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Appeals Court Upholds Sanction Against BitTorrent Download Attorney

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the pay-up dept.

Piracy 90

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld sanctions awarded by a District Court against one of the lawyers bringing copyright infringement cases against individuals for BitTorrent movie downloads, in Mick Haig Productions v. Does 1-670. The Court's opinion (PDF) described the lawyer's 'strategy' as 'suing anonymous internet users for allegedly downloading pornography illegally using the powers of the court to find their identity, then shaming or intimidating them into settling for thousands of dollars — a tactic that he has employed all across the state and that has been replicated by others across the country.'"

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The worst part of it.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40634869)

He numbered his Does 1-670 instead for 0-669. For shame.

Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40634871)

It's Simple.

Don't be intimidated.

You can actually win by simple statement in front of the judge.
"How did you come about this libelous material?"

Because it directly violates civil liberties, I personally am not to worried about crusader lawyers. Because they are easily ignored by "COUNTER Suit threat."

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (1)

multiben (1916126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40634959)

See you in prison.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40636343)

Don't expect me visit you.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#40634973)

You can also blunder like an idiot, like most people under pressure, and get circles ran around you by a legal circus act of a well paid attorney.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (2, Informative)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635475)

Just wait outside the courthouse for the asshole lawyer and smash his/her skull with a baseball bat. Works every time and its good for mind, body, soul and society.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40635515)

Bring it on motherfucker.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40635949)

Bring it on motherfucker.

Ooooh, scary ninja shark lawyer!

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40637905)

I'm 12 years old too!

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40640457)

Well, it does "work" the first time, but it is hard to reach the lawyer from the prison cell the second time.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#40643245)

Just wait outside the courthouse for the asshole lawyer and smash his/her skull with a baseball bat. Works every time and its good for mind, body, soul and society.

Gives new meaning to jumping the shark.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (5, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635979)

That's why you instruct a good lawyer to write them a " So sue me, motherfucker!" letter for $100 tops, then do nothing unless they actually proceed with their bluff (which in the US is a small but non-zero risk)*. Enaging them by responding to subsequent threats allows you (or your lawyer) to say something silly and them to get a foot in the door of the negotiating room. There's and excellent TED talk on precisely this subject that I'm too lazy to look for but it doesn't just apply to copyright. I had personal experience of a roof tiling company who attempted to take advantage of a freind's elderly mother by charging her $9K for what was a $6K job on the open market. They were at the point of harrasing her with heavy handed debt collectors. A properly worded letter from my lawyer which he kindly did for FREE and a cheque for the $6K she and the family had originally agreed to was sent to the roof company by registered mail, we never heard another word about it.

*In most western countries outside of the US, this sort of behaviour is called "extortion".

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40637005)

*In most western countries outside of the US, this sort of behaviour is called "extortion".

Even in the US it's called that, and should be considered illegal. Especially if you'd originally agreed, in writing, to pay $6000 for the job and had never signed anything agreeing to increase the estimate.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641211)

in writing

And there's the catch, it was a verbal agreement (we will write up a proper quote later). At the end of the job the (easily confused) mother was presented with a bill that had $3K of extra's she had supposedly agreed to while the daughter was overseas, the "extra's" were bullshit things like super-duper sealant and paint. Another catch was if it did go to court we had to be sure it really was only worth $6K on the open market but that could be done by a building assesor for maybe $50-100 since all they did was replace the tiles and guttering (there was no structural work involved and a million other companies advertise the same thing for around the $6K mark).

Getting the bullies off the old woman's back was easy, in the letter the daughter took responsibility for the disputed debt and then threaten to sue if they contacted her mother about what was now her personal business dealings.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40642369)

Ah. Well, hindsight is 20/20, but the lesson to take away from it is never agree to give anybody money for anything unless you receive the product immediately upon payment (retail), or you have a written contract they can't renege on.

Sadly, far too many people don't learn that lesson until it's too late. I'm glad you were able to scare the bullies enough that they weren't able to get the extra money.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40637423)

I've done this. It works. And the lawyer that wrote the letter for me was so offended by what the company in question was trying to do he wrote the letter for free.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641371)

Yes, the guy I call "my lawyer" has been doing comon legal stuff (such as conveyancing, etc) for our family for the last 30yrs, I've never seen him so outraged and it's also the first time I've seen him write a letter for free. ;)

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40706613)

Damn, that's a good song - now I can't get it out of my head. I believe you just pink-rolled me.

