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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 10:50:55 -0600
The ballot title and submission clause numbered Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution asked:
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning marijuana, and, in connection therewith, providing for the regulation of marijuana;
permitting a person twenty-one years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana;
providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores;
permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities;
requiring the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of marijuana;
requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund;
and requiring the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp?
Cleverly titled The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012, the Amendment won by a ten point margin yesterday. Predictably, the politicians, in this case Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper, had some really clever things to say about the will of the people…
“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will," Hickenlooper said in a statement Tuesday night. "This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.”
Yeah, OK. First things first. Only someone who has used marijuana, or at the very least knows it to be completely harmless, would make a “joke” like that, so take your hypocrisy and shove it in someone else’s face. The super majority of people, and even the majority of the voters, ain’t buying.
Secondly, a reminder. Tonight’s open meeting of Texas NORML is at 8 o’clock at Flamingo Cantina. Come join us for some news about the overall outstanding results that marijuana measures had nationwide. It wasn’t a clean sweep, but it’s major progress none the less.
And find out what you can do to help us with these sorts of measures in Texas. It’s an informative meeting, but with a fun group of people. See you there.
Legal Counsel for Texas NORML
Aka, yours truly, Jamie Spencer
Wed, 13 Apr 2011 12:45:20 -0600Further deepening my growing suspicions that life may best be described as a series of random events comes this news via Discover Magazine, “Justice is served, but more so after lunch: how food-breaks sway the decisions of judges”. Yeah, that’s right, food breaks. A Ben Gurion University researcher tracked over 1000 parole hearings over a ten month period, and then plotted this graph: Think of the X-axis(labeled ordinal position) as stretching from 9 am to 5 pm, as the day goes by*. The Y-axis(proportion of favorable decisions**) shows the likelihood of being paroled. The enormous upward spikes that prevent the parole percentages from falling to less than 0%? Well those are the times the judges ate. Snack and lunch breaks were always documented, and the results speak for themselves.The study found these outcomes regardless of gender, ethnicity, severity of the offense, number of favorable decisions already made (in other words, no “quota effect”). By far the most likely determining factor seems to be how long it has been since the judge last ate a Twinkie. There are mathematical formulas for determining whether studies that show differences in populations (in this case, paroled vs. non-paroled prisoners) accurately reflect a cause and effect relationship, but my guess is that over a thousand decisions that can only go two ways (to let him out, or not) probably reaches statistical significance***. However, why this happens is guesswork. I like the author’s simple explanation(see Occam’s razor): All repetitive decision-making tasks drain our mental resources. We start suffering from “choice overload” and we start opting for the easiest choice. For example, shoppers who have already made several decisions are more likely to go for the default offer, whether they’re buying a suit or a car. And when it comes to parole hearings, the default choice is to deny the prisoner’s request. The more decisions a judge has made, the more drained they are, and the more likely they are to make the default choice. Taking a break replenishes them. So, you’re wrapping up cross examination of the last witness, and roughly calculate that after jury charge and closing the case will be sent to the jury around 11 a.m. Should you ramble on for a while to increase the chance the jury will decide your client’s fate either after or during lunch, instead of making a quick decision while they’re at their hungriest?**** [Footnotes: *It appears to me that at a reported rate of fourteen to thirty five 6-minute decisions per day, the judges may not be nine to fiving these duties, but my point is the same. Also, I’m too lazy to click through all the hyperlinks to read the original study. **One man’s favorable is another man’s shmavorable decision. The author of the study had the decency to call the decision to parole the inmate favorable, and to send him back to his cell for who-knows-how-long the opposite. Kudos for the empathetic use of vocabulary. ***More accurately, the math can only tell you the confidence interval, and again, while I’m not going to crunch the numbers, see laziness in footnote one, I bet this comes in well over a 95% confidence range. ****The question only makes sense (if it does at all) if you assume the default decision for a jury is “Guilty”. That’s a different blog post entirely.][...]
