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. Continue Reading »

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Flag of TurkeyWe have written HERE and HERE of the continuing effort by the Erdogan Government of Turkey in attacking opposition by heavy handed actions against journalists and media critical of the government and President Erdogan. In another sign of the descent into suppression of opposing views the Turkish government ordered its police forces to raid the newspapers and publications deemed to have links to a rival of the President

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IMG_1782I did my morning hike on the Billy Goat Trail this morning and I was a bit sluggish in the 29 degree temperature at dawn. I was beginning to think that it would have been better to stay at home (particularly when I broke though an ice pond and soaked a leg) when I spotted a beaver. I have had a record of beaver sighting this winter and this big boy walked right in front of me between the river and a pond. It also seems that a great hike always offers a prize and that was my reward.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

early-pianoAfter what was seemingly a never ending probate contest between a Washington State lawyer and his brothers, the State Supreme Court unanimously voted to disbar lawyer Russell Kenneth Jones, upholding the Washington State Bar Association Disciplinary Board’s unanimous recommendation that Jones be sanctioned with disbarment.

The case brings to light how vexatious behavior and unbrotherly love can come alive in probate matters and shows quite definitely the advantage of having trusted third-parties involved to take some of the emotion out of probate proceedings.

The nearly eighteen year battle was one of the worst a presiding judge had seen. The ruling from the State Supreme Court provides some rather unique behavior described below in its ruling:

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Cara L. Gallagher, Weekend Contributor

RudyTo say I follow the courts like most people follow professional sports would be an understatement. Court watching is my spectator sport and I’m one of its biggest (nerdiest?) fans. It’s taken me years, but in June of 2013 I had my Rudy-moment when I stepped out of the stands and onto the field. That was the summer I first covered the Supreme Court for C-SPAN. Since then I’ve sat in the front rows covering the decisions in the final weeks of the Supreme Court’s term, created my own blog on the Supreme Court, interviewed Court experts like Jonathan Turley and SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein, and I continue to teach and write about the courts. I’m a SCOTUS junkie who has Google alerts set to “Supreme Court” and “circuit court,” Hootsuite streams set to monitor the latest #SCOTUS news, and bookmarked pages of sites like this blog and Howard Bashman’s HowAppealing.com.  The only time I can’t feed my addiction is when I have to operate heavy machinery, liking driving and biking to work.  Recently my commute to and from work just got so much better thanks to two new legal podcast series I’ve discovered. Continue Reading »

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Entreating the GodfatherWashington marijuana businesses are becoming financially tenuous in large part due to the imposition of heavy taxation. The matter has been further compounded beyond simply an unsustainable state excise tax of twenty five percent levied at all stages of the supply chain (marijuana producers, processors, and retailers) but a federal tax code that prevents the excise tax and conventional business expenses from being deducted from federal income taxes. This is due to a prohibition specifically applicable to marijuana. The accounting effect of this means marijuana businesses must also pay federal tax on what the business pays in state taxes.

Marijuana retailers have stated in interviews this double taxation alone swallows much of their profits. It shows another formidable challenge to the survivability of the licensed cannabis industry in Washington..

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stealing-wreath-cemeteryThe_Grinch_(That_Stole_Christmas)We have another story of a thief likely to receive a lump of coal for Christmas. This time the Whoville is located in Saco, Maine where a video shows a woman allegedly stealing a Christmas Wreath from a headstone in a cemetery.

Police reports indicate at least fifteen wreaths stolen from various graves at Laurel Hill Cemetery. After a previous incident, a family member of one of the deceased placed a wildlife camera on a tree to record any future thefts. The camera proved worthy in its capture of a Grinch in the act.

But that was not the ending of this Christmas Story.

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