How Appealing

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

“Kansas attorney general caught up in sex scandal”: This article appears today in The Washington Times.

The Kansas City Star reports today that “Scandal turns Morrison from political powerhouse to tattered target.”

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that “Sebelius weighs in on A.G.; If allegations against Morrison prove true, he should resign, governor says.”

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that “Morrison’s fate as AG uncertain; Lawmakers say resignation may be in order if allegations by former lover are true.”

And The Wichita Eagle contains an article headlined “Is political future for Morrison now over?

Posted at 10:17 PM by Howard Bashman

“Sentencing phase opens in murder trial; Jurors who convicted Patrick Lorenzo will decide whether he can ever be paroled”: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin today contains an article that begins, “The 12 jurors who convicted Patrick Lorenzo of killing an off-duty deputy sheriff returned yesterday in the first hearing ever in which a jury — not a judge — could impose the state’s strictest penalty of life imprisonment without parole.”

And The Honolulu Advertiser reports today that “Hawaii’s extended-sentence law put to test.”

Posted at 9:58 PM by Howard Bashman

“US Court Grants Motion on Gitmo Suspect”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “A federal court on Tuesday granted a defense motion to have the U.S. government preserve any evidence of torture in the case of a suspected ‘high-value’ Guantanamo prisoner who alleges he was tortured in overseas CIA prisons.”

Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald has a news update headlined “Court orders Bush administration to preserve possible evidence of torture.”

And at “SCOTUSblog,” Lyle Denniston has a post titled “Appeals court acts on torture evidence.”

Posted at 8:55 PM by Howard Bashman

“Panel Allows Easing of Crack Sentences”: Mark Sherman of The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to allow some 19,500 federal prison inmates, most of them black, to seek reductions in their crack cocaine sentences. The commission, which sets guidelines for federal prison sentences, decided to make retroactive its recent easing of recommended sentences for crack offenses.”

Posted at 5:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Spy Court Won’t Release US Wiretap Docs”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “The nation’s spy court said Tuesday that it will not make public documents regarding the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in a rare public opinion, said the public has no right to view the documents because they deal with the clandestine workings of national security agencies.”

Posted at 3:17 PM by Howard Bashman

“Coming in From the Cold: CIA Spy Calls Waterboarding Necessary But Torture; Former Agent Says the Enhanced Technique Was Used on Al Qaeda Chief Abu Zubaydah.” provides a report that begins, “A leader of the CIA team that captured the first major al Qaeda figure, Abu Zubaydah, says subjecting him to waterboarding was torture but necessary. In the first public comment by any CIA officer involved in handling high-value al Qaeda targets, John Kiriakou, now retired, said the technique broke Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds.” You can view last night’s Nightline video report by clicking here, while you can view the complete interview with the CIA officer by clicking here.

And provides a report headlined “Ex-CIA agent: Waterboarding ‘saved lives.’

Posted at 3:05 PM by Howard Bashman

Ten months after originally doing so, divided three-judge Ninth Circuit panel again affirms the class certification order in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, Inc., in which a class of approximately 2 million female employees allege sex discrimination in pay and promotions: In the Ninth Circuit, to a degree not seen in any other federal appellate courts, published opinions often resemble works in progress. A three-judge panel will issue an opinion, the losing party will petition for rehearing and/or rehearing en banc, and then months later the panel will withdraw its original opinion and substitute in its place a new and presumably improved decision.

That phenomenon has happened once again, as the same divided three-judge panel whose majority affirmed the controversial class certification of nearly 2 million female Wal-Mart employees alleging sex discrimination in pay and promotions by means of a decision issued in February 2007 has today withdrawn that ruling and replaced it with a new decision reaching the same result by the same 2-1 margin. Today’s ruling restarts the clock for seeking rehearing en banc.

What has changed between February’s original ruling and today’s substitute ruling? Well, for one thing, the passage of time has produced more footnotes. The majority opinion has four more footnotes than before, while the dissenting opinion has grown by six footnotes. Despite this increase in footnotes, the PDF file containing today’s decision consists of only 52 pages, while February’s original ruling was 53 pages in length.

My earlier coverage of February’s ruling can be accessed here. And I linked to press coverage of February’s ruling in this post.

