How Appealing

Thursday, April 12, 2007

“First Amendment martyr? Josh Wolf tells Salon why he spent 226 days in prison rather than comply with a subpoena, and gives his take on what a ‘journalist’ is.” Alex Koppelman has this article at

Posted at 10:54 PM by Howard Bashman

In articles commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms: The Toronto Globe and Mail today contains an article headlined “Ten court rulings that cemented rights and freedoms: Panel selects most influential decisions.”

Yesterday the newspaper contained articles headlined “Unions, most racial minorities have left court empty-handed; But natives, gays took huge strides in legal challenges” and “Charting a course in the age of judicial review: Legal protections for minorities vital in age of terrorism, Ontario judge says.”

And on Tuesday, the newspaper reported that “It ‘fundamentally’ changed the justice system, but critics say strain of uncertainty in courts is making Charter application tougher than ever.”

Posted at 10:44 PM by Howard Bashman

“Duke lacrosse players ‘innocent’; State Attorney General Roy Cooper criticizes Nifong’s ‘rush to accuse'”: This article appears today in The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina, along with an article headlined “Players recount bitter fight for truth.”

The Herald-Sun of Durham, North Carolina today contains articles headlined “Attorney general drops charges in Duke lacrosse case“; “Calls mount for DA’s immediate resignation“; “Defense: ‘We’re … very, very angry’“; and “Duke officials pleased with end to explosive case.”

The Duke Chronicle contains articles headlined “‘Innocent’: AG drops remaining charges, condemns Nifong’s ‘bravado’“; “Players express relief, lawyers laud ‘great day for justice’“; “Admins praise dismissal, stand by response to case“; “Students respond to dismissal, tumultuous year“; and “Players respond to dismissals; Men’s, women’s lax players support classmates at press conference.” The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled “Disbar Mike Nifong.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that “All charges dropped in Duke athletes’ sex case; N.C. attorney general calls three men ‘victims of a rush to condemn.'”

USA Today contains articles headlined “All Duke case charges dropped; State prosecutor says case lacked ‘credible evidence’” and “In end, the accusing fingers were pointed at prosecutor.” The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled “Duke rape case implodes, revealing ‘world of injustice.’

The Washington Post contains articles headlined “Teammates’ Families Relieved, Worried; Sons’ Reputations Harmed, Some Fear” and “Charges Dropped, Perceptions Linger; Beleaguered Lacrosse Claims Redemption; Growth Ensures More Visibility, Scrutiny.”

And The Washington Times reports that “Ex-players cleared in Duke case.”

Posted at 10:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“New Debate Over IDs of Sex-Case Accusers”: The AP provides a report that begins, “In hindsight, it seems unfair. For nearly a year, three Duke lacrosse players were publicly identified as alleged sexual assailants, while their accuser – whose claims are now discredited – was shielded by anonymity. But that double standard is the way of American journalism, and is unlikely to change any time soon, even though the Duke case is provoking a reassessment of the practice.”

Today, The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina names the accuser in an article headlined “Contradictions tore case apart; Accuser gave many versions of events on night of party.” And an essay by that newspaper’s executive editor is headlined “N&O’s decision to identify accuser was made with care.”

Posted at 6:18 PM by Howard Bashman

“Home Care Worker Seeks Overtime Ruling”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “Evelyn Coke spent more than two decades caring for the sick and infirm in their homes, working long hours in a physically demanding job that doesn’t pay any overtime. Now in failing health, Coke has become a symbol for the nation’s 1 million home care workers, filing a lawsuit against her former employer that is now before the Supreme Court.”

Posted at 6:15 PM by Howard Bashman

On May 6, 2007, “How Appealing” will turn five years of age: How does one celebrate the fifth birthday of a popular law-related blog? In this instance, by traveling to Milwaukee, Wisconsin that morning to attend an early afternoon Milwaukee Brewers baseball game with an avid sports fan whose work this blog has adored since day one. And then I’ll have the pleasure of remaining in Milwaukee for the next couple of days to attend and participate in this event, which will enable me to visit with some others whose work this blog has adored since day one.

Posted at 5:00 PM by Howard Bashman

Rio Tinto times two: Readers seeking word of developments related to the Alien Tort Claims Act may be interested to learn that today a still divided three-judge Ninth Circuit panel issued a revised ruling addressing the claims of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea residents who allege that they or their family members were victims of numerous violations of international law resulting from Rio Tinto, PLC’s Bougainville mining operations and the 10-year civil conflict that followed an uprising at the Rio Tinto mine. Or, if you’re like me, you can just marvel at the fact that today’s ruling somehow manages to be four pages longer than the same divided three-judge panel’s original 92-page ruling from August 2006.

The Ninth Circuit’s order accompanying today’s filing notes that “Further petitions for rehearing or rehearing en banc may be filed.” At this rate, the case may stay at the Ninth Circuit for longer than the ten-year civil conflict that gives rise to the dispute. My coverage of the appellate court’s initial August 2006 ruling in the case can be accessed here.

Posted at 4:45 PM by Howard Bashman

“Duke DA Apologizes to Players”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “The local prosecutor who charged three Duke lacrosse players with raping a stripper apologized to the athletes Thursday, a day after North Carolina’s attorney general dropped the entire case.”

And in perhaps related news, The AP is also reporting that “Cleared Duke Players Could Sue.” The article begins, “Now that they have been declared innocent, the three former Duke lacrosse players accused of rape could very well sue the district attorney who went after them – and some legal experts say they have a case.”

