How Appealing

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Jury to Start Deliberations in Wesley Snipes Tax Case": This article appears today in The New York Times.

And The Ocala Star-Banner reports today that "Wesley Snipes' fate now in hands of jury; Actor says 'I look forward to walking out of here.'" The newspaper also provides an update headlined "Jury asks judge in Snipes trial: What does 'conspiracy' mean?"
Posted at 11:54 PM by Howard Bashman

"Thomas Barr, Top Lawyer in I.B.M. Case, Dies at 77": Adam Liptak is the author of this obituary that appears today in The New York Times.
Posted at 11:50 PM by Howard Bashman

"Court Hears Appeal in Iraq Ambush Case": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Relatives of civilian truck drivers killed in Iraq emerged from a closed-door hearing Wednesday hopeful that a federal appeals court would resurrect their cases against a military contractor." Today's oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was not open to the public or the press.
Posted at 11:45 PM by Howard Bashman

"Oregon high court to rule (again) on smoker-death case": Ashbel S. Green of The Oregonian provides a news update that begins, "The Oregon Supreme will decide tomorrow what to do with a $79.5 million punitive damage award against Philip Morris that has twice been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court."

The Supreme Court of Oregon's ruling should become available online via this link by noon tomorrow.

You can access the U.S. Supreme Court's February 2007 ruling in the case at this link. Shortly after that ruling issued, published an installment of my "On Appeal" column headlined "'Philip Morris' Punitives Ruling May Contain Silver Lining for Plaintiffs." It is unlikely that the Philip Morris ruling will contain a silver lining for this particular plaintiff, however. Rather, there's a strong likelihood that she will need to present her punitive damages claim to a new jury, which will not be allowed to consider one of the key arguments that likely caused the first jury to award $79.5 million in punitive damages on top of a compensatory damages award of $821,000.
Posted at 08:14 PM by Howard Bashman

"Federal recusal case: $160,000 and 'the meter still is running.'" The West Virginia Record provides a report that begins, "The state Supreme Court of Appeals has spent more than $160,000 on a federal court case Massey Energy brought against it over the way justices recuse themselves from cases."
Posted at 07:54 PM by Howard Bashman

"Retired US worker becomes champion of women's fair pay": Agence France Presse has a report that begins, "Ten years ago, someone slipped an anonymous note into Lilly Ledbetter's locker and the tire factory worker learned that she was being paid less than her male counterparts who were doing the same work. Ledbetter took her case all the way to the US Supreme Court, but never received compensation. Today, she is leading the charge to change the laws that allow men to be paid more than women who do the same work."

And The New York Times today contains an editorial entitled "Restoring Civil Rights."
Posted at 07:52 PM by Howard Bashman

"Law lecture features Supreme Court’s Breyer": Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law issued this news release today.
Posted at 07:50 PM by Howard Bashman

"Colins Nominated By Governor To Pennsylvania Supreme Court": This article appears today in The Philadelphia Bulletin.
Posted at 07:45 PM by Howard Bashman

"Court rejects Nazi guard Demjanjuk's appeal": Reuters provides this report.

My earlier coverage of today's Sixth Circuit ruling appears at this link.
Posted at 07:44 PM by Howard Bashman

"Pakistani Justice Breaks Silence": Thursday's edition of The New York Times will contain an article that begins, "Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the former chief justice of Pakistan who was removed last year when President Pervez Musharraf imposed a state of emergency, has finally broken his silence."
Posted at 07:42 PM by Howard Bashman

"Judges on Industry-Backed Group's Board": Mark Sherman of The Associated Press has a report that begins, "A federal judge has resigned from the board of a corporate-funded group that provides free seminars and trips to judges after a judicial ethics panel recommended he quit. Two other judges remain on the board, either unaware of the ethics advice or unconcerned by it. U.S. District Judge Andre Davis of Baltimore said he resigned from the board of the Montana-based Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment soon after he received a private opinion from the federal judiciary's Codes of Conduct Committee."

