Posts Tagged ‘lawyers’


Man Convicted of Being Naked at Home Wins Appeal of Indecent Exposure Case

By Martha Neil
April 7, 2010, 10:53 pm CDT

Late last year, a judge convicted Erick Williamson of misdemeanor indecent exposure after two women complained that they had seen him standing naked in a window or doorway of his Virginia home.

But, arguing that he had a right to walk around in the buff in his own home, the 29-year-old commercial diver filed an appeal in the Fairfax County General District Court case, racking up legal fees and risking a jail term by doing so. Today, after deliberating less than 20 minutes, a Fairfax County Circuit Court jury acquitted him of the charge, reports the Washington Post’s Crime Scene blog.

At issue in the case was whether Williamson had exposed himself to the women intentionally or inadvertently, and one woman testified he made eye contact with her as he stood at the door of a carport. But the defense hired a private investigator who measured the estimated distance between the two as 83 feet, and the jury was shown a scene photograph by attorney Dickson Young that made the door seem far away, the newspaper recounts.

If a woman is “walking along and sees someone naked,” Young argued in his closing, “the last thing they’re going to be looking at is his eyes.”

NOTE: Sorry ladies I could not get the photo that caused all these problems.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Convicted for Being Naked in Own Home, Man Complains of ‘Living in a Fishbowl’”

Associated Press: “Va. man acquitted of indecent exposure in his home”

People go to jail, and people sue over the dumbest things.

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Law School Professionals Want Bill Robinson to Put a Sock in It

By Elie Mystal

William Robinson III (a.k.a. the guy who needs to explain how he afforded his Corvair in the first place).

So earlier this week, the president of the American Bar Association, William Robinson, gave a ridiculous interview to Thomson Reuters News & Insight. You might have heard about it.

Robinson had the grace and the courage to tell law students it was their own fault for the rampant price gouging that happens as a result of the ABA’s ineffective oversight of law schools. It took real strength of character for Robinson to share this anecdote: “When I was going to law school . . . I sold my Corvair to make first-semester tuition and books for $330.” I mean, how many people in Robinson’s position would be so out of touch that they think prospective law students are driving automobiles that can cover a whole semester of tuition at an American law school!

That’s right, future 1Ls, don’t get too used to your Jaguar XKR. Don’t become too attached to your Lexus hybrid. You’ll need to sell your luxury automobile to pay for law school. D’uh!

Sorry, I’m still flabbergasted that the president of the American Bar Association openly admitted to being a complete joke.

When the story broke the other day, I had the good fortune of being in Washington, D.C., at the annual conference of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). The law school at the University of California – Irvine invited me to speak to law school professionals and deans about how law schools could better use (or avoid) social media.

And let me tell you, law school professionals — the people who have to deal with the perception of general ABA incompetence on a day-to-day basis — were not at all happy with William Robinson’s comments….

I asked about ten public relations or communications professionals about Robinson’s comments. Nobody would go on the record with me. It was kind of funny; nobody would even go on the record to say “no comment.” At least Bill Robinson won’t be dragged through the press by member institutions for his insensitive remarks.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have opinions. When I asked people, I heard, “I can’t believe he said that,” or “Great, the ABA makes my job more difficult, AGAIN.” There was disbelief and a bunch of grumbling, especially as the news percolated around the conference in the morning.

But as the day wore on, people had an opportunity to reflect more on Robinson’s statements. Said one PR person for a top 100 law school:

It’s frustrating because he has a point worth making. The information is out there… and law students… everybody in these times, have to take advantage of the information that is out there….

But who was the person that even let him do that interview and say those things?

Frustrating is how a couple of other people described Robinson:

The conversation about the cost of law school and what to do about it has been going on for years. It is… frustrating for Robinson to come in and preach about what is, at best, one part of the problem.

But perhaps the most telling comment was from a person representing a relatively new law school:

At my law school, we are [long spiel about the heroic attempts his law school has made to keep tuition down]. We want people to know what they’re getting into financially, and make smart decisions with loans and debt….

What was your question? Robinson? Yeah, don’t care.

