Wednesday, July 25, 2007
"You're NOT the Boss of Me: It's hard to shock them in Las Vegas, but a former law clerk is managing to do just that." The August 2007 issue of ABA Journal magazine contains an article that begins, "At first glance, the quo warranto matter of Halverson v. Hardcastle before the Nevada Supreme Court looks like a civics lesson on how much authority a state court's chief judge has over colleagues. But just a few flips into the hundreds of pages of pleadings, exhibits and affidavits--including formerly confidential documents circulated among judges, administrators and staff--there is a nasty battle involving a newly elected judge who figuratively turned the courthouse upside down, then literally got banned from it and locked out."
Posted at 02:42 PM by Howard Bashman
"Jury panel queried in masturbation trial": The Miami Herald provides a news update that begins, "A Broward prisoner on trial on charges that he masturbated in his jail cell will face a jury of his peers. During jury selection Wednesday in the case of inmate Terry Lee Alexander, all seven jurors admitted to attorneys that they have masturbated. The awkward questioning was posed by defense attorney Kathleen McHugh, who faced 17 prospective jurors and asked point-blank who among them had never masturbated. No hands went up. Then, she went one-by-one, asking each prospective juror if he or she had ever masturbated. All nine men said yes, two of the 10 women said no."
And The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports today that "Prisoner accused of indecent act alone in Broward jail cell."
"Profits vs. Partners": David Lat has this article in the July 29, 2007 issue of The New York Observer.
Posted at 02:20 PM by Howard Bashman
"Composite images can be child pornography, court rules": The Akron Beacon Journal provides a news update that begins, "Composite images of child pornography are still pornography, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today in a case stemming from the arrest of Portage County man."
You can access today's ruling of the Supreme Court of Ohio at this link. And the court's summary of its decision is headlined "Court Rules Child Pornography Laws Constitutional, Clarifies Burden of Proof that Real Child Is Depicted."
"Domestic violence prosecution not in conflict with state's 'gay marriage' amendment, state court rules": The Toledo Blade provides this news update.
The Cincinnati Enquirer provides a news update headlined "Court rejects challenge."
And The Associated Press reports that "Domestic Violence Law Upheld Under Ban."
"High court upholds Ohio's domestic-violence law; Gay-marriage ban doesn't affect it, 6 justices say": The Columbus Dispatch provides a news update that begins, "Ohio's domestic-violence law applies to unmarried couples despite the state's 2004 constitutional ban of gay marriages, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today. Lower courts across Ohio had issued contradictory rulings on whether the 3-year-old amendment overturned domestic-violence statutes. By a large majority voters had agreed not only to define marriage as only between a man and woman, but also to mandate that the state and its political subdivisions could not 'create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.' In a 6-1 ruling, the court said the domestic-violence law is not trying to define a legal relationship, but merely identifies one class of people who are protected from violence."
You can access today's ruling of the Supreme Court of Ohio at this link. And the court's summary of its decision is headlined "Law Barring Domestic Violence Against Unmarried Person 'Living As a Spouse' Held Constitutional."
"Origin Myth: How Liberals Can Take Back The Supreme Court." Douglas T. Kendall and Law Professor James E. Ryan will have this essay in the August 6, 2007 issue of The New Republic.
Posted at 11:40 AM by Howard Bashman
"Specter to probe Supreme Court decisions": The Politico today provides a report that begins, "Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) plans to review the Senate testimony of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito to determine if their reversal of several long-standing opinions conflicts with promises they made to senators to win confirmation."
Posted at 11:34 AM by Howard Bashman
"Timber fight pits judge vs. judges; Sen. Smith's brother blasts decisions, then faces blowback": The Oregonian today contains this article reporting on a decision that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued on July 2, 2007.
Posted at 11:32 AM by Howard Bashman
"What Should a Three-Judge U.S. Court of Appeals Panel Do When Faced With Conflicting On-Point Authority Issued By Previous Panels?" That was the headline of the October 2003 installment of my monthly "Upon Further Review" column published in The Legal Intelligencer, Philadelphia's daily newspaper for lawyers.
