Fastcase Presents: The Law Review

By Joshua Auriemma

About this podcast   English

Who has enough time to stay current on what's happening in the law? Well, we do. That's why we sort through yesterday's big stories in the law, figure out which ones you really should know about, and summarize them for you within 10 minutes of clicking play (guaranteed or your money back). We then go into more depth on the top stories and possibly look at some great mobile apps or interview people you care to hear about.
In this podcast
Aug. 7, 2014
Ed and I are joined by Colin Starger and Roger Skalbeck today for some pretty serious geeking out. As always, please go ahead and subscribe to The Law Review on iTunes to stay current on the goings-on in the legal tech world. (For bonus points, please consider giving us a rating that, to comport with the iTunes terms of use agreement, rhymes with "crive blars.") 1. Friend of Fastcase @ouij brought this story to the subreddit's attention: Brad Heath has compiled a single webpage aggregating all the feeds from circuit court arguments around the country. 2. Roger talks about #DCLegalHackers and the upcoming Citation Legal Hackathon. 3. We talk about the news that Wikimedia recently refused to take down a photograph taken by a monkey. Ed extends this issue to implications of robot law and intelligent agents (since he's, you know, teaching a class at Georgetown Law this semester on the law of robots). What happens when I code an algorithm to start writing books people actually want to read? Ed's got a take. 4. Colin tells us about a case on which he recently consulted, via the district attorney's own task force, where an imprisoned man was released after many years of being wrongly jailed for rape. A very cool, uncommon, and completely necessary change in Innocence work. As always, please take note of our subreddit at reddit.com/r/thelawreview. Feel free to submit stories there or vote on the stories you'd like to hear us discuss that day. You can also email us at podcast /at fastcase /dot com. Thanks again to Roger and Colin for joining us. Roger provided us with quite a few bumpers I'm looking forward to incorporating into the podcast in the future. They are pretty awesome and/or hilarious so stay tuned. Mwuhaha.
April 24, 2014
We're back for more legal geekery with some cool, important, and amusing stories today. (Not necessarily in that order.) Care to reward our dedication to getting back into the swing of things by subscribing to the podcast and rating us five stars on iTunes? We'd really appreciate it. 1. @ouij points Sarah Jeong's critique of Mashable's treatment of the Supreme Court's recent Aereo argument. I don't want to spoil the post because it's a really amusing read -- essentially it takes Mashable's description of the justices and what it purports to say about the justice's grasp of technology, then explains why it's wrong. I agree with her assessment for the most part. Mashable's mischaracterization of Justice Scalia's understanding was particularly egregious. 2. There's been an ongoing debate about whether it's ethical for lawyers to look up their jurors on social media. The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professionalism recently issued Formal Opinion 466 which rules that it's not an ethics violation to simply look jurors up on social media websites to discover whatever information is available to the public, but it would be a violation to attempt to connect with them. So what if they get a notification on LinkedIn for instance that I've been viewing their profile? The ABA had something to say about that too -- it's not communication between attorney and juror, but rather a communication between the social media platform and the juror, and therefore not an ethical problem. The ABA Journal points out that it remains unclear whether there's an ethical obligation to point out misconduct by the juror to the court. 3. Two Harvard Law students have developed a platform called Pluto Mail designed to be essentially the snapchat of email. It will allow for the unsending of email, expiration dates on email, and ex post facto email editing. Depending on how this is implemented, there could be pretty wide-spread legal implications. I'll discuss some preliminary thoughts and try to spark some discussion on the reddit page. As always, please take note of our subreddit at reddit.com/r/thelawreview. Feel free to submit stories there or vote on the stories you'd like to hear us discuss that day. You can also email us at podcast /at fastcase /dot com. Thanks for listening!
