Archive for the ‘Courts’ Category

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

It never ceases to amaze me that the heads of major corporations and officers of those companies just never seem to go to jail when the corporation’s fingers are caught in the cookie jar.  We saw two separate examples of that concept this week.  One example is simply a case of corporate greed at employees expense and the other is a brutal and deadly tragedy that caught up the corporate employees, but not their bosses.

In the past, I have written about banks getting away with fines and financial penalties for committing crimes, but today the focus is on two corporations in two different areas of endeavor.  I am referring to the corporation formerly known as Blackwater and Electronics for Imaging (EFI).  Blackwater as you may recall was in the private security and intelligence gathering business with many government clients, while EFI is a Silicon Valley tech firm with earnings of over $100 million in 2013.  They both have one thing in common.  They broke the law and one got a slap on the wrist and the CEO and founder of the other and his fellow corporate officers avoided any culpability in a brutal murder case. (more…)

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

scales_of_justiceThe Washington Supreme Court heard an appeal brought by attorneys representing the internet website backpage.com resulting from a lower court ruling allowing the trial to proceed against the site for allegations that it assisted child sex traffickers to lure children toward sexual exploitation in the state. The argument primarily rests on whether backpage.com can claim immunity under the Communications Decency Act, Title 47 USC 230. The respondents, three unnamed child victims, argued that backpage.com created an environment and construed posting rules that guided alleged sex traffickers and those offering adult services to evade law enforcement and other sanctions, thereby assuming the role of a developer of content which would exempt backpage.com from immunity under the CDA.

The case is being monitored for its potential implications on the freedom of websites to host content from subscribers without being subject to undue liability in the strict sense and the limits to which websites can be responsible. Amicus briefs were filed by interests such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

I have been reading about the latest Breitbart-inspired dire prediction of the nefarious ( and possibly illegal) machinations of the Obama Administration. You know “Green Paper-Gate.” It’s the one where the conservative blog, Breitbart,  reports that a draft solicitation proposal for purchase of green paper issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services definitely means that the Obama Administration is secretly planning a massive amnesty campaign of undocumented aliens. And, worse still,  that it’s keeping that secret until after the mid-term elections as a boon to Democratic candidates. I went back and took a look at the proposal and here is the offending language: “The requirement is for an estimated 4 million cards annually with the potential to buy as many as 34 million cards total. The ordering periods for this requirement shall be for a total of five (5) years.” A draft RFP issued a few days later contains the same language but adds the following: “In addition, the Contractor shall demonstrate the capability to support potential “surge” in PRC and EAD card demand for up to 9M cards during the initial period of performance to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” You can view the proposal (here) and the RFP (here) and then read all the GSA bureaucratic verbiage for yourself. Have a good time.

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225px-ruth_bader_ginsburg_scotus_photo_portrait130px-Wite-Out_123The U.S. Supreme Court rarely makes a correction — even when they are clearly called for by mistakes in law or fact. To their credit, opinions tend to minimize such errors (beyond those of judgment). After all, with the failing number of cases, the justices write relatively few opinions and take a relatively long time to generate them. That is what made it so notable this week when the Court not only corrected an opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but did so in one of her most notable opinions of the year: her dissent in Veasey v. Berry, which was heralded by many in its rejection of voter ID changes in Texas. Ginsburg wrongly stated that “Nor will Texas accept photo ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.” In fact, such cards are one of seven different types of identification that can be used to prove identity.

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Richard_Posner_at_Harvard_University

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I can still remember the first time I voted in a National election.  I was a young, 18-year-old student and I could finally have a say in who was going to run the country.  It was a proud day for me and the countless other 18 year olds who were also voting for the first time.  I can honestly say that I have not missed voting in any election since.  That includes both primary and general elections.  There wasn’t always a lot to vote for in some of those primaries over the years, but I consider voting a duty, so I made sure that I made it to the polls.

It hasn’t always been easy for all citizens to cast their vote.  Even in my lifetime, the Jim Crow laws of the South made it difficult, at best for African-Americans citizens to register and to cast their ballots.  After years of protests and legal battles, I thought the Jim Crow style of voter suppression was a thing of the past.  It turns out I was wrong.  Very wrong. (more…)

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Author’s Note: Grace Under Pressure is an ongoing series of posts honoring everyday people who courageously make positive differences in their own lives and consequently in the lives of others. It is my own personal affirmation that unexpected heroes live among us and that their service is quiet but unshakable proof that virtue really is its own reward  – and ours, too. You can read all of the Grace Under Pressure series by going to the blog search box and typing in the word “grace.” 

Rachel Kohnen was afraid her baby would be born in the car.

Rachel Kohnen was afraid her baby would be born in the car.

The contractions were coming fast and furious when eight and a half-months-pregnant, Rachel Kohnen, summoned her husband to get the SUV started at around 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday.  No novice to child-birth or false labor – Rachel has three kids already — she told him the pain was very different. It felt like the baby was coming and now was “go time.” True to his uxorious duties, husband Ben revved up the engine and the couple sped along an Iowa highway towards a hospital always too far away when you need one.  As speeds approached 85 miles per hour, the vehicle attracted the attention of the  Ft. Dodge (IA)  highway patrol. Rachel tried to call 911 to explain her situation as her husband managed to keep the SUV between the white lines but the dispatcher couldn’t understand the frantic words because of the incessant shouts from waves of pain.

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1412352742898_wps_1_Justice_Seamus_P_McCafferThere is a growing scandal over pornographic emails that has now snared a State Supreme Court Justice. There has been an ongoing investigation over pornographic emails being shared by employees at the attorney general’s office. That investigation has led to the disclosure of 54 emails sent from Justice Seamus McCaffery’s personal Comcast email address to an employee at the State Attorney General’s Office. In those emails were a reported 8 pornographic images and videos.
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