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Messages - PSUDSL08

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Current Law Students / Re: Some help in choosing classes
« on: July 11, 2008, 08:33:37 PM »
Here is my list:

evidence: 4 credits

crim pro 1:  3 credits

Business crimes and corporate litigation: 2 credits

Appellate advocacy: 2 credits

LLC,Agency partnership: 2 credits

Torts: 4 credits

I want to take LLC, since I plan on starting my own firm/partnership 1 year after law school.
The idea of working 12-16 hour for someone else sickens me.

Do you think I am taking too many classes this semester, if anything I could take LLC/Partnership next semester with corporations/ fed. income taxation. That would be 10, and I can throw in a clinic with crim pro II. 

I took 17 and 16 my last two spring semesters, but one of those three credit courses was with a professor known as "Easy A (omitting last name)." So aside from the 2-3 days it took me to write the paper for the course, I essentially had 14 and 13 credits those semesters.

I'd def replace agency with something easier this semester. Your next semester, while your three courses are going to be more difficult in nature, it's only 10 credits worth of gut classes in addition to your clinic. And is crim pro really a two-semester course? 

Current Law Students / Re: Here's the dealio
« on: July 10, 2008, 10:27:09 AM »
From a financial standpoint, a kid with mediocre grades in high school would be far better off joining an ironworker's union (had a friend making $60K+ at age 20 with the potential to make $100K+ as a foreman) than going to Dingleberry State University just to land some run of the mill entry level business job starting at $35K while having to make payments of $500 a month for the next 30 years. Similarly, a person would be far better off skipping law school and starting off in that entry level $35K/yr insurance sales job and gaining 3 years of experience and standard bonuses in the field rather than dumping $100K+ into an education to land a job as a prosecutor starting at $40K. But if the kid would rather sell life insurance plans than dangle from a crane or would rather try cases instead of selling life insurance plans, can you really blame them?

The people who are "shocked" by the idea that not all lawyers are wealthy, successful, and/or happy are those that have failed to do their research ahead of time. From my experience at a T4 and now a T2 school, there are far more people who bought into the idea that a law degree is a big money earner than those who were fully aware of the consequences of pursuing this degree. This is why I'm a firm believer that most students who go straight from undergrad to law school are making a mistake because they are not really getting an idea as to whether an alternative career that requires no further financial investment would be desirable.

I think it's also unreasonable to assume that the small percentage of law students who do land those BigLaw jobs are going to be happy as well. You might very well be satisfied on more than a financial level with a position like this, but on the other might realize that you're balding and gaining weight at the rate of the common 65 year old, that you rarely see your kids, and that you can't get it up for your wife anymore because of the long hours and stress that accompanies such a line of work.

Job Search / Re: Recent Grad Unsure As to Future Career Path
« on: July 05, 2008, 11:05:35 AM »
Would you be interested in doing criminal defense work? For a lot of attorneys, that seems to pay more than prosecutors.  And in many jurisdictions, there seems to be a lot of movement between the two (I know many prosecutors who've left and went into crim defense to make more money, and know just as many former defense attorneys who are now prosecutors).

The idea of "helping others" in my future line of work is fairly important to me. I can justify working the long hours necessary as a personal injury attorney (non-ambulance chaser) on the basis that I am helping people to receive deserved compensation for their injuries as opposed to keeping insurance companies rich. Same with being a prosecutor/US attorney for obvious reasons.

I have toyed with the idea of doing criminal defense work. I can also justify this line of work on a moral basis as well (i.e. all people entitled to competent counsel, prevent oppressive police tactics, etc). However, I think I would have a hard time representing a child molester or rapist if I believe they actually committed the crime.

I plead guilty to penal code 220.16 criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree (heroin)in 2007 as a youthful defender and was given 5 years probation no felony. However, I am now an outstanding student and was wondering if i would be admitted into a law school with this background?

I also was given this plead (after several other offers)  because of my outstanding performance in high school/college but I am now a junior and expecting to graduate in 2010 and I really would like to attend law school. I am an intern for a congress member as well.

I grew up in a drug infected environment/family (New York city/Harlem) which clouded my decision making at times. I am a foster child and I grew up without parents and thought my life was over so i turned to drugs in my need of support. However, i learned a lot from my mistakes which lead me to law. So, if anyone can provide any information in regards to admission to law school it would be gladly appreciated. Thank you

If you refrain from engaging in any further illegal activity, I think you will be ok. In fact, your struggles throughout life could serve as an excellent topic for a personal statement if portrayed in an appropriate manner. If you focus on how you came from an environment riddled with rampant drug use, momentarily became a product of that environment, but learned from your mistakes and persevered to become a top student and congressional intern...that this would serve as one of the most compelling personal statements an admissions committee member could come across.

