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Category: Ethics

Ten Ways Technology Changed Law Practice

My law firm is older than the Internet.

I hate it when I say stuff like that. It makes me sound so old. I don’t feel old. I definitely don’t act old. I’m one of those annoying old guys who overuses the word “Dude” and still tries to stay on top of the current music scene. I’m certainly not sitting back at home quagmired “with my Beatles and my Stones”, as Mott the Hoople once said. (Although THAT makes me sound old – I know.)

As for technology, I was resistant. For years I proclaimed my independence from the coming onslaught by proudly maintaining that I was a Luddite, eager to smash the machines that were out to replace me. Let’s face it; I was hiding behind that self-righteous front in order to avoid change.

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My Take on Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog
“Making a Murderer”. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

It has been tough getting into the swing of things after the holidays. It’s not because there is nothing to talk about; quite the contrary. With Affluenza Teens and Bill Cosby and stand-offs on Federal Land it’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to legal subject matter right now.

Then I binged Making a Murderer last weekend on Netflix.

WOW. Everyone with even a slight interest in how criminal cases really work in real life needs to see this. It’s like the O.J. case on steroids. You just know I had to write about it.

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The End of Racism… and Politics

end of racism and politics - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

Political parties can be a problem.

For example, one party has portrayed itself as defenders of racism and discrimination. They have taken the position that it is OK to treat certain members of society differently, as lesser humans. To them, it has been acceptable to take away the constitutional rights of these outcasts.

The other political party has adopted a more enlightened view. They have supported freedom and civil rights for everyone. They have argued that we should all be treated the same by the government, not allowing some to be categorized as inferior to the majority, with less freedom and fewer rights. That party is the Republican Party.

This was the view 150 years ago. Where is it now?

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Lawyers and Truth in Advertising

Lawyers and Truth in Advertising - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

“DA-AAAD!! Who would ever want to hire a lawyer who needs advertising?!?”

That’s the punch line. Now, here’s the joke: for over a decade, our little law firm had served as the primary public defenders for Island and San Juan Counties. It was tough work, riding ferries at 4 a.m. between the islands during huge winter storms, answering emergency calls in the middle of the night for months on end giving advice to alleged drunk drivers, handling giant murder cases that dragged on forever for $400 a pop, trying every major case that came along while the private guys quietly gouged their clients with exorbitant fees before pleading them guilty without first mastering their cases (my wife told me to put “J/K” after that, but I’m not.)

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Keep it Simple, Stupid

Keep it Simple, Stupid - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog“I’m the BEST BLOGGER EVER! Really! My blogs are so wonderful and entertaining and smart. Because  why? Because I am so smart. And SUCH a great writer! Did I mention that?!? Really really really great. Dickens Great. Shakespeare Great. Heck, even Louis L’Amour Great. So, Great! Let’s face it—  I’m Great!”

Sound demented? Try this:

“I’m the BEST LAWYER EVER! Really! I’m so great. I win so many trials it would make your head spin. If you hire me I am going to do such an amazing and brilliant job in court that people will weep. Seriously! Trust ME! People say I’m arrogant. Whatever. WHATEVER! I am what I am and they are all jealous. And stupid. Really, really stupid.”

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Let’s Hear it for the PD’s!

Let's Hear it for the PD's - Public Defenders - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

Well, here I go again. Saying nice things. I know that is practically illegal to do online, but I promise to get more critical soon. Frankly, my main source for topics has previously been mainstream media, but since the only thing they seem capable of talking about right now is Donald Trump, and since I refuse to get into politics, it leaves me kind of high and dry.

So for now, I want to give another big shout out to all public defenders. It may seem odd for a private lawyer, like me, to root for people who are basically in competition with me. However in reality, there are two types of private criminal defense lawyers: those who criticize public defenders and those who know better. I am firmly in the latter group.

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“Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

Why Can't We All Just Get Along - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

That has to be one of the World’s most Ironic Quotes Ever.

It came from Rodney King, who was in the middle of two of the most notorious violent episodes in the 90’s. First, his own videotaped beating at the hands of some of LAPD’s finest. Second, the riots caused when those same cops were acquitted of that beating and South Central Los Angeles erupted in violence.

But who better to ask the question? Why CAN’T we all just get along?

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First Thing We Do… Let’s Appreciate All the Lawyers

Let's Appreciate All The Lawyers - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

I know, right? It’s a take on an old lawyer joke.

That oughtta attract some troll traffic. But I just can’t help it. All of the online negativity in general, and that directed at lawyers specifically, is beginning to get to me. I’ll have more on the general negativity later, but for now let’s look at the lawyer stuff.

If you have followed these posts you will have noticed that I dropped out of sight for a while, since July 8th to be precise, which was when one of my last posts was buffered to hit the airwaves… precisely as my cardiac surgeon was busy cracking my chest wide open so he could stop my heart, hand my life functions off to a machine and hack away at my innards. You think I was about to make any surgeon jokes right about then? No way. My life was in his hands, literally.

Then why is it that everyone takes such glee in ridiculing, criticizing, and mocking lawyers? People put their lives in the hands of their lawyers. In reality most lawyers deserve the ridicule about as much as my excellent surgeon would have… not at all. Of course there are good lawyers and bad lawyers, just as there are good surgeons and bad surgeons… or butchers, or bakers, or candlestick makers.

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Cops Gone Wild! …Again!!

Cops Gone Wild - Again - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

I’ve had it.

For some reason that video, the one with idiot cops screaming about blowing a hole in the poor guy’s head, got to me. No, the victim wasn’t black. And no, he was not actually shot and killed. But maybe that’s the issue. There was nothing else going on with this one other than the fact that the cop was a complete jerk.

Which, unfortunately, is simply too often the case. Of course this is the part where I am supposed to point out how wonderful most cops are and how this is just one bad apple. But, I am sick of saying that. Why? Because it is total politically correct nonsense that we are basically forced to say and I refuse to keep playing that game. It is a lie.

We are forced to say that because we don’t want to alienate people or lose potential clients by simply speaking the truth. Not to mention that there really are plenty of nice decent police officers; but why is it whenever I meet one, they seem like such a breath of fresh air? Such an anomaly? Oh, yeah, I remember now. It is because they are the EXCEPTION, not the rule. Take my word for it. I know.

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“Mandos” and How They Violate The U.S. Constitution

Mandos Violate the Constitution - Seattle Criminal Lawyer Blog

Before we start, I have a small secret to share.

Those of you who regularly follow this blog will have noticed that I sort of disappeared the past few weeks. That’s because I was having open-heart surgery and recovering. Recovery is going OK, but it sort of took the wind out of my sails for a bit. I mean, it’s hard to get too excited about Supreme Court opinions, no matter what they involve, when you are looking at life and death issues up close and personal.

Which is why I’d like to thank John Oliver for helping me to get back in the saddle. His recent piece on Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentences (i.e. “mandos”) hit every mark and has motivated me to chime in.

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