Posted at 2:38 PM by Howard Bashman

“Roberts convicted on 5 counts”: The San Antonio Express-News today contains an article that begins, “Bexar County jurors late Monday convicted a San Antonio lawyer on felony charges that she helped her husband blackmail four of her former lovers. Mary S. Roberts was found guilty on all five theft counts she faced. The verdict was harsher than the one handed her husband, Ted H. Roberts, who was convicted earlier this year on three counts in the scheme.”

Posted at 12:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“Destruction of C.I.A. Tapes Cleared by Lawyers”: This article appears today in The New York Times.

Today’s edition of The Washington Post contains articles headlined “Waterboarding Recounted: Ex-CIA Officer Says It ‘Probably Saved Lives’ but Is Torture” and “Lawyers Assert That Pentagon Overstates Ex-Detainee Threat.”

And The Los Angeles Times reports that “Lost tapes may entangle CIA; Questions now arise as to whether the agency’s action impeded terrorism investigations and criminal trials.”

Posted at 12:15 PM by Howard Bashman

“Panel to Consider Crack Sentence Reductions; Sentencing Panel Will Decide Whether to Make Reduced Crack Sentences Retroactive”: provides this report.

Posted at 12:09 PM by Howard Bashman

“Sharply split Senate votes to end state executions; If Assembly approves repeal, Corzine could sign it by Friday”: This article appears today in The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports today that “N.J. closer to ending death penalty; Bill passes state Senate, and faces likely approval; Among those against the measure is the father of Megan Kanka.”

And The New York Times reports that “New Jersey Nears Repeal of Death Penalty.”

Posted at 12:02 PM by Howard Bashman

“A 17-Year-Old Legal Case and a $5.4 Million Fine Shadow D’Amato’s Hometown”: According to an article published today in The New York Times, “The case actually occupies a strange legal limbo in the federal civil court system. On one side are federal prosecutors who have doggedly pursued the Village of Island Park on civil rights charges since 1990. On the other is a famously plodding judge, who has spent a decade pondering his options, and a judiciary process that can seem arcane. Letters, motions, conferences, adjournments, requests for extensions, motions for reconsideration of earlier motions, and other delays — all have consumed months and years at a time, for going on two decades now.”

Posted at 11:45 AM by Howard Bashman

Available online from National Public Radio: Today’s broadcast of “Morning Edition” contained audio segments entitled “Sentencing Panel May Cut Crack Cocaine Terms” (featuring Nina Totenberg); “Hayden to Testify on CIA Tapes to Senate Panel“; and “Graham: Senate Panel Had No Word of Tapes.”

Yesterday evening’s broadcast of “All Things Considered” contained audio segments entitled “Supreme Court Gives Judges Sentencing Leeway” (featuring Nina Totenberg); “Rep. Harman Says She Raised Concerns to CIA“; “A Disregard for Constitution and Ethics” (featuring Daniel Schorr); and “Vick Sentenced to 23 Months in Dogfighting Case.”

And yesterday’s broadcast of “Talk of the Nation” contained an audio segment entitled “Senate to Investigate Destroyed CIA Tapes.”

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.

Posted at 11:32 AM by Howard Bashman

“We speak with George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley about today’s Supreme Court decision ruling that judges may impose shorter prison terms for crack cocaine crimes”: This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on yesterday’s broadcast of the public radio program “Here & Now.”

Posted at 11:12 AM by Howard Bashman

“SJC ruling adds to doctor liability; Allows suit in crash caused by a patient”: The Boston Globe today contains an article that begins, “The state Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that a doctor can be sued over a car accident caused by his patient, greatly expanding potential liability for the medical profession. A divided court said that the mother of a boy who was hit by a car and died can sue the physician who prescribed numerous medications to the driver, including narcotics that can cause drowsiness.”

And The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Massachusetts today contains an article headlined “High court: Doctors can be sued for failing to warn patients of drugs’ side effects.”

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

Posted at 9:15 AM by Howard Bashman

“Appeals court dismisses complaint against judge; Panel says that despite The Times’ allegations of favoritism in judgments and fees, the jurist’s ties didn’t affect his impartiality”: The Los Angeles Times today contains an article that begins, “The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a complaint against a federal judge who awarded more than $4.8 million in judgments and fees to people with whom he had long-standing political and business ties. U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan of Las Vegas, who was featured in a 2006 Los Angeles Times investigation into the Nevada judiciary, was cleared of allegations that he had personal connections with those involved in cases he heard.”

