By the way, I'm going to be at Books, Inc. at the San Francisco/Opera Plaza on Tuesday April 1st, reading and playing and such.
601 Van Ness, San Francisco, CA. 7PM, and, like, free.
Cheesoid is Everyman:
I wakened on my hot, hard bed;
Upon the pillow lay my head;
Beneath the pillow I could hear
My little watch was ticking clear.
I thought the throbbing of it went
Like my continual discontent;
I thought it said in every tick:
I am so sick, so sick, so sick:
O death, come quick, come quick, come quick,
Come quick, come quick, come quick, come quick...
Greg Graffin to receive the Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence award.
Glenn Reynolds flags this case: a lawyer sends out threatening letters to nineteen area hair salons, claiming that the different prices they charge to men and women are causing him "mental anguish," and demanding $1000 from each to avoid facing a lawsuit on that basis.
Apparently, one salon chose to fight it, and the enterprising lawyer was convicted by a jury of "misdemeanor theft by extortion."
Sure sounds like it to me, and I find it hard to imagine any jury finding otherwise. It seems quite clear to me, non-lawyer that I am, that this guy was up to no good, and that it is entirely appropriate for the law, as I, perhaps naively, understand it, to discourage this kind of behavior. But the linked lawyer blogs both seem to find a "where do you draw the line?" question in this. "A conviction for extortion?" says one. "That's a bit much."
It does not seem even the slightest bit much to me. It leaves the Hair Avenger free to extort again, whereas a felony conviction would disbar him, right? He got off pretty easy, really.
Anyway, it makes me wonder how common this practice is, and what the rules on legal shake-downs are.
The going rate/take per misdemeanor extortion conviction appears to be around $18,000, depending on how many threatening letters you send out. Is that how it's supposed to work?
(The original article from New York lawyer is firewalled, so there may be nuances I'm missing. Anyone with magic lawyer access, let me know if so...)
UPDATE: Here's a report on the case from the Concord Monitor suggesting that the Hair Avenger may well be disbarred or at least sanctioned by the New Hampshire Bar Association. This bit is kind of funny:
In one court document, he argued that the price structure that he saw as discriminatory had caused him stress and mental anguish, despite the fact that prices for men were less than those for women. He said he was being denied an "inherent benefit in being treated equally." He pointed to a woman's right to vote and said he benefits from her right, even though he is a man.
Professor Bainbridge avers that the fault lies not with the lawyers who abuse the law, but rather with the legislators who provide them with laws to abuse. Spoken like a true lawyer, I suppose, but he does quote Much Obliged Jeeves on cook extortion, so he is forgiven.
Howard Wolfson, Clinton's chief spokesman, said during a conference call with reporters that Clinton would not pick a running mate who has not met the “national security threshold” — as Clinton’s military advisers and Wolfson put it on the call — but that it is possible Obama could meet that threshold by this summer's Democratic convention.
That's on Friday, March 7th at Books Inc's new location in Palo Alto, 855 El Camino Real, #74. I'll be doing the usual reading and public service announcement with guitar at 7pm
And on Wednesday March 5 at Sacramento State: a "lecture". Library reading room 3023, 6pm.
update: Oh right, also: Tues. March 4 at Cosumnes River College, 1:30, Library Building, Forum Room, L111.