Archive for the ‘Courts’ Category

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

variable-speed-yellow-black-largeCriminal Cases resulting from speeding offense probable cause may be in jeopardy due to improper colors used variable speed limit signs. If courts determine that these signs violate statutory signage standards, exclusionary rules may apply resulting in dismissals of numerous criminal cases.

An example of this is found on Interstate 90 straddling Snoqualmie Pass in Washington State. Over a decade ago, the Washington State Department of Transportation installed Highway Advisory Beacons, near the mountain pass to warn driver of upcoming hazards along with incorporation into the state’s variable speed limit statute. An example of these types of signs is pictured above.

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unnamed-1This morning I will be testifying in the House of Representatives before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary. The hearing is entitled “Child Exploitation Restitution Following the Paroline Decision and addresses a long-standing controversy over the limits on restitution in such cases. My testimony is below.

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

The Obama Administration has been pressuring members of Congress to pass the bill that will give President Obama the “fast track”  authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) agreement without any debate in Congress.  Fast track authority would not allow for any amendments and the bill would remain secret until just before it is voted on.

“President Obama is currently pressing members of Congress to pass Fast-Track authority for a trade and investment agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). If Fast Track passes, it means that Congress must approve or deny the TPP with minimal debate and no amendments. Astonishingly, our lawmakers have not seen the agreement they are being asked to expedite.” Nation of Change (more…)

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Judge_Amy_Salerno_2005Judge Amy Salerno of Franklin County, Ohio has been reprimand for a serious breach of judicial ethics. Salerno lashed out at jurors after they acquitted a defendant and said that it was a “slam dunk” case. Salerno was ranked as the worst judge in the Columbus Bar Association survey in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. She appears intent on continuing her ignoble distinction. We previously discussed the case.

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Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court has decided to wade back into the controversy over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” today with the granting of review of King v. Burwell, No. 14-114. I have previously written about the King case as well as the parallel case in the D.C. Circuit in Halbig. Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King and there appears a rather transparent effort by the Administration to give justices sticker shock in considering the challenge, particularly Chief Justice John Roberts. [For full disclosure, I am lead counsel in the challenge filed by the United States House of Representatives to different ACA changes ordered unilaterally by President Obama in House of Representatives v. Burwell.

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Gloria Eun Hye Lee

Gloria Eun Hye Lee

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

There are crimes where a defendant’s depraved actions almost beg for a strong sentence. Torching a pet store and pouring kerosene on puppies certainly qualifies.

Just over a year ago we reported the case of Gloria Eun Hye Lee who, along with codefendant Kirk Bills were accused of conspiracy, insurance fraud, arson, and animal cruelty for an outrageous event where the two set fire to Gloria’s Las Vegas Prince and Princess Pet Botique.

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Bruce_Rauner_August_2014

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

I have to give Governor Bruce Rauner credit for not taking long to show his hand and publicly attack the Higher Education system in Illinois.  It has only been a few weeks since he was inaugurated and he recently unveiled his budget.  A budget plan that slashes over $200 million just from the University of Illinois alone.

At the very time Gov. Rauner announced he wants to slash the Higher Education budget for all universities in the State of Illinois by almost a third, he claimed that his budget makes education a priority!  (more…)

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