Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Today In Bruce Selya

The Widget:

Court: First Circuit
Judge: Selya
Subject: “The overarching themes are chicanery and greed”
Tone: Bemused disappointment
Importance: 4.2

Why does he get his very own feature on this blog? Because he writes paragraphs like this:

The circus impresario, P.T. Barnum, is famously reputed to have said that “there’s a sucker born every minute.” That droll commentary on the human condition, whether or not fairly attributed to Barnum, appears to be as insightful in cyber-commerce as in face-to-face business transactions. This conclusion is borne out by the case at bar, which involves an Internet fraud.

And while the opinion in United States v. Deppe, No. 07-1048, adds just a single entry to the roster of Selya-esque words and expressions (COMPRISE MORE CRY THAN WOOL*) it provides another great moment in the history of the lawyer-client relationship:

When the district court held a sidebar conference to discuss its further [jury] instructions, the appellant injected himself into the conversation[**], bypassing his counsel and explaining how he thought the instruction should be worded. The court then asked defense counsel whether appellant’s objection was counsel’s objection. Counsel equivocated; he disavowed the objection but then enigmatically observed that, whatever he happened to think, “it’s Deppe’s life.”
Lawyers: we love our clients so much.

*Note, incredibly, that this definition references a judicial opinion from the First Circuit. Wonder who wrote that.

**What the heck he was doing there is anyone’s best guess.

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