A regularly updated guide to random legal news that I find interesting -- and hope you will too. And links! Always links!


Thursday, December 05, 2002

Bad lawyer! BAD!

The Florida Supreme Court has disbarred an attorney who filed meritless racial bias employment cases as a form of "extortion." He also allowed a paralegal (who happens to be a convicted felon) to practice law and shared fees with him, according to this.
Ninth Circuit Says 2nd Amendment Does Not Give Individuals the Right To Own Guns

The 69-page opinion contradicts the Fifth Circuit and an Opinion of the U.S. Attorney General. Lining up the ducks for Supreme Court review? Read an article about the opinion here, or read the opinion itself (PDF format).

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Coerced Confessions

Here's an interesting article about the psychology of coerced confessions, relating to the Central Park "wilding" case and its aftermath. UPDATE: Manhattan DA moves to dismiss the 1989 convictions of all five "wilding" defendants. Read about it here.
Italian Man Found Dead 44 Years After 'Trip to U.S.'

Okay. I admit that this story has nothing to do with law. But it was so bizarre that I just had to link to Reuters' coverage of it.
Using RICO Against Abortion Protesters

Read Dahlia Lithwick's report on the oral arguments at the Supreme Court on this issue today. (Sometimes even I start to think that this blog is little more than a mirror site to Lithwick's Supreme Court reporting on Slate. But you've got to admit: She's good, baby. Damn good!) UPDATE: Read CNN's somewhat less amusing (but still interesting) report on the arguments here.
More About The Boalt Hall Dean Scandal

The Contra Costa Times is running a relatively long article about the incident that quotes a professor who says the alleged victim sought her advice months before the scandal surfaced. You can read it here.
Federal Judge Awards $506 Million Against Peeping Pornographers

A Federal District Court Judge in Chicago awarded $1 million in damages and $10 million in punitives each to 46 male college athletes who were secretly taped in their locker rooms, restrooms, and showers. The defendants were eight companies and three individuals who marketed the videos on the internet at sites advertising "hot younger dudes." ESPN is reporting on it here.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Fry Winona! (Sung to the Tune of "My Sharona")

The prosecution has asked for 3 years probation and $26k in restitution and fines at the sentencing hearing this Friday Dec. 6 on Winona Ryder's shoplifting conviction. The Sentencing Memorandum also reveals for the first time that Winona had eight (count 'em, eight!) different kinds of narcotic pain killers on her when arrested. (I personally require a maximum of only six pain killers, all labeled "Budweiser," even on bad days.) (Thanks to thesmokinggun for the link.)
George Michael Going Back to Court re: Beverly Hills Bathroom Hijinks

Musician George Michael was sued for slander by Los Angeles police officer Marcelo Rodriguez after Michael alleged that Rodriquez had entrapped him in Michael's 1998 arrest for lewd behavior in a Beverly Hills public restroom. Michael stated publicly that Rodriguez had "induced" him to misbehave because Rodriguez had exposed himself to and masturbated in front of Michael before Michael got nasty. The trial court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim, but now the Ninth Circuit says Officer Rodriguez can have his day in court. Justice Reinhardt dissents. (PDF format) (Cudos to How Appealing for the link.)
Ninth Circuit Says No State Court Punitive Damages Awards for Conduct Outside State's Borders

In a ruling directly contradicting a recent California Court of Appeals decision (review denied by Cal. Supreme Court), the Ninth Circuit today said punitive damages for actions beyond a state's borders cannot be awarded by a state court, according to this article. You can read the Ninth Circuit's opinion in White v. Ford Motor Company here (PDF format).

Monday, December 02, 2002

Boalt Scrambles to Find New Dean

This promises to get uglier before it gets better. Read about the spinning here. I do not envy the man or woman who winds up with that job. UPDATE: "Legal Experts Stunned."
Closely Divided Supreme Court Jumps Into Social Issues with Both Feet

The Supreme Court today agreed to review two cases raising important social issues. The first concerns the constitutionality of affirmative action admissions programs at colleges and universities -- the first time in almost 25 years that the Court has addressed the issue. The second concerns the constitutionality of state laws forbidding consensual sodomy -- oral or anal sex -- that are invoked almost exclusively against homosexuals. This issue has not been addressed since Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986. No matter which side of these issues you are on, you should probably be worried. With a Court as closely divided as the current one, there's no telling what precedent may be set in these important cases. Read coverage from here.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Beginning of the End of Asbestos Litigation?

A settlement by Sealed Air Corp. on Friday is raising hopes (noted by the financial markets) that the end of the asbestos litigation nightmare may finally be coming into view, according to this article. UPDATE (12/18/02): Halliburton has also settled all its asbestos claims, for some $4 billion, according to this.
IOLTA Case Before Supreme Court Dec. 9

The conservative Washington Legal Foundation claims that funding for civil legal aid derived from interest on lawyers' trust accounts constitutes an unconstitutional taking of property belonging to clients. Their fight has gone on for more than ten years. But this article suggests that the true motive is an attack on "radical legal groups" that are funded through the programs.
Supreme Court to Hear Argument in Miranda Case Wednesday

After shooting him five times, police aggressively interrogated Oliverio Martinez, continuing in the ambulance and then the emergency room, all without reading him his rights. Martinez was never charged, but he brought a civil suit alleging, among other things, "coercive interrogation." The police argue that Miranda does not confer a right not to be interrogated, only a right not to have coerced and un-Mirandized statements used by the prosecution in a criminal trial. The Supreme Court hears arguments December 4, and civil libertarians fear it might lead to an erosion of Miranda rights. Read more about it here.


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