2014-04-17: Is former Sacramento media employee Matthew Keys a victim of overzealous, misguided cybercrime prosecution?

Jay Leiderman
By: Jay Leiderman
January 28 2017

Is former Sacramento media employee Matthew Keys a victim of overzealous, misguided cybercrime prosecution?

Matthew Keys’ trial here in Sacramento in federal court to wrap up soon

This article was published on .

Some say the U.S. Department of Justice’s priorities are out of whack when it comes to cyberterrorism prosecutions.


The trial of former KTXL Fox40 Web producer Matthew Keys in Sacramento federal court appears to be approaching its anticlimax.

The 27-year-old blogger and journalist is accused of helping hackers break into the Los Angeles Times website, where they changed the headline of a story. Keys has even confessed to the substance of the crime, though it hardly qualifies as misdemeanor vandalism. So why make a federal case out of it? Couldn’t Department of Justice resources be better directed elsewhere?

It’s a question of priorities, according toSurviving Cyberwar author Richard Stiennon. “For those in justice, your career path is to get a whole bunch of successful prosecutions and get noticed,” Stiennon says. “So you’re going to go after the low-hanging fruit.”

Lately, prosecutors have been taking advantage of the wide latitude afforded them by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to press cases involving “network security.” And they press hard.

Last January, Internet entrepreneur and activist Aaron Swartz killed himself while under felony prosecution for downloading academic journals. Swartz, who helped create the crowdsourced entertainment site Reddit, was facing 50 years and $1 million in fines.

“The days of ’Let’s haul this kid in front of the judge, scare him and send him home with a warning’ are long since gone,” says attorney Jay Leiderman, who represents Keys. “Prosecutorial discretion is a great thing if it’s exercised, but it doesn’t happen in any meaningful way these days, because prosecutions are so politicized.”

That’s the crux of the problem for Keys, the former Reuters social-media editor and possessor of 23,000 Twitter followers. In December 2010, he crossed paths with Hector Xavier Monsegur, a.k.a. Sabu, the eventual leader of AntiSec, a more mischievous offshoot of hacktivist group Anonymous. Keys passed them the credentials he once used to log into KTXL’s computers, which were linked to the Tribune Company network.

Keys left KTXL two months earlier, and he’s since expressed surprise that the credentials still worked. An AntiSec member used them to access the L.A. Times website and change a story headline from “Pressure Builds in House to Pass Tax-cut Package” to “Pressure Builds in House to Elect CHIPPY 1337,” a reference to another hacker group. Within 30 minutes, the hacker was frozen out and the headline corrected.

Keys might have expected, at worse, a stiff warning and small fine. But he literally messed with the wrong guy. Sabu had been an FBI informant since his arrest in June 2011, right around the time he started AntiSec.

For months, Monsegur encouraged his followers to commit cybercrime while under the FBI’s control. He was the “honeypot” attracting would-be perps into an operation seemingly designed to intimidate future hackers and anyone who might associate with them, like Keys.

“Part of this is [the feds’] broader push to send a message that anything and everything is going to go punished that appears to suggest that the control of the Internet is up for grabs,” says Hanni Fakhoury an attorney at Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. “It is not a coincidence that this was linked to behavior undertaken in the name Anonymous.”

It wasn’t always like this. Keys and Swartz were charged under CFAA, a 28-year-old law whose contours, like the shore, have worn away with time, yielding to much wider application.

The CFAA was conceived in the wake of the Matthew Broderick movie WarGames, about a hacker who inadvertently almost starts a nuclear war. The original drafters focused narrowly on government computers and the intent of the intrusion.

But changes in the law and vague wording have turned “unauthorized access” to a computer into a prosecutorial blank check.

Eleven years ago, nearby Fiddletown resident Bret McDanel was jailed under the CFAA for a crime the government later admitted he hadn’t really committed.

McDanel noticed a security flaw in his firm Tornado Development’s Web-based communications software. He told his supervisors, but his concerns went unaddressed. After leaving their employ, he sent an email to all the software’s users informing them of the issue. The Amador County resident was charged with undermining the “integrity of a computer system.”

By the time the feds admitted the law wasn’t meant to protect a software company’s reputation, he had already served his 16-month sentence. He’d lost his fiancée and was living with his parents, while his former employer had gone out of business. But McDanel can surely tell you which way the railroad runs.

As Keys has discovered, the feds lean hard and wear you down. He faces up to $750,000 in fines and 25 years in prison.

Swartz initially faced only 35 years, but four months before his death (20 months after his initial arrest), they added nine more felony counts, raising his jeopardy to 50 years. The idea, critics say, was to squeeze a plea out of him; Swartz found a different way out.

