Saturday, January 13, 2007
"Chief Justice: Judges' pay, courthouses need upgrade; Salaries near U.S. lowest; computer system from 1980s." This article appears today in The Salem (Ore.) Statesman Journal.
Posted at 08:32 PM by Howard Bashman
"Maine blogger gains seat at major trial": The Portland (Me.) Press Herald today contains an article that begins, "Maine political blogger Lance Dutson will cover next week's Scooter Libby trial on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, joining the first group of bloggers to receive credentials to a federal court trial."
Posted at 08:30 PM by Howard Bashman
"Democrats may push to shutter war prisons; Party leaders say they'll cut funding": This article appears today in The Boston Globe.
Posted at 03:55 PM by Howard Bashman
"They've Got Mail: It might be yours." The Washington Post today contains an editorial that begins, "Is the federal government opening citizens' mail without obtaining warrants? Was a statement that was quietly issued when the president signed an obscure Postal Service reform bill last month a new assertion of power by the administration to engage in such warrantless searches? The answer to both these questions is disturbingly unclear."
Posted at 03:50 PM by Howard Bashman
"Hoping To Avoid Landmark Ruling; High Court Removes Obstacles But Sidesteps Subpoena Issue - For Now": Today in The Hartford Courant, Lynne Tuohy has an article that begins, "Former Chief Justice William J. Sullivan may testify voluntarily before the legislature's judiciary committee, but the landmark constitutional battle over whether his testimony can be forced by legislative subpoena remains very much a live issue."
Posted at 03:35 PM by Howard Bashman
"Absolut Power: The real reason the Bush administration won't back down on Guantanamo." Dahlia Lithwick has this jurisprudence essay online at Slate.
Posted at 03:25 PM by Howard Bashman
"Trial of terror suspect Padilla delayed until April; The trial of terror suspect Jose Padilla, which was scheduled to start later this month, is being postponed until April": This article appears today in The Miami Herald. The article begins, "A Miami judge on Friday postponed the nation's most prominent terror trial from later this month to April because of numerous unresolved issues -- including the question of Jose Padilla's competence to assist in his defense."
Posted at 03:20 PM by Howard Bashman
"Doctor's Killer Tries to Make Abortion the Issue": The New York Times contains this article today.
This past week, The Buffalo News has published related articles headlined "Kopp's own words work against him during trial"; "Jury hears Kopp saying he killed Slepian"; "Kopp begins with apology to victim's widow; Confessed Killer Asks No Questions": and "Round Two for James Kopp: Anti-abortion activist goes on trial again this week for the sniper death of an Amherst abortion provider."
"Military Expands Domestic Surveillance": This article will appear Sunday in The New York Times.
Posted at 02:57 PM by Howard Bashman
"Stormy Outlook as Gonzales Faces Senate Democrats": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, who has faced controversy throughout his two-year tenure, is likely to enter an even stormier phase next Thursday when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for the first time since control fell to the Democrats."
Posted at 01:54 PM by Howard Bashman
"Pentagon Remark on Detainees Stuns Legal Experts": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) featuring Nina Totenberg appeared on today's broadcast of NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday."
Posted at 01:50 PM by Howard Bashman
"Round Up the Usual Lawyers": The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, "No one who has followed President Bush's policies on detainees should be surprised when a member of his team scorns American notions of justice. But even by that low standard, the administration's new attack on lawyers who dare to give those prisoners the meager representation permitted them is contemptible."
Posted at 01:45 PM by Howard Bashman
"John Grisham Faces Real Court Room Drama": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Best-selling author John Grisham and a couple he knows must answer allegations that they deliberately caused a woman's emotional problems by accusing her of sending them anonymous letters, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled Friday."
Is the federal DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 unconstitutional? The law requires the United States Probation Office to collect a DNA sample from any probationer, parolee, or supervised releasee "who is, or has been, convicted of a qualifying offense."
Yesterday, Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson dissented from the Ninth Circuit's ruling that the law is not unconstitutional. In Judge Pregerson's view, "the DNA Act exceeds Congress's power under the Commerce Clause."
And on Monday of this week, U.S. District Judge William G. Young of the District of Massachusetts issued a lengthy and interesting decision holding that the DNA Act violated the Fourth Amendment rights of a man sentenced to probation for having committed the federal offense of theft of public property.