March 24, 2014
The Fastcase office is buzzing with TopForm preparations but I'm sneaking away to record a podcast. If you think this was a wise decision, would you care to subscribe to the podcast and rate us five stars on iTunes? I'll be your new best friend. 1. The ABA Journal wonders: should Hawaii cops be allowed to sleep with prostitutes in the course of an investigation? I discuss how the Hawaii PD backpedaled on this issue. 2. Oldschool bank robberies don't pay like they used to. According to FBI statistics, about 60% of bank robbers will be tracked down within 18 months. More interestingly, the mean take-home from a bank robbery is about $4000. Definitely doesn't seem worth it. Which explains why the number of bank robberies is significantly down overall over the course of the past few years. 3. While speaking to law students at the Brooklyn Law School recently, Justice Scalia said that he thought the question of whether computer data was one of the effects protected by the Fourth Amendment was a really good question. Actually, what he said first was, "Mmm. Mmm." 4. Carolyn Elefant takes a good look at whether crowd sourcing lawyers is unethical. She doesn't think so. I'm sort of constrained to disagree. As always, please take note of our subreddit at reddit.com/r/thelawreview. Feel free to submit stories there or vote on the stories you'd like to hear us discuss that day. You can also email us at podcast /at fastcase /dot com. Thanks for listening!
March 18, 2014
This is a special edition of  The Law Review: I'm asking Patrick Taylor, Software Engineer at Fastcase, to join us to talk about the Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank case pending before SCOTUS re: software licenses. Patrick, being a coder geek working at a legal research company, is likely going to have a unique take on things I'm looking forward to hearing. And by to by, have you subscribed to the podcast and rated us five stars on iTunes yet? We'd really appreciate it. Much of today's special episode is going to focus around Dean Holbrook's Op-Ed piece on Forbes re: the potential demise of software patents.  You'll have to listen to the podcast for a synopsis of this episode, but the jumping-off point will be, of course, 35 U.S.C. § 101: Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title. As always, please take note of our subreddit at reddit.com/r/thelawreview. Feel free to submit stories there or vote on the stories you'd like to hear us discuss that day. You can also email us at podcast /at fastcase /dot com. Thanks for listening!
March 17, 2014
Back after an impromptu hiatus! I came down with a really bad case of the flu last week while simultaneously traveling to Chicago for the NABE and BLI conferences, so we took an unscheduled break. But fear not -- we're back now. Consider welcoming us back by subscribing to the podcast and rating us five stars on iTunes! 1. The government isn't psyched about the whole PRISM leaking and is responding in-kind by requesting $9 million from the government for next year to fund its "insider threat" program. This program would allow it to monitor employees with secret clearance (or above) on or off the job. The monitoring wouldn't end at the job -- the program seeks to leverage off-site social media behavior to assess risk (as well as potentially polygraphs to extirpate would be whistleblowers). 2. Check out this truly awesome piece of journalism by Brad Hearth at USA Today titled, "The ones that get away." This is a really interesting theory about hard and fast rules in many counties across the US against extradition. Sometimes, certain cities will forego pursuing over 90% of potential felons for monetary reasons. Philadelphia in particular was called out pretty hard in the article. Interestingly, I've participated in quite a few teleconference motions arguments in PA where the defendant was incarcerated in a prison in another state and present by video -- seems like at least a partial solution? 3. We're linking to a sad but legally intriguing case of a Texas man who recently died of skin cancer allegedly caused by burns he received at eight years old when a then-13-year-old boy doused him with gasoline and set him on fire. 99 percent of the boy's body was covered in burns and he died in 2011 at age 23. The attacker is now being charged with murder in adult court. Interestingly, when the crime was committed, a juvenile had to be at least 14 for a capitol murder case to be transferred into adult court, but that age was changed to 14 in 1999. It's an interesting policy question we've seen show up on the podcast a few times before: do we apply the law as it existed when the act was committed, or do we use the date of the victim's actual death to determine which law governs? 4. Dean Chemerinsky recently wrote an op/ed calling for Justices Ginsburg and Breyer to retire. And soon. According to Chemerinsky, the Justices are 81 and 79 respectively and this summer could be the last viable time a democratic president could push new Justices in for confirmation. Depending on your ideology I suspect this could either be good or bad news, but Dean Chemerinsky points to some precedent, including Roe v. Wade, that could legitimately change with another conservative Supreme Court Justice. As always, please take note of our subreddit at reddit.com/r/thelawreview. Feel free to submit stories there or vote on the stories you'd like to hear us discuss that day. You can also email us at podcast /at fastcase /dot com. Thanks for listening!
