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Mockingbird Marketing should be ashamed.


People can think lawyers are scumbags all they want. Certainly, some of my colleagues are dirtbags.  As a whole, though, I think lawyers are cut from the same cloth as the general public- 95% of lawyers are more worried about running an ethical practice than they are making as much money as possible.

I wish I could say that for legal marketing agencies. If you’re unaware, there is no shortage of vultures constantly calling and emailing law firms in hopes of gaining marketing contracts.  They’ll sell everything- from writing and creating ads, putting you up a web page, and even ghost-writing blog posts for a generous monthly fee.

If you want a sample of some of the boring, ridiculous, or generally ineffective drivel they post, just do a google search for “lawyer blog.” If the first few links are worth reading, keep clicking. It won’t take long.

Some of them are even willing to put the unsuspecting lawyer’s money into programs that blatantly violate (and eventually get their client’s web presence banned or penalized) google’s terms of service policy.

When you’re a lawyer, if somebody else is publishing words on your account, you better make damn sure you know what they’re doing. Because, as Popehat famously writes, especially in the law, “when you outsource your marketing, you outsource your reputation and ethics.”

A few months back I started to follow the blog of Mockingbird Marketing.  Even though, obviously, I try to avoid these people, the blog had some interesting information.  Despite his obsessive (but, seemingly justified) attacks on Findlaw he seemed to be trying to do things the “right way.”  At least that’s how his “Mockingbird Marketing 10 Commandments” made it sound. Number 5 was refreshing:

5.  White Hat to a Fault

Don’t engage in unethical marketing – we are in business for the long term, as are our clients.

 


As the Bishop, and reformed pimp, Don “Magic” Juan has remarked, though, “The game is to be sold, not told.”  Mockingbird Marketing’s “Commandant #5″ is a much sales bullshit as… probably the rest of his commandments.  Last weekend he posted something called, “I Lied to Get mockingbirdmarketing.com.”  He is an admitted liar.

The short version is that he schemed up some ridiculous story about a band in London needing the domain name, and had some sort of straw purchaser email the owner with a sob story.  You can read her (the original owner’s) version to get the important details.

Various comments on the Mockingbird Marketing site are defensive of the deceptive tactic.  They echo his original response to the allegations of unethical marketing in that, “it’s all business.”  In a strict business sense, that’s true.  If this was a dispute between Coke and Pepsi, the tactic would likely be a good one.

Despite what the general public thinks, however, attorneys have to live to a heightened standard that leaves no room for this sort of dishonesty.

That’s where there is no escaping the Popehat quote. When you outsource your marketing to Mockingbird, you’re outsourcing your ethics to an agency founded on lies about a band in London.  You go ahead and do that. I don’t want any part of it.

 

Matt Haiduk is a criminal defense lawyer who practices in the greater Chicago metro area.

 

I apologize for not posting a lot lately.  The jury brought in a guilty verdict on a DUI case, and that always has me thinking:  Why did they do that?  I become a little introspective.  The City of McHenry has an officer who has been on the force for 16 years, 13 of those on the night (DUI) shift.  He is trained to train people how to do field sobriety tests.  My client did well on the tests but the jury still found him guilty.

Under Illinois law a person is under the influence if their ability to think and act with ordinary care has been affected by consumption of any amount of alcohol.

It’s funny to listen to attorneys during trials because prosecutors will emphasize the words ANY AMOUNT of alcohol, and defense attorneys will emphasize ORDINARY CARE.  Very predictable.

However, in cases that have no chemical testing and no admission to being intoxicated, it should be very difficult for the state to prevail because of the burden of proving the case rests on them.  But, sometimes they win anyways.  Attorneys will think about losses 10 times more than they do wins.

In cases that have very light evidence of intoxication, I believe that there is a bias against the defendant.  Here’s what I mean:  the jury is more likely to consider the arrest as some evidence against the defendant where the evidence is thin.  That thoughts of “Well the police officer was there, and I wasn’t” creep into their minds.  They may forget that the burden is on the state to show that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Law Dude, Ray Flavin, represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.

Room full of cash

Legislatures all over the country have very little to do.  There is already a law that commands a person to stop at a stop sign, and another that forbids him or her from smoking in a bar.  There are not a lot more laws to be written.  So each year legislatures meet, stare at each other, and then vote to change the law.  Why? Because they can.

There is one group that makes a lot of money from this apparent lunacy: Drug Dealers and Cartels.

We wouldn’t have drug cartels if it weren’t for expensive drugs.  And, we wouldn’t have expensive drugs unless the liability for handling them wasn’t cartoonish.  For example from my neighborhood.:

Wisconsin Man Gets 6 Years For Selling Crack Cocaine

That’s right.  A guy went to prison for 6 years for selling meth, within 1000 feet of a church.

Now I don’t want to sit here an do a comparison of sentences, but I have seen rapists, nine-time DUI drivers, and some negligent homicide (gunshot) get less time.  You may argue that those were poorly sentenced cases and I couldn’t disagree, but my point for this post is this:  Why do we love drug dealers and cartels so much?  Is it the murder by beheading?  The Lincoln Navigators?

