Surfin' the Web
There were a couple of interesting sentencing decisions out of the 8th District, which I'll get to tomorrow, but, as they say, my plate is pretty full right now, so we'll do something I haven't done for a while: roam the Internet for legal stories of the interesting and macabre.
One of the interesting things is that the Louisiana Supreme Court recently affirmed its newly-enacted death penalty for child rape. To be more precise, the court had previously upheld the statute in pretrial rulings, but this was the first time they'd affirmed a death sentence issued under it. Back in 1977, the US Supreme Court struck down a Georgia statute which provided a death penalty for rape, but limited its ruling to cases involving adult victims. Given the change in the court's membership, I don't think they'll have much of a problem with imposing capital punishment for child rape. South Carolina and Oklahoma have passed bills allowing death for repeat offending child rapists, and a similar bill was recently signed by the governor of Texas.
Some other tidbits: In an interesting twist on anti-discrimination law. EHarmony.com, the Internet dating service, is being sued under California law for not having a "men seeking men" or "women seeking women" section on their web site... A doctor decides to blog about his malpractice case, while the trial is in progress, except that the plaintiff's lawyers are reading it. The blog gives away the entire defense strategy, and also makes disparaging comments about the jury. After the doctor is confronted with what he wrote on the blog when he testifies, the case is immediately settled. Would've liked to be a fly on the wall at that attorney-client conference... The current raging debate on the blogosphere: did a Federal judge go too far in seeking to impose sanctions on a bankruptcy lawyer for telling her, in open court during a hearing, that she was "a few french fries short of a Happy Meal"?
Finally, falling into the macabre category is this story about a teacher who's suing four students for making a movie in which he is killed. By stuffed animals. Who are ordered to kill the teacher by an evil teddy bear. No, I am not making any of this up. Now, in the thirty years I've practiced law I've been called upon to do some things that, shall we say, have strained my concept of self-respect. As my wife likes to say, "The only thing that amazes me more than what you'll do for money is what you'll do for no money." Still, I have not hit rock bottom, because I have never had to write a complaint which included a paragraph like the following:
"The defendants intentionally created the 'Teddy Bear Master' and intentionally used the plaintiff's name in such a way that would provoke a reasonably foreseeable emotional disturbance or trauma."