"Trending" Hashtags and Facebook Support Groups: The Bizarre Case of Social Media Support for Christopher Dorner

by Cristin Johnson Earlier this month, America was consumed by media coverage of the ten-day manhunt for rogue former-LAPD officer and suspected murderer Christopher Jordan Dorner.  As a case study, the Christopher Dorner saga invites an unconventional conversation, exposing a variety of questions that comprise the main themes of Professor Thane Rosenbaum’s seminar on “Human Rights, the Holocaust, and the Law.” Dorner initiated his campaign for revenge through social media, publishing an online manifesto on Facebook in which he vowed to wage warfare against the alleged racism and corruption pervading the LAPD.  Surprisingly, Dorner has garnered social media support from those sympathizing with his motives.  Proponents have depicted the LAPD as a caldron of hate.  Some were already skeptical of law enforcement and their treatment of minorities, infamously exposed twenty-two years ago following the Rodney King verdict and subsequent LA riots. Waves of advocacy for Dorner continue to infiltrate social


Pistorious Case Puts Another Athlete in the Legal Spotlight

by Erin G. On February 14, 2013, yet another news story surfaced of an international superstar being charged with a serious crime.  Oscar Pistorius, a paralympian, who had become a symbol of overcoming adversity in his native South Africa and around the world, has been accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.  Steenkamp died after being shot four times through the bathroom door at Pistorius’s South African home. On Tuesday, Pistorius denied that he willfully killed his girlfriend, claiming that he shot Steenkamp through the bathroom door with a 9-millimeter pistol because he believed that she was an intruder.  In a statement read by his lawyer, Pistorius said, “I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated.  I had no intention to kill my girlfriend.”  Yesterday, the media has reported that the South African police found testosterone and needles at Pistorius’s home when they went


Till Death Do Us Part: Ownership of Digital Content Beyond Death

by Philip K. When people plan their estate with their attorney, they usually discuss matters concerning their home, business, savings, and other assets. However, they should consider examining their digital assets as well. The Social Media Revolution has transformed the way we share ideas and interact with others. Now, with smartphones, we are always connected to this virtual world. On these social media websites, we write about our daily routine, post viral videos, express political views, and keep in contact with family and friends. These social media websites are catalysts for new content and trends, constantly introducing users to a new genre of media. Personal profile webpages have become a reflection of society, culture, and more importantly, ourselves. And chillingly, these imprints never leave the cyberspace. The Social Media Revolution not only created a cultural phenomenon, but it also created a lucrative market for electronic “gifts” and social advertising. Personal


Rectifying the Decrease in Law School Applications

by Johanna G. It has become increasingly clear that job prospects for law graduates has been on the decline since the economic bubble burst of 2008. Around five years ago, a graduate would have come out of school with the big possibility of attaining an entry-level position at a firm with a six-figure salary. In today’s market, that possibility seems less likely, especially when looking at the 2011 employment statistics for recent law school graduates. This has made the legal community analyze the reasons behind the trend. Many analyzing the problem state that legal jobs have decreased because of hiring practices in law firms. During recent years, law firms have limited their hiring numbers. They are almost exclusively hiring law graduates who come from certain top schools, and who have graduated at the top of their classes. The decrease in the amount of graduates hired has disrupted the confidence law


Crime Doesn't Pay – But How Much Should the Criminals?

