Archive for the ‘Lawyering’ Category

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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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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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1411663301223_wps_10_Omar_Best_Best_was_convicIt appears that the Uber Taxi driver discussed today is not the only person who is reportedly using the “she asked for it” defense to sexual assault. The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office is blaming a former state prison clerk for her own rape in litigation against the prison. The 24-year-old typist was working at the state prison at Rockview in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania in 2013 when she was choked unconscious and raped for 27 minutes by Omar Best, an image convicted three times previously of sex-related crimes. Worse yet, Best had been transferred from a different state prison for assaulting a female assistant but the prison still allowed him unsupervised visits with female employees.

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holderericBelow is my column on the resignation of Eric Holder as United States Attorney General. For civil libertarians, Holder’s tenure as Attorney General under President Obama has been one of the most damaging periods in our history with a comprehensive attack on various constitutional rights and principles from free speech to the free press to international law. In recent polling by NBC and the Wall Street Journal, Holder was the second most unpopular government official after the positively radioactive Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

As someone who previously called for Holder’s firing after the investigation of various journalists under national security powers, I am hardly one who can offer congratulatory sentiments for such a record. However, much like President Obama, one has to wonder what could have been if Holder had chosen a more principled and less political approach to his office. Holder is resigning the same week that a federal judge ordered the release of “Fast and Furious” documents after the Justice Department was accused of a pattern of delay and obstruction. Holder was previously held in contempt by Congress for his withholding documents and conflicting accounts to an oversight committee looking into the scandal. Indeed, Holder was looking at an even more aggressive period with the possible loss of the Senate and increased GOP seats in the House.

Ironically, Holder came into office trying to distinguish himself from such disastrous predecessors as Alberto Gonzales but proved no less political or blindly loyal to his own president. Indeed, both men fought aggressively to expand the powers of the presidency and national security laws over countervailing individual rights and separation of powers principles. It will be civil liberties and not civil rights that will be the lasting, and troubling, legacy of Eric Holder. The column is below:

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fuller-mugshotWe previously discussed the arrest of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller in Alabama for misdemeanor battery of his wife. Now members are raising the possibility of impeachment if he does not resign despite the absence of a conviction on the misdemeanor. Rep. Martha Roby (R., Alabama) is citing a rather novel source of extraconstitutional precedent: the NFL Ray Rice case.

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article-charlize8n-5-0307We previously discussed the bizarre case of Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio who was identified as an anonymous commenter known as “geauxjudge” in a an an interesting controversy in Arkansas where Maggio was was outed from online sites. Maggio previously apologized and withdrew from a race for the appellate court. The controversy raised the question of whether such comments should be a subject for ethical discipline and whether judges should have the right to comment anonymously on such sites. Now Maggio has been permanently removed from the bench for his discussion of a confidential adoption of a child by actress Charlize Theron. He agreed with the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission about the lifetime ban. However, the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected the recommendation because it included Maggio being suspended with pay until the end of the year when his term expires.

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images1096As we previously discussed, the criminal charges against former Bush White House lawyer John Michael Farren for the attempted murder of his then-wife Mary Margaret Farren, a former partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He has now been convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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