Top Ten Thoughts on Coronavirus (Legal Edition)
10. Lawyers don’t seem to understand that the quarantine doesn’t mean the dress code goes out the door. I know working from home is new for us attorneys and appearing via video conference is foreign, but did it really take a judge to write a letter regarding appropriate work attire. For some reason there were lawyers appearing on video conference who were wearing casual shirts (ok, not really ideal but not crazy), a beach cover-up (unless you’re hoping to distract the judge from your poor legal argument this seems to be a bad idea), and finally the guy who appears shirtless (he either has the confidence of a super hero or has zero fucks left to give).
9. I love that Judges are now making available virtual pre-trial conferences. I know 9Th Judicial Circuit Judge Harris has been doing this for a while. Makes you wonder why it took a worldwide pandemic to make this procedure nearly universal.
8. Indecent exposure is still a crime. COVID-19≠No Laws. Apparently, a person in Taneytown needed that reminder. The local police department posted in Facebook “Please remember to put pants on before leaving the house to check your mailbox. You know who you are. This is your final warning.” On a side note, when I first heard this story, I assumed like everyone else did, must have happened in Florida. So on behalf of all Floridians, thank you Maryland.
7. Harvey Weinstein thought he was getting out of jail because of coronavirus.
6. Michael Avenatti IS actually getting out of jail because of coronavirus.
5. On a more serious note, Florida needs to amend statute 947.149, Conditional Medical Release. A person sentenced to prison in a federal case who is at higher risk of complication from COVID-19 has a vehicle to allow a judge to amend their sentence to terminate incarceration or place on house arrest. It is part of the recently passed First Steps Act in a section on Compassionate Release. The Florida statute doesn’t allow for this and places many vulnerable people at risk of severe illness or death. Our prisons were not built to handle or treat a pandemic and our judiciary should have the ability to address certain inmates with preexisting medical or age-related conditions.
4. Are law students around the country just faking internet issues if their professor calls on them to explain the Rule in Shelley’s Case?
3. President Donald Trump is looking into a pardon for Joe Exotic.
2. Stay at home orders were implemented to enforce social distancing. People are getting arrested and sent to jails. You know, places where people are crammed into small cells and can’t stay six feet apart much less self-isolate. Issue a fine, ok. Issue a criminal notice to appear, maybe. Take to jail, dumb and counterproductive.
1. Under Governor Desantis’s Stay at Home Order, lawyers are essential. However, my wife can’t say lawyers are “essential” without putting air quotes around the term.