By Diana D. More than 30 states have enacted some version of the Son of Sam law, named after the infamous New York serial killer, which generally bars convicted felons from profiting from their crimes. New York goes even further by creating a new category for “funds of a convicted person” that exceed $10,000. Though there are some narrow exceptions for earned income and child support payments, money from many kinds of sources can trigger the statute, including inheritances and legal judgments for civil rights violations. Whenever a person convicted of certain crimes receives over $10,000, the Office of Victim Services freezes the money and notifies the victims of crime, who then have 3 years to bring a tort suit, even after the statute of limitations has expired. And we’re not talking small change– to get an idea of the money frozen since the Son of Sam law was expanded


"Scandal," Reviewed

by Alexandra E Move over Law and Order, now here is something catching the eyes of audiences with its heart-pounding, jaw-dropping legal stories and not so legal solutions, Scandal.  A political thriller television series focused on the life of a sexy smart black attorney, Olivia Pope, and her team of associates, including a former black ops turned computer hacker, a litigator and an investigator.  Partially based on the life of former President Bush’s administration press aide, Judy Smith, we wonder if this is really what is going on in Washington, D.C., and if so where can we sign up. Enough to make an attorney’s hair stand on end, Olivia Pope does not defend justice nor does she abide by any code of professional ethics. She states, “we are the judge and the jury, the media and the public opinion.” Her self-pronounced duty is only to serve the client and by


To Sue or Not to Sue?

by Eddie C A class action law suit was filed in New Jersey last year regarding red light traffic cameras. In that law suit the lawyers argued that fines issued before July 25th 2012 in eighteen of New Jersey’s municipalities should be retracted as the timing of yellow lights weren’t officially recertified until that day. A settlement for the case was reached by December where the plaintiffs received 6 dollars each from the 4.2 million dollar settlement while the attorney pocketed over $1 million. That same lawyer is now representing the New Jersey plaintiffs suing the Subway franchise. The Subway lawsuit was sparked by a Facebook post of a “foot long” sandwich measuring only eleven inches. As a result, two New Jersey men visited a wide number of Subway restaurants within the state of New Jersey to find that all the sandwiches they sampled were in fact slightly less than


When Does Moral Justice Trump Professional Responsibility?

by Eddie C. In a recent episode of the hit legal drama “Suits” the protagonist, Mike Ross, is assigned to defend a client’s 17-year-old son after he admittedly committed a hit and run after driving home from a party.  The victim later died in a hospital as a result of the accident. Although the boy maintained that he was sober the entire time, Mike Ross later discovers that the driver was under the influence of Marijuana at the time of the accident. Troubled by his own memory of losing his parents to a drunk driving incident, Mike compromised his ability to act in the best interest of his client and as a result, he disclosed privileged information to the opposing counsel. One case that contrasts to the course of action in this episode of “Suits” is the famous Buried Bodies Case. In this case, a murderer discloses the burial site


Weighing Corporate Settlements Against Criminal Liability

by MDG A U.S. District Judge, BP, and the Department of Justice recently illustrated a fascinating aspect of our criminal justice system: if you want to plead guilty to eleven felony counts, two misdemeanors, and an obstruction charge and avoid facing any time in prison, the answer is to simply be a corporate entity. Three years ago this April, the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, causing an incredible amount of economic and environmental damage that gripped headlines and placed BP in the national psyche as public enemy number one. Often overlooked, however, is the fact that eleven men working on the Horizon died as a result of the rig malfunction. Although BP pleaded guilty to eleven felony counts in addition to two misdemeanors and an obstruction charge, the company recently escaped any true criminal liability when a U.S. District Judge approved a settlement in which BP would


Instagram and Online ID Checks

by Gabby C. Instagram is the primary photo-taking and photo-sharing tool for lots of people these days. In 2012, Business Insider reported that more than 1 billion photos were taken using the application, with more than 5 million photos uploaded daily – a number that is likely growing every day (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-honigman/100-fascinating-social-me_b_2185281.html). In the last few months, Instagram has been under some heat for changes in its Terms of Service (http://instagram.com/legal/terms/). Questions were raised with regards to ownership of photos and policies in relation to the repurposing of user images.  But most recently, users have begun to complain about new procedures with regards to suspended accounts. Several technology news sources reported that some users, who are suspected of violating Instagram’s Terms of Service, were asked to verify their identities by uploading a photo ID that must (1) be government issued; (2) show the user’s name, picture and birthday; and (3) be