When in Rome, Do As The Romans Do: Judge Joins Defendant In Trash Talking Tirade And Dares Him To Masturbate In The Courtroom

Judges often have to deal with hard cases, including some who literally have nothing to lose in disrupting a courtroom. Most judges will have such defendants removed, but Floyd County Superior Court Judge Bryant Durham in Rome, Georgia appeared to be intent on trying to out crazy the craziest guy in the room. In this case, the guy was Denver Allen and he unleashed a tirade at Durham who proceeded to join him in trashing talking. This led ultimately to Judge Durham daring Allen to masturbate in his courtroom. It should also lead to Durham’s discipline and likely removal for conduct that violates the basic tenets of judicial ethics.

Continue reading

Turkey Grants Immunity From Prosecution To Security And Military Forces Fighting Kurds

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Flag of TurkeyIn what can be seen as a prelude to future rights abuses by Turkish military and police forces engaged in countering the pro-Kurdish resistance fighters in the east, Turkey’s parliament passed laws granting immunity to its military engaged in “anti-terrorist” operations.

The government has become engaged in fighting since a cease-fire with the PKK broke down two years ago.

Continue reading

Judge Rules Public Hospitals Must Offer Abortion Services If They Offer Maternity Services

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

skagit-regional-health-logoRuling on statutory grounds, Skagit County, Washington Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis held that a public hospital offering maternity services to women must also offer abortion services. Referring patients to Planned Parenthood, the court ruled, violates state law regarding abortion services provided to patients. The suit was brought on behalf of a plaintiff patient by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The fundamental conflict in the case litigated was ostensibly due to the defendant hospital district’s position that while agreeing to offer such services, it experienced difficulty in complying due to lack of health professionals willing to perform abortions. State law does allow heath care professionals to decline to perform voluntary abortions for personal reasons.

For other public hospital districts, the ACLU served notice requesting similar compliance with state law.

Continue reading

Eighth Circuit Throws Out Judgment For Ventura In Chris Kyle Defamation Case

Chris_Kyle_January_2012Jesse_Ventura_speaking_on_freedom_to_marry_in_MNThe United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit handed down a major tort ruling in throwing out the $1.8 million judgment awarded to former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. Ventura alleged that he was defamed in the late author Chris Kyle’s bestselling book “American Sniper.” The court cited various errors at trial, including a faulty instruction on the actual malice standard for defamation and the misuse of unjust enrichment as a basis for the damages. The trial showed clear and frankly surprising errors by both Ventura’s counsel and the trial judge.

Continue reading

Venezuela Supreme Court Bans Media From Showing Lynchings In Latest Denial Of Free Speech and Free Press Protections

images-2We have been discussing the rapid decline of civil liberties in Venezuela after the socialist takeover by Hugo Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro. The denial of free speech and free press protections only increased as Chavez/Maduro destroyed one of the most productive economies in Latin America and turned it into an economic basket case. Now, the “red revolution” can take credit for reducing the judicial system to a virtual caricature of itself. The Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled this week that the media cannot publish videos of lynchings because such true images would produce “anxiety and uncertainty” among citizens. The Maduro government has been trying to prevent citizens from seeing such images as it denies the social and economic meltdown in the country.

Continue reading

Hillary Clinton and The New Nixonians

220px-Richard_Nixon225px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropBelow is my column in USA Today on the striking similarities between Richard Nixon and Hillary Clinton, particularly with regard to the staffers surrounding them. Both tended to blame others about being, to paraphrase Nixon, “kicked around.” However, there are deeper and rather disturbing patterns emerging that are shared by the two leaders in my view.

Continue reading