Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

Some nice news from South of Delaware -

The Baltimore Washington International Airport now has a new name - Thurgood Marshall's name.

The Maryland General Assembly passed legislation last session to rename BWI after the late Supreme Court Justice, who was born in Maryland and died in 1993.


Congratulations, JTH on the miracle of your recovery. Your hard work and our prayers have been answered.

Now, have a little good luck in Las Vegas.

Anna Nicole Smith's Probate Challenge Goes to the Supreme Court

In a probate case, it is unusual for the dispute to rise to the level of the U. S. Supreme Court. But in re the estate of J. Howard Marshall, it is happening, and in a big way. When so much money and publicity is involved, it seems that what is "normal", is no longer relevant.

ABC News(Quoting Rueters) shares the breaking story of Anna Nicole Smith and her battle with the son of the deceased.

It seems that Ms. Smith made a collateral attack in California federal courts seeking damages because of the way she was treated by the Marshall heir in the Texas probate matter. So technically it is not a probate issue before the US Supreme Court, but a question as to whether the federal courts would have jurisdiction to make such a collateral ruling.

I am still searching for copies of the pleadings and rulings to confirm my reading of the procedural history, as I gleaned it from the news articles.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Google infringing copyrights?

USA Today is reporting that popular search engine Google is being sued for copyright infringement by a group of 8,000 authors. The authors claim that there works are held at public and private libraries and that Google is infringing upon their copyrights by reproducing works that are not in the public domain.

Google has become an almost indispensable part of the internet. From the information that is available about the lawsuit, it is a little hard to tell what Google is doing that is infringing the copyrights. I think that the problem stems from Google Scholar, a service that provides abstracts of research documents and helps users get copies of the original document.

From a practical standpoint, it's hard to decide who is right in this situation. On one hand, Google is using its resources to help these authors expand the reach of their works and help researchers find documents quickly and easily without having to wander through a library. On the other hand, authors have the right to control the distribution of their copyrighted works.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Assault Weapon Ban Fades Into the Sunset

Effective September 13, 2005, the 1994 ban on "assault weapons" (as defined in that Act) fades into further ineffectiveness.

What are your thoughts on this? Should it be revived? Should it be buried deep?

There are many different perspectives on this issue. One is expressed at

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Blogging through the Law Practice

This is an article I recently submitted to the Nexus Law Journal, by their request. I thought I might as well post it here too:

Blogs (or as we say in the legal Blog community, 'Blawgs') are being integrated into the practice of law in much the same way that the internet has become an essential part of most businesses. This technology practice first crept into our arena slowly, with a handful of Blawg sites, and has since grown forcefully and steadily. The growth rate is being slowed only by those few senior bar members who are inflexibly tied to the old ways of doing things.

Blawgs assist in the private practice of law by helping us to disseminate some basic legal information. Not legal advice, but general legal information.

Blawgs help potential clients select a law firm. By providing insight into the firm, and basic legal information, the Blawg can go beyond the typical sterile website to help the public find an attorney best suited for their needs, their personality, and their approach. The speed and ease with which Blog publishing can occur, invites sidebar and personal notes more readily than traditional publishing. Periodic personal or humanistic Blog entries give the reader a sense of understanding of the person behind the Blog, and help the reader to understand and connect with the writer.

Blawgs help to educate the clients before the initial consultation. A significant percentage of the clientele that approach our firm have already conducted basic research into their legal subject matter. By providing basic legal information on the website and Blawg, it enables us to begin the initial consultation at a higher level, and be more productive with the time allotted for the first meeting.

Blawgs serve as a contact point between clients and the law firm during the representation and after the representation has concluded. General updates to law and local events keep clients coming back to the Blawg. And, through 'comments' functionality, ongoing interaction on a general level can be maintained with the clientele, the public, and the Blawg community.

The Blawg community serves as a sounding board on legal issues and information, and helps us to edit our written product. Blawgs help the attorney to keep in touch with recent developments in his area of practice. Bloggers read Blogs. They are quick to link to good Blogs and otherwise comment upon or critique Blog entries. And Blawgs provide a forum of communication between legal professionals in the field to discuss current issues and share research and opinions.

The low cost of Blog publishing provides the small and solo firms with an opportunity to be exposed to the public that competes with, or even exceeds, the web exposure of larger firms. It is a tremendous value in that regard. The Blog venue has clearly had a tremendous impact upon my practice and the establishment and maintenance of my firm's clientele. I shudder to think where I would be without it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Stone Balloon Send Off

Club Phred will host a charity going away party for the Stone Balloon as part of its final schedule of events.

The Stone Balloon will soon give way to upscale condo's on Newark's Main Street.

What is this Picture?

Can you guess what this is?

Hint.... It's was installed in the Alaska Zoo yesterday.

Hint... I need one.

Click here for the story by Bill Roth, of the Anchorage Daily News (registration with the ADN required for repeat usage of the link... or, see the comments for the answer).

Monday, September 12, 2005

We're All Connected

Not only have I had trouble in accessing web sites that are hosted in the gulf states, our own web server and email server were just knocked out for a few hours because of the power outage in Los Angeles. Go figure.

Sometimes I wish I were disconnected.

Be My Little General

Long ago in Alabama, during sleep deprived military training, a phrase was burned into my little enlisted skull: "Be My Little General".

It helped us to remember a part of the military rank structure. Perhaps you will find it helpful as well.

Be = Brigadier General - One Star

My = Major General - Two Stars

Little = Lieutenant General - Three Stars

General = General - Four Stars

Ragin Cajun

Lt. General Russel Honore has risen as an icon of hope and honor during the disaster in our gulf states. He heads the military's Joint Task Force Katrina, and according to all accounts, he's getting the job done.

I like this quote from him, as per the Wilmington News Journal: "I'd rather be in the middle of the game, playing hard with little hope of winning, than to be an observer."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina, from the perspective of Court Administration

I am horror stricken, as most of us are, as to the disaster that Hurricane Katrina has caused in our gulf coast states. I hope that the relief efforts will escalate and move forward to lessen the burden on those displaced persons.

I am also interested in learning how this problem has impacted the court system in New Orleans. My first few attempts to access official court websites resulted in ... site not found error screens. I suppose that a significant number of websites that are hosted by servers in New Orleans are experiencing these same errors.

I did find an interesting blog article at Underneath Their Robes. With credit given to How Appealing.

The scene is being described as a legal ghost town. Word is that an unnofficial temporary site for the Clerk of the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is at Chief Judge King's office in Houston.

One official web site that is working is the US District for the Eastern District of Lousiana, which states that the District Court is closed until further notice, and refers cases to neighboring districts for emergency filings.

Please let me know if you find any information regarding state and local court status in the effected areas.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thomas gets more comprehensive

Some great news from the Library of Congress.

Their web site is getting updated, and will be easier to use to find information more easily. Thomas refreshed, from Federal Computer Week informs us that the change will go into effect this month.

Previously, it was only possible to look at information from one legislative session at a time. Visitors to the site will now be able to look at more sessions in the same search, as well as gaining access to much more information. The user interface of the site is getting an upgrade too, and should be easier to use.