Friday, June 11, 2004

Harassment case settled for $62,000 and new job

The Norfolk paper reports here ("Officer agrees to settlement in harrassment suit," 6/11/04) on the settlement of a sexual harassment case brought by a city employee.

Judge Wilson denies summary judgment based on adverse inference from spoiled evidence

In Ward v. Texas Steak, Ltd., Judge Wilson found an adverse inference for spoliation of the key evidence in the case and therefore denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment.

So what is the Chrissy-Dog's excuse?

I've been reading articles like this one about how border collies know English.

Our old hound maybe can't hear or quit listening, but she watches us like a hawk.

What feels good about e-filing

Balasubramania has this post about how e-filing at night makes him feel good - "While opposing counsel is sleeping you are serving them with pleadings!"

More on the Gate City election

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has this story ("Disputed election reviewed," 6/11/04) about the controversy over the outcome of mayor's race in Scott County.

Interview with the shooter in Appalachian School of Law killings

The AP has this frightening interview with the man who shot and killed Dean Sutin at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Conviction on failure to appear reversed for lack of evidence that trial judge took judicial notice

In Edmonds v. Com., the Virginia Court of Appeals, in a decision by Judge Annunziata, joined by Judges Clements and McClanahan, held that the Commonwealth failed to prove that the defendant knew she was supposed to appear in court, and therefore her conviction for failure to appear was reversed, notwithstanding the Commonwealth's arguments that the trial court jduge took judicial notice of the indications on the warrant that the defendant knew of the hearing date. The Court explained that the trial court must make some kind of statement that communicates its intent to take judicial notice for such facts to be considered evidence that would sustain a conviction.

Double jeopardy clause precludes larceny trial after acquittal on robbery charge

In Hudgins v. Com., the Virginia Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, held that the Double Jeopardy Clause precluded a subsequent prosecution for grand larceny after the defendant had been acquitted of robbery in connection with the same incident. The opinion was written by Judge Walter Felton. Judge Benton wrote a separate concurring opinion. Judge Elder wrote a separate concurring opinion. Judge Annunziata, joined by Judge Clements, wrote a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

Chief Judge Jones rules on remedy for DirecTV against alleged signal bandits

In DirecTV, Inc. v. Adkins, Chief Judge Jones of the W.D. Va. ruled in favor of DirecTV on the question of what is the appropriate remedy for the plaintiff in this signal theft case. The Court granted plaintiff's request for statutory damages and injunctive relief, the award of statutory damages being $10,000 per device. The Court noted that "[b]ecause the
statute deems the selling or distributing of each device to be a separate violation . . . , DIRECTV’s request would amount to awards of $2,050,000 against defendant Adkins, $150,000 against defendant Coleman, $200,000 against defendant Dykes, and $820,000 against defendant Rife."

More on Judge Wilson's ruling disqualifying lawyer from California's Geragos firm

The Roanoke paper has this article ("Lawyer disqualified in smuggling case," 6/9/04) on Judge Wilson's ruling that a California lawyer cannot represent multiple defendants in a series of smuggling prosecutions. The article notes that the lawyer is with the law firm of Geragos and Geragos, most famous recently as counsel for Scott Peterson.

Baby-faced VMI cadet from Norelco ads killed in Iraq

The Richmond paper reports here ("Graduate of VMI killed in Iraq," 6/9/04) the following:

"The conflict in Iraq claimed the life of a Virginia Military Institute graduate known by family and friends for his determined spirit, energy and generosity.

Spc. Ryan Doltz, 26, of Mine Hill, N.J., died in Baghdad on Saturday when the vehicle in which he was riding hit an improvised explosive device. . . .

Doltz was VMI's "baby face" in a Norelco shaver advertising campaign that featured institute cadets.

In real life, he was zealous about the war and reconstruction effort in Iraq and eager to play a role."

The Roanoke paper also has this report ("3rd VMI graduate dies in Iraq War," 6/9/04) and the AP has this report.

From 1998, here is a Roanoke Times story about the commercial.

