May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
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There are 2034 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 165

The New Biology Is Here, But Are We Ready?

While I was in law school, some of my classmates worked on a model set of laws to address the new biology. They even worked on euthanasia. While discussing the issues with them, the one thing I remember is that there are no easy answers.

Take, for example, creating babies to treat family ailments. In England, five Lords of law ruled that it is acceptable to create designer babies to type tissues and create sources for material that may be missing in other family members. Then, that tissue will be harvested later and used to treat those family members.

Some Englanders want to stop the practice, and not allow parents to create babies in a test tube that provide this missing material.

I won't even pretend to have answers to these questions or even know the questions to ask. Is it as simple as if we can, then should we?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, April 29, 2005 at 23:47 Comments (0) |

Cutting And Growing Trees At The Same Time - What Framed Your House?

Up here in Humboldt County, logging and lumber drive the economy. The other side of the spectrum wants to ensure old growth trees are preserved, not cut down.

My daughter has been playing soccer for the Humboldt Lumberjacks, four years as a sweeper, and two years as an assistant coach. The team has done well, and Julie has enjoyed the school and especially the area.

Over the years, I've watched with some interest the ongoing battle between logging and conservation, wondering if there is any hope of resolution for the two extremes. Obviously, I'm not going to solve it in one blog post. Maybe if I had a half-hour TV show, but that's an entirely different story.

Maybe, however, there is a place to start. This past week, a San Francisco jury did just that. They awarded $1.00 for injuries suffered during a 1997 protest over logging when deputies swabbed pepper spray in the eyes of protesters who chained themselves together. The protesters claimed vindication, and the deputies claimed that they caused no damage.

Split the baby.

It's not an acceptable resolution for every situation, but perhaps here. Loggers need to cut trees to earn a living, lumber mills and yards cut and sell it for profit, and you and I live in houses made of it, the whole reason for the cycle in the first place. Likewise, the redwoods are certainly beautiful, and deserve protection.

Can we develop an acceptable plan to do both? Can we cut trees to fuel home growth and at the same time preserve old growth? Do we need to pull up the plank and stop home construction all together? Or can we make sustainable growth not amount to an impossible oxymoron?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, April 28, 2005 at 23:18 Comments (0) |

All The Romance Is Gone From Duels

Here in California, we're about to add serial numbers for handgun bullets. In Florida, you're not required to retreat if you fear for your life or serious bodily harm.

Two ends of the same spectrum, ostensibly trying to solve the same issue: crime.

I'm not sure which is better, and which is worse. I guess it depends which end of the gun you're on. So let's take a look at both barrels.

Senator Joe Dunn introduced the bullet serialization bill. He claims "SB 357 will strip criminals of their anonymity and give law enforcement evidence it can use to quickly and effectively solve more gun crimes." Let's think about that.

I have serial numbers on my stereo, cell phone, computer software, vehicles, heck, even my dollar bills (I checked the ones in my wallet. All but one had a serial number on it.) Like my blog posts, my Walther PPK has a serial number on it. Should bullets be any different? The Gun Owners of California have put out an alert, claiming it will increase the cost of ammunition.

On the other hand, what is the cost of crime?

What about the Wild West of Florida? If you're packing heat, then you can use it if you're accosted. Many police organizations, including the Florida Sheriffs Association, Police Chiefs Association and Florida Police Benevolent Association supported the Self-defense bill, now law.

As quoted in the April 6, 2005 Tallahassee Democrat, Miami Beach Representative Dan Gelder (D) argued against the bill, claiming that "it legalizes dueling. It legalizes fighting to the point of death, without anybody having a duty to retreat." If they have serial numbers on those bullets, we'll be able to tell who killed who in that duel.

At some point in time, you would think that we as a society could move beyond using guns, and stick to fighting words. Me, I like target practice, but I prefer the ones with circles instead of bodies. I don't carry a gun to keep me out of trouble, or, for that matter, at all. I'm also not simplistic enough to think that I'll never get into trouble where I might need a gun, but it's not worth it to me to carry a gun all the time just to protect against that one time I might need it.

But if I travel to Florida, I'll have to give it some thought. Really makes you think about Disney World a little differently, doesn't it?

Just don't butt in line in front of anyone.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 at 23:06 Comments (0) |

Riffles® Roundly Rebuffs Ruffles'® Ridges.