The organization Community Rights Counsel issued this news release today. Also today, that organization sent this letter to the chair of the federal Judicial Conference's Committee on Codes of Conduct based, at least in part, on this transcript excerpt. And later today, the chair of that committee issued this response.
Posted at 06:05 PM by Howard Bashman

"Court Rejects Buddhists' Temple": Lynne Tuohy of The Hartford Courant has a news update that begins, "The state Supreme Court Wednesday unanimously rejected the legal arguments and efforts by the Cambodian Buddhist Society of Connecticut to build a temple on 10 acres they own in Newtown."

You can access today's ruling of the Supreme Court of Connecticut at this link.
Posted at 05:55 PM by Howard Bashman

"Judge in courthouse shooting case stepping down": The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides a news update that begins, "The trial judge in the beleaguered death penalty case of Fulton County Courthouse rampage suspect Brian Nichols announced Wednesday he is removing himself from the case. Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller's decision came just one day after he was quoted in an article on the New Yorker's Web site about why Nichols plans to use a mental health defense: 'That's their only defense, because everyone in the world knows he did it.'"

And The Associated Press reports that "Ga. Courthouse Shooting Judge Steps Down."

You can access Jeffrey Toobin's article about the case, which appears in the current issue of The New Yorker, here (HTML) and here (PDF).
Posted at 04:52 PM by Howard Bashman

February 15, 2008 is the deadline for commenting on various proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure: The law professor who now serves as reporter for the federal judiciary's Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules sent me an email yesterday asking that I draw that deadline and these proposed amendments to the attention of this blog's readers.

In her email, she writes:

In particular, I thought it would be useful to draw your readers' attention to two sets of proposals.

One is the set of Appellate Rules proposals, which include, inter alia, a proposal for a new Appellate Rule 12.1 that sets forth procedures to be followed when a district court is asked for relief that it lacks authority to grant because an appeal is pending. The other set of proposals that I'd like to mention concerns the method for computing time under the Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil and Criminal Rules.

In brief, the principal time-computation proposal is to adopt a "days-are-days" approach to computing all periods of time, including short time periods. Under the current rules, intermediate weekends and holidays are omitted when computing short time periods but included when computing longer periods. By contrast, under the new proposal, intermediate weekends and holidays are counted no matter the length of the specified period.

The project has been published for comment as proposed amendments to Appellate Rule 26(a), Bankruptcy Rule 9006(a), Civil Rule 6(a), and Criminal Rule 45(a). Also published for comment are proposed amendments to numerous deadlines set by the Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil and Criminal Rules; the goal of those amendments is to offset the effect of the change in time-counting approach by lengthening most short rule-based deadlines.

In large measure, the rules-provided deadlines have been sufficiently lengthened to make the change to a days-are-days approach neutral to practitioners; moreover, in a few notable instances -- such as the proposal to lengthen the current 10-day deadlines in Civil Rules 50, 52, and 59(b), (d) and (e) to 30 days -- the deadlines proposals will give practitioners significantly more time than they now have.

The new time-computation rules will govern a number of statutory deadlines that do not themselves provide a method for computing time, and so one of the project's current goals is to identify key statutory deadlines that the Standing Committee should recommend that Congress lengthen in order to offset the change in time-computation approach.

Your readers' comments on any and all aspects of the proposals would be appreciated. Comments can be submitted electronically to

The proposed creation of FRAP 12.1 and other amendments that do not principally relate to the calculation of time under the rules can be accessed by clicking here. Rule changes that relate principally to calculations of time under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure can be accessed by clicking here.

As Cathie's email notes, amendments have also been proposed to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to expand, from 10 days to 30 days, the time in which to make post-judgment motions for judgment as a matter of law, for a new trial, to alter a trial judge's non-jury findings of fact, and to alter or amend the judgment. These changes will likely also be of great significance to attorneys who handle appeals in federal court in civil cases. You can view these proposed amendments to the FRCP by clicking here.

