Friday, June 24, 2005

Prosecutor as painter

One of the Culpeper papers has this story of a Commonwealth's Attorney who creates paintings with titles like "Morning Mist on the Rappahannock."

The latest story in the matter of Judge Peatross and the public defenders in Charlottesville

The Daily Progress has the latest unbelievable segment in the ongoing drama of the public defenders who brought up the circuit court judge for disciplinary charges, who are now filing for him to recuse himself from their cases.

One interesting part of the evidence, the relevance of which I can't quite understand, was this:

The conflict has provided fodder for much Court Square gossip, conspicuous in an e-mail exchange introduced into evidence Thursday between Hingeley and lawyer Blair Carter in which Carter urges Hingeley to take a path of conciliation with Peatross.

“The word on the street is that this latest salvo of yours … is your way of getting in line for [Peatross’] job,” Carter’s e-mail states. “I’ve defended you, both because you don’t seem to be that type of a schemer and also because there is no way a staunch Democrat like you could ever be appointed to serve on the bench [for] Albemarle County.”

In response to Carter’s e-mail, Hingeley writes: “I’ll lay odds not many people will think my latest ‘salvo,’ as you put it, is a winning strategy I would pick to get in line for [Peatross’] job. Truth is, what I’m doing is calculated more to serve my clients’ interests than my own interests. To my way of thinking, that’s just the way it should be.”

Still getting it done at 86

This story from says that the Rev. Billy Graham is working the crowds this weekend in New York City, notwithstanding his age and ill-health and the fact that already he has "preached to more than 210 million people in 185 countries."

In The Man to See is retold the story of Edward Bennett Williams using the Rev. Graham as a character witness in the John Connally case. When EBW asked Graham to state what he did for a living, Graham replied something like "spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world," to which one of the jurors involuntarily replied, "Amen."

Anatomy of a jury's decision in an E.D. Va. federal death penalty case

Here from the Connection newspapers is a provocative article, with surveys of the jurors from a trial that ended earlier this month in federal court in Alexandria. The jury did not decide the defendants should be executed.

Virginia legislators and the VML react to Kelo

Here is reported the outrage of some Virginia legislators on both sides of the aisle over the Supreme Court's decision in the Kelo case, and comments by a spokesman for the Virginia Municipal League hoping that the General Assembly does not go overboard in legislation to prohibit takings for private use.

Larcenous Virginia lawyer to pay $50 a month on the thousands he stole

The Post reports here on a former Virginia lawyer convicted of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars and sentenced to, among other things, make restitution at the rate of $50 per month.

The Washington Post takes on the Chilhowie laundromat case

Here is the Post's report on the death of the young girl in Smyth County.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

On flag-burning

I'm not too impressed with the need for the flag-burning amendment, but almost 20 (no, I mean 30) years later, I'm still a big fan of Rick Monday, who yanked the flag away from some would-be protesters in the outfield at Dodger Stadium in 1976.

We don't need no math education

In this Discriminations post, the Virginia Board of Education president is quoted as saying: "We're trying to make sure every teacher who walks into a classroom knows their content area," and the author points out Jackson's "use of the plural pronoun, their, to refer back to a singular antecedent, teacher."

Apart from the grammar, the story underlying the post was interesting as it said that non-math teachers will not have pass math tests.

I've been missing the best part of the Washington Post

CJRDaily has this account of the miraculous writing skill of the KidsPost authors in the Washington Post, who reduce the news to 100-200 word stories for children to read about current events.

Thoughts on the Kelo case

Having made a quick perusal of Kelo v. New London, it makes me think that the majority are mostly ignorant of what a bunch of job desperados localities have become these days - cities, counties, and towns will sell their souls for the promise of some new jobs. Part of the reason why some people were hoping the Court would find a limit to what localities can do in the Kelo case is because localities are not always constrained by good judgment.

Often, the promises made to them are not kept. Indeed, it was reported here in yesterday's Roanoke paper: "State and city officials contend that health care and consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson has broken a promise and is obligated to refund $1.4 million, or 70 percent, of incentive money received from the Governor's Opportunity Fund - a grant that was tied to job creation."

I'd be bummed if I was Ms. Kelo and the city took my waterfront home for what may be an ill-conceived project that will eventually go bust. Or even, if my family's farm was taken for an industrial park - like this one, which not coincidentally is situated to a great degree on the farm where my mom grew up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Two in a row from Boing Boing

Check out Serpent handler art from Boing Boing blog. The post begins: "Gary Monroe's charcoal drawings depict religious snake handling practices in Southern Appalachia."

John Behan would indict them for this in his jurisdiction

According to this Boing Boing post, the first two innings of a minor league baseball game are going to be played on Xbox, then the real players will play from the third inning forward.

Anti gay marriage people cite Virginia Supreme Court on their website

According to this AP report in the Bluefield paper, a group supporting the anti gay marriage amendment to the Virginia Constitution has got its own website, The front page of the website references the Virginia Supreme Court's decision in the birth certificate case, Davenport v. Little-Bowser, as part of the rationale why the amendment is necessary.

