We 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.
A Little Rock courtroom was the scene of a truly sad fall from grace as former Arkansas Judge Bob Sam Castleman was given 40 years for methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution conspiracy. Some ten years ago, Castleman and his son were sent to jail after they mailed a live poisonous snake to a man with whom they had a dispute. There was a real Breaking Bad quality to the trial that included a demand for life in prison after prosecutors were allowed to argue that Castleman killed a witness in the drug case even though he was never criminally charged in the case. The defense had a compelling argument that it was improper to put the death of the witness, Travis Perkins, (who was also a codefendant) into the trial. Perkins was found shot to death in an apartment in Pocahontas, Arkansas just days before he was set to testify against Castleman.
I am in Orem, Utah after speaking at the Constitution Day celebrations at Utah Valley University and its conference on privacy in America. I will be returning today but hope to catch one of the panels today at this extraordinary event of the Utah Valley University’s Center for Constitutional Studies. Yesterday, I spoke twice on free speech issues. My first speech was on private actors limiting free speech, the “little brother” problem. The speech (and those of my panelists) was followed by a panel discussion with with New York University and University of Chicago professor Richard Epstein and UCLA professor Eugene Volokh. Later I spoke again on media and free speech followed by a panel with New York Times columnist Stanley Fish.
This was beginning to sound too familiar. A president is calling for a new war based on his inherent authority while members of Congress warn that it is war or death for America. However, former NSA director (and my neighbor) Michael Hayden added a new element: explaining that air power is like “casual sex” and that we need greater commitment than the military equivalent to a one night stand. Of course, this one night stand is expected to last months and cost billions. President Obama has already asked for $500 million to just arm Syrian rebels despite the fact that we are now facing our own weaponry in the hands of ISIS (captured from our past supply of rebels and the Iraqi military). Sort of like Warren Zevon’s song to send “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” except we are leaving the lawyers behind on this one.
There is now a lawsuit filed seeking damages in the beating of Kollin Truss by Baltimore police, as shown vividly by the video below released by this attorney. The video is highly disturbing and shows Officer Vincent E. Cosom striking Truss without any apparent provocation and then followed by other officers.
Saudi Arabia has long been one of the most vocal countries to object to any insult or restriction impacting Islam in other countries. However, it continues to deny the free exercise of religion to non-Muslims. That oppressive record was on full display this week with the report of another series of arrests of Christians who were merely trying to pray. The infamous Morality Police (Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) raided the prayer meeting and arrested everyone for the crime of praying to another God.
Yesterday, I had a spirited debate with Berkeley Professor and former Bush Administration lawyer John Yoo at Christopher Newport University’s Center for American Studies (CAS). The debate was structured around the question of “Filling in the Gaps: Is Executive Prerogative Constitutional?”
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