I wrote this post just to be able to write that headline. There were not enough stories out there today using the letter R. So, I thought I'd round up a few.

Turns out that Pepsico lost a battle in the EU. The European Union's Court of First Instance denied Frito-Lay's application to the EU to trademark Ruffles across the entire EU (decision not yet published).

Seems that there's a German potato chip known as Riffels that could result in consumer confusion.

There'd be way too many R's.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, April 26, 2005 at 21:50 Comments (0) |

See MIPTC From Outer Space

Sure there's Google maps, and it's certainly cool. Click on "satellite" on the upper right hand side of the page, and you've got live pictures. You can even see the home of MIPTC right here in Newport Beach. Links to the location can be had just by clicking on "link to this page."

But it gets better.

Check out Keyhole. You can fly in from outer space to the address you pick.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, April 25, 2005 at 00:22 Comments (0) |

The Consequences of Youthful Indiscretions

In this age of instant communication, isn’t it ironic that we are required to use even greater caution in what we say and to whom we say it? Given the ease with which I can forward an email or post to a blog, I can convey my thoughts across the room or around the globe. As a student I have to keep this reality in mind when I write. What if a future employer happens to be reading? Should this be a concern and influence what I choose to say? Perhaps, perhaps not, but the reality is it does, especially with interviews looming in the fall.

This really didn’t seem to matter much when the primary form of written communication was the posted letter. After all, how many times have you ever received a letter, read it, written out a new envelope, stamped it, and mailed it on to another person? Just didn’t happen, did it? Forwarding is a different story as a recent Dutch law grad found out. Mis-addressing the email and the power of the “forward” button mean that people all over the world are now familiar with his “career” goals.

As the article reported, at least everyone knows his name.


Printer friendly page Posted by Michel J. Ayer on Sunday, April 24, 2005 at 11:37 Comments (0) |

Can The Supreme Court Look To The World For Guidance?

Perhaps this topic is better left to the academics in the crowd, but it seemed interesting, so as a practitioner, I'll put my views up for peer review. How's that for a disclaimer?

It seems that citation to international law has been cropping up with more frequency (see page 21 of the opinion) lately. Justice O'Connor doesn't see it as a problem, but Justice Scalia disagrees.

He argues that the decisional law of, say, South Africa, isn't going to tell us much about the U.S. Constitution. Well, maybe not. On the other hand, the Constitution wasn't created in a vacuum. It was developed, in large part, as a rejection of monarchical law in England. But the founding fathers (and yes, they were all men) didn't just reject English law, they adopted much of it in the interpretation of our laws.

It's called context. Would it be unreasonable to turn to English law for assistance in interpreting our laws? I think not. There's not a lawyer who graduated from law school that doesn't know about Blackacre and Justice Blackstone (see section 77, et seq.).

But if we recognize that many of our laws were derived from England (and, consequently, Roman and Greek law, arguably all the way back to the Code of Hammurabi) where do we stop? Is South Africa just one of the branches that we need to look at in order to understand our own laws?

Depends on whether we continue our history of isolationism. Will the world get any smaller?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, April 23, 2005 at 15:37 Comments (0) |

Judge Says It All: New York Lawyers Are Noxious Particles

Sometimes news stories are just too good to be true. Take this one, for example. Sure, click on it. Read it first.

Doesn't that headline "Noxious Particles At Law Firm Are Property Damage, New York Judge Says" say it all? Lawyer jokes aside, how much better can it get than that?

Noxious particles at a law firm. Are they talking about the lawyers at their desks? Many would argue that lawyers themselves are property damage.

But to be covered by insurance, that just takes the cake.

Imagine the possibilities. What part of the insurance policy covers the lawyers as noxious particles? Riot? Civil Commotion? Insurrection? War? Famine? Pestilence? I think the judge was a little too narrow minded when he decided lawyers were just property damage.

Seriously, it's good to know that the events arising out of September 11, 2001, are covered by insurance, as they should be. But the headline of that story just pulled me in, and gave me the chance to poke some fun at some of the New York lawyers I know.

Now, it's their turn. Let's see if any of them can take some jabs at the left coast lawyers.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, April 22, 2005 at 14:48 Comments (0) |

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