More on Reagan and Jelly Belly

The AP has this report on the Reagan/Jelly Belly connection and, via this post from Southern Appeal, the Jelly Belly company has this page ("Jelly Belly Saddened by the Passing of Ronald Reagan," 6/6/04) about Reagan.

I usually get my Jelly Bellies down at the Simply Delicious delicatessen on Volunteer Parkway, about $10 at a time, which doesn't last very long. My wife buys me Jelly Bellies 2-3 times a year, and it is always a good gift.

Virginia AG's brief in the W.D. Va. prisoners' rights case

Here via this post from the SCOTUSblog is the brief from the Commonwealth's reply brief in support its petition for certiorari in the prisoner case in which Judge Turk of the W.D. Va. declared the federal RLUIPA unconstitutional but was reversed by the Fourth Circuit.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

On West Virginia's Judge Hallanan

In this post, Brian Peterson links to this article on the life and times of Judge Elizabeth Hallanan, who died this week at age 79. She served on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, having been appointed by President Reagan.

Judge Wilson disqualifies lawyer with multiple clients in tobacco smuggling cases

In U.S. v. Chichyan, Judge Wilson disqualified counsel for one of the defendants, because the lawyer also represented two other defendants in a related prosecution in California. The Court concluded: "Buehler’s representation of defendants in overlapping prosecutions arising out of a single undercover operation when those defendants could possibly offer trial testimony against one another, receive leniency by cooperating, or if convicted receive varying role adjustments is simply too problematic."

Ninth District race as most expensive this year in Virginia?

The Coalfield Progress has this report ("Ninth district race may be Virginia's most expensive," 6/3/04) speculating that the Boucher-Triplett race will involve the most spending of this year's congressional campaigns in Virginia.

Warner makes interim appointments of judges in Hampton, Alexandria

The Daily Press reports here ("Judge's return to Hampton angers critic," 6/8/04) that Governor Warner gave an interim reappointment to Judge Andrews of the Circuit Court in Hampton, angering the Republic delegate who opposed his reappointment.

For Alexandria, Warner gave the interim appointment to criminal defense lawyer Lisa Kemler, as reported here ("Warner Makes New Pick for Circuit Court," 6/8/04) in the Washington Post.

Del. Griffith on FOI council

Denying any sense of the ironic, Delegate Morgan Griffith, after seeking legislation that could have had the effect of closing party caucuses of the General Assembly members from the public, even where legislation was discussion, has sought and obtained a position on the FOI council, according to this report ("Griffith named to FOI council," 6/8/04) in the Richmond paper.

On the face of it, I wonder why stick this on Griffith (or let him take it), when he has enough on his plate already, and when no one would say he has any particular credibility as an open government advocate.

Lawyer Rocovich replaced at head of Va. Tech Board of Visitors

The Roanoke paper has this article ("John Rocovich replaced as Tech rector on 3-9 vote," 6/8/04) on the ouster of Roanoke lawyer John Rocovich as the head of the Tech BOV.

The article notes: "Critics accused Rocovich of pushing his own conservative beliefs when he drafted a resolution effectively ending race and gender polices at Tech as well as removing homosexuals from the university's anti-discrimination clause."

Monday, June 07, 2004

The Southwest Virginia connection with this year's Stanley Cup

Apparently, John Tortorella, the coach of the National Hockey League champion Tampa Bay Lightning, met his wife and got into coaching after he blew out a knee playing minor league hockey in Roanoke in the 1980s.

The Cup finals were fantastic, simply outstanding (and I was rooting for Calgary). The skating of the Cup after the game is one of the best things in sports.

No federal jurisdiction for city-county squabble over proceeds of red-light camera program

In Shavitz v. Guilford Board of Education, the Fourth Circuit in a per curiam opinion for the panel of Judges Motz and Traxler and Senior Judge Hamilton concluded that there was no federal jurisdiction for the claim of the City of High Point against Guilford County regarding the proceeds of a red-light camera program

No federal jurisdiction for city-county squabble over proceeds of red-light camera program

In Shavitz v. Guilford Board of Education, the Fourth Circuit in a per curiam opinion for the panel of Judges Motz and Traxler and Senior Judge Hamilton concluded that there was no federal jurisdiction for the claim of the City of High Point against Guilford County regarding the proceeds of a red-light camera program beats trademark infringement claim brought by Scholastic

In Scholastic, Inc. v., the Fourth Circuit in a per curiam opinion for the panel of Judges Wilkinson, Williams, and Baldock affirmed judgment for the defendant on the plaintiff's trademark claims.

