Legal Research Blog


Most Googled of 2008

Who’s going to represent Blagojevich (and the others)?

Yesterday, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was taken into custody for, among other things, “auctioning off” President-Elect Obama’s Senate seat.   So – who’s going to be representing Illinois’ latest corrupt politician?  The smart money looks to be betting on Dan Webb who also represented George Ryan (the previous Governor of Illinois) in corruption charges.  Webb also represented Kwame Kilpatrick (former mayor for Detriot) in his guilty plea for felony obstruction charges.

Webb graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1970 and worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney as well as a U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois from 1980-1985.  He’s also the acting chairman of Winston & Strawn where he’s been since 1985.  In addition to politicians, he’s also defended GE, Microsoft, and Philip Morris.
The other possibility for Blagojevich representation is Winston & Strawn partner Bradley Lerman who Blagojevich hired after being tied to corruption relating to Tony Rezko.
Blagojevich’s former Chief of Staff turned lobbyist, John Wyma grabbed Zachary Fardon of Latham & Watkins as his counsel.
No word on who will be representing John Harris, Blagojevich’s current Chief of Staff, who was also taken into custody on Tuesday. 

Myspace Bully Charged With Wrong Crime

We’ve all heard about the famous case that brought the concept of cyber bullying to our attention. When two Missouri teens failed to resolve their dispute, one of the teens’ mother, Lori Drew, got involved by creating a false Myspace account under the name “Josh Evans.” With this account, Drew befriended – and eventually emotionally devastated – her daughter’s former friend, Megan.  Megan, a 13-year-old Missouri girl, hanged herself after her online friend “Josh Evans,” sent Megan a message over Myspace, telling her that he did not want to be friends with her and that the world would be better off without her.

Prosecutors charged Lori Drew with  a violation of Section 1030 of the U.S. Code — which is designed to protect against unauthorized access to computer networks to cause damage, steal information or money or jeopardize national security. The legal theory behind the charge was that Drew violated MySpace’s terms of service which prohibit misrepresenting your identity and harassing others. Despite some outcries in the legal community over setting bad precedent by misuse of the statute, the jury convicted Drew of misdemeanor violations. The jury, however, did not convict Drew on felony charges.

Some legal experts argue that no current law, including 1030 of the U.S. Code,was not designed to prevent people from lying about their identity, or otherwise violating rules on a publicly available online service. Andrea Matwyshyn, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School stated, “Empowering terms of use to be key pieces of evidence in criminal matters — when terms of use are generally thought of by the people who are entering into them as purely contract or civil matters — is something that should be done carefully. I think you’re going to have strong disagreement as to whether this is an advisable course to take.”

Source: CBS News


Barbie won again in federal court last week.  As a result of the verdict, MGA has been ordered to stop producing its popular “Bratz” dolls and to stop selling them by February 2009.  MGA must also reimburse its suppliers.  Additionally, at that time, it must turn over all unsold inventory to Mattel – the company that makes Barbie.

In July, Mattel was ruled the rightful owner of the Bratz brand (and of $90 million in damages) because Bratz creator Carter Bryant thought of Bratz while working for Mattel under an exclusivity contract.   
In theory, the four-year long legal battle could be over.  This February, Judge Stephen Larson plans to consider post-trial motions.