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Any dispute that goes on for more than thirty years must have earth-shattering ramifications, no? No. Just money, and horsies. As reported by The Brandon Sun:

A federal appeals court says the United States Polo Association cannot be held in contempt for selling sunglasses with a logo that resembles Polo Ralph Lauren’s famous trademark of a horseman whacking a ball.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued its written ruling Wednesday. The decision reversed a finding of contempt by a lower court judge.

The dispute between the polo sports governing body and Polo Ralph Lauren has gone on for more than three decades.

The appeals court says the Polo Association sold nearly a million pairs of sunglasses bearing the double horseman trademark from 2009 to 2012.

Here’s the source.

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Certainly a Judge must control the courtroom. How a Judge may do this, not surprisingly, is determined by the law. One tool is the power to hold someone in contempt. [Hint: It’s a power used, a lot, below.] According to the Supreme Court, if the sentence imposed for contempt is less than 6 months, there is no right to a jury trial. Now, to our man in Maryland.

In 1990, Mr. Johnson was convicted of malicious destruction of personal property, placed on probation, and given a 3-year suspended sentence. He had to stay out of trouble for 3 years. Unfortunately, in 1991 he was convicted of burglary, and sentenced to 10 years. So Mr. Johnson is in jail for a couple years, when he is called to court for violating his 1990 probation – with just 10 days remaining on the 3-year suspended sentence.

Althought the prospect of serving an additional 3 years – on top of the 10 years he was already serving – did not sit well with him, his probation agent told him that the State would not seek to tack on the additional 3 years for violating his probation. WRONG! The Judge added on the 3 years, and a lively, lengthy, colorful conversation ensued. And just when you think it might be over …

THE COURT: Call the next case please.

[PROSECUTOR]: State calls Eugene Wright …

MR. JOHNSON: — at the same time. Don’t make no motherfucking sense.

THE COURT: Bring him back. Take him back.

MR. JOHNSON: No motherfucking sense.

THE COURT: Pull him back.

MR. JOHNSON: Yo, man, stop yanking on my motherfucking arms. Motherfucking —

THE COURT: Sit him back over there in front of the table. [Uh-oh]

THE CLERK: Give me the file back. He might be under contempt of court.

THE COURT: Now, stand up there. Come back to that table there. Step on up now. What’s wrong with you?

MR. JOHNSON: What the fuck you think wrong with me, man? Goddamn, I’m trying to tell you I ain’t have no motherfucking option in this shit, man.

THE COURT: All right.

MR. JOHNSON: What the fuck? You think everybody just want to go sit in prison for the rest of their life because you ain’t got nothing better to do than to sit up there and crack jokes. This ain’t no motherfucking joke, man. This is about my goddamn life.

THE COURT: That cost you five months and twenty-nine days in addition to the three years I’ve just given you [#1, and suspiciously shy of the 6 months that would require a jury trial]

MR. JOHNSON: Fuck this shit, man.

THE COURT: All right. That’s five months and twenty-nine more in addition to the five months and twenty-nine I’ve given you. [#2]

MR. JOHNSON: Fuck you, bitch.

THE COURT: That’s five months and twenty-nine days. That’s three years. That’s five months and twenty-nine days. Now, wait a minute. That’s consecutive to the three years that you’re now doing. Each one of those. Separate and independent. [#3]

MR. JOHNSON: If I had a gun, your motherfucking head would be splattered all over the back of the goddamn wall for —

THE COURT: And you’d better shoot straight when you try. When you get out, come on. Five months and twenty-nine more for that. That’s consecutive to the three others and consecutive to the one that you’re doing now. [#4]

MR. JOHNSON: Whatever man. You’re tired of giving it out? Did you finish or what?

THE COURT: Well, we can see. That’s five months and twenty-nine more. [#5]

MR. JOHNSON: Kiss my ass again.

THE COURT: Five months and twenty-nine more. [#6]

MR. JOHNSON: Kiss my ass until you’re tired of giving me another.

THE COURT: That’s six of them.

MR. JOHNSON: Kiss my ass again.

THE COURT: Seven. Five months and twenty-nine days. [#7]

MR. JOHNSON: Fuck you. Kiss my ass again.

