Travis Armstrong covered the legal affairs beat for the Editorial Board of the San Jose Mercury News.

His work also appeared on

He was responsible for the opinion page's coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court, California Supreme Court, other state and federal courts, the criminal justice system, immigration and trends in high-tech law.

He holds Juris Doctor from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.

He also studied in Santa Clara University Law School’s summer New Media legal program in Silicon Valley.

Writing on legal affairs

"Cyber turf wars must be fair, not just fast," column in the San Jose Mercury News: A few dollars is "all the money required to register an Internet domain name that could throw lawyers for Fortune 1000 companies into a tizzy. 'That new dot-com address infringes on our trademarks,' they'd screech. The Internet has swelled in popularity as a decentralized, interactive playhouse for the little guy. So today anyone with some spare cash has the power to reach a global audience and along the way cause much grief for big businesses. The law must adapt to include speedier ways to stop and punish that bad behavior. But let's hold up a bit before getting too creative -- or risk establishing slipshod legal institutions. There are good reasons to fear that the cry for fast solutions to cyber turf wars may lead up to a place where fairness is sacrificed for efficiency. Online mischief certainly has become a migraine for companies worried about protecting their copyrights, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property ..."

"Entitled?" column in the San Jose Mercury News: "You traded that steady job in the Old Economy for a cubicle at a Silicon Valley upstart. You latched onto the promises of quick millions from stock options. Then crunch -- the venture capitalists get on board and order your boss to trim some fat. Oh, and you're the fat. Bye-bye, easy money. At least that's how the story usually ended before the entitlement mentality took root in the high-tech life. Everyone else had lucrative options so I deserve them, too. No matter that I gave my old Internet company only a few months of service. Legal squabbles over lost options by ex-employees at DoubleClick, Internet Commerce Corp., iVillage, Qualcomm and other high-tech companies have made headlines ..."

"Judging the domain name game," column in the San Jose Mercury News: "Two years ago, Volkswagen got a voice mail that set off the automaker's lawyers. I own the rights to, the caller proclaimed, and I'll sell the domain name to the highest bidder if your company doesn't respond within 24 hours. Work of a cyber-pirate out to make bucks by ransoming a Web address, right? Three federal judges in Virginia saw it in those black and white terms. Last month they ordered the caller's business -- an Internet service provider named Virtual Works -- to surrender In their judgment, the company registered the domain name in bad faith because it knew that, someday, Volkswagen might be interested in the address. But the case has plenty of gray ..."

"Your brain shouldn't belong to your employer," column in the San Jose Mercury News: "The ease of leaping from one high-tech job to another has helped fuel the Bay Area's economic bonfire. There's the adage that computer pros here don't toil for a particular company. They work for Silicon Valley. Switching ships has become ingrained in our workplace culture. And with pleasing results: We continue to reap big benefit from the innovations of people who take risks and join fledgling enterprises. Now there's justifiable worry that judges will muck it up ..."

"IPOS vs. attorney's ethics," column in the San Jose Mercury News: "From the Microsoft antitrust case to punishments for cybercrimes, the high-tech revolution is rewriting the American legal system. Even minor changes in statutes and case law generate attention when they involve the dot-com world. But walk into law offices in Palo Alto and Menlo Park. There you'll see how attorneys are altering the practice of law across the country in ways that get little public attention. These firms demands that Internet start-ups -- the engines behind the recent boom in Silicon Valley -- hand over stock to pay for legal work. Now lawyers in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and other technology hotbeds are adopting this alternative to hourly fees. The practice creates serious ethical dilemmas. Who's the client in these situations -- the start-up founders or the stock-holding lawyers themselves? The goals of these two groups don't always coincide ..."

"You still have the right," editorial in the San Jose Mercury News: "So Miranda stands. After more than a year of worry and speculation, the U.S. Supreme Court reiterated that the Constitution requires police to tell suspects of their rights to remain silent and have lawyer. Now we can exhale. For too long, there has been legal uncertainty over whether the protection derives from a person's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination or mere congressional laws. Monday the court ruled that it's a constitutional safeguard. Miranda v. Arizona, decided in 1966, is one of those rare court rulings that have entered our collective consciousness ..."

"Hello? Is anyone on guard?", editorial in the San Jose Mercury News: "Oops, they did it again. Two more inmates escaped from Santa Clara County jail over the weekend. And the details of how they got out would be laughable, if the apparent ineptness of county jailers didn't result in convicts loose on the street. This time, a pair of child molesters broke out by exploiting a security flaw that administrators may have known about for years. The two escaped by entering a supply room, climbing up to the false ceiling and crawling overhead to the visitors room. Once in the unsecured area, they reportedly put on street clothes left by friends. Then it appears they simply walked out ..."

"County's legal system and Michael Jackson," editorial in the Santa Barbara News-Press, also picked by the Associated Press for statewide distribution:
"The entertainer for years called Santa Barbara County his home, often taking time out to do good works and open up Neverland Ranch to our community's children. But, sadly, the words 'Michael Jackson' and 'Santa Barbara County' conjure up other memories in the minds of people all over the world. It was here that Mr. Jackson had to endure a legal system that seemed bent on going after him ... Mr. Jackson, it seems, never personally or artistically recovered from the abuse he suffered at the hands of our county. And now, with Mr. Jackson's death, it's time to reflect on the spectacles that certain former county officials made of themselves in pursuit of trying to put him behind bars. The limelight appeared more important to them than justice."

"Competing pictures of crime," editorial in the Oregonian: "Two distinct portraits of crime and violence in Portland found continued expression in the latest headlines. These competing pictures must leave law-abiding Portlanders wondering about the safety of their city's streets. Should we place our faith in the rosy outlook painted by just-released statistics that say crime rates are dropping steadily? Or should we take extra caution from the violent attacks on police officers in the last weeks. In the space of 12 days, two routine traffic stops ended with motorists attacking Multnomah County sheriff's deputies ..."

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