Re:Lawyers are professional Bullshitters. (-1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40638101)

And in cases like this, it doesn't matter whether you get acquitted or not - you will always be guilty in the eyes of others, and permanently barred from quite a few jobs for the rest of your life.

Yes, even if innocent. Want to work with IT for a primary school? They do a background check and find something related to pornography. They now cannot hire you, even if you were found not guilty. You're forever tainted.

Oh wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40634889)

Evan Stone got ripped a new one. Nice to see...

Plea bargains? (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40634913)

But if capitalizing on the accused's inability to weather the risks and costs of trial are an unacceptable tactic, doesn't that mean plea deals by prosecutors are also unacceptable?

Re:Plea bargains? (2)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40634955)

I wondered this same thing when reading about one of the earlier smackdowns. And what of arbitration? Is a courtroom a place of justice for all, or merely the "Hell" used to terrify and coerce disadvantaged people into some desired behavior?

Re:Plea bargains? (5, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635283)

I always thought, that the fairest court of all, would be the one where the "prosecutor" (for lack of better term) would be searching for the "truth", not necessarily going for "conviction". This would remove the adversarial nature of the whole court process, it would be about discovering the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth".

The flip side is, that if you "did the crime" you'd be offered two choices. Plead or trial, with much stiffer penalties for trial than for pleading. How many trials are for people so obviously guilty that everyone in the court already knows they did it (film, witnesses, caught in the act etc) that get trials because they want the charade of a trial.

To Temper the Prosecution's zeal, they would be held accountable for all the prosecutions they have, and if they get a "conviction" of someone who is later proved innocent (i.e. DNA proof), that they are tossed in Jail for the remainder of the plaintiffs sentence.

All Lawyers would be "public" lawyers, and would be assigned randomly to one side or the other side of the case. Lawyers with extensive experience and a proven record would be eligible for Judgeships.

I'm sure it isn't a perfect system, but I suspect that it would function better than the crapshoot and Lawyer Wars we have now.

Re:Plea bargains? (3, Interesting)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635585)

I always thought, that the fairest court of all, would be the one where the "prosecutor" (for lack of better term) would be searching for the "truth", not necessarily going for "conviction". This would remove the adversarial nature of the whole court process, it would be about discovering the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth".

This makes some sense. The state has significantly more resource available than your average accused and should always be interested in truth and justice, not convictions. Unfortunately, management gets in the way, and they want to measure something. Measuring convictions is way too easy to measure, nevermind that it measures the Wrong Thing.

The flip side is, that if you "did the crime" you'd be offered two choices. Plead or trial, with much stiffer penalties for trial than for pleading. How many trials are for people so obviously guilty that everyone in the court already knows they did it (film, witnesses, caught in the act etc) that get trials because they want the charade of a trial.

Again, fairly reasonable. Playing poker for time instead of money, makes sense.

To Temper the Prosecution's zeal, they would be held accountable for all the prosecutions they have, and if they get a "conviction" of someone who is later proved innocent (i.e. DNA proof), that they are tossed in Jail for the remainder of the plaintiffs sentence.

Woah, Nelly. That's almost like penalising me the cost of fixing a bug for having written one. A bit extreme. Yes, if there is evidence of malicious prosecution, I don't think prosecutorial immunity should apply. However, mistakes are made, and you don't throw someone in jail for mistakes. Even today, police officers and prosecutors will decline charges over mistakes (at least if they're in a good mood). Don't make them more snarky, please.

And if prosecutorial misconduct is proven, "remainder of the plaintiff's sentence" is only going to make them stall and/or obstruct. It's a new criminal charge, it gets its own time. But I could go for a karmic "the greater of 2 years and the time served by the maliciously prosecuted".

All Lawyers would be "public" lawyers, and would be assigned randomly to one side or the other side of the case. Lawyers with extensive experience and a proven record would be eligible for Judgeships.

I'm sure it isn't a perfect system, but I suspect that it would function better than the crapshoot and Lawyer Wars we have now.

Unfortunately, at least in the US, "free speech" would prevent this aspect.

Re:Plea bargains? (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40636881)

Again, fairly reasonable. Playing poker for time instead of money, makes sense.

It's a terrible idea, and I, personally think that the US thing for plea bargaining is a bad abuse of the justice system.

