Archive for November, 2007

A Massachusetts woman, Caroline Bilodeau-Allen, and her son, Christopher Allen, are suing the National Enquirer for defamation after the tabloid reported in 2006 that Christopher is really the son of Mass. Sen. Ted Kennedy. The Enquirer is standing by its sources in what could be a new test of the so-called New York Times v. Sullivan standard.  (more…)

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has formally determined that Karl Rove, John Bolten, former White House political director Sara Taylor and her deputy, J. Scott Jennings, are in violation of the Senate subpoenas and must comply “immediately” or face legal consequences. (more…)

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Over thirty years ago, I walked on to the floor of the House Representatives on my first day as a congressional page – fidgeting in a new blue suit and trying desperately to hide the fact that I was terrified. I was immediately pushed into a scrum of members and pages running about in a close vote. Nobody really noticed the teenager being shoved around like flotsam and jetsam until I felt a huge hand grab me by the arm and pull me into a member’s seat. I looked up at a tall man in an outrageously bright canary yellow suit and a smile to match. It was Henry Hyde. (more…)

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Only hours after a Washington State judge ruled that Dennis Lindberg could refuse a life-saving blood transfusion as violative of his Jehovah’s Witness faith, he passed away at age 14.   (more…)

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British teacher Gillian Gibbons, 54, has been found guilty of insulting Islam by a Sudanese “court” after she allowed her young students to name a teddy bear “Mohammad.” (more…)

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The New York police are using a very controversial decoy operation to arrest people who steal personal items from s (more…)

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The Bush Administration is seeking to train firefighters to serve as eyes and ears in the war on terror: a role that raises significant civil liberties questions. Under this plan, firefighters would look for evidence of possible terrorism in the homes and businesses that they inspect or enter. (more…)

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In another entry into the abuse of tasers, this video shows police using a taser to the neck of a pregnant mother after throwing her on her stomach to the ground. (more…)

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Geoffrey Fieger is fighting for his law license in classic Fieger fashion:  he is suing everyone from prosecutors to judges.  In the meantime, judges are expressing surprising levels of public contempt for Fieger — and each other. (more…)

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Dennis Lindberg is a 14-year-old Jehovah’s Witness who has leukemia. His parents (who do not have legal custody and are not Jehovah’s Witnesses) have demanded that he be given a needed blood transfusion. However, Judge John Meyer ruled that the boy can refuse the treatment, even though it will inevitably lead to his death. (more…)

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Ex-Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts told students that God told him to resign even though he didn’t want to.   (more…)

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The Sudan government is proceeding with charges against British teacher Gillian Gibbons, 54, who is accused of offending Islam by allowing her young children to name a teddy bear “Mohammad.” ‘ (more…)

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Niagara Falls City Court Judge Robert Restaino has been taken off the bench after a perfectly bizarre incident involving a cellphone and a short judicial temper. Restaino was upset that someone violated the no cellphone rule and ordered that all 46 people in the courtroom be searched and jailed. (more…)

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An Oklahoma businessman has pledged $70 million to Oral Roberts University — a move that could prevent the closing of the financially strapped school in the midst of the latest scandal.   (more…)

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Mitt Romney is facing a withering attack for his alleged statement that he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet.  (more…)

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Many observers have long believed that there was a federal cover-up in the alleged suicide of Kenneth Trentadue in a federal prison. His brother has long argued that federal officials, not suicide, were behind the death in August 1995. Now, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the federal government’s effort to withhold a critical report on the case.   (more…)

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Given the recent ruling in the case, this prior column on the scandal and saga of Kenneth Trentadue may be of interest. (more…)

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As the election approaches, it is becoming apparent that no one actually supported going to war in Iraq. In separate statements this week, Bill Clinton and Karl Rove revised history and their roles in supporting the Iraq War. (more…)

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In the ultimate demonstration of extremism, a school in Sudan has been forced to close in fear that extremists could take violent actions against students or teachers in the aftermath  of  the controversy over the naming of a class bear “Mohammed.”  Lillian Gibbons, a 54-year-old teacher at the Unity High School in Khartoum, was arrested for insulting Islam when she allowed her children to pick the name. (more…)

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A district court has ordered a military contractor to pay $5 million in damages to the family of Army Lt. Col. Dominic “Rocky” Baragona for his death in Iraq. It is a case that could open the door to more lawsuits against contractors in Iraq. (more…)

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A case is brewing in California that could revisit controversies over constitutional taking of private property and the common law concerning public easements. Douglas Rigg, a 43-year-old architect, is challenging the property owners of a development called Seadrift near Stinson beach that bans the public from use of their beach. (more…)

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An extraordinary torts case is now before the Illinois Supreme Court where a women is continuing a fight to hold the parents of a former lover liable for their failure to tell her that their son had AIDS. A jury found the parents, Elizabeth and Kirkpatrick Dilling liable for $2 million. (more…)

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A British Appellate court has ruled that a mother should be allowed to prevent a father from learning of the birth of their child and to secretly put the baby up for adoption. (more…)