Mon, 03 Jan 2011 10:20:24 -0600William Safire popularized the phrase “if by whiskey…” in his columns, and defined it in his Political Dictionary as, “Taking both sides of an issue; equivocating; a political straddle”. The term originates from a speech given by Soggy Sweat, a 1950s Mississippi legislator, master of irony, and a real character to boot: My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey. A little context: Mississippians staggered to the polls and voted dry until 1966, when they finally became residents of the last state to decriminalize the sale of alcohol. The topic of banning/regulating/allowing alcohol was present for every politician in every campaign, and surprise, surprise, most made a habit of supporting whichever position the listener wanted to hear. For example, a group of teetotalling nuns would be told something like the next part of Soggy’s speech: If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it. Sounds like most politicians today on the subject of marijuana, not to mention the “hard drugs”. But Soggy continued his speech on the floor of the house: But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it. The speech took him several months to write. I could write every day for the rest of my life and never come up with a sentence that good. He ends with an emphasis on the straddle: This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise. Fifteen million Americans regularly use marijuana. Twenty five million inhaled at least once in the last 12 months. Over one hundred million Americans have smoked pot at some point in their lives. (Wouldn’t we better off if that number were even higher? No, no, wait, that’s a controversy I’ll avoid as off topic, at least in this post.) Of course, marijuana can’t have a Soggy Sweat speech, because the second paragraph would be unwritable. It doesn’t make people violent, they don’t lose their life savings to it (despite the incredibly high de facto tax of criminalization), it doesn’t tend to break up families, people never die from it. Ever. Perhaps that paragraph might read: If when you say marijuana you mean the substance that makes twenty five year old Junior sit at home in his Mom’s basement playing Xbox 360 and refusing to get a job, that makes him drive 15 miles an hour to the 7/11 to spend his allowance on a can of Pringles[...]
Fri, 24 Dec 2010 07:15:56 -0600
A client brought a nice Xmas gift to my office this week. Tamales. Delicious tamales. Homemade. But wait, it gets better than that...
Delicious homemade tamales... made by his mother. Merry Christmas to me.
And Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.(image)
Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:23:00 -0600
Jeffrey Partlow’s apparent lack of a law license hasn’t kept him out of the legal representation business over the last nine years:
A Dallas man arrested on suspicion of showing up to court intoxicated is now also accused of practicing law without a license.
Judge Andrew Bench summoned deputies to his Hunt County courtroom on Oct. 22, telling them that Jeffrey Scott Partlow was intoxicated.
After Partlow was arrested for Public Intoxication and held in contempt, presumably for the drunkenness, the judge decided to call the licensing authorities:
The judge was so angry that he called the Texas Bar Association to have Partlow sanctioned, only to learn no one by that name was registered with the bar.
"During the investigation, we determined that he was not an actual licensed attorney," Sheriff Randy Meeks said… He remains jailed in Hunt County on the contempt charge. The Hunt County district attorney is expected this week to present a felony case to a grand jury against Partlow for impersonating an attorney.
Assuming this is all true, I have some good news for Partlow. If he never hit the books actually studying criminal law, he might want to look up Faretta v California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975). If he does end up getting indicted, it’ll probably be under Texas Penal Code Section 38.122, Falsely Holding Oneself Out As A Lawyer:
(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to obtain an economic benefit for himself or herself, the person holds himself or herself out as a lawyer, unless he or she is currently licensed to practice law in this state, another state, or a foreign country and is in good standing with the State Bar of Texas and the state bar or licensing authority of any and all other states and foreign countries where licensed.
Third degree felony, ouch. While it’s true that the doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient, the Faretta decision gives Partlow the right to represent himself - legally - in his own criminal case. Might be his last shot at it. Somewhat off topic, the article also notes:
Partlow never advertised in a newspaper, phone book or online. All of his clients apparently came from recommendations from former clients.
Austin Defender and I were eating delicious crispy beef tacos (gratuitous plug for El Arroyo) over lunch yesterday and discussing the issue of how clients ought to pick their lawyers. I argued that criminal defendants would do themselves* a big favor if they asked everyone they knew for recommendations, rather than picking up the yellow pages to find the lawyer with the glitziest ad.
Who knows... maybe this guy was doing a decent job.
