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The Almighty Buck The Courts Your Rights Online

Charles Nesson Ruled Jointly Liable To Pay RIAA 207

eldavojohn writes "The highly anticipated Joel Tenenbaum trial ended in a disaster for Tenenbaum. But worse for his highly publicized lawyer, Charles Nesson, they are both liable for payment of the court's decision to the RIAA. Nesson's pro bono agreement with Tenenbaum may turn out to be a seriously expensive experiment for the Harvard Law Professor." As the Ars story points out, though, it's "some fees incurred by the RIAA during the trial" for which he'd be liable, not the whole judgment amount.
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Charles Nesson Ruled Jointly Liable To Pay RIAA

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  • Oh c'mon... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:23PM (#31364572)

    He isn't jointly liable for anything, he got sanctioned by the court. Maybe read the actual article before choosing how to word the headline?

  • Re:Good and bad. (Score:5, Informative)

    by trb ( 8509 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:29PM (#31364656)
    Defense lawyers don't defend their clients' crimes. They defend their clients' rights.
  • Re:Good and bad. (Score:3, Informative)

    by KarmaMB84 ( 743001 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:57PM (#31364986)
    My point is that you'd have to completely overhaul the US justice system to allow attorneys to be punished for representing guilty clients. The requirement of a fair trial is a barrier to any sort of arrangement since no judge in their right mind would consider railroading a defendant without legal counsel as fair. We throw out trials because defendants WITH legal counsel didn't get a proper defense afterall. This means the requirement for a fair trial would have to be done away with completely in order to allow any such arrangement that punishes a defendant's legal counsel due to the inevitable situation of defendants without a defense.
  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:11PM (#31365660) Journal

    If you RTFA, he's not a "defendant in a lawsuit". He made an action that prompted the other party into additional unnecessary legal action; and furthermore, judge has ruled that the action was clearly related to the case. So now he gets to reimburse the expenses for that legal action - court fees and such. But he isn't being "co-sued".

  • by Zordak ( 123132 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:19PM (#31365742) Homepage Journal
    He wasn't made a co-defendant. He was sanctioned by the court, which is exactly how courts punish misconduct in our legal system. If you refuse to answer discovery, and the other side has to win a motion to compel to get you to respond to what you should have already responded to, then the court has the power to make you pay their fees. This discourages people from gaming the discovery system. You'll note that he isn't jointly and severally liable for all of Tennenbaum's judgment---just the part that pertains to this bone-headed maneuver.
  • Re:Good and bad. (Score:4, Informative)

    by CorporateSuit ( 1319461 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:07PM (#31366086)
    Perhaps if we had a legal system that wasn't so convoluted with bylaws that the layman could be considered "competent" when defending himself in the eyes of a judge without spending 4 years in lawschool, then representation wouldn't be the requirement it is today. We have a system of laws written and practiced by lawyers to a point where it's not whether you did right or wrong, it's whether your lawyer can prove you did right or wrong. It's a flaw inhereted from the British system, and thoroughly perverted with each generation.

    I understand that the bylaws cut down drastically on the amount of time and headaches it takes for a judge to review a case, but the fact that 299,990,000 Americans have to suffer for the sake of 10,000 judges -- and the fact that judges were created for the cases, not cases for the judges, the process has reversed itself from serving the people to treating a judge as royalty.

    There are no easy answers, and we're at the point, or quickly getting there, where we've exhausted the pros of the path we've chosen with our legal system. If we destructured the legal system to its bare bones, the same people who manipulate it now will probably have an easier time manipulating it then. However, those who do not manipulate it now will find more ground on which to stand by themselves.

    How do we do that? It would take a smarter man than I to know even where to begin. However, there are some symptoms that must be cleared up before we can call any revision as approaching successful: Prisons in the US need to be cleared out. Take non-dangerous, non-violent crimes and cut down on their prison time, but increase their community service time, or increase their fines. The theory of medical malpractice needs to be completely revamped. Too many people are going to the hospital to get their bank accounts fixed more than their health. Too many people have forgotten that death comes to us all, especially in hospitals. If the doctor did his best or performed reasonably competently (according to a jury of his randomly-sampled peers -- other doctors in the same field) then there is no malpractice case. A family can grieve without punishing the man who tried to save a life and failed. Medical malpractice is the new life insurance -- that everyone else ends up paying through healthcare costs.
  • Re:Good and bad. (Score:5, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @10:35PM (#31366316) Journal

    Let me put it that way.

    I'm sure that you have a list of people who you'd rather see dead than alive. Don't be shy... everyone has that.

    Now, it may well be true that, even given the circumstances that absolutely guarantee you perfect immunity, you would still not act on that list. However, keep in mind that other people on that list (and maybe even not on it) have lists of their own, and some of them probably include you, as well. Would you trust them to also refrain from action?

  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:02PM (#31366480)

    Charlie Nesson is widely known among Harvard Law School students for being fucking brilliant, and being something of a proponent of and enjoying the use of cannabis (and the occasional hit of acid too). I think he also married a student of his, but hey, can't really blame a man for that.

    Allow me to suggest that perhaps all that marijuana and acid doesn't do such wonderful things for one's ability to put together a cogent defense for a court.

    I knew there was a reason I gave that shit up in college.

  • Re:Good and bad. (Score:3, Informative)

    by bishop32x ( 691667 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:52PM (#31366900)
    Hey, don't be so pessimistic. According to the bureau of Labor statistics there were 759,200 lawyers practicing in the US in 2008. Let's call it 800,000 for nice number. Then lets assume it takes 100 ft of chain per lawyer. Chain costs about $5.87 per foot from mcmaster carr, but lets call it $6.00 per foot including hardware. So $600 per lawyer gives us $480,000,000 in costs, assuming volunteer labor. The US is currently spending about 65 billion per year on the war in Afganistan, or about 170 million per day. So if the US moves the pull out date up by 3 days we save enough money to chain all of the lawyers to the bottom of the sea floor. NB: I may be significantly underestimating the costs, but even if I'm of by an order of magnitude, that's still less than a month of war-fighting.
  • Re:Good and bad. (Score:2, Informative)

    by makomk ( 752139 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @01:51PM (#31373144) Journal

    For normal debts, yes. However, they didn't do the same thing when it comes to (for example) fines, and they've effectively been reintroduced in much of the US for failure to pay child support (mostly because doing so costs the government money...)

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.