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Literary leanings Given the state of legal writing, it’s a shame more lawyers couldn’t share the advantage that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had as an undergraduate at Cornell University: She studied writing with Vladimir Nabokov. “He was an incredible character,” Ginsberg said recently. “I thought many times that he changed the way I read and the way I write. I loved his class; I can still hear the things he said. When I read Lolita, I could just imagine how he said those syllables.” She savored the name like Nabokov does in the book’s opening lines: “Lo-li-ta.” Ginsberg remembers Nabokov’s advice on good writing: ” ‘Have the reader ready for what you’re going to say.’ He gave an example of why he liked the English language. He said, think of French: If you say ‘white horse’ in French, it’s ‘cheval blanc.’ And you immediately hear ‘horse’ and you’re thinking ‘brown.’ But in English it’s ‘white horse,’ so you don’t see a brown horse and have to displace it. He was big on the written word and on making word pictures.” She thinks about Nabokov when she writes today: “I do fuss over my opinions, and I hope I never stop.” � Legal Times Another kind of jailhouse lawyer Visitors to attorney Mike Woods’ law practice are greeted with a sight not often found in legal offices: a jail cell. The office for Woods and Woods is located in the old Vanderburgh County Jail � an 1890 building in Evansville, Ind. The old jail was modeled after a German castle and, in 1903, was the site of a race riot in which 12 people were killed and many more were injured. The jail sat empty from 1967 until 1994, Woods said, and was full of weeds and trash before being renovated. Woods and Woods moved its offices into the building in 2004 and continues to lease the second-floor space from the county. “Through the years, the old jail has received minor repairs and updates, a few new coats of paint and thousands of visitors, but it hasn’t lost its intrigue,” Woods said. The building still has bars over the windows, which provides an interesting atmosphere for the firm’s 30 employees. “They are always joking they can’t get away, or saying we’re slave drivers,” Woods said. � Associated Press Kink, not crime Attempted sex with a mannequin behind a closed door may be unusual, but it’s not indecent exposure. A ruling to that effect by the South Dakota Supreme Court spared a 19-year-old man from having to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. The Sioux Falls, S.D., Argus Leader reported that an arts center security guard found Michael James Plenty Horse inside a room filled with high school memorabilia, lying on top of the mannequin with his trousers part of the way down. The mannequin’s band uniform also had been partly removed. Upon discovery, the young man “rolled off the mannequin, turned away and began adjusting his pants . . . .When questioned about what he was doing, defendant, visibly ashamed, declined to talk about it,” the newspaper reported, citing court records. Plenty Horse’s lawyer conceded that “having sex in public with a mannequin would likely offend people.” However, he contended that the defendant didn’t “flash” or expose his genitals. A trial court and an intermediate appellate court disagreed, concluding that Plenty Horse was guilty of indecent exposure. The state’s highest court unanimously reversed, however, noting that the door to the room had been closed and that no one else was around to be exposed to his activities. Plenty Horse’s action, “lewd though it may be, does not fall within the purview of the indecent exposure statute,” the state Supreme Court said. � Staff Reports

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