[*OK, they might be doing me a favor too, since I don’t advertise in phone books, or send mailers, and the vast majority of my clients come from referrals.](image)
Tue, 07 Dec 2010 13:33:14 -0600
I use one of the world’s most complicated and sophisticated voir dire note taking systems, consisting in no small part of adding plus and minus marks in each venire person’s allotted space on my sheets, and sometimes adding short annotations. It can be from something on the juror sheets, or something they say in voir dire. Or perhaps a squirm here, a glare there. I preassigned juror #8 five plus marks for the following answers at impaneling:
Sigh. Must you have made it so obvious? Well, at least they only have two preemps left. (If it had been a felony, it would have been nine left.)(image)
Mon, 29 Nov 2010 16:39:18 -0600
So, I get a text this morning walking out of my office on the way to court. Here’s the full exchange:
Got pulled over
Cop has my DL in his car
OK. It’s fine
They can’t get me for an unpaid parking ticket can they?
Not why he stopped me but just worried
There are two kinds of people in this world. The ones that get nervous when they’re around the police, and those that actually feel safer seeing them driving up and down the streets. Glad I’m married to one of the sane ones, but I feel her pain.
That’s what I get driving like a maniac
Wake up call to slow down & be more careful
Maybe a silly version of “Yes” will calm her nerves?
What takes them so long?? I’m getting nervous
They’re just farting around. Don’t worry about it. :)
Here’s the kicker (in other words, what it’s like to be my wife):
Excellent. Also an opportunity for a compliment, followed by a little personal whining:
Pretty women have it EASY
Even the FEMALE cops ticket me. 100% of the time.
She got the final word. I think she’s serious, but I think of it as a punch line (as in, don’t try this yourself, Jamie, it’ll never work):
I admitted that I made that same illegal left turn everyday on my way to work so I guess he gave me a break for honesty.
Harumph. I am sooooo polite nowadays* when I get pulled over. Still waiting for that first warning.
[*Nowadays – meaning more than two decades past the ages of 17-19, when I knew everything, including my rights, and was certain that police officers were interested in hearing my version of them.](image)
Wed, 10 Nov 2010 10:11:33 -0600
“Comedy has to be based on the truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue on the end.” – Sid Caesar.
At 2:18 in silly video number 2, the pretrial hearing, comes one of the exchanges that actually made me lol:
Officer: His hands were shaking. Based on my experience and training he was sweating profusely.
Defense Lawyer: Officer, what are you talking about?
Officer: I could see his carotid artery beating. Yes I could.
And, from an Austin Police Department probable cause affidavit (this is real):
When [Jamie’s client] looked to his right, I could see the vein on the left side of his neck and it appeared like his heart rate was very fast as though he was nervous. His hands were shaking, and his voice was a little shakey(sic).
Tue, 02 Nov 2010 15:15:36 -0600Loads of extranormal prosecution and defense lawyer comic videos going viral. The generic Why You Shouldn’t Go To Law School was followed by D.A. Confidential’s Window Into Plea Negotiations and In Defense of Defense Attorneys. Now, with a hat tip to lawyer extraordinaire Troy McKinney for putting it on the Texas Defense Lawyer listserv, come these new entries from a public defender (the second one, Supression Hearing, is the real gem): [...]
Tue, 02 Nov 2010 09:46:18 -0600
So, she made a note on today’s calendar:
California votes on Prop 19 today.
Tue, 02 Nov 2010 08:48:31 -0600
So the boys went as a theme again. We’ll never beat the year they went as Thing 1 and Thing 2, but this year’s theme went over pretty well. Especially when I took ‘em to the courthouse.
More than one person asked how we decided which boy would be dressed in which outfit. They had about 6 or 7 different Halloween functions, between school and parties and such. We just switched them back and forth.
The second most commonly asked question was whether we were worried that one of the costumes would have any long lasting effect on them as people. Impressionable, malleable young minds, and all that. It may have been asked in jest, but I had already taken the issue seriously myself.
