Archive for December, 2008

images10Now, it is not because New Year’s Eve is my anniversary, but I am deeply aggrieved that 2008 has been extended by one second. This “leap second” was added by the ultimate big brother agency, the United States Naval Observatory under the dubious claim that it had to match the time to the Earth’s slowing spin on its axis. How do you intend to spend your unplanned 2008 second?
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originalNow this is a defamation lawsuit that will be fascinating to watch unfold in Richmond, Virginia. Vicki L. Iseman, a Washington lobbyist alleged to have had an affair with Sen. John McCain in 1999, has sued the New York Times for $27 million. The newspaper stands by the story and this could produce a substantial ruling on the limits of defamation.
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thumb_fireman_save_catAnimal advocates are outraged over the alleged refusal of a Phoenix, Arizona police officer to allow a cat named Brutis from being rescued from a tree for nine days. The cat became stuck in the tree on Christmas Day. The officer was reportedly worried about liability and witnesses claim that they flashed his gun and badge to keep them away.
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pf_1948319the-multiplication-of-the-loaves-and-fishes-1620-5-posters First Reformed Church of Hackensack, N.J., does not like homeless people who put food before faith. The Church reportedly shutdown the FAITH Foundation homeless shelter after the director, Robin Reilly, allowed homeless people on Christmas Day to eat before the families were required to listen to a sermon and prayer. FAITH was concerned that many people had not eaten in twenty-four hours and that it was difficult for the families to wait to eat under the circumstances.

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660px-flag_of_israelsvg1Israel attacked a humanitarian boat carrying medical supplies and staff to Gaza. CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul was aboard the 60-foot pleasure boat Dignity when the patrol boat rammed the vessel, causing extensive damage.
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225px-rwbphotoIllinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has defied his critics and selected Roland Burris to replace Barack Obama. There is now speculation that the Secretary of State will not certify the appointment or that the Senate will use its inherent powers to block Burris. I just finished an interview with CBS stating that I believe both efforts would be an abuse of power. As the sitting governor of Illinois, Blagojevich is entitled to make this appointment.

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thumb_big_hot_dogKosher hot dog maker Arnie Zaler may have pulled off his greatest scam. Facing 30 counts of bank and wire fraud in Denver, Zaler promised not to leave Denver if he was released on an unsecured bond. He handed over his Israeli passport and then a few days later fled to Israel on a different passport.

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thankyouamericaChrysler also always boasted the “inspiration comes standard” but but what about the indignation? For many voters, the billions of dollars given to the auto industry is the latest outrage from Washington, which seems intent on bailing out every failed company and bad mortgage. The U.S. auto industry spent decades fighting environmental laws and resisting pressure to build smaller, fuel efficient cars. Now, no one wants to buy their cars and they are receiving a bailout. Chrysler, however, decided that it wanted to thank the American people — so it took out full page ads in the most expensive newspapers in the country. Of course, this is a lot like sending flowers to a loved one with a bill from the florist. After all, as the advertisement says, “Chrysler. Drive = Love.”
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genthumbashxA border collie names Quinn was the pride and joy of the Turlock Golf and Country Club in Turlock, California. He was the perfect vehicle, therefore, in the twisted mind of Franco Garcia Aguilar, 21, to express his anger at being laid off as part of the maintenance crew. Aguilar allegedly shot Quinn three times with a 12-gauge shotgun in his kennel on December 16th.
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bishopmalonePortland Bishop Richard Malone has issued a rare order banning an advocate for people abused by priests from his services and threatening to issue a rare Interdict — banning Paul Kendrick from the right of communion. The Maine diocese recently released the names of eleven priests in the state with credible allegations of abuse.
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flni_homepage1There is an interesting fight brewing over the planned memorial to Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The owner of the land, Svonavec Inc., refuses to sell a critical part of the needed land and the relatives want President Bush to seize the property to allow them to start construction of the memorial so that it can be finished by 2011 — the tenth anniversary of the tragedy.

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story-11A Syracuse man was tasered twice after he failed to turn down his music Christmas morning. Michael Prince, 23, was told at 2 am to turn down the music and was being given a ticket when police say that he tried to run away.

