This kidnapper does not appear to be good at his profession…

I don’t know a whole lot about how to kidnap someone. I do know, however, that when the act of kidnapping has started, you want to have a better exit strategy than this man.

TOPEKA, Kan. — A man convicted of holding a Topeka-area couple hostage is now suing his victims, claiming that they reneged on an agreement to hide him from police.

Oh, come on!

Who wouldn’t go back on that agreement?(Al Cowlings, maybe?)

According to the news article, the kidnapper burst into a home while being chased by police and held a couple hostage at knifepoint. Then, he apparently offered them an untold fortune of riches in exchange for hiding him from the police. Here’s where things get dicey:

The couple escaped and called police after Dimmick fell asleep. Now, Dimmick has filed suit in court claiming that he and the couple had an oral agreement that they would hide him from police.

I’ve never once had a thought along the lines of, “man, I wish I was a law school professor” (not that there is anything wrong with that). Except for RIGHT NOW. The hypothetical law school exam question I would write based on this story would be spectacular.

You need some consideration to make that oral agreement binding, pal. Holding a knife in someone’s face doesn’t exactly strike me as, “OK THIS GUY IS GOING TO LIVE UP TO HIS END OF THE BARGAIN.”

Basically, this is an Exercise in How NOT to make a Contract. Duress? Contracting for something illegal (trust me, someone would overlook that on a Contracts Law exam)? Confuse students by overly hinting that there was a meeting of the minds and then laugh when one of them does write meeting of the minds? No specified dollar amount in the contract?

You may wonder at this point, how did the couple manage to get their kidnapper to fall asleep? What kidnapper would be so confident in this oral agreement for an unspecified amount of riches that he would take a nap?

eating Cheetos and drinking Dr Pepper with him while watching the movie “Patch Adams.”

And, then, he fell asleep. Can’t blame the guy there, that movie was awful.


A Law and Order with Andre Braugher can’t be AWFUL, right?

My disdain of Law & Order is fairly strong. I’ve pretty much always disliked the show.You’d probably stumble across a law blog that talks about television and movies and expect a bunch of words written on Law & Order. Probably in a glowing manner. Nah. Not here. Can’t stand the show.

In short, every time I tune in, I catch myself completely annoyed at the cardboard characters that walk around Law & Order scenes. I’m a lawyer, but, I hate Law & Order.

Andre Braugher, on the other hand, is an actor I’ve almost always enjoyed.

When Braugher was on a real TV show, Homicide: Life on the Streets, he was killing it with consistently awesome performances. His role as Detective Frank Pembleton is one of the best TV cops I’ve seen. He dominated the screen so regularly that Braugher and the show decided something along the lines of, “you know what, this is too good that it might get stale, how about the character has a stroke…you know, just so we can see how your character deals with it.” And Braugher went out and continued to put up good scenes on a great show.

So, it somewhat annoyed me to see him pop up in a Law & Order commercial. C’mon man!

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Kelsey Grammer’s BOSS: Television Review

This isn’t quite legal television, but, my goal with this blog was to discuss legal issues and legal entertainment, so I’ll try to sneak this in. The show focus is on the Mayor of Chicago and indications are that the scope will be fairly large. Plus, the only legal television show of the fall season I’ve attempted to watch is the second season opener of Harry’s Law and I’ve only made it through the first 20 minutes.

The big talk about Boss, which airs Friday nights (and lots of other nights) on the STARZ channel is that Kelsey Grammer stretches well outside of his Frazier Crane comfort zone to play the Mayor of Chicago and yell a while lot. Grammer’s performance has been getting praise from what I can see, but, I felt the main scene where he was trying to come off as a tough guy felt a bit flat and forced.

And, really, that’s my impression of the show overall after one episode. It doesn’t seem content with being a slow burn type of show. They want to make the action happen in a very traditional TV sense, while maintaining the feel of something like The Wire. Which is somewhat difficult to obtain, especially in a political show.

As an example of this, two scenes stand out other than the Grammer yelling scene. One, when he shuts down the city council meeting and doesn’t let anyone leave until they agree with his course of action. And, later, the scenes with his doctor and Grammer getting the prescription drugs he needs.

This softens a bit in episode two, which is good. Seeds are planted for the Mayor’s daughter going an illegal route to save her clinic by purchasing the needed drugs illegally, but, it wasn’t beat over your head like things in the pilot were.

