Sunday, September 6, 2009


I've only been at this for a few months now, which makes me something of the new guy on the block in this blawging business. But I've been a lawyer for a whole lot longer, and a sentient being for longer still. Some ethical points are self-evident (you know, the ones that you learned in kindergarten).

Here's one: Don't steal. Here's another: Don't lie. Here's a third: Don't pick on guys who are bigger and tougher than you are.

One of the things I've learned in these few months blawging is that there's a community here, at least among the serious criminal defense lawyers. (Actually, serious criminal defense lawyers have always been a community.) I've never met these guys, but I've found a number around that country that I'd recommend in a minute to someone who needed help in their communities. They demonstrate their seriousness and their commitment and their passion and their work ethic and their sense of decency and their willingness to help others every day on their blawgs. I'm reasonably confident that they'd get my back if I needed them to.

Then there are the bottom feeders. There is, for instance, Melina Benninghoff of Fresno, California who claims that her practice is "100% Criminal Defense" and that she also does family law and personal injury (so that her claim of being "100% Criminal Defense" is a lie). She steals content from serious blawgers like Mark Bennett for her own blog. Then threatens them when they point it out (though she does the threatening through a purported intermediary whose grasp of English is nearly as bad as her sense of ethics). The intermediary (or perhaps Melina herself) is also engaged in something of a cross between identity theft and stalking, apparently in revenge for Bennett's objecting to having his posts stolen.

There are any number of reasons, some of them good, why people don't trust lawyers. And when we're out here on the web, when we lay ourselves out, reveal our beliefs and attitudes, our passions, our concerns, we open ourselves up.

And then the Melina Benninghoffs come along. She's an ethics complaint in waiting, a disbarment to come. She's a liar and a thief. Even if she's a great litigator (and it's hard to imagine that she is), you shouldn't hire her. You don't want her in your corner.

But if she has an enemies list, it'd probably be an honor to be on it.


  1. What proof do you have on any of these claims? You sir are basing your beliefs on the words of an other and now spouting hearsay garbage. You may want to get the full facts before you do serious harm to your own career. Because the last thing I am reading on bennett's blog is that they were a victim of a black hat attack. But is seems to me you are all victims, only hurting yourself and each other. I am sure some are happy to see it. You are republishing the same story as bennett and that is what you claim she did and why she should not get hired and be disbarred? Is that extream? Like I said before, be careful because it seems to me she is not being sleazy in the least but very classy by ignoring you all, Sleazy is something very subjective in all of this. I will be taking snapshots of all harmful blogs and annotating what I can

  2. Wayne -- stop digging yourself in deeper.

  3. Just to fill that out a bit, Wayne, here's what you read on Bennett's blog:

    [Update: I have had a long telephone conversation with Mr. Conley, and there is room in my mind for the possibility that he and Ms. Benninghoff have been the victims of a black-hat hacker the likes of whom I have never encountered before. This would leave more questions unanswered, but there it is. I'm stepping away from the computer.]

    "...the last thing I am reading on bennett's blog is that they were a victim of a black hat attack." Nah. Last thing you read is that Bennett, out of at least arguably an excess of generosity, has suggested that that's not utterly impossible.

    That doesn't mean that you and Benninghoff were victims of an improbable "Black Hat" attack -- that just means that that's your story, which Bennett hasn't totally dismissed.

    It's not utterly impossible, but given the details of the putative exploit, it's vanishingly unlikely.

    Occam's Razor, Wayne; don't shave with it.

  4. You are so smart. But you are digging your own hole. You base your facts from someone else and do little research. you have dug so deep you can't get out. I must say You are very witty and so dang smart....Occam's Razor....hahaha....don't shave.....with it.....hahaha you witty smart lawyer you. We will see who is laughing last. You realize taking money for referrals in Texas is disbarment material and hiding behind affiliate accounts will not work. Affiliate funding is public info and can be linked to someone we both know and love. You see the observed facts of this case do contradict one another so how can Occam's Razor apply? You need to know what you are may sound so very smart and yet when interpreted you look very ignorant. Learn English before you try Latin lex parsimoniae which you should have learned now try to entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem because when you do you sound like just an other sheep rosebud! Bye lover