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01people-ortloffFormer GOP state Assemblyman George C. ”Chris” Ortloff pleaded guilty in federal court this week to a felony charge stemming from his attempt to have sex with two sisters, ages 11 and 12. A former member of the state Parole Board, Ortloff, 61, now faces a minimum 10-year prison sentence and a maximum of life in prison. He was a staunch “tough-on-crime” legislator who called for severe sentences for sex offenders.

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story2Maryland State Police Officer Bruce Wrzosek, 22, has been far from a model officer. Earlier this year, he was suspended for misconduct. However, after returning to work, Wrzosek went a bit too far: driving his marked squad car while drunk, kidnapping a man from a Taco Bell restaurant, and then taking his colleagues on a high-speed chase.

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kczuberMayor Karl Zuber of Avon Lake, Ohio appears not to have gotten the memo on the separation of church and state a bit late. Zuber had a sign put up in front of the city hall reading “Remember Christ is in Christmas.” He then received a series of calls from the city attorney, city council members, and an advocacy group asking him to remember the separation of church and state is in the Constitution.

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180px-attic-roof-de-0aPolice in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania have a unique case of criminal trespass. Stanley Carter, 21, was arrested after leaving in the attic of the Ferrance family — helping himself to their food, clothes and property.

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thumb_policeman_cartoonthumb_birthday_birthday-presentFour District of Columbia police officers have been put on desk duty after they were reportedly caught on a video tape, shown below, stealing from Toys for Tots. This appears to be a trend this month with police accused of stealing laptops and XBox from cars along the roads.

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flag-rainbow1In New Orleans, a gay couple from California has won an important victory after U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey ruled that their adopted son’s Louisiana birth certificate must bear both of their names as the adoptive fathers. Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith of San Diego will be jointly listed under a full faith and credit ruling that could signal a major advance for gay couples and parents.

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122608_cialella_300A father and son were talking during the playing of the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button when James Joseph Cialella Jr., 29, became angry. Many people might sympathize with the complaint but Cailella threw popcorn at the boy and when the father objected he shot the father with a .380-caliber handgun. It was a horrific act in a movie with a tagline; “Life isn’t measured in minutes, but in moments.”
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thumb_blowout_saleAs the United States continues to spend $1 billion a day in Iraq and Afghanistan, cities are selling off roads, bridges, zoos, and everything short of citizens to pay for their budgets. There are 44 states in dire financial shape — yet we continue to pour money into the occupation of Iraq where journalists show shoes at the President and the majority of people want us out.
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A Happy Deer

3141220334_2684d5fd25_bAfter the anti-bovidae prejudice that I encountered for my happy goat, I give you a happy deer in the spirit of the season.
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thumb_election_scales1There is an interesting question raised in St. Louis in a capital murder case: is a defendant denied a fair jury and trial if two jurors has sex while sequestered as well as two sheriff’s deputies. Roberto Dunn, now 34, who was convicted in 2000 of killing his girlfriend’s mother and found out later that the trial was a real turn-on for the jurors and deputies.
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torture -abu ghraibMy recent interview on Legal Times on prosecuting Bush Administration officials for crimes committed in the torture program and unlawful surveillance program has attracted the ire of some conservative law faculty. My colleague Orin Kerr has raised this question on the conservative legal website Volokh Conspiracy. It is not without a good faith basis for such academic debate but, in my view, it should not be a barrier to prosecution.

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thumb_election_ballot_box_2The voting continues on the top blogs. The Turley blog was selected as one of the 100 top legal blogs by the good people at the ABA Journal. It currently holds the number one spot for law professor and legal theory blogs. The tally shows the Turley blog with 387 votes with Mirror of Justice with 234 votes. The voting ends on January 2nd. You have done well Turley bloggers.
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joe_aloneThe highly controversial sheriff from Maricopa, Arizona, Joe Arpaio may be facing serious charges of civil rights abuses and discrimination, but Hollywood considers him such a laugh that they are giving him his own reality show. He intends to use suspects as props for scenes written by comedy writers and staffed by actors. It is the latest sign of the decline of our criminal justice system as our judges, prosecutors, and sheriffs vie for notoriety on television and in the press.