What if they were two little girls playing hide-and-go-seek?  What if they were soviet troops who had just parachuted in during a wartime invasion?

I am not going to address a bunch of facts that aren't true so that someone can make some strained race-based argument.  The facts are what they are.  They were two career criminals doing something extremely dangerous.  They suffered the consequence. 

Please explain how the act was extremely dangerous as it pertains to homeowners, Horn himself, or anyone in the general vicinity. The career criminals may have been engaged in an act that was dangerous to their own interests, but the overwhelming evidence indicates that the act itself was not dangerous to anyone else. The two men knew nobody was present at the home, and Horn himself knew that his neighbors were out of town. They entered a residence that was currently unoccupied by use of a crowbar to steal some personal items. They did not approach Horn or any third parties in a threatening manner throughout the course of the encounter.

Ultimately under 9.42(2)(B) a burglary was committed. However, the entire issue of this case turns on whether, under (2)(B) Horn reasonably believed that the deadly force was immediately necessary to prevent the men, after burglarizing the neighbor's home, from escaping with the property. I think it's fair to assume that if Horn's belief was reasonable under 2B, he would be able to meet 3B (i.e. that he couldn't attempt to stop two men, one of whom had a crowbar, from escaping without shooting them). Not sure what Texas law is regarding the burden of proof with regards to affirmative defense, but I'm guessing that it's a preponderance of the evidence showing.

It's been a while since I listened to the call myself, but I'd ask anyone who is attempting to justify the grand jury's findings on a legal basis (and not a moral or emotional basis) to listen to the 911 call in its entirety. Horn described the two men with particularity (dress, appearance, and the like) as they entered the home and the operator informed him that police were on the way. The police did take longer to respond than what is optimal under the circumstances, but the sirens could be heard in the distance prior to the flight. The two men began to flee after hearing the sirens. So just prior to the shooting as the sirens blared, Horn knew several squad cars were close to the scene of the crime and that the police had a fairly detailed description of the men from Horn's own mouth. From my recollection of the events, the police arrived to Horn's home about a minute after the shooting. Considering the fact that (1) several squad cars were approaching the scene of the crime and (2) that the cops had a fairly detailed description of who they were looking for and (3) Horn's statements throughout indicating that he was going to shoot them no matter what...there is at least enough evidence to indict Horn.

Is society better off now that two reckless criminals are off the street? Probably. Will this case serve to deter potential future criminals of burglarizing homes in Texas? Probably. But juries are asked to disregard their preconceived notions of fairness and retribution and examine the facts as they exist. The objective facts indicate that due to the police response at the time of flight, and the knowledge within Horn's arsenal that was properly dispensed to the operator, that deadly force was not necessary to apprehend the suspects and recover the stolen goods.

It is a very sad state of affairs in this country when your government won't lift a finger to stop a plague of violent illegal aliens, when the police will not respond promptly to the commission of an inherently dangerous felony, and when half the country votes for a political party that has done everything possible to take away citizens' best means of defense.

In Texas, what he did is legal.  I don't know if I personally could do it, but I am glad that two dangerous illegal alien recidivist felons are not out breaking into others' homes.

There are so many things wrong with this set of statements, I don't know where to start.

First, burglary is not an inherently dangerous can be dangerous based upon the facts and circumstances of the case. In the 911 tape, Horn specifically mentioned that he was aware that his neighbors were out of town. Apparently, the burglars were also aware of this fact too and they decided to cash in on their unavailability. This resembles a common  theft more than it does a robbery. Would you consider it to be inherently dangerous if someone were to pick a lock with a paper clip, reach his arm through the door, and grab a wallet off a table? Because that's burglary too.

If these were 17 year old white high school boys who wanted to steal a few items to sell at a local pawn shop, I highly doubt that you'd be singing the same tune. Instead, you justify what occurred on the basis that it's two less illegal aliens our country has to deal with.

I'll trust the grand jury, who heard all the evidence and examined the applicable laws.

Do you really have trust for the common jury? The average jury member either (1) forms an opinion and sticks to that opinion regardless of what direction the evidence points (2) wants the same amount of evidence to find guilt that would be found in a Law & Order episode dramatizing the same incident. I think it's pretty clear that an all white jury from his locale viewed him as a hero and not a criminal and chose not to indict him on that basis.

The recorded 911 call had the following pieces of evidence for consideration:
-Horn's Statements: Horn stated throughout (1) how he "knows his rights" and was planning on shooting them if they came onto his property (2) kept repeating "I'm going to have to shoot them, I have no other choice" several minutes before they even set foot on his property (3) he described what the men were carrying, in which the only thing that could be construed as a deadly weapon was the crowbar
-Operator Statements: the operator kept telling him that they had police on the way, and specifically instructed him to go inside his house, put his gun away, and calm down

Ultimately the grand jury was faced with this LEGAL issue: "Did Horn reasonably believe that if he didn't shoot the men, he would have been exposed to substantial bodily harm?" The one burglar had a crowbar, the other had a bag of trinkets, and neither man ran towards Horn in a threatening manner. The men were not trying to run into his home to seek shelter, but were merely running on his property so as to escape from the scene of the burglary. In fact, the mere pointing of the gun in the direction of the burglars was enough to leave them running with their backs exposed to him. No reasonable person in Horn's shoes could have concluded that firing a shotgun was necessary to prevent him from substantial bodily harm.