A fundemental principle is innocence until being proven guilty. Such a scheme gives a large disincentive to actually fight for your innocence. It is also too easily abused withthe police and prosecutors happy to keep stacking up the charges to make the bargain look like a better option.

You claim it's like poker. There are two problem with this.

1) It's a pretty messed up idea to have people gamble for their rights.

2) More importantly, it isn't like poker, since the prosecution can raise the stakes for you without raising the stakes for them. If they tack on every charge they can think of, you are screwed badly if you lose, and the chances go up of losing something. No matter how high they push the stakes for you they only stand to lose the same.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40637043)

A fundemental principle is innocence until being proven guilty. Such a scheme gives a large disincentive to actually fight for your innocence. It is also too easily abused withthe police and prosecutors happy to keep stacking up the charges to make the bargain look like a better option.

And if you actually are innocent, a good lawyer will tell you to refuse the deal and take it to court.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#40637493)

And if you actually are innocent, a good lawyer will tell you to refuse the deal and take it to court.

And what if the deal is for time served? All you have to do is lie under oath and say you committed a crime you didn't commit. Your integrity, or your freedom, which will it be?

And yes, this has happened. [truthinjustice.org]

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40644201)

You generally would not lie under oath, you would just plead guilty (which is not done under oath).

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647873)

Ah, well, it still requires telling a lie. Maybe it is no longer a crime, but the woman in this particular case refused to do it on moral grounds.

A prosecutor can even ask you to allocute. That means you need to completely describe the details of what you did. Could you imagine having to make that up?

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40638633)

Unfortunately, at least in the US, "free speech" would prevent this aspect.

Hang on, lawyers are already required to be members of the appropriate bar. The bar is merely a para-statal version of the idea that all lawyers are public. The free speech aspect comes in with the idea that you are allowed to defend yourself. If lawyers were officially made public servants one and all, the right to self defense wouldn't be removed. How would that violate free speech?

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 2 years ago | (#40640741)

The right to interview, select, and hire the professional that will be speaking on your behalf seems to be a natural extention of your own free speech.

There's also freedom of association, but I think that's likely a weak connection.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40636141)

I always thought, that the fairest court of all, would be the one where the "prosecutor" (for lack of better term) would be searching for the "truth", not necessarily going for "conviction". This would remove the adversarial nature of the whole court process, it would be about discovering the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth".

Problem is, the most efficient way we know of getting to the "truth" based on reason and physical evidence is inherently adversarial, ie: create a model of the truth and attack/defend it untli it matches reality beyond reasonable doubt. Prosecuters (particularly in the US where the role is more politicized) should not be thrown in jail for being over-zealous but technically within the law, the political system needs to change it's notion of what a "sucessful prosecution" actual means to redirect the priorities of the prosecuters, to me a "sucessful prosecution" means justice has been served, not negotiated.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40653193)

The problem with our adversarial position is that those with the $ to buy legal counsel can manipulate the system and twist it beyond "the truth".

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40636877)

I always thought, that the fairest court of all, would be the one where the "prosecutor" (for lack of better term) would be searching for the "truth", not necessarily going for "conviction". This would remove the adversarial nature of the whole court process, it would be about discovering the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth".

The problem with this is that the "prosecutor" is now the one deciding what the truth is, so when it comes to trial it would be even more biased towards "the defendant wouldn't be here unless he was guilty", except you didn't get any say in this little pre-trial. Of course they shouldn't press charges where the evidence clearly doesn't hold but they should "overprosecute" a little and let judges and juries decide. I'd be far more concerned about a court system where nobody is acquitted at trial than the opposite.

To Temper the Prosecution's zeal, they would be held accountable for all the prosecutions they have, and if they get a "conviction" of someone who is later proved innocent (i.e. DNA proof), that they are tossed in Jail for the remainder of the plaintiffs sentence.

So if somebody successfully frames you for murder or gives false testimony or the police present me with a bogus case and I as a prosecutor get you convicted on what apparently looks like solid evidence, I risk spending the rest of my life in jail? Nobody accepts that kind of occupational risk on things they have so very little control over.

All Lawyers would be "public" lawyers, and would be assigned randomly to one side or the other side of the case. Lawyers with extensive experience and a proven record would be eligible for Judgeships.

