Archive for January, 2008

When it comes to the art of the public apology, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick may have set a new gold standard in his public apology for his alleged affair with chief of staff Christine Beatty. The view link is below. He used an actual church as a backdrop and his wife as something of a prop for the occasion. The problem is that, while such scenes may resonate with voters who tend to love a repentant sinner, it still does not create a defense to what appears a very compelling criminal case for perjury. (more…)

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In what could make for a fascinating torts case, an airplane full of passengers witnesses a co-pilot losing his mind in the cockpit and then having to be forcibly restrained by the other crew members as he demanded to speak to God. The Air Canada co-pilot was handcuffed to a seat for the rest of the flight. Ironically, air carriers have refused to show Snakes on a Plane as too scary for passengers. (more…)

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A former priest, Daniel Corogeanu, had been convicted of murder in the death of a nun during an exorcism gone bad. The court in Romania gave the monk seven years, though the case raises serious questions over the use of these extreme religious rites. (more…)

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Nurse Lee Cruceta in Philadelphia has admitted to cutting out body parts from corpses to sell on the illegal body part market — a crime that included harvesting material from the corpse of “Masterpiece Theatre” host Alistair Cooke, who died in 2004. The guilty plea includes a glimpse into the lucrative market for body looting. (more…)

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Perhaps the most basic requirement of a judge (beyond remaining full clothed during deliberations) is not to pronounced guilt until after the trial. It is a rule that Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller allegedly forgot by telling a reporter that Brian Nichols, accused of killing four people in a 2005 shooting spree that began at the Fulton County Courthouse, was clearly guilty. While denying the comment, Fuller has removed himself from the case. (more…)

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There is a fascinating legal fight brewing in New York between sandwich chains Subway and Quiznos. At issue is the liability for companies using popular taste tests in commercials and the provocative question of whether it is possible to slander a sandwich. (more…)

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Maryland Delegate Nicholaus Kipke and Sen. Bryan Simonaire are pushing for passage of the Fallen Soldier Privacy Act of 2008 to criminalize the the commercial use of a deceased soldier’s name or image. It is a controversy triggered by tee-shirts produced by anti-war activist Dan R. Frazier of Flagstaff, Ariz., whose online business Carryabigsticker.com sells anti-war shirts and other items that use soldiers’ names. The law is, in my view, unconstitutional and could lead to an interesting court fight if Congress follows suit with its own legislation. (more…)

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As expected, Attorney General Michael Mukasey has informed Congress that he will refuse to answer the long-standing question on waterboarding in this week’s hearing. The decision is a further indictment of the decision of democratic leadership to allow Mukasey to be confirmed despite his unwillingness to acknowledge that waterboarding has long been defined as torture and constitutes a crime if ordered by the President. (more…)

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The police are seeking an imposter who pretended that he was the father of the dead actor Heath Ledger to secure hotel rooms, convince Tom Cruise to console him, and almost convince John Travolta to buy him free tickets to the United States. It is conduct that fits both criminal and tort theories of culpability. (more…)

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Wesley Snipes’ counsel rested his case without presenting a single defense witness or having Snipes himself testify. It is a move the minimizes risk on the stand but maximizes the likelihood of a conviction on the tax charges. (more…)

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The National Journal caught an interesting slip from John Negroponte, former director of national intelligence , who uttered The-Torture-Technique-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named”: waterboarding. While Attorney General Mukasey continues to say that he is still thinking about waterboarding months after his seemingly false testimony before Congress, Negroponte admitted in an interview that indeed it was used — but encourages people not to look back at such small things as a torture program. (more…)

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Where is the NGA — National Geiger Association — when you need them?

Facing an apparent shortfall of new permits to impose on citizens, the New York city council (with Mayor Bloomberg’s reported support) is moving to require that any citizens who want to own devices that detect biological, chemical, and radiological dangers must first register and secure a permit from the city. If Bloomberg wants to run for President, this would not be the way to do it. There is a strong suspicion that the problem with these devices is that they will reveal a much greater level of such dangers and require officials to address countless false — and true — readings. (more…)

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After the loss of many American lives and billions in American dollars, the justice system in Afghanistan seems to be de-evolving back into the Taliban-style Islamic extremism. Journalist Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, has been sentenced to death for merely downloading material deemed blasphemous to Islam relating to the role of women in Islamic societies. Not only has the U.S.-backed government sentenced him to death, one of its top “justice” officials has threatened to severely punish any reporter even expressing support for Kambakhsh. (more…)

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Today, I have the honor of being the commencement speaker for the John Marshall Law School graduation. (more…)

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In his confirmation hearing, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey was rescued by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein from having to admit that waterboarding has long been defined as torture by U.S. and international courts. At the time, he first denied (under oath) knowing what waterboarding is and then, when told, insisted that he needed more time to think about it. Now, after months, he has suggested that it is not a matter of time or knowledge — he may simply refuse to answer the question that would implicated President Bush in a war crime. (more…)

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