Friday Links

  • The comic book cover above, that of Green Lantern # 80, published way back in 1970, depicts a newspaper cover alerting the world to the death sentence of Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and an unidentified third conspirator. According to one of the sub-headlines, the judge says the trial was “fair and impartial.” Well, at least there’s that. If you read the excerpt of the article at the bottom of the cover, you’ll see that the charge at issue was “crimes against humanity” and that Green Lantern “protested the evidence and moved for a retrial,” which was denied. It appears the court in question was the Intergalactic Court, Genocide Division. Think they appealed? Let’s hope so.

  • One of our readers writes in to remind us of the late Elizabeth Taylor’s connection to legal history on film. In 1951, following a successful career as a child actress, she appeared in A Place in the Sun, based on the novel “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser, itself inspired by the criminal case of People v. Gillette, 191 NY 107 (1908). In the film, Taylor played the chief love interest of the defendant, based on Chester Gillette (played by Montgomery Clift), who killed his other love interest (played by Shelley Winters). The prosecutor was played by Raymond Burr, who went on to become far more famous as television lawyer Perry Mason. One notable footnote: In the movie, the death was accidental; in real life, Gillette was executed for the murder.
  • David Post of The Volokh Conspiracy has a pretty interesting blog piece about a federal judge’s rejection this week of the Google Books settlement agreement.
  • If you haven’t heard, legendary bluesman Pinetop Perkins died this week at 97 years old. He was still recording and touring well into his 1990s. Back in the day, he was a member of Muddy Waters’ band. We here at Abnormal Use were fortunate enough to see him in concert just a few years ago in nearby Asheville, North Carolina. It was a good show.
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer publishes excerpts from a ten page deposition in an open records dispute over the definition of the term “photocopying machine.” It’s got to be read to believe, so we’d advise that you head over there for a chuckle or two.

    Our favorite parts:

    Marburger: Let me be clear. The term “photocopying machine” is so ambiguous that you can’t picture in your mind what a photocopying machine is in an office setting?

    Patterson: I just want to make sure I answer your question correctly.

    Cavanagh: Dave, the word “photocopying” is at issue in this case, and you’re asking him whether something is or isn’t a photocopy machine, which is a legal conclusion –

    Marburger: This isn’t a patent case. There’s no statute that defines — where I’m asking him to define technology for me. I’m asking — I want to find out from a layperson’s perspective, not an engineer’s perspective, not a technician’s perspective, but from — I have an idea.

    Patterson: If you’re referring to a type of machine where you place a piece of paper on the top and press a button and out comes copies of it, they usually refer to it as a Xerox.

    Marburger: Have you ever heard it referred to as photocopying?

    Patterson: Not with my generation, no.

    (Hat tip: Overlawyered).

Comments

  1. Professor Alberto Bernabe says:

    Elizabeth Taylor has another – although very indirect – connection with tort law. In 1975, she had a brief but celebrated close personal relationship with a guy called Henry Wynberg. The relationship generated many news articles and Wynberg sued the National Enquirer for one of them claiming defamation. The Enquirer replied by claiming that Wynberg’s reputation was so bad to begin with that nothing said in the article could have made it any worse. In Wynberg v. National Enquirer, Inc., 564 F.Supp. 924 (C.D.Cal. 1982), the court sided with The Enquirer developing what has come to be known as the “libel proof” defense. Although this may not have been the first case in which the argument was discussed, I believe it is the first one in which a court explains it in detail and provides the analysis to follow to determine if a plaintiff should be considered libel proof.

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