Supposedly, the group includes some Catholics and some Baptists, plus some home schoolers.

No word on whether the Bacon Eaters of America also plan to intervene

In American Canoe Association, Inc. v. Murphy Farms, Inc., the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Luttig joined by Judges Widener and Niemeyer allowed that the plaintiff conservation groups had standing as plaintiffs in the Clean Water Act case against the defendant pig farmers.

On Judge Ledbetter

The Fredericksburg paper has this article on the retirement of Circuit Court judge William H. Ledbetter, Jr.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Little girl dies in washing machine

The story begins: "Police in this small Smyth County town were trying Monday to determine how a 5-year-old girl died after being trapped in a laundromat washing machine."

My wife read this and said, "it sounds like there's a suit in there."

Professor Young of ASL on mediator styles

Paula Young of the Appalachian School of Law wrote this article, The Who Of Mediation-Part I: A New Look at Mediator Styles, which I discovered by way of this Legal Sanity post.

On vote buying in West Virginia

This wild story about buying votes in West Virginia begins: "According to political lore, just before John F. Kennedy's momentous win in the 1960 West Virginia primary, the Democratic boss of Logan County asked the Kennedy campaign for '35' — meaning $3,500 — to buy votes for the presidential candidate. In an apparent misunderstanding, Kennedy's people delivered $35,000 in cash in two briefcases."

US News' Barone takes on the Virginia primaries

Here he says, of this month's primaries in the Commonwealth:

"In Virginia, which does not have party registration, the only office for which both parties had contests was lieutenant governor. Some 169,000 Virginians voted in the Republican primary and 114,000 in the Democratic primary: Sixty percent of the two-party vote was cast for Republicans in a state that Bush carried by a 54-to-45 percent margin. Republicans cast 59 percent of the votes in the three congressional districts in Northern Virginia, which Kerry carried, and 60 percent of the vote in the other eight districts. Democrats got the lion's share of the vote in the black-majority Third District and the Arlington-Alexandria Eighth District, the two districts John Kerry carried; they also got 59 percent of the votes in the Ninth District in southwestern Virginia. But in five districts, 75 percent or more of the votes were cast for Republicans. And in the suburban Northern Virginia 11th District, which Bush carried by only a 50-to-49 percent margin, 62 percent of the votes were cast for Republicans."

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bar examiners, take note

Via YahooNews - E-Mail Embarrasses 119 Failing Students.

Power Line on the nomination of Judge Boyle

Here and here are Power Line posts with some background on Judge Boyle's long wait to become a judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The latter post includes this:

"President Bush tried to end the bad blood. First, he nominated Roger Gregory to the Fourth Circuit. Gregory, an African-American and Democrat, had received a recess appointment late in Clinton's second term. It is virtually unheard of for the recess appointee of a president from one party to receive a regular appointment from a president of the other party. Then, Bush nominated Allyson Duncan, a moderate Republican from North Carolina, whose nomination was supported by Senator Edwards.

None of this olive-branching made any difference to Edwards or his fellow Democrats. Contrary to what their apologists say, the Senate Democrats generally don't oppose nominees based on tit-for-tat. They oppose nominees based on what the liberal special interest groups instruct them to do. Thus, Boyle remains in limbo."

No Chief at the Homestead

Here it says that Chief Justice Rehnquist "has alerted the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he will not make his regular trip to its judicial conference next week." Perhaps he figures, if he can't sing like he used to, what's the point?

If the regular circuit justice is unavailable for a judicial conference, I think they should send a substitute circuit justice.

One Regent professor's guide to what a conservative judge looks like

How does a conservative judge look? was written by an assistant dean at Regent University's Robertson School of Government.

No joy in the False Claims Act limitations case

In Graham County Soil & Water Conservation District v. U.S. ex rel. Wilson, decided today, the Supreme Court in an opinion by Justice Thomas concluded that the statute of limitations for retaliation claims under the False Claims Act is to be borrowed from state law, and the six-year statute from 31 U.S.C. § 3731(b)(1) does not apply.

As written here and here, this was the case argued in part by Abingdon lawyer Mark Hurt. I'm sure he is bummed but five or ten or fifty years from now, he'll still be able to tell the tale of arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Public defender's office wants recusal of judge against whom it made complaints

The Daily Progress reports here that the public defender's officer that joined in the complaints about Judge Peatross, that were ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court, is now claiming that there would be an appearance of improrpriety for him to sit on cases involving the lawyers who made charges against him.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

More on Judge Luttig as a Supreme Court candidate

This article includes, among other things, this interesting statistic regarding Judge Luttig: "In his nearly 14 years on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 40 of his 42 law clerks have gone on to the high court."

On legal writing, from Nell Strachan

One of the excellent lawyers of the Venable firm whom I've gotten to know a little bit over the past several years is Nell Strachan, who wrote this article on legal writing.