Thursday, June 20, 2024

Easy Money

In a T-Mobile class action lawsuit regarding a data breach, lawyers emerged $78 million richer while customers only got $25. In my experience this is the norm. 

This is exactly the kind of case that causes the public to scoff at class actions. My client gets 25 bucks and these attorneys are walking away with $7,000 to $10,000 per hour." - Attorney Robert Clore

The lawyers, of course, claim they they worked a massive number of hours on the case so their costs are justified. But anyone who has worked closely with lawyers knows just how often billable hours are padded, often egregiously so. The reality is that there is little incentive for lawyers not to pad their bills because there is almost no negative consequences in doing so. The risk for the lawyer is near zero while the reward is very high. 

In my case I tried to get details on what exactly my lawyers were billing me for because it didn't seem like they were doing much but they simple refused to provide anything but the most vague explanations. 

I have also worked with patent troll lawyers who didn't even attempt to justify the hours they billed. 

It is easy money if you are willing to commit the crime. And always keep in mind, it is a crime. 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Value Of Prenups

Never sign a contract with someone who is rewarded for breaking it. That seems obvious but it happens all the time when people get married.  


I recognize the laws as written are mostly fair but the reality of how they are implemented is otherwise. Over 98% of alimony payers are men. Which is a heck of an incentive for a woman to divorce a man. Also a reason to commit fraud and perjury. Which is exactly what my ex-wife, and worse her lawyer, did in order to get vast amounts of money out of me. And note I paid 100% of the expenses for the kids who predominantly lived with me for the first few years after the marriage ended and then chose, on their own, to live 100% with me as soon as they could. 

Many believe people who get prenuptial agreements are somehow less committed to the relationship. The reality is a prenup removes one of the biggest incentives to end the marriage thus making divorce less likely. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Sexual Misconduct By Lawyers

More evidence lawyers are often treated as being above the law, NPR reports sexual misconduct allegations against lawyers isn't uncommon. but punishment is tricky.

I would wager committing fraud in family law cases takes the top spot for crimes committed by lawyers but sexual misconduct I suspect is right up there. The reality is that lawyers are often de facto immune when committing crimes and other unethical acts so, guess what? Many do so. 

Do you think people used to committing and getting away with fraud, are more or less likely to commit acts of sexual misconduct? Many people, including many lawyers, tell me the crimes committed by lawyers in my case are just the way the system works. They think fraud is no big deal. They are wrong. People who commit fraud are way more likely to commit other types of crime including sexual ones. 

We have laws to ensure a fair and just society. When those laws are not enforced equitably, all crime increases.  

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Women Cannot Commit Gender-based Violence in Spain And Other Countries

In Spain, gender based violence legally only applies when the man is the perpetrator and the woman the victim

The Reddit discussion on the topic is interesting:

"It’s like the U.K. were the legal definition of rape means that women cannot commit it."

"Same in Ireland"

"Another point to add, in the event of a woman calling the police saying she was hit or anything, the man will go to jail till proven innocent and the woman won’t have any repercussion if she lied.

The other way around, the guy has to flee because most of the time they are not believed."

Read the Reddit discussion for more, including views supporting gender based crimes. 

Friday, May 24, 2024

Same-Sex Marriage

It has been twenty years since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

In 2012 there was a hot debate in Minnesota over the issue when a proposed amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman went to a vote. People were passionate about the issue on both sides. I remember the "yes" side stating rejection would lead to gay marriage and the "no" side saying that was ridiculous. The amendment was defeated. Less than a year later, same-sex marriage was legalized with almost no opposition. Times were changing quickly back then. 

I could never understand what difference gender made in whether you could marry or not but I did wonder how failed marriages would be handled. I felt bad that gay people would now experience the downside of divorce as I had. 

I probably shouldn't have worried so much as a new study reports results showing same-sex marriage to be positive

Many of the positives are related to having or adopting children which I totally understand as I have friends and relatives who have benefited from this.  

Although the study doesn't go into to it, the negatives of divorce experience by many heterosexual marriages are gender related so such issues simply do not exist when same-sex people get divorced.  I strongly suspect the divorce process is far more equitable for same-sex couples than it is for heterosexual couples. Hopefully that equity will have a spill over effect to make the divorce process better for everyone. Hope springs eternal.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Divorce Lessons

I sometime hesitate to post content like the video below, not necessarily because they are wrong, but because of the perception people will have. What do I mean by that? To be perfectly honest there are many so called "men's rights" people who are fairly misogynistic and sometimes just wrong. I'm sorry but if your reason for not paying child support is because you were somehow lured into sex, you need to get a grip. 