To my knowledge, today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is the only federal appellate court that allows a three-judge panel, when faced with conflicting precedent from earlier three-judge panels of its court, to choose to follow whichever of the two conflicting decisions the current panel deems more correct. In every other federal court of appeals, the earliest of the conflicting decisions governs until overruled by the court sitting en banc.
I view the Eighth Circuit's approach to intra-circuit conflicts as flawed for the reasons discussed in my column from October 2003. What makes this issue relevant now is that a three-judge Eighth Circuit panel in an opinion issued today once again relied on this quirk of Eighth Circuit law to ignore an earlier-issued on-point Eighth Circuit panel ruling in favor of following a conflicting more recently-issued three-judge panel ruling.
Here's hoping that the Eighth Circuit grants rehearing en banc in the case to eliminate the uncertainty in the important area of the law addressed in today's decision that the decision only serves to perpetuate.
By a vote of 8-6, en banc Sixth Circuit upholds death sentence that original divided three-judge panel had set aside as unconstitutionally disproportionate: You can access today's ruling, and the three dissenting opinions that accompany it, at this link.
The original three-judge panel's ruling, which set aside the death sentence, issued on August 2, 2006, and my coverage that day of the ruling can be accessed here.
"Senators Attack Attorney General Gonzales' Credibility": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) featuring Nina Totenberg appeared on today's broadcast of NPR's "Morning Edition."
Posted at 09:14 AM by Howard Bashman
"Holy Land case starts with focus on intent; Lawyers insist 5 strived to ease suffering; prosecutors say goal was to fund terror": The Dallas Morning News contains this article today.
Today in The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that "Case Against Islamic Charity Opens; Now-Shuttered Organization Funneled Money to Militants, Prosecutors Say."
And The Los Angeles Times reports that "Trial begins for charity tied to Hamas; The Holy Land Foundation's mission was humanitarian aid to Palestinians, not funding violence, defense lawyers say."
"A Return to Abuse: President Bush authorizes secret -- and harsh -- interrogation methods for the CIA." This editorial appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 08:40 AM by Howard Bashman
"Court Voids Higher Limits on Truckers' Hours": The New York Times contains this article today.
"Gonzales, Senators Spar on Credibility; Account of Meeting In '04 Is Challenged": This front page article appears today in The Washington Post, along with an article headlined "Report Suggests Laws Broken in Attorney Firings." Dana Milbank's "Washington Sketch" column is headlined "With Senate and Gonzales, Familiarity Breeds Contempt." And an editorial is entitled "Credibility Collapse: Once again, Alberto Gonzales is unable to offer straight answers to simple questions."
The Los Angeles Times reports today that "Gonzales loses ground on the Hill; His explanations leave senators questioning his candor and honesty."
The New York Times reports that "Gonzales Denies Improper Pressure on Ashcroft."
USA Today reports that "Gonzales denies coercing Ashcroft; His account conflicts with ex-deputy's."
"Students, schools fear end of racial diversity": Reuters provides a report that begins, "Seventeen-year-old Quantae Williams doesn't understand why the U.S. Supreme Court struck down his school district's racial diversity program. He now dreads the prospect of leaving his mixed-race high school in suburban Louisville and returning to the poor black downtown schools where he used to get in fights."
Posted at 07:58 AM by Howard Bashman
"Ban on Kangaroo Hides Puzzles Australians Here": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "Although bald eagle on the menu would seem unthinkable in the United States, in Australia the formerly endangered kangaroo is commonly found as barbecued kebabs or stir fried with vegetables. When the California Supreme Court on Monday effectively banned the sale of kangaroo leather soccer shoes in deciding a lawsuit, Australians here asked why. 'Kangaroos are like rabbits in Australia,' said Kalee StClair, who is from Sydney and has lived here for more than four years. 'They're not protected at all, and it's actually encouraged to kill them."
Posted at 07:50 AM by Howard Bashman
"States ease laws that punish teens for sex with underage partners; Push on for prosecution of predators -- not young 'Romeos and Juliets'": This front page article appears today in USA Today.
Posted at 07:40 AM by Howard Bashman
"Should Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Approaches to Reproductive Rights Carry an 'Incest Exception'?" Sherry F. Colb has this essay today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:35 AM by Howard Bashman