As noted above, the deadline for submitting comments pertaining to these proposed rule changes is February 15, 2008, and comments may be submitted via email. Before submitting a comment, you can consider suggestions about how to submit an effective comment. All of the pending proposed rule changes to the federal Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Rules that are now subject to public comment can be accessed via this link (scroll down).
Posted at 04:40 PM by Howard Bashman

"For Yale Law School, conflicting narratives": The Yale Daily News today contains an article that begins, "In court, Padilla v. Yoo is a lawsuit about human rights and the Constitution. But in headlines and in the blogosphere, it looks more like a case about Yale."
Posted at 03:20 PM by Howard Bashman

"11th Circuit lifts stay of execution for Alabama inmate": The AP provides a report that begins, "A federal appeals court has lifted a stay of execution for James Harvey Callahan, who is scheduled to be executed Thursday, but it could be delayed again by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a Kentucky challenge to lethal injection, a case that has delayed executions nationwide. Alabama uses lethal injection in its executions. In a 2-1 decision, the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday lifted the stay granted by U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins in Montgomery on Dec. 14. The court said Callahan waited too late to challenge the method of execution."

You can access today's ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit at this link.
Posted at 02:40 PM by Howard Bashman

"Mukasey Refuses to Judge Waterboarding": Lara Jakes Jordan of The Associated Press has this updated report.

You can view the Attorney General's Senate Judiciary Committee testimony live via C-SPAN using either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player.
Posted at 12:00 PM by Howard Bashman

"Electing judges -- with cash: Merit, not money, should sway judicial elections." Cornell Law student Cody Corliss has this op-ed today in The Christian Science Monitor.
Posted at 11:55 AM by Howard Bashman

"Court Denies Alleged Nazi Guard's Appeal": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected an alleged Nazi death camp guard's challenge to a final deportation order by the nation's chief immigration judge. A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled there was no basis to John Demjanjuk's challenge of a December 2005 ruling that he could be deported to his native Ukraine or to Germany or Poland."

You can access today's ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit at this link.
Posted at 11:54 AM by Howard Bashman

"Judge won't suppress statements by suspect in obscenity case": The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today contains an article that begins, "A federal judge yesterday denied a motion to suppress statements made by a Donora woman charged with transmitting obscene materials. Karen Fletcher, 56, is charged with six counts of sending lewd stories, depicting the rape and killing of children, on the Internet. Ms. Fletcher ran what was known as the 'Red Rose' Web site, where she posted her fictional stories."

What makes this case unusual is that the alleged obscenity in question consists entirely of text, unaccompanied by any allegedly obscene images. The October 9, 2006 installment of my "On Appeal" column for was headlined "Text This: Words Alone Can Violate Federal Obscenity Laws."
Posted at 07:58 AM by Howard Bashman

"Mukasey Offers View on Waterboarding": This article appears today in The New York Times.

The Washington Post reports today that "Mukasey Holds Back on Torture Issue; Attorney General Won't Offer Senate Panel Definitive Opinion on Waterboarding."

The Los Angeles Times contains an article headlined "Is waterboarding torture? Mukasey's still not ready to say; The attorney general says whether the technique is legal is 'not an easy question'; He will face a Senate committee today."

Lara Jakes Jordan of The Associated Press reports that "Mukasey Refuses to Judge Waterboarding."

Reuters reports that "US law chief, Democrats face clash on waterboarding."

And CQ Today reports that "Democrats Warn That Justice Nominees Are Hindered by Mukasey Silence."

At the "Balkinization" blog, Marty Lederman has a post titled "Torture: 'Reasonable People' Can Disagree."
Posted at 07:52 AM by Howard Bashman

"Rendell's pick for judge draws Republicans' ire": The Philadelphia Inquirer contains this article today.

And The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports today that "Duquesne professor tapped for judgeship."
Posted at 07:47 AM by Howard Bashman

"Cadavers wrongly went to Carlow, former aide says in Wecht case": This article appears today in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

And The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review today contains articles headlined "'Reaper Wear' sold from morgue" and "Students embalmed donated bodies: witness." Reporter Jason Cato will provides updates from the trial throughout the day at this link.
Posted at 07:38 AM by Howard Bashman

"Judge 'Thinking Very Hard' About Lynne Stewart Case": Joseph Goldstein has this article today in The New York Sun.

And The New York Daily News reports today that "Judge's light term for terror lawyer Lynne Stewart ripped."
Posted at 06:45 AM by Howard Bashman

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