This video is worth watching but only with a grain of salt. All men are not ideal fathers and it seems to imply. The real issues in divorce are justice and equity. With maybe a little less equity in the interest of children but never in the interest of the spouse.  

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Why So Few Men Receive Alimony


An article in Forbes from a few years ago, explores why so  few men receive alimony:  

Of the 400,000 people in the United States receiving post-divorce spousal maintenance, just 3 percent were men, according to Census figures. Yet 40 percent of households are headed by female breadwinners -- suggesting that  hundreds of thousands of men are eligible for alimony, yet don't receive it.

The reason? Die-hard gender roles, a bitter fight from breadwinning wives and macho pride, say family attorneys. And in some parts of the country, judges are flat-out sexist.

"Gender equality is a relatively new concept in the span of history, and old stereotypes die hard," says San Francisco Bay area divorce attorney Mark Ressa. "A successful man is considered a breadwinning man, and asking for alimony is considered emasculating."

I certainly did not receive alimony and had to pay child support (which my ex-wife barely if at all used for the kids)  along with all the expenses for the kids who, by the way, chose to live with me.  Clearly two of the reasons she received alimony were her fighting hard, if you classify committing perjury as fighting hard, for alimony and sexist judges. 

What the article misses are the unethical and illegal actions of lawyers and judges in cases involving alimony. Lawyers directly and judges indirectly make lots of money from alimony awards. At a base level alimony awards are a litigious process which means they get paid more than they would otherwise. 

The obstacles in front of a man attempting to receive alimony are nearly insurmountable.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Federal Judges Often Not Held Accountable

From NPR, federal judges have a code of ethics but often aren't held accountable. True, but the article underestimates the issue. First off, it isn't just federal judges and, secondly, the level of outright crime and corruption throughout the legal system as well as the wholesale violations of the lawyers rules of professional conduct by attorneys is astounding. Look here

The NPR article does, however, point out a lot of issues, including paid junkets:

So every year, a bunch of different groups like bar associations, nonprofits, law schools, they host what they call judicial education events. And one of the biggest hosts over the decades for these events is George Mason University, which has a conservative-leaning law school. It's based in Virginia. They put together these weeklong seminars for judges on a bunch of legal topics. And they often take place at luxury resorts, five-star hotels. We're talking places like Palm Beach, Fla., around Aspen, Colo., Alaska, even London. And judges get free rooms, free meals and free money towards those travel expenses.

And the events can be pretty ideologically slanted. We found that judges have heard a presentation from a far-right German politician along with corporate CEOs, members of an advocacy group that uses lawsuits to challenge environmental law. 

Friday, April 26, 2024

So Many Lawyers

An Arizona grand jury has indited several people for 2020 election interference. Those indited include many attorneys, including: Rudy Giuliani, Boris Epshteyn, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis and Christina Bobb. 

Attorneys are supposed to be the ones who follow the law. In fact, their code of conduct is incredibly strict. It goes well beyond just following the law.  They also need to always tell the truth and are obligated to report misconduct by fellow attorneys. 

But attorney ethics are an open joke. I cannot find a single incident of an attorney being disciplined for lying (at least in a family law case) or failure to report a fellow attorney's misconduct. Indeed it is almost assumed an attorney will lie if it helps their case. 

It is nice to see a few of them indited especially for what can be argued are actions that are a threat to the very foundation of our country.  

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Can Family Court Be Fixed?

Can family court be fixed? Not accounting to Lee Rawles, author of the book, The End of Family Court: How Abolishing the Court Brings Justice to Children and Families.

Rawles' arguments are mostly due to the courts' inability to provide justice for lower class and the racially disadvantaged but, as this site is about, the corruption and inequity which is institutionally prevalent within the family court system runs deep. 

Over the next century, the purpose and purview of family courts expanded and changed. Today, family court judges may consider juvenile criminal offenses, status offenses, custody cases, adoption, the removal of children from their parents and truancy cases. What has remained constant is the uneven enforcement of child safety laws, which fall primarily on poor and minority families.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Attraction Of Sexist Men

Do women find sexist men attractive? According to this article in Psychology Today, yes.

research suggests that women do in fact find sexist men attractive.

Although I am often sceptical of social science research, this does seem correct to me. I have seen it quite a bit. And how else do you explain Trump's support among women?  

As the article states a lot of research suggests the reason has an evolutionary basis.

They suggest that female interest in sexist men, specifically men who display “benevolent sexism,” may be seen by women as being more an interest in men investing resources in a woman.