Swartz’s act of martyrdom generated a firestorm of protest. It caught the attention of Bay Area Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who sponsored (still-stalled) legislation known as Aaron’s Law to change some CFAA provisions.
“In talking to Aaron’s family and others who were involved in his situation, it was a real eye-opener to what happens in the criminal-justice system,” says Lofgren. “What they felt was very abusive was this sort of thing where you more or less try to extort concessions through the use of overprosecution.”
Keys’ odyssey appears to be drawing to its close, for better or worse. His last court appearance, on April 2, was accompanied by news that the case had gone to “reverse proffer.” This involves the prosecution sharing their case with the defense, generally with an eye toward an agreement.

Nearly all those swept up in the feds’ Anonymous-related enforcement actions have been processed. The sole remaining exceptions are Keys and cooperating ringleader Monsegur. In January, Monsegur’s sentencing was delayed for a third time, so it’s not difficult to believe he’s the bow on the whole operation.
Keys is certainly guilty of something, but probably not a felony. In that respect, he’s perhaps a victim of cybercrime’s intrigue and a prosecutor’s desire to leverage that publicity.

“Any case that has the word ’cyber’ in it brings headlines, because it’s interesting. There’s a degree to which careers are made this way,” says Leiderman. “’Cyber prosecutor blah-blah-blah.’ Nobody reads the ’blah-blah-blah.’ They just go, ’They caught a cybercriminal. Fantastic.’”

Lofgren continues to push changes in the law to make it less prone to abuse. Unfortunately, there’s precious little to be done about overzealous prosecutors.

“You really can’t impose good judgment legislatively,” Lofgren says, “but we do need to have better oversight over the Department of Justice.”

49 thoughts on “2014-04-17: Is former Sacramento media employee Matthew Keys a victim of overzealous, misguided cybercrime prosecution?

  1. “These unwritten amenities have been in part responsible
    for giving our people
    the feeling of independence and self-confidence, the feeling of creativity.
    These amenities have dignified the right of dissent and have honored the right
    to be nonconformists and the right to defy submissiveness. They have encouraged
    lives of high spirits rather than hushed, suffocating silence.”
    — Justice William O. Douglas
    (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice
    Source: Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville (1972)

  2. “The great and invigorating influences in American life
    have been the unorthodox: the people who challenge an
    existing institution or way of life, or say and do
    things that make people think.”
    William O. Douglas
    (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice
    Source: Interview, 1958

  3. Royal Canadian Mounted Police – RCMP
    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the Canadian national police service and an agency of the Ministry of Public Safety Canada. The RCMP is unique in the world since it is a national, federal, provincial and municipal policing body, providing a total federal policing service to all Canadians and policing services under contract to the three territories, eight provinces (except Ontario and Quebec), more than 190 municipalities, 184 Aboriginal communities and three international airports.
    URL: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/index-eng.htm

  4. Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes
    Source: The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table

  5. Unconstitutional Law

    [Justices do not have the right to declare] “a law unconstitutional
    simply becasue they considered a law unwise.” [The court] “is not
    to decide whether the view taken by the legislature is a wise view,
    but whether a body of men could reasonable hold such a view.”
    Lousis D. Brandeis
    Source: The Supreme Court and It’s great Justicies

  6. State and Federal Governments

    “That distinct sovereignties could exist under one government, emanating from
    the same people, was a phenomenon in the political world, which the wisest
    statesmen in Europe could not comprehend; and of its practicability many in our
    own country entertained the most serious doubts. Thus far the friends of
    liberty have had great cause of triumph in the success of the principles upon
    which our government rests. But all must admit that the purity and permanency
    of this system depend on its faithful administration. The states and the
    federal government have their respective orbits, within which each must
    revolve. If either cross the sphere of the other, the harmony of the system is
    destroyed, and its strength is impaired. It would be as gross usurpation on the
    part of the federal government, to interfere with state rights, by an exercise
    of powers not delegated; as it would be for a state to interpose its authority
    against a law of the union.”
    Justice John McLean
    (1785-1861) U.S. Congressman for Ohio (1813-16), U.S. Postmaster General,
    Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1830-61),
    presidential candidate for the Whig and Republican parties
    Source: Craig v. Missouri, 4 Peters 410 (1830) [29 U.S. 410, 464]