When the punishment for selling a drug is so high, that cost gets passed to the consumer (who is addicted) and whom will pay almost any amount of money.  Why we are set on getting large bedroom-sized stacks of one hundred dollar bills into the hands of criminals will always remain a mystery to me.

Law Dude, Ray Flavin, represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.

 

Screenshot from 2014-10-20 09:41:00

If you want a good laugh, follow Taser on twitter.  It’s not that they’re funny. It’s that their twitter account is such a blatant, one-sided view of their products.  Mention Taser in a positive light, and their Twitter will scream it to the world. Ask them about their products electrocuting people suspected of minor violations and, apparently, the account can’t hear you.

Last week some random guy on youtube “liked” a video involving Taser, and tweeted about it:

Of course, nobody says anything positive about Taser without Taser telling the world. So Taser retweeted it.  Because I follow Taser, it popped up in my twitter feed. I loved it. I loved it because it couldn’t have been more perfect.  From the screen capture of a gigantic African American man, shirt off, muscles ripped, knife in hand, to the caption using “cop talk” saying the man was “instantly incapacitated” as opposed to something more mundane like “electro-shocked to hell.” Screenshot from 2014-10-20 09:41:00 I was so impressed by the presentation that I couldn’t resist watching.  Would this giant, scary African American man kill the would-be-cop, or would the cop prevail? Before I could even get to the end I was distracted. This video kept referring to the Taser as a “less-than-lethal option.”  Odd, I thought, because I know they kill people. You know they kill people. By now, even Taser has to know they kill people- hundreds of people. So, I “mentioned” that to the fine twitter folks at Taser:

Much to my excitement, they answered back!

Very interesting, I thought to myself. Taser isn’t saying their product isn’t lethal. They’re saying that they’re just using the language the government uses.  Even if their product has killed hundreds of people they can still market it as “less-than-lethal” or “non-lethal” because the government does. Putting my Philosophy degree to good use for the first time since 1996, though, I decided I needed to weed through the Keep Reading →

Screenshot from 2014-09-09 10:10:38

Somebody needs to explain to me how we got to this point.  What point, you ask? The point where a man is standing on the sidewalk, minding his own business is approached and searched by the cops.

For what? They say a noise complaint.

I don’t buy that. Not even for a minute.  I’d wager your first born that the average police response time to a “noise complaint” in the Brox can be measured with a calendar.  The police have better things to do there.

Even if it were a legit “noise” complaint, there’s zero reason to search. I’ve been at places where the police showed up for noise- most notably a wedding. Nobody got searched.

Yeah, this guy is on parole. I’m not sure it should matter. If it did, why did the prosecutor drop the charges?

The real question isn’t “how did we get here” but “why doesn’t this change”. The answer to either question, of course, is the same: because as shocking as it looks, nobody really cares.

This picture has nothing to do with this post.

There are sometimes in DUI cases where a defense attorney must face two or more DUI prosecutors.

If the judge ignores his or her role as referree, and decides that he or she misses being a prosecutor (because most judges are former prosecutors), as a defense attorney you may be facing two prosecutors. For example:  Your client is a first offender DUI client.  You bargain with the actual state’s attorney for a rescission of the statutory summary suspension in exchange for a guilty plea and supervision (no conviction) on the DUI.  This way your client can avoid the expense of getting a BAIID Device installed in his car (and also save the $250 license reinstatement fee)  This represents a total savings of the cost of the BAIID Device (about $750) plus $250 reinstatement fee, or about a $1,000.  The actual state’s attorney may like this deal because his case may have a number of technical problems that may or may not cause him to lose at trial.  So this negotiation can be a win-win.  However, your judge (who misses being a prosecutor) may decide to reject the negotiation because he or she feels that they would have won the case at trial (doesn’t understand the weaknesses), and therefore you have to negotiate the case with the judge also.  So in effect you have two prosecutors on the case.

In some circumstances you could have three prosecutors on the case.  Imagine the scenario featured above, but in this case you as a defense attorney have negotiated the case with a municipal attorney.  Also in this case imagine that the county state’s attorney is one of those “tough on DUI” types.  He got elected because he felt that the “tough on DUI” slogan that he used for his campaign was why he is in office and he likes his job so he decides to “help” municipal attorneys by threatening to pull their prosecuting authority if they do DUI negotiations that he doesn’t like.  So as a defense attorney you end up negotiating with the municipal prosecutor, the state’s attorney and then the judge.

But don’t lose heart.  This all works out very well for you because when these guys don’t want to do the deal you end up taking the case to trial and because there essentially wasn’t a deal that you could recommend to your client, it’s like trying a case with no downside.  You weren’t going to take the “tough on DUI” deal, so if you lose at trial it the prosecutor’s fault.  And, as luck would have it you will win about 95% of these case because as it turns out there was a reason that the first prosecutor should have cut a deal with you.

Welcome to the wacky world of “tough on DUI” prosecution.

Law Dude, Ray Flavin, represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.

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