pageok
pageok
pageok
Profile of the DC Madam's Lawyer,
in today's Washington Post. He sounds like the perfect attorney to hire if you're charged with running a high-class prostitution service; the evidence against you is overwhelming; and your primary goal at this stage is to make sure your case becomes a memorable news story so you can sell your book and movie rights for a lot of money. (The federal "son of sam" law only applies to espionage offenses and crimes that cause physical harm, so I gather Palfrey can keep whatever money her book and movie rights will bring.)
rbj:
Suing the Supreme Court for treason? That doesn't sound like a winning lawsuit right of the bat.

And it does beg the question, how would one sue the S.Ct.? All other courts are inferior to it; leaving the S.Ct. as the only venue to handle such a case itself. And I think the Court will generally find in its own favor, mostly because those bringing such suits generally won't have good legal reasoning on their side.
5.4.2007 12:47pm
RainerK:
The federal "son of sam" law only applies to espionage offenses and crimes that cause physical harm....

My first, only partly cynical thought was: What a glaring loophole in the law! Needs to be closed immediately to prevent this immoral woman to profit a second time by preying on the weakness of her victims.
Great issue for an enterprising lawmaker in need of a profile. Good line of justification might go like this: While Randal Tobias may not have been hurt physically (quite to the contrary), his and his family's mental anguish is very real.


Radley Balko at Reason has it right:

D. C. Madam
5.4.2007 1:30pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
This story read more like something you would find in the New York Post instead of the Washington Post. Did someone make a typo?
5.4.2007 1:41pm
liberty (mail) (www):
"prevent this immoral woman to profit a second time by preying on the weakness of her victims. "

I'm confused, who are her victims?
5.4.2007 2:15pm
Steve:
I'm blown away by the cognitive dissonance of referring to johns as "victims" and citing to Reason magazine in the same comment.
5.4.2007 2:25pm
John (mail):
Perhaps he hopes that if he can rattle enough cages, some powerful person will find a way to end the litigation against his client. Of course, it's hard to believe that such corruption could exist in D.C.
5.4.2007 2:28pm
strategichamlet (mail):
Steve, RainerK was joking.
5.4.2007 2:28pm
Steve in CA (mail):
I'm not an expert on this case, but it seems like the evidence in her favor is pretty strong, too. I mean, having your employees sign a contract that they won't do anything illegal has to mean something, right?
5.4.2007 2:54pm
Kate1999 (mail):
Steve in CA:

If you look at the evidence in the case, it's pretty clear that this was just a CYA move.
5.4.2007 3:15pm
Speaking the Obvious:
I'm not a lawyer, but why isn't a CYA move, presumably designed by an attorney for the express purpose of covering YA, insufficient to CYA?
5.4.2007 4:27pm
CollegeProf:
Speaking the Obvious --

Because the legal issue is whether Palfrey *actually* had the intent to have the girls engage in sex. It's very easy to sign a piece of paper promising that you won't do what you're actually going to do, but what matters is what you do actually do, not what you say. Otherwise any criminal could just sign a piece of paper saying "I promise I will not commit any crimes," and then they and their co-conspirators couldn't be charged.

I suppose he should have said it's a "lame attempt at a CYA move," not an actual CYA move.
5.4.2007 4:35pm
Hank:
I believe that the federal Son of Sam statute is similar enough to the New York State one that the Supreme Court struck down in Simon &Schuster, Inc. v. Members of the New York State Crime Victims Board, 502 U.S. 105 (1991), that it is unconstitutional. 18 U.S.C.A. 3681 indicates no cases on point.
5.4.2007 4:43pm
c.f.w. (mail):


If it were my client sued for pimping and the defense was no sex (or no permitted sex), why not call all the johns? Who else has personal knowledge and a high ability to help persuade the males on the jury there should be a finding of no sex (or no permitted sex)? Only a lazy/dumb "dump truck" lawyer (or an intimidated lawyer) would simply call the call girls as witnesses. If I were on a jury and could see 8-10 stalwarts (Repubs and Dems) who swore they used the call girls just for massages and the like, why not acquit? It looks like a good case for jury nullification, at the least.

More importantly, what does the USATTY think he is doing making this case any sort of priority? I have a sister working in the USATTY office in DC and have no doubt she has lots of far more serious cases to process (lots of non-victim-less crimes).

I blame Bush and A Gonz and Rove for guiding the USATTY into what looks like a pretty meaningless low-priority sex case.
5.4.2007 4:52pm
Steve:
Having your employees sign a contract that says they won't do anything illegal is standard in many, many industries. It may afford a sort of plausible deniability, but probably not in this case, I suspect.
5.4.2007 4:54pm
neurodoc:
First, what about ABC's role in this, of which nothing has been said in previous posts? Does any of the slime come off on the network?

I believe that the federal Son of Sam statute is similar enough to the New York State one that the Supreme Court struck down in Simon &Schuster, Inc. v. Members of the New York State Crime Victims Board, 502 U.S. 105 (1991), that it is unconstitutional. 18 U.S.C.A. 3681 indicates no cases on point.
I had thought NY's Son of Sam law was still in force, but learned otherwise awhile ago through VC. So why shouldn't the federal version be Constitutionally defective too in view of the Simon &Schuster outcome? Is the federal version different in legally consequential ways from the state one? Has there never been a case to test the federal law, or is it that no one has ever been sufficiently incentivized to do so?

I'm confused, who are her victims?
Those who were just after some face-to-face naughty conversation (not Bill and Monica on the phone together) or a massage and now find themselves being blackmailed.

If it were my client sued for pimping and the defense was no sex (or no permitted sex), why not call all the johns?
Because, "John Wesley Hall Jr., a vice president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and author of the standard text on defense ethics, calls it 'spiteful' and 'over the line,' and says it 'doesn't serve any purpose but to harass and embarrass people.'" But didn't Lynne Stewart have her defenders among her criminal bar compatriots, who said that it was a criminal defense attorney's duty to go all out for their clients, doing whatever it took to serve the clients' interests? Where exactly is "the line" in criminal defense work so we might know what is "over the line"? (I am not talking about aiding and abetting a criminal defendant, going along with perjury, or those sorts of clearly proscribed help to a defendant.)
5.4.2007 7:41pm
neurodoc:
Anybody ever read Woody Allen's The Mensa Whore? It seems to me that what he imagined in this humorous short piece written decades ago was very much what Ms. Palfrey claims to have had in mind with her business. Perhaps Montgomery Blair Sibley should try to rope Woody Allen in for this one, in the same way professors used to be put on the stand to say that they could see some redeeming value in what appeared to others as nothing other than simple obscenity.
5.4.2007 7:46pm
neurodoc:
Oh, and a prediction...Pearson, the attorney who is so wrought up about his missing pants, will not get the ALJ job, and he and Montgomery Blair Sibley will go into practice together specializing in very special cases. (Note the commonality in that both lawyers have a history of being sanctioned for vexatious litigation.)

Question...if someone is disbarred in one jurisdiction (MBS faces possible disbarment in FL), how likely/ unlikely is it that they will be disbarred in other jurisdictions where they are admitted? Are lawyers less successful at moving from state to state in order to keep practicing their profession than are doctors?
5.4.2007 7:52pm
happylee:
Prosecuting someone for running whores in DC is so absurd that it is only appropriate to bring such an actor into this farce.
5.4.2007 10:09pm