Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More on the contempt case against the Petersburg sheriff

This week in Epps v. Com., the Virginia Court of Appeals in an opinion by Judge Frank reaffirmed the panel decision, also by written by Judge Frank, in the civil and criminal contempt case against the Petersburg sheriff in a dispute with a judge over security in the courthouse. The case was remanded for new trial. Judges Humphrey and Judge Felton dissented, on the issue of whether it was error for the lower court judge to testify as the "victim" of the criminal contempt.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Tennessee business magazine, blogger edition

On my desk is the March 2006 edition of Business TN, with Glenn Reynolds himself on the cover.

Bad day for that TSA lawyer

We've all been reading about that government lawyer in the Moussaoui 9-11 case being tried in Alexandria, who was over-preparing the FAA witnesses but has now got her own lawyer and is asserting her right not to incriminate herself.

My favorite comment so far on the VTLA list serv was the fellow who wrote: "as my wife just said to me, whatever else happens in your life, at least you're not she."

That is my own sentiment, exactly. I'm going to make a few more professional mistakes over the course of the next 40 years, but certainly none of them are going to foul up the only criminal trial for the worst crime in the history of the United States.

Two reasons why I would go to the TIPS meeting if I could

The Tort and Insurance Practice Section of the ABA, at its upcoming meeting in May, will include a segment on the following bit of American legal history:

"In 1906, a young black man from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was falsely accused of raping a white woman. He was railroaded by the courts, abandoned by his own lawyers, and wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. A pair of courageous African-American lawyers stepped forward to handle his appeal, filing the first ever federal habeas petition in a state criminal case. To everyone's surprise, they convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to issue its first ever stay of an execution in a state criminal case. But days before the justices were scheduled to hear oral arguments, a lynch mob, led by the sheriff and his deputies, snatched the defendant from his jail cell and hung him on the county bridge. What followed was a historic case in which the Supreme Court justices ordered the arrest of the sheriff, his deputies and members of the lynch mob on charges of contempt of the Supreme Court of the United States -- the only such case of its type in U.S. history. This case, from a century ago, exemplifies why lawyers, as advocates for the poor and downtrodden, are best positioned to take the steps necessary to uphold the rule of law. It serves as an example of how lawyers should use the law and the courts for the protection of individual rights - even when the court itself is part of the problem. It goes to the heart of the need to protect of the rule of law."

The other reason? The meeting is in Miami.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Bonanza

Today I met with SW Virginia polibloggers Brian Patton and Chad Dotson.

When lawyers quit working in March

In Nigeria, 40,000+ lawyers are protesting "what they consider government disregard for court decisions."

In the U.S., we have the NCAA basketball tournament, which lures us to watch TV on certain March weekdays.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The first thing, let's disband all the lawyers

Over in Iraq, they've dissolved the elected council of the Bar Association, according to this report.

Brevity enjoined as the hallmark of good appellate writing

Ray explains here that one judge speaking at the DRI Appellate Advocacy seminar estimated that he and his colleagues must each of them read 1,000 pages of briefs per day.

Unrelated to this, I note that with Ray Ward, Steve Dillard, et al., in Arizona this weekend for the DRI meeting - it rained. Coincidence?

Law school liberals still in denial about FAIR case

In this NY Times article, one of the lawyers for FAIR was interviewed:

"E. Joshua Rosencranz, who represented the law schools in both courts, said the drubbing was a mystery.

'I've heard numerous hypotheses,' Mr. Rosencranz said. 'Of them, the only one that seems utterly implausible is that three dozen law schools, 900 law professors, the court of appeals, and a dozen top law firms are all inept at connecting the dots of Supreme Court precedents.'"

Utterly implausible?

I recollect that a group of Supreme Court writers and pundits assembled at William & Mary also voted 8-0 that the law professors would go down. That's not quite the same as a Supreme Court vote of 8-0, but it gave me some reason to think that the outcome was not in doubt.