Sending out sample socks not trafficking in counterfeit goods

In U.S. v. Habegger, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Chief Judge Wilkins, joined by Judge Duncan and Senior Judge Bobby R. Baldock of the Tenth Circuit, overruled the defendant's conviction for trafficking in counterfeit goods, holding that the shipping of sample counterfeit socks was not trafficking within the meaning of the statute.

Car wash sues city for cutting its water, Judge Michael dismisses for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim

In Express Carwash of Charlottesville, LLLP v. City of Charlottesville, Senior Judge Michael of the W.D. Va. affirmed the recommendations of Magistrate Judge Crigler and dismissed the constitutional claims brought by a Charlottesville car wash against the City for rationing its water during a time of drought. The Court concluded, among other things, that the plaintiff's Takings claim was not ripe, and because the water-rationing scheme was rational, plaintiff had no Equal Protection claim.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

First month of tax increases unconstitutional?

Via Bacon's Rebellion, Paul Goldman has this column explaining how laws passed in a special session of the General Assembly (such as the recent tax bill) take effect, according to the Virginia Constitution, "on the first day of the fourth month following the month of adjournment of the special session." Va. Const., art. IV, section 13. The tax bill on its face takes effect August 1, the Constitution says it can't take effect (without emergency status) until September 1.

Listening on the extension phone generally not viewed as interception?

A reader sent me a link to this law review article which says courts mainly do not find a parent's eavesdropping to be a violation of the Federal Wiretap Act. The first footnote cites these cases: Schieb v. Grant, 22 F.3d 149, 154 (7th Cir. 1994) (acknowledging father’s use of an extension phone to record minor son’s conversations with mother permissible under the Wiretap Act); Newcomb v. Ingle, 944 F.2d 1534, 1536 (10th Cir. 1991) (holding interception by custodial parent of minor son’s conversations with father outside the scope of the Wiretap Act); Anonymous v. Anonymous, 558 F.2d 677, 679 (2d Cir. 1977) (stating husband’s recording of wife’s conversations with minor child excepted under Wiretap Act).

One Delegate Marshall bill I missed

One of the bills proposed by Delegate Robert Marshall but not passed in this past General Assembly session was HB 757, which would have added to the Virginia statute prohibiting same sex marriage the following proviso:

"Any judge who rules the provisions of this section to be unconstitutional shall be deemed to have committed malfeasance in office and may be subject to impeachment under the provisions of Article IV, § 17 of the Constitution of Virginia."

The geography of picking statewide candidates for the Democrats in 2005

This column includes speculation from Professor Sabato that Democrats need a candidate from rural Virginia and a candidate from the Tidewater to run with Tim Kaine in 2005, figuring that Northern Virginia is going Democratic no matter what.

More on Circuit Court Judge Clark, the author

The Charlotte paper has this delightful article about a less than profitable book-signing for Circuit Court Judge Martin Clark, related to his second novel.

The article concludes, "I can promise you that he is a hoot of the first magnitude -- one with smart things to say about writing, the law and rural Southern life."

Prince William court's case management system going online

The Washington Post has this article ("Courthouse Documents To Be Easier To Retrieve," 6/6/04) about the soon-to-be-launched electronic case management system in the Circuit Court of Prince William County.

VDOT needs new acronym for Southeastern Expressway?

The Norfolk paper includes this column concluding that VDOT needs a new term when referring to the Southeastern Expressway project, known internally as "SEX."

On outdoor-dining in downtown Roanoke

The Richmond paper has this item ("LETTER FROM ROANOKE: Outdoor-dining boom creates buzz in a revived downtown," 6/6/04) about the growth of outdoor dining at restaurants in downtown Roanoke.