Just FYI

April 28, 2010 § 1 Comment

I realized most of you don’t know what a law school final is like. Heck, I didn’t until I got here, was told they were hell, took one, felt like I’d been through hell and back and got ready for another. Yes, now I can saw with sufficiency, veracity, and particularity (the 3 things required for valid affidavit thereby giving rise to probable cause for a search warrant issued by a neutral and detached magistrate particularly describing the places to be searched and the things to be seized with must be followed in a reasonable manner. Whew…ok, maybe I’ll be ok on this Criminal Procedure final). Anyway, basically, you have a long fact pattern of stuff that happens. You spot all sorts of potential issues, careful to avoid the red herring issues because you get a big fat ZERO points for addressing what the prof didn’t ask you to address, then you start with the first issue. So, for crimpro tomorrow, my first thing to discuss will be “Was the 4th amendment implicated by the police conduct?” I will then state an applicable rule (i.e. The 4th amendment is implicated with a person has an objective privacy interest and when it one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable. *There’s more to that rule, but I’m sure you don’t want me analyzing the whole concurring opinion from the Supreme Court in Katz, that the Court has since adopted. I know…boring). After I state the rule, then I analyze the problem; use the relevent facts to point out why my client (or the government) should win. Then I state a conclusion. Easy enough steps, but there can be 5 issues in one problem. And everytime you use a rule, you need to restate the rule (I try to copy and paste alot…it saves time), because there are points for every problem. The goal is to get as many points as possible and some points are reserved for stating the rule. Yes…even if you’ve already said it 10 times. Sometimes I just feel like I have to get in “talking to a 5th grader” mode and say it over and over and over again. But, hey, its worked in the past so I’m just gonna keep doing it! So, by the end of the 3 hours (well 4 for LAPP, ConLaw is 5…ugh), you’re drained and have poured every possible inkling of knowledge into this essay without “dumping” (putting in pointless info) because they hate that….A LOT.

And, I’m sure you’ve heard that law school is competitive, but let me tell you why. All of our grades are based on a curve. Yup. So, you could actually know the information like the back of your hand, and still fail the class because everyone else either knew it better or applied it better. Now, most likely that won’t happen. Usually, everyone fails and the goal is just to fail better than everyone else. So, yes, by the end of rapidly typing everything you’ve learned for 9 weeks in just 3 hours, you feel like you’ve failed. Utterly defeated. Might as well throw in the towel. Give up all hope. The game is over. Start the bus. (ok, my list of cliches is getting a little far removed now…but it was fun for awhile!). Its exhausting. Then, because its and essay exam, you wait at leat 4 weeks for your grade. If you’re lucky. Just when you’ve forgotten about the mind-numbing, put you through hell pain, they send out grades. My teeth chatter just thinking abou that anxiety. They send out a whole break-down of the grades (how many As, A-s, Bs, etc.) first, so I check that right away. The fewer Cs and below the better and the less nervous I get! Then check the grade. Sometimes disappointed, sometimes suprised, but scared nonetheless. So, because its all a competition, some mean little people wish for everyone else to do bad. Or don’t share information. Or, worse, tell people the wrong information. So on top of everything else, you have to be careful about who you ask for advice. Evil.

Anyway, that was just a brief rundown. If I really really wanted to, I’d give you a hypo and answer it for you. But, Its the night before my 4 hour exam, I’m trying to quit studying early so its not on my mind all night, and I’m exhausted! So with that said, I’ll give you a copy of a Criminal Procedure problem and you can feel like you’ve seen part of a law school exam!

Hypo:

One unusually sunny day in Philadelphia a woman wearing large coach sunglasses and a trench coat over an obviously too-tight red evening gown walked into detective George Mc’Gallahan’s office. She identified herself as “Mr. T’s” ex-girlfriend, and proceeded to state that “the lying bastard” had been a king-pin in a county wide child pornography/ sex-slave sales organization. She stated that he had a mobile home that he had been frequenting between 3pm and 5pm on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s for the past several years. He had always explained to her that during that time he was meeting some of his associates for lunch. She further testified, that one day she followed him after growing suspicious of his increasingly “creepy” behavior. She saw him enter the mobile home, which is located at 1313 mockingbird lane, and through the window she observed activities (omitted), which clearly indicate the production of child pornography, and three large boxes filled with various poloroids and video tapes that clearly indicated that they were child pornography. She also testified that there were stacks of money, (omitted), bags of drugs, and several lamps and various other forms of photographic equipment on the far table in the living room.

