Saturday, September 04, 2004

October surprise?

This AP story quotes a State Department official as saying "I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and he's been caught along with all his lieutenants." I wonder if this means they're paying time-and-a-half to the Pakistanis to get this done before November.

Property owner protests with polka dot paint job

The Newport News paper reports here ("Polka dots spark protest," 9/3/04) that a Williamsburg property owner faces legal action from the City of Williamsburg for painting the shutters on his house with fluorescent orange polka dots, which was done in protest after the City complained about peeling paint.

Virginia Cavaliers 44, Temple Owls 14

Well, I didn't go to this afternoon's Virginia game at Lincoln Financial Field, but apparently, my absence did not affect the outcome.

The worst development in the stands since Coach Groh came on the scene is not the ouster of the Pep Band, but rather the promotion of orange t-shirts. Orange is the color of the college teams in Knoxville, Syracuse, Clemson, and Miami.

Bristol's Rhythm & Roots reunion

The next big thing in Bristol is this year's Rhythm & Roots reunion, September 17-19 - an incredible assortment of live music. Posted by Hello

Civil liberties groups side with U.S. prosecutors in e-mail privacy case

How Appealing has this post with links to articles about the federal government's petition for rehearing en banc in the First Circuit case where the court held a criminal defendant accused of reading stored e-mails had not committed a federal crime, and also with a link to an amicus brief filed in the case by advocates for e-mail privacy. In this post, Jerry Lawson has a link to this Wired news article on the case.

The summary of argument from the amicus brief is this:

"This case has repercussions far beyond a single criminal prosecution. The panel opinion effectively rewrites the field of Internet surveillance law in ways that no one in Congress ever imagined. As the New York Times editorial on the case demonstrates, the panel opinion has dramatic and disturbing implications for Internet privacy. The opinion also raises profound constitutional questions by unhinging the Wiretap Act from the Fourth Amendment decision it codifies, Berger v. New York, 388 U.S. 41 (1967). The panel’s statutory construction may render portions of the Internet surveillance statutes facially unconstitutional. The petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc should be granted."

Edwards' income - $39 million

This report says the professional income for John Edwards in the past decade was $39 million.

U.S. appeals WV federal court ruling on mountaintop mining

The Charleston Gazette has this report on the government's appeal from the July 8 ruling by Judge Goodwin in the mountaintop mining litigation. Goodwin ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers "could no longer approve mining valley fills through a streamlined permit process meant only for activities that cause minor environmental damage. Rather than these “general” or “nationwide” permits, Goodwin said, coal companies must go through individual permit reviews when they propose to bury streams with waste dirt and rock."

Friday, September 03, 2004

How does Virginia's Speed Trial Act affect the sniper Muhammad second trial?

The Washington Post tries to unravel the intricacies of Speedy Trial Act arguments being raised by lawyers for John Muhammad, in this article ("Sniper Raises Speedy Trial Rule," 9/3/04).

More on new Liberty Law School

Somebody sent me a link to this humor piece published by the ABA e-journal. Apparently, the idea that Jerry Falwell plans to turn out Christian lawyers to infiltrate the legal profession is viewed to be almost as funny as his pronouncement years ago that the Liberty football team would beat Notre Dame.

I believe that there are people - not most, and perhaps not even many - who go to law school, every law school, with the intention of changing the world, and a few of these highly-motivated people manage to pull it off, and when they make their mark, their law schools send out a press release bragging of the connection. Some of these people are conservatives and even Christians, and I won't be surprised if some Liberty graduates create some noticeable ripples in the flowing river of the law - and that this happens even before Liberty beats Oklahoma or even Notre Dame in football.

The Star Wars-Republican connection

According to this post from L, L, L, either Zell Miller or President Bush is actually Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars.

Record enrollment at ASL

According to this press release, the total enrollment at the Appalachian School of Law has reached a new high of 371.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The real Governor's race on Saturday was along the Creeper Trail from Abingdon to Damascus

The Bristol paper reports here that Governor Warner was booking on the Virginia Creeper Trail on Saturday, making it the 15 miles from Abingdon to Damascus in just over an hour.

