Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Joker Puts Insanity Defense On Trial? ~by Legal Pub

(AP Photo/Arapahoe County Sheriff, file). FILE - This file photo released on Sept. 20, 2012 by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office shows James Holmes shortly after his arrest. Holmes faces trial starting on April 27, 2015, in the mass shooting in an A...   James Holmes died his hair red and shot up a movie theater three years ago.  Now he is on trial.  His defense?  Insanity.
Holmes was volatile but was he insane when he put on body armor, a gas mask, and began killing theater patrons? He was sane enough to wear armor, strap on a rifle, arm himself with a shotgun, a pistol and plenty of ammunition prior to the midnight premiere of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises."
Holmes was training to be a neuroscientist.  Was he incapable of viewing his own volatility and seeking help?  What if it is true that he was sane enough to tell a classmate that he wanted to kill people prior to the killing?   Did his professors notice his instability and suggest an alternative career, self help or professional treatment?  What did he share with his psychiatrist before the shooting?  
What if Holmes was competent enough to share with his psychiatrist threatening text messages, a troubling journal and burnt twenty dollar bills?   What if his psychiatrist even alerted University of Colorado campus police?  Sound like a madman or a scheming want to be terrorist?  Ultimately it is the jury's call, not ours. In the meantime, if I were Holmes, I would not plan  on making any future dinner reservations at any other place than the prison cafeteria.

Update 5-5-15:  Prosecutors have put in testimony that makes Holmes seem like he knew what he was doing.  Video was shown of Holmes after the arrest where he answered questions with appropriate responses. For example, when asked how to spell his last name, he replied, "Like Sherlock."

Bye bye insanity defense!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Police are Human ~by Legal Pub

Humans make mistakes.  Cops are human. Mistakes are therefore made by officers.  The video is graphic.  But it also shows a mistake, not intent to kill. Reserve officer Deputy Robert Bates did not appear to intend to hurt Eric Harris.  The 72 year-old deputy just made a huge mistake which costs the 44 year old Harris his life.

The April 2, 2015 video shows the Tulsa County deputy chase and tackle the suspect.  (Harris was suspected of trying to sell an illegal gun to an undercover officer.) Bates instructs Harris to comply and says, "I need you to roll on your stomach."  A woman's voice is also heard to say, "Stop fighting."  During the struggle, a gun shot is audible. The surprised deputy says, "Oh, I shot him.  I'm sorry."

73-year-old reserve deputy, Robert Bates, has told authorities that he meant to use his stun gun.  It appears to be a mistake.  Unfortunately, it is an inexcusable mistake that cost a man his life.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Can't Michael Jackson Rest in Peace ~by Legal Pub

Has not the pop icon paid enough?  Has not his legend been tarnished to the point of no return? There are two new lawsuits against Michael Jackson's estate claiming that the pop star sexually abused them and paid money to cover up the allegations.  The suit even asks for punitive damages, as if Michael's family and legacy have not already suffered enough.

According to the New York Post, the lawsuits allege at least 20 victims and payout reaching nearly $200 million to keep it all quiet. Report  Plaintiff's lawyers hope to get evidence of the payoffs and the "bad acts" into evidence.  They also hope to introduce a taped deposition of Jackson.  (Interestingly enough, the deposition testimony denies the allegations.)

One of the alleged victims has been identified as James Safechuck.  He claims multiple abuses at the hands of Michael Jackson when James was only eight years of age. Safechuck's lawsuit alleges that his father was given a one million dollar check to keep quiet. Fortunately for Jackson's estate, there may be a procedural defense.  It appears that the cases were not timely filed against the estate.  A Los Angeles court should decide soon if the cause of actions are barred.  In the mean time, the loss suits further remind the public that Jackson can't rest, not even in death, from public scrutiny. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Guidelines For Lawyers and Litigants ~by Legal Pub

Lawyers and those involved in litigation need help.  They tend to be unhappy folks.  While Legal Pub can't prescribe Prozac, we can give a few tips to improve the mood of attorneys and parties involved in litigation matters.

1.  Improve your health.  Stop smoking.  Nothing good happens to smokers.  Wrinkles from frowning over litigation are bad enough.  Who needs wrinkles, heart disease and cancer? Stop. In place of smoking, improve your diet and exercise. Enough said.

2.  Abandoned your negativity well before you reach the courtroom.  The glass is not half empty, it is half full!  Optimistic people enjoy better emotional and physical health.With the right attitude, your blood pressure may normalize without medication.

3. Avoid bad mouthing your opponent.  No one believes that you are a better person or a superior attorney just because you can point out flaws in the opposition.  Let your character and abilities speak for themselves.
4.  It is okay to turn down prospective clients if your abilities, comfort level or morality does not make you the right attorney for the case.  There is no reason to add to stress levels becoming involved in cases that cause you undo stress or discomfort.  Attorneys, concentrate on cases you enjoy handling.  You will do a better job and have higher client satisfaction if you follow this basic principle.  Litigants, don't get talked into court if you prefer to amicably resolve your problems.  Litigation is seldom an enjoyable experience, especially when you don't want to be pursuing this method of conflict resolution.  Mediation where parties amicably resolve their dispute is almost always a healthier alternative.
5. Avoid the natural inclination to overreact.  Losing a motion, a hearing or even the case is not the end of the world.  Lawyers have many cases and overtime will win their fair share.  Furthermore, both litigants and parties need to understand that there are at least two sides to every dispute and sometimes, justice is simply not on their side.
6.  Win or lose, don't hold grudges.  Anger and resentment will only diminish the quality and length of your life.
7.  Don't take yourself too seriously.  Often times the most severe critique in the room is oneself.  If someone pays you a compliment, smile and say thanks.
8.  Be the life of your own party.  This is the most important of all suggestions.  Learn to laugh.  Have fun.  Live an interesting life.  This will not only lead to more enjoyment for the litigant or the attorney, it will also lead to more enjoyable life for those around you!
Follow these principles, live a better professional and social life and you will avoid the traps and pitfalls of those who do not.