Archive for September, 2007

The testimony below concerns the new controversy of the status of tobacco as a product in the U.S. (more…)

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To pay for the proposed children health program, the Democrats are turning to a familiar source: cigarettes. (more…)

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In what is shaping up to be a very interesting defamation case, a federal judge has ordered Rep. John Murtha to testify in a defamation lawsuit filed against him for commenting on an alleged Iraqi massacre. (more…)

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The President of Duke University today apologizes to the Duke Lacrosse students for failing to do more to protect their rights — an act strikingly transparent and tragically too late. (more…)

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A recent report indicates that former judge Michael Mukasey’s special security detail cost the taxpayers $10,000 a day and over $28 million despite the fact that many people in the government doubted a serious threat against him from terrorists. (more…)

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The New York Appellate Court ruled this week that a family court judge could not ban two homeless people from having children until they could get back their previous four children from foster care. (more…)

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Juries often find tapes to be conclusive evidence. They pride themselves on their ability to read the truth from a source that does not spin or package a statement. Thus, the first reaction (as the FBI knows) to the disclosure of a sting is critical. (more…)

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Amid recent videos of police abuse, Chicago is facing thousands of complaints of police beating and arresting citizens with no cause. Between 2002 and 2004, over 10,000 complaints have been filed but only 18 have resulted in meaningful disciplinary action. (more…)

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There are a host of diseases and illnesses that are expected to rise with the global temperatures. One of the most deadly is an illness caused by an ameoba called Naegleria fowleri. (more…)

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A well-known Conn. attorney admitted this week that he destroyed evidence in a child pornography investigation at Christ Church in Greenwich, the former church of President George H.W. Bush. (more…)

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Roughly 50 Boulder High School students walked out of class, protesting the reading of the Pledge of Allegiance and recited their own version, omitting “one nation, under God.” (more…)

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The Bush Administration has finally yielded to international demands and offerred legal representation to high-value detainees. For the story, click here It represents the abandonment of one of the most hypocritical and controversial positions of the United States in its war on terror. (more…)

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Given the controversy over the apartment building barring individuals with tattoos, the prior column below may be of interest since it dealt with a case that almost received Supreme Court review on the constitutional aspects of state limitations. (more…)

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Two parents were sentenced this week for allowing teenagers to drink at a party at their house. In this Illinois case, the husband was sentenced to 14 days in jail and his wife to community service. (more…)

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A fascinating case has been filed in New York. James Livingston sued after he learned that bone implanted in his neck to relieve back pain was stolen from a corpse. (more…)

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In what is likely to become a torts case, a nursery has been closed for taping a pacifier to the mouth of a child — an abuse allegedly committed on other children. (more…)

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Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, head of the Catholic church in Mozambique said on Wednesday that some European-made condoms were deliberately infected with the HIV/AIDS virus to kill African people. (more…)

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Only recently, the media revealed a case where an officer arrested a fast-food employee for putting too much salt in his burger. Now, another officer has arrested a motorist for coughing in his direction during a traffic stop. (more…)

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Before the start of the international conference on global warming, various countries including China made clear that they will continue to put economic development ahead of the environmental, even if global warming threatens a worldwide ecological disaster. (more…)

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U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken added her voice and her court to a growing list of judges who have struck down provisions of the Patriot Act. (more…)

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An woman named Heidi Gill is shown in a hysterical state as a Warren, Ohio officer named Rick Kovach repeatedly uses his taser on her. (more…)

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Former Judge Michael Mukasey was the subject of a complaint by marshals while he was receiving years of security protection. The complaint also appears to refer to Judge Thomas Duffy, who also handled terrorism cases in New York. It is not clear which allegations refer to Mukasey and which refer to Duffy from having marshals carry their grocery to demanding their first class seats on airplanes to generally treating them as servants. For the full story, click here

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An interesting fight is brewing in San Antonio over a new type of alleged discrimination. Gilbert Carrillo was not only denied a lease but lost his application fee due to his tattoos, which he views as an art form. (more…)

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The ACLU has filed a lawsuit after a well-known anti-war activist was barred from the United States without any explanation or known justification. For the story, click here Adam Habib is deputy vice-chancellor of Research, Innovation and Advancement at the University of Johannesburg. He is also a muslim and anti-war scholar. (more…)

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The Supreme Court today accepted a Kentucky case challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection as a form of execution. (more…)

