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Conflicted Judges Are Classier With English Accents 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-this-patent-fight-needed-more-drama dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Remember The Right Honourable Professor Sir Robin Jacob, Retired Lord Justice, who staged a temporary comeback on the bench of the England and Wales Court of Appeals last fall? He's the one who required Apple to publicly retract its claims that Samsung copied the iPad and imposed sanctions on Cupertino when he concluded Tim Cook's lawyers hadn't fully complied. He has now made worldwide headline news again because he signed up as a Samsung expert witness at the U.S. International Trade Commission. Samsung says he was hired by its law firm, not the company, but the ITC filing says 'Sir Robin Jacob working on behalf of Samsung.' His clerk issued a statement according to which Sir Robin had no idea of Samsung's desire to hire him before January — two months after he gave Apple a blast. Leading legal blogs agree that there is no evidence any law was violated, but they suspect that 'the general issue of what engagements retired judges are permitted to accept will be very much up for discussion' and that this was 'a less than savvy public relations move by Samsung' because it casts doubt on the widely-noticed ruling in its favor. As one of them puts it, in the U.K. you 'never know if the judge might be looking for a new job,' so you better 'make sure [you] have fat rolls of cash spilling out of [your] pockets' in front of a U.K. judge."
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Conflicted Judges Are Classier With English Accents

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  • by alen (225700) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @02:57PM (#43055385)

    looks bad but in reality a judge like this will probably preside over cases with most companies in a given countries and lots of other large organizations. even if you institute a 2-3 year rule of not taking a job with a party to a lawsuit you preside over that is a lot of potential work and probably infringes on non-compete laws

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, 2013 @03:17PM (#43055475)

      looks bad

      Yes, it does. And as a judge, he should avoid "looking bad." Reverse the position: imagine that Judge Lucy Koh (you know, the one who awarded a big-ass judgement against Samsung here in the US) 'retires,' and goes to work in Apple's legal department two months later.

      How many bloody murders are screamed by Slashdot, and how many petitions are generated at Whitehouse.gov by outraged neckbeards, demanding that Pres. Obama become a dictator, step in, and have her thrown in Gitmo, because she was clearly prejudiced, and Apple used its money to buy a friendly ruling against poor little innocent, beleaguered Samsung?

      Repeat after me: It does not matter what company does it - if it's fucking bad behavior, it's bad behavior and deserves to be criticized. You lot need to stop making excuses for your teams. If Samsung does it and it's bad, it deserves criticism. If Apple does it and it's bad, it deserves criticism.

      • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @03:23PM (#43055505)

        Yes, it does. And as a judge, he should avoid "looking bad." Reverse the position: imagine that Judge Lucy Koh (you know, the one who awarded a big-ass judgement against Samsung here in the US) 'retires,' and goes to work in Apple's legal department two months later.

        Funny you should mention that. Judge Koh actually did do work for Apple before she became a judge. Are you suggesting she should have recused herself?

      • by alen (225700) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @03:23PM (#43055507)

        lucy koh didn't award a cent. in fact she reduced an award that a jury of 12 people awarded apple

        if you're a corporate lawyer or judge presiding over corporate law lawsuits then you deal with so many companies that it would be impossible for you to get a job in your area if you had rules like this

        • by Americano (920576)

          Right, and if you told politicians that they can't go work for lobbying firms the moment they're out of office, they'd never be able to find a job in the private sector, either! So you can't possible put limits on them going to work for lobbying firms who benefitted from legislation that was passed by the politicians!

          Your argument is an argument in favor of tolerating - even encouraging - political corruption. You do realize that, don't you?

        • by mspohr (589790)

          All law firms have a formal process in place to make sure that they are not working for both sides in a law case. This can be difficult in large firms but they have to make sure that they are not conflicted. Even if the lawyers are working in different departments and on completely different areas of the law, they recuse themselves from one side of the case.
          There is no reason the same procedures and prohibitions (ethical) should not apply to judges (whether working or "retired").

