Clock_Tower_-_Palace_of_Westminster,_London_-_May_2007 This week I will be blogging from London, England. Today will be the first day, though I arrive around 10 pm in London. I will be speaking at the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. I will be participating on a program organized by Hon. Delissa A. Ridgway, Judge of the United States Court of International Trade entitled “What if . . . there had been no Magna Carta?”

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Bankers Make a Mockery of the Law, and No One Goes to Jail


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

It has happened again.  Several big banks have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar and are paying billions in fines for their admitted transgressions.

“On Wednesday, four large global banks — Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland — pleaded guilty to a series of federal crimes over a scheme to manipulate the value of the world’s currencies. The Justice Department accused the banks of collusion in one of the largest and yet least regulated markets, noting that at one bank one trader remarked “the less competition the better.”

That lack of oversight, coupled with the pressure to squeeze profits from a relatively middling business, set the stage for this scandal, one that unfolded nearly every day for five years. The crimes described on Wednesday also painted the portrait of something more systemic: a Wall Street culture that enabled many big banks to break the law even after years of regulatory black marks after the crisis.” New York Times Continue reading

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?


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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