Black is the new … well, black. In Florida, anyway.Seeking to promote uniformity in judicial attire, last fall the Florida Supreme Court adopted Rule 2.340 on its own motion, which governs attire during judicial proceedings and declares that judges’ robes must be “solid black with no embellishment.” A consistent uniform, the court stated, will “promote public trust and confidence in the proceedings and the judicial system as a whole.”Several factors led up to the order, not the least of which was a Union County judge wearing a camouflage robe, according to Jennifer Zedalis, director of trial practice at the University of Florida’s law school. “Litigants took a photo and posted it. There were complaints. While not blatantly racist, the camo robe was perceived as part of a good ol’ boy sensibility.” This isn’t a new issue in Florida, Zedalis adds. “A blue robe was spotted in Tampa, and back in the early ’90s a … [Read more...] about Florida Supreme Court orders judges to wear black robes
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How Lawyers Ruin CLEHave you been to a good CLE course lately? If not, why do you think that is? Ernie Svenson, a New Orleans-based lawyer who stopped practicing to start giving continuing legal education presentations full-time, says that, ultimately, lawyers’ risk-averse thinking has helped bring CLE to the low it’s currently at.“Call me crazy, but the overriding objective of CLE programs should be to encourage lawyers to learn. CLE programs should be engaging, and—dare I say it—entertaining,” Svenson wrote at Ernie the Attorney. Instead, he says, CLE regulations focus on minimizing the risk that lawyers will leave the program before it ends rather than “how to make things convenient, interesting, or consistent with well-known principles about how our brains learn most effectively.”Another issue is the relative lack of incentive for those who lead CLE courses to give their all. Svenson notes that few CLE presenters are people who give … [Read more...] about Around the Blawgosphere: What’s Wrong with CLE; Wedding at SCOTUS; Do You Dress Like a ‘Real Man’?
Recently, there have been a numerous amount of stories in the media and popular culture about transgendered individuals. Since the subject is becoming more understood in society, transgender characters are increasingly appearing in television shows such as “Orange Is The New Black.” Celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, the Olympic athlete, have been publicizing their journey and transformation. As people are becoming more comfortable to come out with their self-identified gender identities, society and its institutions, including schools, need to be adequately prepared to comprehend the legal rights associated with the new concerns arising from this population.Although the United States Supreme Court has yet to address the issue of transgendered students right to clothing choice in public schools, it is likely that lower courts will encounter this issue more frequently. In recent years, cases have arisen in which the end result was that of a … [Read more...] about Changing Closets: Transgendered Youths’ Right to Dress in Public Schools and the First Amendment
It was a Perry Mason moment.The witness, an old man dying of lung cancer, had just finished telling the jury why he could be so sure that Kent was the brand of cigarette he had switched to as a young man almost a half century earlier.The man was the plaintiff in a closely watched 1995 product liability suit against the tobacco industry. He had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of lung cancer caused primarily by exposure to asbestos. And he blamed his disease on a filter containing asbestos used in Kent cigarettes over a four-year period in the mid-1950s.The witness said he took up smoking during World War II and that he clearly remembered switching from an unfiltered brand to Kent shortly after it came on the market in the spring of 1952.Since there was no evidence to support his testimony, his credibility was key.It was an important time in his life, he told the jury on direct examination. He had just finished school in Kansas and gotten a job as a clinical … [Read more...] about Shook Hardy Smokes ‘Em
Gene Murphy prides himself on being a different kind of lawyer.For example, he has vowed to always be ready for trial and never ask for a continuance or delay. And in a day and age when most men go to work in khaki pants and golf shirts and keep a suit in their office, Murphy wears a suit and tie every day. No exceptions.“You can’t be running around your office in your underwear trying to change into a suit to make the 9:30 a.m. court call,” says the Chicago litigator. Plus, he feels that looking the part of a serious lawyer is all part of the package he is selling. “Clients have expectations of what their lawyer should look like,” he says. “Having middle-aged people running around in Gap khakis and polo shirts does not exude confidence.”Besides, he asks, how can you distinguish yourself if you are all dressing alike? “Why pick me if I look like the thousand other litigators in this city?”But Murphy knows he is in the minority … [Read more...] about Code Enforcement
A white man accused of spitting on and slapping an elderly African-American judge in Chicago in a dispute over her smoking has been acquitted in a bench trial.The Cook County judge who acquitted David Nicosia on Wednesday, Judge James Obbish, said he didn’t believe Nicosia would have been charged with the felony charges of aggravated battery and a hate crime if the alleged victim hadn’t been a judge, report the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.The alleged victim, Judge Arnette Hubbard, is currently 81. The incident occurred in July 2014 at Daley Plaza, outside the courthouse where Nicosia planned to get married. The wedding plans were put on hold after the arrest.Obbish said Hubbard should have moved when Nicosia complained. Obbish added that he wasn’t awarding any medals to Nicosia, who “didn’t act in a way that a man should act to a lady,” according to the newspaper account of his remarks.Hubbard testified she was smoking near a garbage … [Read more...] about Man accused of slapping judge in smoking dispute is acquitted of hate crime, battery