Midweek Recess: Impoverished Prosecutors, Unbearable Spouses and 'Studio Arrangement'

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Welcome to Law.com’s Midweek Recess, in which we round up some tasty tidbits from the week’s legal news cycle. We’ll be here every Wednesday, so grab a cup of coffee and take a little break. It’s all downhill to the weekend from here.

Here’s hoping that the pursuit of justice is its own reward for government lawyers in Massachusetts, because their paychecks may have them seriously rethinking their career choices. A study by the Massachusetts Bar Association shows that prosecutors and public defenders count among the working poor in the state, and that many supplement their incomes with second jobs as bartenders, waiters and waitresses. New assistant district attorneys are often the lowest-paid people in a state courtroom, the report says. Public defenders, meanwhile, can take comfort in the fact that they rank as the third lowest-paid workers — just ahead of the court custodians. [ABA Journal]

Nonetheless, people are still in law school, though some Fordham students may be rethinking that decision, thanks to a recent finals week prank. Apparently, someone at the university thought it would be wise idea to push stressed-out students right over the edge by teaching them a lesson about opening email attachments from untrusted sources. On Monday, hundreds of Fordham students received an email demanding that they appear in court and an attached “court notice.” The student body collectively freaked out and flooded the school IT department with calls about being unable to open the attachment, only to realize that the whole thing was a prank. We assume the students have now gone back to studying for exams–although a few are probably fantasizing about suing for emotional distress.  [Above The Law]

Speaking of which, the Eleventh Circuit has ruled against a couple who sued a law firm and a loan servicer for just that after an erroneous notice of sale of their home ran in the local newspaper. The couple was under bankruptcy protection from foreclosure and the notice was pulled after a day, but they received letters from law firms and allegedly suffered various of physical and emotional problems due to the mistake. The husband said in an affadavit that the foreclosure notice and resulting stress made him “furious” and a “bear to be around,” and his wife stated that he became “unbearable.” Despite that very consistent testimony, the Eleventh Circuit panel found insufficient evidence for recovery of damages. Still, you’ve got to give this couple points for their creative approach to marital issues. Nothing creates harmony in the home like a lawsuit. [The Daily Report]

Meanwhile, Amazon has been granted a patent for “Studio Arrangement,” which, as a number of astute photographerslegal commentators and tech gurus have noted, pretty much covers the technical process of taking a photo of something against a white background. But, you know, it’s possible that their arranging process is really special… or something. [Jonathan Turley]

And, last but not least, a federal magistrate judge ruled Tuesday that Idaho’s same-sex marriage law is unconstitutional. After the ruling, the state’s governor, C.L. “Butch” Otter, released a statement calling the decision “a small setback in a long-term battle that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court.” If Otter gets his way, the case will reach that destination sooner rather than later. He previously suggested that if Idaho’s ban were overturned, he would bypass the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and appeal directly to the Supreme Court. His justification? SCOTUSblog explains that his office is worried by the: “‘chaos, confusion, conflict, [and] uncertainty’ in states where a court has nullified a ban but same-sex marriages were temporarily allowed before a stay was granted.” Last we checked, the closest thing to chaos that’s occurred is long lines of couples outside clerks’ offices at City Hall. But, hey, maybe Gov. Otter is a stickler for clear hallways and is just worried the Ninth Circuit doesn’t feel the same way. [SCOTUSblog]

 

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