Archive for October, 2012

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.