Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Top 30 Reasons to Go to UVa Law: Reason #20

There is a Raising Cane's in Charlottesville!!

Now, I remember thinking, during my first encounter w/Cane's chicken fingers, that they were way overrated and not worth the hype. The chicken was tender and juicy, but bland... very, very bland. The sauce and crinkle-cut fries were good, but nothing to write home about. (Albeit, the Texas toast was pretty damn good, but I digress.) However, upon discovering the top-secret recipe for Cane's sauce, my addiction seems to make a lot of sense.

Behold, the top-secret recipe for Cane's sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup crack
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • ground black pepper to taste
Yep, makes a whole lot of sense now. However, it should be noted that I have yet to try Cane's while intoxicated, so that could be easily be tainting my view on the taste (or lack thereof). 

More of the top 30 reasons to attend to UVa law to come, as I think of them, and in no particular order!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Help Wanted

Wanted: Reliable legal assistant to start immediately

Description: Selecting my spring elective courses, doing my reading assignments and providing me with concise, accurate summaries, so that I don't look like an idiot in class, taking my exams, being my personal designated driver, and anything else I tell you to do. Experience taking law school exams a plus. Must be smarter than me. Must have own reliable transportation. Must guarantee me a 4.0 GPA and perform all of my subsequent duties as editor-in-chief of the law review.

Salary: Free drinks on Bar Review nights (limited to 2- I said you were going to be required to drive my drunk ass home, remember?), an unlimited supply of flash drives, highlighters, pens, and sticky notes, and various assorted pieces of candy will be awarded as bonuses for exemplary performance.

Inquire within.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The hardest part of law school is. . .

. . .having to be objective! This is especially tough when one party is clearly a douche. In this case I had to read for crim, this guy shot a group of four boys on the subway because he thought they were going to rob him. What made him think this? The boys approached him, without weapons or issuing threats, and said, "give us $5." Again, still no threats, and they merely repeated themselves a second time. So, what does the defendant do? He stands up, pulls out his unlicensed/unregistered gun and shoots them! When he notices that he missed one of the boys, he shoots the kid again. To the defendant's credit, there was some evidence introduced that the boys did intend to rob him, and the defendant admitted that he bought the gun after being mugged in the past, but this next part is what gets me. Immediately after successfully shooting the fourth boy, the defendant fled the scene. A whopping NINE (9!) days later, the defendant surrenders himself to police and gives them a voluntary statement. What does the idiot say in his statement? He says that if he had a little more self control, instead of firing at the boy he had originally missed from a distance, he would've walked up to him and put the barrel to his forehead and fired, and furthermore, that if he had had more bullets, he would have shot them again, and again, and again!! Seriously, way to establish the intent requisite for your conviction, moron! THEN, in court, the idiot tries to use the justification defense of self-defense!! Self-defense implies that your intent was not to commit the crime (murder), but instead to defend yourself from what you perceived as an imminent threat. Yeah, ok, and NINE days later, after you are far removed from the fear you experienced during the actual situation, you told police, in a voluntary recorded statement, that your only regret is basically not murdering the kids?! Yet you assert that your intent was not to murder and really to defend yourself?! Idiot.

In the first part of my rant, I ignored the fact that the adult man, in asserting this defense, is claiming that he felt threatened enough to shoot at the oh so big and scary young boys who had no guns and made no threats, who merely told you to get them $5!! Ok, so maybe this guy has PTSD from his previous mugging experience, so he really did feel threatened (maybe even justifiably so). However, what about the fact that during a mugging/robbery, the objective of the person committing the crime is to get your money, which, in this case, the boys asserted was $5. How is keeping your $5 worth doing something that you know will likely result in legal problems (shooting at the kids)?!?! Seriously, if you're so afraid for your life, why not just give them the $5 rather than risk something that could potentially result in you going to jail, and that the very least, will probably result in the hassle of litigation?!?!

