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Peter S. Chamberlain’s Techdirt Profile


About Peter S. Chamberlain

Peter S. Chamberlain’s Comments comment rss

  • Aug 10th, 2011 @ 11:57pm

    Re: What's in a word?

    I'm a retired lawyer, and have been involved as a party in some litigation. You're just flat out dead wrong. Anything you say, or don't say for that matter, can and will be twisted around and used against you.
    One error in story: the average criminal is not as bright as he thinks he is and getting him to keep his mouth shut and not write foolish letters, too, is a challenge for defense counsel. My favorite example: letter to judge:
    I didn't do it. I wasn't there. I saw the girl (victim)." Another client said, in court, "I didn't steal the car, the dealer left the keys in it." Civil case defendant: Do you have a current official Volkswagen manual? No. But I paid Joe Doaks to sneak one out for me and the dirty thief didn't steal one for me like he promised." I wasn't going over 60 [then, minutes later) 70, then, later, 80."
    Expressions of sympathy for the other guy hurt in a wreck, "You people . . . ," "I thought . . . ," not reporting a rape instantly, or "I think I need to talk to a lawyer" can prejudice nad have prejudiced cases.

    This "anything you ever said on line can and will be used against you forever" problem is very real, as you will learn if you ever find yourself caught up in a lawsuit, or on TV news, and get asked about it all, Everybody can be made out to look like a liar if somebody wants to do that. I had a judge insist I had said something in an oral argument, while talking about another point, that would have been contrary to something I had said fourteen times in writing in the case record. I never cold find out what he was talking about. And that's just the things I have said and posted publicly.

  • Aug 10th, 2011 @ 11:31pm

    Brain, electronics, etc.

    I stumbled across an article in Fortune awhile b ack that noted that we still don't know much about hw the six (6O), always six (6), layers of the cerebral cortex communicate and work. I think Paul Allen was said to have funded some research on this.

  • Aug 8th, 2011 @ 2:05pm


    "The Legislature, in its infinite wisdom" , , , "is presumed to have used every word carefully and intended the result of the words chosen" or not chosen. As a retired lawyer, I've dealt with a lot of state and federal laws, some of which I know were cobbled together in the middle of the night and are full of typos, computer glitches, and absurdities, not to mention special favors slipped in for big contributors and laws never intended to do what the title says they did, so politicians could tell one group they voted for a law and tell another they gutted it. For years, Texas' DWI law was so fouled up not even the appeals court justices could agree on what punishment it provided in some common situations. News coverage of legislation and other legal matters is quite generally awful and leaves out things like the provision in this law distinguishing current form former students. However, even with this, the law does appear to be an attempt to respond to a problem done badly.

  • Aug 8th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: What an odd ruling.

    Right. As a retired lawyer with a lot of teen clients, and the victim of assorted state and federal felonies myself, I disagree with the poster who sees posting "for a good time call . . " on a toilet stall wall as a prank rather than a civil defamation tort or a crime, and doing this on line is worse. "Who steals my good name . . ."
    Whether the other teen guilty, who should certainly be punished enough that they don't do this kind of thing again, should be burdened with a felony, which has serious lasting life-damaging consequences, is a separate issue. We need to deter this kind of conduct, but, unfortunately, teens simply are not deterred by hearing of someone else getting killed driving drunk or high, or getting a life-shattering sentence for a crime. The adults should exercise some judgment and discretion here, and the schools should do a much better job of educating kids not to do things like this.

  • Aug 8th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

    Re: It's an Arguable Case, at Least

    Jim Harper, whoever he is, is the first poster here who evidenced a knowledge and understanding of privacy law, and his other comments I looked up checking on him here appear sound, too. I practiced law, including privacy issues, for 35 years. Picking a jury might be a delicate and tricky job, but I hope the female student sues, if only to clarify some law, but I think her cause of action for invasion is state rather than federal subject matter, and I would rather bet on a turtle race than any, and especially this, lawsuit. The young woman was very negligent here, as the court said in the case of the human toe in the chewing tobacco we studied, in doing this on camera I presume the students knew existed and in any event at school where anyone might walk in, and this was presumably againstg some broad school rule (assuming there is anything not prohibited by the rules of the average public school) but showing the pictures was calculated to cause severe emotional distress even to a person of ordinary sensibilities, outrageous, cruel, etc. I'd fire him if I were on the board.

  • Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:23am

    The Peer Review Reference at End of This Comment

    Re the "peer review" aside to this post: As a lawyer, I find a real problem with the Supreme Court's requirement of "peer review" to validate either scientific or expert evidence so that it can even be offered. First, where are you going to publish the average first piece of new expert, much less "scientific" knowledge, evidence, and procedure? Second, who is going to read through, test, and publish such peer review (assuming anyone would publish it) unless the subject is commercially huge like cigarettes or breast implants, and I've got my suspicions who funds most of the published actual or alleged research on those, for example. The irony is that the five brilliant liberal Justices of our same august Supreme Court just short-circuited its own standards for such scientific evidence again, including overlooking the same leading author on the subject that they had cited for another point, thus screwing up all future cases in the field of child sexual abuse evidence and testimony, in Lawrence v. Louisiana, not the first time they have done this in diverse more or less arcane fields that don't draw a lot of expensive review. The very defense-oriented Supreme Court of Texas has also fouled up some areas this way. How many gas tanks or left front wheel assemblies have to come loose before anybody outside the company starts doing peer review?

  • Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:27pm

    Re: Child Porn, Contact Child Sex Offenses, etc.

    If you believe either the police or federal statistics on crimes in general and sex crimes in particular, you probably are fool enough to believe the official inflation, unemployment, underemployment, and health care numbers, equally fictionalized, too, and I'd like to talk to you about a great deal on a bridge. I have had attorney-client and other privileged and confidential relationships with an awful lot of survivors of such crimes, including an awful lot of incestuous sexual abuse as children, that are not in the statistics because they were discouraged from reporting or the authorities didn't do anything. I was the outcry witness in some of these. Child abuse, school, medical and psychiatric, etc., professionals complained to me about the authorities not dealing with their reports, too, and I saw some of that. I know about some local online child porn my computer expert, now deceased, quickly located after another child abuse expert got a lead on it, which we forwarded ot the authorities, and the federal prosecution and conviction at trial of one local dealer with what the FBI and prosecutor told me was 200 customers plus suppliers. I represented the daughter of one very serious physical sexual abuser of his own daughter whose Air Force base commander was allowed to resign on eve of federal tr4ial for using AF computers to deal child porn. I have taken courses from one national top expert with Air Force etc. as clients who told us about connections, as well as unprosecuted cases. Be very, very careful with any alleged scientific studies and statistics that would happen to be convenient for those who make money off a morally reprehensible activity. Look at what was eventually proven about the so-called science used to support the claim that there was "not a cough in a cartload" of cigarettes.
    By the way, the biggest single cause of decrease in violent crime has not been the legal and criminal justice system but the demographics, the pig having worked its way down through the snake. Many of those people who are inclined to commit violent crimes give that up or cut back on it as they age.
    Since a child cannot consent, child porn is, among other illegal things, stolen goods, and you can never get good title to and possess those legally.

  • Apr 9th, 2011 @ 11:35pm

    Re: Planespotter -

    Right! They keep overlooking the obvious fact, well known to every terrorist trainee, that the Christmas day bomber did in fact have no trouble getting, and got, onto the planes without being "screened" by TSA. The only qualification for this whole Homeland Security and TSA scam is political. Of course it was a joke under Bush's people, too. The whole thing is theater, a sham, and a scam. Somebody with hte right connections is ge3titng rich off this. Years earlier, when the threat was "take me to Cuba" hijackers, and they fist put in mental detectors, etc., a newsman in Dallas got on successive flights with a revolver and an Army .45 using nothing more sophisticated than two Neiman-Marcus shopping bags, and he got on the second plane after telling them about getting on the first one. By the way, the legal definition of a "deadly weapon" aptly starts with the word "anything."

  • Apr 9th, 2011 @ 9:07pm

    Forwarding Email as copyright infringement

  • Apr 9th, 2011 @ 9:02pm

    (untitled comment)

    This would get even more troublesome under the new "first to file" system replacing the old "first to invent" criteria which could be hard to prove.
    The "disrupt an entire industry" argument is, for openers, illegitimate. If you build your business model or industry on a patent on something you didn't really invent, and can't create from "scratch," that's like arguing that you're an American citizen and built your house on the National Mall or within a national park and saying I have to pay you to go there to boot.
    By the way, has anyone considered the potential liability if they filed an application under penalty of perjury stating that they had invented and were entitled to a patent on the genes for virulent types of cancer, or on polio or smallpox.

  • Apr 9th, 2011 @ 9:02am

    Re: "do away with privacy"???!!!

    I hope you're kidding!
    Some of the biggest players in both the technical and political arenas have said things like "You have no privacy. Get over it.," and, at the same time, candidly admitted that "the laws are written by [their] lobbyists." It is long past time that the conservatives and the liberals, both of whom profess to support privacy rights as essential to liberty, which it is, quit partisan bickering and glory-hogging, get together, knock some of our "the people be damned" politicians of both parties' heads together, and pass some tough personal privacy laws broad enough to cover existing and new and emerging technology, etc., with real civil and criminal teeth in them. But don't bet on it because the money's on the other side.

  • Apr 9th, 2011 @ 8:51am

    Re: Privacy, "My country"???

    You say "MY [your] country" just went through this, but nothing here reveals what country that is.