      • by eyendall (953949)

        No it doesn't "look bad". Remember this is the UK not the US where paranoia and distrust of every form of authority runs rampant. Often with good reason with respect to the partisan US judicial system. The judge is no longer involved with the Apple-Samsung case; there is no evidence that his decision in that case was questionable on legal grounds; and he states that the Samsung job emerged well after the trial. Jocob is entitled by position and record to be taken at his word. I know, a strange concept in t

    • by erroneus (253617)

      This is exactly the kind of revolving door that I find the most revolting.

      I'm in favor of Android prospering, but I'm not in favor of government officials (public servants?) being rewarded with high paying jobs. "I'm sorry, we can't give you cash outright, but we can give you a job where you don't actually have to do anything useful." How is that not still bribery?

    • It's more the fact he did this big case and has ended up with a job for the winner afterwards. If there was years between the two incidents no one would have thought about it.
  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @02:59PM (#43055399)
    This rises a smidge above the appearance of impropiety.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, 2013 @03:47PM (#43055619)

      This former judge appears to be breaking the rules. The terms and conditions of service [judiciary.gov.uk] have an absolute prohibition on returning to practice:

      Prohibition on Practice: A Salaried Employment Judge shall not practise as a barrister or solicitor or be indirectly concerned in any such practice (s.75 Courts and Legal Services Act 1990). The Lord Chancellor also regards a judicial office as a lifetime appointment. Any offer of appointment is therefore made on the understanding that appointees will not return to practice.

      plus a prohibition on any activity that might appear to raise a conflict of interest.

      Outside activities and interests: An Employment Judge should not in any capacity engage in any activity which might undermine, or be reasonably thought to undermine, his or her judicial independence or impartiality.

      Note that the appointment is for life, so he is still covered by the second rule.

    • I agree with you that this stinks of a post-desirous-outcome bribe after-the-fact. It definitely doesn't look good. But what's with the silly title of this article: "Conflicted judges are Classier with English Accents" ???
      .
      I actually expected something about how people (defendants, claimants) perceive their judge or arbitrator to be "classier" or "fairer" or "more important" if they happened to speak with a particular type of accent. The title turns out to be just a snarky piece of bitchiness. That's so
      • Aside from the title's nonchalance regarding accuracy, DO you think that certain English dialects impart an aura of class or import to the speaker?
        • re DO you think that certain English dialects impart an aura of class or import to the speaker? Yes, I do think that there are people who tend to ascribe more credibility or authority to people who speak in certain ways (dialect, use of slang, use of profanity). I am not one of those persons, but there are people around me at school who hang on the words of those with particular accents or discount others with the wrong types of speech mannerisms. For a musical take on this, see the musical performance "
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Oh, Brave Sir Robin!

  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @03:04PM (#43055419)

    Perhaps the judge's expertise is due to the fact that he spent months listening to both sides of the matter, sifting through conflicting evidence and judging the validity of the positions to come up with an unbiased conclusion. There would be no better expert on the case than the judge that heard it. He would be the best person to explain why he made the decision that he did and be the best one to convince others of his logic. It is not necessarily a judge giving a decision so he can get a future job. This is another instance of appearance of conflict being more important that actual conflict.

    Casting doubt is not an issue. If another judge reviewed the ruling and found fault then there would be an issue. Every ruling should be able to be reviewed at any time without the review causing issues. The whole "There is a review there must be something wrong" is stupid. Wait for the review to be over and then make a judgement. Many reviews are done to remove appearances of conflict and prove that no conflict existed.

    • Perhaps the judge's expertise is due to the fact that he spent months listening to both sides of the matter, sifting through conflicting evidence and judging the validity of the positions to come up with an unbiased conclusion...

      Or perhaps Samsung paid him a metric butt-load of English poundage, and the judge said "WHOOPEE!"