I acknowledge that I don't know what PTSD is like, but that's beside the point, since that's merely the defense that the guy SHOULD HAVE used, but since the guy's defense attorney apparently sucked, it wasn't the defense the guy ACTUALLY used. He used the justification defense of self-defense, which implies fear of harm inducing one to try and protect themselves. However, I just don't see where the "fear" was in this situation. He didn't act like a person who was in fear, rather, he acted like a person who was pissed off at the prospect of being mugged/robbed again, as evident from his statement given nine days after the fact.

I'm also not ignoring the fact that people should have a right to try and protect themselves from being robbed— it's your money, and you should be entitled to protect it; however, this guys shooting was so patently unjustified. The kids did NOTHING to make him feel fear, so his first attempt at protecting his property should have been to just refuse to give the kids the $5. I mean, he was on a public subway train with lots of people around, so what are the kids, none of whom weren't brandishing a weapon or issuing a physical threat, reasonably going to do with him if he doesn't give them the $5? At this point, the worst they would reasonably do would be to pull out weapons, if they had them, or issue threats. This would justify the guy's shooting action, but this isn't what happened!

Hell, I would even go so far as to say that I would be able to see where the guy was coming from if he had merely busted out his gun and threatened the kids in response to them saying, "give us $5." It's not what most reasonable people would do in that situation, but having previously undergone a traumatic mugging experience, the guy is understandably a bit paranoid. Again, not an ideal situation necessarily, but at least the defendant would have been more justified in asserting his defense. Yet again, this is not what happened!

 Just how this tool and his attorney thought that they stood a smidgeon of a chance at successfully asserting a self-defense justification is really beyond me. If I were a public defender and got stuck with the unfortunate duty of representing a moron like this, who voluntarily hung himself by proving one of the tougher portions of the prosecution's case, I would hedge my bets on an insanity defense because reasonable people faced with the same situation would not react the way the defendant did. I wish casebooks came with a feature where you could somehow reach into the casebook and bitchslap parties who are blatant tools. At the very least, they should provide me the email address/contact info. for this guy's defense attorney so that I can tell him that I heard that McDonald's is currently hiring dependable employees who have reliable transportation.

Then again, I'm not an attorney specializing in criminal law, so what do I know?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hilarity, check it

Law students will appreciate this: My New Outline Youtube Video.

Weekly Recap

I'm thinking that my next post will definitely be something humorous, I promise, but here's a nice mediocre one:

If this blog ever manages to reach readers who are thinking about law school, I figured they might appreciate knowing what a law student actually does with their time, so I'm going to try to do weekly recaps (both law school and non-law school related). I think many of my fellow 1L classmates will agree with me that this has been one of the most draining weeks of the semester, and no, they certainly aren't all like this one! On Monday, I had a practice midterm in Contracts, and on Wednesday, the outline of my major memo was due for Legal Research and writing. For those of you who don't know, in most law school classes, there is just one exam-- the final exam, and that serves as your entire grade for the course. Knowing that this puts a lot of pressure on 1Ls who are new to law school and have no idea what a law school exam is really like, some professors will give you what's called a "practice midterm." During the first semester at UVa, each 30-person 1L section has a class, in addition to legal writing, that is with only their section. My "small section class" happens to be contracts. The professor of your small section class is required to give you a practice midterm, to which they will assign you a letter grade.

This practice midterm serves several purposes. For one, it helps to get you used to what a typical law school exam is like in terms of content and timing (although, they're given during the class period, so they're nowhere near as long as an actual final exam, which lasts about 4 hours) and will provide you with feedback as to how you're doing (no, I haven't gotten mine back yet). Also, at UVa, you're required to take all of your final exams on a laptop. UVa also does blind grading, and how this works is that you're assigned a blind grading number with which you submit your exam. By the way, yes, this means that any miserable "cold calls" you may experience in class, where you thought you said something completely stupid, really won't affect your grade, so relax!  Anyway, since you find your blind grading numbers and submit your exam online, it helps to do a dry run to get students used to the processes of locating their blind grading number and online submission. Furthermore, it simply helps to get students used to the testing environment (e.g. the nonstop clicking of keyboards as everyone is furiously typing away, etc.). Practice midterms are totally optional, but highly recommended.