Well played, anonymous sir. Robinson’s comments might have been insensitive, out-of-touch, and incorrect — but who cares? It’s not like any other ABA president has done anything to help control the cost of law school tuition. It’s not like any law school administrator or dean is thinking about the ABA and their new smack-talking president when they present their projected budgets to the presidents of their universities.

Robinson’s words might sting and might make him look like an idiot, but they carry the force and effect of a Jon Huntsman campaign ad.

Let me put it this way: I wanted to talk to people about William Robinson, but nobody wanted to talk to me about him. The law school administrators wanted to talk about what law schools were doing — not the latest dumbass missive from the ABA.

Law School Professionals Want Bill Robinson to Put a Sock in It « Above the Law: A Legal Web Site – News, Commentary, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law School, Law Suits, Judges and Courts

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State sues lawyers

State sues lawyers over mass mortgage lawsuit scam

Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Writer

San Francisco ChronicleAugust 19, 2011 04:00 AMCopyright San Francisco Chronicle. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Maddie McGarvey / The Chronicle

Attorney General Kamala Harris says the defendants “suggested the banks would have to pay, but the only people who paid were” homeowners; the state will seek restitution.


Attorney General Kamala Harris says the defendants "sugge...Photos of evidence used in the case against lawyers and s...Attorney General Kamala Harris (left) and Wayne Bell, chi...View Larger Images

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The state Department of Justice is suing several California lawyers and related companies, saying they bilked desperate homeowners nationwide out of millions of dollars in fees to join questionable mass lawsuits against their mortgage lenders, Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday.

“Yesterday we broke up what we believe is a fraud ring that is national in scope,” Harris said at a news conference in San Francisco. “This is just the beginning of holding these wrongdoers accountable.”

The scam, as described by Harris, involved multiple law firms and call-center affiliates who marketed lawsuits against mortgage banks to homeowners in California and at least 16 other states who were facing foreclosure.

The defendants sent out at least 2 million mass mailers that masqueraded as official government documents, and then followed up with phone calls, the Justice Department said.

Victims paid retainers from $3,500 to $10,000, believing that the lawsuits would stop pending foreclosures, reduce or even eliminate their principal balance, reduce their interest rate to as low as 2 percent and give them monetary damages, it said.

Once homeowners paid to join the lawsuits, they rarely met or spoke with their lawyers; some lost their homes soon after paying the up-front fees, the DOJ said.

The scam occurred against the backdrop of the foreclosure crisis, in which millions of people have fallen behind on mortgage payments as their home values plummeted, officials said.

“They took advantage of a growing sentiment out there,” Harris said. “A lot of homeowners have been deeply disappointed. They are resentful, they are angry, and they are hurt. (The defendants) suggested the banks would have to pay, but the only people who paid were these homeowners.”

Harris said the state would seek fines, penalties, damages and restitution in potentially the tens of millions of dollars from the defendants.

The “mass joinder” lawsuits marketed by the defendants are a way for multiple plaintiffs with separate but similar cases to join in a single suit. Unlike class action suits where plaintiffs share a single judgment, the plaintiffs in mass joinder suits can receive individual settlements. Such suits are extremely complex.

The defendants are being charged with false advertising, fraudulent business practices, improper fee splitting, and failure to register as telephonic sellers.

The department is not saying whether the actual complaints in the mass joinder lawsuits have legal merits.

“There may be legitimate causes of action there,” Harris said. “The cases may go forward.”

The State Bar has shut down the practices of the attorney defendants. They are: Kramer & Kaslow, Philip Kramer, Mitchell J. Stein & Associates, Mitchell Stein, Christopher Van Son, Mesa Law Group Corp. and Paul Petersen.

“This is a shocking case of how lawyers violated (clients’) trust,” said Bill Habert, president of the State Bar.

The phone at Kramer & Kaslow now plays a recorded message from a State Bar, explaining the enforcement action.

People who believe they were victims of the scam should visit hud.gov. The case is the first action to come out of the attorney general’s mortgage fraud task force, which Harris said is investigating everything from loan origination to modification.

E-mail Carolyn Said at csaid@sfchronicle.com.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/18/BUD91KP49T.DTL#ixzz1aY2kHtz8

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