Monday, September 27, 2010

San Diego Judge Cited For Using Her Courtroom As An Audition Couch

The Commission on Judicial Performance charged Judge DeAnn Salcido, San Diego for willful misconduct for allegedly videotaping courtroom proceedings to promote herself for a role on a TV show as an was channeling an off-color Judge Judy. According to the Commission, Salcido had her bailiff's husband videotape her on the bench presiding over various matters for about an hour back in 2009.

Salcido did issue a statement Thursday. She has acknowledged to the commission that she erred in judgment but described her bench behavior as taking a "tough love" approach. She also stated for the record that "The Commission on Judicial Performance has recently chosen the path of charging and trying me, in large part for my demeanor on the bench -- 38 instances out of an estimated 12,000 court appearances assigned to me during the past 18 months," Salcido said in the statement, issued by her attorney, Heather Rosing of San Diego's Klinedinst. "While I acknowledge that my style is different than that traditionally expected of judges, I believe that it is an effective way to accomplish the important goals of my service. I truly believe the results speak for themselves."

Some of her audition comments:
When a woman admitted to an alcohol and drug use problem, the judge referenced the Jamie Foxx song by saying, "Blame it on the a-a-a-a-alcohol.
She told another defendant "they might like your smile in jail," and on another occasion, told a man she placed on probation: "What that means is don't come before the court on another case ... 'cause you will definitely be screwed and we don't offer Vaseline for that."
The judge has until Oct. 7 to answer the commission.

If you believe that Judge Salcido is wrongfully accused then you can join her Facebook Fan Club: Support DeAnn Salcido.  I, personally, haven't made up my mind yet.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Journey Begins: Getting Personal, Law School Style

Today I went to the Law School Admissions Council Forum. It was a culmination of all the law schools across the country in one room with their admissions counselors available for questioning.

There were a few seminars which provided panels and options for Q & A on various subjects. I chose to attend the seminar on "How to get the best of this forum" (because I never know what to do at these things), "The Application Process" (because I am totally intimidated by the massive applications that law schools present) and "Diversity in Law Schools" (obviously because I'm Black or African American, whichever makes you more comfortable.)

Overall it was awesome to be in the trenches with my fellow prospective students (Nervous Nellies). Hoarding of admissions officers, long lines, hot rooms filled with blazers and hairspray, massive amounts of school marketing materials was the name of the game. Oddly enough, I loved it! It was so exciting to be in the land of learning again. Just the gathering of information about my future school experience gave me a whiff future accomplishment. Oh the sweet smell of baking accomplishment.

As I sit now folding the baby's clothes, (because reading any of those materials proves impossible due to the baby and husband constantly interrupting my efforts) I realize that my brain is in information overload. Tossing back and forth all the facts and figures of each institution. Median LSAT scores, Average GPAs and Class Sizes. A mesh of the various program options, school admissions application schedules and student organizations floats before my fore mind. Where will I go? What will it be like? Something to ponder and something to look forward to, The journey begins.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Goes Directly To Jail. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200.


Lindsay Lohan a.k.a. Miss Snow Globe of America 2010 was ordered back to jail again today for violating her probation.

It was a very brief hearing in that Judge Elden Fox laid down the sentence. The Judge called the hearing following a bench warrant he issued for Lohan based on a probation report "indicating a positive test for a controlled substance." Under the terms of her probation, if Lohan missed a drug test or got a positive result, she could face 30 days in jail. But it was ultimately the decision of the judge whether to send Lohan to jail or try another round of drug treatment. Guess he didn't think rehab would be in the cards for her this time.

Awaiting further information from probation officials, the Judge ordered Lohan into custody without bail and set an Oct. 22 court date. This is just to give him time to figure out her condition based on the positive test. Lohan's attorney asked to be heard on the issue of bail but the judge declined.

Brought out of the court in handcuffs, the 24-year-old actress showed no emotion. Maybe she thought it would be seen as only an act?  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mostly All Bell, CA City Officials Arrested Today: The City Celebrates!

Bell, Ca says Book'em Danno!

Celebration sweeped Bell, CA this afternoon as the city's mayor and seven other current and former city leaders were carried away in handcuffs for corruption charges. Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez, 63, former city manager Robert Rizzo, 56, and six others, two of them still elected members of the City Council, are charged with misappropriating more than $5.5 million in taxpayer money, including unapproved loans to themselves and others and taking allegedly fraudulent payments for phony committee meetings with funds taken from the treasury.