March 7, 2014
It's Friday for me, probably the weekend for you. Sounds like you don't have a good excuse not to subscribe to the podcast and rate us five stars on iTunes. 1. The Hollywood Reporter recently published an interesting article on the case pending before the Ninth Circuit whereby the Court will consider whether the batmobile is entitled to copyright, rather than trademark or trade dress, protections. The strange argument appears to be that an inanimate object can rise to a level requiring protections as if it were a person. My favorite quote appears at the end: If Towle is able to establish that DC has no protectable rights in the Batmobile, you should quit your job and start selling replicas of the General Lee and a decked-out DeLorean time machine." So if DC loses, I guess, see ya. Off to print some money by making Back to the Future DeLorean replicas. 2. @ouij points out on the subreddit that this next story is a great lesson in civics. It looks something like this: the Massachusetts legislature passed laws about 10 years ago designed make it illegal to take pervy photos. Here's the text of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, 105(b): Whoever willfully photographs, videotapes or electronically surveils another person who is nude or partially nude, with the intent to secretly conduct or hide such activity, when the other person in such place and circumstance would have a reasonable expectation of privacy in not being so photographed, videotaped or electronically surveilled, and without that person’s knowledge and consent, shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 21/2 years or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The executive branch attempts to enforce a perceived violation of the law (when a man takes upskirt photos of women on the Green Line on the T). The judiciary steps in and says, nope, the statute doesn't do what you want it to do. The legislature comes back and within 48 hours passes a new law, already in effect, which makes recording a person's private parts illegal "whether under or around a person’s clothing or when a reasonable person would believe that the person’s intimate parts would not be visible to the public." (Incidentally if you're a Fastcase member, you can check out the indexed opinion at here.) As always, please take note of our subreddit at reddit.com/r/thelawreview. Feel free to submit stories there or vote on the stories you'd like to hear us discuss that day. You can also email us at podcast /at fastcase /dot com. Thanks for listening!
March 6, 2014
It's late. I'm in the office alone trolling RSS feeds for today's news items. Don't you feel some kind of imperative to subscribe to the podcast and rate us five stars on iTunes? 0. As promised, I used to read the five star reviews from the Legal Geekery podcast once in a while, so I'm going to read one of ours here at TLR today -- Lawstudentnyc101 rates us five stars and says, "Great podcast for a law student to get interesting legal news and stories. Quick and to the point. Keep up the good work." Thanks for the review! 1. The Governance Lab brings to our attention Datacoup, a service claiming to be "the first personal data marketplace." Gone are the days where third parties benefit from surreptitiously selling your behavioral data. Why not sidestep the perfunctory "I Agree" and start selling your data yourself? That's a more sarcastic version of the sales pitch anyway. Given some of my research on the privacy habits of millennials and the state of the economy, I wouldn't be surprised if this kind of service becomes sort of ubiquitous. I'll be sad -- don't get me wrong -- but not surprised. 2. Is service via social media going to become more common? A judge in the Eastern District of Virginia believes that service by LinkedIn, Facebook, and/or email, satisfies the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f)(3). Insofar as the spirit of the rule is concerned, I'm getting behind this as way more likely to make someone aware of a pending court case than traditional service by publication. 3. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog posted about Florida's Warning Shot Bill, which was just voted out of the Senate judiciary committee. The law purports to "plug a hole" in the Stand Your Ground Law whereby a person could not threaten to use deadly force, say, by firing a gun a few inches from your would-be assailant's head. Here's the proposed text of the bill which is really the old bill with a lot of "or threaten to use" thrown in for good measure. 4. If you're looking at receiving a settlement contingent upon your silence, you should probably make sure your kids aren't blabbing about it on social media. This is probably also good advice if your clients have kids as well. As always, please take note of our subreddit at reddit.com/r/thelawreview. Feel free to submit stories there or vote on the stories you'd like to hear us discuss that day. You can also email us at podcast /at fastcase /dot com. Thanks for listening!
