How Appealing

Friday, April 6, 2007

“Ex-state official freed; Judge calls evidence she steered travel contract ‘beyond thin'”: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today contains an article that begins, “Federal judges Thursday ruled that former state purchasing supervisor Georgia L. Thompson was wrongly convicted of making sure a state travel contract went to a firm linked to Gov. Jim Doyle’s re-election campaign and freed her from an Illinois prison. The three-judge panel in Chicago acted with unusual speed, ruling after oral arguments by Thompson’s attorney and the U.S. attorney’s office.”

The Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin today contains an article headlined “Thompson freed; judge chides prosecutors; Doyle taint lifted?

And The Wisconsin State Journal reports that “Georgia Thompson acquitted, set free.”

My earlier coverage appears at this link.

Posted at 11:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Sandra Day O’Connor Says Affirmative Action Faces Uncertain Future”: The “Daily News Blog” of the Chronicle of Higher Education today provides a post that begins, “Sandra Day O’Connor, the retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and author of the majority opinion in a landmark 2003 decision upholding the legality of race-conscious college admissions, acknowledged in a speech today that she is not confident the court had preserved affirmative action in higher education for much longer.”

Yesterday, The SMU Daily Campus contained an article headlined “Former justice visits law school; O’Connor describes proposed Web site.” In other coverage, The Associated Press reported that “O’Connor says she’s concerned about attacks on judges.”

And Washington City Paper provides this write-up of an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery titled “Portraits of Sandra Day O’Connor.” You can view a slideshow featuring some of the portraits by clicking here.

Posted at 5:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“Technicality leads Eleventh Circuit to require 5-year mandatory for veteran”: The “Sentencing Law and Policy” blog provides this post about a decision that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued today. The opinion even mentions that blog’s author. For what it’s worth, I think that the Eleventh Circuit’s decision reaches the legally correct, albeit an undeniably harsh, result.

Posted at 3:28 PM by Howard Bashman

“Castille v. Ledewitz: The Full Text of the Letter.” Hank Grezlak has this post at “The Legal Intelligencer Blog.” My earlier coverage appears here and here.

Posted at 3:10 PM by Howard Bashman

“City Asks Court to Quit Abu-Jamal Case”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “Prosecutors want the entire 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to recuse itself from the latest appeal for death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal because Gov. Ed Rendell – whose wife serves on the court – was district attorney during his trial.”

And yesterday in The Philadelphia Daily News, columnist Michael Smerconish had an op-ed entitled “Clearing the court for Mumia’s last stand.”

Posted at 2:45 PM by Howard Bashman

En banc Ninth Circuit votes to get in on the monkey business: Back on November 22, 2006, I had a post titled “Divided three-judge Ninth Circuit panel reinstates challenge to the USDA’s decision not to adopt a Draft Policy providing guidance to zoos and research facilities on how to ensure the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates in order to comply with the federal Animal Welfare Act.”

My post reported on a ruling that a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had issued that day.

I concluded that post by writing, “At first glance, this case appears to be a strong candidate for rehearing en banc.” The full Ninth Circuit appears to have agreed, as today that court issued an order granting rehearing en banc in the case.

Posted at 1:42 PM by Howard Bashman

“High court’s action sought; Plaintiffs ask justices to reverse appeals ruling in Enron lawsuit”: Today’s issue of The Houston Chronicle contains an article that begins, “Plaintiffs in a $40 billion Enron shareholder lawsuit on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to reverse an appeals ruling that sapped the litigation’s strength. In a court filing, lawyers for the lead plaintiff in the litigation, the Regents of the University of California, called the appeals March appeals ruling ‘an injustice to the victims of the Enron fraud.'”’s “Law Blog” yesterday posted the cert. petition at this link.

Posted at 12:33 PM by Howard Bashman

“Reinventing Appellate Jurisdiction”: Law Professor Adam N. Steinman has posted this article (abstract with link for download) online at SSRN. The article’s abstract begins, “Appellate jurisdiction in the federal system is a mess. The current regime has been properly criticized for both its doctrinal incoherence and its procedural complexity, and the Supreme Court has failed to address these problems despite a consistent diet of cases raising issues of appellate jurisdiction.”

Posted at 11:08 AM by Howard Bashman

“In a show-up during a Terry stop, the Fourth Amendment permits police officers to reasonably maneuver a suspect’s outer clothing — such as unzipping an outer jacket so a witness can see the suspect’s clothing — when taking that step could assist a witness’s identification.” So holds the majority on a divided three-judge D.C. Circuit panel in an interesting Fourth Amendment ruling issued today.