Rizzo, held under $3.2 million bail, was being paid an annual salary and benefits package totaling more than $1.5 million and was the "unaccountable czar" of Bell, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said. Using taxpayers money to pay enormous salaries and perks while the cities townspeople are all blue collar hardworking lower to mid level people. This guy has some nerve.

Quotes regarding this scandal:

State Controller John Chiang said his audit found the city "had almost no accounting controls — no checks or balances — and the general fund was run like a petty-cash drawer."

"It's euphoria right now," says Danny Harber, 66, who on Wednesday was still enjoying accounts of the police sweep a day earlier that rounded up the officials on corruption charges.

"There's a lot of jubilation," said Cristina Garcia, 33, a math and statistics teacher who has been helping organize the recall campaign. "They've been waiting to see these people in handcuffs."

Interim City Manager Pedro Carrillo, who requested the audit in July following disclosure of high salaries by the Los Angeles Times, said the findings are "shocking and detail actions that are reprehensible beyond words."

"We're glad these people got arrested. I think they got what they deserved," says Ben Gomez, 81, a retired federal worker. Gomez laughed at recalling the sight of Rizzo being led in handcuffs out of his luxury home in Huntington Beach, a more affluent community in Orange County. A news photo of that scene had been enlarged and turned into a poster, with the word "Justice!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

[Figure] It Out: LSAT Update

As an update: I did not receive the scholarship. [Insert boos and hisses here] I was very disappointed and then immediately afraid wondering how I was going to now pay for this LSAT prep course that everyone says is so important to my success on the test. I am a full time working mother and my husband owns his own business. We have one solid definite income and a second not so solid variable income. Sometimes the variable comes in big packages and other times not so big. So it is very difficult to budget in any extras.

So my brain went into hyper-speed trying to figure all this out. Then, here it comes...the mom-guilt sets in. In the spirit of all things paralegal I research my options: I first considered the Blueprint Prep Course (because of it's pricing and lackadaisical approach) but the reviews I read on Yelp and amongst friends tells me their reputation is not so good. Considering my need to be home with the little momma at night, an online course may be the way to go, it is the cheaper option as well. Testmasters, Powerscore and Princeton Review also have online options. If anyone reading this has any opinion on these programs please let me know!  So I may be saved. Maybe.
Should I even be pursuing a law degree? Am I being selfish even thinking of putting my family in this kind of debt and strain? Do I even think I can make it into law school? Is being a paralegal enough? Should I just wait around for the increase in pay and benifits of my career as it is and just be satisfied with that? I feel like my brain is going to explode. And as any other paralegal would do, I began to research. What other programs are out there? How can I decrease my costs?

As far as my dream in it's entirety, I have decided to keep moving forward as of now. I called my hubby at lunch and he reminded me that my pursuit of law school will help my family's situation in the bigger picture. (God, I love that guy.) Being true to myself and pursuing my dream is what will make me a better person and in turn a better mother. I think.

The quote below was snagged from one Star Jones, Esq's blog:

"You are either ON the way or IN the either way...time to keep it moving! No one every moved on to the next level by standing still. The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible."

So another day in the pursuit of perfection.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Letters to Gov. Quinn on behalf of the Carroll Family

I try to feature family based legal news on my blog and I figured this was very relavant to my non-audience. This is a dear work friend of mine and I want to spread the word as much as possible so here it is.

Note posted by Dannielle Carroll on Facebook:

Most of you know that my father was killed in 1996, when I was a sophomore in high school.  For those of you that don't, I have included a link below to a news article that covered the story at the time.  My family recently found out that one of the men convicted of his murder has petitioned the Governor of Illinois for clemency and release.  We, as citizens across the country who believe in the justice system, can not let this happen.

I am asking you to please take a moment to read my message below and then do two things.  First, write or email a letter to the Governor of Illinois, Patrick Quinn, as soon as you can.  The clemency hearing is scheduled for October 8, 2010.  Second, please send this message on to your family and friends.  If this man is released, he will be living among the rest of us -- and can choose to live anywhere in the countryMy father's death was not an accidental death. This attack was unprovoked and unwarranted. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  My family really appreciates it.

Back in 1998, Richard Fikejs was convicted of the 1996 murder of three men, including my father, Kevin Carroll.  At the time, my dad was 39, happily married almost 20 years to my mom, Lynn, and the father to six children, including two foster children (Dannielle, Heather, Frank, Jennifer, Bridget, and Jessica).

Richard Fikejs was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.  He recently (unsuccessfully) attempted suicide.  Based upon this, his mother has petitioned the governor for clemency, stating that her son is emotionally unstable/unfit to be in prison.  She has been granted a hearing next month in order for the governor to determine clemency.  If it is granted, Richard Fikejs' will be immediately released and his record will be expunged. 