Everybody knows a public lawyer is a last resort because he's not your lawyer, he got no interest in delivering you his best performance. "Unimportant" people will still be thrown under the bus as the lawyers work on gathering cases and friends to get their judgeship and I'm sure they'll find some way to give their lawyers kickbacks anyway.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

jahudabudy (714731) | more than 2 years ago | (#40639549)

Of course they shouldn't press charges where the evidence clearly doesn't hold but they should "overprosecute" a little and let judges and juries decide. I'd be far more concerned about a court system where nobody is acquitted at trial than the opposite.

So you think it's better to subject some innocent people to the economic and emotional hardship of a trial, as well as the non-zero chance of faulty conviction, than let some criminals go unprosecuted? Me, I tend to the opposite philosophy. Especially given the fact that over time, your little bit of "overprosecution" easily becomes what we have today.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 2 years ago | (#40636889)

The flip side is, that if you "did the crime" you'd be offered two choices. Plead or trial, with much stiffer penalties for trial than for pleading.

What purpose would basing sentences on intimidation, rather than actual trials, serve? If anything, it's plea bargaining and settling out of court that should be made illegal, since it's those aspects of current system that get most consistently abused. Why do you want to penalize people for defending themselves? Is this some kind of authoritarian bullshit where those accused by their betters should just grab their ankles and take it?

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40643301)

It's called Blackmail, and it is illegal....
But the courts do it all the time and admit it.
"Say you are guilty or we will throw the book at you."
"Defendants lack of remorse merits a harsher sentence"
Etc...
These are state and Fed employees explicitly saying that if you don't give up your rights, or lie and admit to something you did not do, they will knowingly charge you with crimes they would not otherwise charge you with ( and that there might not be even a slight chance of being based in evidence) and also punish you harsher than someone who is so blatantly guilty they don't even bother with a trial.

It's criminal what they do.

Re:Plea bargains? (3, Informative)

mutube (981006) | more than 2 years ago | (#40637161)

I always thought, that the fairest court of all, would be the one where the "prosecutor" (for lack of better term) would be searching for the "truth", not necessarily going for "conviction".

You're describing the Inquisitorial system of justice as practised in such exotic locations as France (and most of the world using civil as opposed to common law).

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40637467)

... if you "did the crime" ...

And who decides if I committed the crime? What is the purpose of a trial? This is putting the cart before the horse.

... Plead or trial, with much stiffer penalties for trial than for pleading ...

Did you read the GP post? This happens already, mainly because the prosecution pads the charge sheet when a defendant faces a judge.

... All Lawyers would be "public" lawyers ...

Let's see: I can be a lowly-paid attorney bleating 'the defendant must prove he doesn't molest children' or a richly-rewarded lawyer proving the attorney has nothing but smoke and mirrors. If I passed the bar and had just done a few years as an assistant, I know which job I'd be chasing.

In other words, public attorneys would have to paid a lot more, and argue a case on the evidence: Not rhetoric and trumped accusations.

napoleonic code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40638105)

What you've described, where the public prosecutor is charged with determining the facts in the case, is essentially how most of the world other than England and former colonies and territories does it. The Napoleonic code is often mistakenly described as guilty til proven innocent, but that's actually not true.

Re:Plea bargains? (3, Insightful)

dnwheeler (443747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40638627)

This is one of the biggest problems with our current legal system, which in my opinion makes the system "broken."

Right now, we have two sides arguing the extremes, but no one arguing for the truth. We already have a group who is supposed to be determining the truth - the jury. Unfortunately, this group is explicitly forbidden from doing their own research, collecting their own evidence, or making a determination that the truth is anything but either of the two extremes presented by the prosecution and the defense.

I have similar concerns about evidence. If a piece of evidence is improperly obtained, it is thrown out. The problem is that it is _still evidence_ of the truth. We should be trying to determine the truth, and any and all evidence, no matter how it was obtained, should be considered. Having said that, I think that the act of improperly obtaining evidence should be tried as a crime itself. If evidence is obtained by police illegally, that evidence is still _real_ and should used, but the police involved should be tried for violating the law.

The goal of our legal system should always be to determine the truth, even if that truth doesn't align with either the prosecutor's or defense's position.