Circuit court judge charged with DUI, concealed weapon

The AP reports here that a Virginia circuit court judge from an eastern county has been charged with DUI and violation of his concealed weapons permit.

The article notes that whether the judge "is reprimanded or removed from the bench is at the discretion of the state Supreme Court. Such judicial disciplinary matters are usually handled privately."

Sort of like those old golf balls filled with feathers

The AP reports here that prison officials in Oklahoma have recovered a basketball filled with marijuana.

It must have been an old ball, from back before air-filled basketballs were invented.

Not claiming to have invented the Internet

Somebody who works for Senator George Allen declares here, on the topic of community colleges, that Allen as Governor of Virginia "[e]stablished . . . the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy." I wonder what that means, exactly.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Somebody files 336-page complaint against Virginia town

I am dumbfounded by this report, which says somebody has filed a complaint of 336 pages against the Town of Colonial Beach, and quotes plaintiff's counsel describing the first eight pages as "nothing more than the starter's pistol to the marathon in this year of the Twenty-eighth Olympiad."

Holy catbirds, how could there be such a complaint? And, what will any of the judges of the E.D. Va. make of such a thing?

Not enough publicity for the Schrock story?

This post from the Campaign Desk suggests that the major media did not give enough attention to the story of the resignation of Congressman Schrock from Virginia.

Virginia court of appeals takes a pass on claim over 1677 treaty with Indians

In Mattaponi Indian Tribe v. Com., the issue was whether the circuit court erred in dismissing the claims of the Mattaponi Indians based on the 1677 Treaty at Middle Plantation, which the Court described as follows:

"Entered into shortly after Bacon’s Rebellion, the treaty between the “Dread Sovereign” King Charles II and the “Kings and Queens” of several Indian tribes sought to establish “a good Peace with the Neighbour Indians” and the English settlers. One provision of the 1677 treaty states that “no English shall Seat or Plant nearer than Three miles of any Indian Town; and whosoever hath made, or shall make any Incroachment upon their Lands, shall be removed from thence . . . .” Another provision allows “Indians” to hunt, fish, and gather vegetation not “useful to English” on English land provided they obtain a “certificate” from a magistrate. Finally, Article XVIII of the treaty includes what appears to be a form of dispute resolution provision:

That upon any Discord or Breach of Peace happening to arise between any of the Indians in Amity with the English, upon the first appearance and beginning thereof, and before they enter into any open Acts of Hostility or War one against another, they shall repair to His Majesties Governour, by whose Justice and Wisdom
it is concluded such Difference shall be made up and decided, and to whose final Determination the said Indians shall submit and conform themselves."

Ah, but the Court of Appeals concluded this part of the case is outside its jurisdiction, and shifted the case over to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Don't even take him to a tango, Dennis Kennedy likes that old-time blogroll

This post from Dennis Kennedy says some of the old blogs are still the best ones, citing as an example BeSpacific, and some of the new ones have got no legs.

Hey, I remember the old days myself, from way back in 2003.

Hugh Lessig says blogs so darned exciting and scary

Daily Press commentator Hugh Lessig sayshere ("Blogs: The exciting and scary part of American politics," 9/1/04) that blogs "are changing - and have changed - how voters get their information, but questions surround their new role in American politics."

South Henry Street, then oyster shooters at Berrets!

A big bunch of constitutional scholars are gathering in October in Wiliamsburg, for theWilliam and Mary Law School's Supreme Court Preview.

