Internet Quotation of the Week

“Forget about it, dude–even genocidal litigation can’t stop file sharers.”

Grokster president Wayne Rosso.

I stole this awesome quotation from Donna Wentworth of, a great blog straight outta Harvard Law School. Donna has done us a great service by blogging from (something called) ILAW. Thanks, Donna!

Evangelists Have Enforcers?

I am so out of touch with the world of evangelism.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A fugitive accused of beating two teenagers on evangelist Tony Alamo’s orders must pay $3 million in restitution, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes awarded $1.5 million each to Spencer Ondrisek and Seth Calagna, who were both raised in Alamo’s church in Fouke in southwestern Arkansas. The teens accused Alamo’s alleged enforcer, John Kolbek, of battery, false imprisonment, outrage and conspiracy.

Source: $3M awarded in suit against alleged Alamo enforcer –

Defendant, Deputies Scuffle in Courtroom

Cotati resident even gets hit in the face by his own attorney

A defendant in a Sonoma County courtroom got rough justice Wednesday when he was punched in the face by his own attorney and shocked twice with a Taser stun gun after he tried to wrestle a court bailiff’s gun from its holster.

Cotati resident Martin E. Hirtz, 44, was in Superior Court Judge Lawrence Antolini’s court at about 9 a.m. on a probation violation charge related to a previous conviction for assaulting a peace officer when the chaos began. Hirtz made a move for the gun as he was being taken from the courtroom into custody, according to a statement by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Hirtz lunged at bailiff Eric Greenband’s holster, grabbed hold tightly and tried to pull out the weapon by jerking it back and forth and pushing Greenband backward against a short court partition, sheriffs said. Hirtz unsnapped the holster and partially removed the gun as another deputy sheriff joined the fray and called for backup.

Seeing that the officers could not subdue Hirtz, his own defense attorney, the prosecutor and the probation officer on duty jumped into the melee to try to control the defendant. Despite several blows from Deputy Public Defender Jeff Mitchell and baton strikes to the head and arms by Deputy Sheriff Will Conner, Hirtz would not relent.

It was not until another deputy sheriff shot Hirtz with a Taser probe and shocked him that he began to give in. After a second shock, deputies finally subdued Hirtz and hauled him away.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I don’t practice criminal law. Details here from the San Francisco Chronicle.

NY Judge: Parachute Off Any Skyscraper You Want (As Long As You’re Careful)

Jump off whatever you want – just be professional about it. That’s the moral of the story after a Manhattan judge ruled that a professional stunt-jumper’s attempt to parachute off the Empire State Building last spring wasn’t “depraved” enough to be a felony.

Until yesterday, Jeb Corliss, 30, had faced up to seven years in prison for first-degree reckless endangerment. But Corliss is a free man – and the charge against him is dismissed – thanks to a legal loophole big enough to jump one of his $3,500 customized stunt parachutes through.

Under state law, a charge of first-degree reckless endangerment requires prosecutors to prove Corliss showed a “depraved indifference” to the risk of killing bystanders. But Justice Michael Ambrecht found that Corliss, who has some 3,000 successful jumps under his belt, was too experienced and too obviously concerned with public safety to have met the “depraved indifference” standard. Corliss’ careful planning – the stuntman had factored in wind conditions and traffic-light patterns to ensure he wouldn’t land atop moving cars – precludes a finding of recklessness, the judge ruled.

“The circumstances surrounding this admittedly dangerous stunt suggest that rather than indifference to the risk of harm to others, [Corliss] took affirmative steps to ensure the safety of others,” the judge wrote.

Details here from the New York Post. (via Fark and Gothamist)

The Bush Administration Lies

I try to avoid injecting much opinion or politics into this weblog, but I feel a civic duty here.

All politicians spin and selectively recite the facts that favor them — it’s the nature of the beast.

But I’m increasingly convinced that the Bush administration takes it a notch further, and just flat out lies. I’m convinced that they have repeatedly decided “let’s do plan A,” and then come out and told the press and public that “we’re doing plan B” when the two plans are diametrically opposed. That’s brazen. That’s unacceptable.

I’m increasingly convinced that the core of this administration has a radical “neo-con” agenda that they are systematically carrying out while knowingly lying about what they are doing because they know the American people would be outraged if they understood what the administration was really doing.

Just two examples:

Donald Rumsfeld was recently (3/14/04) caught red-handed on CBS’s “Face The Nation” lying about earlier lies he had told about Iraq. Read all about it here.

And Congressman Henry A. Waxman has compiled a report and database of the lies that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rice told to the American public and the world to get us to go to war in Iraq. It makes compelling reading and speaks for itself. You can see for yourself here.

I think the American people are beginning to wake up and notice all of this. I hope so. And I hope the mainstream, non-partisan press lends a hand.

“The Lobster Police”

Why are federal officials prosecuting people for importing lobster tails in plastic bags instead of cardboard boxes? Or because a small percentage of the lobsters in a particular shipment were less than 51/2 inches in possible violation of Honduran law? Law Prof Ellen Podgor and Heritage Senior Research Fellow Paul Rosenweig ask: Have we won the war on terror or the drug war? Why the waste of resources? Read their op-ed in today’s Washington Times, Bum Lobster Rap.

Details here from

“Law Firm Is Sued Over Conduct in Liability Case”

A Texas law firm faked evidence and tried to bribe witnesses in a products liability case, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday in San Antonio by the DaimlerChrysler Corporation.

The lawsuit follows an appeals court decision last year that dismissed the products liability case and imposed sanctions of $865,000 against three of the firm’s lawyers. The appeals court called the firm’s conduct “an egregious example of the worst kind of abuse of the judicial system.”

The main plaintiff’s lawyer, Robert A. Kugle, has fled to Mexico, according to this article from The New York Times, which makes it pretty clear why the public disdains lawyers. (via