Re:Plea bargains? (2)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40639795)

I have similar concerns about evidence. If a piece of evidence is improperly obtained, it is thrown out. The problem is that it is _still evidence_ of the truth. We should be trying to determine the truth, and any and all evidence, no matter how it was obtained, should be considered. Having said that, I think that the act of improperly obtaining evidence should be tried as a crime itself. If evidence is obtained by police illegally, that evidence is still _real_ and should used, but the police involved should be tried for violating the law.

1. Police will abuse this in any and all ways possible because:
2. Police are never tried for or convicted of anything.

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40643509)

If it is obtained illegally by police, the police are criminals. You can't trust criminals not to plant or alter evidence, hence it is not the truth, but is instead so tainted as to not be allowed in court.
This is as it should be.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40639305)

I always thought, that the fairest court of all, would be the one where the "prosecutor" (for lack of better term) would be searching for the "truth", not necessarily going for "conviction". This would remove the adversarial nature of the whole court process, it would be about discovering the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth". Define Truth. That is the question. Your truth isn't my truth nor is it God's Truth. This is why our justice system does not concern itself with the "Truth" as everyone thinks. It's Facts that convict, not truth.

Define Truth Your Honor as my truth is not your truth nor is it God's truth. My truth is that I thought the deceased was going to attack with the baseball bat, thus I issued two warnings to back off or I'd shoot. After the second warning, with him continuing to approach, I shot him - aiming for the center of mass as taught, knocking him down and disarming him as he dropped the bat. That is the truth as I see it, thus the shooting was justified as he was properly warned as caught by three security cameras (Walmart, Stater Bros and the Jewlery store). His death was the result of his actions, thus not actionable by the Court nor the Prosecution, who seems to want to waste the states and societies time/money with this case.Yet in the example provided, the prosecution would be pushing for a Murder 1, special circumstances unless the individual had a criminal or drug record. The reason for this would be to show they are "Tough on Crime" yet the citizens do not gain any benefit from such an attitude as it has reached the point that Zero Tollerance is no practiced for just about everything except Lying and Stupidity. If we enforced a Zero Tollererance policy against lying on our damn politicians, maybe we'd be able to clean up our system and actually get worthwhile changes passed through instead of the corporate wellfare/greed and such that the SCOTUS has already agreed that lying is legal. Thus contracts aren't worth the paper their written on nor is that paper any use for ass wiping.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40643465)

You have to be crazy to think that currency is a lie. Take some down to the grocery store and find out if it has value, or not.

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40640311)

We had a prosecutor in LA recently admit that he coersed innocent people to do plea bargains or risk being accused of the thing they did not do and be locked up for life. Plea bargains should be eliminated completely.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

jamiesan (715069) | more than 2 years ago | (#40638093)

The American Hell of Being sued into Bankruptcy.

Americans have a lot of hells.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40638365)

It's called a trial for a reason.

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40635135)

I hope so. Plea deals are ridiculous.

Re:Plea bargains? (2)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635239)

But if capitalizing on the accused's inability to weather the risks and costs of trial are an unacceptable tactic, doesn't that mean plea deals by prosecutors are also unacceptable?

Yes.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635339)

But if capitalizing on the accused's inability to weather the risks and costs of trial are an unacceptable tactic, doesn't that mean plea deals by prosecutors are also unacceptable?

Not really. Plea deals save both sides money, which when the cost of prosecution falls on the state (read: taxpayers), as does the cost of imprisonment, is not insignificant. Add to that the fact that admission of guilt should reduce the punishment, and they really are nothing alike (not to mention the possibility that the individual will reveal details of other criminals under the bargain, which is also quite common).

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40635403)

Plea deals save both sides money

Cost shouldn't ever come into the process of administering justice. The reason plea deals are bad is that prosecutors can keep the accused in the dark, scare them, and practically force them to confess even if they're innocent. I would gladly pay more in taxes to make that nonsense go away.

Even if the overall sentence is decreased, that can still effectively ruin someone's life, and then there's the fact that the prosecutor will try to get them to plead guilty to further their own interests. It's also not justice. We have due process to increase the probability that we will successfully administer justice, not to force innocent people to confess to things they didn't do (and plea deals increase the chances of that happening).

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40636779)

"I would gladly pay more in taxes to make that nonsense go away."

Unfortunately there are a couple of hundred million people who wouldn't, not even to get decent infrastructure like the rest of the civilized world.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40636245)

Yes negotiating justice saves time and money, OTOH it's probably a major contributing factor to the following statistics...
The US has a population of 300M of which 500K prisoners are being held for drug offences.
The 27 nations of the EU have a population of 500M of which 600K prisoners are held in TOTAL for ALL crimes.

