Propinquity: it's a fancy way of saying two things are close together. Social psychologists have found that it is a great predictor of whether two people will end up romantically intertwined, and it was a great excuse to date the girl down the hall back in college.
It's also the reason why Connecticut just crapped on fundamental rights by carving additional exceptions into protections against unlawful search and seizure -- guy near guy who looks like other guy loses his rights.
Besides that depressing note, our roundup this week includes a lawyer barred from representing women ever again (huh?), and a classic example of why do-it-yourself legal forms are still a stupid idea.
Simple Justice: Connecticut Exceptionalism
Burgos and Kelly were stopped by the police for walking. Why? The police thought Burgos was Gomez. And Kelly was standing nearby:
"Burgos was scary, because he could have been Gomez if he hadn't been Burgos, and somebody said Gomez might be armed. So Burgos' rights are compromised because the cops had no clue who he was, and the First Rule of Policing [officer safety trumps all constitutional rights] entitles them to be scared. As courts are wont to explain, cops aren't expected to be perfect, which entitles them to act upon ignorance whenever possible.
But what of Kelly? He wasn't Gomez. He wasn't even Burgos, who at least was guilty of standing there looking all Hispanic and stuff. Kelly had the misfortune of propinquity, the word used by the Supreme Court in Ybarra v. Illinois to explain that being in the proximity of someone the police can lawfully toss doesn't create suspicion to toss him as well. But that's in the United States of America. Kelly was in Connecticut."
Scott Greenfield, at his curmudgeonly best y'all. He explains the ridiculous case and the dangerous holding: a guy standing near a guy who looks like a guy that may be armed can be searched as part of some sort of protective stop.
ATL Redline: Lawyer Asked To Not Represent Women: Otherwise, No Concerns
Lawyer is barred, for life, from representing female clients, thanks to what appears to be a series of creepy encounters. (At one point, he offered to exchange legal services for a massage.)
Elie asks: why the hell is he still allowed to represent anyone, especially since he violated a previous order not to represent women eleven times?
Oh, and this was also in Connecticut.
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ABA Journal: Estate dispute caused by 'E-Z Legal Form' is a 'cautionary tale,' says justice
Drafting a will can't be that difficult, can it? Heck, you can find templates online for free!
Except, sometimes, those templates suck. And sometimes, they lack a residuary clause. And then nieces, contrary to the deceased's express wishes, get a windfall. From the ABA Journal:
Concurring Justice Barbara Pariente saw the ruling as a cautionary tale. "While I appreciate that there are many individuals in this state who might have difficulty affording a lawyer," Pariente said, "this case does remind me of the old adage 'penny-wise and pound-foolish.' ...
Ain't that the truth.
- Dropping Bars and Bodies II: Court Nixes Lyrical Conviction (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Holler: Our Favorite Posts From the Blawgosphere (Week of July 27) (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- ABA's 'Missouri Project' Quantifies Overworked Public Defender Stereotype (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)