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If a prisoner talks to his lawyer in person, at the prison, the prosecutor typically can't eavesdrop.

If he writes his lawyer a letter, the same protections apply.

If they talk on the phone, again, the prosecutor is supposed to back off.

But if the prisoner sends an email to his attorney, the federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are going to read it, and possibly use it against him.

This is a wee bit ridiculous.

New Orleans Attorney Stuart Smith, a notable environmental lawyer, apparently hates noise, fun, and cabaret shows. Robert Watters owns Rick's Cabaret and opposes strict noise ordinances in the French Quarter. On its own, this dispute is unremarkable.

Except Smith allegedly sent a text message to Watters and is now being charged with cyberstalking.

My favorite judge in America, outside of the Supreme Court, just made headlines again. And again, it's for his manner of online speech, rather than the content.

Last time, it was tips for ladies dressing for court, especially when appearing in front of "dirty old male" judges. This time, it's Kopf telling the U.S. Supreme Court to "stfu" (shut the [expletive] up). Both times, good points were masked by hyperbole and coarse language.

Again, it's begging the question: Is it time for Judge Kopf to re-retire his keyboard? And with the demands of avoiding the appearance of impropriety, respect for the office, and political correctness, should judges blog, or tweet, or even go on social media at all?

Judge Brian MacKenzie just can't catch a break.

Back in February, we recapped the rarest of all bench-slappings: a circuit court seizing control of Judge MacKenzie's docket after finding that he ignored the law, handed out illegal sentences, hid or sealed case files, and tweaked court transcripts, all because he didn't want to wait for a prosecutor to show up. Then, in late March, a recording of the Judge pressuring an inmate to drop a police brutality lawsuit surfaced.

Now? Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper is asking that he be held in contempt of court for not disclosing thirty-three additional cases that he mishandled. Plus, he's facing an election challenge for the first time since 1988. Really, 2014 is not his year.

Want to spend more time practicing, and less time advertising? Leave the marketing to the experts.

A recent ethics opinion out of Texas has drawn a lot of scrutiny over its ban on managerial titles for nonlawyers (e.g., Chief Technical Officer) in firms -- indeed, we had a lot of fun coming up with alternative titles for CTOs -- but the opinion also pointed out another area where firms can get into trouble with nonlawyer ownership and management prohibitions: bonus structures.

Contingent bonuses are target of the opinion, and if your firm bases bonus on revenue, you might want to reconsider.

Want to spend more time practicing, and less time advertising? Leave the marketing to the experts.

We cover a lot of lawyers and judges acting like idiots around here. In fact, it's secretly our favorite kind of post, even more so than Supreme Court coverage.

But we've never seen this: a judge challenging a public defender to a fight, from the bench, and the public defender taking him up on the offer. When Brevard County Judge John Murphy and Public Defender Andrew Weinstock threw down, just outside the courtroom, the most important question was: who won? And beyond that, what happened to the case?

Esteban Martinez is a free man, and he may have a petulant prosecutor to thank.

When Martinez's two alleged victims were no shows at his much-delayed and oft-rescheduled felony trial, the court finally lost patience, after nearly five years of waiting to resolve the pending case. And when the court ordered that the trial proceed, the prosecutor refused to participate, even after a jury was sworn in, leading to a judgment of acquittal.

The Illinois Supreme Court ordered that Martinez could be retried, as he was "never at risk for conviction," but yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a brief per curiam opinion, pointed to their own long-standing bright line rule: once the jury is sworn in, jeopardy attaches. And the trial court's directed verdict was "a textbook acquittal: a finding that the state's evidence cannot support a conviction."

Especially since, you know, the State didn't present any evidence.

Patent reform crusader and Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader will no longer be chief, after an ethics mini-scandal involving a complimentary letter to a friend who appeared before the court in recent cases. The court initially issued recusals and new opinions and orders in cases involving the attorney, before Rader issued a public letter of apology and announced that he would vacate the top seat in the circuit at the end of this month.

In all, a complimentary letter to a friend really is a tempest in a teapot, but kudos to Judge Rader, who will stay on the Federal Circuit bench, for erring on the side of proper appearances.

Should you stalk jurors on social media, for juror selection research?

Short answer? Yes.

Last year, we asked: does an ignorance of social media amount to malpractice? It may seem like a silly question, but the sheer amount of information available on social media (for researching opposing counsel, clients, witnesses, jurors, and any other parties involved in a case) make it an invaluable resource that you'd be foolish to ignore, especially for voir dire.

Don't Let Your Practice Go to Pot -- Marijuana and Lawyer Ethics

Your state has legalized -- or partly legalized -- marijuana and now you've got a client who wants advice on how to lawfully consume or sell it. Maybe she wants to open a dispensary and needs your help to make sure she complies fully with the state's laws.

What could possibly go wrong? Plenty. You might be committing an ethics violation by helping her.