Having said that a guilty person should be shown some leniency for assisting authorties and admitting guilt. But not as part of any formal bargain, it would be considered by the judge as "signs of remorse" when passing sentence.

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40643691)

Why the fuck should an admission of guilt reduce the punishment?
What the hell does that have to do with Justice, or protecting the public?
It's crazy if you think about it.
You commit a crime and there is so much evidence that you will be convicted for sure, so you said you did it and get off with less time in jail than someone where there is not much evidence and who insists they did not commit the crime because... oh, i dontknow, maybe because they didn't do it?
WTF

Now, prior convictions?
That is fair game for increasing punishment, but '3 strikes' is also completely unjust and is/should be illegal... The legislative branch can make things illegal, but the judicial branch has the power and responsibility to see justice done. Locking someone up for years for supposedly stealing a candy-bar is barbaric.
Removing judicial powers with mandatory punishment is crazy.
Why not just say 'fuck it' and just scan a police report into a iJudge and dole out prison terms and get rid of all judges and lawyers?
Sounds good until a cop checks 'baby murder' instead of '4 miles over posted limit' by mistake on his butterfly iJudge card.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635649)

They are, but both cases are also impossible to fight due to a gross imbalance of power.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40636181)

Frankly they should be, just look up what the conviction rate for "public pretenders' are in your state, last i looked in mine it was something like 94%, hell you'd be better off doing it yourself because then at least there would be ONE person on your side.

Sadly I have sat in the courtroom down the street just to observe and it sickens me, you'll see some rich guy on his ninth DUI and fourth hit and run given a slap on the wrist while some poor guy gets caught with a $30 bag of weed or a couple of DUIs of his own and he'll be doing a year in jail. While I'm glad I have a former state prosecutor as a friend of the family it is so disheartening to sit in a courtroom and see what someone without money or an insider gets, its like a bad joke.

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40636285)

Public defenders are typically paid minimum wage and there's no guarantee that the individuals will be anything other than present. What we need is a guarantee that people have an adequate defense. But, ultimately, that would be costly and there's a ton of people for whom the solution to being put on trial is to not commit any crimes forgetting that innocent people do get charged from time to time, hence the trials.

Re:Plea bargains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40636743)

Minimum lawyer wage. That's not even close to minimum wage.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40637039)

But if capitalizing on the accused's inability to weather the risks and costs of trial are an unacceptable tactic, doesn't that mean plea deals by prosecutors are also unacceptable?

Not really... in theory, plea bargains are offered as a way to save money for all involved. Prosecution *usually* has a very strong case against the person being offered a plea bargain, and the chances of a "not guilty" verdict is usually slim. A good lawyer would tell a person being offered a deal to reject it otherwise. It's also usually not offered for major crime or for people considered at risk to repeat offend, at least not around here. It's a way of saying "look, we got you but we don't think you're a risk. we have to punish you with something, so take this deal and everybody walks away happy."

It's also worth noting that plea bargains do not always originate from the prosecution. A lot of times, it's actually the defense that approaches the prosecution and offers to make a deal.

Re:Plea bargains? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40637881)

in a criminal case there is usually some evidence that points to the accused. even if it's an eyewitness statement.

in this case it was just IP's

Mick Haig's private thought (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40634921)

"Back to the drawing board."

intellectual property: (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40634929)

Pure bullshit

circletimessquare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40635423)

so... just like all your posts then you karmawhore ?

Re:intellectual property: (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40636219)

Nice kickstarter project. Though why we you have to pay $3 for the digital download if it's all public domain?

Using the power of the court, without permission, (5, Insightful)

hamjudo (64140) | more than 2 years ago | (#40634969)

The District Court is unhappy, because the lawyer issued the subpoenas without the permission of the District Court. In fact, it was after the District Court told the lawyer to stop doing that. The Appellate Court agreed.

So the Appellate Court is upholding the rights of the lower court.

Don't expect the courts to start ruling against media companies that follow the laws that they paid the legislatures to write. Don't even expect significant sanctions when they break the law, as long as they stop when they're told. It looks kind of like this is a media ruling, but its more a "respect the judges" ruling.

