Thursday, January 3, 2008
"CIA in 2003 Planned Destruction of Tapes; Congresswoman Argued Against the Move": This article will appear Friday in The Washington Post.
Posted at 11:40 PM by Howard Bashman
Available online from law.com: An article reports that "11th Circuit Wrestles With Sentencing; Panels split in upholding sentences in child pornography and bribery cases that fell below sentencing guidelines."
"Clark loses appeal for new trial in Brinks robbery-murder case": The Journal News of Westchester, New York provides a news update that begins, "A federal appeals court today ruled against convicted murderer Judith Clark's bid for a new trial in the 1981 Brinks robbery-murder case, reversing a lower court ruling. The U.S. Court of Appeals held that Clark's right to have an attorney present during her 1983 trial on triple murder charges and robbery had not been violated. The panel ruled that Clark chose to defend herself and would not participate without disrupting the trial. The three-judge panel found her claims that she had been denied her Sixth Amendment right to counsel were without merit."
And The Associated Press reports "No new trial for getaway driver in Rockland Brink's robbery."
"The Inside-Outsider: Can the CIA tapes investigation truly be an independent one?" Dahlia Lithwick has this jurisprudence essay online at Slate.
Posted at 07:55 PM by Howard Bashman
"Death Penalty Walking": Time magazine has today posted to its web site an article that begins, "On Jan. 7, the supreme court will hear oral arguments in a pair of Kentucky lawsuits challenging the lethal three-drug cocktail used in most U.S. executions."
Posted at 07:54 PM by Howard Bashman
"Lack of courtroom drama is boring judges to sleep": This article appears today in The Australian.
Posted at 07:52 PM by Howard Bashman
"Two Important Supreme Court Anniversaries for 2008: The Cases of Trop v. Dulles, Concerning Citizenship, and Cooper v. Aaron, Concerning Civil Rights Enforcement." Edward Lazarus has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:50 PM by Howard Bashman
"WA court: Signs on apartment doors protected speech." The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "A ban on apartment door displays in public housing projects is an unconstitutional violation of free speech, the state Supreme Court said Thursday. In a 5-4 ruling, the court agreed that the Seattle Housing Authority's restrictions on signs, flags, and other exterior door displays constituted an illegal government ban on speech."
"Judges call for reprimand for high court justice Ziegler": The Wisconsin State Journal provides a news update that begins, "Saying it must not bow to 'public clamor,' a three-judge panel recommended Thursday that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler receive a public reprimand -- the mildest discipline possible -- for presiding over cases as a circuit judge in which she had a conflict of interest."
Posted at 07:45 PM by Howard Bashman
"The death penalty is wrong, always": Rachel Walsh has this op-ed in Friday's edition of The Age of Melbourne, Australia.
Posted at 07:37 PM by Howard Bashman
"Son seeks estate of mother he killed": This article appears today in The Seattle Times. According to the article, "Hoge's claim to that money is now poised to set legal precedent for interpretation of Washington's sometimes-vague Slayer Statute: the law that prohibits most killers from profiting off their victims. While some states have decided whether people found not guilty by reason of insanity can inherit the estates of their victims, Washington has not."
Posted at 07:34 PM by Howard Bashman
"Injured fan will be given hearing; High court looks at case involving LV baseball team": The Las Vegas Review-Journal today contains an article that begins, "The Nevada Supreme Court has decided that all of its members will consider the appeal of a Las Vegas 51s fan who was injured by a foul ball in 2002. A panel of three justices heard oral arguments in the case in October, but the court issued an order Friday announcing that it will consider the appeal 'en banc.'"
Via this page at the web site of the plaintiff's appellate attorney, you can access the appellate briefs and the oral argument audio from when the appeal was argued before the three-judge panel.
"Since the placebo effect can be obtained from sugar pills, charging $200 for a device that is represented as a miracle cure but works no better than a dummy pill is a form of fraud." Defendants ordered to disgorge more than $16 million in profits obtained through selling the Q-Ray Ionized Bracelet as a miraculous cure for chronic pain failed to obtain any relief today when a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed in all respects a federal district court's ruling in favor of the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has made available various trial court documents in the case via this link.
Does a chemist violate the Confrontation Clause when testifying that the substance seized from defendants was cocaine based on the output of infrared spectrometer and a gas chromatograph test results that another, non-testifying chemist produced? On behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook today holds that "the instruments' readouts are not 'statements', so it does not matter whether they are 'testimonial.'"
The Seventh Circuit's ruling goes on to explain:
A physician may order a blood test for a patient and infer from the levels of sugar and insulin that the patient has diabetes. The physician's diagnosis is testimonial, but the lab's raw results are not, because data are not 'statements' in any useful sense. Nor is a machine a 'witness against' anyone. If the readings are 'statements' by a 'witness against' the defendants, then the machine must be the declarant. Yet how could one cross-examine a gas chromatograph? Producing spectrographs, ovens, and centrifuges in court would serve no one's interests. That is one reason why Rule 703 provides that the expert's source materials need not be introduced or even admissible in evidence. The vital questions--was the lab work done properly? what do the readings mean?--can be put to the expert on the stand. The background data need not be presented to the jury.You can access the complete ruling at this link.
Posted at 12:05 PM by Howard Bashman
Does a Seattle Housing Authority regulation prohibiting the posting of signs on the exterior of resident apartment doors violate the First Amendment rights of low income tenants? Today, by a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington answers "yes." Today's decision consists of a majority opinion and a dissenting opinion.