Despite aspects of benevolent sexism appearing chivalrous and romantic, previous research has found that women who endorse these beliefs often demonstrate approval of restrictions on women’s freedoms, independence, and autonomy, and may impact women’s support for gender egalitarianism.

Being a good guy is hard. 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Women Talking Like Men Used Too

I've recently noticed women talking a lot like the stereotypical 1950s sexist male. Just in reverse.

On one example a friend of mine stated she was going to two physical therapists. When asked, "Why two?" she replied that for one Medicare paid for it and, more importantly, both were really cute young guys. Imagine if a man stated the same about going to two cute female physical therapists.

On another occasion, a woman  I know in her early 60 went on a kayak tour and, because she did not have a partner, was placed in a kayak with one of the guides. She spent a considerable amount of time telling a group of us, of which I was the only male, how wonderful it was because he was built

In both of the examples above, the women are educated and had good careers. Both are also very much feminists and quick to point out sexism in society. At least sexism on the part of males. 

I would feel uncomfortable talking like my friends did even to a bunch of men so it seems really strange to me to hear women talk that way. I wonder if they ever realize they are behaving just like the men they so often criticize?

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Just A Reprimand?

The reality of our legal system is often surreal. 

In 1990, S.C. Rep. “Tee” Ferguson took a bribe from an undercover FBI agent, while Ferguson ran for an open judicial seat in South Carolina. A month later, Ferguson was elected without opposition.

He then took another bribe and then was sworn in as a judge. 

Later, after his conviction for corruption as well as pleading guilty to to three counts of possessing cocaine, he was sentenced to prison. 

More than a year after that the state Supreme Court issued a public reprimand. 

A public reprimand. He wasn't even disbarred. 

U.S. Attorney John Barton said of Ferguson: “How such a corrupt drug abuser got elected to the Legislature to begin with is beyond my comprehension. And then to have risen in the esteem of his peers to the point where he got elected to circuit court judge speaks sadly many volumes about the way government was conducted in South Carolina.”

Barton also said he had evidence that Ferguson intended to take bribes as a judge.

Again, the legal system determined his crimes only meritted a reprimand. What is wrong with our legal system? 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Music/Movie Piracy And Gaming

In Indonesia at least, women pirate more music and movies than men. Which is interesting just because it  is counter to gender expectations. 

"women are more likely to pirate than men in Indonesia. This is true for all content categories, except for software,"

This is similar to the fact that women make up about half, or a bit more than half if you include mobile, of computer gamers. I suspect many if not most assume the opposite. 

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Attorney Bills

Extending last weeks discussion - Do lawyers pad their bills? Many do

"Fraudulent billing is a common practice in many large law firms."

I suspect the most common way is by overstating their work. In the linked article, when a small educational foundation called up a law firm with a simple question they were billed $885 for a one minute phone call. $85 for the call and close to $800 for research. Research which was never done. 

Another commonly used fraudulent billing technique is to bill two clients, or more, for the same work. When lawyers use forms they put together they often charge every client who uses the form for the work in creating it. Many, maybe most, lawyers do not even believe this is wrong even though the ABA does

My lawyers clearly overfilled me on a regular basis. I tried very hard to get them to detail the work they did but never got anywhere.  

An older but still relevant paper highlighting 16 egregious cases of fraud was done by Catholic University of America.

There is profound corruption on many levels within the justice system. Fraudulent billing is how many lawyers begin their career in crime.  

Sunday, March 10, 2024

The Billing Abuses of Lawyers

The Billing Abuses of Lawyers is a bit dated but just as relevant to today as when it was published. 

Some highlights:

Despite these extreme cases, lawyers -- with the notable exception of the high-visibility Hubbell, whose prosecution stemmed from the Whitewater investigation -- are rarely punished for billing abuses. Raleigh bankruptcy attorney Mark Kirby was indicted in federal court on 16 counts of billing fraud. Among other offenses, he billed 90 hours in one day. Between June 1990 and July 1991, Kirby billed a total of 13,000 hours, even though that 13-month period, calculated at 24 hours a day seven days a week, was only 9,500 hours long. Yet Kirby's trial resulted in a hung jury. His defense: everybody does it.

In 1991, Cumberland (Ala.) law professor William Ross surveyed 280 lawyers in private practice and 80 who worked in-house for companies. The results were shocking. Seven out of eight practicing lawyers said that it was ethical to bill a client for "recycled" work originally done for another client. Half said they had billed two different clients for work performed during the same time period, such as dictating a memo for one client while traveling for another.