March 3, 2014
It's snowing out so I'm in my home office watching the snow fall and being thankful that I don't have to be outside today. Would you consider warming me up by subscribing to the podcast and rating us five stars on iTunes? 1. This interesting Op-Ed piece at the Times considers whether the super wealthy should be allowed to use the judiciary in secret (for a price, of course). Specifically, it examines a 2009 law allowing litigants to essentially rent out judges and courtrooms for secret binding arbitration purposes. I can think of some good reasons for and against I'll likely discuss in the 'cast. 2. We talked about this on an earlier podcast, but just a follow-up that the Supreme Court of New Jersey is hearing arguments today on whether a defendant's rap lyrics are admissible as substantive evidence. I continue to be baffled about the relevancy issue. 3. Kat Chow points us to this Slate piece urging President Obama to issue an executive order calling for a redesign of the American Passport. I sort of think it's complaining for the sake of complaining. I dig my Passport. 4. When I moved to Florida for college (from Massachusetts where we have incredibly strict alcohol purchasing regulations) I remember having my mind blown when I learned about drive-thru liquor stores. Similarly, my mind was once again blown when I read this article about a drive-thru (okay, walk-thru) traffic ticket payment service in Pasadena. The Court claims the installation of the service window has cut down the traditionally very long wait times, but didn't seem to offer any hard data on the reduction. Do these people have e-Ticket payment? I can pay my parking tickets in New York online in about 10 minutes even if I lose the actual ticket. I mean, not that I ever get parking tickets. 5. The Supreme Court of the United States has granted a hand-written cert petition by an Arkansas prisoner claiming that even though he's incarcerated, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ensures him the right to grow his beard for religious purposes. LawProf Douglas Laycock from the University of Virginia filed a supplemental brief with SCOTUS pointing out that there's a legitimate circuit split on this issue, and is now representing Mr. Holt. As always, please take note of our subreddit at reddit.com/r/thelawreview. Feel free to submit stories there or vote on the stories you'd like to hear us discuss that day. You can also email us at podcast /at fastcase /dot com. Thanks for listening!
Feb. 28, 2014
I'm joined today by Fastcase CEO Ed Walters! Consider rewarding my chutzpah re: getting you a guest by subscribing to the podcast and rating us five stars on iTunes! 1. I meant to talk about this yesterday but got sidetracked with the awesome New York mimosa story. A lawyer in North Carolina was centured this week for buying Google AdWords corresponding to his competitors' names. The NCSB Ethics Committee had issued an ethics opinion stating: [A]n attorney's purchase or use of another attorney's name in an Internet search engine's keyword-advertising program is dishonest and therefore violates Rule 8.4(c) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The language of NC's Rule 8.4(c) tracks the Model Rules, which many states follow, so this is potentially an issue of serious import. 2. If you happen to be a judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, or myriad other people dealing with the judges of Bexar County, Texas, you may have received a letter from the FBI the other day letting you know that your phones and texts were tapped and monitored. The entire operation is reportedly the result of an investigation into judicial corruption charges. 3. So that outburst during the Supreme Court session we reported on yesterday? Apparently a video of it was surreptitiously recorded by other members of the activist group 99 Rise. Above the Law links to the video as well as an interview (by my buddy Mike Sacks over at HuffPo) with Kai Newkirk, who it's pretty clear was selected for his affability. Someone's got a media coach. 4. Friend of Fastcase Aaron Kirschenfeld directs us to this wonderful opinion from the California appellate courts holding that, despite a state statute making it illegal to use a phone while driving, drivers can now legally check GPS maps on their phone. Props to Steven Spriggs, the gentleman who took this issue up to the intermediate appellate courts for a $165 ticket. As always, please take note of our subreddit at reddit.com/r/thelawreview. Feel free to submit stories there or vote on the stories you'd like to hear us discuss that day. You can also email us at podcast /at fastcase /dot com. Thanks for listening!
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