Wednesday, December 26, 2007
"Mom Serving 19 Years in Crack Case May Get Break": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on this evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered."
Posted at 11:03 PM by Howard Bashman
"The Score was Justice 7, Law 2": The latest installment of James J. Kilpatrick's syndicated column begins, "When the dust settled over the Supreme Court's most recent opinion day, the box score in Gall v. United States read 7-2 for Brian Gall. Put another way, the court cast seven votes for justice, two votes for law. You decide."
Posted at 10:54 PM by Howard Bashman
Available online from law.com: Shannon P. Duffy reports that "Splenda Gets Partial Win in Ruling by 3rd Circuit." My earlier coverage of Monday's Third Circuit ruling appears at this link.
And an article headlined "Libeled Judge Faces Reprimand" begins, "The Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct has scheduled a Jan. 8 hearing about its recommendation to publicly reprimand state court Judge Ernest B. Murphy for improper letters to Boston Herald publisher Patrick J. Purcell concerning Murphy's libel lawsuit against the newspaper."
"Number of Supreme Justices Increase to 14": The Korea Times provides this report.
Posted at 09:42 PM by Howard Bashman
"Historian James MacGregor Burns tackles Supreme Court": The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 09:40 PM by Howard Bashman
"Gun Seized After Katrina? NRA Wants You." The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by city police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to court papers filed this week. The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit that the lobbying group filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley over the city's seizure of firearms after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane."
Posted at 09:25 PM by Howard Bashman
Does a federal district court abuse its discretion if it rejects a criminal plea agreement on the basis of evidence that has not been disclosed to the defendant? A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit narrowly avoids having to decide the answer to that difficult question in this decision issued today. The prosecution arose after an Assistant U.S. Attorney received a threatening letter referring to a case on which she was working.
Posted at 09:14 PM by Howard Bashman
"Dress code suit costs couple $40,931.50; Anderson plaintiffs' predicament illustrates the risks of being your own lawyer": Monday's edition of The Indianapolis Star contained an article that begins, "Laura and Scott Bell took on their school district's new dress code, but their lawsuit was booted from court after they missed critical deadlines and pressed claims that a judge deemed frivolous. Four months later, the judge has ordered them to pay up for the trouble. The Bells now are on the hook for $40,931.50, the amount Anderson Community Schools said its law firm charged for fending off the couple's lawsuit in July and August. The couple represented themselves in court. U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder's decision underlines the risk of wading into legal waters without a lawyer. The danger is higher in litigation, where paying the winning side's attorney fees is common."
"IRS Issues 70-Page Memo Debunking Tax Protester Arguments": On Sunday, "TaxProf Blog" had this post linking to a 70-page memorandum titled "The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments" that the Internal Revenue Service issued last Friday.
Just when you think that matters can't get any worse for tax protesters, they actually don't get any worse for once. Today a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision granting a new trial on criminal charges against Lawrence Cohen, whom the opinion describes as an "acolyte" of "well-known recidivist tax protestor Irwin Schiff." The basis for the ruling is that the district court wrongly excluded the expert testimony of Cohen's psychiatrist, who would have offered evidence relevant to Cohen's mental state.
Today's Ninth Circuit ruling also vacates fifteen criminal contempt convictions that the federal district judge summarily imposed on Schiff based on Schiff's unruly courtroom behavior. Unfortunately for Schiff, the criminal contempt convictions were set aside due to a procedural flaw that the Ninth Circuit is allowing the district court to cure on remand.
Majority on 15-judge Ninth Circuit en banc panel corrects what it describes as that court's earlier misconstruction of the Schlup v. Delo "actual innocence" "gateway": Nine judges join in the lead opinion, four other judges join in an opinion concurring in the result, and two judges dissent. You can access the four opinions that today's en banc ruling has generated by clicking here.
You can access the original three-judge Ninth Circuit panel's ruling, which produced the grant of rehearing en banc, by clicking here. And the briefs that caused the Ninth Circuit to take the case en banc can be accessed at this link.
"Investigating the Destroyed CIA Videotapes": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on Monday's broadcast of NPR's "Talk of the Nation."
Posted at 11:57 AM by Howard Bashman
"Liability waivers at winter resorts have legal teeth": Geoffrey Fattah has this article today in The Deseret Morning News.
Posted at 08:37 AM by Howard Bashman
"State court puts limits on health insurers' policy cancellations": Bob Egelko has this article today in The San Francisco Chronicle.
My earlier coverage of Monday's ruling of the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, appears at this link.
"Adjusted Penalties for Crack May Aid Ex-Ballplayer's Case": The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, "Willie Mays Aikens is a part of baseball lore. As a member of the 1980 Kansas City Royals, he became the only man to hit more than one home run in two games of the same World Series. But 27 years after his feat, Aikens languishes in a federal prison in Jessup, Ga., brought low by cocaine addiction and a federal law that mandated long prison sentences for crack cocaine offenses. From a face on a baseball card, Aikens is now a poster child for what some jurists and civil rights activists say is the absurdity of the difference between the way federal law treats people convicted of crack cocaine offenses and those found guilty of crimes involving powder cocaine."
You can access his Major League Baseball statistics via Baseball-Reference.com. And in the June 7, 2007 issue of The Los Angeles Times, Margaret Colgate Love had a related op-ed headlined "Begging Bush's pardon."
"Stephen Radich, Owner of Controversial Art Gallery, Is Dead at 85": The New York Times today contains an obituary that begins, "Stephen Radich, a New York art gallery owner who became embroiled in a famous legal case involving flag desecration in the late 1960s, died on Dec. 18. He was 85, and lived in New York."
According to the obituary, "After losing in New York, Mr. Radich appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which, in 1971, voted on the case 4 to 4, with Justice William O. Douglas not voting. Then the Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a tie vote did not represent an actual adjudication, thereby allowing for yet another appeal. Finally, in 1974, a federal judge overturned the conviction."
"The Work Remaining": The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, "It has been nearly a year since the United States attorneys scandal broke, and much has changed."
Posted at 07:52 AM by Howard Bashman
"Guitar-Strumming Attorney Sets Legal Parodies to Music": This article appears today in The New York Sun.
Posted at 07:44 AM by Howard Bashman
"DOJ's Free Pass for Tort Fraud": Law Professor Lester Brickman has this op-ed today in The Wall Street Journal.
Posted at 06:54 AM by Howard Bashman
"Is the Nighttime the Wrong Time for Searching Houses?: The Supreme Court of Minnesota Reads the U.S. Constitution to Say Yes." Sherry F. Colb has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 06:44 AM by Howard Bashman