Saturday, December 11, 2004

Inmate in prison for life won't be charged with additional rapes to which his DNA is linked

The Washington Post has this article ("Inmate Will Not Be Tried in 1981 Norfolk Rapes," 12/11/04) and earlier in the week the Norfolk paper had this article ("DNA from 3 rapes points to one man," 12/8/04) about an inmate whose DNA is consistent with his being the perpetrator of other rapes from 1981 for which two innocent men were imprisoned - yet he will not be charged, because the prosecutor is concerned about the chain of custody of the evidence, and in one case, the victim's identification, which she says remains unchanged in spite of the DNA evidence.

Virginia college team wins moot court tournament at Oxford

Here it says a pair from Patrick Henry College in Virginia won a moot court competition at Oxford University. Patrick Henry College is 4 year-old Christian college, and most of its students were home-schooled.

Do they have Hardees in New York City?

The Conspiracy in this post mocks the decision of the NY Times to editorialize against the latest big burger from Hardee's.

Everyone knows that the real menace to society from Hardee's is their biscuits and gravy, which I would eat every day if I had the time and money. I can't recall when last I ate an actual hamburger from Hardee's, maybe never.

On the goofiness of U.Va. sports

Doug Doughty has this column which more or less says the University's posture on no bowl during exams comes across as really weak, Heath Miller is likely to go, D'Brickashaw Ferguson will stay, Ahmad Brooks and Darryl Blackstock will wait to see based on their grades, and there is still no figuring the way Pete Gillen uses timeouts.

Someone was telling me the other day that this year's offensive coordinator was being hired away to East Carolina. Geez, what a shame.

Legal assistance

I've got a trial coming up, and I'm sitting upstairs at the computer with stuff all over the place, and the wife has company downstairs, so the old dog is up here with me.

The dog has decided to lie down on the evidence. I gave her a fanny scratch and told her to move, but she just gave me the hairy eyeball, had a big sneeze, and went back to sleep.

Fortunately, most of the good stuff is in the CaseMap database, and anyhow I think the papers beneath the dog were written by me, so how important can they be?

The dog (at age 13) is definitely losing her fastball. This morning we're out getting the newspaper, she assumes the position for her morning constitutional, and tips over (backwards). Oh, no, I think, and rush to rescue her, then realize I've thrown the paper down in the wet grass. The dog, ignoring the paper, takes off on her post-constitutional victory lap, with tail wagging.

Some time ago, Scheherazade (I think it was she) had a post that said something like, what you give up for your dog. My answer then was that I'm just afraid that when the time comes, whatever I've got won't be enough. At a minimum, it appears, I'm willing to ditch the front page of the Bristol paper, without a second's thought.

Friday, December 10, 2004

The little red car that could

My friends, etc., heckle me about my '94 Saturn (made in Tennessee by Tennesseeans), which has gone past 225,000 miles.

I filled it up today, which took 9.67 gallons. The trip odometer said 320 miles. So, the little red car still gets 33 mpg (when driven mostly on the interstate).

Budget pressure relieved somewhat for W.D. Va.

Via VLW, Chief Judge Jones is cited in this Roanoke Times article ("Court gets good news on budget," 12/10/04) for the proposition that the W.D. Va. will not have to slice its hours or personnel, in light of the big budget bill recently passed by Congress, which includes some money for the courts.

Drunk driver gets nine years in jail in Botetourt County

The Roanoke paper reports here ("Man protests 9-year DUI sentence," 12/10/04) that Judge Trumbo sentenced a man to nine years in jail after he was arrested for one of many drunk driving offenses.

Attorneys' fees of $2.4 million bill to win water cases on sovereign immunity

The AP reports here the attorneys' fees for the defense of the City of Chesapeake in the bad water cases was $2.4 million. The Virginia Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the claims were barred by sovereign immunity.

What became of the Harvard law class of 1980?

According to this report, one became the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, one became lieutenant governor of Virginia, and one became Governor of Virginia, and they all showed up for the 225th birthday party of the Virginia Supreme Court.

Another, I think, was a fellow from Alabama I once met a meeting in Chicago, and he asked me whatever became of Mark Warner. Oh, he got elected governor, I said.

Heath Miller wins Mackey Award as best college tight end

It says here that Heath Miller from Honaker has won the award for best tight end in college football.

Com. Conservative says here that Heath, a red-shirt junior who was part of this year's Senior Day, will go pro next year.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

More on the Kilgore-Kaine debate

This column from the Richmond paper says of the performances at the debate of the gubernatorial candidates, Mr. Kilgore is less smooth, and the candidates really don't like each other.

The article quotes Professor Sabato, the moderator, as saying: "They've developed a real antipathy for reach other," and the two have "far more differences than I realized."

Com. Conservative has much more on the debate here.

Hampton wants charter change so city attorney answers directly to council not city manager

Local government lawyers might be interested in this story, which says that the City Council in Hampton has endorsed a resolution asking the General Assembly to change the city's charter so that the city attorney serves at the direction of council rather than both the council and the city manager.

More on Chief Judge Spencer

The Washington Post has this profile ("Judge Adds to His History-Making Career," 12/9/04) on Chief Judge James R. Spencer of the E.D. Va.

