Friday, March 28, 2008

Jayci Yeager Has Died. She Was Ten Years Old.

You can find the story here. My prayers go with her, and her family. She appears to have been a very special person.

Yeager Is Allowed to See His Daughter : Half a Loaf is Better Than None I Guess

Well, I guess the pressure a point. I am told that Yacie Yaeger got to see her father one last time for a half hour yesterday. He was briefly given a visit...a half hour to visit with her. Seems that the Warden was deluged with calls.

As for me, I'm sorry, but really is it so hard to be compassionate? Furlough the guy so he can stay at the bed round the clock. Let him come back when she is buried. If she somehow goes into remission then send him back. It is a federal prison camp, he is a low level drug addict who has a good prison record and is due for a halfway house near the family in less than 5 months. While he is out, he can wear an ankle bracelet he can go to and from home to the hospital.

This is not a big deal to the criminal justice system other than the black eye it takes for looking petty. Why do the people in BOP have to be so hard hearted that it makes average Americans wonder how they got to be wardens???

This has been the problem with Bush and his concept of Compassionate Conservatism. He is rarely compassionate, and when he is, it always seems like he can't make the commitment. He gives us a half of a loaf. Just once I would like to feel like they gave away the store.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Time to Let Her Daddy Come Home: Dying Child's Last Wish Is To See Her Imprisoned Father Before She Dies

There is a child dying in Lincoln Nebraska tonight. She is a very brave child. Her father was a very stupid man. You see, little Jayci Yaeger's father Jason, possessed and sold Crystal Meth. As a result he got a five year sentence in federal court. He would be going to a half way house in August 2008. Jayci doesn't have until August. She may not have until April. She has cancer, and she is dying. She and her family have asked that her dad be furloughed until she has passed away. This means he goes to the half way house now. He visits with her, holds her hand, helps her to be brave, walks with her into the valley of death. He does the job he should be doing. Then, after she passes to the place where angels go, he returns to jail, to figure out how he could have let drugs destroy the little time he had left with his daughter.

Unfortunately the compassionate furlough was denied by the Warden of the Federal Prison in Yankton SD. Why? We aren't provided with a reason. It appears that the Warden doesn't think the request is sufficient to warrant an extraordinary circumstance!!!! Oh yeah, FPC Yankton is a MINIMUM SECURITY PRISON. In other words, if Jason Yaeger was a real bad ass he wouldn't be there. THERE IS NO REASON IN THE WORLD NOT TO LET THIS LITTLE DYING GIRL GET HER LAST WISH.

Yeah, I guess kids die everyday. I guess not all kids have their father with them when they go. I guess that the fact that this guy didn't do anything violent and would be able to go to the hospital (or now I guess the grave site) in August doesn't constitute enough of a reason for a hard-boiled law enforcement agent like Warden J.D. Whitehead to let him out now. No this is not extraordinary. And I thought Lawyers were the only LIVING HEART DONORS!!!!

Now if you are reading this, and you have a half of a beating heart, you can help.

Here is how:

Call your Congressman and Senator. Have everyone in the Family call them and ask your friends and Neighbors to do it too. If you need numbers, look here and here.

Then put a call into the White House. Leave a message for that ole compassionate conservative George W. "I pardoned Scooter, I can give Yeager clemency" Bush to use his muscle and finally keep a promise to the rest of us who are not on Dick Cheney's staff and show us he really has some compassion. If you can, leave a message for Laura Bush too. Maybe she can get his attention.

Then, Contact the Justice (or as I like to call them the "JustUs") Department and leave a message for US Attorney General Mukasky 202-353-1555. You see, the Bureau of Prisons is a Division of the Justice Department. Mukasky could Order Whitehead to do whatever he wants. He is the man in charge. I remember him on the Bench. He ordered people to do stuff all the time. He is good at it. Let him know what you think. After all he works for you. You pay him.

Don't forget about Warden JD.Whitehead, be polite... reach him at Phone: 605-665-3262 Fax: 605-668-1113 if they haven't changed the number yet.

Now go here to sign a on line petition.

Finally, tell everyone you know to do the same thing, then go and say a prayer for little Jayci, with or without her dad, she needs those prayers.

Hattip to Doug Berman at Sentencing law and Policy blog

Updated at 2:19AM to fix a broken link for the on-line petition.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Learning To Persuade From Barack Obama

Learning to speak effectively is the number one need of the trial lawyer. Let's face it, what makes most of us want to become trial lawyers is the opportunity to convince others of our positions. As we travel through college and law school, we realize public speaking may not be our forte or even something we like. Many of us go to other areas of the law that assures that the will never have to appear in a courtroom much less before a jury.

