself in times of trouble

Lawyers Weekly Discover

A Beatles-loving thief in the US has been handed a dose of his own medicine when he wrote that the court’s response to his stealing beer should be: “Like the Beetles [sic] said, Let it Be”. The judge responded in kind by quoting 42 of the band’s song titles in his verdict.

Andrew McCormack, 20, had clearly come up against the wrong man in Montana’s Judge Gregory Todd, reports the Daily Mirror.

Judge Todd replied: “‘Hey Jude’, ‘Do You Want to Know a Secret’? The greatest band in history spelled its name B-e-a-t-l-e-s.

“Your response suggests there should be no consequences for your actions and I should ‘Let it Be’ so you can live in ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

“Such reasoning is ‘Here, There and Everywhere’. It does not require a ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ of interpretation to know ‘The Word’ means leave it alone. I trust we can all ‘Come Together’ on that meaning.

“If I were to overlook your actions I would ignore that ‘Day in the Life’ on April 21, 2006. That night you said to yourself ‘I Feel Fine’ while drinking beer. Later, whether you wanted ‘Money’ or were just trying to ‘Act Naturally’ you became the ‘Fool on the Hill’.

“As ‘Mr Moonlight’ at 1.30am, you did not ‘Think for Yourself’ but just focused on ‘I, Me, Mine’. ‘Because’ you didn’t ask for ‘Help’. ‘Wait’ for ‘Something’ else or listen to your conscience saying ‘Honey Don’t’, the victim was later ‘Fixing a Hole’ in the glass door you broke.”

Judge Todd went on: “After you stole the beer you decided it was time to ‘Run For Your Life’ and ‘Carry That Weight’. But the witness said ‘Baby it’s You’, the police said ‘I’ll Get You’ and you had to admit ‘You Really Got a Hold on Me’.

“You were not able to ‘Get Back’ home because of the ‘Chains’ they put on you. Although you hoped the police would say ‘I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party’ and ‘We Can Work it Out’, you were in ‘Misery’ when they said you were a ‘Bad Boy’.

“When they took you to jail, you experienced ‘Something New’ as they said ‘Hello Goodbye’ and you became a ‘Nowhere Man’.

“Later you may have said ‘I’ll Cry Instead’. Now you are saying ‘Let it Be’ instead of ‘I’m a Loser’. As a result of your ‘Hard Day’s Night’ you’re looking at a ‘Ticket to Ride’ that ‘Long and Winding Road’ to prison.

“Hopefully you can say both now and ‘When I’m 64’ that ‘I Should Have Known Better’.”

McCormack got probation, a community service order and a fine.

Paris in the High Court

Always bringing a lighter side to the High Court, Justice Michael Kirby just wanted to make sure everyone knew he was on the ball with celeb goss when he deterred the conversation in Roach v Electoral Commissioner [2007] HCATrans 275 (12 June 2007).

KIRBY J: I thought recently there was a case in the Australian Capital Territory where somebody was convicted of a statutory offence of treason, but anyway, it is not very common in this country.

MR MERKEL: That may be right — if that was, I understand it might be the first time if it falls into that definition, but that is our response to that subsection. I was going to say under s 93(8AA) the amending legislation defines “sentence of imprisonment”. That is at page 7. This was also a significant amendment because prior to this amendment there was a question about whether home detention or parole would be caught by the disqualification. So this amendment made it clear that you had to be in detention on a full-time basis. So that is in the extrinsic materials. So there was no question if someone on parole or on home detention would not be caught by the disqualification and that comes out as a result of that definition. Can I take your Honours next to Part VIII of the Act starting at page 122 dealing with …

KIRBY J: So Paris Hilton would now be disqualified, but last week for a short time she would have been entitled to vote?

MR MERKEL: Yes, your Honour, and she would have been entitled if she were in Australia and an Australian citizen to be standing here unburdened by the five-year point at least.

KIRBY J: I just wanted you to know that I follow these things.

Excuses, excuses

The things well-known people come up with to get out of jail keep us amused … For example Paris Hilton gave her reasoning that it just wasn’t fair. But the recent claim by Tony Mokbel that he couldn’t turn up to court because of the heat was certainly a new one.

Mokbel was a no-show in an Athens court, citing hot weather as his reason. According to Sydney Morning Herald reports, his lawyer Jannis Vlachos said Mokbel also did not come to court to face charges because he believed a forensic examination of allegedly false papers was not complete. Mokbel is fighting Australian attempts to extradite him.

Mokbel, 41, is being held in high-security prison Korydallos just outside Athens, which is about 40 minutes’ drive from the court. The temperature in Athens at the time was expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius.

The pay rise poem

Folklaw is always impressed by rhyme, and found a beauty this week on law blog lawyertrix.blogspot.com. It’s a bit long so we’ve cut it down, but you get the gist. We welcome all Folklaw readers to send over their own poems about pay time, or any other event in the legal calendar.

It’s that time of year …

Partners hide your coffers,

the salary review is here!

Lawyers prepare the show-stoppers

That you will present

to the management committee

because they will resent you

if you just sit and look pretty.

So think about your virtues,

achievements and goals,

wonderful accomplishments

and great gaping holes.

The ones that you left

when you transferred in March,

on your grad rotation

or secondment to Mars.

The system it seems

so scary and big

but it’s not that bad

if you have a dancing pig.

That should distract them

for about 10 minutes

and you can scribble some numbers,

throw at them figures.

So sensible, wise,

grounded and sure

your offer will make them

want to pay you more.

You hope and you pray,

you’ve only just found God

but deep down he knows

you work very hard.

And even though the billings

aren’t always six-and-a-half

you’ve made a wonderful contribution

to office morale.

You joke and you laugh,

you dine and you wine

there’s no “I” in team,

certainly not this time.

You’ve never left

the office before five

unless it’s on leave

or business that’s live.

Because you’re a hard worker

and have a heart that’s big,

you deserve a pay rise,

where’s that dancing pig?!

Trouserless judge loses pants claim

Although no lawyer would enjoy the humiliation of an esteemed member of the bench, regular Folklaw readers should welcome the decision not to award US$54 million ($64 million) to a US judge who was suing his dry cleaner over a lost pair of suit pants.

Administrative judge Roy L Pearson sued over the lost pants on the basis that the owner of the dry cleaner had unreasonably displayed a “satisfaction guaranteed” sign, a promise that in his case was not lived up to, Reuters said.

But Washington DC judge Judith Bartnoff thankfully held that this did not mean customers could expect to make ridiculous demands on the basis of the sign.

“A reasonable consumer would not interpret ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ to mean that a merchant is required to satisfy a customer’s unreasonable demands,” she held.

Pearson had become infamous for his significant damages claim, the American Bar Association having at one time offered to buy him an entire suit in order to spare the profession the inevitable embarrassment it expected to receive.

Bartnoff was equally unimpressed, ruling that Pearson must pay filing fees and court costs incurred by the defendants, the news service said.

The owners of the dry cleaning business, immigrants from South Korea who were forced to shell-out US$100,000 ($117,903) in legal costs to defend themselves, are also expected to seek redress for legal fees, Reuterssaid.

“It’s been a very difficult two years,” store owner Soo Chung said.

According to the news service, Chung’s lawyer said his client has removed the sign as a precaution.

“In order to avoid vexatious and frivolous lawsuits going forward, I think that sign is going to rest in peace.”

When I find myself in times of trouble
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