"Mount Soledad cross case appeal by city dismissed; Fine is ruled moot: U.S. controls land": The San Diego Union-Tribune today contains an article that begins, "A federal appeals court dismissed the city of San Diego's appeal yesterday of a now-irrelevant $5,000 per day fine imposed by a federal judge in May in the legal fight over the Mount Soledad cross. In a brief ruling, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the city's appeal was moot because it no longer controls the land that the La Jolla landmark sits atop."
Sixth Circuit deals knock-out blow to Ohio punch-card voting lawsuit: An order that the Sixth Circuit issued on December 1, 2006 in Stewart v. Blackwell noted that the parties were in agreement that the case, in which the Sixth Circuit had previously granted rehearing en banc, had become moot.
Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit issued an order vacating the district court's judgment and instructing that the case be dismissed as moot. Election Law @ Moritz provides access to earlier court filings in the case via this link. Law Professor Rick Hasen's "Election Law" blog covered the Sixth Circuit's earlier grant of rehearing en banc in the case at this link. My earlier coverage of the case can be accessed here and here.
"The plaintiffs-appellees are eleven Indonesian villagers from Aceh who allege that Exxon's security forces committed murder, torture, sexual assault, battery, false imprisonment, and other torts." Yesterday, a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a decision denying Exxon's petition for writ of mandamus seeking to dismiss plaintiffs' remaining claims as non-justiciable political questions.
Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle wrote the majority opinion, in which Senior Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards joined. Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh dissented, explaining that "In light of the precedents of the Supreme Court and this Court, and the State Department's reasonable explanation of how this lawsuit would harm U.S. interests, I would grant the petition for a writ of mandamus and order dismissal of the complaint as a non-justiciable political question."
"Justice Dept. Concealing Leak Report": The Associated Press provides an article that begins, "The Justice Department is fighting in court to keep secret a government report concluding that it leaked confidential and damaging information against a former prosecutor accused of bungling a high-profile terror trial." You can view the heavily-redacted leak report at this link.
Posted at 10:05 AM by Howard Bashman
"Suit Against Times to Be Tossed Out": The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, "A federal judge said yesterday that he will throw out -- for the second time -- the defamation lawsuit a former Army scientist filed against the New York Times Co. over columns that he contends blamed him for the 2001 anthrax attacks."
Posted at 10:04 AM by Howard Bashman
"Abortion amendment challenged; State fights federal regulation that could cost it $37 billion": Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, "A state lawyer urged a judge Friday to head off a collision between California health laws and a federal anti-abortion amendment that could cost the state a ruinous $37 billion in funding if it penalized doctors or hospitals for refusing to perform emergency abortions."
And the Bay City News Service reports that "California asks U.S. judge to allow it to keep $37 billion."
"Judge Apologizes": Will Evans of the Center for Investigative Reporting provides a report that begins, "A federal judge identified by the Center for Investigative Reporting for making campaign contributions while on the bench has apologized for violating the judicial code of conduct. Judge Deborah L. Cook of Ohio made two political donations after she was appointed by President Bush to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003."
"Superior Court Withdraws Recent Child Porn Opinion": Asher Hawkins of The Legal Intelligencer, Philadelphia's daily newspaper for lawyers, provides a news update (free access) that begins, "The Superior Court has withdrawn its recent first-impression holding that merely to look at child pornography on the Internet -- without intentionally saving or downloading any images viewed -- does not amount to 'knowing possession' of child pornography as proscribed under state law."
I had criticized that ruling last month in an installment of my weekly "On Appeal" column for law.com headlined "Just Looking: Should Internet Ignorance Be a Defense to Child Porn Charges?"
And in somewhat related news coverage, The Harrisburg Patriot-News reports today that "Charge against ex-officer dismissed." The article begins, "Lebanon County Judge Robert Eby has dismissed a child-pornography charge against Richard Dimond, a former South Londonderry Twp. police officer. Dimond, 33, of North Cornwall Twp., was charged after receiving an e-mail from a 16-year-old girl containing two topless photographs of herself. Dimond deleted the photos after looking at them without saving or copying them, according to testimony."
"Justices to review death penalty case; Once again, the 9th Circuit Appeals Court's sentence overturning will be reconsidered": David G. Savage has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.