How Appealing

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

“Prosecutor Leading Probe Into Lawyer’s Murder Resigns”: provides a report that begins, “The federal prosecutor who was leading the investigation into the still-unsolved murder of Washington, D.C., lawyer Robert Wone abruptly left his post last month, has hired a personal lawyer and will resign on Friday.”

Posted at 11:42 PM by Howard Bashman

“This case concerns the reasonable expectation of privacy associated with password-protected computers.” A divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued an interesting ruling today in an appeal in which a criminal defendant challenges the search that discovered the presence of child pornography on his computer.

The defendant is an adult who was residing with his elderly parents. The police knocked on the door of the residence one day when the suspect was not home and asked the defendant’s elderly parent for permission to search the suspect’s computer. The father gave consent, but according to the defendant the computer in question was password protected and the father did not know the password. The police used a program that creates a mirror image of the hard drive and allows the authorities to access the contents of that mirror image without any need for the password.

The majority rejects the defendant’s challenge to the permission to search. The dissenting opinion of Senior Circuit Judge Monroe G. McKay begins, “This case concerns the reasonable expectation of privacy associated with password-protected computers. In examining the contours of a third party’s apparent authority to consent to the search of a home computer, the majority correctly indicates that the extent to which law enforcement knows or should reasonably suspect that password protection is enabled is critical. We differ, however, over the extent to which the burden of inquiry should rest with law enforcement personnel. More specifically, I take issue with the majority’s implicit holding that law enforcement may use software deliberately designed to automatically bypass computer password protection based on third-party consent without the need to make a reasonable inquiry regarding the presence of password protection and the third party’s access to that password.”

Posted at 11:35 PM by Howard Bashman

“Justices Reconsider Campaign Finance; Some Are Skeptical Of Earlier Ruling”: Robert Barnes will have this article Thursday in The Washington Post.

Posted at 9:50 PM by Howard Bashman

Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor issues opinion for a unanimous three-judge Eighth Circuit panel: You can access today’s ruling at this link. At issue in the case — the reliability of sweat patch results to determine whether a probationer has used illegal drugs.

Posted at 4:35 PM by Howard Bashman

“Free Speech Gets Another Day in Court”: U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had this op-ed (pass-through link via “Election Law“) yesterday in The Wall Street Journal.

Yesterday at National Review Online, James Bopp Jr. had an essay entitled “Silencing Criticism: The history of sham arguments for McCain-Feingold.” And today, Andrew C. McCarthy has an essay entitled “Gonzales and McCain-Feingold: The attorney general abandoned the Right before it abandoned him.”

And in the April 30, 2007 issue of The Weekly Standard, Charlotte Allen has an essay entitled “The Right to Life Lobby vs. McCain: They’re not fighting about abortion.”

Posted at 3:50 PM by Howard Bashman

Access online the transcripts of today’s U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments: The oral argument transcript in Federal Election Comm’n v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., No. 06-969, can be accessed here.

And the oral argument transcript in Watson v. Phillip Morris Co., No. 05-1284, can be accessed here.

Posted at 3:25 PM by Howard Bashman

Programming note: I’m one of the luncheon speakers today at The Heritage Foundation‘s Spring 2007 Legal Strategy Forum, which is taking place in Philadelphia. Additional posts will appear here this afternoon.

Update: It was a pleasure to meet so many fans of this blog at the event, and to finally meet in person co-panelist Paul Mirengoff of the “Power Line” blog.”

Posted at 10:54 AM by Howard Bashman

“Court rules for Texas death row inmates”: Lyle Denniston has this post at “SCOTUSblog.” You can access the opinion in Smith v. Texas, No. 05-11304, here and the oral argument transcript here. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy issued the majority opinion in a case that divided the U.S. Supreme Court 5-4.

The Court today also issued decisions in two other death penalty cases that were orally argued together (access the transcript here): Abdul-Kabir v. Quarterman, No. 05-11284 (opinion here) and Brewer v. Quarterman, No. 05-11287 (opinion here).

Posted at 10:05 AM by Howard Bashman

“Federal Judge Withdraws Ruling Against Bush Terror Designations”: Today in The New York Sun, Josh Gerstein has an article that begins, “A federal judge has withdrawn a highly publicized ruling she issued last year declaring that President Bush acted unconstitutionally when he designated 27 groups and individuals as terrorists in 2001.”

Posted at 9:03 AM by Howard Bashman

“Court Knows Best”: Today in The Washington Post, columnist Ruth Marcus has an op-ed that begins, “How nice of Justice Kennedy to look out for me. Goodness knows, if I didn’t have the justice and his buddies hovering, I might make a terrible mistake. I mean, I’m so impulsive and muddle-headed, I sometimes don’t know what’s in my own best interest.”

Posted at 9:02 AM by Howard Bashman

“Passengers get the 4th Amendment, too; It’s common sense, and safer for the police, for the Supreme Court to grant passengers in cars the same fourth amendment rights as drivers.” This editorial appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 9:00 AM by Howard Bashman

“Democrats want swifter EPA action on emissions standards; Senators criticize the agency’s leader, saying he lacks a sense of urgency in confronting global warming”: The Los Angeles Times today contains an article that begins, “The chief of the Environmental Protection Agency came under fire Tuesday from congressional Democrats, who said he had failed to respond more aggressively to the Supreme Court ruling that greenhouse gas emissions could be federally regulated.”

And The Boston Globe today contains an article headlined “Act now on emissions, senators tell EPA head.”

Posted at 8:57 AM by Howard Bashman

“Mexico City legalizes first-trimester abortions; The bill passes 46 to 19 despite fierce PAN opposition; Backers say thousands of women’s lives may be saved”: This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 8:47 AM by Howard Bashman

“For Indian Victims of Sexual Assault, a Tangled Legal Path”: The New York Times today contains an article that begins, “As a Cherokee woman charging rape by a non-Indian, Jami Rozell could not go to the tribal court, which handles only crimes by Indians against Indians in Indian country. So after five months of agonizing, she went to the district attorney in Tahlequah, Okla., and testified at a preliminary hearing.”

Posted at 8:44 AM by Howard Bashman

Perhaps with God’s help, this Express Mail package will reach its destination tomorrow: The Hartford Courant today contains an article headlined “Ruling: No Religious Displays In Post Office; Resident Wins Suit Against Postal Unit.”

The article begins, “A federal judge has ruled that post offices across the country that are run by churches and other organizations cannot promote religion through displays or other promotional materials. In a decision involving a church-run post office in downtown Manchester, the judge sided with a town resident who said his First Amendment rights were violated by the Christian displays.”

You can access last week’s ruling of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut at this link.

Posted at 8:35 AM by Howard Bashman

“On Wet Road, ‘Officer Down’; 2006 Work Zone Accident Detailed”: This article appears today in The Hartford Courant, along with a related “911 Transcription.”

According to the article, “U.S. Court of Appeals Judge John Walker, a cousin of President Bush’s, would be cleared of wrongdoing in the collision that took Picagli’s life.”

Posted at 8:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“Judges, Congress and the Salary Link”: Today’s installment of Stephen Barr’s “Federal Diary” column begins, “For the past 20 years, members of Congress have linked their salaries to those of federal judges as a strategy to avoid the wrath of voters who think lawmakers are overpaid and do not deserve an annual raise.”

Posted at 8:22 AM by Howard Bashman