Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Tip Of My Tongue

A juror in the George Zimmerman trial, the one who was so quick to hire an agent to land a book deal, did an interview with CNN yesterday. Here, we get some insight into the thought process of the jury in reaching their verdict. From the transcript:

COOPER: Do you think [Zimmerman]’s guilty of something?

JUROR: I think he’s guilty of not using good judgment.

And really, who isn’t guilty of exercising poor judgment once in a while? Oh, if only there were some sort of crime for which we could convict people who exercise poor judgment which results in the death of another. Maybe we could call it involuntary manslaughter and it could be a concept literally thousands of years old. Or something. I’m just spitballing here.

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On Nerdy Lawyers

People are usually pretty surprised to find out that I don’t know a lot of technologically savvy attorneys. In fact, I think most attorneys regard technology the way they regard math — alternately bewildered and indifferent. The following conversation had me cracking up at my desk today:

A: Intern brought in his own computer. It’s a 15” MBP, unibody. It has fucking 10.5.8 He can’t even run Chrome. Get the @#%$# out.

B: How a person’s own gear is set up is a pretty reliable indicator for technical competence, imo.

A: Not doing anything technical for us, just content writing until he goes to law school in the fall…

Published in Irreverently Irrelevant on

Defendants Gone Wild

The guy who made those really sleazy “Girls Gone Wild” videos, which at one point seemed to comprise half the ads on Comedy Central after midnight, has an interesting closing statement for his assault and false imprisonment trial:

I want that jury to know that each and every one of you are mentally f–ing retarded and you should be euthanized […] if that jury wants to convict me because I didn’t show up, which is the only reason why they did, then, you know, they should all be lined up and shot.

Actually, he was already found guilty, and he made these remarks (and more!) to a reporter in an interview before his sentencing. I’m reminded of that hacker who did an AMA on Reddit the night before his sentencing, wherein he declaimed his lack of remorse and general lesson-learning that I think judges probably like hearing. Prosecutors and judge noticed. Maybe the jury will notice this one.

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Federal Agents Seize Mt. Gox's Bank Account

Bitcoin, that digital currency only several orders of magnitude less useful than Xbox Live Points, has been the subject of some really fun news pieces recently. There was the e-sports league surreptitiously running a mining operation with its users’ computers. There was the exchange which shut its doors and ran off with $260,000+ of its customers’ “money”. A speculative bubble around Bitcoin popped last month, collapsing nearly $200 in under a week. At least you know Bitcoin is always worth a funny story.

So the largest Bitcoin exchange (that thing which converts Bitcoins into money) is a Magic: The Gathering card trading site (yes, really) called Mt. Gox, which has trafficked in Bitcoin for the last few years. They just had (one of?) their bank account(s?) seized by Homeland Security. Ars has a good writeup of why this has happened, including detailed quotes from the key portion of the warrant.

tl;dr: Mt. Gox forgot to register as a currency exchange, which is a federal felony.

As part of the Money Laundering Suppression Act of 1994, all Money Transmitting Businesses must register with the Department of the Treasury. Neither Mt. Gox nor its US subsidiary Mutum Sigullum, LLC. are registered as such. Whoops. The Bitcoin subreddit is directing their displeasure toward Mt. Gox, whose navigation of regulatory matters is admittedly pretty displeasure-worthy. It’s okay, guys! An efficient market would never allow such egregious incompetence to handle two-thirds of all Bitcoin exchanges. (Yes, Virginia, etc.)

So wait, the coming crypto-currency wars? The stateless society? Post-capitalism anarcho-digital-libertarian utopia? All sidetracked because someone didn’t do their homework? What, don’t any lawyers take bitcoins? Hm.

How about Magic cards?

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Good Luck With That

Prince is DMCAing videos with his music in the background. This isn’t new. What’s new is that he’s sending takedown notices to Vine, a video service which hosts six second videos.

Vine launched less than three months ago, but the first DMCA takedown notices are already coming in. Among the first rights holders to file a grievance with Twitter is NPG Records, Princes music label. […] Chilling Effects, a watchdog site where Twitter publicizes such takedown requests, reveals that on March 22nd, NPG Records contacted the company and asked for eight videos to be brought down. As best we can tell, Twitter complied with the request, as none of the URLs are currently functioning.

via The Verge.

Published in The Digital Age on

Quote Unquote

The New York World reports on the New York City Open Data Law of 2012, and includes a couple of choice quotes from a certain open government activist:

It is unclear what consequences agencies will face if they are not compliant with Local Law 11. “Ideally, someone would step up and be the policeman,” said Dominic Mauro, staff attorney for the good government group Reinvent Albany.

Mauro says that that a new administration will have to get on board, because the information tracked by city agencies ultimately belongs to the public. “Taxpayers fund the government and the government collects the data,” he said. “Its our data. We don’t pay taxes so we can not know what goes on.”

Aside from the double negative there at the end, this Mauro guy sounds both insightful and handsome.

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