THE COURT: Five months and twenty-nine days. [#8]

MR. JOHNSON: All right.

THE COURT: Consecutive.

THE CLERK: Silence.

MR. JOHNSON: So you finished giving out time?

THE COURT: I guess. Until you cuss again.

MR. JOHNSON: Suck my dick. [Very tricky, because “dick” isn’t a cuss word.]

THE COURT: Five months and twenty-nine days consecutive. [#9] [Damn!]

THE BAILIFF: Quiet in the Court.

MR. JOHNSON: You finished?

THE COURT: I suppose.

MR. JOHNSON: Well, what the fuck are you holding me for then?

THE COURT: Five months and twenty-nine more days. Consecutive. [#10]

MR. JOHNSON: Get the fuck off me, man.

THE COURT: Call the next one.

Not thrilled with the prospect of finishing his 10-year sentence, then 3 more years for the probation violation, then just under 5 MORE YEARS for contempt of court, Mr. Johnson appealed. Who do you think won? Mr. Johnson did. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed the contempt convictions.

In the instant case, the trial judge, by engaging in a prolonged dialogue with the appellant,may have provoked the appellant into repeatedly committing acts of contempt. Convictions for those acts may not stand.

The Court of Special Appeals held that the entire incident described above be considered as only one episode of contempt, and sent the matter back to the trial judge on that one count of contempt, with the not-so-subtle hint that they “leave it to his judgment what further action should be taken.” Johnson v. State, 642 A.2d 259 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1994).

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One of Kansas Judge Rebecca Pilshaw’s bad days (no, that’s not her above!) came as she was trying to empanel a jury in a murder case. Loyal readers know the Juice hates jury weasels. But nobody hates folks who try to avoid jury duty more than judges. There was a little of that going on. As reported in The Kansan:

One prospective juror said she wouldn’t believe anything the police said. Pilshaw dismissed her from service, but ordered her to attend every day of the trial because, “You need an opportunity to be exposed more to our law enforcement personnel.”

Then Judge Pilshaw lost it (at least, for a judge, this is considered losing it) and said:

Anybody else want to mess with me?

Actually, Pilshaw thought another juror did.

Later, a juror said her religious beliefs made it uncomfortable for her to judge someone else and that anyone on trial must be guilty of something. Pilshaw said she thought the woman simply didn’t want to serve on a jury, but had “said the magic words” to be dismissed.

Judge Pilshaw apologized the next day. Ironically, her outburst opened up the door, literally, for two more jurors to be excused! How? Because the Judge said that anybody who felt inimidated could leave, and two opportunistic jurors did. The defendant in the case was convicted of murder, appealed, and … lost. The Kansas Supreme Court held that the trial was not tainted by Judge Pilshaw’s conduct. And what about Judge Pilshaw? Her disciplinary case is pending. Here’s hoping she gets just a reprimand. (She was publicly censured.)

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Englishman Elliot Carnell caught one hell of a break. After drinking 15 pints of beer at a Christmas party, Carnell punched his ex-wife’s Sri Lankan boyfriend in the head – 6 times! Oh, and he hit his ex-wife and her daughter when they tried to stop him. Carnell copped to the racially aggravated assault, and was sentenced to 150 hours community service and alcohol counseling. But wait …

As if that sentence wasn’t light enough, it gets worse. When Carnell showed up to begin his community service (picking up litter), he was ordered to stop! Why? Because he’s a truck driver, and officials were concerned that, with the additional work [the community service], he would exceed the maximum of 48 hours per week for a truck driver! And he might be tired and get in an accident. Said Mr. Carnell:

I was a bit bewildered by what happened but I’m happy. I was willing to do the punishment.

Said Ms. Carnell:

I’m really upset. It’s not right. Now he’s free to go to the pub drinking with his friends and causing trouble. He should have gone to jail. It’s not a strong enough punishment. He must be laughing.

Probably. And this is not Mr. Carnell’s first racially related assault. His prior conviction was for popping a German dude wearing an England football shirt. You can read more (just a bit) in the Daily Mail article.

