How Appealing

Thursday, October 23, 2008

“Justice Thomas Extols the Need to Listen; In a visit to Atlanta, high court’s quiet justice emphasizes briefs over oral arguments as keys to victory”: This article will appear Friday in the Fulton County Daily Report.

Posted at 11:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Pro Bono for Fun and Profit”: Have media outlets and other commentators accurately portrayed the remarks of Second Circuit Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs on the subject of pro bono work?

Now you can see for yourself, as the Federalist Society has posted online (here [html] and here [PDF]) the text of Chief Judge Jacobs’s address to the Rochester, New York, Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society on October 6, 2008.

Apparently Chief Judge Jacobs anticipated that his remarks might prove controversial, as the final sentence of the first paragraph of his speech states, “In honor of this occasion, I am going to make some remarks that are perhaps more than usually provocative.”

Posted at 5:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Defense questions motives of Joyce’s ex-fiancee”: The Erie (Pa.) Times-News provides an update that begins, “The defense in the trial of former state Superior Court Michael T. Joyce tried to undermine the testimony of a key government witness today by claiming bitterness motivated her to provide information against him.”

Posted at 4:25 PM by Howard Bashman

“Florida Supreme Court strikes down ‘false light’ suits”: The Tallahassee Democrat provides a news update that begins, “The Florida Supreme Court today said newspapers can’t be sued for putting people in a ‘false light’ with their reporting. The court, deciding two cases, said the cause of action does not exist under Florida law. It’s a victory for the news media, protecting against suits brought against reports that were factually true but could put the subjects in a false light. The court said other ways to sue, for defamation and libel, are available to plaintiffs.”

The cases in which the Supreme Court of Florida issued decisions on this subject today are Anderson v. Gannett Co. and Jews for Jesus, Inc. v. Rapp.

Posted at 3:25 PM by Howard Bashman

En banc Ninth Circuit examines what limits the Fourth Amendment places on governmental searches of FedEx packages addressed for delivery outside of the United States: You can access at this link today’s ruling of an eleven-judge en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski was the lone dissenter from today’s en banc ruling, which upheld the search at issue. His dissenting opinion concludes:

The previously “narrow” border search exception, United States v. Sutter, 340 F.3d 1022 (9th Cir. 2003), is now a gaping hole. Every envelope containing birthday cards or trade secrets, every e-mail, every diary, every laptop that crosses the border can be opened and its contents read by government agents, without a warrant or even founded suspicion. Worse yet, by treating these seizures as a trivial annoyance rather than a major intrusion into our freedom of thought, my colleagues open the door for police across the United States to read whatever private papers fall into their hands. This is the power the English government claimed in the Wilkes affair; the power that so outraged the colonists; the power the Fourth Amendment was built to shield us against. We sell this birthright very cheaply today.

My earlier coverage of this case appeared in this post from January 2008 after the Ninth Circuit granted rehearing en banc. The original three-judge panel’s ruling can be accessed here.

Posted at 2:58 PM by Howard Bashman

“Visiting appeals judges hear case on Pa. judges’ raises”: The Philadelphia Inquirer today contains an article that begins, “Three visiting federal appeals court judges heard oral arguments yesterday on whether to reopen a case filed by the League of Women Voters that challenges how state judges were granted a raise in 2005, one that hiked the average salary for some judges by $40,000.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Court weighs government pay raise suit; Panel focusing on whether litigants have the right to sue state.”

Posted at 2:18 PM by Howard Bashman

“Judge Kozinski: The First Amendment Is Dead.” Dave Hoffman had this post Monday evening at the blog “Concurring Opinions.

Posted at 2:03 PM by Howard Bashman

“Measure to tell parents of abortion holds lead”: Today’s edition of The San Francisco Chronicle contains an article that begins, “A California proposition calling for parental notification before an abortion can be performed on a minor is holding on to a slight edge among voters, although a large number of those surveyed say they haven’t made up their mind, according to a new poll.”

And The Los Angeles Times today contains an editorial entitled “No on Proposition 4: The parental notification measure is virtually the same as two previous anti-abortion measures that failed.”

Posted at 9:23 AM by Howard Bashman

“Former judge’s trial in insurance fraud begins”: Today in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jason Cato has an article that begins, “A former state appeals court judge duped insurance companies out of nearly a half-million dollars because he was broke and needed to settle a debt with a former fiancee, prosecutors told a federal jury Wednesday. A lawyer for Michael T. Joyce, who resigned from the Superior Court last year after being indicted on multiple counts of mail fraud and money laundering, countered with claims that the U.S. Attorney’s Office built its case on the words of ‘a vicious, jilted woman,’ Erie architect Shelane Buehler.”

Today in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Paula Reed Ward reports that “Ex-judge’s lawyer says trial a ‘witch hunt.’

And The Erie (Pa.) Times-News contains an article headlined “Fraud or vendetta?

Posted at 9:15 AM by Howard Bashman

“Ex-Judge Back in Court Over His Truant Trousers”: The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, “Roy L. Pearson Jr. was back in court yesterday, trying to revive his highly publicized $54 million lawsuit against a neighborhood dry cleaners over a pair of lost pants.”

Posted at 9:10 AM by Howard Bashman

“U.S. Pressed to Turn Over Detainee Papers; British Court Blasts Inaction, Says Documents Are Vital to Guantanamo Case”: This article appears today in The Washington Post.

Posted at 9:08 AM by Howard Bashman

“Complaint still hangs over judge”: Today’s edition of The Rocky Mountain News contains an article that begins, “A piece of U.S. District Court Judge Edward Nottingham’s legal troubles is still unresolved before a state ethics panel, despite his resignation from the bench. Nottingham stepped down Tuesday amid allegations of judicial misconduct involving a prostitute. The allegations were being investigated by the 10th Circuit Court Judicial Council. A Minnesota man who has tangled with Nottingham in a federal court case filed the same charges last April with the state’s Attorney Regulation Council, which investigates ethical complaints against lawyers. A negative ruling by that panel could be a roadblock if Nottingham decides to resume practicing law in Colorado. Sean Harrington said he made the complaint because the state panel is supposed to protect the public from bad lawyers.” Harrington. who is not an attorney, has closely monitored the events leading to Judge Nottingham’s resignation at Harrington’s web site,

And The Denver Post today contains an editorial entitled “Wise decision to leave bench: Despite his sharp legal mind and work ethic, Judge Edward W. Nottingham’s reputation and integrity have suffered too much.”

Posted at 9:07 AM by Howard Bashman

“Making Punishments Fit the Most Offensive Crimes; Societal Revulsion at Child-Pornography Consumers Has Led to Stiff Prison Sentences — and Caused Some Judges to Rebel”: Amir Efrati has this article today in The Wall Street Journal.

Posted at 8:40 AM by Howard Bashman

“Roe vs. Wade? Bush vs. Gore? What are the worst Supreme Court decisions? Sarah Palin may have been stumped by the question, but conservative and liberal legal experts weren’t.” David G. Savage has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 8:00 AM by Howard Bashman

In commentary available online from FindLaw: Michael C. Dorf has an essay entitled “The Supreme Court Puts Ideology Aside in Deciding a Small But Important Ohio Election Case that Could Affect the 2008 Presidential Election.”

And Anthony J. Sebok has an essay entitled “Judge Jack Weinstein’s Ruling Barring the Use of Race in Calculating the Expected Lifespan of a Man Seeking Tort Damages: An Isolated Decision, or the Beginning of a Legal Revolution?

Posted at 7:50 AM by Howard Bashman