  7. Prison Song
    System Of A Down
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    Following the rights movements
    You clamped on with your iron fists
    Drugs became conveniently
    Available for all the kids
    Following the rights movements
    You clamped on with your iron fists
    Drugs became conveniently
    Available for all the kids
    I buy my crack, I smack my bitch
    Right here in Hollywood
    Nearly two million Americans are incarcerated
    In the prison system, prison system
    Prison system of the U.S.
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    (For you and me to live in)
    Another prison system
    Another prison system
    Another prison system
    (For you and me)
    Minor drug offenders fill your prisons
    You don’t even flinch
    All our taxes paying for your wars
    Against the new non-rich
    Minor drug offenders fill your prisons
    You don’t even flinch
    All our taxes paying for your wars
    Against the new non-rich
    I buy my crack, I smack my bitch
    Right here in Hollywood
    The percentage of Americans in the prison system
    Prison system, has doubled since 1985
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    (For you and me to live in)
    Another prison system
    Another prison system
    Another prison system
    (For you and me)
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    For you and me
    Oh baby, you and me
    All research and successful drug policies show
    That treatment should be increased
    And law enforcement decreased
    While abolishing
    Mandatory minimum sentences
    All research and successful drug policies show
    That treatment should be increased
    And law enforcement decreased
    While abolishing
    Mandatory minimum sentences
    Utilizing drugs to pay for
    Secret wars around the world
    Drugs are now your global policy
    Now you police the globe
    I buy my crack, I smack my bitch
    Right here in Hollywood
    Drug money is used to rig elections
    And train brutal corporate sponsored
    Dictators around the world
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    (For you and me to live in)
    Another prison system
    Another prison system
    Another prison system
    (For you and me)
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    They’re trying to build a prison
    For you and me
    Oh baby, you and me

    BOP Statistics: Inmate Race – Federal Bureau of Prisons

  8. In view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there
    is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens.
    There is no caste here. Our Constitution is colorblind,
    and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.”
    John Marshall Harlan
    Source: Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896

  9. Bring me my pistol, three rounds of ball
    I’m gonna kill everybody [what this] poor boy lost
    Poor boy lost, poor boy lost
    Poor boy lost, poor boy lost

    On a Monday I was arrested, on a Tuesday, I was tried
    Judge found me guilty and I hung my head and cried
    Lord and cried, Lord and cried
    Lord and cried, Lord and cried

    I asked the judge what would be my fine
    Says a pick and a shovel down Joe Brown’s coal mine
    Coal mine, coal mine
    Coal mine, coal mine, coal mine

    [?] the judge, I’ve been here before
    You can [?] don’t come back here no more
    No more, no more
    No more, no more, ah Lord

    Southern Poverty Law Center

  10. 2000 Election (Selection)

    It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system
    that is the true backbone of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the
    wound to the confidence that will be inflicted by today’s decision. One
    thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete
    certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential
    election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the
    Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of
    law. I respectfully dissent.
    Justice John Paul Stevens 12-12-2000

  11. Justice is the tolerable accommodation of the conflicting interests of society, and I don’t believe there is any royal road to attain such accommodation concretely. ~Judge Learned Hand, in P. Hamburger, The Great Judge, 1946

    An earthquake achieves what the law promises but does not in practice maintain — the equality of all men. ~Ignazio Silone

    When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty. ~Norm Crosby

  12. “… if one is to rely on human judges, it is very important that they never admit to error.”
    ― David S. Landes, Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World

  13. “If you are a winner by the judgements of few judges and not by your performance, you are not a real winner.”
    ― Amit Kalantri

  14. “The merciful precepts of Christ will at last suffuse the Code and it will glow with their radiance. Crime will be considered an illness with its own doctors to replace your judges and its hospitals to replace your prisons. Liberty shall be equated with health. Ointments and oil shall be applied to limbs that were once shackled and branded. Infirmities that once were scourged with anger shall now be bathed with love. The cross in place of the gallows: sublime and yet so simple.”
    ― Victor Hugo, The Last Day of a Condemned Man

  15. Male verum examinat omnis
    Corruptus judex.
    A corrupt judge does not carefully search for the truth.
    Horace—Satires. II. 2. 8.

  16. Lee “Scratch” Perry’s song “Set Them Free” would be a good one. In it, Perry pleads the case of three young (alleged) thiefs before a judge…

    “I don’t think it’s fair to sentence these men to 500 years…”

    “Are you suggesting that I am unfair?”

    “No, your honor. But as you see, they are from a poor generation, having no education, no qualification, so they are driven to desperation.”

  17. NWA – Fuck tha Police (I can’t believe no one said this yet)

    Sublime – Get Ready (“Load up the bong, crank up the song, and let the informa’ call 9-1-1!”)

    Queens of the Stone Age – Regular John (Because its probably the awesomest song about phones ever)

    side note: QOTSA is the most underrated band ever. They have B-sides that blow away anything released in a while (ex: Infinity, Mexicola, Everybody Knows That You’re Insane)

  18. We Can Work It Out – The Beatles

    Think of what you’re saying.
    You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s all right.
    Think of what I’m saying,
    We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.

    Life is very short, and there’s no time
    For fussing and fighting, my friend.

    We can work it out,
    We can work it out.