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The Juice’s first reaction upon reading about this was OUCH! (That’s a piercing needle pictured above.) This was followed by OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH! That had to hurt – a lot. For a whole bunch of reasons, this dude has to be regretting the piercing. From a report in The Jersey Journal:

A Belmar man was arrested in Downtown Jersey City after allegedly masturbating in front of a sharp-eyed 76-year-old woman who helped identify the man by telling police she noticed his penis was pierced, officials said.

Lionel B. Froloff, 32, was arrested in Hamilton Park at 2:26 p.m. Monday and charged with lewdness and endangering the welfare of children in a nearby playground, reports said.

The woman, who was sitting with her sister, told police she saw Froloff looking at her with a strange expression on his face and then realized what he was doing, reports said.

Arriving officers noticed Froloff had a pierced tongue and when the cop asked if he had any other piercings, Froloff confirmed what his victim had spotted moments earlier, reports said.

The officers said Froloff became angry at police headquarters, used profanity, and insulted one female officer using a racial slur and a second female officer with a sexual suggestion, reports said.


Finally, Froloff began complaining of pain in his pants and said the piercing might be infected, reports said. He was taken by ambulance to the Jersey City Medical Center for treatment, reports said.

What a way to cap off the day. Here’s the source.

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You’re trying to sleep, and there’s a loud party [that they didn’t invite you to!], or your neighbor is playing loud music, or [fill in the blank] is keeping you awake. You’re mad. You rarely get justice. You’ll probably like this one, as reported by NorthCountryNow.com (Potsdam, New York):

A Parishville man was charged with unnecessary noise for yelling unreasonably loud early Wednesday morning, according to Potsdam police.

Nicholas J. Avery, 23, was issued an appearance ticket at 12:28 a.m. for the above charge after officers observed him yelling on the corner of Raymond and Market streets, police said.

He is to appear in Potsdam court May 22 at 9:30 a.m., officers said.

Just standing on the corner yelling? Here’s the source.

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Unless it’s a traffic ticket where you don’t have much to lose, it’s just not a good idea to represent yourself.  This point is made over and over by cases like this. As reported by Courthouse News Service:

On trial for mail and wire fraud, fallen real estate mogul Luke Brugnara [who is representing himself] blamed his treatment at the Alameda County jail for his bizarre behavior in court and demanded that U.S. District Judge Alsup allow this explanation to be given to the jury.

“If I were in the jury box, I’d think this guy is nuts,” Brugnara said, launching into a rant about how he has not been allowed to shower or shave for five days and that deputies are trying to prevent him from preparing for trial by repeatedly throwing his legal papers into garbage bags.

Brugnara also spent this past weekend on suicide watch in Santa Rita jail, where he claims to have been thrown naked into a cell caked with feces for 30 hours. Since the incident, he has taken to calling the deputies his “North Vietnamese captors.”

“I haven’t showered, haven’t shaved. That’s why I’m acting crazy,” he told the judge.

What are the charges?

… allegedly conning a New York art dealer out of $11 million in fine art including a missing Edgar Degas sculpture …

The trial sounds, well, interesting, and challenging.

[Brugnara]  has consistently bullied witnesses, argued with the U.S. attorneys and generally turned the court into a lurid spectacle for nearly two weeks.

“You’re trying to turn this trial into the biggest train wreck you can,” Alsup said Tuesday.

Alsup, who seems to fully believe that Brugnara is deliberately hanging himself in order to get the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn his inevitable conviction, has so far added 295 days to Brugnara’s sentence for summary contempt – earning 111 of those days for calling U.S. District Attorney Robin Harris a “Nazi” in court on Tuesday.

“You’re racking up a lot of time in this case. You deserve more,” Alsup said.

“She’s worse than a Nazi in my opinion,” Brugnara said. “And you don’t care about me; none of you care about me. It’s not fair. You’ve orchestrated this whole case and because you don’t like the way I communicate, you’re punishing me.”

“I’m not going to try to argue with you on the falsehoods in your speech. You got away earlier with saying Ms. Harris dresses like she’s in North Korea,” Alsup fired back.

