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


Friday, March 28, 2003

Stogner v. California

"On Monday, March 31, the [U.S. Supreme] Court will hear arguments in Marion R. Stogner v. California, No. 01-1757. Marion Stogner was 70 years old when he was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing two children up to 50 years prior to his arrest. Police uncovered evidence of the abuse while investigating claims of sexual abuse against his children, and charged him under Cal. Penal Code ยง 803(g), which provides for prosecution of child molestation charges for up to one year from the time that the adult victim reports the conduct to the authorities, regardless of the time that the actual molestation is alleged to have occurred." The case has potentially widespread ramifications for statutes of limitations -- and raises issues of first impression for the Supreme Court. Read all about it on SCOTUSBlog here.
Snoop's Pimp Slapp'n Suit

"A California man who left a message on Snoop Dogg's home answering machine bashing the rapper's ex-boss and nemesis, hip-hop kingpin Marion "Suge" Knight, has filed a lawsuit against Snoop for including the taped recording on a track called 'Pimp Slapp'd' off Snoop's Paid Tha Cost to Be da Bo$$. The man claims the inclusion of the track on the 2002 album has put his life in jeopardy," it says here.
Is the War Legal?

"For William Taft IV, it wasn't an easy sell. Addressing a crowd of 60 international lawyers at an American Bar Association dinner in Washington, D.C., on March 13, the State Department's top attorney laid out the administration's legal authority for war with Iraq. The reaction, says one attendee, was less than receptive." Read the details and test your own reaction here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Supreme Court Considers Challenge to Sodomy Law

Reuters is reporting on the oral arguments in the Texas sodomy case today. The Court appeared deeply divided, as reported here.
Supreme Court Protects Legal Aid for Poor

"The Supreme Court on Wednesday narrowly upheld a practice used in every state to raise money for legal services for the poor. The court's 5-4 decision was a huge relief to advocates for the poor. A ruling the other way would have wiped out about $200 million generated each year for lawyers who represent the indigent. The money comes from short-term interest earned on escrow accounts that lawyers set up to handle clients' real estate transactions and other deals." IOLTA lives, but barely, the AP reports here. You can access the opinion here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

How a Lawyer Blew the Whistle On a Judge

The lawyer, who represents asbestos plaintiffs, had some 1,300 cases pending before Judge Joseph A. Jaffe when the Judge handed him a list of personal debts and asked for help. The lawyer, Joel Persky, contacted federal prosecutors, and now the Judge has pleaded guilty. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the disturbing story here.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Abortion Protest Ruling Helps Defendants in Mob Case

"A ruling involving anti-abortion protesters last month in the U.S. Supreme Court is having a ripple effect in an organized crime case in New York. A federal judge in Brooklyn threw out some extortion charges against Vincent 'the Chin' Gigante and several other men connected to the Genovese family after the high court ruled that the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act could not be used against anti-abortion protesters in a civil suit," the ABA Journal reports here.
Seat Belts Triggering Suits

"Claims that DaimlerChrysler's Gen-3 seat belt sometimes opens when it is most needed have gained momentum in Texas, where a new suit alleges that six of seven belts were inadvertently opened during a fatal 2002 rollover accident. The plaintiffs are represented by William R. "Billie" Edwards III, who won a $6.7 million judgment in a similar suit alleging that the belt unlatched during a minivan rollover." Read all about it here from the National Law Journal.
High Court Rejects Attempt to Appeal Cases Testing Scope of 'Spy Court'

"The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to be drawn into a dispute over the boundaries of a law giving the government broader surveillance authority after the Sept. 11 attacks. The ACLU and other organizations wanted the justices to consider when the government can monitor someone's telephone conversations and e-mail, then use the information to prosecute them. The issue is expected to return to the high court," the AP reports here.
Showdown at Supreme Court Over Same-Sex Sodomy Law

"Lawrence v. Texas, touted as the most important gay rights case in a generation, will be argued at the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. The case challenges a Texas sodomy law as a violation of due process and equal protection rights. Gay rights advocates hope the Court will overturn its 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick ruling. Texas argues that its citizens, through the Legislature, have a right to ban conduct that they deem immoral," Texas Lawyer reports here. I mentioned this case a few months ago here. The briefs in the case and related resources can be found here.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Shipping Laws Cork Wineries' Growth

Is "wine law" the next specialty field??? This article discusses how complex interstate wine import and export laws are hampering small wineries. Some of the laws date from the repeal of prohibition, while others are the work of powerful wine wholesalers trying to maintain their hold on the market.


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