Tuesday, February 5, 2008
"Fraud claim heads to high court; Definition of false claim at issue": The Cincinnati Enquirer today contains an article that begins, "A federal whistle-blower lawsuit that originated in Cincinnati more than a decade ago will be argued Feb. 26 before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case has implications for everything from defense contracts to health care. It's not the first time a Cincinnati case has made it to the nation's highest court. But it's only the sixth time in the 148-year history of the federal False Claims Act that the Supreme Court has heard a case dealing with the arcane statute - a Civil War-era law allowing citizens to bring government fraud suits and collect a bounty if successful."
Posted at 10:47 PM by Howard Bashman
"Two local lawyers say arguing before high court was career highlight": The Kansas City Star today contains an article that begins, "Baseball players strive to play in the World Series, while singers dream of performing in Carnegie Hall. For attorneys, few career achievements can rival arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court."
Posted at 10:45 PM by Howard Bashman
"A Second Case on Detainees Complicates Supreme Court Deliberations": Linda Greenhouse will have this news analysis Wednesday in The New York Times.
Posted at 10:34 PM by Howard Bashman
"Louisville lawyer challenges interim desegregation plan": The Louisville Courier-Journal provides a news update that begins, "Louisville lawyer Ted Gordon is asking a federal judge to review an interim desegregation plan that Jefferson County Public Schools has adopted for the coming school year, saying the plan violates the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling limiting the use of race."
Posted at 10:28 PM by Howard Bashman
"Appeals court overturns ruling in Shaler slayings": Jason Cato of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has a news update that begins, "A federal appeals court today gave the mother of a slain Carnegie man another shot at suing Allegheny County and seven 911 call center employees for failing to protect her son."
"Appeals court: Transy library thieves should receive more prison time." The Lexington Herald-Leader provides this news update.
"Doctor describes morgue work under Wecht": Jason Cato has this article today in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
"Georgia loses major ruling on rights to Lanier water": The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides this news update.
And The Associated Press reports that "Georgia Loses Major Water Ruling."
In this afternoon's FedEx delivery: The Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis bobblehead doll. He's riding on the Erie Railroad, and he's carrying a green bag.
Posted at 03:20 PM by Howard Bashman
"Moussaoui Judge: Terror Trials Work." The Associated Press on Sunday had a report that begins, "The judge who presided over Zacarias Moussaoui's trial questioned the government's decision to seek a death sentence against the Sept. 11 conspirator, and offered a strong defense of federal courts' ability to handle terror trials. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said in a speech Friday at the American University law school that the government's decision to seek a death sentence against Moussaoui appeared to be politically motivated, and that the zealous pursuit of a death sentence opened up numerous issues of exposing classified information that otherwise could have been avoided."
I see from this post by Marty Lederman at "Balkinization" that you can access a podcast of Judge Brinkema remarks via this link (10.2MB mp3 audio file). A media advisory from American University Washington College of Law, headlined "Moussaoui Trial Judge Brinkema Keynotes AU Law/Brookings Conference," advised that "For security reasons, absolutely no photography or filming of Judge Brinkema will be permitted." Sketches of Judge Brinkema, however, appear to be allowed.
"Kan. Court Blocks Abortion Grand Jury": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "The Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked a grand jury from obtaining patient records from a physician who is one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers. The grand jury is investigating whether Dr. George Tiller has broken Kansas laws restricting abortion, as many abortion opponents allege. The grand jury subpoenaed the medical files of about 2,000 women, including some who decided against having abortions."
Not your typical "state created danger" case involving a 911 call center: In this decision that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued today, a 911 call center dispatcher used the databases available to him to track down the whereabouts of his former girlfriend and the former girlfriend's new boyfriend. After being fired from the 911 call center, the former dispatcher then used that information to kill his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. Today's ruling contains an extensive discussion of the application of the pleading standards set forth in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly outside of the antitrust context.
Posted at 02:15 PM by Howard Bashman
Unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit holds that the Illinois offense of "aggravated battery of a peace officer" is not a "crime of moral turpitude" under federal immigration law: And chances are quite good that, after reading today's opinion by Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams, you will agree with the outcome. Also available for download is the oral argument audio (4.43MB mp3 file).
Posted at 02:02 PM by Howard Bashman
More reasons why you shouldn't steal rare books from Transylvania University: Even if you aren't attacked by vampires, you could still get caught and end up serving time in federal prison. Consider the case of four college buddies who hatched what must have seemed like the perfect plan -- in a world where truth is stranger than fiction. In any event, today's ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit demonstrates that nothing good ever comes of attacking a librarian with a stun pen.
Update: An article about the case, published in the November 12, 2007 issue of The Lexington Herald-Leader, begins: "The scheme was hatched in a haze of marijuana smoke, with inspiration from popular heist flicks. And the motivation stemmed from a desire to escape the 'mundane, nickel-and-dime existence' of suburbia, according to a new article in Vanity Fair about one of Lexington's most notorious crimes." Unfortunately, Vanity Fair magazine has not made the article readily available online.
