News Roundup

TV news broadcasts often start with sensational celebrity news that may not be tremendously substantive. I’ll follow suit and highlight this AP profile of Casey Anthony defense lawyer Jose Baez. He has a GED, ran two failed bikini companies before going to law school, and after graduation took eight years (!) to be admitted to the bar despite passing the exam “because of a list of complaints about his personal and financial conduct.” But he also does significant charity work, and has silenced those who questioned his competence to handle a case as complex as the Anthony matter.

In other news:

1. Continuing with the celebrity theme, John Edwards’ case is moving forward, with a tentative trial date in the fall. Reportedly, he was considering founding a public interest law firm in New York before his indictment. Meanwhile, Roger Clemens’ case — he’s charged with lying to Congress when he denied taking steroids — ended in a mistrial due to the prosecutor’s misstep. Details here.

2. A reader submitted this link, which I found intriguing. It tells the story of Ernesto Miranda — yes, that Miranda — and what happened after the Supreme Court reversed his conviction. The piece concludes: “And what became of Miranda? The case was retried without the confession in 1967, but it turned out the jury didn’t need one to convict. Miranda was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison but got out in 1972. For a while, he made a living signing Miranda cards (small cards with the required saying printed on them) and selling them for $1.50. He had been out of prison for less than four years when he was killed in a bar fight in Phoenix in 1976 at the age of 36.”

3. Speaking of Miranda issues, I blogged here about J.D.B. v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court’s recent juvenile Miranda case. I thought that my post was a pretty good summary and analysis, but if my writing isn’t to your taste, or if you just don’t have time for a post of that length, you can stay current on developments at the Court at Supreme Court Haiku of the Day. Its 17 syllables were:

Miranda warning

Was suspect in custody?

Child’s age matters

Not bad! Here’s my Haiku:

Supreme Court Haiku

Entertaining diversion

Not really useful

For today only, please post your comments in Haiku form, if possible.

4. Sentencing Law and Policy recently ran this post, highlighting developments in juvenile procedure in California. In a nutshell, a recent California appellate case appears to have opened the door for juvenile defense attorneys to argue that juveniles are not competent to proceed, solely by virtue of their age. Although this seems like a win for the defense, the post questions whether it is really a loss for the accused juveniles, who may suffer more during competency evaluations than they would after the disposition of their cases. I don’t know if this issue has been litigated in North Carolina, and I’d welcome any insights on that.

5. Finally, two quick thoughts about the legal academy. Chief Justice Roberts recently opined that law reviews are mostly useless, a view for which I have argued previously. (There are exceptions, of course.) And while some folks think that law school itself is mostly useless, this Wall Street Journal article claims that a number of law schools are moving towards emphasizing practical skills.

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