  19. Songs about Theft

    Bandit, The – Bobby Thompson (2008)
    Beg, Borrow and Steal – Ohio Express (1967)
    Breaking and Entering – Carroll Baker (1981)
    Burglar Man – Claude Boone (1949)
    Cops and Robbers – The Destroyers (1993)
    Desperado – Johnny Rodriguez (1977)
    Desperadoes Waiting for a Train – The Highwaymen (1985)
    Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie – Michael Peterson (1997)
    Getaway Car – The Jenkins (2004)
    Getaway Driver – Paul Bellows (2001)
    Great Filling Station Holdup, The – Jimmy Buffett (1973)
    Great Mail Robbery, The – Rex Allen, Jr. (1974)
    Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves – Cher (1971)
    Highway Robbery – Tanya Tucker (1989)
    Holdup, The – David Bromberg (1971)
    Horsethief Moon – Ian Tyson (1884)
    Masked Marauder – Country Joe and the Fish (1969)
    Possession’s Nine-Tenths of the Law – Lonesome Standard Time (1995)
    Prisoner’s Song, The – Terri Williams (1999)
    Robbery Suspect – Stan Pope (2008)
    Run Like a Thief – J.D. Souther (1972)
    Rustler’s Fate, The – The Carlisle Brothers (1933)
    Somebody Stole My Dog – Rufus Thomas (1964)
    Somebody Stole My Watermelon – The Fireballs (1965)
    Stolen Horses – Ray Wylie Hubbard (2003)
    Stolen Wine – Tommy Overstreet (1979)
    Stop, Thief – Carla Thomas (1967)
    Thievin’ Stranger, The – Walter Brennan (1960)
    This is a Holdup – Bill Wence (2001)
    Thou Shalt Not Steal – Kaleidoscope (2006)
    Too Lazy to Work, Too Nervous to Steal – BR5-49 (2001)
    We Robbed Trains – The Smoky Mountain Boys (1981)
    Who Stole the Lock? – The Wiyos (2006)

  20. Songs about Prison and Jail

    All Night in Jail – The Twisters (1957)
    Allentown Jail – Billy Strange (1966)
    Arkansas State Prison – Bobby Womack (1970)
    Back on the Chain Gang – The Pretenders (1983)
    Ballad of Attica Prison, The – Tiny Tim (1971)
    Beaufort County Jail – Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard (1975)
    Birmingham Jail – Lead Belly (1948)
    Blackjack County Chain – Willie Nelson (1967)
    Chain Gang – Sam Cooke (1960)
    Cold Grey Bars – Ned Miller (1970)
    Convict and the Rose, The – Chet Atkins and Hank Snow (1964)
    Dark as a Dungeon – Maddox Brothers and Rose (1950)
    Death Row – Bob Seger (1969)
    Five Years in Prison – Roy Hall (1949)
    Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash (1968)
    Fort Worth Jail – Lonnie Donegan (1959)
    Hutchinson Jail – Nancy Sinatra (1966)
    I Got Stripes – Johnny Cash (1959)
    I’d Rather Go to Jail – Mitch Ryder (1969)
    In the Jailhouse Now – Sonny James (1977)
    Jailhouse Blues – Sleepy John Estes (1960)
    Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley (1957)
    Just Came to Get Buford Outta Jail – Don Bowman (1969)
    Last Hour on Death Row – Johnny Wakely (1979)
    Nashville Jail – The Country Gentlemen (1990)
    Orange Jumpsuit – 77 ElDeora (2006)
    Prison Song, The – Curly Putman (1960)
    Prison Without Walls, A – Eddy Arnold (1950)
    Prisoner in Disguise – Souther Hillman Furay Band (1975)
    Prisoner’s Song, The – The Timberliners (1962)
    Shackles and Chains – Montana Slim (1949)
    Should I Tie a Yellow Ribbon? – Connie Francis (1973)
    Sound of My Man Working on a Chain Gang, The – Theola Kilgore (1960)
    Stone Walls and Steel Bars – The Clinch Mountain Boys (1963)
    Suicide Watch – Dawn DeKrell and Jon Dittert (2004)
    Texas Jail Cell – Jon Wayne (1994)
    There Ain’t No Good Chain Gang – Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings (1978)
    Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree – Johnny Carver (1973)
    Tijuana Jail, The – The Kingston Trio (1959)
    Tupelo County Jail – The Stonemans (1966)
    Week in a County Jail, A – Tom T. Hall (1970)
    Wichita Jail – The Charlie Daniels Band (1976)

  21. I can’t keep up with what’s been going on
    I think my heart must just be slowing down
    Among the human beings in their designer jeans
    Am I the only one who hears the screams
    And the strangled cries of lawyers in love
    God sends his spaceships to America, the beautiful
    They land at six o’clock and there we are, the dutiful
    Eating from TV trays, tuned into to Happy Days
    Waiting for World War III while Jesus slaves
    To the mating calls of lawyers in love
    Last night I watched the news from Washington, the capitol
    The Russians escaped while we weren’t watching them, like Russians do
    Now we’ve got all this room, we’ve even got the moon
    And I hear the U.S.S.R. will be open soon
    As vacation land for lawyers in love

  22. Steve Earle’s “Billy Austin”. A taste:

    But there’s twenty-seven men here
    Mostly black, brown and poor
    Most of em are guilty
    Who are you to say for sure?
    So when the preacher comes to get me
    And they shave off all my hair
    Could you take that long walk with me
    Knowing hell is waitin’ there?
    Could you pull that switch yourself sir
    With a sure and steady hand?
    Could you still tell youself
    That you’re better than I am?