Re:Using the power of the court, without permissio (3, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635201)

The District Court is unhappy, because the lawyer issued the subpoenas without the permission of the District Court. In fact, it was after the District Court told the lawyer to stop doing that. The Appellate Court agreed.

So the Appellate Court is upholding the rights of the lower court.

Don't expect the courts to start ruling against media companies that follow the laws that they paid the legislatures to write. Don't even expect significant sanctions when they break the law, as long as they stop when they're told. It looks kind of like this is a media ruling, but its more a "respect the judges" ruling.

Exactly right. This is a "wtf were you doing sending subpoenas to the ISPs, and then wtf were you doing not responding to the show cause order?!" At most, it's dicta indicating that the judges (properly) aren't going to accept these "sue 50 Does, get discovery, demand settlements, and then drop the case if anyone argues" suits. This will have no effect on the more legally legitimate, if morally questionable, RIAA/MPAA suits, which do proceed.

Re:Using the power of the court, without permissio (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40637797)

Porn is the reason, not legal procedure. The same tactics are excused when its the RIAA/MPAA as mistakes or bad-apple attorneys or 'aggressive' enforcement of IP rights.

Re:Using the power of the court, without permissio (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635367)

That is the specific grounds for the sanctions, but if you read the actual court order they make it pretty clear they despise his tactics overall, which is a good sign (not sure if it sets any kind of precedent, but it might). The judge seemed pretty pissed over the idea of what he was doing, not just the fact that he was breaking the rules. I may be reading slightly too much into it, but I don't think so.

Not quite (3, Informative)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635953)

Actually, the appellate court didn't agree--they just said that the attorney suing the does had waived his right to make the arguments he made on appeal, because he hadn't made them below and on-time.

In other words, he lost the appeal on a technicality. He might well have lost it on the merits as well, but it never got that far.

The only especially notable thing about this is a circuit court on record talking about the pattern of abusive litigation in mass-porn lawsuits.

The Gentleman's Guide To Forum Spies (spooks, feds (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40635039)

The Gentleman's Guide To Forum Spies (spooks, feds, etc.)
http://cryptome.org/2012/07/gent-forum-spies.htm [cryptome.org]
http://pastebin.com/irj4Fyd5 [pastebin.com]

Re:The Gentleman's Guide To Forum Spies (spooks, f (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40635855)

The Gentleman's Guide To Forum Spies (spooks, feds, etc.)
http://cryptome.org/2012/07/gent-forum-spies.htm [cryptome.org]
http://pastebin.com/irj4Fyd5 [pastebin.com]

I had just recently read this. Interesting.

He missed step 2 (4, Funny)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635047)

a tactic that he has employed all across the state and that has been replicated by others across the country"

Should have got a patent on the process!

Don't forget to wish Obongo a Happy Ramadan! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40635127)

Allah ackbar! *beats wife*

Re:Don't forget to wish Obongo a Happy Ramadan! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40636541)

It's "Admiral Ackbar", but nice try.

And what do "Sanctions" mean? (5, Interesting)

Drishmung (458368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635169)

Drawn and quartered?

I don't think we do that any more.

"For the term of his natural life"?
I'm betting not.

Some time in prison?
After all, as an officer of the court, he's undermined the institution. Surely this should be treated seriously?

A large fine?
???

...and of course, disbarment.

I really don't know, but I'm guessing none of the above.
So, what are the consequences of his actions?

Re:And what do "Sanctions" mean? (5, Informative)

Ravensfire (209905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635293)

From the ruling,
"the court imposed $10,000 in sanctions on Stone and also required the following:
1) Stone shall serve a copy of this Order on each ISP implicated and
to every person or entity with whom he communicated for any purpose
in these proceedings.
2) Stone shall file a copy of this Order in every currently-ongoing
proceeding in which he represents a party, pending in any court in
the United States, federal or state.
3) Stone shall disclose to the Court whether he received funds,
either personally or on behalf of Mick Haig, and whether Mick Haig
received funds for any reason from any person or entity associated
with these proceedings, regardless of that person’s status as a Doe
Defendant or not, (excepting any fees or expenses paid by Mick Haig
to Stone).
4) Stone shall pay the Ad Litems’ attorneys’ fees and expenses reasonably
incurred in bringing the motion for sanctions. The Ad
Litems shall file an affidavit or other proof of such fees and expenses
with the Court within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order.
Stone may contest such proof within seven (7) days of its filing.
Stone shall comply with these directives and supply the Court with
written confirmation of his compliance no later than forty-five (45)
days after the date of this Order."

