How Appealing

Monday, December 10, 2007

“Attorney: CIA has photos showing abuse.” Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald provides a news update that begins, “A lawyer for an Ethiopian captive at Guantanamo, who claims he was tortured when his interrogation was outsourced to Morocco, is asking the British government to intervene and help preserve alleged CIA photos that illustrate his treatment.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Gitmo Inmate’s Lawyer Urges US on Photos.”

Posted at 10:08 PM by Howard Bashman

“Per Curiam Opinions: What’s the [counter]point?” This post appears today at the blog “Have Opinion, Will Travel.”

Posted at 9:55 PM by Howard Bashman

“For Yale, new chapter opens in Jovin case; Administrators hope to ‘bring comfort’ to family, friends in continuing media frenzy”: This article appeared Friday in The Yale Daily News.

Posted at 8:44 PM by Howard Bashman

“Jurors to begin deliberations in trial of Mary Roberts”: The San Antonio Express-News provides an update that begins, “Jurors this afternoon began deliberating the fate of Mary Roberts, who is accused of helping her husband extract thousands of dollars from her former paramours. Roberts is charged with five counts of theft by coercion and deception, and if convicted she could get anywhere from two years of probation to as much as 20 years in prison.”

Posted at 8:32 PM by Howard Bashman

“Supreme Court Enhances Judges’ Sentencing Discretion; In a pair of key decisions, high court reaffirms that federal sentencing guidelines are merely advisory”:’s Tony Mauro provides this report.

Posted at 8:24 PM by Howard Bashman

“Passing of the Gavel Ceremony – Video”: As I noted in this earlier post, the video file that the Ninth Circuit initially made available of the ceremony at which Alex Kozinski became that court’s chief judge ended somewhere in the middle of the ceremony, before the actual passing of the gavel. In fact, the earlier video file ended in the midst of a U.S. District Judge’s retelling of a joke involving some Irish guy (I kid you not). Was the joke well-received or did it fall flat, because the joke was being retold to an audience full of other judges instead of an audience full of lawyers who knew better than not to laugh? Now that and other mysteries can be solved, as the Ninth Circuit apparently has recently posted the entire video file, which checks in at a whopping 100MB!!! You can download the video file or launch it using Windows Media Player via this link.

Update: After telling an Irish joke of his own, Chief Judge Kozinski begins his remarks by quoting from a law blog post, demonstrating perhaps that blogs are not necessarily such “hateful things” after all. By the way, now that I’ve finally heard the rest of it, the federal district judge’s Irish joke was quite good, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a lawyer.

Posted at 5:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Libby Files Motion to Dismiss Appeal”: The Washington Post provides this news update.

The article reports that, according to Libby’s attorney, “a successful appeal would likely only lead to the case being retried, adding to the already enormous time and cost Libby has spent defending himself.”

If Libby were retried, and if the retrial resulted in the exact same conviction as the first trial, presumably President Bush’s commutation of Libby’s sentence resulting from the first trial would not preclude Libby from being resentenced to prison, and from having to serve that sentence absent a new commutation, following a second trial. Because a new president may be in office by that point, Libby may have reasonably concluded that the odds of getting a better result than he has now, plus the costs and risks that it would entail, made abandoning his appeal and accepting the status quo quite an attractive option.

Posted at 4:05 PM by Howard Bashman

Available online from National Public Radio: Today’s broadcast of “Day to Day” contained audio segments entitled “Supreme Court Allows Shorter Crack Sentences” (featuring Dahlia Lithwick) and “Saudis Offer Detainee Reintegration Program.”

And today’s broadcast of “Morning Edition” contained audio segments entitled “Senate Panel to Question Hayden on CIA Videotapes“; “Justice, CIA Launch Inquiries into Destroyed Tapes“; and “N.J. Legislature May Revoke Death Penalty.”

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.

Posted at 3:54 PM by Howard Bashman

“Supreme Court Allows Lighter Crack Sentences; Justices Say Sentencing Guidelines Are Advisory, Not Mandatory”: Robert Barnes of The Washington Post provides this news update.

David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times provides a news update headlined “High court gives sentencing judges more power; The justices’ decision allows for greater ease in setting lower prison terms under strict federal cocaine laws.”

Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers reports that “Supreme Court permits flexible drug sentencing.”

Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News reports that “U.S. High Court Gives Judges More Power on Sentences.”

Bill Mears of has a report headlined “Justices: Judges can slash crack sentences.”

And Reuters reports that “Supreme court allows lighter crack cocaine terms.”

Posted at 3:25 PM by Howard Bashman

“KU law graduate accepts clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court”: The University of Kansas School of Law issued a news release last Friday that begins, “A 2005 University of Kansas School of Law graduate has become the fifth KU law alumnus to be accepted for a U.S. Supreme Court clerkship. Travis Lenkner, a Coats native, will clerk for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy during the 2008-09 term.”

In August 2004, The Lawrence Journal-World published this profile of Leckner.

