San Diego Comic Con is always an amazing adventure. Thank you to Mike and Wendy Towry, the hardworking Comic Con International organizers, and everyone who attended our two panels. We started The Legal Geeks in July of 2012 to share our love of pop culture and the law. It was extremely rewarding to see so many people attend our Luke Cage mock trial and Judges on Star Wars panel. Thank you.
“Comic Con” was started by fans who love comics and science fiction. It was a privilege to be with other “geeks” who have all dreamed of double sunsets and superheroes.
Luke Cage Mock Hearing
Lawyers and fans turned out in force to see Sweet Christmas! A Mock Trial to Prove Luke Cage is Innocent. Magistrate Judge Mitch Dembin presided over our fictional case. The attorneys who argued the case were Christine Peek of McManis Faulkner, Megan Smith, Steve Chu, and Jane Boardman, Chief Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Diego. Our “Luke Cage” was played by David Gibson, a Federal law enforcement officer, who loved the character, and studied the Netflix show in preparation for the mock hearing.
The participating attorneys put in countless hours to build their arguments, prepare their witnesses, and develop a plausible scenario to prove Luke’s innocence. One attorney recruited their DEA friends to prepare mock lab reports as a training exercise to create the exculpatory evidence for the case. We also had fun working in homages to the comic legends who created Luke Cage in 1972.
The mock hearing was an advanced civics lesson that highlighted while the Petitioner could challenge his original conviction, there was the issue of the separate escape charge. The Court ultimately found that Luke Cage would not have been convicted by a reasonable jury if the suppressed evidence had been known. The [fictional] State of Georgia exercised prosecutorial discretion in not pursuing the escape charge against the former prisoner found to be innocent of the underlining crime.
Judges on Star Wars
California Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Circuit Judge John B. Owens of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal Magistrate Judge Mitch Dembin, Federal Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman, CA Judge Carol Najera, and former Federal Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal (now Deputy General Counsel of Litigation at Facebook), all love Star Wars. Their legal analysis from Droid Civil Rights, to tracing the property ownership of Anakin’s original lightsaber to Rey, to lawfulness of interrogations, and Han’s legal justification to shoot Greedo, was exceptional.
Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman stole the show, like it was a Tie Fighter on the Finalizer, with her legal defense of Finn for desertion. Judge Beckerman rapped her argument to the tune of Hamilton. I am glad I was in the room where it happened.
Our Star Wars panel was in Room 7AB, which had all of the other Star Wars panels that day. We were honored to be included with panels such Hasbro’s preview of upcoming toys and LucasFilm alumni sharing the early days of fandom.
Other Comic Con Experiences
Walt Simonson wrote my favorite Thor stories in the 1980s. From Beta Ray Bill to Surtur to the Death Curse, Simonson literally wrote the book on The Might Thor.
It was a pleasure to see Walt and his wife Louise share their experiences in comics. Louise wrote X-Factor and created Apocalypse. They shared how the crossover event Mutant Massacre was planned after a discussion with Chris Claremont, plus what followed with The Fall of the Mutants and Inferno.
The Stan Against Evil panel was a lot of fun. I have fond memories of Dana Gould when he appeared at my mother’s comedy club Rooster T. Feathers in the late 1990s. My brother went to college with Janet Varney. I loved them in their comedy group Totally False People. It is great seeing both Dana and Janet’s continued success on Stan Against Evil. Season 2 looks like a riot.
The Droid Builders and NASA JPL panels were both excellent. The dedicated fans who build RD-D2s and BB-8s have a profound love of Star Wars. The JPL panel was out-of-this-world on how engineers and scientists build spacecraft to go to Mars. Below are photos from both panels and other sights from San Diego Comic Con.
Thank you all for the memories. Hope to see you next year.