-- Ravensfire

Re:And what do "Sanctions" mean? (1)

Drishmung (458368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635427)

Thanks.

So, at $112,760 per year (median) [bls.gov] that's 9% of the median salary. The Ad Litems’ attorneys’ fees and expenses could be rather more painful I suppose.

Re:And what do "Sanctions" mean? (3, Informative)

Ravensfire (209905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635465)

The appeal court decision mentioned that the original request was for some 26k. Personally, I think the fine is intended as a "wake up" slap. The nice part of the sanction is #2. He's been bad and now potentially lots of other courts will know about it and be able to check if he's pulling the same stunt again. And usually subsequent sanctions get harsher.

-- Ravensfire

Re:And what do "Sanctions" mean? (0)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635645)

Problem is, lawyers stick together. And judges are lawyers. Ever hear of a lawyer taking a suit against another lawyer? Yeah, it's happened, but I can't for the life of me think of when or where, except that idiot in Florida a few years ago who was painting video games as the Most Evil Thing On The Planet to drum up some business.

Re:And what do "Sanctions" mean? (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635977)

Legal malpractice claims happen, although less often than makes sense. Kind of like how doctors stick together, but you can still find doctors who testify against serious malpractice.

Most groups do (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#40642299)

Ever hear of a lawyer taking a suit against another lawyer?
All the time. Defendants and plaintiffs are both allowed lawyers, after all, and somebody defendants/plaintiff's *are* lawyers

lawyers stick together

So do geeks.
How many people defended Hans Reiser as a near-saint purely on the basis of his geek-credentials?
How often do we see convoluted-to-the-point-of-insanity arguments for geeks (or again "the man") in tech/geek related articles?

However, it seems to me that a judge is more likely to defend the institution than an individual. Higher up the political ladder this changes a bit, but overall the courts are fairly forgiving of behaviour that - while legal - would disgust most people. There are plenty of hard situations in court that still swing either way.
We have cases where judges have thrown away odd solid but improperly-obtained evidence against a rapist or killer. Locally I read about a case where a father had molested his daughter, but as they were ESL and the cops took too long to get a proper translator etc, the case ended up being drop due to a violation of due process. Would you be able to let somebody walk after stabbing a grandma or molesting a child because of a police screw-up or court delays?

In situations like that, I'd imagine that many end up clinging to "the system" like a log on the ocean after a shipwreck. Obviously there's other stuff that happens as well (corruption, bribery, scandal, etc), so the system is far from perfect, in fact in many ways it is IMHO pretty screwed up (see patents).

Painting all judges or lawyers as buddies in a grand conspiracy is a bit disingenious. Many are players in a broken system that's jumped the rails and lost control. I won't paint them all as innocent, but painting them all as crooked isn't right either.

Re:And what do "Sanctions" mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40645503)

What the fuck are the odds that two different dipshits with the same name would comment in the same thread.

-- Ravensfire

Re:And what do "Sanctions" mean? (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635967)

The ad litem attorneys were two public interest groups--Public Citizen and the EFF. Most of the attorneys there work there for well below what they would command on the private market.

Re:And what do "Sanctions" mean? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40636945)

You missed the 2nd Sanction...
$500 a day until he complied with the original sanctions or put up a bond...
http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/uploadedFiles/Reuters_Content/2012/01_-_January/haigvdoes--sanctionsorder(1).pdf

one wonders if that ticker kept counting this whole time as he filed his appeals after the deadlines to do so each time.

Re:And what do "Sanctions" mean? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635303)

A job as Senator for the great state of _______________ and future President?

Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40635413)

Heh. I went to law school with him.

Re:Heh. (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40635643)

And I would have posted as Anonymous Coward if I had, too.

Isn't the attorney also a pedophile? (1)

thechemic (1329333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40637865)

Correct me if I'm wrong: In order for the attorney to acuse people of downloading child pornography, wouldn't he first have to download the torrent to ensure it actually contained that type of material? If this step wasn't performed, his cases would have no merrit. So, doesn't that also make him or his firm just as guilty as the people he is accusing? Somebody should shake him down for 1000s.

Re:Isn't the attorney also a pedophile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40640131)

You know, staying at a Holiday Inn Express really doesn't make you an attorney.

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