TRIAL MIX, EPISODE 1

 

Welcome to my weekly review of interesting events in law, literature and laughter.

 

1. Lawsuit of the Week: The Pedo-Files

Yes, it’s all fun and games until you start calling names.

One evening, Peter (standing in the tan shirt) and Jackie (gold nugget watch) were enjoying a cocktail at B&B Butchers.

After a few libations, Peter allegedly called Jackie a pedophile. Jackie (standing, back to the camera) punched Peter (on the floor, back also to camera).

Jackie was arrested for assault. (Bonus content: Jackie’s mug shot.)

Perhaps unsatisfied that his punch failed to convey the appropriate level of umbrage, Jackie then sued Peter for defamation.

Peter filed an anti-SLAPP motion asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that it violated his right to free speech. His lawyer argued that anyone within earshot would not perceive Peter’s statement as anything other than “bro-talk.” More to the point, Peter’s lawyer states “Calling an acquaintance a mother-f****r is common, but no one thinks that loathsome sexual conduct is actually happening.” The trial court denied Peter’s motion so he appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed.

I’m riffing here but essentially calling someone a pedophile has a different meaning/context than calling someone a “mother-f****r.”

So, the case is back in the trial court. Stay tuned to this channel for updates as they occur.

2. Legal Article of the Week: SCOTUS POCUS

Eras of Supreme Court history are defined by the presiding Chief Justice and labeled for history by the cases they decide.

For example, the Warren Court (1953-1969) was named for Chief Justice Earl Warren and is widely regarded as the most liberal era in Supreme Court history.

The Rehnquist Court took a right turn from 1986 until 2005 during the tenure of William Rehnquist as Chief Justice.

Chief Justice John Roberts has served since 2005 and is trying to shape the Court in his ideological image.

But what is that image? It’s hard to tell. Largely considered a conservative jurist, he is also a coalition builder and has been decidedly left of center on some of the tectonic social issues of our time (preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, for one). Some even consider him to be the only current “Swing Justice.”

Who is John Roberts and what will be his legacy?

3. Non-Legal Article of the Week: In Defense of Shame

I am a “Cradle Catholic.” As such, I always carry a robust dose of guilt. It’s not the most emotionally healthy way to live.

But aren’t there any standards for judging our own conduct these days?

Whatever happened to feeling bad about how we behave?

4. Book Recommendation of the Week: The Midnight Library

Do you ever wonder what might have been? What if you had gone to medical school instead of business school? What if you could go back and see what would have happened on the road you chose not to travel? The Midnight Library by Matt Haig wonders as well.

5. Movie Clip of the Week: Frontier Justice

“Guns or Knives, Butch.”

6. Legal Phrase of the Week: in extremis

-A Latin phrase that means “to face dire circumstances.”

Example: The TCU football team’s prospects for a bowl game are in extremis.

That’s all for now.

Have a great week,

Tim

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