Posted at 11:27 AM by Howard Bashman
"New Trial Ordered For Former Radical; Judge Rules Judith Clark Did Not Get Fair Trial In Brinks Robbery": So reported The Associated Press in an article published in late September 2006. The article begins, "A federal judge has ordered a new trial for a radical Weather Underground cell member serving 75 years in prison after she was convicted as a getaway driver in a 1981 armored-truck robbery in which a guard and two policemen were killed."
And The New York Times, on October 1, 2006, published an article headlined "New Trial for Woman in 1981 Brink's Case Is Reopening Old Wounds." The article begins, "It has been a quarter-century since a group of self-styled freedom fighters, including Judith A. Clark, carried out an armored-car robbery in Rockland County, N.Y."
Today, however, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a 40-page ruling overturning the grant of a new trial in favor of Judith Clark.
"Gag order raises questions in Liberty City terror retrial": The South Florida Sun-Sentinel today contains an article that begins, "A federal judge who declared a mistrial last month for six South Florida men charged with conspiring to support al-Qaida is taking aggressive steps to limit publicity related to the case, including silencing lawyers for a man the jury found not guilty." (Via "Southern District of Florida Blog.")
On today's broadcast of NPR's "Morning Edition": The broadcast contained audio segments entitled "Federal Prosecutor Named to CIA Probe" and "Updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."
Posted at 10:01 AM by Howard Bashman
"For judges, a justifiable raise: A bill to increase their wages and sever a link to Congress members deserves approval." This editorial appears today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 08:40 AM by Howard Bashman
"Criminal Probe on CIA Tapes Opened; Case Assigned to Career Prosecutor": The Washington Post contains this front page article today, along with an article headlined "Probe Leader Called A Tough Prosecutor; Durham Handled Corruption, Mafia Cases" and an editorial entitled "Mr. Mukasey's Move: The destruction of CIA interrogation tapes will get the criminal investigation it deserves."
The New York Times today contains a front page article headlined "Justice Dept. Sets Criminal Inquiry on C.I.A. Tapes" and an editorial entitled "The Right Move on the C.I.A. Tapes."
The Los Angeles Times reports that "Mukasey launches probe of CIA; A top mob-busting prosecutor will head the Justice Department's inquiry on the agency's destruction of videotapes of terrorism suspects' interrogations."
USA Today reports that "CIA to yield to criminal probe; Mukasey assigns outside prosecutor in destroyed-tapes case."
The Hartford Courant reports that "Leader Chosen In CIA Probe; Attorney General Names Prosecutor From Connecticut."
"Attorney For D.C. in Gun Ban Case Fired; Counsel Was Set To Defend Law Before High Court": This article appears today in The Washington Post.
"Reversed 1970 Adoption Decision Is Circulating In Blogosphere As Current": The blog "Religion Clause" has this post today.
As if to prove the point, just last night a reader sent me a link to this Time magazine article -- which currently ranks as the "most popular" article on the entire Time web site -- along with the message "Here's an interesting case the NJ Supreme Court agreed to hear." True enough -- although the Time article is from 1970 and, according to the "Religion Clause" post, New Jersey's highest court reversed the ruling in question in 1971.
"Accused judge's return to bench draws protest": This article appears today in The Houston Chronicle.
And The Associated Press reports that "Protesters greet return of judge accused of sexual harassment."
"Dallas man on death row gets fourth trial after review; Man first sentenced in '75 to have fourth chance in court": The Dallas Morning News contains this article today.
"Push made to post court data on Web; Maine's judicial branch aims to make documents available while protecting privacy": This article appears today in The Portland Press Herald.
Posted at 07:17 AM by Howard Bashman
"What kind of reason is that?" Today in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, columnist Linda P. Campbell has an op-ed that begins, "It might be easier if the death penalty case coming before the Supreme Court on Monday involved a dry sponge."
Posted at 07:15 AM by Howard Bashman
"High court urged to take up water fight; Montana wants to sue Wyoming over river compact": The Billings Gazette today contains an article that begins, "The U.S. Office of the Solicitor General filed a brief in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that urged the U.S. Supreme Court to accept a lawsuit Montana wants to bring against Wyoming over water rights on the Tongue and Powder rivers."
Posted at 07:14 AM by Howard Bashman
"1 appeal to delay Wecht trial is rejected": Today in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jason Cato has an article, in which I am quoted, that begins, "A federal appeals court has denied one of three requests to delay the upcoming corruption trial of former Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril H. Wecht."
"Full Nevada Supreme Court taking 'baseball rule' case": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "The state Supreme Court is poised to decide whether stadium owners should be held liable when fans are hit by baseballs or suffer other game-related injuries while sitting in the stands at Nevada sporting events. A three-judge panel issued a brief order Dec. 28 saying all seven justices will decide the case with no additional oral or written arguments. No date was set for a ruling."
Earlier, in October 2007, The Las Vegas Review-Journal published an article about the case headlined "Ballpark injury case to make law; Stadium's duty to protect fans is limited, attorneys contend."
"Justice says medical malpractice reforms fueling absurd cases": This article appeared Wednesday in The Charleston (W. Va.) Daily Mail.
Posted at 12:15 AM by Howard Bashman
"States Hesitate to Lead Change on Executions": Adam Liptak has this article today in The New York Times.
The Associated Press reports that "China to Switch to Lethal Injections."
Reuters reports that "China favors execution by lethal injection."