4658438854_100f72195aSince my last video post, I’ve been thrust into the media law work that OSJI has planned, which includes learning about the separate laws that govern defamation prosecutions of journalists and private individuals here in Cambodia. Apparently, United Nations transitional laws, the Cambodian press law, the Cambodian Constitution, the penal code and international agreements all influence the outcome of a case in some way. It’s a lot of reading, but very interesting stuff. Yey, research!

On top of all the laws and reports I’m going through to try and make some sense of the legal situation, I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that government officials can just remove offending publications from newstands, that newspapers themselves have to be registered with the government, and that any sort of “incitement” can be met with a fine or even jail time. Sometimes it seems the laws have been pulled from the law books of some authoritarian goverment from some science fiction novel, but the law is all too real for those who have been jailed or fined by the government here.

I’ve also had some time to meet and have a couple of beers with the other intern – also a first-year law student – who is working with OSJI. I mentioned before that many of the students and volunteers who pass through the city are super worldly, knowledgable and educated, and this dude is no exception. He has studied and worked in Japan – where he met his fiancee – and can both read and write Japanese. This wouldn’t be so unusual except for the fact that he stands 6 feet 2 inches tall and and has a shock of red hair. He had some interesting stories to tell about Japan, and I look forward to hearing more. Yey for cool people!

Speaking of cool, since it’s too darn hot to actually even think of running in the city, I decided to join a gym, which is just a quick jaunt around the block from the hotel that I’m staying at. Apparently, this gym – which sits in a building called The Place (creative, I know) – is the place that most people want to be at if they do join a gym in Phnom Penh. I can’t argue with that. The gym at the place has it all: very cold air conditioning, leather seating, free classes, free Internet access, cable television, weights, all manner of exercise equipment that you would find at 24 Hour Fitness, and possibly one of the best views of the Independent Monument in the city. Photos to come!

Photo: Open Society Justice Initiative office, Phnom Penh Center Building / julieanneines Flickr

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Like Clark Kent and that Super Fella.

Teenieme_edited

Also: We’re down to the home stretch, folks! Four finals down, one to go! After my Contracts final tomorrow, I officially will be done with my first year in law school and getting ready for Cambodia! Confetti!!!

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438037919_36785da891In The Shark Attack, the Blawgirl brings you a list of links to blog posts published at The Shark, a blawg written by and for law students.

Holy crap! Just realized I haven’t posted one of these in several weeks. Here’s a rundown of stories written by the Blawgirl published at The Shark. Chompy, chomp.

Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr

438037919_36785da891In The Shark Attack, the Blawgirl brings you a list of links to blog posts published at The Shark, a blawg written by and for law students.

A grout way to cheat. Bathroom breaks aren’t just for gathering pithy bits of wisdom anymore. Some law students see it as an opportunity to get ahead in their law school exams.

Anti-John Yoo protests at Berkeley’s commencement ceremonies: round two! Surprise! Students and alumni were expected to protest Capt. Waterboard John Yoo during U.C. Berkeley’s commencement ceremonies.

Shame on you, law school cheaters. Shame on you. Everyone has an opinion on cheaters. The Blawgirl is no exception. They are idiots.

Supreme Court nominee round-up. Before Sonia Sotomayor was announced as President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee earlier this week, the blawgs, blogs and pundits were doing what they do best: speculating! At The Shark, we scoured the Interwebz to find some little-known factoids about the possible nominees. Check them out: Possible SCOTUS nominees way back when: Kagan and Sotomayor in law school, SCOTUS shortlist: one scholar and two politicians, SCOTUS shortlist: The man, man

0L dates 1: Turns out law school puts some pressure on romance. As you know the Blawgirl is dating the Boyfriend, who just finished up his first year in law school. At The Shark, the Blawgirl reflects on the Boyfriend’s past 1L year.

438037919_36785da891In The Shark Attack, the Blawgirl brings you a list of links to blog posts published at The Shark, a blawg written by and for law students.

Not all of Chapman thrilled to see you. Last week, I was pretty thrilled to discover The Daily Chapman, a satirical blog about Chapman University, but I was even more thrilled to see to see that they had written a piece about law school visiting professor and torture memo writer John Yoo’s tortuous law school class. Yoo ought to check out the piece at The Shark, which also has a link to the article. Yoo may find it funny and Yoo-seful. OK. I’m done.