The press release says the participants will include:

Joan Biskupic, USA Today; David Savage, Los Angeles Times; Linda Greenhouse, New York Times; Charles Lane, Washington Post; John Blume, Cornell Law School; Michael Carvin, Jones, Day, Washington D.C.; Erwin Chemerinsky, Duke University School of Law; Walter Dellinger, O'Melveny & Myers, Duke University School of Law; Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog; Kenneth Geller, Mayer, Brown, Rowe; William Hurd, Troutman Sanders, Washington, D.C.; Neal Katyal, Georgetown Law Center; Dahlia Lithwick, Slate; John McGinnis, Northwestern University Law School; Thomas Merrill, Columbia Law School; Stuart Taylor, National Journal; Amy L. Wax, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Stephen Wermiel, American University, Washington College of Law; and Neal Devins, Davison Douglas, Michael Gerhardt, Alan Meese, Linda Malone, Kathy Urbonya, Jim Dwyer and William Van Alstyne, all of the William and Mary School of Law.

What is frightening is that I know of most of these people. My own Con Law professor from my student days in Williamsburg, alas, vanished from the scene. I don't know what became of her.

Can Liberty Law School be accredited? has this article describing "questions" about whether the new law school at Liberty in Lynchburg can ever be accredited.

Since Regent is accredited, and Ave Maria is provisionally accredited, I'd have to say that this article is mainly full of anti-Christian nonsense, which is never hard to find, but probably the whole thing is part of the marketing plan cooked up by Rev. Falwell. I'm thinking maybe he called up Barry Lynn and said, hey, why don't you put out some outrageous quotes against my law school, and that will get us some publicity, and help with our admissions and fund-raising, and if you do, I'll treat you to a fried-chicken dinner after church the next time you come to see us down at the Thomas Road Baptist.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Southwest Virginia-Schwarzenegger connection

The LA Times has this amusing story ("Far From Left Coast, Many See Schwarzenegger as Mr. Right," 8/31/04), about the views of Southwest Virginians on Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The article, with a dateline from Vinton, begins:

"At the Roanoke County GOP's annual Shrimpfest, the subject was November's national election. The crowd and speakers were as spicy as the fish, spitting out fiery, conservative opinions against abortion, gay rights and restrictions on gun ownership.

But as these southwest Virginians watch this week's Republican National Convention, many said, the speech most are interested in hearing is tonight's address by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a self-styled moderate. That's because from afar, Schwarzenegger looks to many very conservative Republicans like one of their own."

The article quotes one critic as saying Arnold is like a "cartoon," but continues:

"If so, it is a cartoon for which people here in Vinton, a town of 7,782 on the city of Roanoke's southeastern border, have fallen.

More than 200 Republicans paid $20 per ticket to attend the county GOP Shrimpfest at a senior center in the middle of town, across the parking lot from the Vinton War Memorial. Many here said they had heard more about Schwarzenegger than any politician in America. Some said they were fans of his movies. A few had spotted news reports that Schwarzenegger ordered two pairs of shoes from Italian shoemaker Silvano Lattanzi just for the convention."

The article concludes with comments from Kevin Triplett:

"Some Virginia politicians seem eager to borrow from Schwarzenegger's political playbook.

Kevin Triplett, a NASCAR executive who is running for Congress here, disagrees with the California governor on nearly every social issue, but nevertheless wants to emulate him.

"He's an example to the party, that someone can come in without holding office and make an impact," Triplett said. "Plus, he's Arnold. And that plays well anywhere.""

Blogger who named Schrock vows more to come

The Hill has this article in which the blogger who made claims about Virginia's Congressman Schrock vows to make similar disclosures about others.

Richlands paper critical of Judge Smith and Judge Vanover for methadone rulings

In this editorial, the Richlands paper takes on the rulings of the Tazewell County Circuit Court against a woman who while on probation wanted to take methadone pursuant to a doctor's prescription.

The dude who swallowed Iridium

This tale from Waldo about the guy who swallowed a pellet of Iridium makes me think of the story of the Bristol lawyer who was playing ball with his son and somehow got the cigarette he was smoking knocked out from his lips and then it went lit-end first into his nose.

Some stuff is just difficult to explain.

Martinsville boy killed in fraternity house fire was son of circuit court judge

The Martinsville Bulletin has this account of the services for Howard Stone, who died at age 19 on campus at the University of Mississippi at the start of his sophomore year.