There is some good stuff here and I think the scope certainly sets up very wide, and I like that potential. There’s some silliness through two episodes that is designed to bring viewers in, but, a show of this nature can’t last on that alone. So, in that sense, I liked the second episode more for the long term potential of the show. And, a positive is that the show has been renewed for a second season, so it seems like it will at least be granted the space to grow.

A Michigan State Spartans Football Preview

Why not?

So, this might not be the best source for a Michigan State Spartans Football Preview. But, if you thought you were getting a top-notch ESPN-level football Preview from a LAW BLOG, your decision making is probably suspect. I’m writing this merely because I do get feedback from clients that read this blog saying that they like when I talk about non-legal issues and especially ones that connect with them and the state.

Last year was a great campaign for the Spartans, that goes pretty much without saying. Despite the Capital One Bowl loss (is that too nice of a word when you get beat 49-7 to Alabama? If so, have a look at the page for “decimate” if you need accuracy), a 7-1 Regular Season in the Big Ten is nothing to scoff at, even if the schedule didn’t include a loss-turned-vacated-win to Ohio State.

The success last year, to me, seemed like it was generated by having a much more balanced attack. When Edwin Baker can run for 1200 yards and a good chunk of TDs and do so relatively quietly, you’ve probably produced a balanced attack. Baker will likely continue that this season, but, chalk up a bit more media attention in the process. At quarterback, Kirk Cousins threw for a solid number of yards, good TDs, and established himself in the role. The Lansing State Journal is running columns asking whether Cousins is a legit candidate for the post-season Award for best Quarterback. Sure, it doesn’t the have the same je ne se qua as “Stanton for Heisman” buzz had, but, what it lacks in flair, it may make up for in substance, right?

Cousins is getting mentioned along with Andrew Luck of Stanford and Landry Jones of Oklahoma. That is pretty lofty company.

But, I’m giving too much praise to the guys that already get enough praise. That offense was good in 2009 and they still finished 6-6 in the regular season. The defense being noticeably improved last season is what really pushed that team forward. Chris L. Rucker being in the NFL can’t help the secondary, but, they return a lot of talent on the defensive line and I believe Rucker is the only guy they lose from the secondary. If the defense is as solid as they were at times last season, the Spartans should be able to get close to their success of last season.

Schedule wise, things are favorable early. In the non-conference, their biggest test is Notre Dame, but, I’d imagine there are some Central Michigan fans out there that would say the Chips shouldn’t get overlooked. In conference, starting with Ohio State is a good thing. I believe some of their players are still on suspension, but, it’s hard to keep track of with all the no good the Buckeyes are up to. The Buckeyes, with a new head coach, will be better by the end of the year, so playing them early helps. And, it’s hard to guess how they will perform with less ink on their bodies. So, chalk that up as a Spartans W.

I guess the best way to start looking at strength of schedule is through the non-division opponents. The Leaders, if you will. With 3 non-division games, you want to play as many as possible out of Illinois, Indiana and Purdue, avoiding Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Michigan State only avoids one of those teams. Yikes. So, that makes their schedule fairly rough.

Nebraska and Wisconsin are getting the most talk for the top teams in the Conference. The Spartans have to navigate them back to back…

…in the same month where they’ve already played Ohio State and decimate Michigan. Kind of tough. But, if you’re through that stretch and have a pair of losses, or even only 1, the home-stretch of games are light and should be rather enjoyable.

Should be an exciting year for the Spartans as they come in to the year as one of the four B1G Big Ten teams ranked in the Top 25.

Looking at the Michigan Court of Appeals Medical Marijuana Decision

I am still piecing my way through reaction to the Court of Appeals decision on Wednesday regarding the sale of Medical Marijuana. In short, I think this quote from Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero summarizes things nicely:

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero decried the outcome Thursday in an official statement and on Facebook.

Bernero called the court ruling a “train wreck of epic proportions” and criticized lawmakers for not clarifying the law in the three years since voters approved it.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? This Lansing State Journal Article should supply background. For those of you who want to cut out the media and just read the case decision, here is that, from the State Bar of Michigan Blog.

So, let’s take a look at this train wreck:

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Great Moments in (fictional) Courtroom History

I’m going to try and run one of these around every Friday. Straight forward, whatever I can find on YouTube that I enjoy, to fit in with the talk we’ll have here about legal moments in the movies, TV and more.

One of my friends from Law School works in New Jersey. Whenever we talk about what we have going on with the law, the thing that always impresses me the most is when he tells me he’s doing Night Court stuff. Crazy jealous, and all because of Harry Anderson.

Expect to see more Night Court clips sprinkled on here. There’s actually a lot of it on YouTube.