• Attorney Adrian Baron

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

NL Notes: Polish President Andrzej Duda made a historic visit to New Britain, Connecticut. Despite being a state with almost 300 thousand Polish residents, it was the first time a sitting Polish president visited Connecticut. I was humbled and honored to receive the Flag of Poland from President Duda during his September 22nd visit. While the reasoning appeared to be my work with the Polish community, I'm pretty sure the real reason was the president is a fan of The Nutmeg Lawyer.

The Polish President studied law at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow Poland where he later was appointed as a research assistant in the Department of Administrative Law of the Jagiellonian University's Faculty of Law and Administration. I had the privilege of studying there during my own lawschool days.

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  • Attorney Adrian Baron

I can still remember the first time I entered the stoic grey stone halls of my alma mater as a fresh faced law student. It was just as I pictured. The sounds of Vivaldi played in my head as I set upon the hallowed path to a life of law practice. I was in good company. Twenty five founding fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence were lawyers. Thirty two framers of our United States Constitution were lawyers. I would be entering a noble profession on the shoulders of giants. Perhaps, I would someday argue before the Supreme Court. Would I be at the forefront of a landmark decision that would change the lives of Americans?

Well, that Supreme Court caliber case hasn't crossed my desk. Choosing private law practice, I soon discovered I wasn't traversing down the fabled steps of the Supreme Court quite just yet. Instead, I found myself in a humid courtroom defending a client on a minor misdemeanor charge. Waiting for my case to be called, I listened to the lulling click clack of an old fan as we patiently waited for the judge. Fidgeting in my seat, I hoped the lawyer sitting uncomfortably close to me would get the hint to scooch over a bit. The smell of his Axe body spray was starting to make my eyes water.

Pro Tip: If your lawyer smells like Axe Body Spray, you're probably going to jail.

So what landmark crime did my client commit? He stole a full size salmon and tried to make a break for it with the fish hidden in his pants. (I don't know if you've ever attempted to run with a fish in your pants, but apparently it can make it difficult to escape).

The case of the stolen salmon wasn't the weirdest matter I have encountered in my career. I once defended an 87 year old woman who may or may not have stolen 16 porn DVDs. She said her husband was boring and she wanted to spice up her life. I've done divorces where battling couples fought over items like deer antlers, broken screen doors, unicorn paintings and cat visitation. I once had an immigration client proudly declare he was a terrorist. He came to the country on a tourist visa and confused the word "tourist" with "terrorist." I've had clients caught trying to beat drug tests with an item called the Wizinator (Oh, just Google it). I've had real estate closings sour because a fortune teller told my client her prospective home was haunted. I thought I had many lawyers beat. Whoever is getting this next case will be a worthy challenger.

Here in the Nutmeg State, a man by the name of Badr Musaed was arrested on animal cruelty charges following a rather disturbing incident right out of a quirky Quentin Tarantino film. Apparently, a cow escaped from a facility called Saba Live Poultry in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Are you with me so far? Robbing the cow of his Shawshank moment, Badr chased the Houdini hoofer into a Home Depot parking lot. He was joined by a contractor who happened to be in the area. Naturally, the contractor was armed with a bow & arrow to hunt the cow. Still with me? Moo-ving on.

Apparently, the contractor had the shooting skills of a Storm Trooper. He shot an arrow at the cow and missed. To be fair, he did manage to hit the Home Depot. His wayward arrow stuck into the wall. ( I imagine that Home Depot sign will look nice hanging over his mantle fireplace).

This is where it gets ugly. According to the police report, Mr. Musaed then allegedly (as we lawyers like to say) pulled out a foot long knife and cut the cow's throat. In a Home Depot parking lot. After a man shooting an arrow missed the cow......... In a Home Depot parking lot.

Did I mention this all occurred in a Home Depot parking lot. As you can imagine, the shocking display in front of a child did not go over well. Did I forget to mention this happened in front of a kid? And a police officer? In a Home Depot Parking lot? Anyway. Still with me? I don't want to milk this but let's keep moo-vin on.

As you can imagine, the community was outraged over the horrific act. A vigil of about 50 people was held for the cow in the following days. They named the calf "Courage" A man pretending to be a protester pulled out a hamburger and a megaphone and began mocking the vigil goers. Because, of course he did.

Now, I don't want to make light of a serious incident. Animal cruelty is absolutely reprehensible and a serious crime. The defendant has been charged with cruelty to animals and a bond was set at $10,000 (In Connecticut, Cruelty to Animals is a Class A Misdemeanor that can carry up to a year in jail). Saba Poultry is not off the hook either. An investigation by Connecticut's Agriculture Department found fat, feathers and filth on processing tables, a lack of hot water, problems with proper sanitation, unclean surfaces and a band saw chunked up with bones and fat. They have been shut down until they can fix their problems.