Posted at 3:10 PM by Howard Bashman

“Sex scandal rocks A.G.; Affair with former employee in D.A.’s office results in federal complaint”: Yesterday’s edition of The Topeka Capital-Journal contained an article that begins, “Attorney General Paul Morrison faces a sexual harassment claim tied to an extramarital affair he had with a subordinate in the Johnson County district attorney’s office that continued after he became the state’s top prosecutor this year.”

The Kansas City Star reports today that “Extramarital affair leaves Kansas attorney general’s job in doubt.”

The Lawrence Journal-World provides a news update headlined “Sebelius: Morrison should resign if charges proven true.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Sex Scandal Rocks Kansas AG’s Office.”

Posted at 1:47 PM by Howard Bashman

“Court eases cocaine sentencing”: Lyle Denniston has this post at “SCOTUSblog” reporting on today’s two eagerly awaited federal sentencing guidelines decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. According to Lyle’s post, the criminal defendant prevailed in each case by a 7-2 vote.

The first decision announced today came in the case of Kimbrough v. United States, No. 06-6330. You can access the opinion at this link and the oral argument transcript at this link. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the majority opinion, from which Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito, Jr. dissented.

The second sentencing-related decision announced today came in the case of Gall v. United States, No. 06-7949. You can access the opinion at this link and the oral argument transcript from that case at this link. Justice John Paul Stevens delivered the majority opinion, from which Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito, Jr. dissented.

Today’s third and final opinion in an argued case issued in Watson v. United States, No. 06-571. You can access the opinion at this link and the oral argument transcript at this link. Justice David H. Souter delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Lastly, you can access today’s Order List at this link.

Posted at 10:04 AM by Howard Bashman

“Bumpy ride in store for court nominee”: The Providence Journal today contains an article that begins, “Judge William E. Smith ‘has served well’ on Rhode Island’s federal court, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said Friday, but his nomination to the federal appeals court in Boston ‘is a different situation,’ colored in part by what Reed depicted as President Bush’s failure to consult with senators about his choice.”

Update: See also the third item in this “Political Scene” column published today in The ProJo. It bears the sub-head “Judgeships no done deal.”

Posted at 10:00 AM by Howard Bashman

“Per Curiam Opinions: What’s the Point?” You can access today’s installment of my “On Appeal” column for at this link.

Posted at 8:47 AM by Howard Bashman

“School says it can’t solve pledge case”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “School officials may let others fight the constitutional questions raised by federal lawsuit over a New Hampshire law requiring time be set aside for the Pledge of Allegiance. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Concord in October by an unidentified Hanover family, a California man and a Wisconsin group who object to the reference to God in the oath.”

The “California man” referenced in the article, it should come as little surprise, is Michael A. Newdow.

Posted at 8:44 AM by Howard Bashman

“After Guantanamo, ‘Reintegration’ for Saudis”: The Washington Post contains this front page article today.

And today in The Los Angeles Times, Morris D. Davis has an op-ed entitled “AWOL military justice: Why the former chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions resigned his post” that begins, “I was the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until Oct. 4, the day I concluded that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system. I resigned on that day because I felt that the system had become deeply politicized and that I could no longer do my job effectively or responsibly.”

Posted at 8:42 AM by Howard Bashman

“Destruction of CIA tapes raises bipartisan concerns; Democrats and Republicans talk about possible obstruction of justice charges; Biden calls for a special prosecutor”: This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that “CIA Official in Tapes Case Tended Toward Caution; Fellow Officers Say Goal Was Probably To Protect Agents.”

And The New York Times reports that “C.I.A. Official in Inquiry Called a ‘Hero.’

Posted at 8:40 AM by Howard Bashman

“Conrad Black defiant ahead of sentencing”: Today’s edition of The Telegraph (UK) contains an article that begins, “Conrad Black continued to insist on his innocence in a final act of defiance ahead of his sentencing for fraud and obstructing justice. The 63-year-old and three co-defendants will be sentenced on Monday by Judge Amy St Eve in the US District Court in Chicago.”

The Toronto Globe and Mail today contains an article headlined “Lord Black’s day of reckoning: Unrepentant since his conviction, fraudster learns his fate Monday morning.”

And The Chicago Tribune yesterday contained an article headlined “For Black, appeals for leniency: As ex-press baron’s Monday sentencing hearing approaches, lawyers and legal experts are divided on whether written testimonials from his wealthy and famous friends will lengthen or shorten his prison.”

Posted at 8:13 AM by Howard Bashman

“Linking cause to effect, 41 years on; The prosecution’s burden: The police officer was shot in 1966; A coroner ruled the death in August homicide.” Can a gunshot wound give rise to murder if the victim dies 41 years later? The Philadelphia Inquirer today contains this article addressing that question.

Posted at 8:02 AM by Howard Bashman

“Partial picture of Camp X-Ray: Guantanamo detention center is closed, but questions remain.” This article, part two of a two-part series, appears today in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Yesterday’s newspaper contained the article that was part one of the series, headlined “Mission: Fairness.”

Posted at 8:00 AM by Howard Bashman

“The Issue of ‘Me Too’ Evidence in Employment Discrimination Cases: The U.S. Supreme Court Considers Sprint v. Mendelsohn.” Sherry F. Colb has this essay online today at FindLaw.

Posted at 7:45 AM by Howard Bashman