Update: Today’s LATimes article refers to an article that The Las Vegas Review-Journal published in October 2007 headlined “Complaint against judge dismissed; Council finds no misconduct occurred.”

Posted at 9:10 AM by Howard Bashman

“Appeals court throws out parts of anti-terror law as too vague”: Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, “A law that makes it a crime to help groups that the U.S. government considers terrorist is unconstitutionally vague and could punish Americans for advising organizations about nonviolent methods, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco invalidates portions of a 1996 federal anti-terrorism law and a set of amendments in 2004. The law prohibits knowingly providing material support or resources to a foreign organization on the State Department’s terrorist list.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Appeals Court Upholds Patriot Act Ruling.”

You can access yesterday’s ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at this link.

Posted at 9:08 AM by Howard Bashman

“War vs. Terrorism Debate in Embassy Bomb Appeal”: The New York Times today contains an article that begins, “The national debate over Guantanamo and the way the government has pursued its fight against terrorism since the 9/11 attacks was a presence yesterday as a federal appeals court in Manhattan considered the cases of three operatives of Al Qaeda convicted in the last major terrorism trial in the United States before 9/11.”

And The Associated Press reports that “NY Judge Ponders War Vs. Terrorism.”

Posted at 8:52 AM by Howard Bashman

“Colo. Petition Revives Anti-Abortion Bid”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “A 20-year-old law student has become a cause celebre in the anti-abortion movement for her efforts to have the state Constitution define fertilized eggs as people – a tactic spreading nationwide in bids to neutralize the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.”

Posted at 8:47 AM by Howard Bashman

“Justices Restore Judges’ Control Over Sentencing”: Linda Greenhouse has this article today in The New York Times. And Adam Liptak has a news analysis headlined “Given the Latitude to Show Leniency, Judges May Not.”

Today in The Washington Post, Robert Barnes has a front page article headlined “Justices Reinforce Leeway on Sentences; Cocaine Disparity At Heart of 1 Case.” The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled “Sense in Sentencing: The Supreme Court gives judges some leeway in drug cases.”

In The Los Angeles Times, David G. Savage reports that “Justices OK latitude on sentencing; Two decisions object to narrow federal prison guidelines that have led to disparities, especially in cocaine cases.” And Henry Weinstein has an article headlined “To some jurists, high court ruling brings vindication; For years, federal judges have been critical of strict sentencing guidelines, saying the rules tied their hands.”

In USA Today, Joan Biskupic reports that “Judges have leeway to be lenient; Supreme Court OKs option of setting lighter sentences.”

In The Chicago Tribune, James Oliphant reports that “Mandatory prison terms loosened.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Justices unfetter judges on sentences; The Supreme Court said sentencing guidelines are advisory, not mandatory; A racial disparity was seen.”

The Houston Chronicle reports that “Judges can set shorter jail terms for crack; Ruling may put sentences closer to those for powder cocaine.”

The Washington Times reports that “Judges can cut crack terms.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Panels Weighs Easing Old Crack Sentences.”

Posted at 8:40 AM by Howard Bashman

“Airlines hope to block flier Bill of Rights; Carriers say only federal officials can regulate service”: Today’s edition of USA Today contains an article that begins, “The U.S. airline industry’s main trade group goes to federal court next week to try to block a New York state law that would punish airlines for stranding passengers on jets without adequate food, water or sanitation.”

Posted at 8:12 AM by Howard Bashman

“Government’s Post-9/11 Actions Questioned”: The New York Sun today contains an article that begins, “A federal appellate judge questioned the government’s accountability with respect to air quality in Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, during oral arguments yesterday in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Government says it’s wrong to blame Whitman for 9/11 air comments.”

Posted at 8:05 AM by Howard Bashman

“Church / state wall goes just 1 way: A 60-year-old ruling has helped turn the Establishment Clause on its head.” Today in The Orange County Register, Gary M. Galles has an op-ed that begins, “Atheist Michael Newdow is renewing his legal attack against God. This month, he argued before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance make requiring students to say it unconstitutional.”

Posted at 7:53 AM by Howard Bashman

“The Rhode Island Supreme Court Denies a Divorce to a Same-Sex Couple That Was Married in Massachusetts: Why This Case Was Wrongly Decided.” Joanna Grossman has this essay online today at FindLaw.

Posted at 7:45 AM by Howard Bashman