Author Archives: Appellate Squawk

About Appellate Squawk

A satirical blog for criminal defense lawyers and their friends who won't give up without a squawk.

The Public Defender Card Game

A game of chance and skill, just like real life, invented by our friend Caroline, underpaid public defender extraordinaire of Minnesota. The goal is to pick a white card that answers the question on the purple card. Blank cards are … Continue reading

Posted in Law & Parody | 3 Comments

Maud Maron v. The Legal Aid Society

“I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat.” — Hamlet Two years ago, Maud Maron, school parent, community activist, former president of Manhattan’s largest school district, and defense attorney at The Legal Aid Society, wrote an Op-Ed piece questioning the … Continue reading

Posted in Law & Parody | 3 Comments

I’m objective, thee is biased

“Even Homer nods,” goes the saying, meaning that even the best can go off the rails now and then. So the great cognitive scientist Itiel Dror came up with a hypothetical study to show that forensic pathologists are more likely … Continue reading

Posted in Forensic "science", Law & Parody | Leave a comment

People’s briefs and other horror fiction

In the psychological horror thriller Neighbor George, the appalling creature who possesses Dovey the narrator tells her she’s doomed to a living death. Her body will remain in the physical world, but “the real you will belong to Mom and … Continue reading

Posted in Law & Parody | 7 Comments

“My pronouns are sheehurr… so yours would be?”

A few years back, we got in BIG trouble for parodying the boss’s decree that our very first question to clients should be about their gender identity. Our point, complicated as it may seem, was that such personal questions are … Continue reading

Posted in Law & Parody | 3 Comments

May it really, really displease the court

One of our favorite Appellate Division decisions is when the First Department went ballistic against a fellow Squawk for citing the scientific research that incest offenders have a low rate of recidivism. “REPUGNANT TO COMMON DECENCY!” hollered the the court. … Continue reading

Posted in Law & Parody | 9 Comments

Defending the Second Amendment

Posted in Law & Parody | 1 Comment

May It Displease the Court

Our late mother had a sign pinned to the broom closet reading, “When others eliminate work, they’re efficient. When I eliminate work, I’m lazy.” So we viewed with a jaundiced eye the First Department’s recent trumpeting of its work-elimination efficiency.  … Continue reading

Posted in Appellate advocacy, Criminal Defense Appeals, Judges, Law & Parody | Tagged | 7 Comments

Covid in the Courtrooms: an Unnecessary Risk

What’s the riskiest place in NYC for Covid infection? Bars? Frat parties? Mass gatherings to celebrate “Reopening New York”? Nope. It’s the criminal courts. Working for a public defender outfit, we’ve been hearing daily reports from our so-called Covid Task … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Judge Jack Weinstein 1921-2021

Judge Weinstein died on June 15, 2021 at the age of 99.  This is a re-run of our post from December, 2016 when he was only 95. Our excuse for the repetition is that we’d like to add to the … Continue reading

Posted in Law & Parody | 3 Comments

In-Person Oral Argument Should Go the Way of the Dodo

It’s one thing for the Guv to announce that we can now eat at restaurants, and a good thing too, since we’re pretty sick of our own cooking. But going to court in person? Who needs it? State criminal courts … Continue reading

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Convicting Bill Cosby: “An Unconstitutional Coercive Bait-and-Switch”

“They tell you to follow your dreams. Does anyone say you have to wake up first?” — Bill Cosby. The Constitution woke up.  “While the prosecutor’s discretion in charging decisions is undoubtedly vast,” said the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, “it is … Continue reading

Posted in Law | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Judge Conviser rips into SORA

Or at least into the way it’s applied. SORA, or the Sex Offender Registration Act, is a brutal set of laws whereby persons convicted of a designated “sex offense” (not necessarily involving sexual misconduct), can be required to register with … Continue reading

Posted in SORA | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Adios, 2020!

Posted in Law & Parody | 6 Comments


A satirical blog about law and other absurdities for criminal defense lawyers & friends APPEALS WITH ATTITUDE What oral argument is really like. What’s the use of criminal appeals? “Your question has nothing to do with this case, … Continue reading

Posted in Law & Parody | 2 Comments

Call a rose by any other name and it’ll see you in court

Continuing Legal Education, compulsory for lawyers on the theory that they should keep up with what’s going on, now includes an even more compulsory dose of racial-genderal indoctrination. Yesterday we attended an all-day CLE (remotely, of course), where, following a … Continue reading

Posted in Law & Parody | 1 Comment

Try the new high-tech system for alienating your clients


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Outdoor Public Defending

Now in the 5th month of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place era, our Guv (“I live alone with a dog and we’re getting pretty sick of each other”) has just reinstated the ban on indoor public dining. Meanwhile the courts, which have … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal law, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Why do cops lie? Because judges believe them.

  Cops fibbing on the witness stand is so normal, there’s even a name for it: testilying. Or in mixed-metaphor legalese, “tailoring their testimony to overcome constitutional objections.” A little exaggeration here, a few omissions there. Why not, when they … Continue reading

Posted in Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged | 5 Comments

Courts to replace juries with potted plants

In a move to reopen the courts with all due COVID-19 precautions, Chief Judge Bludgeon has taken a tip from a recent performance at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Lieu, where the audience was replaced with potted plants: The concert was … Continue reading

Posted in Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged , | 2 Comments