"This case presents the question whether the hanging paragraph eliminates an under-secured creditor's deficiency claim when, in a Chapter 13 plan, the debtors propose to surrender a car purchased within 910 days before filing for bankruptcy. The courts are split on this issue." Addressing the "hanging paragraph" of 11 U.S.C. sec. 1325, a provision added to the Bankruptcy Code as part of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, a three-judge Eighth Circuit panel today rejects the rulings of a majority of bankruptcy courts that have addressed the issue and sides instead with what it describes as "the emerging trend" to allow a deficiency claim. You can access today's ruling at this link.
Posted at 11:40 AM by Howard Bashman
Access online the January 2008 issue of The Circuit Rider: The Journal of the Seventh Circuit Bar Association. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole (N.D. Ill.), the publication's editor-in-chief, has graciously permitted me to post the issue online at this link.
Among the articles of interest in this issue are "Toward A More Impure Writing Style: The Opinions of Judge Posner and Chief Judge Easterbrook and What the Bar Can Learn From Them"; "Appealing an interlocutory decision: What EXACTLY IS a 'Controlling Question of Law' Under 28 U.S.C. sec. 1292(b)?"; and "How Will Seventh Circuit Pleading Requirements And Dismissal Standards Change In The Wake Of Bell Atlantic?"
I have also received permission to post here at "How Appealing" some recent earlier issues of that publication, so stay tuned for additional online access to recent issues The Circuit Rider in the days ahead.
"9th Circuit panel rules against police officer who ran sex site": David L. Hudson Jr. has this news analysis online at the First Amendment Center.
The Ninth Circuit issued its original ruling in this case on September 5, 2007, and my coverage of that ruling appears here and here. On Friday of last week, the Ninth Circuit issued a slightly amended opinion in the case.
"Justice Prosser's link to priest case assailed; As DA in '79, he decided not to prosecute, records indicate": This article appears today in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"Kohring accuses his trial judge of bias; Ex-legislator says he tried to cut job of Sedwick's wife": The Anchorage Daily News today contains an article that begins, "Late last week, just days before his scheduled sentencing on corruption charges, former state Rep. Vic Kohring accused the federal judge presiding over his case of bias and asked that a jury's guilty verdicts be thrown out. On Monday, U.S. District Judge John Sedwick asked another judge to decide if he should step aside."
Posted at 09:05 AM by Howard Bashman
"Reform judicial elections this year: State should get ahead of special-interest money 'tsunami.'" This editorial appears today in The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Posted at 09:02 AM by Howard Bashman
"Judge cuts court award; Anti-gay church sees reduction of penalty for protest": The Baltimore Sun today contains an article that begins, "A federal judge in Baltimore substantially reduced yesterday the amount of damages a Kansas-based anti-gay group and three of its leading members must pay for their protest at a Marine's funeral in Westminster."
Yesterday's ruling of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland reduces the jury's total damages award from $10.9 million to $5 million. The jury's compensatory damages award remains unchanged at $2.9 million, but the jury's punitive damages award has been reduced from $8 million to $2.1 million.
"Judge Reinstates Rules on Sonar, Criticizing Bush's Waiver for Navy": This article appears today in The New York Times.
The Washington Post reports today that "White House Went Too Far in Sonar Case, Judge Rules."
The Los Angeles Times reports that "Judge rejects Navy request for sonar training exemption; Ruling upholds court- ordered protections for whales and dolphins."
Bob Egelko of The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "Judge rejects Bush's try to overturn ruling."
You can access yesterday's ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California at this link.
Today at noon local time at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel's Regency Room in Honolulu: The Rotary Club of Honolulu hosts a luncheon featuring Justice Stephen G. Breyer. More details are available here and here.
Posted at 08:35 AM by Howard Bashman
"Lawyers Fighting D.C. Gun Ban Argue Against Militia Focus": Robert Barnes has this article today in The Washington Post.
"A Corporate View of Mafia Tactics: Protesting, Lobbying and Citing Upton Sinclair." Today in The New York Times, Adam Liptak has this installment of his weekly "Sidebar" column.
Posted at 08:14 AM by Howard Bashman
"A Victory for Same-Sex Marriage": The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, "In a decision at once common-sensical and profound, a New York State appeals court ruled Friday that same-sex marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions are entitled to recognition in New York. It was common sense because it simply accorded same-sex marriages the same legal status as other marriages. It was profound because of the way it could transform the lives of gay people."
"No stranger to the spotlight: New Nichols judge tested; Cobb's Jim Bodiford has overseen high-profile cases, including some aired on Court TV, but didn't seek courthouse shootings trial." This article appears today in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Posted at 08:04 AM by Howard Bashman
"U.S. plans swift new appeal on detainees": At "SCOTUSblog," Lyle Denniston has a post that begins, "The Justice Department disclosed Monday that it will file a swift new appeal to the Supreme Court, in a new round in the continuing legal combat over the Guantanamo Bay detainees."
Posted at 07:50 AM by Howard Bashman
In commentary available online from FindLaw: Carl Tobias has an essay entitled "Is Senator and Presidential Candidate John McCain Soft on Judges? A Closer Examination of the Basis for these Charges."
And Marci A. Hamilton has an essay entitled "The Connecticut Supreme Court Reaches the Right Decision In a Case Under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act." My earlier coverage appears at this link.