An example text for your letter is below, but please feel free to add or write whatever you like. Keep in mind that his mother is asking for his release from prison with no record of him ever being there!!! He was convicted of murdering three men with no provocation. Thanks again for your help. My family really appreciates it.
Office of the Governor
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph, 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601
Dear Governor Quinn,

This letter is regarding the upcoming clemency hearing on behalf of IDOC inmate Richard Fikejs. He was convicted in 1998 of the October 12, 1996 murder of three men, including Kevin Thomas Carroll.

(Please insert a statement here about how you knew my dad or my family. Some examples are:
  1. Mr. Carroll grew up on the same street as me. I remember meeting him while growing up, and was actually a classmate of his daughter, Heather Carroll. He was very devoted to his family and his murder was devastating to our entire neighborhood.
  2. Mr. Carroll was a member of my church, St. Denis.  He was actively involved in Boy Scouts, of which I/my son was a member.
  3. Mr. Carroll was a volunteer with the St. Rita band, helping to set up halftime shows during football games.  His dauther, Dannielle Carroll, was a fellow member of the band with me.
  4. Mr. Carroll was an active member of the community.  Growing up on the southside of Chicago, he attended Tonti School and Hubbard High School.  He coached Little League in Merrionette Park.  He raised his family here and was a member of St. Denis Parish.  He could frequently be seen enjoying our neighborhood, whether it was bringing his kids to Marquette Park to go fishing, or sitting at his kids softball games on Saturday mornings at Hayes Park.  He was a proud supporter of the Boy Scouts and volunteered with the Chicago Area Council, spending summer weekends completing repair projects at Owasippe Scout Reservation so that all Chicago area scouts would have the chance to enjoy the outdoors. 
  5. etc.......Also include something about how you knew our family....classmate, friend, family, concerned citizen, etc.)
His death in 1996 was devastating.  Not only was a valued community member killed, but my own sense of security was tested.

In 1998, we believed that justice had been served when Richard Fikejs was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. When I found out that his mother was petitioning for clemency due to Mr. Fikejs' recent unsuccessful suicide attempt, I was shocked. There is absolutely no reason why Mr. Fikejs should be allowed to enjoy the benefits of free society after committing such a horrific crime. I hope you feel the same way and DENY this clemency request on October 8, 2010.

123 Main St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 123-4567

Thank you for your support. If you read my blog, you understand how important family is to me. So let's make things happen for this family. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Will Work For LSAT Prep

I need a miracle!
 I'm really nervous. I'm supposed to find out tomorrow whether or not I received a scholarship for the Blueprint LSAT program.

Shaking in my bunny slippers because I don't know how I am going to afford a LSAT prep course if I don't receive this scholarship.

And I have done my research, believe me... Kaplan, Princeton, TestMasters etc. and they all are $600 - $3,000+! I understand weeding people out of the process of law school. You know, keeping the population down and all that. But this is ridiculous.

I guess the adverse prospective would support the high costs of preparatory programs for the LSAT by simply admitting the fact that you don't actually HAVE to take one. You can just take the LSAT without a program.

To argue with myself... (disclaimer: arguing with yourself is only allowed via the blogsphere. Do not attempt to argue with oneself on a corner, in a mall or any other place in public and out-loud.) I would say that I have interviewed several others that have taken the LSAT and they have bottoms up agreed to NOT take the LSAT without a preparatory course. And a few of my friends at the firm, we shall call them Genius and Guillermo Gordon, had a tremendous increase in their LSAT scores from the Blueprint prep course specifically. So, I researched the courses and they even offer them in Downtown L.A. near our new office that the firm will move to in a month. Perfect Fit! Now, I just need them to cut down the cheddar needed to take the damn thing and I will be on my way.

I have signed up and paid for the December LSATs so I have got to get a move on. What am I doing? Am I mad? Taking this on is just one more thing to worry about. Hell, I'm already just worried about getting the scholarship to just get into a prep course for the LSAT. I haven't even taken the test and I'm already driving myself crazy.
Alice: "You've gone quite mangy, cat... but your grin's a comfort."

Cheshire Cat: "And you've picked up a bit of an attitude, still curious and willing to learn, I hope."

I Wanna Go Home, But I Don't Want To Stay There

There are times when I am completely over the heels excited to go home and see my lovely baby and husband. There are times when I am completely horrified. Today, I cannot get out of my seat fast enough. The thought of kissing that little face is branded in my brain like a Grade A stamp on a Bull's Fanny.

