Casey Anthony: The Next Paralegal Wannabee?

Casey Anthony on the Paralegal Wannabe list?Listen to this article. Powered by Odiogo.com

Casey.anthony8203151_448x252 Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her daughter. Whether you believe the verdict, have doubts about her innocence or feel there was no other way for the jury to vote, the fact remains that Casey Anthony is a free woman albeit with criminal convictions for lesser crimes.

The rumor abounding about now is that Ms. Anthony has expressed a desire to enter the paralegal field. Education
AP Photo
not withstanding, here is a situation of past experiences guiding career choice. There have been instances of convicted criminals becoming paralegals. Suppose this became a reality. Let's imagine if Ms. Anthony decides to enter the paralegal field:

1. Can she become a certified paralegal under Florida's current requirements?

2. If she moved to another state, what state allows paralegals with criminal backgrounds to get jobs?

3. Who would hire her?

4. Would her experience be of benefit to criminal lawyers with clients about to enter prison? Could she act as a consultant?

5. What about her ilibilities? Credibility? Stability? Ability? Mobility? Reasonability? Profitability?

6. How would you feel working with someone with such a high profile?

7. What do you really think?

Readers, write in!


The Florida Paralegal by Wm Statsky, Robert Diotalevi and Pam McCoy Linquist

Man carrying documents They send me books.  Lots and lots of books. Who??? you're asking?  The publishers, that's who.  They seem to think that we're going to review every book that's come our way.  I haven't gotten to Ludicrous Laws & Mindless Misdemeanors yet.  The Inspiration Factor was uninspiring and Fame 101 was content -free.  What the heck did they expect me to do with The Florida Paralegal, I ask you.

Turns out that The Florida Paralegal, a resource guide written by William P. Statsky, Robert N. Diotalevi and Pam McCoy Linquist could be a very good textbook.  I would prefer that the layout and design made more sense.  The book serves as a reference containing a great deal of information that is essential for paralegals. It is Internet-rich with resources that will help paralegals in many aspects of their day-to-day classes and jobs.  Even if you're not in Florida, you'll find this book helpful when dealing with cases out-of-state.

Statsky, of course, is the prom writer of paralegal text books.  Hardly anyone these days goes through a paralegal course without running into at least one Statsky book.  I remember meeting Bill at a Los Angeles Paralegal Meeting some years ago that took place in the Marina del Rey.  When I finally realized who was speaking, I was blown away.  Here was a good-looking guy wearing tight jeans, a camel color sports jacket and boots  He had the bluest eyes I had ever seen.  Addressing the audience, he took command and showed up as a real leader. Because he had written so many books at that time, I was expecting someone else entirely.  Someone well, scholarly perhaps.  Tweed jacket with leather elbows, that sort of thing.  Ever since that meeting, he and I have kept up via e-mail.  Flash forward and now, I have a picture of him with his grandkids.  I'm not sure where the time has gone - except I still see that good-looking guy with the sports jacket and jeans, blond hair rippling in the wind, blue eyes twinkling.....wait! Snap out of it, Estrin!  But I digress here.

The book is a good resource for paralegals in every state.  It is Internet-rich with resources that will help paralegals in many aspects of their day-to-day responsibilities.  Some key features:

  • Introduces the reader to the paralegal career in Florida
  • Provides a comprehensive legal dictionary
  • Provides ethical opinions governing paralegals
  • Covers the unauthorized practice of law in the state
  • Explains the judicial, legislative and executive structure of Florida government
  • Provides time lines for typical civil and criminal cases in Florida courts
  • Provides examples of local citation rules

It is a text book.  However, if you are a practicing paralegal, you're going to want to have this book on your desk in arm's reach.  It can help you shine as a paralegal and serves as a mecca of information for those searching to get the assignment absolutely, positively correct.

Delmar Cengage
ISBN 13 978-1-4180-1292-2.
560 pages
Purchase: www,ichapters.com


District attorney recognizes paralegal for law enforcement assistance

Sure like it when everyday citizens find & help solve crimes! Read all about it in this article from California's Auburn Journal:

"The message from the Placer County District Attorney's Office was that law enforcement can't go it alone.

"'Many ignore the call,' District Attorney Brad Fenocchio said, during a ceremony honoring several who stepped up to assist an investigation or put a suspect behind bars.

"Area residents who went above and beyond that call stepped up Tuesday before the Board of Supervisors to receive praise and certificates from the District Attorney's Office.

[snip]

"Paralegal Gayle McMorow noticed some inconsistencies in an 87-year-old woman's checking account, reported what turned out to be theft by a former caregiver, and assisted with a felony elder abuse case that took three years to prosecute."

Congrats to Gayle!!