Just as shocking were what lawyers concluded about their colleagues' billing practices: 55% said that lawyers occasionally or frequently "pad" their hours; 64% said they were personally aware of lawyers who had padded their bills. The in-house lawyers surveyed were even more clear: over 80% felt that the billable hour influenced how much time the outside lawyers they hired spent on a case, and 74% felt that the billable hour significantly decreased lawyers' incentives to work efficiently.

The reality is lawyers can make a lot of money for doing little work. Worse if such lawyers become judges, they feel it is their right to work far less than what they are paid for. 

As they say, money corrupts. 

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Friday, February 23, 2024

Robert Tanguay's Case

I do not know Robert Tanguay nor do I have objective information on the facts of the case but his story is an interesting one. Much of it rings true to my ears. 

False allegations, no response from law enforcement because the perpetrator is part of the justice system, clear perjury, and a Kafkaesque bureaucracy which seemingly exists primary to extract as much money as possible from victims. I have experienced all of it. 

The worst part is not that an individual committed criminal and unethical deeds, it is that the system itself protects and rewards such individuals. Most do not realize just how broken our justice system is. instead of ensuring justice, it operates more like a criminal organization. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

Corruption

From the University of Exeter in England come a new study on corruption with a focus on those who enable such crimes. The thing most people do not realize about corruption is just how many "legitimate" people are involved. 

Lawyers, accountants, company service providers and other professionals often play essential roles in the movement of illicit wealth. They can be enormously powerful and effective at resisting both scrutiny and regulation. This influence, along with the complexity of this terrain, has led to a lack of consensus around what counts as “enabling” activity and what consequences should follow.

“Armies of professionals around the world are helping corrupt individuals conduct their dirty business,” said Global Anti-Corruption Consortium Director Alexandra Gillies.

Enablers are especially well  represented by lawyers who are often fully aware of their clients, as well as their own, illegal actions. 

In family court, it is often the lawyers who encourage their clients to commit crimes such as making false accusations. I am pretty sure that is what my ex-wife's lawyer did before she committed fraud herself

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Lessons In Chemistry

Last summer I read the book Lessons in Chemistry and a few weeks ago we finished watching the Apple TV+ series of the same name. Both were quite good but there were some differences between the book and TV show. Some random thoughts follow. 

In the book, the main character Elizabeth is a scientist working in a laboratory. She only has a masters in chemistry because she was unfairly forced to drop out of her Ph.D program after a professor who she was working with tried to rape her. Elizabeth, when struggling with the professor, stabbed him with a pencil. The school wanted her to publicly apologize in order to continue in the program. Elizabeth said she was sorry - sorry she did not have more pencils.  (what a great line!) In the TV show, Elizabeth was working as a lab assistant rather than a scientist. I presume Apple did this to make it seem even life was even more unfair to Elizabeth. I guess getting kicked out of school because you fought off an attempted rape was not bad enough. 

Elizabeth's research in the book is focused on abiogenesis (something I have an interest in as well) whereas her boyfriend Calvin, who is a world renowned scientist. works in a different area. In the TV series Calvin's research has stalled and he starts to work with Elizabeth on abiogenesis. This was a weird change and honestly I cannot figure out why it was made. Yes, it makes Calvin seem less capable, and maybe that was the reason, but it also makes Elizabeth seem less capable as it makes the research not entirely her own.  

The book is about many things, science, cooking, rowing, the relationship between Calvin and Elizabeth, discrimination against women, and the horrors of orphanages.  The book emphasized discrimination against women and added in discrimination against blacks. It was a bit over the top and distracted from the story. 

We seem as a society to have become polarized. You have the Trumpists on one end which, sorry to say, is more a religious movement based on intolerance for anything other than what their leader says. On the other end, you have people who who see everything through the light of discrimination against minorities or women.  There is a conservative joke which I like but feel slightly guilty about liking which goes:

World ends tomorrow. Women and minorities to be hit especially hard.  

I liked President Obama. He acknowledged the historic meaning of being the first black president but he never once said he should be elected because he was black. Compare this to Hillary Clinton whose main message was that it was time for a woman to be in the white house. That turned people off. The result -  many people who voted for Obama subsequently voted for Trump. The lesson - going overboard to make a point can turn people, at least some people off. Often, as with the 2016 election, with devastating results. 

Thursday, February 1, 2024

I Like Judge Lewis Kaplan

I kind of like Judge Lewis Kaplan. I really do. 