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225px-george-w-bushOver seventy-five percent of Americans say that they will not miss President George Bush and that he cannot leave office too soon. That is 24 four points higher than the 51 percent who said that they would not miss Bill Clinton.

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thumb_policeman_cartoonA Missouri police officer is charged with felony theft after he brought a laptap into the Sheriff’s office for the installation of new software. The only problem is that it was the same computer that Southwest City officer Andrew Cummings was accused of stealing a year earlier. He is an officer with the Southwest City police and, appropriately for the season, a reserve officer with the Noel police.

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_45150402_islamAn Egyptian court has sentenced math teacher Haitham Nabeel Abdelhamid, 23, to six years after he beat Islam Amr Badr, 11, for not completing his homework. The boy died.

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dietcokeplusIt turns out that Diet Coke is not a health drink.

The Food and Drug Administration has ordered Coca-Cola Company to change its labels for its “plus” line of drinks, which refer to their vitamin and mineral content. Coca-Cola has been marketing Diet Coke Plus as “a good source of vitamins B3, B6, and B12, and the minerals zinc and magnesium.”

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200px-viagra_in_packAfter a long line of stories about the continued marriage of young girls (some below ten) and rape of women as a means of forced marriages, the United States government has found the perfect gift to win over Afghan warloads: Viagra. CIA and military officers are handing out Viagra to warlords to win them over to Uncle Sam.

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t1homepardo

The first of Pardo’s victims was an eight-year-old girl who answered the door. She will survive by she was injured in the face.

For the full story, click here.

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images8Best wishes to everyone celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah. Our kids get to double dip on both holidays in a play to spread our bets between the two religions of the parents. We have just finished placing the last present under the tree in Chicago. We can now look forward to three hours of sleep before the C-Day invasion. As my gift to you, I have linked a truly inspirational holiday video: Jingle Bells played on microwave ovens below.
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images-1mediaA Christmas controversy is brewing in Pensacola, Florida where Tonia Thomas, 35, claims that she was fired because he insisted on greeting callers with “Merry Christmas” rather than Happy Holidays. Her former employer, Counts-Oakes Resorts Properties Inc., insists that there were other reasons for her termination but outside groups have come to Thomas’ aid in suing the company. In the meantime, Muslims are debating whether they can say “Merry Christmas.”

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622_1230058025Santa has long flaunted his disregard for basic driving laws from speed limits to parking regulations to proper turn signaling. Now, he has been spotted sabotaging traffic cameras in the days leading up to his reckless high-speed run.
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9780252065408As states grapple with limitations on same sex marriage, polygamy, and other moral legislation controversies, scientists may have introduced another areas of potential challenge: the ban on first cousins. The premise for barring first cousins was always based on rather shaky science. Now, scientists are challenging any medical or public policy basis for the prohibition — raising constitutional questions of why consenting adults can be barred from such marriages.

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thumb_police_brutalityPolice in Galveston, Texas are being sued for allegedly arresting a 12-year-old Dymond Larae Milburn outside of her home as a prostitute in 2006. The girl did not realize that the plainclothes officers were police and fought back as she screamed for her father inside the house. She was reportedly beaten by the officers and ended up with sprained wrist, two black eyes, a bloody nose, and blood in an ear. Weeks later, the police arrested her for resisting arrest.
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300px-oil_wellCalifornia investigators are interested in speaking with Dr. Craig Alan Bittner. Bittner has an interesting way of “saving the planet”: he used that fat that he removed from his patients in liposuction to fuel his two SUVs. His M.I.P. (Miles to the Patient) was great until officials notified his lawyer that it happens to be a crime.
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images7Twenty-five firefighters were needed this week to put out a fire in New Bedford, Massachusetts after the home owner, Vasco Silva, attached a blowtorch to a 20-pound propane cylinder and used it as a snow and ice remover.
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99237No Noel for Uriel.

Uriel Oliva, 18, was arrested early has been arrested for a curious probation violation: flashing gang symbols while sitting on Santa’s lap. The picture was spotted by his probation officer on a keychain during a probation check. It is unclear if St. Nick is an unindicted co-conspirator, but Oliva is charged with three misdemeanor counts for violating court orders.

