WeirdOfTheNews
 

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

 
 

Saturday, January 11, 2003

 
Supreme Court To Address Commercial Speech

The Supreme Court agreed to consider the Nike case on Friday. The case concerns whether Nike can be sued for allegedly false or misleading PR statements, or whether those statements are protected by the First Amendment, law.com reports.
 
Phony Lawyer 'Just a Scam Artist'

She scammed the Bank of America and two So. Cal. law firms. Now she faces up to seven years in prison, according to this.
 
HE DID IT! Illinois Governor Commutes All Death Sentences

After thirteen death row inmates were found innocent, Republican Governor George Ryan, with two days left in office, concluded that the system was "broken" and commuted the sentences of the more that 150 remaining death row inmates in Illinois. I think he's a hero. Read all about it here.

Friday, January 10, 2003

 
Four Pardons and as Many as 150 Death Sentence Reprieves

Outgoing Illinois Gov. George Ryan is expected grant four complete pardons and to commute as many as 150 death sentences due to malfeasance -- including torture -- on the part of the Chicago police, according to this.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

 
Censoring Students' Speech

Just today, some high school kids in Cleveland filed a lawsuit against their school district for violating their First Amendment rights by confiscating copies of their school paper because it contained an article about student drinking, the AP is reporting. Coincidentally, also today, my favorite Supreme Court reporter, Dahlia Lithwick, published an article about students' First Amendment rights and school censorship, which you can access here on Slate.
 
9th Circuit Justice in Hot Water After Chopping Down 120 Trees in Public Park for View

It may have all been a misunderstanding, but at the end of the day the Justice's Vietnamese gardener cut down some 120 big-leaf maple and indigenous cherry trees (some of them 40 years old) in a Seattle public park so the Justice could have clear views of the lake from his luxury home. Those pesky Seattle nature buffs are none too pleased about Justice Jerome Farris' actions. The DA has decided against charging him with a felony, and he's offered to pay to restore the damage, according to this.
 
Drunk Driving Victim Sues Designated Driver

The defendant allegedly agreed to be a designated driver, but then let her drunk friend drive. Now she's defending a civil conspiracy claim under a novel theory that another lawyer characterizes as "pretty solid." Read all about it here.
 
County Clerk Tries To Block Release Of 600 Lurid E-Mails

Arapahoe, Colorado County Clerk Tracy Butler is trying to block the release of some six hundred luridly sexual emails he exchanged on his work computer with his female deputy. Doh! TheDenverChannel.com reports it here. UPDATE: A court has blocked the release of the emails for 20 days, giving Mr. Butler an opportunity to appeal the earlier court order saying they should be released, according to this.
 
Boston Bloodbath

Boston law firm Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault has just laid off 34 1st and 2nd-year associates -- or nine percent of its total lawyers, according to this.
 
South Carolina Law Firm Ripped Apart By Huge Tobacco Fees

The small firm netted between $2 and $3 billion in fees. Now it has split apart, with former partners suing each other. The fight includes disputes over the firm's $18 million Falcon 50 corporate jet (one of several), and has the former partners calling each other endearing diminutives such as "antichrist" and "dictator," according to this article.
 
White Supremacist Groups: Setback or Opportunity?

The recent arrest of one leader and the death of another has thrown some groups into turmoil. But such turmoil often results in acts of violence by members, according to this.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

 
Rehnquist's Legacy: Federalism

Sooner or later (perhaps sooner . . .), Chief Justice Rehnquist will retire. How will "The Rehnquist Era" be viewed in the future? This interesting article argues that Rehnquist will be remembered for the blossoming of federalism and for "breathing new life into the 10th Amendment." It discusses what may be the genesis the movement spearheaded by Rehnquist -- his dissent in an obscure 1975 decision, Fry v. United States. Duke University law Professor H. Jefferson Powell says: "What was viewed in Fry as basically a lunatic position has now become orthodoxy. Chief Justice Rehnquist has shifted the center of the discussion so far it would take a long time to shift it back. He took the long view, and he has won." For better or worse . . . .
 
Ouch! Lawyer Must Pay Insurer's Fees for Frivolous Claim

She tried to argue that the insurer who provided her client's health insurance through his employer was his "constructive employer." Now she'll have to personally pay the insurer's legal fees, including a "lodestar," according to this.
 
Philadelphia Judges Consider Formal Complaint Against Tough District Attorney

The DA, once dubbed "America's deadliest DA" for her lust for the death penalty, has repeatedly slammed judges in the press for being too lenient on criminals. Now the judges may slam her back, according to this.
 
Lawsuit May Stop The Superbowl

An attorney has filed an application for an injunction in U.S. District Court to force Qualcomm Stadium to comply with the terms of a 2001 settlement in which it agreed to improve access for the disabled, according to this at overlawyered.com.
 
Free Illegal Parking For Those Who Lease Cars???

A court in Detroit has held that Ford Motor Credit Co. is responsible for unpaid parking tickets on cars it leased to customers because it remained the owner of record of the vehicles, according to this.
 
Remind Me Not To Propose to Either of These People

A 66 year old Iowa stock broker spent more than $330,000 on his fiance before she dumped him. Now he's suing to get his "investment" back, according to this.
 
Convicted Arkansas Judge Gets Pension

Judge Owens was convicted of registering a motor home at a fictitious address in another state to avoid paying taxes. He continued fighting efforts to remove him from the bench just long enough to pass the ten-year mark (earning a pension) and then resigned. Read all about it here.
 
Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds You

After attorney Kathleen Zellner helped to clear four men wrongly jailed for a murder they did not commit, one of the men tried to blackmail her. She contacted prosecutors, and now he's back in jail, the Associated Press is reporting.

Monday, January 06, 2003

 
Lawsuits and Higher Insurance Fees Hitting Stupid "Reality TV" Series

At first, the shows proliferated because they were cheap to produce. But now the asinine antics of the producers of some of them are driving up the costs, according to this article from the New York Times.
 
Cal. Supreme Court Says Rape Begins When Woman Says "Stop"

In a 7-0 opinion, the Court held today that sex that begins consensually can still legally constitute rape if the man keeps going after the woman says "stop." Sounds like good sense to me. The AP is reporting on it here, or read the Court's opinion here.
 
Scope of the Fifth Amendment

As discussed below, the Supreme Court will decide a case (Chavez v. Martinez) this term that will reconcile different views of the scope of the Fifth Amendment's protection against un-Mirandized interrogations. CNN has a long and interesting article about the issue presented here.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

 
First Asbestos, Then Tobacco. Are SUVs Next?

The New York Times thinks SUVs are the next big target for the plaintiffs' bar, according to this article.

 

 
   
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