Anyway, on to slightly more exciting topics. . .

During the beginning of the week, one of my roommates was eating raw cookie dough. I'm kinda bummed that she has reminded me of its amazing existence. Anyway, by Wednesday night, my craving for some Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough got so strong that I had to brave the cold and make a Kroger run to satisfy my craving. While heading to the checkout aisle, I noticed a giant bin full of snuggies, so I made an impulse buy. For those of you who do not already own a snuggie, I highly recommend investing in one. For those of you who are perplexed, a snuggie is a fleece blanket with sleeves, and they only cost about $12.99. I ordinarily try to avoid "as seen on TV" products, but I could not pass this one up. I only have a couple of complaints about my snuggie. It's really warm, but I still wish you could tie it up like a bathrobe; however, you just kind of have to wrap it around yourself. The bigger issue is that snuggies are "one size fits all." Now, this is a problem because, for those of you who don't know me, I'm a female who is between 5'5"-5'6" and weighs about 120 lbs (read: I'm not a big person). Basically, my royal blue snuggie makes me look like Merlin, the wizard (Fantasia, here I come!), because it is ridiculously long, and the sleeves are also ridiculously long. Someone suggested that I cut the sleeves, which I may end up doing, but then I'll look like Merlin, the hobo (but mostly, I ordinarily don't like mutilating my stuff, even if it is practical). However, what the snuggie lacks in practicality, it makes up for in comfort! Honestly, I may very well break down and start wearing that thing to class every day-- it is that awesome. Do yourself a favor and get one. Seriously. Do it.

Damn, Billy Mays ain't got nothing on me! Anyway, ...

I skipped out on Bar Review this week, unfortunately. I was just way too tired, and it was also to cold and rainy for me to want to venture outside. For those of you who don't know, Bar Review is a Thursday night event, where all of the law students go to a different bar every week, and there are typically drink specials and whatnot. It's a lot of fun and a decent way to meet other law students outside of your 1L section, with whom you will spend the bulk of your time during the first semester. Basically, I just "vegged out" all night, followed by a nice full night's sleep. As usual, dragging myself out of bed for my only Friday class, 10 AM Criminal Law, was tough, but I managed. I can't wait until next semester when I have class at 8:30 AM on Fridays--who did I piss off to get stuck with that schedule? Anyway, after class, I watched last night's episode of the Office online (they're posted on nbc.com for free viewing, in case anyone wants to know, and they usually stay up for a couple of months before they are replaced by newer episodes). Aside from a few shows, I don't watch too much TV, and my roommates and I are broke law students, so we elected not to get cable. It's not a big deal though; I can do the bulk of my TV watching for free online.

I just love to go on tangents! Anyway, I did some more tooling around on facebook, and now I'm here. Typical lazy Friday afternoon, I suppose. How is it already almost 2 pm?? Where does the time go?? Anyway, I'm off to go shower and do stuff around the house, and then it's off to dinner with a few people from my section. Stay classy, C-ville!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Whoever said law school and sex didn't mix?

