No Bankruptcy for Attorney With Student Loan Debt

Attorney James E. Stern tried for several years to make a living as a lawyer, but eventually gave up in frustration and moved to France with his French wife. He filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, hoping to shed about $150k in educational loans. But the court found that he hadn’t made the requisite showing, and refused to discharge the debt, according to this.

HE DID IT! Illinois Governor Commutes All Death Sentences

After thirteen death row inmates were found innocent, Republican Governor George Ryan, with two days left in office, concluded that the system was “broken” and commuted the sentences of the more that 150 remaining death row inmates in Illinois. I think he’s a hero. Read all about it here.

Censoring Students’ Speech

Just today, some high school kids in Cleveland filed a lawsuit against their school district for violating their First Amendment rights by confiscating copies of their school paper because it contained an article about student drinking, the AP is reporting. Coincidentally, also today, my favorite Supreme Court reporter, Dahlia Lithwick, published an article about students’ First Amendment rights and school censorship, which you can access here on Slate.

9th Circuit Justice in Hot Water After Chopping Down 120 Trees in Public Park for View

It may have all been a misunderstanding, but at the end of the day the Justice’s Vietnamese gardener cut down some 120 big-leaf maple and indigenous cherry trees (some of them 40 years old) in a Seattle public park so the Justice could have clear views of the lake from his luxury home. Those pesky Seattle nature buffs are none too pleased about Justice Jerome Farris’ actions. The DA has decided against charging him with a felony, and he’s offered to pay to restore the damage, according to this.

Drunk Driving Victim Sues Designated Driver

The defendant allegedly agreed to be a designated driver, but then let her drunk friend drive. Now she’s defending a civil conspiracy claim under a novel theory that another lawyer characterizes as “pretty solid.” Read all about it here.

Boston Bloodbath

Boston law firm Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault has just laid off 34 1st and 2nd-year associates — or nine percent of its total lawyers, according to this.