On Wednesday, Brugnara fought with Alsup over the contempt sentences. “If you hate me that much, why don’t you just recuse yourself? Say, ‘I fucking hate you’ and recuse yourself.”

Harris asked Alsup to keep Brugnara from bringing up the summary contempt orders in front of the jury.

“You think that will do any good?” Alsup asked wearily.

Brugnara interjected, “Can you just hand Ms. Harris your robe? Because she’s trying to direct the court.”

You get the idea. And the judge’s displeasure with Mr. Brugnara began before the trial.

The judge is still steaming from Brugnara’s defiance of a furlough order that allowed him to meet with his former court-appointed attorney, Erik Babcock, at the San Francisco Federal Building. Brugnara walked out of the building after a meeting with Babcock on February 5 and spent six days on the lam before being apprehended by the FBI.

At a hearing after Wednesday’s proceedings, Alsup addressed the only defense Brugnara has for that escape, U.S. Supreme Court case United States vs. Bailey.

Under Bailey, duress or necessity can be used as a defense to an escape charge. Brugnara claims that he was dying of malnourishment in the Glenn Dyer jail in Oakland and fully intended to return for his trial, originally scheduled to begin Feb. 26.

Although The Juice is not a criminal lawyer, he feels confident saying “good luck with that one.” You’ll find the source here.

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Who would have thought anything of importance would happen because of an online comment? Well, it did! As reported by arstechnica.com (from a Highlands County Sheriff’s Office press release):

A Florida woman used the comments section of a Pizza Hut order made from her smartphone on Monday afternoon to alert authorities that she and her children were being held hostage. When police responded to her message, arriving at the location, she and her children were quickly released, unharmed, and the kidnapper was arrested.

According to a Highlands County Sheriff’s Office press release, Cheryl Treadway, a woman from Avon Park, about 85 miles southeast of Tampa, had been arguing most of the day with her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, who carried “a large knife.”

Well done madam! Here’s a link to the article, and a link to the press release.

(Psst! Legal Juice is brought you by, well, The Juice, who is a personal injury lawyer practicing in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. He will not be quitting his day job, which includes handling bicycle, pedestrian, and automobile accidents, to bring you more Juice.)


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Anyone over the age of, oh, maybe 6, knows that sometimes kids say things that aren’t true for a variety of reasons. A Kansas City mom took her 6-year-old son at his word, and she ran with it. The Juice is here to tell you, that was a HUGE mistake. As reported by KCTV:

An angry mother confronted her son’s teacher and hit her in the face, jerked her hair and rammed her head against a file cabinet, according to a Kansas City Police Department report.

Bam! That teacher must have done something really awful to the boy right? Here’s how it started.

The teacher told police that Baker entered her classroom “and wanted to talk to her about what her son stated (the teacher) did to him in class earlier today.”

The teacher said if she wanted to speak with her and the principal that she would need to return on Friday. She said the woman was demanding and headed to the principal’s office where she reportedly created the scene before returning to the teacher’s class. The woman said she was upset over something that the teacher had done to her son earlier in the day.


“You better not touch my kid again,” Baker yelled to the teacher, according to the police report. The mother was reportedly upset about a scratch on her 6-year-old son’s neck that she claimed the teacher inflicted. The child had been disciplined earlier in the day.

So what did mom do?

The woman ran behind the teacher’s desk and “struck her in the face with an open fist 5 to 10 times as she held” the teacher’s arm down to her side, the report says. She then grabbed the teacher “by her hair and picked her up out of the chair and struck her head against a file cabinet two times.” She then fled from the classroom.

Shazam! Oh, and about that scratch …

District officials said Friday night that the boy’s father brought the boy to school Friday, and that the boy recanted his story. The district said the boy admitted the teacher had not hurt or scratched him.

Um. Er. Uh. Well … sorry? My bad? Ms. Baker is in a lot of trouble. You can read more (a little) here.

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When you think of road rage, you think about aggressive driving, or maybe even someone pulling a weapon, right? But this? You would not think of this. Ever. Per BeeNews.com (New York):

Police responded to a road rage incident on Union Road. Reportedly, two motorists were spitting on each other after following each other around town.

The Juice can think of worse ways to settle disputes.