Archive for the News Category

SCOTUS Rules It’s O.K. For Cops to Search Without a Warrant If They Smell Marijuana Smoke

Posted in Law, News on May 17, 2011 by George

The U.S. Supreme Court made an important Fourth Amendment ruling this afternoon that may have effect on marijuana smokers and their protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. It’s a tricky issue that concerns whether or not police need a warrant to enter a residence under the suspicion that evidence otherwise might be destroyed. It essentially helps define probable cause as noise and marijuana smoke as grounds for the police to enter a residence without a warrant. Via the Washington Post:

The court ruled 8 to 1 that Kentucky police who smelled marijuana at an apartment door, knocked loudly and announced themselves, and then kicked in the door when they thought the drugs were being destroyed did nothing wrong.

Here is the sparknotes version of the ruling, via NORML: “When they smell it, they can knock on your door and then break it down, claiming they heard noises from within.” There’s fear that the interpretation allows cops probable cause to conduct a warrant-less search by claiming they smelled pot and heard noises, even if there’s absolutely no substance present and random noises are just a figment of an officer’s imagination. Read full reports and educate yourself at the Washington Post and L.A. Times. See Below for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s strong dissent from the ruling.

“The Court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases. In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, nevermind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant. I dissent from the Court’s reduction of the Fourth Amendment’s force. …

“Wasting a clear opportunity to obtain a warrant,” therefore, “disentitles the officer from relying on subsequent exigent circumstances.” As that court observed, nothing made it impracticable for the police to post officers on the premises while proceeding to obtain a warrant authorizing their entry. …

In Johnson, the Court confronted this scenario: standing outside a hotel room, the police smelled burning opium and heard “some shuffling or noise” coming from the room. Could the police enter the room without a warrant? The Court answered no. Explaining why, the Court said: “The right of officers to thrust themselves into a home is … a grave concern, not only to the individual but to a society which chooses to dwell in reasonable security and freedom from surveillance. When the right of privacy must reasonably yield to the right of search is, as a rule, to be decided by a judicial officer, not a policeman … “If the officers in this case were excused from the constitutional duty of presenting their evidence to a magistrate, it is difficult to think of [any] case in which [a warrant] should be required.”

I agree, and would not allow an expedient knock to override the warrant requirement. Instead, I would accord that core requirement of the Fourth Amendment full respect. When possible, “a warrant must generally be secured,” the Court acknowledges. There is every reason to conclude that securing a warrant was entirely feasible in this case, and no reason to contract the Fourth Amendment’s dominion.”


Buying a law school education or buying a brand?

Posted in Law, News on April 18, 2011 by George

It’s nearing graduation so I thought I would post an interesting piece on how much that J.D. is really worth. It has been reported that student debt in the USA is approaching a trillion dollars, five times what it was ten years ago.

Are those in debt buying more education or are they seeking better branding in the form of coveted diplomas? Does a $40,000 a year law school education that comes with an elite degree deliver ten times the legal education of a cheaper but no less rigorous self-generated approach assembled from less famous institution?

If not, then the money is actually being spent on the value of the degree, on the doors it will open and the jobs it will snag. If this marketing strategy works big, it pays for itself in no time. A marketing tactic might move the dial, but that doesn’t mean it’s always worth the money.

The question is whether a trillion dollars is the right amount for individuals to spend marketing themselves. What would happen if people spent it building up a work history instead? On becoming smarter, more flexible, more self-sufficient and yes, able to take more risk because they owe less money.There’s no doubt that we need smarter and more motivated people in our society. I’m not sure we need them to be better labeled or more accredited.

Why the Barry Bonds Verdict Makes No Sense

Posted in Law, News on April 13, 2011 by George

Read HERE why the verdict released by the Jury today makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Personally, I think this trial is a waste of time and money for both sides.

KOBE is the New Icing

Posted in Law School, News, Video on April 8, 2011 by George

If you’ve been looking for something to replace Icing… I think I’ve found it. I mean, that was utterly retarded so this has to be the logical next law school craze: hurling yourself, belly flop–style, arm outstretched, onto a beer pong table mid-game. KOBE!

Bacon Cologne?! A Must for Lawyers

Posted in News on April 6, 2011 by George

This season’s juiciest cologne for lawyers is bacōn (that’s pronounced “bay-cone”) by fargginay, the world’s first bacon fragrance.

According to a press release:

bacōn is a passion project mirrored after one of the 20th Century’s greatest legends. The Legend of Fargginay began in 1920 when quite by accident John Fargginay, a Parisian butcher discovered the ability to dramatically elevate his customers’ mood with a secret recipe blending herbs & essential oils with the essence of…bacon. As the story goes, film stars & heads of state would frequent his shop to procure the magical elixir. With a wink of the eye and the secret code, “fargginay,” customers would be slipped a discreet pouch containing the formula said to trigger pleasant memories. After a massive fire on July 4, 1924, the business was lost and so was the formula…Until now.

bacōn’s tagline: “scent by the gods.” My suggestion: “stench of a diner.” And suddenly, I’m hungry.

The eau de ew comes in both bacōn Classic and bacōn Gold, each only $36. Take a look at the perfume’s kitchy commercial below.


Law School Love At First Sight

Posted in Law School, News, Video on March 31, 2011 by George

Airline Safety with Richard Simmons

Posted in News, Random, Video on March 29, 2011 by George