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In a chilling account, the Saudi woman who was first gang raped and then sentenced to 200 lashes (for being with a male non-family member) has given a full account of her ordeal. The woman’s story is an insight into the plight of woman in a country where they are restricted in their travel and subject to the harshest possible punishments. (more…)

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Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., entered an Alford plea to criminal trespass — avoiding a trial on assault and battery charges over allegations he pushed a United Airlines baggage employee at Dulles International Airport. (more…)

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Thomas Nelson, an Oregon attorney representing two lawyers has filed a public complaint against individuals responsible for the interception of attorney-client communications as part of the NSA domestic surveillance program.   (more…)

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Luciano Pavarotti’s death appears to have left a perfectly operatic scene of an irate widow and accusations of false friends bent on her destruction. Pavarotti’s widow, Nicoletta Mantovanis, is suing two friends of the singer for defamation based on their claims about the state of her marriage with the star. (more…)

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In what must count somewhere toward credit, law students have sued American Justice School of Law in Paducah, Ky, for $120 million in a class action lawsuit. (more…)

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In a shocking case for the academic community, former University of Penn. Economics professor Rafael Robb has entered a guilty plea in the murder of his wife, Ellen, shortly before Christmas. (more…)

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The Supreme Court has refused to give a death row inmate, Thomas Arthur, access to critical DNA evidence that he is seeking to prove his innocence. (more…)

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The highly controversial contract that could bring as much as $52 million to John Ashcroft’s new consulting firm seems to follow a trend in the Bush Administration of steering money to loyalists.  A glimpse at the principles of the firm show that all but one of the leaders are former Ashcroft aides or major Republican operatives or both. (more…)

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The Senate has rejected a retroactive immunity deal for telecommunications companies.  However, lobbyists remain hard at work on some form of immunity and revisiting the issue of retroactive immunity. (more…)

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Officials have arrested a teacher in Sudan who allowed her class to name a Teddy bear “Mohammed.”  Gillian Gibbons is accused of offending Islam.   (more…)

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Three people have been killed thus far in Wisconsin’s deer season — after only nine days.   (more…)

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Senators Ted Kennedy and Arlen Spector are drafting legislation to finally address the widespread abuse of the military and state secrets privilege, a law that would require courts to seriously review the basis and scope of these assertions. As lead counsel in the Area 51 cases involving the privilege, it is welcomed and long over-due news.  (more…)

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Federal trial judge Samuel Kent is facing possible criminal charges and impeachment after accusations of sexual harassment and assault. The judiciary itself is under criticism for its handling of the allegations stemming from the United District Court in Galveston and court employee Cathy McBroom. (more…)

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Venezuela continues its horrible spin toward dictatorship this week as President Hugo Chavez told citizens that anyone voting against his constitutional changes (giving him potential power for life) would be “traitors.” (more…)

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The Bush meat case in New York is moving toward trial with new arguments, including the use of the monkey meat as religious expression and the argument that the amount was too small to have a significant impact on conservation: a type of one monkey limit for chefs.  (more…)

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The Saudi Justice Department has defended the grotesque sentence of a woman to 200 lashes after she was gang raped because, it recently revealed, she was in an “illegitimate relationship” with the man who was also assaulted. (more…)

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Giuliani appears intent on re-playing the Willie Horton card used by Bush Sr. against that other Mass. Governor Michael Dukakis — this time the villain is Daniel Tavares, Jr. and the judge is Kathe Tuttman. (more…)

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A fascinating case is developing in Kansas where a gay man, Daryl Hendrix, is fighting for his right to recognition as a father to twins conceived artificially with a lesbian friend. (more…)

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It appears that the number of wounded soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is much higher than reported by the U.S. military. The official toll is 30,327. (more…)

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Richard Roberts has resigned as president of Oral Roberts University and the Board of Regents officially began a search for a new president. It is the school’s survival not its leadership that is now in question. (more…)

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Today, Reuters is reporting that militants beheaded a couple in front of their children because the man wore Western clothes and was perceived as an infidel. (more…)

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In a vintage moment for the Bush Administration, controversial U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose was promoted to a position in Washington in the wake of widespread allegations of abuse and incompetence.  The move is expected to assist GOP Sen. Norm Coleman who was behind the nomination of Paulose despite her lack of experience.   (more…)

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A federal judge spared an embarrassing appearance on the witness stand for Sen. David Vitter in a prostitution case when she abruptly canceled a hearing scheduled for next week. (more…)

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John Ashcroft’s former aide has stated that he just doesn’t see what all the fuss is about after the U.S. Attorney gave Ashcroft’s firm a grotesque $52 Million contract to monitor a settlement.  (more…)

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In what is called the ultimate sacrifice for the planet, environmentalist Toni Vernelli announced this week that she not only terminated a pregnancy but had herself sterilized to save the planet from more people.   (more…)

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As U.S. Parks face cut back and no significant expansion of forested areas, Canada has set aside  25.5 million acres of land in the north for use as two new conservation areas — the equivalent to 11 Yellowstone National Parks. (more…)

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Despite the right of media access to commission proceedings under the Military Commissions Act, the Administration has barred press from the current trials in Cuba. (more…)

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