May 20, 2015

Judges Are People Too

The NY Times yesterday ran a story about how federal judges sitting in the Southern District of New York often seek each other's counsel. First thought: well yeah, of course they do, this isn't news. Second thought: we know so little about how the judicial branch functions that people are surprised to find out that the judges behave like human beings. The simplest take away is that lawyers should remember that how you are seen by one judge can impact on your reputation in front of other judges, including those you have never appeared before.

It's startling to be confronted with the fact that complete strangers have already formed opinions about you. It's particularly off-putting when the opinions aren't favorable. For instance, many, many years ago, when I was a teenager, I was at a party when a girl asked me my name. When I told her she said, "Ohhh, you're Michael Lumer," and walked away. Whatever it was that she had heard, it sure wasn't good.

May 17, 2015

Freddie Gray: the Beat Goes On

I drafted the following post a few weeks ago. Work commitments and other matters commandeered my schedule, and I never got around to pressing the publish button. In this short interlude, "Baltimore" has faded as a national story, which sort of makes my point.

A few weeks ago a friend asked if I was going to write about the shooting of Walter Scott. My work load since March has been really heavy, but I made a note that I should. Some time passed and then Freddie Gray was killed. By the time I revisited my notes a few weeks later, Freddie Gray had been killed and I could barely remember who Walter Scott was. Which is my primary thought in this particular post. In the period that has passed since this post was drafted, the focus has shifted from the death of Freddie Gray to the prosecution of the officers, and the rather idiotic suggestion that the local prosecutor recuse herself because her decision to seek a conviction means she's biased. There will be more to follow. There's just too much to say, too much going on, to write just one passing post about this Freddie Gray moment.