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Or perhaps Samsung paid him a metric butt-load of English poundage, and the judge said "WHOOPEE!"

        In some circles a butt-load of poundage is not something to whoop about....

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        It is possible but people need not jump to that conclusion without evidence.

      • But they could have done that without hiring him for this. Which would be a lot less suspicious (particularly if it shows up on is tax returns). And presumably they would have had to also pay of the other two judges.

        Of course, this still seems wrong to me, but the parent's reasoning (for why he would be a natural choice for either side) does seem to hold up - if it is within the rules for judges.

        But it doesn't look good. And judges, even retired judges, should do so.

  • Herp derp (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665)

    in the U.K. you 'never know if the judge might be looking for a new job,' so you better 'make sure [you] have fat rolls of cash spilling out of [your] pockets' in front of a U.K. judge."

    When the UK has judges sending kids to PMITA in return for kickbacks from for-profit prison operators you can bash us limeys and our legal systems all you like.

    Till then just shut the fuck up already, you fat bastard.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apparently when US corporations hire Washington DC power-brokers to represent their interests, this is an important part of the democratic process. The theory is that the corporations and those that represent them have a special insight into certain issues, making them qualified to advise the US government on policy. Sometimes generous (legal) campaign contributions are made as part of this process.

    So it's fine for US corporations to funnel money towards currently elected officials. But oh no! In the UK, a

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      What exactly are you trying to say?

      Do you think no one realizes whats going in the US?

      Do you think that something different is going on in the UK? I hope not, cause the point here is that ... he's doing the same shit that happens in the US. Find in their favor, retire, and go work for them ...

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @03:35PM (#43055555) Homepage Journal

    Apple already has the patent on buying judges.

    I predict lawsuits.

  • If you're in a conflict of interest situation, make sure to add that English accent so at least you look classier than you already are.

    -- Slashdot career advice
  • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @04:22PM (#43055857)

    Other the the word 'judge', what the fuck does the headline have to do with the summary? Is slashdot trying to get some sort of record for worst 'journalism' ever?

  • He might have had no idea of Samsung wanting to hire him - but his verdict might have been a fine resume....

  • by sfcrazy (1542989) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @06:43PM (#43056735)
    The press has stopped listening to Mr Mueller, but there are still some lazy bloggers out their which take the bait. Mr Mueller when you point a finger at someone else the rest of the four fingers point at you and looking at your monotonous track-record (which is getting painfully boring). Mr Mueller should add a disclaimer to all of your posts that he gets paid by Microsoft and Oracle so people know "For someone so concerned with "integrity" it is utterly unusual to write extremely biased blogs against a particular party (Android in this case) only to be hired as a consultant by the opposition parties (Microsoft and Oracle in this case)." [muktware.com]
    • by the_B0fh (208483)

      he's a blogger, the other's as high court judge. If you are so pissed off with a blogger being hired by oracle, shouldn't you be even more pissed off at a high court judge who just 4 months ago finished a case for Samsung, and is now hired by samsung? don't bother with the fake argument of he doesn't really work for samsung. Samsung's footing the bill, and the judge is not working for free.

  • There should be an investigation, at the very least, started by the judicial departments to clarify this matter. There's a huge potential for corruption here.

    By the way, I'm not sure why Samsung is given so much support here. If you replaced the judge above with the one who ruled in Apple's favour, and replaced Samsung with Apple, people here will be screaming "CORRUPTION", guaranteed.
    Worse still, the top voted comments include ones mocking Apple (clearly off-topic, isn't it?).
    Learn to look past your bias:

  • In the UK the judiciary is generally highly respected for integrity and independence. Conservative, yes, but that is the way it should be for a healthy society. Change should not be easy or simply popular. The US on the other hand has institutionalized a partisan and corrupt juidiciary through the election of judges and through blatant political appointments. You would be an idiot to credit US justices on the whole with integrity and independence. All to say that I see no reasonable appearance of conflict o

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