Imagine being the lawyer who has to explain this incident to a prosecutor. He or she will be making that argument on August 23rd in Hartford Community Court.

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Updated: Jul 18, 2019

In the 1960s, both my parents came to the United States as immigrants from Poland. America represented the promise of a bright future and new beginnings. It was a hope personified by the young family occupying the White House. President John F. Kennedy inspired Americans to achieve new heights and to give back to their communities. To respect their fellow man. To go to the moon. Camelot was real and you could find it at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

In 1963, an assassin's bullet regulated Camelot back to the pages of a fairy-tale book.

The nation mourned the loss of the young president. Ask anyone who lived in that era and they will tell you exactly where they were when they heard the news. My mother was among those who mourned the president. She had even purchased a small figurine of a young"John John" saluting his father's funeral procession. An iconic moment in time frozen in porcelain for eternity. It stood in my room throughout my childhood.

For many, John F. Kennedy Jr. was promise personified. A symbol of hope to return to the days of Camelot. John was the first child born to a president elect of the United States. Would he follow in his father's footsteps? Many had pinned their hopes of presidential aspirations on his shoulders . On July 16th, 1999, those hopes were dashed. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the day John's plane crashed off the shores of Martha's Vineyard. He was only 38. This July 16th also marks the 50th anniversary of another important day in the history of Camelot. It was the day Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy to fulfill JFK's promise that we would go to the moon.

The author with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

I remember the summer of '99 vividly. Just a few years out of college, I was working in a bar with dreams of becoming a lawyer. A college friend had mentioned that the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace Law School was looking for an additional assistant for directors Karl Coplan and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. If I landed the job, I could get half my law school tuition covered. Luck was on my side.

My very first week of work, I was thrust into a world I was not prepared for. Conspiracy nuts would call the office with wild theories about how certain Kennedy family members died. Movie stars called to rub elbows with the famous political dynasty. On my first day of work, I answered the phone with Harrison Ford on the other end asking for "Bobby". I should preface this by stating that I never thought in a million years I would have the opportunity to speak to Han Solo. In my defense, I will also add that the next town over was Harrison, New York. For whatever strange reason, when I heard "Harrison Ford", my first inclination was that I was speaking with a salesman from a Ford dealership in Harrison. Thinking it was an unsolicited sales call, I rushed him off the phone. In other words, I hung up on him. I hung up on Indiana Jones. The next call was just as shocking. It was John F. Kennedy Jr. calling to speak with his cousin Bobby. "I'm sorry Mr. Kennedy, Bobby is in the middle of teaching a class"

"Call me John", he remarked. "Are you a student of his?" he queried. I told him of my plans to go to law school and how thrilled I was to be working for his cousin. "Just getting my feet wet. I may have accidentally hung up on Harrison Ford" He chuckled and wished me luck. I was surprised at how down to earth and personable he was to me. I told some friends that I had a conversation with "John, John" The girls swooned. "I'm just as good looking" I groused. My friend responded by paraphrasing Senator Lloyd Bentsen's quip to Dan Quayle in the 1988 Vice Presidential debates. "Adrian, I've seen John F. Kennedy Jr. You're no John F. Kennedy Jr."

That Friday John's plane would go missing. The phone at the office was ringing off the hook. I took messages from various media outlets, politicians, well wishers and conspiracy nuts. I remember taking a call from Jim Belushi and telling him the plane was missing. Everyone seemed to feel a connection to the tragedy. The students in the environmental clinic walked around in shock. Three days later the Coast Guard announced they found the missing fragments of the plane.

On the morning of July 22, family members attended a memorial service on the Navy Destroyer the USS Briscoe. The ashes of John were scattered at sea. The tragic accident also took the life of his wife Caroline and his sister in law Lauren Bessette. I spent that morning answering a slew of phone calls. I remember one particularly revolting call from a gossip rag. I was offered a few hundred dollars for RFK Jr's personal cell phone number. They wanted to call him for an exclusive scoop at the funeral. For a student, the money would have been pretty helpful. I hung up on the caller in disgust.

It's been 20 years since my peek into Camelot. I did pursue a legal career and began practicing law in Connecticut. That little figurine of JFK Jr. my mother bought so many years ago stands on my desk. It is a reminder for me to give back to the community. To shoot for the moon.

In 2019, the country has never been so divided. Political rhetoric on social media has friends and relatives at each other's throats. It has become our new norm. The country is hurting. I can only imagine where we would be if JFK Jr. would be alive today. Would he have eventually run for president?

These days, we could use a return to Camelot. Rest easy, John.

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