I have long been a critic of state and federal rules imposing costs on losing parties or those who turn down settlement offers, particularly when courts have little or no authority to waive costs. We previously discussed how a federal court ordering the family of a fallen soldier to pay $16,000 to the Westboro Baptist Church, an extremist organization that pickets the funerals of soldiers and Marines. Now the victims of the massacre at the Century Aurora 16 multiplex theater have been hit with a $700,000 bill to pay the defendant’s costs after losing their lawsuit. It is a variation of the “English Rule” where loser pays and something that I believe deters lawsuits against corporations and powerful individuals.
Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland is in the unenviable position of having everyone in Washington saying nice things about him. There are two occasions when that is common: a judicial nomination going no where and eulogy. For Garland, it may be both. The Senate Republicans have already said that Garland will not receive a hearing, let alone a vote, before the inauguration of the next president. For attorney Steven Michel, that is too long. Michel has filed an action in federal court demanding a judicial order to force the Senate to take up the Garland nomination. Despite my agreement that Garland should receive a vote, the lawsuit is meritless in my view. The Senate clearly has the authority to withhold consent by refusing a hearing or a vote to a nominee.
Below is my column in USA Today on Donald Trump’s statement that he thinks that American citizens should be tried at Guantanamo Bay with other “terrible people” accused of terrorism. I have previously criticized Hillary Clinton for her views on free speech and executive power. However, the suggestion that U.S. citizens could be sent for faux trials at Gitmo is truly chilling. Here is the column.
I have long been a critic of military tribunals as constitutionally dubious and practically ineffectual institutions. The tribunals at Guantanamo Bay have resulted in few actual trials and undermined the standing of the United States as a nation committed to the rule of law. The principle rationale cited by former officials in defense of Gitmo has been that it would not be used to try citizens. Now in a deeply disturbing interview, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has stated that he might try citizens at Gitmo — maintaining a shadow court system for stripping citizens of basic rights of due process just a few miles off the United States shore.
If you said impersonating a police officer to meet Hooters waitresses, you have a gift. Nicholas M. Fuhst, 18, went into a Hooters in Kochville Township, Michigan and said that he was an undercover cop in need for reviewing the background information of various waitresses. They gave him the information but also gave the real police a call. Fuhst has now pleaded no contest to impersonating a police officer.
There was a deeply disturbing scene in Louisville when a female prisoner was brought into court without pants. Kentucky Judge Amber Wolf was rightfully irate and called the jail directly from the courtroom. What is equally disturbing is that this woman was in court for simply failing to complete a diversion program on a 2014 shoplifting charge, but held for three days and denied feminine hygiene products in jail.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
In a significant judgment against the City of SeaTac, Washington in a property rights case a King County Superior Court judge awarded Gerry and Kathy Kingen $18.3 million after what the court described as “a pattern of deception that lasted years.”
The trouble for the couple began in 2003 when they purchased land in the vicinity of Sea-Tac Airport with the intent to develop the land into a Park-and-Fly garage. Immediately after bringing notice to the city of their plans the city council declared a moratorium on the construction of these garages and engaged in tactics to hinder the couple’s investment until, according to court documents, they were forced under duress to sell the property to a “phantom buyer” who was later determined to be a surrogate for the city.