Monday, May 15, 2006

Bar Review, Day 1

Taken from my notes*:

"A student said to me over the break, 'I don't know the difference between burglary and larceny'. That's just sad." Hey! Way to insult the audience! And if we're all supposed to know everything already, why should we pay your company almost $1,000 for this course?

What is the difference between "willful blindness" and "deliberately refrained from looking"? The lecturer claims the latter is an exception to the former. That doesn't make any sense...

"I used to be a D.A. and I do a lot of defense work in D.C., so I know all of these defendants are guilty." Exactly the kind of man I'd want in my corner if I'm charged with a crime. Innocent until proven guilty, indeed.

"Self defense is a good defense for her. It's not a good defense for the hit man she hired." Yes, I get that. The problem is, none of the answers speaks to that fact.

"I'm not justifying the $795 you spent to be here." No, no you certainly aren't.

"Cliff Claven would do very good on the bar exam." Leaving aside the strangeness of that comment, apparently grammar is not your strong suit. "This kid in the review course I taught at Law School X pointed out where I'd spelled words wrong." Hmmm... You mean like the second word you wrote on the whiteboard today? Copying it from your pre-written notes? Guess spelling's not your thing either. (Note to self: Make sure to spell check this entry. Mustn't be hoisted on your own petard.

"Unreasonable mistake is a defense to specific intent crimes, so I can stand up and throw any kind of bullshit I can think of at the jury as long as I can say it with a straight face." Dude, they have these things called "Professional Responsibility Statutes". It seems like knowingly lying to the jury might, just might be on the wrong side of those statutes.

"That woman, who like, killed nine of her kids? What other defense could she offer? And now they let her off on a technicality, so we have to listen to her defense all over again." 1. If you're going to use a case "ripped from the headlines" to illustrate your point, try to get the basic facts straight. 2. Technicalities are also known as "protections built into the system to make sure innocent people don't get wrongly convicted." 3. She didn't "get off". That would mean an acquittal. They ordered a new trial for her so that the prosecution could have a chance to try and follow the rules. 4. Yeah, you know, that whole "right to a fair trial" thing is a bitch, isn't it? I mean, since all the defendants are guilty anyway, we should save a lot of time, money, and effort and just lock them up straight away.

"Monk would do great on the bar exam." What, do you watch TV at night and try to guess which characters would be admitted to the bar? Don't you have a life or any interests outside the law?

[The lecturer spent a lot of time advising us to compartmentalize our thinking when taking the MBE. He uses the phrase "Make sure you know what hat you're wearing" to describe it.] "If you don't know the Rule Against Perpetuities by July 15, that makes two of us." That statement may actually be the definition of "non sequitur". Plus, hello! Take your own advice!

"You're not going to be tested on first degree murder." Really? Promise? What will you give me if I am?

"I've got a roster with all of your names and addresses on it, and I will come and get you if you get this wrong." [Cornholio] Are you threatening me? [/Cornholio]

Are you killing the woman in this hypothetical because she didn't have your dinner on the table or because she's sleeping with the neighbor? Because to be honest, you sound more upset about the dinner part.

"For Involuntary Manslaughter, you get a nickel. Five years. I could do that on my head." No, you couldn't. In fact, I don't think you'd make it five days in a maximum security prison before you'd be crying for your mama. That attitude is one of the things that is really, really wrong with a lot of prosecutors: you have no idea what the sentences you're advocating really mean.

"I had the crime scene boys reconstruct a 54 pound boulder for me, which I picked up and dropped on the table over and over in front of the jury." Yeah, right, I'll bet you did. If you're going to lie, why make it about something so obviously false?

"The Model Penal Code will be tested twice, tops, on the bar exam." Oooo! Double or nothing this time?

Why on earth is throwing a baseball off a fourth story balcony "depraved heart murder", but pushing a nine year old into a swimming pool only "negligent homicide"? The second one seems far worse to me.

"That's crazy! A woman can't rape another woman!" YES. SHE. CAN. What is wrong with you???

"You need to check your common sense and emotions at the door when you take the bar exam." There's something very, very wrong about that sentiment. I mean, really: do we want to produce lawyers that can't or don't employ common sense in their practice of the law?

"You can't stop to feel good, bad, or indifferent about these questions." Ummmm... didn't you just specifically instruct us to be indifferent to the questions? And if you don't feel good about something, and you don't feel bad about it, either, doesn't that BY DEFINITION make you indifferent?

[Homer] Mmmmmm... murder cake [/Homer]

"Does it matter that they didn't intend to batterize that woman?" Batterize? Is that the technical term for that?

"I don't care if he's ten years old, I'll try him as an adult." Great attitude! Just the kind of person I want prosecuting crimes! Doesn't use common sense, thinks that same sex rape isn't possible, and finds it perfectly appropriate to prosecute children in adult court for felonies.

This one's for the Section A1 Alumni out there: "Blake sells the cop a bag of something, not cocaine, but--" Schmocaine?

"Am I going to show the cop my dime bag? Say 'That's my accomplice'?" Your dime bag is your accomplice? Dude, you should totally cut back.

Answer A is flat out wrong, Answer B is applicable to civil cases but not to criminal cases, Answer C deals with issue preclusion only, therefore Answer D, being the least crappy answer, is also the right answer. I am so ready to take the bar exam.

*All quotes are from the lecturer



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