After much research, both online and live consultations with child psychologists, I determined that dressing the children in these costumes would not alter their lives in a negative way, anymore than having them wear a pumpkin would turn them into a pie when they reached adulthood. What’s all this fuss about? Well, here they are…
So, to answer everyone’s question, no I’m not worried. I don’t think our choice of Halloween costumes will turn either one of them into a cop.
Thu, 28 Oct 2010 02:47:14 -0600
Hat Tip: Everyone who probably blogged about this a month ago when it was published, sorry I wasn’t paying attention at the time:
Incarceration reduces former inmates’ earnings by 40 percent when compared to demographically similar counterparts who have not been imprisoned, according to a new report from Pew’s Economic Policy Group and the Pew Center on the States.
The report estimates that after being released, former inmates typically work nine fewer weeks a year, and their annual earnings drop to $23,500 from $39,100. Not surprisingly, given the stigmatizing effect that a criminal record can have on a job applicant’s résumé, former inmates enjoy less income mobility than counterparts who did not serve time.
I’m going to go look up that report… more soon, unless, as always, I don’t bother to get around to it.(image)
Wed, 27 Oct 2010 08:53:58 -0600
For those who would like further proof that I don’t always spend my time wisely: I am collecting (cutting and pasting?) email signatures of lawyers on various listservs that I frequent. Don’t ask. Maybe it’ll make a blog post some day. Just today, this one popped out at me:
Address/Contact Info/Blah Blah Blah
Concentrating in criminal defense, personal injury/police misconduct, divorce and grievance/disciplinary defense
I guess if I didn’t waste loads of my time on stupid projects (see first paragraph, e.g.) perhaps I could concentrate on five things at once too.
Fri, 15 Oct 2010 08:14:30 -0600
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Proposition 19 - Joseph Califano & Gary Johnson|
Hat Tip: Underdog(image)
Thu, 14 Oct 2010 10:32:10 -0600
Honestly - unlike most sentences that start with that word, this really is honest - I initially decided to write an impossible/unsolvable puzzle after Gamso and Bennett told me that the first one was too easy. That’ll teach ‘em! What can I say, it’s not a very mature reaction.
But as I started tapping out the Must Wash Hands Mystery post, it occurred to me that my fake riddle was more like a koan. Merely thinking about the problem was in and of itself the point of the exercise.
Or maybe it was a Rorschach Test. Anything that teaches you about human nature is something that could be used to improve your jury selection. Anything. And how you answered the question would tell us something about you as a jury selector.
Of the answers given, Bennett’s probably deserves both full and extra credit, since it was both as-right-as-it-could-be and included an example. But Justin T.’s answer made me laugh…
The lesson is clearly that jurors, like unwashed hands, are dirty and should not be touched.
…so he gets first place.
Wed, 13 Oct 2010 09:41:42 -0600I was set on a jury docket yesterday morning and the case was going to be reached. It was my day to go. Of course, as usual, there were probably 30-40 cases set, but mine was going to be the one. How did I know this? I had taken the case over from another lawyer, about a year after the arrest, so it was old, old, old. And the previous lawyer had used several defense continuances. I burned a few myself after that. After taking over the case, I asked permission to put it back on a contested pretrial docket, and had a pretrial hearing. Significance? If the prosecutors were likely to cut us a deal, it would have been before they had to “do all that work”. I had been contacted by the prosecutors about the case last week, and they re- (or, re-re-re-) iterated their position that they would not offer anything close to what my client would accept – in this case, a reduced charge. The case was not going to settle. Also, the fact that they bothered to contact me at all meant it was high enough up on their radar to be concerned that it was in the top few cases likely to go. So I was prepared. In fact, I had hammered out an agreement with the prosecutor in advance about some portions of the videotape (DWI) that needed to be redacted. (The complainant in the collision speaking to the officer on tape.) We agreed that would be redacted while we were in voir dire. I had given the prosecutor the exact times that needed the audio redaction. I had actually gotten myself excited about going. Almost had the trial blinders fully on, convincing myself that no reasonable juror could do anything but acquit my client. It wasn’t a long trip from the evidence, it’s a pretty darn good case for my client, but when you actually work yourself about a