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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    July 20, 2023


    Interesting facts, trends, tips, bits and bytes in the news.

    Out There
    From Litigation to Prestidigitation


    A Minnesota lawyer has traded his business suit and briefcase for a tuxedo and magician’s props.

    Chris Harristhal, who handled employment law and business litigation at a Minneapolis law firm, retired from the law in 2019. Since then, he has been performing magic, with his wife, Colleen, as his assistant.

    “The best trial lawyers are great storytellers,” Harristhal said. “And good magic involves storytelling too.”

    Harristhal took up magic when he was six years old.

    “Everybody is so happy when they hear about somebody leaving their regular job to go and chase, you know, a dream,” Harristhal said.

    Source: WCCO

    Good Idea?
    To Combat Car Thieves, AGs Urge Recall

    car thief

    Twenty-three state attorneys general, including Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, have signed a letter calling on Hyundai and Kia to recall certain models that can be hot-wired using only a screwdriver and a USB cable.

    Nearly 8 million Kia and Hyundai vehicles lack engine immobilizers, which makes it easy to hot-wire them.

    California Attorney General Rob Bonta said that by failing to install an engine immobilizer, the companies are violating a federal safety standard requiring that vehicles not operate when the key is not activated.

    “Kia and Hyundai made a conscious and deliberate decision to essentially have a car that may as well have a sign that says ‘Steal me’ on it,” Bonta said.

    Source: NPR

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    On the Radar
    FBI Misused Database 287,000 Times

    According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the FBI conducted 278,000 improper searches of a U.S. database of foreign intelligence over a span of several years.

    The FBI conducted the searches as part of criminal investigations into both the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and the protests that erupted in the spring and summer of 2020 after the police killing of George Floyd.

    The ODNI report came after the U.S Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the 278,000 searches violated database rules because there was no reasonable basis to expect that the searches would return foreign intelligence or evidence that a crime had been committed.

    Source: Reuters, WVTO

    Did you know?

    – The price a Wisconsin filmmaker paid for the rights to adapt a Stephen King short story

    Max Blaska, a filmmaker who lives in Madison, recently purchased the right to adapt Stephen King’s short story “Last Rung of the Ladder,” for $1.

    Blaska’s purchase came as part of King’s “Dollar Baby” program. Under the program, student and amateur filmmakers can purchase the rights to one of King’s unfilmed stories: $1 for one year.

    “The only catch is you can’t profit off the film,” Blaska said. “And King owns the rights to it once it’s done.”

    In “Last Rung of the Ladder,” a brother who saved his sister from an accident when they were children learns later in life that she has committed suicide.

    Source: The Capital Times

    “The changes are really closely related to abortion decisions.”

    – Pollster Charles Franklin, on the U.S. Supreme Court’s declining approval numbers

    A poll by Marquette University Law School in May indicated a drop in public approval of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In the poll, 41% of adults surveyed approved of the Supreme Court while 59% disapproved. The approval number was down six points from a Marquette Law School poll in January.

    The Court’s approval numbers have gone up and down in the Marquette Law School poll since September 2020. Each time the approval number went back up during that period, it reached a lower peak than it did in the previous poll.

    The lowest approval number in that cycle – 38% – came in the July 2022 poll, one month after the Court overruled Roe v. Wade.


    » Cite this article: 96 Wis. Law. 6 (July/August 2023).​

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