Supreme Court of Virginia reaches age of 225

The AP reports here on the ceremonies marking the 225th anniversary of the establishment of the Virginia Supreme Court. The Court's website has this detailed press release, which notes among other things: "Until 1788, the judges never rendered written opinions or gave reasons for their decisions."

Subsequently, the Court has produced about 270 volumes of opinions collected in the Virginia Reports.

Standards for bloggers?

I got an e-mail today that said one of my recent posts was really stupid, and then I read this post which says:

"We'd like to join the litany of bloggers wondering what, exactly, senior political writer David Paul Kuhn was thinking when he put together a piece lamenting the fact that there are no government regulations keeping bloggers honest."

That's weird, government regulations for bloggers.

Virginia lawyer kidnapped and abused over estate case

The Washington Post hasthis wild story ("Legal Foe Jailed in Lawyer's Abduction," 12/9/04) about an estate case, where one of the litigants is now charged with abducting opposing counsel from his home and taking him out into the woods and threatening him at knifepoint if he would not drop a will challenge.

What's your lawyer's hourly rate? has the latest on the rates charged by the big firms. Dennis Kennedy has this post with more on the topic.

Country lawyers like myself enjoy these articles, sort of like reading science fiction.

Those legal thinkers

Via How Appealing, This poll asks who are the top 20 legal thinkers in America.

Maybe I'll click the names of all the bloggers on the list and send that in.

Groh as Coach of the Year, Welsh in Hall of Fame

It says here that Al Groh was named regional coach of the year by the American Football Coaches' Association and here is another piece on the induction of George Welsh into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Attorneys' fees in the Pocahontas murder cases

In U.S. v. Church, Chief Judge Jones explained his reasons for not awarding all of the attorneys' fees sought by one group of lawyers in the Pocahontas murder cases. One thing he did was to compare their fee application with the fees sought by counsel for other defendants in the cases.

Can't smoke at depositions in D. Md.

In the Local Rules for the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, it says: "Unless all persons present otherwise agree, smoking is prohibited in the room in which a deposition is being taken."

I'm not sure that I've ever been in a deposition where there was smoking.

On the blarging and the meeping

This Waldo post contains the following summary of the Kaine campaign's response to comments by AG Kilgore:

"To recap, in brief:

Kilgore: Blaaarrrghhhh!
Kaine: Meep?"

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Brits offended by rebel flag in Winchester town seal

The Winchester paper reports here ("Winchester’s Seal Is ‘Offensive,’ Sister City Official Says," 12/7/04) that the sister city in England of Winchester, Virginia, needs to ditch the rebel flag from its seal. The article quotes some fellow as saying: "We trade with the town of Giessen, in Germany. I find it as offensive to have the Stars and Bars as if they had a swastika on their coat of arms."

Limitations on legality of making a new contract with a public school superintendent in Virginia

The Richmond paper reports here ("New contract called illegal," 12/7/04) that the school board for the City of Richmond may have violated a couple of statutes when they renegotiated the contract for the superintendent of schools.

Virginia man on trial for pretending to be a lawyer

The Washington Post reports here ("Man on Trial, Accused of Pretending to Be Lawyer," 12/7/04) on the trial in Alexandria of a man who faces 15 felony charges for alleged taking "money from unwitting clients who thought he was a lawyer."

What fraction of federal civil cases are employment claims

It says here: "In many Federal district courts, employment-related litigation represents 50% or more of all court filings."

Invited error doctrine sinks criminal appeal based on error in instructions appellant tendered

In McBride v. Com., the Virginia Court of Appeals in an opinion by Judge Benton joined by Judges Bumgardner and Kelsey held that the appellant's argument on appeal was barred as invited error, where it was based on a legal mistake in the jury instructions which the trial court gave after they were tendered by appellant's counsel at trial.

Abduction conviction reversed

In Hoyt v. Com., the Virginia Court of Appeals in an opinion by Judge Annunziata joined by Chief Judge Fitzpatrick and Judge Elder reversed the defendant's abduction conviction, concluding that it was not a separate offense from the robbery charge, where the defendant ordered some people at gunpoint to move around a bit during the few minutes he was in the store he robbed.

What's wrong with listening in by telephone?

Following up on the settlement this week in the Matricardi case, Becky Dale has Virginia this article in VLW about whether dialing into a conference call really is unlawful interception.

Monday, December 06, 2004

On blogs and blogging in Roanoke

Last week, the Roanoke paper had this article on bloggers and blogging.

Expert barred for life because of errata sheet

Blog 702 has this post with the tale of an expert witness in Georgia who was barred for life from testifying before that trial court on account of the way he zig-zagged back and forth in his affidavits, deposition testimony, and errata sheet to his deposition.

Files on those who have been executed by Virginia

Yesterday, the Richmond paper had this very interesting article on what Virginia's archives tell about persons executed by Virginia in the early 20th century.

A related article is this one about a Martinsville case of seven men executed for rape in 1951.

Another related article is this one with racial statistics going back before the Civil War.

Somewhere in one of these articles is the proposition, previously unknown to me, that early in the 1900s, Virginia and other Southern states made the criminal process in murder cases go faster in part to avoid lynchings, which is a horrible thought.

Fightin' Gobblers goes down

The Virginia Tech paper has this article about the demise of the lettering on Lane Stadium.