The Fifth Circuit has dismissed an inmate's appeal against a district court's ruling that his complaint against the warden, Dawn Grounds, and others in charge of the prison in which he is incarcerated is without merit. Apparently Courtney Royal, self-described "Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest," believes that he cannot practice his religious (vampire) rituals in jail as constitutionally protected under the First Amendment. At least, that's what I, and Robyn Kagan of Findlaw, get out of his filing.
Says the court, in part:
Royal asserts, without further explanation, that he intends to raise on appeal issues involving summary judgment; religious items, food diets, and service; spirit advisor; black Bible; and "rugs, rode, [and] beads." He does not address the district court's certification that his appeal was not taken in good faith, nor does he address any of the district court's reasons for its certification decision. ... Accordingly, his challenge to the district court's certification decision is deemed abandoned.
The court furthers warns Mr. Royal that three attempts to file this kind of action constitutes a waste of a court's time. "Royal is cautioned that if he accumulates three strikes under [Sec]1915(g) he will not be able to proceed IFP in any civil action or appeal filed while he is incarcerated or detained in any facility unless he is under imminent danger of serious physical injury." The case is Royal v. Grounds et al., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11478.
So, no Grounds for appeal. (One of the other named defendants goes by the name of Pierce, but I'll skip the obvious pun that comes to mind). Does all this mean Mr. Royal failed to stake a claim?
I had never considered that any similarities between vampires and business organizations existed. Vampires and lawyers, yes. Many unkind comments there, including remarks about the undead, bloodsucking, and working at night when nobody can see you. Thomas E. Rutledge sees an analogy between Dracula's kin and business organizations, however, and makes his case in a new article.
The law of business organizations has much in common with vampires; there are numerous characteristics that may or may not be embodied in a particular form, each of which should be understood to be a construct.
This paper examines the use of metaphoric representations of vampires in judicial writing. Although relatively unexplored in the literature of vampire studies, in both of these cases vampire imagery reflects the cultural milieu of the author and acts as a barometer to popular attitudes.
Since the 1970s, the portrayal of lawyers in popular culture has been increasingly negative, to the point where lawyers are often figuratively and literally demonized. This paper explores the popular culture portrayal of lawyers as evil beings, both in their role as representatives of evil doers and as evil doers themselves, through a study of the unique interrelationship between lawyers and vampires in the television program "Angel". In particular, the paper explores the roles played by specific lawyers and by the law firm, Wolfram & Hart, in the Angelverse and the underlying popular images of legal practice.
This article begins with a discussion of storytelling, setting the context for what follows: the author's own story of an affirmative-action-fueled journey through law school; law school teaching then law school publishing – to his ultimate resignation from what he calls the Vampire Law Professor existence (hence Vampires Anonymous). Most tenured law professors, he notes, are Storyhaters, preferring instead 100-page law journal articles with 400 footnotes. Indian people, on the other hand, love their story-tellers and their stories. Indian people also raise their children to think independently and act for others. The act-for-others theme makes its second appearance toward the end of the article, after Professor Williams colorfully describes how he was, temporarily, sucked into the blood-sucking, soul-draining, tenure-chasing, article-writing hell of his early professorial days. It was only after he joined Vampires Anonymous that Williams was able to “stop writing law review articles for a while and serve the needs of others in [his] community.” He accomplished this by involving both himself and his law students in Critical Race Practice. Williams concludes that as he and his students practice it, Critical Race Practice is about “learning to listen to other people’s stories and then finding ways to make these stories matter in the legal system.”
Remember that Jonathan Harker, one of the main characters of Bram Stoker's Dracula is, after all, a lawyer (a solicitor).
NPR has this piece on the resurgent popularity of vampires in pop culture. See also the television series True Blood, currently airing on HBO, which is based on Charlene Harris' books featuring Sooky Stackhouse and her bloodsucking friends. The premise underlying Ms. Harris' books arises from a (mythical) Supreme Court case that gives vampires some human rights. Here's a comprehensive list of vampire films and tv shows, from the Vampgirl website.