Seattle’s Superheroes

And thank you Phoenix Jones, for keeping Gotham safe for another day.

Like New York’s Guardian Angels, the Rain City Superhero Movement has picked up where the police left off — the streets. This calls into question whether vigilantism is legal.

In Alan Moore’s graphic novel, Watchmen, superheroes fighting crime were forced into retirement after passage of the Keene Act, a fictional piece of legislation which outlawed non-government affiliated vigilantes. No such laws have ever been passed in the United States but there is sufficient policy against so called “self-help”.  See also self-defense of another.

For some historical background read up on the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance.

In other news: last week Scott Roeder was convicted of the murder of Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. Roeder shot Dr. Tiller as he handed out bulletins in the foyer of his church last year.

Wikileaks Sued for $150MM by Florida Area Man

David Pitchford of Key West filed a prayer for relief in federal court in Miami last week against Wikileaks and Julian Assange for “NEGLIGENCE, INTENTIONAL and NEGLEGENT INFFLICTION of EMOTIONAL DISTRESS” (sic). Between the lack of spellcheck and the lack of professional counsel, Pitchford is going to be facing an uphill battle moving forward with his suit. Pitchford allegedly sued Osama bin Laden previously for similar acts.

As grounds for relief, Pitchford averred that he suffered the following injuries as a result of the Defendant’s acts (misspellings in the original):

A. A worsening of Plaintiffs hyper tention;
B. A worsening of Plaintiffs depression;
C. A worsenig of Plaintiff’s Stress;
D. Living in constant fear of being stricken by another heart attack and or stroke as a result of the foregoing;
E. In fear of being on the brink of Nucliar WAR

David Pitchford v. Julian Assange.

Browse the latest Wikileaks releases.

Man hides veins to escape death row, State gets a second shot

Romell Broom, the only person in modern history to survive an execution, was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1984 rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl.

Last year, Ohio executioners spent two hours sticking Broom with a needle a total of 18 times unable to find a vein. That execution was stopped by Governor Ted Strickland and Broom’s lawyers took the case all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, arguing 8th amendment and double jeopardy violations (ha!).

Unfortunately for Broom, the Court would hear none of it and gave the State the go ahead to try and execute Broom again. Broom’s in good company:

From the Chron.

Overheard on the Summer 2010 California Bar Exam

“Open the door, you jerk! I am the law!” — Irate process server.

Hairy Louseweed gets you high.

Using endangered falcons in some kind of heathen ritual.

More sexual assault multiple choice questions than you’d care to answer (sorry about your congenital heart defect).

Peeps Expert Testifies in Boulder Eviction Trial

A so-called Peeps expert was allowed to testify Wednesday in a Boulder eviction case, explaining that — unlike other foods that would rot when left exposed in an apartment hallway — the sugar-encrusted treats “become hard and kind of crunchy.”

A central question in the jury trial of Carol “Chay” Burdick is whether the Peeps and other Easter decorations she left on her doorway last spring were garbage or artistic expression. Trash wasn’t allowed under her lease with the Meadow Creek Apartments in Gunbarrel, but attorneys say the lease never addressed holiday decor.

Andrew Novick, 40, of Denver, took the stand Wednesday. Novick is a self-described Peeps lover and collector of Peeps memorabilia who hosts an annual barbecue (peepsbq.com) that features the confection.

He was called to testify on behalf of Burdick, who is in the middle of a three-day civil trial in Boulder County Court after claiming she was wrongfully evicted from her apartment over her Easter decorations.

He explained that, unlike other foods that Burdick could have nailed to her wall, Peeps simply harden over time.

While it may seem ridiculous to certify an expert witness on the subject of Peeps, the FRE permits expert witness testimony on any topic that would be “helpful” to the jury. Requirements for admissibility of an expert witness opinion (under FRE):

  1. Opinion must be helpful to the jury (expert uses specialized knowledge to reach conclusion the average juror could not figure out herself),
  2. Witness must be qualified (area of expertise must match area of opinion),
  3. Witness must believe in opinion to reasonable degree of certainty,
  4. Opinion must be supported by a proper factual basis (admitted evidence, personal knowledge, or inadmissible evidence reasonably relied upon), and
  5. Opinion must be based on reliable principles that were reliably applied (Daubert/Kumho standard):

Note: Judge David Archuleta refused to hear additional expert witness testimony from a former art teacher who would have expounded on the use of Peeps as a legitimate art medium and the third-place runner up of an annual Peeps diorama contest.

From the Boulder Daily Camera.

The K in Contract

While it would be nice to be able to go back to English common law to dig up this one, the Internet seems to think the reason “contract” is abbreviated in law with a “K” is because the word contract begins with a hard “C” which is more akin to a “K” visually.

  • C = “see”
  • K = “kay”

Other seemingly nonsensical uses for the letter “K” in abbreviation:

  • K = From baseball, meaning strikeout (because S was already taken for sacrifice)
  • EKG = Electrocardiogram (from the German elektrokardiogramm)
  • K = potassium (from the Latin kalium)
  • k = spring constant

From the Internet hivemind.

When Judges Get Punny

A sampling of retired Judge John Robert Brown’s delights from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals:

“Congress, of course, has the Cold Power to preempt. Of the three situations discussed by the Court, the first (direct conflict) is easy, for it is Crystal Clear that the state law must yield. The third, in which the ordinance may supplement the federal law and thereby extend or increase the degree of regulation, is more troublesome. For where Congress has chosen to fashion a regulatory scheme that is only the Head and Shoulders, but has not opted to regulate every aspect of the area, the states have implied power to flesh out the body. It is where Congress fails to clearly signify, with an appropriate preemption clause, its intent to fully occupy the area regulated that the problem arises. With some Joy, the Court finds there is such a clause.”

Chemical Specialties Manufacturers Ass’n, Inc. v. Clark, 482 F. 2d 325 (5th Cir. 1973).

See more of Judge Brown’s antics here and here.

Overheard in Bar Review

“It’s necrophilia that’s what it is, and none of you wants to do necrophilia publicly during the bar.” — Offer Termination

“There’s no masturbation in contract law, it takes two people to make a contract.” — Contract Formation

“You say ‘yes’. You say ‘no’. You don’t say ‘boo turkey’.” — Acceptance