How Appealing

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

“Chicago judge faces questions at confirmation hearing”: James Oliphant of The Chicago Tribune provides a news update that begins, “In his bid to be the second-ranking official at the Justice Department, Chicago federal Judge Mark Filip ran afoul Wednesday of the same tripwire that almost did in his putative boss, Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey. Filip refused repeatedly to declare the interrogation practice known as waterboarding illegal, despite the urging of several senators. While his hesitation is unlikely to jeopardize his nomination to be deputy attorney general, it again underscored the level of tension between Congress and the Justice Department over the issue of torture.”

Posted at 10:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Exxon to argue damages award conflicts with maritime law”: The Anchorage Daily News provides an update that begins, “Exxon Mobil will argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court that the $2.5 billion it was ordered to pay in punitive damages — one of the largest awards ever against an American corporation — was in conflict with more than 200 years of maritime law. Exxon filed a brief in the case Monday, arguing mostly that trial and appellate courts erred in blaming the company for the actions of captain Joe Hazelwood when the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Prince William Sound in 1989 and spilled nearly 11 million gallons of crude oil.”

The newspaper has posted online at this link Exxon’s opening brief on the merits.

Posted at 10:27 PM by Howard Bashman

“9th Circuit in Line for New Judgeship; Congress Agrees to Reorganization as Part of Security Bill”: Lawrence Hurley has this article today in The Daily Journal of California.

Posted at 10:15 PM by Howard Bashman

“Judge rules in favor of Avvo’s online rankings; Attorney ratings protected under First Amendment”: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer contains this article today.

The Seattle Times reports today that “Lawyers’ suit over site’s legal ratings dismissed.”

And The Associated Press provides an article headlined “Federal judge: Web site is free to rate lawyers.”

Avvo, Inc. issued a press release headlined “U.S. District Court Dismisses Case Against Avvo; Court Grants Company’s Motion to Dismiss With Prejudice, Supports Avvo’s First Amendment Right to Express Opinion.” Via the “Avvo blog,” you can access yesterday’s ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at this link.

Posted at 8:20 PM by Howard Bashman

Programming note: A client I will be representing on direct appeal from a criminal conviction is being sentenced today at a courthouse in central Pennsylvania. Moments from now I will be traveling there to observe the proceeding. Additional posts will appear here later today.

Posted at 10:54 AM by Howard Bashman

“Senate approves Tinder for appeals court”: The Indianapolis Star provides a news update that begins, “The Senate has confirmed U.S. District Judge John Daniel Tinder of Indianapolis to a seat on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The vote, held late Tuesday, was 93-0. President Bush nominated Tinder to replace Judge Daniel A. Manion, a former Indiana state senator. Manion is moving to ‘senior status’ on the court, giving him a lighter caseload.”

You can view the U.S. Senate‘s official roll call vote tally at this link.

Posted at 10:47 AM by Howard Bashman

“Lacking Options, Officials Keep Schizophrenic in Jail”: This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on today’s broadcast of NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

On November 30, 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a press release entitled “ACLU Urges Court to Fine Virgin Islands Officials for Indefinitely Detaining Innocent Mentally Ill Inmates; After Violating Two Court Orders, Government Should Face Contempt Fines, ACLU Says.”

The federal district court in the U.S. Virgin Islands is under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Posted at 9:10 AM by Howard Bashman

Available online from An article headlined “9th Circuit: Trademark Plaintiffs Can’t Have It All; Appeals court panel concludes plaintiffs can’t collect fees based only on statutory damages for trademark counterfeiting” reports on this ruling that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued yesterday.

And an article headlined “Defense Lawyers Take Issue With 9th Circuit Ruling on Closing Courtrooms” reports on a ruling that the Ninth Circuit issued on Monday.

Posted at 8:50 AM by Howard Bashman

“Lindh no terrorist, parents say in new plea to commute sentence”: Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, “John Walker Lindh’s lawyers and parents appealed to President Bush for the fourth time Tuesday to commute the Marin County man’s 20-year prison sentence for aiding the Taliban in 2001, saying the nation has grown less fearful since then and that others convicted of similar charges have been treated more leniently.”

Posted at 8:45 AM by Howard Bashman

“Military lawyers stay unbridled; White House drops veto bid on promotions”: Today in The Boston Globe, Charlie Savage has an article that begins, “The Bush administration is dropping a plan to take control over the promotions of military lawyers, following an outpouring of alarm over the independence of uniformed attorneys who have repeatedly objected to the White House’s policies toward prisoners in the war on terrorism.”

Posted at 8:22 AM by Howard Bashman

“Bush Lawyers Discussed Fate of C.I.A. Tapes”: The New York Times today contains an article that begins, “At least four top White House lawyers took part in discussions with the Central Intelligence Agency between 2003 and 2005 about whether to destroy videotapes showing the secret interrogations of two operatives from Al Qaeda, according to current and former administration and intelligence officials. The accounts indicate that the involvement of White House officials in the discussions before the destruction of the tapes in November 2005 was more extensive than Bush administration officials have acknowledged.”

The Washington Post reports today that “Judge Schedules Hearing On CIA Tape Destruction; Agency Acted Despite Order to Preserve.” The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled “A Job for Justice: Congress has legitimate questions in the CIA tapes case, but any criminality needs to be dealt with first.”

And The Los Angeles Times reports that “Destruction of CIA tapes may have violated a court order; A federal judge will investigate whether the action defied his instructions to the federal government to preserve evidence in terrorism detentions.”

Posted at 8:17 AM by Howard Bashman

“Waivers can’t stop skier suits”: Today in The Salt Lake Tribune, Pamela Manson has an article that begins, “Ski resorts took a nasty fall Tuesday when the Utah Supreme Court ruled waivers can’t prevent injured skiers from suing the resorts for negligence. Barring those suits is not in the best interests of society, the court said.”

You can access yesterday’s 3-2 ruling of the Supreme Court of Utah at this link.

Posted at 8:05 AM by Howard Bashman

“Judges narrow case to two points; The appeal’s outcome could boil down to the significance of Nacchio’s inside information and a witness’ exclusion”: This article appears today in The Denver Post. In addition, columnist Al Lewis has an essay entitled “Nacchio’s got me, babe.”

And The Rocky Mountain News reports today that “Case may hinge on witness; Appellate judges show concern that law professor couldn’t testify.” In related commentary, David Milstead has an essay entitled “What world are the judges and Nacchio’s defense living in?” while Scott Robinson has an essay entitled “New precedent is only certainty.”

Posted at 7:52 AM by Howard Bashman

“A Positive Development in All the Sentencing Insanity: How The Supreme Court and the U.S. Sentencing Commission Have Begun to Correct the Damage Done by the War on Drugs.” Mark H. Allenbaugh has this essay online today at FindLaw.

Posted at 7:44 AM by Howard Bashman