Asexual propagation

Now that I've gotten your attention, I'll let you know what's happening outside the office these days.

Last year I planted two apple tree saplings. They were tiny little shoots that sprouted from trees I have at home. Figured I'm in this business for the long-term so I might as well start an orchard.

Savvy gardeners are aware that apple varieties we know and love (Macintosh, Red Delicious, etc.) all come from apple trees that have been grafted. The rootstock is typically a hardy, crab-apply variety, and the upper 90% is a cultivated variety that has been grafted onto the rootstock.

The scion, the part that is grafted onto the rootstock, comes from a tasty-apple tree variety. That's the asexual propagation. The trees are joined mechanically: hardy bottom, tasty top. It's literally done by cutting and taping. There's no fertilization at all. Once a variety has been bred, all subsequent trees of that variety are grafted, not planted and grown from seed. 

Anyway, this spring I grafted scions from tasty apple trees (Liberty and Golden Crisp) onto the rootstock. And at this point it looks like the scions are going to work. I will know for sure when the scions leaf out. If they do, then they will have incorporated into the rootstock to form a new tree. If they don't leaf out I will try again next spring.

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AuthorJonathan Handelman

Big fight, small victory. No more dirty tricks.

Last week I got tired of a dirty trick the prosecutors in Maine occasionally pull. There's one prosecutor in particular who was doing this sneaky thing all the time. Basically, he reads the statute in a way that he thinks permits him to file a motion to revoke a client's bail and have him or her arrested, all without notifying defense counsel until the unsuspecting person is snatched off the street and thrown in the pokey.

I have never understood how he figures he can justify filing a secret motion. So when he tried it on a client of mine I filed a feisty motion for sanctions. I said the prosecutor was deliberately misleading the court and was misreading the law. He was all sanctimonious and offended, which is how I knew I had struck a nerve.

We had a two hour hearing that was pretty contentious. In chambers with the judge the prosecutor called me "incompetent" and when we were discussing the case the week before the hearing he asked me if I was ready for the judge to "tear you a new asshole." (I wasn't. How would you prepare for that kind of event?)

Well I did not need to suffer that medical indignity. Instead my incompetence was rewarded with a favorable ruling from the judge. The prosecutor displayed the poor-grace typical of his ilk when he questioned the judge's decision and then stomped out of the courtroom like a three-year old.

What I determined is that prosecutors don't lose often enough, so when they do, they are unable to do so with dignity. I will do what I can to train as many prosecutors as possible to lose with good manners.

I also decided that I am perfectly fine being called "incompetent" by a sore loser. Particularly when I win.

Here's that article anyway:

http://knox.villagesoup.com/p/attorneys-argue-over-motion-notification/1511008

Posted
AuthorJonathan Handelman

Big doings

It has been a busy few months and I know my three faithful readers have been aching for updates. Here you go:

 

A couple of big cases resolved with dismissals this spring. What I noticed is that the cases the prosecutors had to dismiss are typically the ones where my clients kept their mouths shut. My business cards say "S.T.F.U." on the back for the reason – it's excellent advice.

Working in conjunction with the talented attorneys representing co-defendants, the defense team spend several months keeping the prosecutor hopping with all sorts of motions and hearings. We were getting geared up for a suppression hearing when the State's case completely fell apart. My client was quite relieved. Instead of facing the years in jail the prosecutor would have sought, all charges were dismissed so my guy can now move on with his life. 

Here's a link to the article: 

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2016/04/01/news/midcoast/prosecutor-drops-waldoboro-armed-robbery-case-blames-lack-of-victim-credibility/

 

 

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AuthorJonathan Handelman

Solar Day

Although it is a cloudy, raw day, today is nevertheless Solar Day at the office. The guys from ReVision Energy are here to install solar panels on the roof. When everything is up and running (and the sun is shining) we will be producing about 98% of the electricity the building uses.

Skysail Legal Center goes green! (Even if the photo is from a cloudy day.)