  23. “Pretty Woman” –
    as Recorded by 2 Live Crew


    Pretty Woman, walking down the street, Pretty Woman, girl you look so sweet,
    Pretty Woman, you bring me down to that knee, Pretty Woman, you make me wanna beg please,
    Oh, Pretty Woman

    Big hairy woman, you need to shave that stuff, Big hairy woman, you know I bet it’s tough
    Big hairy woman, all that hair ain’t legit, ‘Cause you look like Cousin It
    Big hairy woman

    Bald headed woman, girl your hair won’t grow, Bald headed woman, you got a teeny weeny afro
    Bald headed woman, you know your hair could look nice, Bald headed woman, first you got to roll it with rice
    Bald headed woman here, let me get this hunk of biz for ya, Ya know what I’m saying, you look better than Rice a Roni
    Oh, Bald headed woman

    Big hairy woman, come on in, And don’t forget your bald headed friend
    Hey Pretty Woman, let the boys
    Jump in

    Two timin’ woman, girl you know it ain’t right, Two timin’ woman, you’s out with my boy last night
    Two timin’ woman, that takes a load off my mind, Two timin’ woman, now I know the baby ain’t mine
    Oh, Two timin’ woman
    Oh, Pretty Woman.

  24. “White America” – Eminem

    America, hahaha, we love you, how many people are proud to be citizens of this beautiful
    Country of ours, the stripes and the stars for the rights that men have died for to protect,
    The women and men who have broke their neck’s for the freedom of speech the United States
    Government has sworn to uphold, or
    (Yo’, I want everybody to listen to the words of this song) so we’re told…

  25. As an Intellectual Property lawyer, my set has been:
    “Trademark” – written by Porter Wagoner, hit for Carl Smith (Mr. June Carter, dad of Carlene) and also by Mandy Barnett:
    A little bit of croonin’
    A little bit of spoonin’
    A little bit of swoonin’
    And a lot of honeymoonin’

    Now that’s my trademark
    Oh that’s my trademark
    Well I’m always trying to keep satisfying
    That’s what I’m noted for
    “Copyright on Your Love” by Jimmy McCracklin:
    I can’t claim your kisses and I can’t claim your hugs
    Now I can’t claim your kisses and I can’t claim your hugs
    But I can prove to the world right now
    I have a copyright on your love
    “Patent on Love” by The Newbeats (hit with Bread and Butter):
    We put a patent on our love and sealed it with a sweet kiss
    Filed in our hearts the day that we met
    We don’t have to worry no one can steal our love away
    We have what it takes we put a patent on our love today

  26. “Pig, Sheep & Wolves” by Paul Simon
    Court-appointed lawyer wasn’t very bright
    Or maybe he was bright
    Maybe he just had a late night
    Yeah it was just a late night
    And he files some feeble appeal

  27. SIDE ONE

    1. Beach Boys – “California Girls”
    2. Cher – “All I Really Want to Do”
    3. The Seekers – “Another You”
    4. Mel Carter – “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”
    5. Gary Lewis and the Playboys – “This Diamond Ring”


    1. Jackie DeShannon – “What The World Needs Now”
    2. The Beach Boys – “Help Me, Rhonda”
    3. The Lettermen – “Theme from ‘A Summer Place’”
    4. Freddie and the Dreamers – “I’m Telling You Now”
    5. Al Martino – “Spanish Eyes”

  28. I Shall be Released – Dylan;
    Alice’s Restaurant – Arlo;
    Day in the House – J. Beck;
    Gotta Serve Somebody – Dylan;
    House in California – Keb Moe;
    I Shot the Sherriff Bob Marley;
    Psycho Killer – Talking Heads

  29. – “Caught, Can We Get A Witness?” by Public Enemy

    – “Lawyers, Guns and Money” by Warren Zevon

    – “Razzle Dazzle” from the movie and play Chicago

    – “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis Presley

    – “I’m Just a Bill” from Schoolhouse Rock

    – “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” by George Harrison

    This made us wonder…

    Which songs would you choose for a lawyer’s playlist?