There are however easy to learn traits of good speakers that can turn even the worst of us into at least capable trial lawyers. In his article "Speech Lessons From Obama" in The Daily Report, Joey Archer president of Speechworks talks about three things that make Presidential candidate Barack Obama a successful speaker.

I am not endorsing Barack for POTUS, but I have to admit his speeches move me. While it is really unlikely I will support him, I can understand his appeal. In many ways a team of Obama and John Edwards would be a speech making cannon hard for Sen. McCain to beat back no matter who he choses as a running mate.

For those of you too lazy to click on the links, Archer focuses on Obama's ability to passionately deliver simple messages, interdispersed with personal stories which make him more "real" to average people.

I would add that Obama speaks very diliberately and his pace is very important. His use of emphasis is particularly important. While it is harder to use this technique on the fly, most of us can hold onto key words and phrases which bring home our message in a memorable way.

Take a look at the article, What techniques have you found to be helpful in becoming a more effective speaker?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Well I think we finally have a plan

Well I think I finally have a plan for this blog. I have wanted to mesh both blogs for a while. (Long Island (Criminal) Trial Law and That Lawyer Dude.) I also wanted to kind of start over for a bunch of reasons. I was trying to get the thing redesigned but my time for this is kind of limited. SOOOOO:

I have decided that I will be moving "That Lawyer Dude" to a new site (sorry blogger but this isn't working anymore)then I've decided that the new "That Lawyer Dude" will continue to be an amalgam of thought pieces and law combined. I will continue to write the blog alone for now, though I am still interested in a group blog.

Since the time table for the move is not set, and since I feel like writing, I am going to start blogging here again. If people start reading me again, great. If not, well at least my thoughts won't keep getting bottled up inside of me.

Now for the few of you who wonder what I have been up to. Well, I have been answering questions galore over at both and I also occasionally take questions on at I have also been more active on Solosez and the NYSACDL Listserves. So I have been writing but just not here.

On the office front, I have expanded our Lawfirm to include 2 new lawyers and I am hoping to add one of our "Of Counsels" as a partner.

I have tried a couple of cases and have expanded our practice areas. We now have an active Appellate Practice Group and a fledgling Catastrophic/Medical Malpractice Group. Our Qui Tam (False Claims Act Whistle blower) practice has also picked up substantially, as employees of Iraq-war contractors begin to report employers who cheat our Government and our taxpayers. There appears to be some favorable federal legislation pending on this area and I am hoping that if it passes, our Qui Tam/False Claims Act Practice Group will continue to grow. It is one of the most interesting areas of our practice and frankly very important. After all, anything that cheats our soldiers is abhorrent to me so I feel really good about going after these companies.

Our White Collar Criminal Practice Group is also booming. We have been doing a lot of work in the area of Criminal Trademark Infringement and Counterfeiting. These cases prosecute (mostly in federal court) the alleged illegal theft, retention, and sale of trademarked, patented, and copywritten material. They also usually include conspiracy, money laundering, RICO, and a myriad of other charges. The prosecution can be large or of a small group. The Federal Sentencing guidelines make these crimes much different from other White Collar Crimes.

Because many of these crimes cross international boundries, we have had to add a number of people on the staff who speak other languages. At this time our employees speak Chinese(Mandarin, Cantonese, and Taiwanese), Japanese, Italian, French and French Creole,German,Hindi,Tagalog (Philippines)Erdu & Arabic. We may not all be fluent in all of these languages but I am proud of my colleagues for their efforts

For example we are working on a case which alleges a syndicated was bringing in over 20 million dollars in trademarked NIKE and ADDIDAS clothing; another where a group was illegally obtaining credit card numbers and embossing them on purloined AMEX and VISA cards; a third case where the accused is accused of obtaining and selling first run movies on DVD as they come out and even BEFORE they come out in theaters.

It seems that the federal government is cracking down on these crimes as in part because of greater security at ports a direct result of the changes in prosecution initiatives in the wake of 9-11.

Finally we continue to try cases of the more "traditional" criminal kind. I will be starting hearings on a Murder 2 case (America's Most Wanted highlighted the case here)and I have a Burglary case scheduled for trial in two weeks, following a very interesting assault case.

So, while I will be posting here more regularly until the big MOVE, don't plan on seeing too much too soon. On the other hand, you never know what could happen. Maybe a Governor of a big eastern state will be caught patronizing prostitutes...

I want to keep up with the Q & A posts at LawGuru and Avvo, but I need a place to rant too. Hence I am returning.