Kaplan was the presiding federal judge in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial agaisnt former president Donald Trump. The jury awarded Carroll  $83.3 million. Nice.

But the reason I like Kapan stems from a bit before the award. When Kapan caught Trump's attorney Alina Habba  directly lying to him, he threatened her with jail. I wish he had followed through with it. 

Come to think of it, by the rules Hobbs should be disciplined by the bar association for her actions but I suspect she won't be. It isn't like an attorney lying to a judge is all that unusual of behavior.

In my case, when Nelly Wince openly lied to the judge and in doing so committed fraud upon the court the judge, who openly admitted he knew Wince well, ordered that I pay her legal fees. 

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Cato Institute On Criminal Justice System

The Cato Institute, hardly a left wing organization given its advocacy for lowering or abolishing most taxes, opposition to the Federal Reserve system and the Affordable Care Act, the privatization of numerous government agencies and programs including Social Security and the United States Postal Service, etc., asserted a few years back America’s Criminal Justice System Is Rotten to the Core

Why?

  1. Unconstitutional overcriminalization
  2. Point‐​and‐​convict adjudication
  3. Near‐​zero accountability for police and prosecutors
The third one is the most relevant to this site's purpose. When prosecutors such as John Choi can willfully obstruct justice to protect fellow lawyers without consequence and law enforcement ignores complaints agaisnt prosecutors no matter how good the evidence, it is it is clear our justice system in not just broken but institutionally corrupt. 

The level of crime in a society depends mostly on how much the public believes judicial system is fair and just.  When judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and law enforcement are able to get away with breaking the law, it has as multiplier effect on the crime rate throughout society.  I wish more people understood this. 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Male Power

Male Power Over Females Is Not the Default Social Dynamic in Primates

Guess what? We are primates. 

The study found that no particular pattern of intersexual power can confidently be attributed to the ancestors of many major groups of primates, and therefore an assumption of ancestral male-biased power is not warranted.

So much of what we think we know is based on what we want to be true. 

The reality is:

  • Women are not the weaker sex.
  • Women can fight just as well as men.
  • Women are just as intelligent as men.
  • Women are just as emotionally stable as men. 
  • Men are just as sympathetic as women.
  • Women are just as abusive as men. (This is often controversial but if you substitute whites for women and blacks for men, how would you view it?)

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

California Adopts Duty To Report Rule For Lawyers

Unlike most states California never adopted the The American Bar Association model Rule of Professional Conduct which requires lawyers to report serious misconduct of another lawyer.

Now they have

Effective August 1, 2023, Rule 8.3 requires:

A lawyer shall, without undue delay, inform the State Bar, or a tribunal* with jurisdiction to investigate or act upon such misconduct, when the lawyer knows* of credible evidence that another lawyer has committed a criminal act or has engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud,* deceit, or reckless or intentional misrepresentation or misappropriation of funds or property that raises a substantial* question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.


Why did California finally adopt Rule 8.3? Mostly because of one lawyer - Thomas Girardi.  Over a 40 year period Girardi had over 200 complaints filed agaisnt him yet he continued to practice law. Many of his fellow lawyers knew how corrupt Girardi was, and some had substantial evidence, yet failed to say anything. 

The real question is whether the now in effect Rule 8.3 will change anything. I suspect not. In Minnesota we have had this rule since it came out in 1983 yet not a single lawyer has ever been disciplined for not reporting another lawyer who they knew had committed serious misconduct.  

In my case, every lawyer, including the judges, who saw the evidence against Nelly Wince should have reported her. Indeed, they were, and still are, obligated to do so. Yet not a single one did. 

The rule, at least in practice, is for show. It fools the public into thinking lawyers are able to police themselves. The reality is quite the opposite.  

Monday, January 8, 2024

Benevolent Sexism

Benevolent sexism occurs when a sexist action is viewed as normal or positive by society including, often, the person affected. Actions such as opening a door or carrying a package for a woman fall into this category. But it also includes such "positive" comments such as stating that as a woman a person is more caring than a man.  It also includes expectations such as as men doing dangerous jobs, including military combat.  Anytime you hear a woman is better than a man in some regard or that a man should perform a dangerous action rather than a woman it is considered benevolent sexism. 

A new study explores the downside of benevolent sexism and how it is viewed by those who witness it.

In other words, benevolent sexism, due to its seemingly positive guise, is less likely to be immediately recognized as a moral violation, and consequently, it does not elicit the same level of moral anger as hostile sexism does. This difference in perception and emotional reaction means that bystanders are less likely to feel compelled to intervene in cases of benevolent sexism.