Obviously Mc’Gallahan was curious about the information he received, and so he took the informants statement, without ever getting her real name, to a local magistrate to request a search warrant. Knowing this particular magistrate was a stickler for the names of informants, he supplemented his affidavit with a false name, Karen Shiffer. Detective Mc’Gallahan and his partner Tex “Hang-em-high” Watson executed the search warrant on the Mobile home at 1313 Mockingbird lane. Upon arriving the officers knocked on the door, there was no reply. Tex, who simply HATES pornography of any variety-especially child pornography, jimmied the lock and entered the Mobile home. Once in the home they did not find any of the items described by the mysterious woman from Mc’Gallahan’s office. Rather, they discovered a rather corpulent man in a mustard stained wife-beater passed out next to a bottle of wild turkey. When the detectives approached the man he startled awake, saw the police, and bolted for the door. Tex chased the man down outside and ordered him to stop, when the man did not stop, Tex drew his gun and fired a single round in the sky. The man immediately halted, at which point Tex approached him, patted the man down, put him in hand-cuffs. The man pled with police not to kill him, drunkenly stumbled around reciting his basic identification information, and then vomited. Mc’Gallahan asked the man if he knew anything about a child pornography ring in the area. The man said he didn’t know anything about a child pornography ring, but he knew the “rich couple” down the road made their money selling drugs. He said they would place copious amounts of marijuana in a garbage bag, and then a fake city garbage truck would pick it up and haul it off. Mc’Gallahan asked the man how he knew this, and he said that he had sold the couple some methamphetamine a couple of weeks back and they divulged their scheme to him. He then stated that he had called the couple monsters for pushing an evil drug like marijuana on people, and that from then on they had been in a prolonged “conflict” with one another. While Mc’Gallahan was talking to the mustard stained man, Tex, whose ears had perked when the man mentioned methamphetamines, went back into the house and started tearing through the cupboards and closets around the house. When Tex opened the cupboard above the kitchen sink, he found rows of bricks of methamphetamine, totaling fifty pounds. He and Mc’Gallahan arrested the man, took him back to the station hosue, and proceeded about their business…

Later that same day….Mcgallahan and Tex decided to go and check out the mustard stained methdealer’s story, so they proceeded to the rich couple’s house the man had described earlier. It was beginning to get dark, and Mc’Gallahan could see sliver of white light emanating from under the garage door. He told Tex to get out the thermal imaging camera and “giver’ a looksee.” Tex did so, and found that there was an immense amount of heat coming from the garage. The next morning Mc’Gallahan and Tex waited until morning when a yellow garbage truck, not blue like the city’s normal garbage trucks, came and collected garbage from the front sidewalk of the house. The detectives stopped the truck and asked if they could see the bags the truck had just collected. The driver consented. Upon cutting open the bags, they found that there was nothing more than several glass and plastic bottles. Apparently the truck was from a private recycling program. Further investigation of the bag reviled a broken limited edition “tommy chong” glass water pipe.

Mc’Gallahan and Tex decided that while the mustard stained drunk had been wrong about the garbage truck, the bong merited looking into. Determined  not to waste what had been a long night and fruitless morning, the detectives went back to the house and placed a free standing ladder next to the wall of the residence. Tex climbed up the ladder and peered over the wall, not able to see clearly he leaned further and further over until finally he fell, toppled over the wall, and saw that there were bales upon bales of high grade marijuana lining the shrubs under the wall. He yelled back to Mc’Gallahan that he found the “dope” and the two went back to the magistrate, and obtained a second warrant, and detained the owners of the house, a sharp dressed local civil litigator and his wife-who Mc’Gallahan recognized as the woman from his office…

As the government, argue why the evidence obtained in the trial against the litigator and his wife should NOT be excluded from trial.

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One Week Left

April 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Yes. That’s right. One week until I leave for the summer. I cannot wait! But, I still have 3 finals to get through.

So, in an effort to keep myself motivated, optimistic, and joyful I made a little wall of quotes of joy and things to look forward to. I mean, its only a couple of weeks that I really have to have no life. Its not that bad. I’m being a big baby. Generally, I have a “no feeling sorry for myself” policy. Somehow, implementing said policy becomes a bit difficult during finals time. Its like I just want to whine and complain. Seriously, suck. it. up.  Life could be worse…heck, its been worse!

Sooo, I made a little list of things that make me joyful and when I feel the ugly whining rearing its nasty little head, I go look at my wall. What does it say you ask? Well one list is of things that just make me happy. Things I can do to take a break and cheer up. Things like “Prayer, running, hiking, yoga, reading a magazine (only for a few minutes), calling my mom or a friend, listening to inspiring music, packing for Costa Rica, attempting to be the ‘Rudy’ of law school, etc.” Anything that makes me remember how great life is and how many amazing things there are around me to enjoy, think and re-center!

Also, I write quotes on post-its when I find them. They’re all joy centered just to remind myself that I have an amazing opportunity and that I should be grateful for it rather than taking it for granted. Some quotes include “Happy is the heart that calls on the mercy of the Lord.” or “A joyful heart is the natural result of a heart burning with love.” Another is “I’ll remember the suffering you’re love put you through and I’ll walk through the valley if you want me to.”