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thumb_scales_of_justiceThere are objections being raised on how school officials have responded to the discovery of a young boy and girl having sex in a stairwell at Francis Pastorius Elementary School in Philadelphia before Thanksgiving: the boy, Walter Goss (13), was expelled but the girl was allowed to continue at the school.
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thumb_policeman_cartoonThere appears to be no lawyers living in Brighton, Michigan or within telephone range of the city council. The city elders have made it a crime for anyone to commit acts that “seriously annoy another person and that serve no legitimate purpose.” Putting aside the vagueness and overbreadth violations, there is the restriction on travel by Paris Hilton, Rosie O’Donnell, and the other annual recipients of the most annoying people.

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image4668248gWhile the family of Iraqi journalist of Muntazer al-Zaidi (or al-Zeidi) (including a brother who visited him) have alleged obvious signs of abuse and torture, investigating judge Dhiya al-Kenani has refused to allow an investigation into the matter — saying that such accounts are completely baseless. The problem has been the curious refusal of authorities to allow anyone to see al-Zaidi for many days and the decision to cancel an appearance in court shortly after his arrest. Then there are the accounts of witnesses who say that they heard him screaming after being taken away by Iraqi security.

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image_8086106It appears that neither judges nor police officers in Douglasville, Georgia have heard of the use of a scarf for religious purposes or, more likely, didn’t care about the religious practice. Lisa Valentine was arrested after she was ordered to remove the scarf, or hijab. Valentine, who goes by the Muslim name Miedah, refused and tried to leave the courthouse when she was barred by officers who took her to appear before Judge Keith Rollins who appears to have a little judgment as training as a jurist. He jailed her for 10 days.

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275px-sopranosposters2Lillo Brancato Jr. has been acquitted in the 2005 killing an off-duty New York City police officer but found guilty of attempted burglary. The actor from The Sopranos and A Bronx Tale could still be sentenced to 15 years in prison for the lesser offense.

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video cameraThere is an interesting tort case in Iowa where Jeffrey Tigges of Dubuque, was found by his wife to have secretly mounted cameras in their bedroom and filmed them in private. A court awarded Cathy Tigges (now divorced) $22,500 for invasion of privacy.

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nottingham
Former Chief U.S. District Judge Edward W. Nottingham Jr. has not filed a response to misconduct allegations that may lead to him losing his bar license. Nottingham resigned after a long scandal involving prostitutes and strip joints.

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250px-flag_of_iransvgThe Iranian regime celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in true Iranian fashion: they shutdown the respected Center for Defenders of Human Rights in Tehran. The group was planned a celebration of the Universal Declaration when the police raided their office and charged it with such unspeakable crimes as “publishing statements, writing letters to international organizations, and holding press conferences.”

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Saudi Arabia flagA Saudi court has refused to annul the marriage of an eight-year-old girl who was married off by her father to a 58-year-old man. The Unayzah court says that it would prefer the girl to remain married to the man until she reaches puberty — a curious solution to child abuse. The girl’s divorced mother has been trying to annul the marriage.

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panozionIf nationalists in Iraqi have Muntadar al-Zeidi, environmentalists in the United States have found Tim DeChristopher, 27. DeChristopher didn’t throw hiking boots recently to stop the controversial Bush lease-off of public lands for drilling. He used a bidding paddle. DeChristopher went to the bidding and intentionally drove up prices and actually bought 10 parcels for $1.8 million to protect thousands of acres of land near Utah’s national parks. The only problem is that he is short $1.8 million. Oil and gas people are now calling for his prosecution and rebidding to get the public lands at a steal at a new U.S. Bureau of Land Management lease auction. Being a “nuisance bidder” could now result in jail time.

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St51766chool officials in Celina, Texas have not only decided to violate federal law but they have decided to flaunt their refusal to comply with constitutional rulings of the Supreme Court. The school continues to incorporate Christian prayers into its games. In a recent game, Celina coach Butch Ford said: “Our goal (against Liberty Hill) was to play with the joy of the Lord in our heart so we’d play excited all of the time, and we wouldn’t be down no matter what happened….” They might not be the only ones “excited all of the time” that they play.

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