Throughout history women have and continue to fight for equal rights. There has always been a teetering balance between what we wanted and what we didn't want to lose. Do we want to have the possibility of being equal to our male counterparts? Yes. Do we also want the right to raise our children and be cared for by our husbands? Yes. Can we have both? Maybe. There was a time in our world where this question of "can I have it all" would have been a breaking point in our negociations with the changing of law.

"I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality." - Alice Paul, Women's Equal Rights activist and major mover in the Equal Rights Amendment.

To Alice it was all black and white. We want equality, bottom line. She didn't comprehend a country that called itself a democracy without ALL of it's people being equal. But all views have it's opponents.

“What I am defending is the real rights of women. A woman should have the right to be in the home as a wife and mother.” “Feminism is doomed to failure because it is based on an attempt to repeal and restructure human nature.” - Phyllis Schlafly
Women like Phyllis Schlafly, right-wing leader of the Eagle Forum/STOP ERA, played on the same fears that had generated female opposition to woman suffrage. Anti-ERA organizers claimed that the ERA would deny woman’s right to be supported by her husband, privacy rights would be overturned, women would be sent into combat, and abortion rights and homosexual marriages would be upheld. Well, yeah that all comes with it as we see later in history after the 70s when this amendment was being ratified across the states.

Today, we still have this debate. Does being a working mother searching for that equality to her male counterparts constitute giving up her RIGHT to be a proper wife and mother? Does this go so far as to say we are "restructuring human nature"?

I'll be honest...Somedays, I wish I had the option of staying home with the baby. Going on playdates and lunches in the park. But, I don't have that option. I'm not even sure if I could handle that option if it was one. It would be nice for a few days but I would slowly lose my mind. Believe me, at the end of the day, I am rushing to get home and see my family whom I have missed all day. But I enjoy my right to be where I am. I enjoy my right to help provide for my family. Because I don't know what ditch or cardboard box we would be living in if I couldn't.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Supreme Court Upholds Sanctions Against Lawyer Challenging Our President's Citizenship

The Supreme Court has upheld a $20,000 fine against Orly Taitz, a leader of the movement challenging President Barack Obama's citizenship.

The high court on Monday refused to block a federal judge's October 2009 ruling that required California lawyer and dentist Orly Taitz to pay the $20,000 fine for filing a "frivolous" litigation. The judge said Taitz attempted to misuse the federal courts to push a political agenda.

Taitz sued in Georgia federal court on behalf of Army Capt. Connie Rhodes. Rhodes sought to avoid deployment to Iraq by claiming Obama wasn't born in the United States.

"(Rhodes) has presented no credible evidence and has made no reliable factual allegations to support her unsubstantiated, conclusory allegations and conjecture that President Obama is ineligible to serve as president of the United States," Land states in his order. "Instead, she uses her complaint as a platform for spouting political rhetoric, such as her claims that the president is 'an illegal usurper, an unlawful pretender, [and] an unqualified imposter.'" Source: Huffington Post

Justice Samuel Alito on Monday rejected Taitz's second request to block the sanctions. Justice Clarence Thomas had rejected the request earlier.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Totally Misproportioned Rant: Mommy Gone Wild

Just had a amazing spaz session on my husband. It's just something about the fact that when I come home from the career of ultimate organization and order, I walk into chaos at the front door.

I mean he doesn't have to do much. Pick her up from daycare. Give her a nutritious snack. Change her diaper and play with her until I get home. No no no... I come home to a butt naked baby stuffed with cookies and half combed hair.

What now, Daddy of the Year? As you leave and gallivant through the town doing God knows what, I am forced to stay and deal with a baby that won't eat dinner. Overstimulated, Hungry and Cranky, the baby now has to be chased down and tackled to be brought back to reality. Something, I do not have the energy to do.

O.K. Maybe it wasn't that bad. I mean he just left to go help his little cousin out at his high school football game. And he did feed her bananas and apples, not cookies., but all sugar non-the-less. So, it still wasn't dinner but he did play with her on the swing set outside. But she now was sugared to a frenzy with a toy picnic in the living room that I would have to clean up!

I think just after a day of getting a freaking judgment filing done in 4 different counties in Georgia, making calls to various bitchy court clerks about Hearing dates, helping one of the major litigators in your firm find his way to his hotel from the middle of Croatia, all this without a lunch break. You may blow a few things out of proportion. Oh and did I mention I was on my period? Forget about it.

So, when he asked me where the keys where so I could move my car so he could escape the baby zoo I walked into. I told him where to shove them. Well, no really I just snatched them up and moved the car myself. Take that Boo. I am woman hear me roar.