Really Judge Murphy. Really !?!

by Lee Gesmer on December 19, 2008

Really Judge Murphy. Really !?!

Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Ernest Murphy won a $2 million libel verdict against the Boston Herald after the Herald incorrectly reported that he had said that a 14 year old female rape victim should “get over it.”

Fair enough, but that was not the end of the story. The Herald appealed (ultimately losing), but during the appeal Judge Murphy sent two letters to Patrick J. Purcell, owner and publisher of the Herald, which led to today’s SJC decision publically reprimanding Judge Murphy for this incident.

Here are quotes from the letters, taken from the SJC reprimand. The letters proposed a meeting between Judge Murphy and Patrick Purcell, were hand-written on Superior Court stationery, and proposed a luncheon meeting between Murphy, Purcell and (presumably) the Herald’s insurer. The letter went on to tell Purcell –

to “have one person … at the meeting…. Under NO circumstances should you involve [counsel in the lawsuit] in this meeting….

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The Ten Weirdest Cases of 2008

by Lee Gesmer on December 18, 2008

Courtesy of the London Times online.

Here is number 1, which I assume even under the English version of “top ten” lists is the “winner.” –

What’s in a name? A nine-year-old girl involved in a custody hearing in New Zealand drew international attention for her name: “Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii”. The judge decided that the name was a form of abuse and ordered the girl placed under the guardianship of the court. The judge noted that it was part of a wider phenomenon; other eccentric names given to children in New Zealand in recent times included “Number 16 Bus Shelter” and, for twins, “Benson” and “Hedges” and “Fish” and “Chips”.

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Nation Finally Shitty Enough To Make Social Progress

by Lee Gesmer on November 6, 2008

Nation Finally Shitty Enough To Make Social Progress:

Although polls going into the final weeks of October showed Sen. Obama in the lead, it remained unclear whether the failing economy, dilapidated housing market, crumbling national infrastructure, health care crisis, energy crisis, and five-year-long disastrous war in Iraq had made the nation crappy enough to rise above 300 years of racial prejudice and make lasting change.

“Today the American people have made their voices heard, and they have said, ‘Things are finally as terrible as we’re willing to tolerate,” said Obama, addressing a crowd of unemployed, uninsured, and debt-ridden supporters. “To elect a black man, in this country, and at this time—these last eight years must have really broken you.”

See also:Black Man Given Nation’s Worst JobRead the full article

More Legal Humor from Evan Schaeffer

by Lee Gesmer on June 16, 2008

We need more laughs in the legal profession, believe me. Lawyers take themselves way too seriously – and I’m putting that very politely.

Evan Schaeffer of The Legal Underground is working to correct this with a long-running series of “advice” letters: advice to young lawyers, advice to federal judges, advices to partners, and so on. If you’ve worked in a large law firm (typically his target), you realize he has a talent for this. If you haven’t you probably can’t believe this stuff (admittedly, a lot of it is over the top). However, there is at least a germ of truth to all of this.

Example from “Advice to Young Lawyer #24”, dated January 7, 2005:

Dear Mr. Schaeffer:

I’m in a terrible bind. There’s a partner in our 1,127-attorney firm named Mr. B who everyone is scared of, including me. Unfortunately, I got assigned to his practice group yesterday.

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