How Appealing

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

“Layshock case becomes free-speech issue; Appeals court to decide whether school exceeded authority in punishing student”: Sunday’s edition of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette contained an article that begins, “What began as a lowbrow parody of a high school principal goes before a federal appeals court this week. The case of Justin Layshock, who lanced his principal with an unflattering Internet ‘profile’ created on a home computer, has become a battleground pitting Pennsylvania school administrators against groups that defend free-speech rights. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia will hear arguments from each side Wednesday.”

In earlier coverage, The Herald of Sharon, Pennsylvania contained articles headlined “Trosch drops defamation suit against 3 of 4 former students“; “Appeals court might hear Layshock case in December“; “Groups support Layshock lawsuit; Say students have right to free speech” and “Principal sues 4 ex-students over profiles on Myspace.”

And at the First Amendment Center, Douglas Lee had an essay about the trial court’s ruling headlined “Lower court takes narrow view of ‘Bong Hits’ ruling.”

The ACLU of Pennsylvania provides access to the appellate briefs via this link.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit assigned to hear oral argument in this appeal tomorrow will consist of Circuit Judges Theodore A. McKee and D. Brooks Smith and Senior Circuit Judge Jane R. Roth.

Posted at 11:12 PM by Howard Bashman

“Hecht’s fine, like ethics, will disappear: Texas Supreme Court Justice fined for illegal contributions through legal discount got off easy with $29,000 fine that he’ll pay with donations.” This editorial appears today in The Austin American-Statesman.

Posted at 10:33 PM by Howard Bashman

“Reporter names no sources at deposition; Contempt hearing may be sought in leaks lawsuit”: Today’s edition of The Detroit Free Press contains an article that begins, “For 50 minutes through scores of questions, Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter declined under oath Monday afternoon to reveal confidential sources in a legal standoff that pits journalistic principles against the obligation to testify under court order. Time and again, the lawyer for ex-federal prosecutor Richard Convertino peppered Ashenfelter with questions trying to discover who leaked word of a confidential Justice Department probe of Convertino’s handling of a discredited Detroit terrorism case.”

The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled “Reporter ‘takes the Fifth’ on behalf of people’s right to know.”

And The Detroit News reports that “Reporter won’t reveal sources in deposition.”

Posted at 10:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Feds want Ressam’s cooperation credit rescinded”: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a news update that begins, “Federal prosecutors — who proclaimed last week that they would seek yet another sentencing for would-be millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam — moved Tuesday to withdraw credit given Ressam for helping to convict a fellow terrorist.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Prosecutors seek yet another sentencing for Ressam.”

Posted at 5:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Justices weigh concealed evidence in death case”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “A convicted killer on death row in Tennessee since 1984 could be spared execution following arguments Tuesday at the Supreme Court. The justices showed rare bursts of anger in discussing a local prosecutor’s failure to turn over key evidence to lawyers defending Gary Bradford Cone.”

You can access the transcript of today’s U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in Cone v. Bell, No. 07-1114, at this link.

Posted at 4:35 PM by Howard Bashman

“Attorneys conclude Supreme Court arguments in gay marriage case”: The Des Moines Register provides this news update. The newspaper also offers online access to a video replay of the oral argument at this link.

Posted at 2:28 PM by Howard Bashman

“Court: Craig’s guilty plea to bathroom sex solicitation stands; The Court of Appeals rejected an appeal from Sen. Larry Craig who was nabbed in a sex sting in a restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune provides this news update.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a news update headlined “Appeals court: Craig ‘admitted’ guilt in airport sting case.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Sen. Craig loses appeal in airport sex sting case.”

You can access today’s unpublished ruling of the Court of Appeals of Minnesota at this link.

Posted at 12:25 PM by Howard Bashman

“Iowa Supreme Court readies for today’s gay marriage case”: The Des Moines Register provides a news update that begins, “Oral arguments in the Iowa Supreme Court’s landmark gay marriage case will begin at 10 a.m. as scheduled, starting with 30-minute arguments from Polk County. Lawyers for six same-sex Iowa couples will then present their case and answer questions from the seven justices.”

You can view the oral argument — scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. eastern time, just moments from now — live, online by clicking here (direct feed from the Supreme Court of Iowa; Windows Media Player required) or here (embedded video from The Des Moines Register).

Posted at 10:57 AM by Howard Bashman

“Former Governor Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy’s appeal nears; Defense says trial riddled with errors”: Yesterday’s issue of The Birmingham News contained an article that begins, “Gov. Don Siegelman and HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy will ask three federal judges Tuesday to overturn their bribery convictions, arguing their 2006 trial was riddled with errors.”

The Associated Press provides reports headlined “Siegelman appeal hearing scheduled for Tuesday” and “Siegelman optimistic about court hearing.”

And AmLaw’s “Litigation Daily” blog has a post titled “Eleventh Circuit to Hear Scrushy/Siegelman Bribery Appeal.”