Want to learn some yoga? Go to law school. Law school seems the least likely place to get your “Ohm” on. But the Roger Williams University School of Law is trying to change that. The associate dean of students at the law school instituted a class that teaches students meditation and relaxation techniques that future lawyers can use before going into the courtroom. It also supposedly teaches them how not to be soulless, hope-eating zombies with their clients and fellow lawyers.

Wait, can a disbarred attorney work for a law school? The Yoo saga saw more developments this week after the Office of Professional Responsibility within the Justice Department indicated that it is unlikely that former Bush administration legal advisers would face criminal prosecution. It did, however, leave open the possibility of a potential disbarment for Yoo, and impeachment for his former boss Jay S. Bybee, who is now a federal appeals court judge.

438037919_36785da891In The Shark Attack, the Blawgirl brings you a list of links to blog posts published at The Shark, a blawg written by and for law students.

Facebook groups. Go. Join. Gripe. Law students are the least likely of all the students in the world to complain about anything. Now that I’ve made your heads implode and have possibly awakened the anti-Christ from the improbability of that last statement, I urge you, law students and prospective law students alike, to check out the groups listed in the post. If you want a picture of law school different than those displayed in the glossy, Abercrombie and Fitch-ed law school catalogs, the discussions in these groups are real eye-openers. There’s sex, doomed relationships, alcoholism … basically anything you’d find in any daytime soap opera worth its salt. It would make for very entertaining reading if it wasn’t something to be feared.

Fark on law school. If you thought that law students in all their sainted, high-achieving splendor were immune from stupidity, I would like to have what you’re having. Seriously, though. I was rather surprised by how many times the term “law student” and “law school” came up in my Fark search for the worst of the worst law school students to make Fark headlines. Follow the link and see who made it to the No. 1 spot.

Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr


438037919_36785da891In The Shark Attack, the Blawgirl brings you a list of links to blog posts published at The Shark, a blawg written by and for law students.

Has the hysteria hit you yet? Stay calm amidst the ranking craze. Students and bloggers peed themselves Sunday and Monday when U.S. News and World Report law school rankings were leaked (see what I did there?).

Torture memo debate at Chapman turns up the dialogue rather than the drama. Chapman University School of Law visiting professor and former Bush administration legal adviser John Yoo debated professors at the Orange County, Calif., law school about Presidential Power and Success in Times of Crisis. Shoe tossing was upsettingly absent from this debate.

Berkeley professor spends years developing alternative to LSAT. LSAT, shmel-sat. A team of Berkeley professors, with the blessing of the Law School Admissions Council, researched a test that is supposed to more accurately test whether a student will make a better lawyer.

Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr

The rankings are out. And, no, I’m not talking about the U.S. News and World Report law school rankings due out this week that were leaked this past weekend.

Nope. I’m talking about Playboy’s rankings for the top party schools of 2009 (link NSFW).

3074506107_e00a8c4ff9Playboy has named the University of Miami its top party school for 2009, with the school garnering the top “bikini index score” and beating out schools like the University of Texas-Austin and San Diego State University for the top spot. According to Playboy, the study took a scientific approach (link NSFW) to the ten best by “developing algorithms to equally weigh all of the things that are crucial to the college experience.”

Playboy took measure of the Bikini index, campus life, sports, brains and sex. It’s not my cuppa tea, but if you want to go to a school that’s known for its parties, here’s the list with all 25 schools. (NSFW)

And here’s the top 10. If the university has a law school, I’ve given you a link to the law school web site:

  1. University of Miami – School of Law web site
  2. University of Texas (Austin) – School of Law web site
  3. San Diego State University
  4. University of Florida – Levin College of Law
  5. University of Arizona – Rogers College of Law
  6. University of Wisconsin (Madison) – Law school
  7. University of Georgia – School of Law
  8. Louisiana State University – School of Law
  9. University of Iowa – College of Law
  10. West Virginia University

Photo: Elin B / Flickr

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3370291997_3e96b89486I was expecting it. People on law school boards were saying that only about 100 applicants out of more than 2,000 were getting offers to attend. I turned in my application a little later in the cycle. I didn’t receive anything in the mail inviting me to Admitted Students’ Day. No follow-up emails. No calls. No fat envelopes. No quirky musical montage. Things were not looking up.

Still, I was a little disappointed when I received that skinny envelope from the fledgling U.C. Irvine School of Law last week. I did not get the golden ticket, the free law school education that was promised to any member of the school’s inagural class. I would not get to be an anteater. Twas a sad day in Julie-ville.

