How Appealing

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

“The Prison Overcrowding Fix”: Today’s edition of The New York Times contains a news analysis that begins, “In San Francisco last week, a federal court was hearing final arguments in the prison overcrowding lawsuit that led Monday to an unprecedented decision to reduce the nation’s largest prison system by one-third. Just a few blocks away, a state appellate court was affirming a life sentence for Ali Foroutan, convicted of possession of 0.03 gram of methamphetamine.”

And today’s edition of The Sacramento Bee contains an editorial that begins, “Prisons: Settle, don’t appeal.”

Posted at 8:52 PM by Howard Bashman

“Continuity of the Wrong Kind”: The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, “The Obama administration failed — miserably — the first test of its commitment to ditching the extravagant legal claims used by the Bush administration to try to impose blanket secrecy on anti-terrorism policies and avoid accountability for serial abuses of the law.”

Posted at 8:42 PM by Howard Bashman

“Bush policymaker escapes Berkeley’s wrath; UC Berkeley Professor John Yoo, who crafted the administration’s policy on torture, is teaching at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, where the protests against him aren’t as intense”: This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 8:22 PM by Howard Bashman

“Facing ethics charges over dealings with a stripper, Thomas Stringer resigns as judge”: The St. Petersburg Times today contains a front page article that begins, “Under fire for his financial dealings with a stripper, Judge Thomas E. Stringer Sr. resigned Tuesday from the 2nd District Court of Appeal.” The newspaper also provides an update headlined “Judicial commission to discuss next step in Stringer case.”

And The Tampa Tribune reports today that “Judge Under Investigation For Financial Dealings Resigns.” The newspaper’s web site also provides an update headlined “Judicial Commission Might Call Off Probe Of Judge Stringer.”

Posted at 7:25 PM by Howard Bashman

“NJ court: First Amendment guarantees that ‘douchebag’-filled state may be described accurately.” Ben Sheffner has this post today at his “Copyrights & Campaigns” blog about a ruling that a New Jersey state trial court issued last week.

Additional coverage is available from The Smoking Gun and “The Ampersand” blog of The National Post.

Posted at 5:17 PM by Howard Bashman

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decides the case of John R. Lott, Jr. versus the book Freakonomics: Circuit Judge Terence T. Evans wrote today’s opinion on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel.

The opinion begins:

John Lott, an academic and economist, believes that his reputation was sullied by Freakonomics, the popular and off-beat book written by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Lott’s name was mentioned in one paragraph of the 200-page book, and he understood this passage to be an accusation of scholarly dishonesty. Offended, he filed suit against Levitt and HarperCollins, the publisher of the book, claiming that he had been defamed. The district court dismissed this claim after concluding that the passage could reasonably be read as a refutation of Lott’s controversial theories and not a swipe at his integrity. Lott now appeals.

In today’s ruling, the Seventh Circuit affirms the district court’s dismissal of Lott’s claim that the book’s refutation of Lott’s “more-guns/less-crime hypothesis” was defamatory.

The case was orally argued in October 2008, and you can download the oral argument audio via this link (6.01MB mp3 audio file).

Posted at 2:27 PM by Howard Bashman

Robert Barnes of The Washington Post chats with readers at The online chat occurred yesterday, and you can access the transcript at this link.

Posted at 12:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“Chief Judge Nominee Draws on Administrative Skill”: Today’s edition of The New York Times contains this profile of the nominee to serve as Chief Judge of New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.

The article begins, “When Jonathan Lippman became the presiding justice of the Appellate Division in Manhattan in 2007, he inherited a court with its heels planted firmly in the mud. Judges were taking months — more than a year sometimes — to issue decisions, while cases piled up and litigants were left waiting. Justice Lippman moved aggressively. He made more lawyers available to assist the judges, gave them more definitive schedules and put in regular face time with them to encourage speedier dispositions. A year later, the caseload was down by nearly 75 percent and decisions were coming out much quicker.”

Posted at 11:58 AM by Howard Bashman

“America’s Cup fight sails to court; Billionaires take their battle over world’s premier yacht race to state’s highest court”: The Times Union of Albany, New York contains this front page article today.

The Associated Press reports that “Top court weighs America’s Cup challenges.”

And before yesterday afternoon’s oral argument began in the New York Court of Appeals, Forbes,com posted a report headlined “Inside The Billionaire Boat Battle: The battle for the America’s Cup continues in the courts rather than on the water.”

You can view the archived video of yesterday’s oral argument by clicking here (Windows Media Player required).

Posted at 11:54 AM by Howard Bashman

“Mass. court voids DYS custody based on ‘dangerousness’; Justices’ ruling to free 12 held”: Today’s edition of The Boston Globe contains an article that begins, “The highest court in Massachusetts struck down a law yesterday that allows the state to keep juvenile offenders who are slated to be released at 18 in custody for three more years if they are believed to be dangerous. The Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional will result in the release of a dozen juvenile offenders whom state officials had kept incarcerated after their 18th birthday.”

The Republican of Springfield, Massachusetts reports today that “Juveniles’ release after 18 backed.”

And The Boston Herald reports that “State may fight Supreme Court ruling that would free juveniles.”

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

Posted at 9:02 AM by Howard Bashman

“Kagan Hearings Proceed Smoothly”: The Harvard Crimson today contains an article that begins, “Law School Dean Elena Kagan came one step closer to confirmation as the nation’s top representative to the Supreme Court yesterday, coasting through questions about her scant court experience and legal writings from senators who must approve her nomination.”

Posted at 7:28 AM by Howard Bashman