NYC Vendor In Hot Water Over Selling $30 Hot Dogs–Grilled By Media Then Fired By Boss

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Hot Dog with MustardOur host wrote earlier of the row over a WTC hotdog vendor accused of fleecing unsuspecting tourists by charging up to thirty dollars per hot dog. Now, the vendor has been terminated by his employer.

It is believed he took advantage of foreign tourists unfamiliar with the exchange rates of U.S. currency by failing to post actual prices then naming a price that was up to ten times the actual market rate.

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What is the Cost to Purchase a State Supreme Court?

Chief Justice Roberts

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

The answer to the question posed in the title, in the state of Wisconsin, is $8 Million dollars.  For those of us who think Judges are not and should not be politicians, the situation in Wisconsin is especially disturbing.  However, Wisconsin is not alone in this dilemma.  Thirty nine states elect their judges and the money flowing into those campaigns is increasing the concerns of special interests “purchasing” justice. Professor Turley has also commented in the past about the alarming amounts of money flowing into judicial elections.

In a recent United States Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice Roberts weighed in on money and politics in judicial elections.  “Last week, the United States Supreme Court upheld a Florida judicial rule that prohibits candidates for election to state judgeships from personally soliciting money for their campaigns. ‘ “Judges are not politicians,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., wrote in the majority opinion in the 5-4 decision, “even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot.” He went on, “Simply put, Florida and most other States have concluded that the public may lack confidence in a judge’s ability to administer justice without fear or favor if he comes to office by asking for favors.” ‘ New Yorker Continue reading

Is The Cell Phone Kill Switch in the Wrong Hands?

Electronic_Privacy_Information_Center_logo

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

You may not have heard of it before, but the government has the ability to shut off cell phone service at any time, under the guise of National Security.  The Department of Homeland Security has an operating procedure known as Standard Operating Procedure 303( SOP 303) and it has been labeled as the cell phone “kill switch”.

I knew very little about the “kill switch” before today, but according to a recent Al Jezeera America article, the kill switch authority is being currently debated in Federal court. Continue reading

Stranger in a Strange Land: ABA To Hold Session On The Cultural Defense

200px-AbalogoI will have the honor of serving as the moderator on a panel at the American Bar Association’s conference in Washington, D.C. today. The panel is entitled “Stranger in a Strange Land: Cross Cultural Issues in the Courts.” This is part of an internationally successful program organized by Judge Hon. Delissa A. Ridgway of U.S. Court of International Trade. Judge Ridgway has brought together jurists and lawyers from around the world to discuss difficult cultural issues that are increasingly appearing in criminal and civil cases. These cases deal with arguments or defenses that turn on the cultural norms or practices of a given defendant or litigant. The cases have forced the question of when and how courts should recognize such defenses.

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Sixty Yazidi Girls Per Month Reportedly Commit Suicide After Rape By ISIS Terrorists

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

yazidi-women-facing-wallAccording to an Iraqi based aid worker, who identified himself only as Yousif, approximately two girls a day commit suicide in the aftermath of being raped by ISIS Terrorists. The news and other corroboration of reports of inhumanity directed toward women in girls are unimaginable. Compounding the horror experienced from gang rapes in open streets, being sold into sexual slavery, or subjected to other outrages is both the stigma and shame forced onto women and girls–a furtherance of ISIS’ crimes against humanity. It also shows a macabre window into a policy of ethnic cleansing by ISIS at several levels.

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Follow The Money

220px-Chris_Christie_2011_Shankbone

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

 

Over the last few years we have seen many stories and articles that discuss the problems States and Municipalities are having in paying their public pension payments and how various politicians propose to fix those “problems”.  The politicians almost always seem to blame the pension problems on the overpaid government workers and their unions. The idea that Wall Street might have something to do with these government pension plans being underfunded is rarely discussed.  Until now.

A significant portion of the funds deposited in government employee pension plans is invested with Wall Street. According to one recent study, the public pension plans are paying at least $5.4 Billion dollars each year to Wall Street. Continue reading

Italian High Court Acquits Amanda Knox And Raffaele Sollecito

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Amanda Knox
Amanda Knox

In what hopefully will become the conclusion of an oppressive years long ordeal, Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, overturned the murder convictions against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

The news came as somewhat a surprise considering the zeal at which the prosecution fought to ensure the defendants be imprisoned for over two decades. The subsequent court drama and media circuses made it seem an almost foregone conclusion her fate would ultimately rest upon an extradition hearing within the purview of American courts.

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