  30. AC/DC – “Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer” (“My Daddy was workin‘ 9 to 5 when my Momma was havin‘ me / By the time I was half alive I knew what I was gonna be / I left school and grew my hair / They didn’t understand / They wanted me to be respected as a doctor or a lawyer man/ But I had other plans”)

    The Auteurs – “Underground Movies” (“She’s got a credo in underground movies / Her father is a lawyer / Who paid for the fitting and fixtures /And a house with bay windows.”)

    B.B. King – “She’s My Baby” (“Hey, she’s my lawyer when I’m in trouble.”)

    Beastie Boys – “Car Thief” (“Said good-bye to my girl, my lawyers, and accountants.”)

    Belle and Sebastian – “Legal Man” (“Not withstanding provisions of clauses 1, 2, 3, and 4 / Extend contractual period, me and you for evermore.”)

    Bob Dylan – “Cry A While” (“I might need a good lawyer, could be a funeral mad trial.”)

    Bob Dylan – “Walls of Red Wing” (“Oh, some of us will wind up in St. Cloud prison / And some of us’ll end up to be lawyers and things / And some of us’ll stand to meet you on your crossroads / From inside the grounds of the walls of Red Wing.”)

    Bon Jovi – “Blood on Blood” (“Now Bobby, an uptown lawyer Danny, a medicine man / And me, I’m just the singer in a long haired rock ‘n’ roll band / Through the years and miles between us it’s been a long and lonely ride / But if I got that call in the dead of the night, I’d be right by your side.”)

    Bruce Springsteen – “Atlantic City” (“The D.A. can’t get no relief.”)

    Bryan Adams – “Not Guilty” (“Do I have to prove my innocence? / Don’t need a lawyer with a fat degree / Cause if lovin‘ you is against the law / Then you better lock me up and throw away the key.”)

    Camper Van Beethoven – “Good Guys and Bad Guys” (“Well there are good guys and there are bad guys / And there are crooks and criminals / There are doctors and there are lawyers / And there are folks like you and me.”)

    Carly Simon – “Coming to Get You” (“Lovers and lawyers in Arkansas / Laid down the law.”)

    Chuck Berry – “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” (“Arrested on charges of unemployment / He was sitting in the witness stand / The judge’s wife called up the district attorney / Said you free that brown eyed man / You want your job you better free that brown eyed man.”)

    Chuck Brodsky – “Talk to My Lawyer” (“I was walking outside of City Hall – I slipped and I had a terrible fall / It was negligence on the part of I don’t care who / I fell so hard I was seeing stars / Dollar signs and men from Mars / And the man who helped me up said I ought to sue / He was a lawyer, he was all out of breath.”)

    The Clash – “Guns on the Roof” (“Sue the lawyers and burn all the papers / Unlock the key of the legal papers / A jury of a billion faces / Shouted out condemned out of hand.”)

    The Clash – “Midnight Log” (“Cooking up the books / A respected occupation / The anchor and foundation of multi-corporations / They don’t believe in crime / They don’t know that it exists / But to understand / What’s right and wrong / The lawyers work in shifts.”)

    The Coral – “Liezah” (“So, lawyers doctors please beware of that girl with wavy hair / She will cut you down to size / Reveal the truth behind your disguise.”)

    Creed – “My Own Prison” (“A court is in session / A verdict is in / No appeal on the docket today / Just my own sin.”)

    Dance Hall Crashers – “Sue Us” (“I heard you had a mind to sue / Why I don’t know? / I guess your lawyers will tell us.”)

    Dave Frishberg – “My Attorney Bernie” (“I’m impressed with my attorney Bernie / I’m impressed with his influential friends.”)

    David Bowie – “I Have Not Been to Oxford” (“And the prison priests are decent / My attorney seems sincere / I fear my days are numbered / Lord, get me out of here.”)

    Dead Kennedys – “When Ya Get Drafted” (“If you can’t afford a slick attorney we might make you a spy.”)

    Dire Straits – “Telegraph Road” (“Then came the lawyers, then came the rules.”)

    Don Henley – “The End of the Innocence” (“The lawyers clean up all details / since daddy had to lie.”)

    Don Henley – “Garden of Allah” (“Today I made and appearance downtown / I am an expert witness, because I say I am / And I said, “Gentleman, and I use that word loosely, I will testify for you, I’m a gun for hire, I’m a saint, I’m a liar Because there are no facts, no truth, just data to be manipulated, I can get you any result you like / What’s it worth to you?”)

    The Eagles – “Get Over It” (“Let’s kill all the lawyers, kill ’em tonight.”)

    The Eurythmics – “Sisters Are Doin‘ It For Themselves” (“We got doctors, lawyers, and politicians, too.”)

    Fishbone – “Ma and Pa” (“Well, there’s a lot of money / For all the attorneys.”)

    Fountains of Wayne – “California Sex Lawyer” (“I’ve got a license to love.”)