case, you can just hear that “not guilty”. And my client lives several, several counties away, and repeated trips to the courthouse for resets aren’t conducive to anyone’s work schedule. Need more proof that I was going to trial? By coincidence, I rode up the elevator with the chief prosecutor in the court where the case was assigned. He sad, “Jamie, you ready today?” and I told him yes and that I thought I was pretty high up. He said I was number one. The prosecutor trying the case told me that she didn’t have one of her civilian witnesses, but was ready to proceed without him. I took out the jury list and rescanned it, making more notes. As the judge asked lawyers to make announcements, I said “ready, because I can’t come up with any more reasons to weasel out of it.” (The coordinator laughed and told me that meant I wasn’t trying hard enough.) At 10:30 a.m., now beyond 100% convinced that this was the day, I called my assistant and asked her to reschedule a new office visit with a potential client set the next morning. The trial would go into tomorrow, and I didn’t want to strand them at the office. Call it off as soon as you know. This isn’t a separate point, I just want to emphasize my last point. I rescheduled a meeting with potential new business. That’s how sure I was the case was going to be called. With that lengthy setup, it’s pretty clear that the case didn’t actually go. So what happened? At the second docket call, the prosecutor asked for a continuance, so they could get that civilian witness they previously “didn’t need”. I reminded her that my client admitted driving to the arresting officer, so they really didn’t need anyone else. But the case was reset. So, was I upset? Nooooooooooooooo. After th[...]
Tue, 28 Sep 2010 08:13:16 -0600
OK, OK, I have provided an update/answer to the riddle in the last post. Such an addendum is unnecessary for my first two commenters, who found the riddle beneath them. I hope they find this one slightly more challenging. At any rate, it’s more difficult than 2 + 0 = 2, which was the solution to the verdict riddle.
Let’s begin. It’s not uncommon when you excuse yourself to the bathroom in a restaurant to find a sign posted somewhere near the sink and soap dispenser that reads:
Employees Must Wash Hands Before Returning To Work
If I ever open a greasy spoon there’s no way that sign will be in the restroom. Why? Because that sign does two things, at least to me.
For puzzle purposes, it’s not important whether that sign has the same effect on you, only that it does on me, and quite possibly, on many others. To solve the puzzle, correctly answer this question:
What important lesson about jury selection does the “must wash hands” effect illustrate? (For full credit, please be very specific. Fully fleshed out examples will be awarded extra credit.)
Hint: “correct” answers are likely more than one sentence. Maybe more than one paragraph. Also, there may be more than one “correct” answer; at the very least, there are variations on a theme. This might end up being a test of how long my blog allows comments to become…
Tue, 21 Sep 2010 16:15:48 -0600
Let me digress a bit, and for the sake of clarity, define separate. Each individual lawyer represented one and only one client. They were not co-defendants. Their charges were not related in any way. They had never met each other.
Their cases were assigned to different courts, with separate prosecutors, judges, court reporters, etc., etc. The fact that both lawyer’s cases started the same day was a complete coincidence. There’s not some hidden secret there that will help explain the puzzle.
By Wednesday afternoon, both trials were finished. Now, to the riddle…
Defense lawyers talk of one-word verdicts (it’s a euphemism for a loss) and two-word verdicts (wooohooo!). AKA, “guilty” and “not guilty” if you want it literally spelled out.
In this instance, if you combined the number of words in all the verdicts in their cases, the total was two. Two words total, when added together. Seems like two bad results from the clients’ perspectives, eh?
Yet neither client was convicted. Solve away… (Answer now provided after the break)
Update/Answer: Thanks for playing, everyone. The answer is that 2 + 0 = 2.
One verdict of “not guilty” for two words + a mistrial for a total of zero more = two words total. D.A.C. guessed hung jury in the comments, so he got it right. In the actual example, one of the lawyers ran the panel on can’t-give-minimum-punishment, so a jury was never seated, but it was a mistrial either way.
A couple of IANALs guessed dismissed/dismissed and acquitted/acquitted, but those answers aren’t quite correct, since they aren’t verdicts. If not guilty/dismissed had been guessed, it probably would have received full credit, since dismissed isn’t a verdict, and that would still add up to 2. The state can theoretically dismiss a case with prejudice during trial.