Well, it's not even self defense,
The Texas Penal Code allows the use of deadly force if the “actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary.” Deadly force can also be used to protect property when “the other is fleeing immediately after committing burglary.”

So you can kill someone to defend your property from theft... so in theory a store clerk can shoot fleeing robbers in the back, or anyone, can shoot anyone else to protect any property, regardless if it's yours.

Just to clarify, the two guys broke into his neighbor's house (when the neighbors weren't home) and briefly ran across Horn's lawn. I'm not sure what the Texas burglary statute is, but I'm assuming that their actions didn't rise to the level of burglary (i.e that the two men had an "intent to commit a felony" at the time they entered Horn's property). So the grand jury believed that Horn "reasonably believed that deadly force was necessary" to ward off one guy carrying a tire iron and the other carrying a pillowcase filled with jewelry as they briefly entered his property and began to flee afterwards. Texas law obviously doesn't require that a victim retreat prior to using deadly force.

If you listen to the 911 tape this guy was literally itching for them to come onto his property and was warned a half-dozen times by the operator to go inside and put his gun away. This is something that the Texas legislature should address, and likely wont. This sets a very dangerous precedent for the future. Suppose some dumb 17 year old kids decide to break into someones home and steal a bunch of stuff. The next door neighbor could sit on his stoop with a rifle, and wait for the burglars to run across his lawn in the direction of the house...shoot them both in the head and then claim that he "had no other choice."

This guy is the South's version of Bernie Goetz, except that his actions were far more egregious.

Current Law Students / Re: Studying For The Bar...Well, Trying.
« on: June 30, 2008, 08:51:32 AM »
This is why you're hated here dude. You're the stereotypical obnoxious lawyer that has to assert his authority whenever possible, whether it's $2.50 for a fish sandwich or prohibiting a bunch of old ladies from enjoying themselves. Here's a novel idea, go study at the library. Then at least you can complain to the library staff about the homeless guys hanging out there instead of the old ladies just trying to enjoy themselves before they croak

Current Law Students / Re: Selling books
« on: June 29, 2008, 02:30:10 PM »
Barbri gives you everything you need for the bar exam. Unless you want these books as a keepsake of some sort, you will have no future need for any of them once you graduate.

Job Search / Recent Grad Unsure As to Future Career Path
« on: June 29, 2008, 02:26:23 PM »
Wondering if there's any other grads who are uncertain as to what type of law they want to practice, and how to move forward.

My situation is as follows: I'm a recent grad with very good grades from a T2 school. I will be a judicial clerk (1 yr position) in the Court of Common Pleas in PA, for a judge who deals with civil, criminal, and orphans court cases. I felt that a clerkship is a perfect option for me at this point: it's a nice transition from law school back to the working world, the judge is awesome and is very enthusiastic about mentoring clerks, and I'll get to watch trials in a wide variety of legal areas.

However, after the clerkship ends, I'm not exactly sure what I want to do. I know I want to be a litigator of some sort, but I'm torn between government criminal trial work or chasing the money as a civil litigator. I am about 90% sure I would find a career as a prosecutor or US Attorney to be satisfying, and would like to become a judge someday if this option is available. The only downfall I see with pursuing a career in criminal litigation is the pay.

On the other hand, I worked as a summer associate for a small insurance defense firm last summer and absolutely hated it. I couldn't imagine myself waking up every day and putting in the long hours at a small firm for minimal pay and limited partnership opportunities. I could see myself doing plaintiff's side tort litigation, and would absolutely love to open my own private practice someday after getting a few years of litigation experience under my belt.

Considering my grades and connections in the small market city I want to work, I think I will have some decent options to pursue over the next year or two. I interview pretty well and have the credentials to qualify for a position with the DA's office and the US Atty's office through their honors program. Through her job, my girlfriend provided me with contact information for a handful of attorneys at large firms in the city. I plan on pursuing all of these opportunities in addition to targeting mid sized plaintiffs firms next fall.

I realize that my immediate future will be dictated by the job market and whether or not I can make a favorable impression with these employers to land an offer. And I am certain that I would be perfectly happy in a career as a lower paid government attorney. But part of me wonders whether I could find an equally satisfying career on the plaintiffs' side and make more money in the process. Does anyone have any advice on how to move forward? Thanks for your help..

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