    Frank Zappa – “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” (“Gotta meet the Guerneys and a dozen gray attorneys.”)

    Frank Zappa – “Heavenly Bank Account” (“He says the grace while the lawyers chew.”)

    Geoff Berner – “My Dad’s A Lawyer” (“It’s a privilege to announce my dad’s a lawyer.”)

    George Harrison – “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” (“Bring your lawyer, and I’ll bring mine / Get together, we could have a bad time.”)

    George Harrison – “Wreck of the Hesperus” (“I’m not a power of attorney / But I can rock as good as Gibraltar.”)

    Guns N’ Roses – “You Could Be Mine” (“Don’t forget to call my lawyers with ridiculous demands.”)

    Jewel – “Who Will Save Your Soul” (” . . . [A]nother lawyer’s bill . . .”)

    Kitty Wells – “Will your Lawyer Talk to God” (“Your lawyer called and said he had the papers all prepared / To sign my name was all I had to do / He saw the judge, now he seen me, there’s only one thing left / Will your lawyer talk to God for you?”)

    Lou Reed – “Dirty Blvd.” (“Where’s the proof, man? Let me speak to my attorney.”)

    Mojo Nixon – “Destroy All Lawyers” (There’s a plague on the planet, and they went to law school.”)

    Neil Young – “Sixty to Zero” (“There’s a judge in the city / He goes to work every day / Spends his life in the courthouse / Keeps his perspective that way.”)

    Neil Young – “Drivin‘ Thunder” (“I stopped into the courthouse / I had to pay some bills / Got talking with the judge / About the finer points of my driving skills.”)

    Panic at the Disco – “Build God, Then We’ll Talk” (“The missus will stay with the cheating attorney.”)

    Pink Floyd – “The Trial” (“The evidence before the court is incontrovertible / There’s no need for the jury to retire / In all my years of judging I have never heard before / Of someone more deserving the full penalty of law.”)

    The Pogues – “Repeal of the Licensing Laws” (Instrumental)

    R.E.M. – “Can’t Get There From Here” (“Lawyer Jeff he knows the lowdown.”)

    The Roots – “Table of Contents (Parts 1 & 2)” (“Cutting through like attorneys at law that’s car chasin‘.”)

    Todd Rundgren – “Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song” (“And bound on that journey you find your attorney.”)

    Tom Paxton – “One Million Lawyers” (“In ten years we’re gonna have one million lawyers / How much can a poor nation stand?”)

    A Tribe Called Quest – “Show Business” (“Get a good lawyer, so problems won’t pile.”)Tom Petty – “Accused of Love” (“Well, the attorney grins / The witness is drug in / With his face half hid in the shadow / Sworn to God and state, the truth arrives too late / and defense goes out the window”)

    Warren Zevon – “Mr. Bad Example” (“Of course I went to law school and took a law degree / and counseled all my clients to plead insanity.”)

    Weezer – “Jamie” (“Jamie, believe me, I won’t let you down / Cuz you are the best lawyer in town.”)

    Willie Nelson – “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” (“Make ’em be doctors and lawyers and such.”)

  31. California Sex Lawyer – This one’s a tale of wish fulfillment from Fountains of Wayne (a band that got its name from a New Jersey lawn ornaments store). The song portrays a young man named Doug who plans to become a California “sex lawyer,” a specialty that’s apparently not covered in most law school curriculums. According to Doug, he’s got the makings of this particular discipline: “I’ve got big ideas. I’ve got back up plans. I’ve got the cha-cha-charisma. Got the sleight of hand. I’m gunna do some damage. Gunna bust some heads. I’m gunna go the distance. Then I’m going to bed.” Sounds like a plan; we’re just not sure how Doug’s malpractice carrier will respond.

  32. 10 CC – “Good Morning, Judge” (“Well, good morning Judge / How are you today ? / I’m in trouble please put me away.”)

    Black Flag – “Police Story” (“I go to court for my crime / Stand in line, pay bail / I may serve time.”)

    Bruce Springsteen – “Johnny 99” (“Well your honor I do believe I’d be better off dead / And if you can take a man’s life for the thoughts that’s in his head / Then won’t you sit back in that chair and think it over judge one more time / And let ’em shave off my hair and put me on that execution line.”)

    Bruce Springsteen – “Highway Patrolmen” (“My name is Joe Roberts I work for the state / I’m a sergeant out of Perrineville barracks number 8.”)

    Bruce Springsteen – “State Trooper” (“Mister state trooper, please don’t stop me . . . .”)

    Bukka White – “District Attorney Blues” (“A District Attorney sho‘ is hard on a man / He taken me from my woman / Cause her to love some other man / District Attorney sho‘ is hard on a man / He will take a woman’s man and leave her cold in hand.”)