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As Sen. Craig is attempting to withdraw his guilty plea in Minnesota, the former director of the Die Hard movies has failed to win on precisely the same claim in California. (more…)

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It is often said that one day on the cover of Time, the next day doing time. It is a reference to the perils of celebrity status. Today, while the state prosecutor in the Michael Vick dog-fighting case announced that he intended to file a flurry of charges against Vick, a grand jury handed down two charges against Vick: one count of killing dogs and one of promoting dogfights. For story, click here It has become now routine for state and federal prosecutors to essentially double charge for the same conduct. (more…)

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In a story that can only make Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad feel more comfortable visiting the United States, a community college professor says that he was fired after stating in his Western Civilization class that the story of Adam and Eve should not be read literally. A community college instructor in Red Oak claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.
Steve Bitterman calims that officials at Southwestern Community College fired him after a handful of students threatened legal action.
For the full story, click here

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In only the latest bizarre statement for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he has claimed that there is no gay community in Iran, virtually suggesting a gay-free country. In fact, there is a struggling gay rights movement that has been repressed with his government’s signature cruelty and religious fanaticism. For disturbing pictures of the execution of two accused homosexuals, click here These pictures explain why so few openly gay individuals are visible in a country where morality laws demand that they be executed. For the video documentary on this civil rights movement, click here

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Columbia President Lee Bollinger was supposed to introduce Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday. While many expected a speech on freedom of speech and academic freedom, Bollinger launched into a personal attack on Ahmadinejad. Bollinger has been getting great criticism for the invitation and seemed to want to fend off critics with his attack on Ahmadinejad. (more…)

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While an atheist soldier litigates a claim of discrimination by the military (discussed below), an atheist high school students found her home vandalized for challenging “God Bless America” as an appropriate song for her school. (more…)

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Scott Clark, a guest at an Embassy Suites Hotel in St. Paul, is accused of ripping the head off a duck that lived in the hotel’s pond inside its lobby. Witnesses said that Clark ripped its head off and turned to onlookers and said: “I’m hungry. I’m gonna eat it.” (more…)

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The military has long been accused of discrmination against agnostics and atheists. Despite the claim that “there are no atheists in foxholes,” many soldiers have fought for the country despite being agnostics or atheists. Their patriotism comes from faith in our country, but that is not enough for some military officers. Recently, wiccan families have protested the refusal to include their symbols on tombstones for fallen soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, Spc. Jeremy Hall has filed a lawsuit saying that he was punished for trying to organize meetings for atheists and non-Christians in Iraq, including an effort to block his reenlistment. For the full story, click here

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With today’s speech by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, legislators are threatening to pull state funds unless Columbia engages in self-censorship and bars the speech. Columbia has not been a particularly reliable first amendment advocate in the past. In a shocking display of anti-free speech conduct, students shutdown a speech by the head of an anti-immigration movement and did not have punishment. (more…)

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One million Chinese cribs have been recalled due to a design defect that allows assemblers to put one of the sides (which slides down for removal of the infant) on the crib upside down. (more…)

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Anthony Anderson appeared in court in England to plead guilty to a shocking attack on a dying woman. While shouting, “This is YouTube material!,” he urinated on 50-year-old Christine Lakinski, who died on the street of pancreatic failure. Johnson also doused her with a bucket of water and covered her with shaving cream. He pleaded guilty to “outraing public decency,” a surprisingly low-grade offense for the conduct. (more…)

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Often in class, we discuss the difference between conversion and trespass to chattel. Often with trespass to chattel the owner seeks the return of the item and any damages to it. However, if the item is damaged heavily or destroyed, they are more likely to allege conversion. Such damage can be alleged if the item is not destroyed or broken but its continued use is obnoxious or practically barred. The example that I have given is someone stealing another person’s false teeth. Now, there is such a case. Click here for the story. Note also the close relationship to criminal and tort conversion in such a case.

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In a move that will shock many concerned with the de-evolution of legal standards, a Florida judge has reduced a life sentence in exchange for a voluntary castration of a rapist. A reduction from life to 25 years seriously undermines the notion of the castration as voluntary and the use of such physical alteration or mutilation (depending on your view) should send shock waves throughout the system. For the story, click here

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For years, Senator Ted Stevens has been the poster boy of congressional corruption. I have written for years about his very public effort to enrich himself and his family. He now appears to be in serious trouble, but the question is why Alaskan voters allowed him to continue so long after media and columnists raised such issues over and over again. For a prior column on Stevens, click here .

