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Happy Graduation: Recent Cal Law Grad Gets Jail for Bird Beheading

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By William Peacock, Esq. on May 24, 2013 3:55 PM

Even the guys from the Hangover weren't this bad ... at least until today's newly-released second sequel.

Three UC Berkeley School of Law students ended the life of an exotic bird, and perhaps their legal careers, with one moment of stupidity and cruelty last year, when the three intoxicated men chased an exotic bird into the trees at a Las Vegas hotel's wildlife habitat. Moments later, they emerged with a decapitated bird corpse.

the bird

While one of the students, Justin Teixeira, 24, is alleged to be the sole culprit for the actual beheading, his two buddies, Hazhir Kargaran, 26, who recently graduated, and Eric Cuellar, who is a rising 2L, were both charged with instigating animal cruelty.

Cuellar pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor animal cruelty charge in January, was fined $200, and was sentenced to 48 hours of community service. Kargaran pleaded no contest on Wednesday to three misdemeanors: instigating animal cruelty, property destruction, and trespassing. He was sentenced to two days in jail and 48 hours of community service, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Teixeira is scheduled to go on trial later this year.

Even with the case behind them, this doesn't bode well for their future legal careers. California, along with nearly every other state bar, has a character and fitness requirement. Recent convictions will ensure that both Kargaran and Cuellar face additional scrutiny before being admitted, even if they pass the bar. A 3L drunken bird beheading is a much bigger issue than, say, a misdemeanor offense as an undergrad.

Teixeira, if convicted, may not be able to practice at all, as felonies are typically a disqualifier, even in our often ethically challenged profession.

Even if they pass the bar, clear the character and fitness hurdles, and are able to land an interview in this depressed job market, how many employers will skip the "Google check" before hiring them? Search for any of their names on the Internet and you'll find bird beheadings.

Besides, what kind of idiots behead a bird while one of them films the crime with his iPhone? That's a truly special level of stupidity.

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