Posted at 10:50 AM by Howard Bashman

“Former Pembroke Pines student sues principal over Facebook suspension”: Today’s edition of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel contains an article that begins, “A former Pembroke Pines Charter High School student filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against the school’s principal, alleging that he violated her first-amendment rights by suspending her for creating a Facebook page that criticized one of her teachers. Katherine Evans called her Advanced Placement English teacher ‘the worst teacher I’ve ever met!’ on a page she created on the popular social networking site in November 2007 when she was a senior in high school, said the suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.”

The ACLU of Florida has issued a news release titled “ACLU Sues to Protect Broward Student’s Free Speech in Web 2.0 World ; Off-Campus Facebook Posting Covered by First Amendment.” You can access the complaint filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida at this link.

Posted at 9:24 AM by Howard Bashman

“Supreme Court’s punitive damage clarity: Lower courts may have tried a legal end run around the high court in a tobacco case, but the justices have indicated that may be coming to an end.” This editorial appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 9:03 AM by Howard Bashman

“Md. Court Weighs Internet Anonymity; Case Pits Free Speech Against Redress for Defamation”: The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, “In a First Amendment case with implications for everything from neighborhood e-mail lists to national newspapers, an Eastern Shore businessman argued to Maryland’s highest court yesterday that the host of an online forum should be forced to reveal the identities of people who posted allegedly defamatory comments. It is the first time the Maryland Court of Appeals has confronted the question of online anonymity, an issue that has surfaced in state and federal courts over the past few years as blogs and other online forums have increasingly become part of the national discourse.”

And The Maryland Daily Record reports that “Top court grapples with online anonymity.”

You can access some of the appellate briefs filed in the case here and here.

You can view yesterday’s oral argument before the Court of Appeals of Maryland — that State’s highest court — by clicking here (Windows Media Player required).

Posted at 8:50 AM by Howard Bashman

“Five offer guilty pleas in 9/11 plot; A chaotic day at the Guantanamo war court featured an effort by five 9/11 attack suspects to enter guilty pleas in the death-penalty case”: Carol Rosenberg has this article today in The Miami Herald.

The New York Times reports today that “Alleged 9/11 Plotters Offer to Confess at Guantanamo.”

The Washington Post contains articles headlined “Five 9/11 Suspects Offer to Confess; But Proposal Is Pulled Over Death Penalty Issue” and “Offer of Plea Serves Mohammed and Bush; Both Sides Seem to Want Quick Conclusion.”

In The Los Angeles Times, Carol J. Williams has an article headlined “Chaos at Guantanamo tribunal; Five alleged Sept. 11 plotters offer to plead guilty, then three decline; One pledges loyalty to Bin Laden.”

In The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin reports that “Key Sept. 11 Defendants Want to File Guilty Pleas.” In addition, William McGurn has an op-ed entitled “Now for an Honest Debate on Gitmo.”

The Boston Globe reports that “Five try to plead guilty in 9/11 attacks.”

USA Today reports that “Five accused in 9/11 ask to plead guilty; Defendants seek to end tribunal at Guantanamo.”

Newsday contains articles headlined “9/11 families have mixed emotions on confessions” and “9/11 confessions wouldn’t mean swift executions.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Accused 9/11 plotters say they want to confess.”

Posted at 8:25 AM by Howard Bashman

“Court to hear Davis’ plea for new trial; Familiar place: Man condemned to die for the 1989 murder of a Savannah police officer has received 3 stays of execution in 17 months.” Today in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rhonda Cook and Bill Rankin have an article that begins, “Those who love convicted killer Troy Anthony Davis and those who loved slain Savannah police Officer Mark MacPhail find themselves in a familiar, painful place again: preparing for a court hearing on the 19-year-old murder case. Is Davis innocent? Should recanting or backtracking witnesses be heard? Or has too much time passed? Have there been too many unnecessary legal contortions in a death penalty case that has come close to finality with executions scheduled three times in the past 17 months? Today the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear Davis’ request for a new trial on the basis that he didn’t do it, an appeal called a ‘stand-alone innocence’ claim.”

Posted at 8:03 AM by Howard Bashman

“Court weighs jury-selection survey lawsuit”: The Providence Journal today contains an article that begins, “The Providence Journal yesterday told the Rhode Island Supreme Court that the public should be able to see written questions during jury selection just as if the same questions had been asked out loud in open court.”

Posted at 7:50 AM by Howard Bashman

Some en banc developments from here and there: This afternoon at 3 p.m. eastern time, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is scheduled to hear en banc oral argument in the case captioned Maher Arar v. John Ashcroft. C-SPAN is planning to broadcast the oral argument live. The Center for Constitutional Rights provides background on the case and access to court filings via this link.

And this morning at “The Volokh Conspiracy,” Orin Kerr has a post titled “An Analysis of United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing” that begins, “On December 18th, the en banc 9th Circuit will hear oral argument on an important case involving how the Fourth Amendment applies to the search and seizure of computers.”

Posted at 7:45 AM by Howard Bashman