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Wake-Up Call: New Trial Ordered After Lawyer Kept Falling Asleep

Attorney Stanton Levenson gives new meaning to the saying, "you snooze, you lose."

After James Nassida was convicted of mortgage fraud, a federal judge ordered a new trial because the attorney kept falling asleep during the proceedings. How bad was it?

It was so bad the client said he had to nudge the attorney awake every day during the weeks-long trial. It was so bad the opposing counsel had to tell the judge about it in the middle of the trial. It was so bad even the jurors deliberated about it.

It gets better, or worse, depending on your perspective. Here are a few gems from the judge's order granting a new trial:

Want to start a New Wave cover band, performing the greatest hits from Boy George and Flock of Seagulls? Have you always wanted to stick a neckerchief and sleeveless denim jacket and do your best "Born to Run," maybe backed by the F Street Band?

Go for it. Even when you're a millionaire, that cover-band cash could keep rolling in. That was one of the revelations in the White House financial disclosures released last week, which noted that White House counsel Don McGahn made $2.4 million at Jones Day last year, with a few grand on the side coming from the '80s cover band, Scott's New Band.

Clever, subtle, cutting judicial citations are nothing new. The Ninth Circuit's recent opinion halting President Trump's travel ban is a perfect example, full as it was of citations to cases like Ex parte Endo (leading to the end of Japanese internment) and Texas v. United States (halting President Obama's immigration reforms.) There are the sorts of smack downs by way of the Blue Book that make judicial writing a treat.

But there's another, more interesting citation style trending among the judiciary lately: clever, unexpected cites to unexpected, perhaps incongruous, pop culture touchstones, be they 80s sitcoms or horror movie classics.

It's not often that courts provide us with insight into sexual intercourse. But yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court shed some much-needed light on that topic.

If you're looking for some tips into the arts erotic, though, this isn't the case to turn to. (I don't believe such a case exists, but correct me if I'm wrong.) Rather, this is a case of statutory interpretation, one that forced the court to decide whether "sexual intercourse" was limited to good ol' penile-vaginal fornication or covered the gay kind of lovemaking as well.

Miami Lawyer's Pants Literally Catch Fire During an Arson Trial

Lawyer, lawyer, pants on fire!

For real. You can't make this stuff up.

A Miami lawyer's pants literally caught fire in the middle of his closing argument on behalf of a client who was charged with arson. Attorney Stephen Guitierrez noticed that his pocket felt hot, and then saw smoke coming out. He exited quickly, stage right.

"I noticed the heat was intensifying and left the courtroom as quickly as possible -- straight into the bathroom," he told the ABA Journal.

Avoiding perjury can be a tricky thing, especially if you're a high-ranking public official. Whether you're testifying before a grand jury or the subject of a Congressional hearing, you can expect to face hours of probing. It's almost hard not to slip up and misstate a few essential facts, right?

Don't worry, though. If you ever find yourself questioned about secret White House tapes or clandestine talks with your Russian counterparts, we've got your back. Here are three tips and tricks to help you survive even the toughest scrutiny and come out perjury-free.

Top Hollywood Myths About Lawyers

Hollywood lawyers -- those characters created for movies and television -- represent both truths and falsehoods about lawyers in real life.

Bold or brash? Smart or smart-aleck? Self-assured or self-centered? Criminal attorney or redundancy?

Seriously, the line between fact and fiction sometimes can be quite thin. After all, everyone has seen one real-life lawyer like Vinny Gambini from "My Cousin Vinny" or at least one with a really bad suit.

There are Hollywood myths, however. They are stories built upon false beliefs, not to be confused with true legends that seem bigger than life. Let's try to sort out the differences:

When Adam MacLeod got a traffic-cam ticket, he wasn't about to just cut a check and call it a day. Being an associate professor of law, MacLeod decided to fight the ticket. Or rather, as he describes it, to turn "a routine traffic ticket into the constitutional trial of the century."

Not one to toot his own horn, MacLeod says he's recounting his tale of legal terror and triumph "only to show how our ruling elites have corrupted the rule of law and to suggest why this matters for the American experiment in self-governance." Plus, he got out of the ticket.

The legal twitterverse is an interesting place. Every day, you've got top lawyers, legal scholars, and even judges tweeting their thoughts and insights. And FindLaw is right there beside them.

Over the past year, our FindLaw for Legal Professionals account sent out more than 2,000 tweets. They were smart, helpful, funny, and, since this is the internet, occasionally filled with gifs of cats. Here are our top six of the past year.

A judge in New York City found himself on the other side of the bench this week, facing assault charges after he allegedly cold-cocked a Legal Aid attorney at a law firm party in October.

The judge, Robert Beltrani, was visibly drunk when he got into a verbal spat with Sam Roberts, a public defender, the New York Daily News reports. As Beltrani turned to walk away, the judge allegedly sucker punched him -- but not before yelling "Yeah, I'm the judge. I do justice and I f--ing kill people!"