The facts of the case are as follows. In the aftermath of a bank robbery, the police stopped a man on the street who resembled the description of the perpetrator. The police then brought a witness to the scene. At that point, according to the majority opinion, “The officers unzipped Askew’s outer jacket during the show-up so that the victim could see Askew’s clothing — that step, the police believed, could assist the witness’s identification. Unzipping the outer jacket ultimately led the officers to discover that Askew was illegally carrying a gun.”

The majority, in an opinion by Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in which Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle joined, holds that “the police during a Terry show-up may reasonably maneuver a suspect’s outer clothing (such as unzipping an outer jacket so a witness can see the suspect’s clothing) when taking that step could assist a witness’s identification.”

Senior Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards dissents from the ruling. His lengthy dissenting opinion begins: “This appeal is about a citizen’s right to enforce Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful searches of his person. The case is important, because, as is clear from the argument presented to this court, the Government seeks to wreak havoc with the law under the Fourth Amendment. The majority holds that, following a Terry stop and a protective pat down that produces nothing, police officers may — without probable cause or a warrant — search a suspect, not for self-protection, but solely to facilitate an ‘investigation.’ Because this holding reflects an extraordinary departure from well-established Supreme Court precedent, I respectfully dissent.”

Posted at 10:54 AM by Howard Bashman

Partially divided three-judge D.C. Circuit panel holds that federal district court lacks jurisdiction to entertain habeas petition filed by U.S. citizen sentenced to death in Iraqi court who is being held in Iraq by United States military personnel serving as part of the Multi-National Force-Iraq: You can access today’s ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit at this link. The ruling comes in the case of Mohammad Munaf.

Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle issued today’s majority opinion, in which Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh joined. Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph issued an opinion concurring in the judgment. In Judge Randoph’s view, federal courts possess habeas jurisdiction but Munaf should lose his challenge on the merits. His opinion concurring in the judgment begins, “I believe the district court had jurisdiction over Munaf’s habeas corpus petition. The critical considerations are that Munaf is an American citizen and that he is held by American forces overseas.”

At “SCOTUSblog,” Lyle Denniston has previously provided coverage of this case in posts titled “Chief weighs fate of citizen in Iraq“; “Analysis: Can U.S. courts reach overseas?“; and “Citizen plea denied by Court.”

Posted at 10:33 AM by Howard Bashman

“Tobacco firms fail to block B.C. suit”: The Toronto Globe and Mail today contains an article that begins, “The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear an appeal from a group of foreign tobacco companies attempting to block a billion-dollar lawsuit launched by the British Columbia government to recover health-care costs.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Canadian Court Rejects Tobacco Appeal.”

Posted at 8:34 AM by Howard Bashman

“Judiciary Panel Quizzes Judge; Chief Justice Nominee’s Performance Draws Praise”: Lynne Tuohy has this article today in The Hartford Courant.

Posted at 8:32 AM by Howard Bashman

“Judge can seal names of jurors, SJC rules”: The Boston Globe today contains an article that begins, “The Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that a judge had the right to keep secret the names of jurors in a gang-related murder trial because of fear of reprisals from gang members.”

And The Standard-Times of New Bedford, Massachusetts reports that “SJC denies Standard-Times’ motion in jury case.”

You can access yesterday’s ruling of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts at this link.

Posted at 8:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“Still no ruling on use of new drunken-driving test; State and defense attorneys at odds over need to review Alcotest software”: The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger today contains an article that begins, “The state yesterday urged the Supreme Court to authorize the use of a new computerized device in drunken-driving cases despite calls for further testing.”

And The Associated Press reports that “N.J. Court Examines Breath Test Machines.”

Posted at 8:17 AM by Howard Bashman

“Giuliani Reaffirms That He Would Not Seek Abortion Changes”: Today’s edition of The New York Times contains an article that begins, “Rudolph W. Giuliani, campaigning in South Carolina, firmly stated that as president he would not seek to make abortion illegal. Aware of the damage his position might do to him among some conservative voters, Mr. Giuliani said that if someone was inclined to vote against him solely because of his stance on abortion, then so be it.”

Posted at 8:07 AM by Howard Bashman

“Guantanamo Follies”: The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, “There has been much speculation about the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear an appeal from a group of Guantanamo Bay inmates until they have exhausted their legal options.”

Posted at 8:04 AM by Howard Bashman

“Judging the Bush Legacy: Past court battles, and what’s to come.” Columnist Kimberley A. Strassel has this op-ed (free access) today in The Wall Street Journal.

Posted at 7:55 AM by Howard Bashman