"Still Guilty After All These Years"

Very interesting op-ed in the NY Times from author & lawyer Scott Turow, all about how advances in forensic technology may also impact statutes of limitations. He raises some intriguing questions about changes in law & the passage of time:

"THIS Friday a 33-year-old man named Juan Luna will go on trial here for the murder of seven people in a Brown’s Chicken restaurant in Palatine, Ill., on Jan. 8, 1993. The investigation of the murders, in which the victims’ bloody corpses were discovered in the restaurant freezer, languished for more than a decade until Mr. Luna’s DNA was identified in the saliva found on a chicken bone at the crime scene.

[snip]

"Greater accuracy in the truth-finding process is a laudable development. But I worry that the growing capacity of today’s forensics to reach farther and farther into the past seems likely to undermine the law’s time-ingrained notions, embodied in statutes of limitations, about how long people should be liable to criminal prosecution. As the Brown’s Chicken case illustrates, DNA analysts [PDF] can now examine scant decades-old specimens and produce results of near-certainty in identifying suspects. Nor are the innovations in forensic science limited to the testing of human DNA. Forensic botany can often establish whether plant fragments found on a victim or defendant have a unique origin. Fire-scene investigation has advanced because of new extraction techniques and instrumentation. Fingerprint identification has been revolutionized both by cryogenic processes for lifting latent prints and computer imaging that allows faster and more reliable identification of partial prints. Forensic pathology, ballistics and forensic anthropology have also moved ahead rapidly.

[snip]

"The law is a fluid thing, and there is an inherent unfairness in initiating a prosecution decades later when legal rules and community expectations have changed. If a jury — or the police and prosecutors — now strongly disapprove of conduct to which they would have once turned a blind eye, it’s natural to wonder whether the defendant would have acted the same way in today’s ethical climate.

"Statutes of limitations have also traditionally embodied a moral judgment that if a person has lived blamelessly for a significant time, he should not have the anxiety of potential prosecution hanging over him forever. Violent crimes are usually the province of young men, and it is often the case that one of the principal purposes of the criminal justice system — keeping the criminally inclined off the streets — vanishes with time."


"ABA to Continue Fight Over Detainee Rights"

Excellent news for supporters of habeas corpus:

"The American Bar Association [PDF link] said last week it will continue to challenge key provisions of a federal bill authorizing military tribunals to try terrorism suspects, even though the legislation ultimately passed by a lopsided margin in the Senate.

"ABA members say they are most concerned about sections of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that deny judicial review of habeas corpus claims filed on behalf of 'enemy combatants' being held at facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other locations.

"'It's a sweeping denial of habeas, so that any alien who is detained by the U.S. can be detained forever without any hope of ever getting to a court. That's just wrong,' said Neal Sonnett, a Miami attorney who chairs the ABA's Task Force on Treatment of Enemy Combatants [PDF link]."


Enron task force receives top award

Good news -- paralegals serving on that task force are included:

"U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales this week bestowed his office's top annual award to federal prosecutors, FBI agents and paralegals who have served on the Justice Department's Enron Task Force, including those involved in this year's fraud and conspiracy trial of former Enron chairman Ken Lay and former CEO Jeff Skilling."


Grant provides aid, paralegal services

Sounds like a good job opportunity in Montana:

"A grant recently awarded to the Montana Legal Services Association will allow the group to bolster its services across the state.

"According to Klaus Sitte, executive director for the association, the $650,000 Legal Assistance for Victims grant [PDF link] through the Montana Department of Justice will fund positions for three attorneys, and three paralegals. Those employees will be assigned to the Butte, Hi-Line and Billings areas."


What happened on June 13, 1966?

Many important events, we're sure, but one in particular came from the Supremes:

"Washington, June 13--The Supreme Court announced today sweeping limitations on the power of the police to question suspects in their custody. The justices split 5 to 4. In stinging dissents the minority denounced the decision as helping criminals go free to repeat their crimes.

"The majority opinion, by Chief Justice Earl Warren, broke new constitutional ground by declaring that the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination comes into play as soon as a person is within police custody.

"Consequently, under the rulings, the prosecution cannot use in a trial any admissions or confessions made by the suspect while in custody unless it first proves that the police complied with a detailed list of safeguards to protect the right against self-incrimination.

"The suspect, the Court said, must have been clearly warned that he may remain silent, that anything he says may he held against him and that he has a right to have a lawyer present during interrogation."


"Milberg Weiss, Two Name Partners Indicted"

Well, this isn't good news:

"After a six-year investigation, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have indicted the New York securities class action firm Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman and two of its name partners.

"The charges against partners David Bershad and Steven Schulman of conspiring to make illegal payments to clients in class actions -- and to conceal those payments -- have been widely expected for months, and the two partners took a leave of absence from the firm last week.

"Yet it only became clear over the last few weeks that similar charges would be levied against the Milberg firm...."