Archive for the ‘Criminal law’ Category

Ferguson_Day_6,_Picture_44Below is my column that ran today in the USA Today. It ran earlier on the web and this is a slightly expanded version of the piece on the spat of apologies around the country.

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250px-46_Dick_Cheney_3x4I have long argued in my column as well as numerous blog postings that our country is legally bound to prosecute people responsible for ordering torture during the Bush Administration. There is no question that water boarding is torture as recognized by President Obama, Attorney General Holder, the United Nations and virtually every expert in this field. However, while you may want to try to rewrite legal precedent (as did John Yoo and Jay Bybee in their infamous Torture Memos), you should not try to rewrite history. That is what former Vice President Dick Cheney appears to be doing this month. He told Chuck Todd on Sunday that we never prosecuted anyone for water boarding — an assertion that I and others have repeatedly raised over the years. The statement is simply false and adds historical revisionism to legal revisionism in our sordid foray into torture.

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Sony_Entertainment_Network220px-David_Boies_2011_ShankboneThere are continuing rumblings in the media about the threat of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) lawyer David Boies over media sites using material hacked from the studio, including embarrassing emails where executives dish on leading stars like Angelina Jolie and the disclosure of contract information. Boies has warned that such material must be ignored or destroyed and suggested legal repercussions in the use of “stolen information.” But how serious is this threat? In my view, not very.

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black-and-white-cow-3Midamar Corp. and directors Jalel and Bill Aossey have been criminally charged in Cedar Rapids for allegedly falsely marking $4.9 million worth of meat as meeting strict halal standards and selling the noncompliant meat to millions of Muslims worldwide in Malaysia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and other countries. Also indicated is Islamic Services of America, an organization approved by Malaysia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE to certify beef for import under Islamic standards. They are facing 91 other counts for allegedly making false statements on export certificates, wire fraud and money laundering. The case could raise an interesting free exercise question.

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200px-Super_Bowl_logo.svgThe last ten years have been a windfall for insurance companies: first with the post-9-11 legislation and then Obamacare. Now however, lobbyists are threatening to cancel the Super Bowl unless Congress renews the TRIA—the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to cover insurers so that they will not have to actually pay out for any costs associated with terrorism. There may be good reasons for the bill coverage but there are also some unanswered questions. Do not expect too many answers however.

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bryant_cochranFormer Murray County Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant L. Cochran has been found convicted by a federal jury in a bizarre case where he engineered the false arrest of a woman who alleged that she had been sexually propositioned by Cochran. He was also convicted of tampering with a witness and for sexually assaulting a county employee. The conspiracy detailed in the indictment is a rather twisted tale of a sex-crazed judge, meth-using mother of four, treacherous friends, and corrupt cops. Hint: it turns out that like Agatha Christie, virtually all of them are guilty of something.

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220px-John_Brennan_CIA_official_portrait

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

This past week’s news reports of the Senate report on the CIA Torture program were both distressing and enlightening.   I was dismayed to not only read what the full extent of the CIA’s Torture program was, but also when I read pundits and former CIA officials claim that rectal rehydration was merely a medical procedure! I was further discouraged when commenters on this blog made claims that waterboarding and other torture tactics were either necessary or what the devils deserved.

Very few pundits or commenters seem to care if the so-called Enhanced Interrogation techniques were legal or ethical when the CIA resorted to them shortly after 9/11.  This “debate” over the actions taken in our name by the CIA has gone from a report based on the CIA’s own words to denials that the techniques were torture, to claims that great intelligence value was gained using the torture and claims that it was a biased report written by Democrats. (more…)

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