Posted at 4:33 PM by Howard Bashman

“The question presented is whether an acquittal on a charge of an attempted drug offense requires, under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the dismissal of a charge of a drug conspiracy on which the jury was unable to reach a verdict.” Today, Circuit Judge William H. Pryor, Jr. issued an opinion on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that begins, “This appeal by the United States involves the application of collateral estoppel to a partial verdict, which is an issue that has divided not only our sister circuits but panels of our circuit as well.”

Considering the circumstances — Judge Pryor, a circuit split, a defendant arrested in possession of the illegal drug ecstasy, and the odds that a criminal defendant might win on appeal in the Eleventh Circuit — you might expect that the federal government would win this appeal. If so, you’d be wrong.

Posted at 4:25 PM by Howard Bashman

“Miss. Court Upholds Killen Conviction”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the manslaughter convictions of former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen in the slayings of three civil rights workers in 1964.”

You can access today’s ruling of the Supreme Court of Mississippi at this link.

Posted at 4:10 PM by Howard Bashman

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit holds that federal district courts may only prohibit attorney speech that is substantially likely to materially prejudice ongoing criminal proceedings: A three-judge Third Circuit panel has today issued its much anticipated decision in United States v. Wecht.

By a vote of 2-1, the panel denies the defendant’s request to order the recusal of the federal district judge who is presiding over the prosecution. Yet even the majority opinion offers some notable criticisms of the trial judge’s actions.

In early press coverage, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review provides a news update headlined “Court: District Judge Arthur Schwab can continue to preside over Wecht prosecution.”

Posted at 12:30 PM by Howard Bashman

Supreme Court of California to issue decision today construing California law intended to prevent mentally retarded capital defendants from receiving the death penalty: According to that court’s announcement of decisions scheduled to be issued today, the case presents the following issues:

(1) Do the People have the right to pretrial review of a trial court’s determination under Penal Code section 1376 that a capital defendant is mentally retarded? (2) Did the trial court use an incorrect legal standard in finding defendant mentally retarded?

You can access at this link an earlier ruling in the case from the California Court of Appeal. Today’s ruling of the Supreme Court of California is scheduled to become available via this link at 1 p.m. eastern time today.

Update: You can now access today’s opinion online at this link.

Posted at 9:44 AM by Howard Bashman

“Padilla Team Objects to Agent Testimony”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “Attorneys for suspected al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla have objected to a proposal to have a disguised CIA officer testify for the government using a false name, saying it would violate Padilla’s rights and unfairly limit questioning during trial.”

Posted at 9:32 AM by Howard Bashman

“Joining Gonzales in ‘Challenging Times'”: The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, “This week U.S. Attorney Kevin J. O’Connor of Connecticut was named Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales’s third chief of staff in as many months, meaning few can congratulate him on the promotion without a sympathetic laugh.”

And in today’s issue of The Washington Times, William Otis has an op-ed entitled “The Gonzales hunt.”

Posted at 9:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“San Jose gay couple’s adoption site suit OK’d for trial”: Yesterday’s edition of The San Jose Mercury News contained an article that begins, “In a court ruling that could have major implications for how Internet business is conducted between states, a federal judge has ruled that a San Jose gay couple may go to trial against an Arizona adoption Web site that refused to let them post their profile in their search for a birth mother. U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton rejected arguments by that the company had the right to exclude same-sex couples from its paid listings, which are designed to match birth mothers with qualified parents.”

And today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article headlined “Gay couple’s suit against goes forward” that begins, “A gay couple from San Jose can sue an out-of-state Internet adoption service for allegedly violating California discrimination laws by refusing to post the two men’s profiles on a Web site where prospective birth mothers could see them, a federal judge has ruled.”

I have posted online at this link the 81-page opinion that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued on March 30, 2007.

Posted at 9:20 AM by Howard Bashman

“Bush Advisers’ Approach on E-Mail Draws Fire”: The New York Times today contains an article that begins, “Political advisers to President Bush may have improperly used their Republican National Committee e-mail accounts to conduct official government business, and some communications that are required to be preserved under federal law may be lost as a result, White House officials said Wednesday.”

The Washington Post reports today that “White House E-Mail Lost in Private Accounts; Messages May Have Included Discussions About Firing of Eight Prosecutors.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that “Officials’ e-mail may be missing, White House says; The messages, on a private system, are wanted by Congress in a probe of the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.”

McClatchy Newspapers report that “Questions remain about White House aides’ use of e-mail system.”

And The Washington Times reports that “E-mails deleted from unofficial GOP accounts.”

Posted at 8:32 AM by Howard Bashman

“Feres follies”: Today’s edition of USA Today contains an editorial that begins, “When the Supreme Court created the Feres Doctrine in 1950, it barred all injuries that are ‘incident to service,’ a prohibition that effectively blocked any negligence lawsuit by a servicemember against the military.”

The newspaper also contains a related op-ed by Law Professor Jonathan Turley entitled “What our soldiers really need: Lawyers.”

Posted at 8:05 AM by Howard Bashman

“In Al-Arian Case, Fla. Judge Said To Overstep Authority”: Today in The New York Sun, Josh Gerstein has an article that begins, “A Tampa, Fla.-based federal judge exceeded his authority when he issued a key ruling in a grand jury contempt dispute involving a former professor at the center of a long-running terrorism case, Sami Al-Arian, prosecutors contend.”

Posted at 7:48 AM by Howard Bashman

“The Supreme Court as Umpire?: How the Global Warming Decision Illuminates the Role We Ask the Justices to Play.” Edward Lazarus has this essay online today at FindLaw.

Posted at 6:48 AM by Howard Bashman