Tue, 21 Sep 2010 16:06:44 -0600
One of the big boys on the blawk sent me an email with a subject line the same as the title of this post. In its entirety, the email read “???”.*
OK, point well taken. I’ve been in a blogging slump, and to break out of it, I’m going to commit one of the greatest sins of the blogosphere. I’m going to write about why I haven’t posted anything recently.
Awww to hell with that, I’m gonna write up a list of reasons, and assign truth percentages to them.
My RSS reader broke, and once I stopped paying as much attention to the rest of the blogosphere, my blogging died down significantly. This actually happened. FeedDemon started screwing up sometime after they went to a Google News Reader feed system, and I really had trouble keeping up. All the feeds kept going down. I called Greenfield about it, because I thought I remembered him mentioning the same problem, and he said yeah, his broke too. Of course, he still posts three to five times between 6:40 and 7:05 a.m., so let’s give this a 0%.
I’m going through a professional mid-life crisis and I’m too depressed to write about work. No, I’m not depressed, but maybe it’s a small time blog-life crisis. Let’s concede 5%.
It stopped being fun. This is related to some of the other partially true answers. No percentage assigned.
I’ve become addicted to World of Warcraft and can’t stop playing long enough to log out and blog. 0% - but see Civilization V, released yesterday. This could be my excuse for not blogging in the future. Just. One. More. Turn.
I fell out of the habit. Yeah, this is prolly 70% of it. It gets easier and easier to not do something over time. I mean if it has been two or three days since I posted, better snap to it. 30 days? 60 days? What’s one more day?
Maybe I’m back. We’ll see. Here’s my first one back. First – because complaining about why you don’t blog isn’t really posting at all.
(*Actually, if you include Mark’s email signature, it included contact info, blog and website URLs, and Skype and Twitter links. A signature that’s 50 to 100 times the character length of the content.)(image)
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 15:01:41 -0600From the internet guru girl blog: Personal note from CEO of IGG: While there are many ways to project your business on line, you have to make sure you feel comfortable with the company or person you are intrusting[sic] your site and online marketing to. Make sure you understand what it does, what you expect from it, and know that IGG is telling you that the web works better than any other medium but you have to allow the features you’ve chose to work together. IGG will not encourage you to do anything that isn’t in your best interest. Thank you! Sparta Townson Sparta is right. Outsource your marketing, outsource your ethics. Everyone in the blogosphere agrees. That’s why I was surprised to have to give her a call. I had finished two conversations with horrified clients of IGG, who were completely unaware that they were paying her to spam my blog. One of those clients has been fielding phone calls from other bloggers who were kind enough to let him know that IGG was leaving comments like these: [Name of Lawyer] Divorce Attorney Fathers rights Attorney Family lawyer Military family law and Houston Criminal Defense Attorney When you are facing criminal charges, every aspect of your life is subject to negative effects. Not only is your freedom threatened, but also your relationships with family and friends, your job and even your health are at risk. All comments came with the obligatory URL from a backlink bot. I received 30 to 40 identical comments to different posts in the space of just over an hour. I let her clients know that if this little ole, rarely updated, and less frequently read blog was getting hit, that there were probably some of the bigger blogs on the block being targeted as well. And that some blogging lawyers don’t start with a “Hey, did you know what your SEO person is doing?” phone call… they just lash out with the name of the offending lawyer in the title of the post. Sparta had already heard from at least one unhappy client by the time I spoke with her, but was not at all sympathetic to my plight. She asked if my blog was open or closed, and told me that since it was open, my comment section was fair game. What I got from the conversation was that she would damn well put whatever idiotic comments she wanted on my blog, and happily associate her client’s names to them, as often as she pleased, and that there was nothing I could do about it. Open blog, therefore the fault was mine. I asked her if there were any other techniques she uses on behalf of her clients that she would like me to include in an upcoming post. She told me I was threatening her, and mentioned defamation of character, but hung up before I completed my next thought. Sparta, it’s not a threat, it’s a promise. After all, you encourage folks to find out what an SEO marketer does before hiring one. I’m just doing my part.[...]