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I used to live in Alexandria Louisiana and I can certainly attest to a few throw backs and racists in that part of the country. However, the arrests yesterday of an adult and a minor for dangling nooses off the back of a pick-up truck raises some very serious first amendment issues. In the controversy over the Jena, La. cases, police appear to have attacked quickly to make the arrest. However, a noose is a symbol of expression for bad or good. It should be protected speech. The case could return the courts to the question of when a burning cross can be prosecuted as hate speech — a very controversial matter recently ruled upon by the Supreme Court (in upholding criminal prosecution for a cross burning on private property).

For the picture of the nooses and the full story, click here

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An Iowa doctor, Dr. Curtis Hoegh, is accused of accidentally cutting open a tumor removed from her ovary and spilling cancerous tissues or cells into her abdomen. (more…)

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For years, academics have been divided over the movement to bar military recruiters from campus as a discriminatory organization. It is clear that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is discriminatory and therefore violates the standard bar on potential employers who engage in discrimination based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. However, while I have been a vocal support of gay rights on many fronts, I was one of those who opposed the litigation that my law school joined. At the time, I stated that it was not only a clear loser on the law but it represented a type of hypocrisy: we insist that we cannot allow discrimination but, if money is at stake, we will allow it. The only principled decision would have been bar the military regardless of the consequences. For an column on the issue, click here

Now Yale has reached its price. However, one must ask if, considering the outrage in court papers, this is like saying that we will allow racially discriminatory employers on campus if they offer us enough money. For the article, click here.

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Published in January 2006

Following oral argument on Dec. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court is now pondering the wisdom of Solomon.

The Solomon Amendment withholds federal funds from any school that does not provide the same access to military recruiters as it does to other potential employers. Law schools have rallied against the rule for violating their nondiscrimination policies as well as their constitutional rights of speech and association. In the balance are the right of Congress to condition the receipt of federal funds, the right of free speech-and literally billions of dollars that could be lost by schools unable to reconcile anti-discrimination policies with their receipt of federal money. (more…)

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Only a day after the Meyer video, a new video shows Rev. Lennox Yearwood being thrown to the ground and arrested by Capitol Hill police outside of a hearing room. The incident occurred September 10th. For a video of the incident, click here. The video of the incident shows little beyond verbal resistance. It is particularly alarming to see that Capitol Hill police are charging him with assaulting an officer. No such assault appears on the tape. Historically, police has treated any contact as an assault — which is an abuse of this category of offense. (more…)

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The videotaped incident involving Andrew Meyer and Senator John Kerry has caused an uproar among students and faculty. Meyer’s begging security staff not to “tase me, bro” struck a nerve among students who feel that security and police often over-react. (more…)

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Under the common law, owners are strictly liable for attacks by wild animals or by domesticated animals with violent or dangerous propensities. How about a man dressed as Pluto? For the video, click here According to witnesses, the boy began the encounter with a kick in the groin. I suppose he was lucky he did not mess with Grumpy who would have gone medieval on the kid.

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Supporters of the D.C. vote bill have failed to secure the necessary 60 votes to move the measure to the floor for a vote. (more…)

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There has been much talk in the last few years about the federalization of child porn stings — once viewed as a largely state area. However, the DOJ has worked with the FBI in going after child predators. Given all of the media attention to internet stings, therefore, it was especially shocking this morning to learn that a federal prosecutor had been nabbed trying to arrange sex with a five-year-old girl on the internet. (more…)

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The video of a student who was hit with a taser is another example of how this device is being widely misused by law enforcement and campus police. This student was clearly obnoxious and clueless in the length of his comments. He was also resisting. However, at no point did he warrant the use of the taser. For the video, click here The most disturbing fact is that this occurred in front of hundreds of witnesses. Most such abuses occur with only the officers and the victim as witnesses.

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An interesting product liability case may be brewing over widespread reports of people, particularly children, having their toes crushed or ripped off by escalators while wearing the popular soft crocs footwear. If these shoes cannot be worn on escalators safely, they may be deemed to have a design defect. However, courts usually do not find such defects for obvious risks. For example, what is the difference between a croc and a fip-flop when it comes to this particularly danger? The softness of the rubber may prove the key to any liability. For the story, click here

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