How Appealing

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

“Obama, Biden pay visit to Supreme Court”: Mark Sherman of The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “President-elect Barack Obama paid a relaxed, pre-inaugural visit to the Supreme Court Wednesday at the invitation of the man whose confirmation he opposed.”

At “The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times,” Tony Mauro has a post titled “A Chat Around the Fireplace for Obama, Biden, and the Supreme Court.”

And at “SCOTUSblog,” Lyle Denniston has a post titled “A conversation at the fireplace.”

Posted at 8:09 PM by Howard Bashman

“US judge orders release of young Gitmo detainee”: Jesse J. Holland of The Associated Press has a report that begins, “A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the military to release one of its first Guantanamo Bay detainees, a 21-year-old man who has been detained and accused of being a terrorist since he was 14.”

You can access today’s ruling of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia at this link.

Posted at 5:58 PM by Howard Bashman

“Supreme Court limits ‘exclusionary rule’; The 5-4 decision allows police to use evidence seized under a search warrant that is later found to be faulty because of a computer or bookkeeping error”: David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times has this news update.

Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News reports that “Illegally Seized Evidence Can Be Used, Top Court Says.”

At “SCOTUSblog,” Tom Goldstein has a post titled “The Surpassing Significance of Herring.”

And at “The Volokh Conspiracy,” Orin Kerr has this post about the ruling.

Posted at 3:47 PM by Howard Bashman

“In Invitation, CJ Roberts Promised A ‘Warm Welcome’ for Obama”: At “The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times,” Tony Mauro has a post that begins, “Today’s courtesy call at the Supreme Court by President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden was the result of a friendly written invitation to Obama from Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. dated Dec. 5.”

Posted at 3:38 PM by Howard Bashman

“Judical panel seems to back Manuel Noriega’s extradition to France”: Jay Weaver of The Miami Herald has a news update that begins, “Lawyers for Manuel Antonio Noriega, the jailed Panamanian general whose country was invaded by the United States almost two decades ago, faced tough questions Wednesday from an appeals court that seemed to support his extradition to France rather than his repatriation to Panama.”

The Associated Press reports that “Noriega fights extradition before appeals court.”

And reports that “Courts try to decide what to do with Manuel Noriega.”

Update: Reuters reports that “Panama’s Noriega fights U.S. extradition to France.”

Posted at 12:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“Teacher-student sex ban doesn’t always apply, appeals court rules; State law does not ban teachers from having sex with 18-year-old students, according to a ruling by a unanimous panel of appellate judges”: The Seattle Times today contains an article that begins, “State law does not ban teachers from having sex with 18-year-old students, according to a unanimous ruling by a panel of appellate judges.”

The Tri-City Herald of Kennewick, Washington reports today that “Appeals court rules case of teacher, student having sex should be dismissed.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Teacher sex with 18-year-olds not illegal, court rules.”

An all-female three-judge panel of the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II, issued yesterday’s ruling.

Elsewhere, an article published today in The Des Moines Register reminds us that teacher-student sex apparently remains illegal in Iowa even though the student is 18 years old.

Posted at 11:14 AM by Howard Bashman

“Remembering the Clinton-Gore Visit to the Supreme Court”: Tony Mauro has this post today at “The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.”

Posted at 11:00 AM by Howard Bashman

Access online today’s two U.S. Supreme Court opinions in argued cases: The Court today issued two opinions in argued cases.

1. In Oregon v. Ice, No. 07-901, the Court ruled 5-4 that “[i]n light of historical practice and the States’ authority over administration of their criminal justice systems, the Sixth Amendment does not inhibit States from assigning to judges, rather than to juries, the finding of facts necessary to the imposition of consecutive, rather than concurrent, sentences for multiple offenses.” You can access the opinion at this link. Because this case involves the allocation of sentencing powers between the judge and the jury, the outcome produced an unusual voting alignment typical of such cases. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion, in which Justices John Paul Stevens, Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer, and Samuel A. Alito, Jr. joined. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the dissenting opinion, in which the Chief Justice and Justices David H. Souter and Clarence Thomas joined. You can access the oral argument transcript at this link.

2. And in Herring v. United States, No. 07-513, the Court ruled 5-4 that “[w]hen police mistakes leading to an unlawful search are the result of isolated negligence attenuated from the search, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements,the exclusionary rule does not apply.” You can access the opinion at this link. This case produced the more typical “conservative” versus “liberal” 5-4 split. The Chief Justice wrote the majority opinion, in which Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito joined. Justice Ginsburg wrote the lead dissent, in which Justices Stevens, Souter, and Breyer joined. Justice Breyer also wrote a separate dissent, in which Justice Souter also joined. You can access the oral argument transcript at this link.

At “SCOTUSblog,” Lyle Denniston has a post titled “Court expands judges’ sentencing powers.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Court says evidence valid despite police error” and “Court affirms judges’ discretion in sentencing.”

Posted at 10:45 AM by Howard Bashman

“There’s no evidence Jessica’s Law works, California officials say; A state board says tight residency limits on sex offenders have driven many to homelessness, which could propel them back into crime; The state spends $25 million housing some of the offenders”: The Los Angeles Times contains this article today.

Posted at 9:38 AM by Howard Bashman

“A Test of The Power To Unpardon: The courts should uphold Bush’s revocation of clemency to a sordid developer.” George Lardner Jr. has this op-ed today in The Washington Post.

