Attorney-at-Law

JOURNALISTIC CLICHÉ

In Uncategorized on 08/05/2020 at 11:59

One of the oldest journalistic clichés is that the crime story hits page one, but when the prosecutor drops all the charges or the accused is acquitted, the story hits the back page below the ads.

One of my nearest and dearest has a blog. She remarked a few days ago that the posts she thought were most deserving of attention got almost no views, while those she thought only mildly deserving got many more.

I discussed a variant of this phenomenon five (count ’em, five) years ago, in my blogpost “Go Figure,” 10/21/16.

Today, locked-down with no work to do, I looked back at my all-time stats, and found that my blogpost “Wow,” 7/1/16, is third among individual blogposts. But the sensational story that blogpost presaged evaporated the next year, as I chronicled in my blogpost “Unwow,” 4/6/17.

“Wow” has, to date, over 800 views. “Unwow,” 16.

I remember the remark of Ray Donovan, formerly United States Secretary of Labor, indicted for larceny and fraud. When, after he had resigned his post, he was acquitted on all counts two years later, he famously asked “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?”

I do not know what to tell the person named in my blogpost.

“BOOT UP YOUR COMPUTERS!”

In Uncategorized on 08/05/2020 at 10:18

Perhaps Judge David Gustafson is also a fan of the Houston youtube mechanic, as today he sends that message to IRS and Bryce Thompson Osoinach & Cameo Marie Wall, Docket No. 3472-19S, filed 8/5/20.

IRS is a couple days late (hi, Judge Holmes) with a status report. Ordinarily, an obliging jurist will make a COVID-19 allowance. But Judge Gustafson had told the parties three (count ’em, three) months ago to get moving. Instead, he got this: “Petitioners presented some documents to Appeals that required the Exam function to review. This has delayed the consideration of this case. Respondent will work with Appeals and Exam to make sure the documents are reviewed as quickly as possible given all the logistical challenges taking place at this time…. In order to make sure progress is made in the next few months, respondent suggests requesting an updated status of the case in October, 2020.” Order, at p. 1.

Judge Gustafson hits the brakes.

“Without meaning to overlook the logistical challenges and other difficulties that the parties are facing during the current pandemic or to be ungrateful for their work, the Court notes that the progress recently reported has been disappointing, and notes that counsel’s expectation (‘progress … in the next few months’ that might yield only an ‘updated status of the case in October, 2020’) is out of keeping with the Court’s expectation.” Order, at pp.1-2.

So we’ll have a teletrial in October.

STJ Diana L. (“The Taxpayer’s Friend”) Leyden is nowise behindhand with Donald C. Karn, Jr., Docket No. 10694-19S, filed 8/5/20.

STJ Di had ordered the parties to play nice and file a Rule 91 stip. IRS said they’d sent one to Don.

Don is peeved that IRS took a year-and-a-half to produce, not a copy of a W-2, but “a computer-generated printout of the alleged W2 form. It was not a copy of the original form, and it took respondent over a year and a half.” Order, at p.1.

Don also said he wouldn’t do a phoneathon with IRS.

STJ Di sets teletrial for October. If anyone wants a phoneathon, give STJ Di’s chambers a ring. But do as set forth in the title first set forth at the head hereof (as my high-priced colleagues would say).

I objected to teletrials because the public couldn’t watch them. But I’m coming around to the idea that they are the tsunami of the future. They stop the waltzing, and concentrate the litigants’ minds wonderfully. Now if the videos could be posted online for the public to view, that would be perfect. The whole “pick a venue” issue would vanish. All trials would be held at The Glasshouse server, wherever that is. Teletrials would do away with the need for judges, IRS’ counsel, parties’ counsel, litigants and witnesses to go on the road, saving a bundle of money and a bushel of time.  There are no juries in Tax Court trials, so that’s not an issue.

If we get permanent teletrials out of this pandemic, it’s truly an ill wind that blows no one some good.

Edited to add: And I’m certainly not suggesting that calendar call pro bono volunteers be shut out, and helpless self-representeds be left to a cruel fate. Break-out rooms are a standard feature in most teletubby software, and online trials give pro ses and the vols a chance to get together well in advance of trial with Zoomies, Facetimes, and like software. Instead of the “justice in the hallways” that I see at in-person trials, the LTICs and pro bonos can be on-call, and space-and-time concerns eliminated. It’s a total win-win.

 

 

 

 

LAGNIAPPE

In Uncategorized on 08/04/2020 at 17:19

I am told that the title of this blogpost entered English from the Louisiana French adapting a Quechua word brought in to New Orleans by the Spanish Creoles. Therefore, it is a typical American word. I’ve used it in my blogposts before now, but I really like how Mark Twain defined it.

He said it was “a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy word… They pronounce it lanny-yap. It is Spanish—so they said. It has a restricted meaning, but I think the people spread it out a little when they choose. It is the equivalent of the thirteenth roll in a ‘baker’s dozen.’ It is something thrown in, gratis, for good measure. The custom originated in the Spanish quarter of the city. When a child or a servant buys something in a shop—or even the mayor or the governor, for aught I know—he finishes the operation by saying—’Give me something for lagniappe.’ The shopman always responds; gives the child a bit of licorice-root, gives the servant a cheap cigar or a spool of thread, gives the governor—I don’t know what he gives the governor; support, likely.”

Today, SO D (name omitted) considered a request for “120 day stay of collection” as a collection alternative. All my super-sophisticated readers know that is not one of the options in Form 12153, but Craig A. Sopin & Ruth Sopin, Docket No. 10242-19L, filed 8/4/20 did request withdrawal of the NFTL, and added “…that their ‘[r]equest for 120 day stay of collection was denied’ and the ‘collection activity is overly aggressive under [the] circumstances.” Order, at p. 2 (Footnote omitted, but it says Judge Courtney D. (“CD”) Jones had some difficulty making out Craig’s & Ruth’s handwriting).

Judge CD Jones deals with Craig’s & Ruth’s sundry instances of noncompliance, but what interests me here is Craig’s & Ruth’s objection that the Appeals Office erred in considering a collection alternative “because they did not request one.” Order, at p. 4.

Well, even though it seems Craig’s & Ruth’s case took place far from New Orleans, Judge CD Jones is willing to allow Appeals to give something for lagniappe.

“We conclude it was not an abuse of discretion for the Appeals Office to construe petitioners’ request for a’120 day stay of collection’ as a collection alternative.” Order, at p. 4.

But Craig’s & Ruth’s noncompliance sinks that.