    The Clash – “Know Your Rights” (“You have the right to remain silent / You are warned that anything you say can and will be taken down and used as evidence against you.”)

    Elvis Costello – “I Stand Accused” (“Girl, I stand accused / People say I love you / Yeah, I stand accused / Oh, but what can I do? / You belong to some other guy / Hope I never have to testify / If loving you is a big crime / I’ve been guilty a long time.”)

    Fiona Apple – “Criminal” (“What I need is a good defense ’cause I’m feeling like a criminal.”)

    Furry Lewis – “Judge Boushay Blues” (“Good morning judge, what may be my fine?”)

    Joe Perry Project – “Never Wanna Stop” (“Judge and the jury and the district attorney / Gonna try to put my ass in jail.”)

    Johnny Cash – “Hung My Head” (“Here in the court house / The whole town was there / I see the judge / High up in the chair / Explain to the court room / What went through your mind / And we’ll ask the jury / What verdict they find.”)

    The Kingston Trio – “Bad Man’s Blunder” (“The judge and the jury, they did agree. They all said murder in the first degree. The judge said, saying: I don’t know whether to hang you or not, but this here killin‘ of deputy sheriffs, just naturally got to stop!” (“You’ve got a point there, judge!”)

    The Kingston Trio – “Tom Dooley” (“This time tomorrow / Reckon where I’ll be Down in some lonesome valley / Hangin‘ from a white oak tree.”)

    LL Cool J – “Illegal Search” (“I got cash and real attorneys on the case.”)

    Metallica – “And Justice for All” (“Halls of justice, painted green / Money talking, Power wolves beset your door / Hear them stalking.”)

    Morrissey – “I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty” (“I’ve changed my plea to guilty / Because freedom is wasted on me.”)

    The Specials – “Stupid Marriage” (“Court in session. What do you mean ‘Oy, oy, oy‘? Must have court in session. Order. My name is Judge Roughneck, And I will not tolerate any disobedience in my courtroom. Rude boy, you have been brought in Front of me and charged with smashing this woman’s window. Before I sentence you, What have you got to say in your defense?”)

    Was Not Was – “Dad, I’m in Jail” (“Say hi to mom / From jail!”)

  33. This is about a troubled youth visiting Cuba who writes home to his father for help.
    The reference to “I’m hiding in Honduras” may refer to the short exile of famous American short story writer O. Henry (Will Porter). In 1894, while working as a bank teller in Austin, Texas, Porter embezzled $5,000. He fled to New Orleansand then Honduras to avoid prosecution. At that time, US companies began their major export of Bananas from Honduras to the US, so the New Orleans-Honduras route was a well traveled one. Porter stayed in Honduras 11 months but returned to Austin to be near his terminally ill wife. He was arrested an served time in jail. >>
    Zevon once stated that this was based on a true story. He and his manager were partying in Mexico, when the “party” decided to take to the road and it looked liked it was “about to hit the fan.” Zevon’s manager feigned a phone call: “Send lawyers.” Zevon jumped in: “And guns… and money.” >>
    This was used as the theme song for producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s short-lived TV series Justice

  34. As they take on similar cases, Rifkin said he considers the challenge of dubious copyright claims an important part of the copyright system. He and Newman, he said, are trying to hit the balance referred to by Justice Elena Kagan in an opinion in a Supreme Court case involving legal fees in copyright cases.

    The purpose of the Copyright Act—”enriching the general public through access to creative works”— is served by “striking a balance between two subsidiary aims: encouraging and rewarding authors’ creations while also enabling others to build on that work,” Kagan said.

    “I think the three cases all have that common element, to restore the balance to those two aims,” Rifkin said.

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  36. Justice Douglas in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965):

    The foregoing cases suggest that specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.

  37. Articles of Impeachment
    Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

    The formal document filed to impeach a publich official. The articles of impeachment state the charges against the official and the reasons why the official should be removed from office. Articles of impeachment must be brought by the appropriate legislative body, such as a senate, state legislature, or city council.

  38. Attorney of Record

    1) A lawyer who appears in court or receives pleadings and other formal documents on a party’s behalf. Also known as counsel of record.

    2) In patent and trademark law, a lawyer or agent named in a power of attorney filed by a patent or trademark applicant.

    Illustrative case law

    See, e.g. Mason v. City of New York, 67 A.D.3d 475 (N.Y. App. Div. 2009).

  39. Attorney

    1) Someone authorized to practice law; a lawyer. Also called attorney-at-law and public attorney.

    2) Less commonly, an agent authorized to act on behalf of another person, but not necessarily authorized to practice law, e.g. a person authorized to act by a power of attorney. Also called attorney-in-fact and private attorney.

    Illustrative caselaw

    See, e.g. Savings Bank v. Ward, 100 U.S. 195 (1879).

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