Then, yesterday I read on The Shark blawg that Dean Erwin Chemerinsky’s grand expedition into the law school yonder had turned away 2,740 other students who were hoping to hitch their wagon to the new California law school. And I realized that it may have been a sad day in many other people’s villes as well.

In the spirit of reject solidarity, I offer you, the other 2,740 of my brothers and sisters in reject-dom, this.

Despite the fact that we’re not going to be going to their totally awesome school (which they themselves acknowledge is totally awesome and is almost as awesome as Harvard and Yale), we can make our peace with the fact that we will not be endowed with awesomeness. How can we accomplish this awesome feat, you ask? By learning how totally not-that-awesome U.C. Irvine’s mascot, the anteater, is:

Random Anteater Facts

  • The name anteater usually refers to the Giant Anteater but is also applied to the aardvark, the numbat, the echidna, and the pangolin. Together with the sloths, these animals comprise the order Pilosa. All these animals are known to eat ants and termites.
  • The tongue of the Giant Anteater is over 2 feet long. (via www.randomfacts.org)
  • Giant anteaters walk with a slow shuffle on all four legs with their nose pointed to the ground. The anteater does not walk on its paws. Instead, with the claws curled up into the paws, it walks on its “fists.”
  • Giant anteaters have no teeth but a specialized tongue that allows them to eat up to 30,000 ants and termites each day.
  • An adult female giant anteater gives birth to a single baby (twins are rare) while in a standing position, propped up by her strong tail.
  • The giant anteater’s main enemies are jaguars and pumas
  • The  giant anteater has been around for 25 million years (via www.sandiegozoo.org)

OK. Well, maybe they are kinda cool. And I have to admit that they can also be kinda cute. Here’s “Anteater eating a creamsicle”.

Here’s one called “Stewie walks on two legs”.

And I leave you with “Baby Anteaters”.

With cute, almost anything can be forgiven. Even a law school rejection. Sigh.

Photo: Smithsonian’s National Zoo / Flickr

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117048243_7cc6bb0b87The Obama administration today released previously undisclosed memos regarding the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency, but has decided not to go forward with the prosecution of CIA interrogators who performed the acts described in the documents.

Attorney General Eric Holder, in a press release from the Department of Justice, stated that President Obama has stopped the use of the interrogation techniques described in the opinions. “We are disclosing these memos consistent with our commitment to the rule of law,” he stated.

From the press release:

“Holder also stressed that intelligence community officials who acted reasonably and relied in good faith on authoritative legal advice from the Justice Department that their conduct was lawful, and conformed their conduct to that advice, would not face federal prosecutions for that conduct.”

Holder further states that the government would provide no-cost legal representation to any employee in any state or federal judicial or administrative proceeding brought against the employee based on such conduct, and would also indemnify any employee for any monetary judgment or penalty ultimately imposed against him for such conduct and will provide representation in congressional investigations.

You can download the memos at the New York Times Web site. If you don’t want to download them on your own, you can read them at The Huffington Post, which is seemingly outsourcing the digging through them to its readership. And here’s a link to President Obama’s statement regarding the release of the memos.

Included in the documents is a memo published by the Office of Legal Counsel August 1, 2002 (under Jay Bybee and Chapman Law visiting professor John Yoo) which the New York Times had previously reported as “a legal authorization for a laundry list of proposed C.I.A. interrogation techniques.”

The memo discusses the case of Abu Zubaydah, described as one of the highest-ranking members of Al Qaeda and one of the planners of the Sept. 11 attacks.

According to the memo, Zubaydah is thought to be witholding vital information from interrogators, and because of the amount of “chatter” that was equivalent to that which preceded the Sept. 11 attacks, it was permissible to up the ante so to speak: to go from regular interrogation methods into the “increased pressure phase”.

And what does the increased pressure phase entail?

Ten techniques: the attention grasp, walling, facial hold, facial slap (insult slap), cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation, insects placed in a confinement box, and the waterboard.

Page two of the documents gives a rundown of what each technique involves. Ultimately, the memo writers conclude that none of the techniques used on Zubaydah would qualify as “torture”.

According to the Associated Press, former CIA Director Michael Hayden stated that the Obama administration is endangering the country by releasing the memos.

The release of the memos today should make Saturday’s scheduled National Lawyers Guild Teach-In On Torture at Chapman Law’s Kennedy Hall and next week’s debate regarding Presidential Power and Success in Time of Crisiswith Mr. Yoo, Dean John Eastman, Professor Katherine Darmer, and Professor Larry Rosenthal – all the more timely.

Photo: Joe Gratz / Flickr

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