Tribute to the Weather

October 24, 2012

It was 80 degrees today.  That doesn’t happen late in October very much in the midwest.  So this evening I went for a run and I wore my skimpiest running shorts in the warm weather’s honor.

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I’ve Actually Been There

October 24, 2012

Today in commercial paper we discussed Valley Bank of Ronan v. Hughes.    147 P.3d 185.  Hughes got scammed.  He was sent four checks.  If he wired a certain sum overseas, he could keep the difference as a commission.  Two of the checks were cashiers checks.  One for $1,000,000 and the other for $500,000.  The other two checks were personal checks totalling $132,000.  He was to wire $800,000 to Amman, Jordan.  His profit would be $832,000.

In Hughes’ defense, when he went to the bank in Ronan, Montana, he asked the manager to verify that the cashiers checks were valid.  “Of course,” he was told, “it’s just like cash.”  The bank didn’t actually do anything to verify them.  So Hughes wired away the money.  Long story short, the checks were no good, the wired money disappeared, and Hughes was left holding the bag.  The bank charged back his account.

While it’s a shame Hughes was taken advantage of, what interested me was I realized I’ve been to Ronan, Montana.  I drove through it on my way to Glacier National Park in August, 2009.  I don’t remember it.  I hadn’t given it any thought in over three years.  But I can say I’ve been there.

One Answer, but More Questions

October 23, 2012

Today in professional responsibility we learned something I’ve been wondering about.  Let’s say a lawyer is representing a client facing a murder charge.  If a lawyer’s client confesses to a crime, the lawyer does not need to disclose it.  The confession is privileged communication between the lawyer and client.  But, if the client gives the lawyer the murder weapon he used, the lawyer must disclose the physical evidence to the proper authorities.  I think it’s because privilege protects communications only, and a murder weapon isn’t a communication.

What I’m still unclear on is, if the client confesses to the lawyer, how is the lawyer supposed to mount a defense of the client?  The lawyer can’t be misleading about material facts.  Material facts would include I assume, if the client committed the murder.  And the lawyer must be candid to the tribunal.  Candid about things like, if the client committed the murder.  I need to ask the professor about the interplay between these rules.

Maybe, Sort of, Possibly True

October 19, 2012

Yesterday at work I researched the status of a copyright.  Someone wanted to use a photo taken from the 1940’s.  They didn’t know where it came from so I was checking if there could still be a valid copyright on it.  It meant digging into the 1909 Copyright Act.  Turns out there might be, emphasis on might.  To have a chance of still being protected today, the photo would have had to be published with a copyright notice and then, twenty seven years after publication, registered for a second term of protection.  It’s doubtful both of those happened and even more unlikely anyone would ever try or be able to enforce the copyright.  But I think it was a great example of the fuzziness of law.  Maybe, sort of, possibly, something is true.  But we can’t say for sure.

Going to Lose the Argument

October 19, 2012

This week in commercial paper I learned that the UCC requires a bank to make cash deposits available for withdrawal the next banking day.  That seemed odd to me.  Unlike for a check, which could be written against insufficient funds or have some other problem, the bank knows it has the money when cash is deposited.  The customer literally hands it over.  I imagined some strange conversations:

Customer: Oh, I forgot, I need $50 back from the $100 I just deposited.

Bank: I’m sorry, that money isn’t available.

Customer: What do you mean?  It’s sitting right there on the counter.

Bank: It’s not available until tomorrow.

Customer: That doesn’t make sense.  It should be available right now.  I can see it.

Bank: It’s not available yet.

Customer pointing: It’s right there.

Bank: That may be, sir, but it’s not available.

5 Weeks to Go

July 16, 2011

On a whim last week I decided to see if the books for my fall classes were posted yet.  To my surprise, they all were.  And I think all the first day assignments were there too.  Sigh.

In Defense of my Hometown

May 21, 2011

One day last semester we covered Arthur v. City of Toledo in legislation.  I was born in Toledo.  I grew up in the Toledo area before heading off to college.  This was a case about my hometown.

In brief, here’s what the case is about.  Public housing was located in the inner city.  The local housing authority authorized the extension of sewers to allow the construction of public housing outside of the inner city.  The local voters, by referendum, repealed the authorization.  People sued over the referendum claiming it had been racial motivated.  The Sixth Circuit allowed the referendum results to stand because racial motivation had not been proven.  Not that there wasn’t racial motivation in not wanting public housing outside the inner city, just that the plaintiffs had been unable to prove it.

As I sat in class during this discussion, I felt like raising my hand and explaining, for the record, that Toledo is not a racist community.  I didn’t.  I just sat there trying to read my classmates minds.  “Bunch of racists up there in Toledo,” I was sure they were thinking.  Well, there’s not.

Fighting a Losing Battle

May 21, 2011

Here’s a New York Times article about how some less prestigious law schools offer more scholarships than they intend to renew.  Not that they’re going out and cancelling aid.  It’s just that with grade curves many students are finding it nearly impossible to meet minimum GPA requirements to keep their aid.  I wrote about this sort of thing last fall.  Response from a more prestigious law school that they didn’t even know such things were done.

1L Reflection: Don’t Drink Too Much

May 20, 2011

Those were the words given to us at orientation by a faculty member.  Don’t drink too much.  He really emphasized the point, how law school was different from undergraduate studies.  It wasn’t a problem for me.  I lacked the time, energy, and money to do anything crazy.  Plus, I’m old.  But I thought there might be some terrific horror stories from some of my classmates.  I thought someone would get wasted and we’d all be hearing about the consequences for the rest of the year.  That didn’t happen.  I didn’t hear a peep about anyone getting in trouble because of drinking.  For the best.

Taps

May 20, 2011

This is my local White Castle.

When I came back to campus in January, it had closed.  Now, it’s never opening again.  It was at most a ten minute walk from my apartment.  I won’t say that an adjacent White Castle was the deciding factor in moving where I did, but it certainly didn’t hurt.  Probably the saddest part is that I never ate there.  There is some irony in me complaining about a restaurant I never got around to patronizing.