We recently discussed the suspension of Kirk Nurmi, the attorney for Arizona murderer Jodi Arias. Nurmi allegedly sought to cash in on his representation by revealing confidential information in his self-published book, “Trapped with Ms. Arias.” The former lawyer for Casey Anthony has fared little better. Todd Macaluso withdrew from the Casey Anthony case in 2010 after California ethics authorities accused him of mishandling client trust account money. Macaluso has now been arrested for an alleged conspiracy to fly at least 3,300 pounds of cocaine from Ecuador to Honduras in an effort to smuggle drugs into the United States.
We recently discussed the courageous stand of the University of Chicago in favor of free speech (a position followed by schools like Purdue). We can now add the Cardiff University in Wales as a school standing with free speech principles over demands for censorship and “safe zones”. Conversely, student leaders at Tufts University unanimously voted against a measure protecting free speech by addressing the vague and fluid terms used to curtail free speech.
It was bound to happen once He Who Must Not Be Named lost it in the duel with Harry Potter. Police in Bangkok are looking for the infamous Elder Wand. Natdanai Asavaruks went to see the latest Harry Potter movie, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” and let the Elder Wand in his car. When he returned, it was gone.
Donald Trump has set off a new controversy with a signature early morning tweet. Trump lashed out at those who burn American flags and said that they should be punished for their actions. The problem is that this question was already answered by the Supreme Court, which found that such acts (while despicable) are constitutionally protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
There is an interesting case out of Denver where Heidi Hemmat at KDVR Fox 31 has resigned after death threats tied to her investigation of a local business. The threat however was not made to her directly but reported by the psychiatrist treating the owner. It appears to be a direct application of the ruling in Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 17 Cal. 3d 425, 551 P.2d 334, 131 Cal. Rptr. 14 (Cal. 1976), requiring doctors to disclose threats made by patients to their potential victims.
Bad taste on ice seems to be the theme this week. First, the wife of President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman faced a storm of criticism on Monday for performing a Holocaust-themed ice-dancing routine with striped costumes based on concentration camp uniforms. Then an ice rink in Kitakyushu, Japan, was shocked when skaters had objections to their arrangement of dead fish in frozen patterns under the ice for them to enjoy. For most skaters, Space World
had them lost them at “hello.”
I have previously criticized past prosecutions for stolen valor (here and here) as a threat to the first amendment. Such cases are deterred through social stigma and simple research. We have criminal laws allowing for the prosecution of those who use false claims to secure financial gain or benefits. Such is the case with former Marine Brandon Blackstone, who stole a combat veteran’s story of valor to secure a house and benefits. He is now facing 21 years in jail for his crimes in assuming the valor of Casey Owens, left, who lost both legs in combat. Blackstone served in the same unit as Owens.