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AuthorJonathan Handelman

New Hampshire taunter

The other day I got a very curious email message that reminded me of a Monty Python scene:

Message: you hillbillies from maine need to keep your ads in maine. we members of the NH bar will click on every ad for out of staters like you inbreds...we dont want you skum bags

I've never been called a hillbilly or an inbred. And seldom a skum bag (sic). And certainly never by a New Hampshirite. I guess the fine people of the Granite State feel threatened by my Google ads. But the whole thing reminded me of this scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail:

 



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AuthorJonathan Handelman

Little Big Dig

THE TOWN OF BRUNSWICK IS DOING SOME ROAD WORK OUTSIDE MY OFFICE THIS WEEK. THAT IS WHY I AM WRITING IN ALL-CAPS: SO YOU CAN HEAR ME ABOVE THE RACKET. IF I WAS 3 YEARS OLD I WOULD BE MORE EXCITED ABOUT THE DUMP TRUCKS, DIGGERS, GAS-POWERED ASPHALT SAWS, AND GENERAL CHAOS.

IT IS PRETTY NEAT, THOUGH. AND WHEN THE DUST SETTLES WE WILL HAVE A BRAND NEW SIDEWALK TO MAKE UP FOR THE CARNAGE DONE BY THE SNOWPLOW LAST WINTER.

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AuthorJonathan Handelman

A well-spent summer

Yesterday in court the judge asked if my client had behaved himself over the summer. The mom reported that, yes, her kid had done well. "All he does is fish, eat candy, and make a mess."

Posted
AuthorJonathan Handelman

Compassion in the court

Sometimes I wonder if the things I think I am saying in court actually get heard by anyone outside my own head. The reason I wonder is that occasionally I will make a compelling, impassioned, thoughtful presentation to the court and it seems to make no impression whatsoever.

Last Friday, however, I argued that my client's relatively minor criminal behavior (Operating Without a License) should not result in the 14 month probation revocation the District Attorney told the judge was appropriate.

Certainly, when a person is on probation they should take particular care not to break the law. (Or at least not to get caught breaking the law.) But more than a year in prison for driving without a license (in her defense – on a Learner's Permit) seemed pretty harsh to me.

The judge agreed and sentenced my client to even less time than I suggested, and terminated her probation. So my client will walk out of jail completely free from the clutches of the criminal justice system.

If she can keep out of trouble, she will be able to remain free. 

Posted
AuthorJonathan Handelman

Perfect start to the weekend

The week ended with excellent outcomes for two of my clients.

The first was a young woman who was charged with Theft in 2010. My client was very young at the time and left Maine without dealing with the allegation. The court ordered an arrest warrant which has been active for half a decade.

Five years later she is in another state finishing a degree program where either a theft conviction or an outstanding warrant will make final certification and licensing impossible. The prosecutor ultimately agreed to a resolution where my client pled guilty to Disorderly Conduct and paid a $100 fine. All this was managed without requiring her to return to Maine at all.

Her career is no longer in jeopardy, she has no Theft conviction, she no longer has to worry about getting arrested and extradited to Maine if she happens to get stopped by the police for something as minor as speeding or an expired sticker.

The second was another young client who was arrested in 2013 on the extremely serious charges of Trafficking in Schedule Drugs and Unlawful Possession of Schedule Drugs. The first is a class B felony, carrying the potential for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

For the past two years she has been working to overcome a heroin addiction. She used that time to get sober, turn her life around, give back to her community, and find employment in a new environment where she is not surrounded by the people and activities that limit her choices to bad ones. 

She walked out of court on Friday with only a misdemeanor drug possession conviction and a fine. Through her hard work she is starting fresh without the anchor of a felony conviction and a prison sentence.

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AuthorJonathan Handelman

With friends like these...

Today as I was leaving the jail in Wiscasset after a successful stint as lawyer of the day, I spotted this pair of cars snuggled up in the parking lot. I imagine when the sheriff gets back to his car he will have a good time sliding across the front seat with his gun, billy club, hand cuffs, Taser, and grapple gun all attached to his belt. Did you know Batman keeps a chunk of Kryptonite in his utility belt?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman's_utility_belt 

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AuthorJonathan Handelman