There are plenty of others, but that’s the start. I just feel like its such a good reminder to chose to be joyful! Its so important to find ways to be joyful and implement them in our lives. No one wants to be “that-person.” You know, the Debbie Downer, who always enters the conversation complaining. Trust me, that person doesn’t make anyone any happier. That doesn’t mean we’re not all allowed our venting moments and our down days (having a full range emotions makes you sad…no one wants a friend who operates like they’re constantly on happy pills either. Those people are just a crazy!), but it does mean that we can find ways to bring ourselves out of them, appreciate what we have and make the most of anything!

“Serve God joyfully. The only true sorrow is sin.”

A Home is Built with Love and Dreams

March 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

I love going home. When I walk in, I’m overwhelmed with the smell. Its a smell I can’t describe, but it is simply “home.” I immediately feel relaxed, happy, comforted. Its so easy to just revert back to my childhood there; I get to hug my parents, hang out with my brother and sister, and sleep in the room I grew up in. And no matter how much it changes, it still has those key elements: my family and the same comforting smell. The longer I stay there, the more attached I become. Coming back to school is so much harder if I’ve stayed for a week or more. I find the drive back longer, the upcoming week seeming more stressful, and my lonliness slightly elevated. I’ve had to leave the place where I feel the most comfort, the place where the people know me best, the place where my best friends all live under one roof, and come back to the place that I feel most alone. That juxtapostion makes Mondays back terrible. I find it difficult to leave home the closer departure comes; I just want to stay and visit and hug. For me, being home is like being wrapped up in a hug by the biggest arms God could give me. Even when no one is home, I can still feel the warmth and comfort of those arms wrapped around me.

This past weekend was one of those weekends where most of my family was gone. There was a softball tournament that my dad had to coach and I just didn’t feel like spending my last weekend home for awhile, away from home, so I stayed. But, I wanted to show my dad how much I love him and enjoyed my time home with him (seriously, the man is really my hero!), and I just don’t feel like I tell him as much as he tells me. I mean, the man sends me emails just to tell me that he loves me and is blessed by me! I’m so blessed to have a dad like him and its part of the reason I just love home. He makes me feel loved and safe and isn’t scared to put me in my place. He makes me a better person that way and I’m thankful for it…even if I get angry at the time! When he was growing up, this lady who lived down the street from my dad baked him a sour cream apple pie and he loved them! So, in an effort to show my dad some of the love that I feel for him (let’s be honest, I express my love through cooking for people. That little quirk I get from my mother! It makes me a little worried that I’m going to make myfuture husband fat…let’s hope he likes healthy food), I found a sour cream apple pie recipe online and made it for him. Turned out that he had a terrible day coaching and when he came home that day, he told me that he had really needed it that day. Perfect!!!

The apple pie turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself! So, I decided to share the recipe. Tips: make sure you slice the apples thin so that they get tender, and I doubled the topping because one dose of it didn’t seem like quite enough. So double up on the topping ingredients if you want to make extra, too.  Also, I used a store bought crust (c’mon, I’m not Martha Stewart!).  It was the refrgerated Pillsbury one and it was great!It was such a beautiful day to look out the window and watch the dogs play while I peeled and sliced apples and I even went for a little jog while the pie was in the oven. Yes, I did consider letting it cool on the window sill…ok, now I am sounding a little Martha Stewart-esque. Oops.  Like you, I was a little worried about sour cream in my pie, but don’t worry. It turned out great! Let me know if you get to try it and what you think.

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe of a pie crust (you can try making your own)
  • 3 Tbls. unsalted butter, softened (For topping)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbls. sugar (For topping)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (For topping)
  • 2 Tbls. all-purpose flour (For topping)
  • 1  1/3 cups sour cream (filling)
  • 2/3 cup sugar (filling)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (filling)
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract (filling)
  • 2 large eggs (filling)
  • 3 Tbls. all-purpose flour (filling)
  • 5 large granny smith apples (about 2  1/4 lbs.) (filling)

Prep

  1. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, fit it into at 10 inch  pie plate, and flute the edge decoratively. Chill the shell while making the topping and filling.
  2. Preheat oven to 350

Make the Topping:

  1. In a small bowl, blend together the butter ( I melted mine a little, which made blending easier), the sugar, the cinnamon, and the flour until the mixture is combined well and chill the topping, covered, while making the filling.

Make the Filling:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the sour cream, the sugar, the salt, the vanilla, the eggs, and the flour until the mixture is smooth, add the apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin, and stir the filling until it is combined well.
  2. Spoon the filling into the chilled shell, smoothing the top, and crumble the topping evenly over it. Bake the pie in the middle of a preheated 350 degree oven for 1  1/4 hours, or until it is golden and the apples are tender, transfer it to a rack, and let it cool completely.

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