So, we’ve just started a unit on rape in crim, and for today’s [and by today, I mean a week ago, when I actually drafted this] class, we read a pretty interesting case. The facts are as follows: this woman testifies that she met this creepy guy in a bar, who asked her for a ride home. She agreed, and when they got to his place, he invited her in and she decline, whereupon he grabbed her keys out of the ignition and told her that she would have to come upstairs with him in order to get them back. She claimed to be scared and confused at this point, but she went upstairs with him anyway. Once they were inside his apartment, he left her alone for about five minutes, presumably to use the communal bathroom down the hall. During this time, the woman made no attempt to escape. The guy came back, told her to sit down, and then wound up pulling her on to the bed. At this point, she said she started crying, and he lightly began to choke her to get her to stop crying. She asked him whether, if she cooperated, he would let her go, and he said that he would. So, they have sex, he walks her to her car, and she leaves.
            Now, for his version of events… He said that he asked if she would like to come home with him, to which she replied that she did. He denies taking her keys and choking her and alleges that the sex was totally consensual. He said that after they had sex, she started crying and was distraught. She asked if she could leave, he walked her to the car, and she left.
            Note, that there was no proof of physical force, no evidence, no witnesses, etc. Here’s the punch line: my home state handed this guy what could potentially have been a 20-year sentence (I have no idea what he actually got in sentencing) based upon a he said-she said situation. Now, feminist readers may hate me for this, but my initial reaction upon reading this case was to wonder just how the hell it managed to get past a motion for summary judgment! I couldn’t understand how anyone could conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this guy was guilty of rape. Why even let this case go to the jury?! I sat there in class, quietly plotting my revenge against all males who have ever wronged me… just kidding!
            On one hand, there was no evidence, the guy’s version of events was perfectly plausible, and the woman had plenty of opportunity to leave what she alleged to be an uncomfortable situation. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT suggesting that rape isn’t wrong, or that rape is typically the woman’s fault—that’s certainly not the case. However, in an ambiguous situation like this, I don’t think it’s unfair or unreasonable for the law to impose some duty on people to remove themselves from situations in which they feel uncomfortable. At the point when the guy allegedly took the car keys, he posed no physical threat to her and gave no indication that he had a weapon or anything like that. Your car is not worth jeopardizing your safety, and if you call the police, you even stand a good chance of getting the car back. If you feel uncomfortable, just leave. She also had those five minutes while he was using the bathroom, but I digress. I understand that it’s difficult for people to think straight when they’re scared, the effect of which would certainly be profound if he had had a gun or threatened her in some way. However, I don’t think that mere discomfort, especially absent a physical threat, should absolve people of all duties to think and exercise common sense.
            As I dwelled on this case, another point began to emerge. I thought to myself, “Ok, so let’s assume that he didn’t rape her, why would she go through the burden and expense of litigation?” I came up with a couple of answers to this question: either 1) she’s a crazy bitch with a personal vendetta against men or 2) he did something else to piss her off for which she seeks revenge. However, if answer #2 were the case, one would assume that the guy would mention in his testimony anything he knew of that might have given her a motive to seek revenge. It’s difficult to assess just how plausible #1 is, especially given the fact (which I neglected to mention earlier) that in the guy’s testimony, he mentioned that while they were in the car, she told him all about her failing marriage and her previous experiences with rape. Upon considering these additional facts, the “personal vendetta” theory seems to look less like a conspiracy theory. However, there’s also the equally valid option #3, which is that she’s going to all this trouble because he really did rape her and she seeks the justice to which she is entitled.
            The law certainly isn’t fair, and these factors are really tough to balance. Do we want to protect women from rape at the expense of robbing a few innocent men of significant period of freedom? Do we want to deter men from committing rape? If we are convicting innocent men, does this even serve the purpose of deterrence? Do we want to impose a duty on women to think with some level of clarity during extremely difficult situations? Comments welcomed.

First Post!

Welcome to my blog! Honestly, the main purpose of this blog is to provide me with something to do during certain classes. Ok, seriously, I thought it might be fun to have a forum in which to rant about all things law school-related and non-law school-related. I get bored and need yet another mode of procrastination. Also, I figured that anyone considering law school might be interested in an honest account of the law school experience (both at UVA and in general). Along those lines, feel free to ask me any questions about law school, UVA, the meaning of life, etc., and I'll do my best to try and answer them.

Alright, so this first post is very boring, which may be because I'm currently sitting in a very boring class (to cover myself, should my professors find this somehow, I will refrain from actually publishing this post until the end of the day). In case I should someday gain the level of notoriety that some law school blogs have, this for my professors: I love all of your classes! Anyway, enjoy! Comments welcome!