Posted at 9:25 AM by Howard Bashman

“Report Cites Political and Racial Bias At Justice; Watchdogs Say Ex-Official Broke Civil Service Laws”: This article appears today in The Washington Post.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that “Probe Faults Hiring at Justice Division.” provides an article headlined “Report: Politics, Ideology Drove Hiring Decisions in Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; Last of four reports on DOJ hiring includes complaints that lawyers were pulled off cases for being ‘treacherous’ to agenda.”

And yesterday evening’s broadcast of NPR’s “All Things Considered” contained an audio segment entitled “Report: Justice Official Made Politically Biased Hires” (RealPlayer required).

I linked to additional coverage and to the report itself in this post from last night.

Posted at 9:10 AM by Howard Bashman

“JQC accuses Tampa judge of fiscal shenanigans with stripper”: The St. Petersburg Times today contains an article that begins, “An appeals judge who made history as Stetson University’s first black law school graduate is in trouble with the state Judicial Qualifications Commission, accused of taking gifts from a stripper and helping hide her assets from creditors.”

And The Tampa Tribune reports today that “Judge Charged In Stripper Inquiry.”

You can access at this link the formal charges filed yesterday by the Investigative Panel of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Posted at 8:57 AM by Howard Bashman

“Holder may reverse Bush secrecy”: Pete Yost of The Associated Press provides this report.

Today’s edition of The Los Angeles Times contains an editorial entitled “Eric Holder’s challenge: Atty. Gen.-nominee Eric Holder was a key Obama advisor; Now he must put politics aside.”

And CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen has a “CourtWatch” column headlined “A Nation Looks For Candor At Justice; The Only Suspense In AG Nominee Eric Holder’s Confirmation Hearing Is Whether He Answers The Tough Questions.”

Posted at 8:52 AM by Howard Bashman

“Paterson Picks Chief Judge Nominee”: Today’s edition of The New York Times contains an article that begins, “Gov. David A. Paterson nominated Justice Jonathan Lippman on Tuesday to be the next chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.”

And provides a report headlined “Sources: Lippman Chosen for N.Y. Chief Judge Slot.”

Posted at 8:47 AM by Howard Bashman

“Gableman loses request to bar commission from continuing case”: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today contains an article that begins, “A three-judge panel considering an ethics complaint against state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman on Tuesday dismissed a request by Gableman that the state Judicial Commission be barred from continuing its case. The Judicial Commission filed allegations against Gableman in October claiming he knowingly lied in a campaign ad last spring. A three-judge panel is now reviewing the allegations; the panel will forward its findings to the Supreme Court to decide what punishment, if any, Gableman should face.”

Posted at 8:33 AM by Howard Bashman

“Report Finds Online Threats to Children Overblown”: The New York Times today contains an article that begins, “The Internet may not be such a dangerous place for children after all. A task force created by 49 state attorneys general to look into the problem of sexual solicitation of children online has concluded that there really is not a significant problem.”

And today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal contains an article headlined “No Easy Answer for Protecting Kids Online; Study Finds Risks Children Face on the Web Aren’t Too Different From Real-World Problems.”

The task force’s report can be accessed via the web site of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force.

Posted at 8:27 AM by Howard Bashman

“Bush pushed the limits of presidential power: With Cheney’s urging, he insisted that he had that right under the US Constitution, especially during wartime.” Warren Richey has this article today in The Christian Science Monitor.

Posted at 8:07 AM by Howard Bashman

Perhaps that’s why they’re U.S. Supreme Court Justices drafters of U.S. Supreme Court syllabi rather than mathematicians: A reader who is currently based at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan emails to point out that the syllabus of yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Jimenez v. Quarterman, No. 07-6984, contains a rather obvious math error. that’s repeated three times (once in the unanimous majority opinion, at page 4, and twice in first paragraph of the syllabus).

My correspondent emails:

In the opening syllabus paragraph of Jimenez vs. Quarterman, the line,

“Petitioner filed a second state habeas application on December 6, 2004, which was denied 355 days later, on June 29, 2005.”

Whoops. In the military we frequently use “Julian Dates” which are quite helpful in counting spans of days.

December 6 in 2004 (a leap year) was 341 out of 366, and June 29, 2005 was 180.

So the actual span of days was 180 + (366-341) = “205 days later.” So, it seems unlikely to be a mere typo.

“355 days later” would have been November 26, 2005.

Thanks much to my Bagram-based reader for sending this along.

Update: Contrary to a mistake that I interjected into my original post, the Court’s opinion is not in error, as another reader has kindly emailed to note:

With regard to your Jimenez v. Quarterman post at 8:04a today, I note that the majority opinion, at page 4, does not contain the math error in the syllabus, contrary to the post’s statement. The opinion states that “less than one year of included time” (emphasis added) passed between January 6, 2004, and July 19, 2005. “Included” there means “counted against the limitations period,” and that’s correct: there were 560 actual calendar days between January 6, 2004 and July 19, 2005. The post-conviction petition was pending from December 6, 2004 through June 29, 2005, which is 205 days, and the habeas petitioner argued that those days were not counted against the limitations period. 560 – 205 = 355 “included” days.

Thanks much to this reader pointing out that I, in my original post, overstated the extent of the error.

Posted at 8:04 AM by Howard Bashman