I can't imagine it.

The first time I came home from college, I took a Trailways bus from Charlottesville (where first years could not have cars) and my dad met at the bus station in Abingdon and gave me a big hug when I stepped out onto the pavement, and I wondered what was the big deal.

Coal and corn-pipe country?

In another Mr. Kilgore comes to New York story, the Washington Post says here ("Kilgore Moves to Raise His Profile -- and Funds," 8/31/04) that Kilgore is from "coal and corn-pipe country." It also says that Kilgore speaks with a "a soft, twangy, mountain drawl."

Maybe the Post thinks that instead of being elected governor, Jerry should be on display as some sort of anthropological specimen, "the mountain man from corn-pipe country."

Circuit court rejects sniper Muhammad's double jeopardy claim

The Washington Post reports here ("2nd Trial Of Sniper Is Ruled Lawful," 8/31/04) that the Fairfax County Circuit Court has rejected the argument that the second prosecution of sniper John Muhammad would be double jeopardy.

The Fifth Amendment says no person shall "be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."

Norfolk paper says spotlight on Kilgore as state party leader

The Norfolk paper says here ("Bright lights, big pressure for Kilgore," 8/31/04) that Attorney General Kilgore has more to do that go to receptions in NYC.

Norfolk papers reviews plans to lure people to Dickenson County with bluegrass

The Virginian-Pilot's downhome music series continues today with this report on Dickenson County and Ralph Stanley.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Republican Congressman from Virginia resigns

The AP reports here that Congressman Ed Schrock a Republican who represents the 2nd District of Virginia has resigned.

Various bloggers have comments, explanations, theories, and links to the stuff that's been out (so to speak) on the Internet for a while on this topic, such as here and here. (Try Feedster or Bloglines or Technorati or Kinja or Daypop to see a selection of posts - search for "Schrock" or "Ed Schrock.") I would have linked to it before now but who wants to be sued over a weblog?

The Kobe Bryant juror questionnaire

Via So Cal blog, here is the questionnaire for would-be jurors in the Kobe Bryant case, which was somewhat interesting to me before the Lakers got shelled in the NBA finals and traded away Shaq and all the other grown-ups they had on their team.

Judge Michael grants suppression motion in warrantless search case

When you read the facts as written by Senior Judge Michael in U.S. v. Gillespie, you get the impression that law enforcement had a pretty good idea what they would find inside the apartment (where the people had just run out the backdoor into the snow), but their plan to get inside (they heard a baby crying somewhere) was kind of lame. They went into the apartment anyhow, and found no babies but did find scales and baking soda and guns and cocaine.

Scott County music makes Norfolk paper

The Virginian-Pilot has this article on country music in Scott County at the Carter Family Fold.

Facts about the Virginia delegation at the RNC

The AP has this collection of facts about the Virginia delegation to the Republican National Convention going this week.

Somewhere, I suppose, there is a list of the actual names of the Virginia delegates, but I can't seem to find it.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The new U.Va. marching band gets started, but the Pep Band still lives

The Charlottesville paper has this report on the beginning of Year ONE for the U.Va. Marching Band, while the Hook reports here that the Pep Band is still alive at age 30.

Can county supervisor participate in meeting by telephone?

This article asks whether a member of a county board of supervisors can participate in a meeting by conference call, when she is unable to attend because of health problems.

I believe the answer under FOIA is no. Va. Code 2.2-3708(A) provides: "It shall be a violation of this chapter for any political subdivision or any governing body, authority, board, bureau, commission, district or agency of local government or any committee thereof to conduct a meeting wherein the public business is discussed or transacted through telephonic, video, electronic or other communication means where the members are not physically assembled."

Vote-buying in Appalachian states

The NY Times has this article ("Where Prosecutors Say Votes Are Sold," 8/29/04) that says "the mountain tradition of vote-selling" has not disappeared, describing vote-buying cases from Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.

Deputy clerk from circuit court plays organized football on the side

The Washington Post has this article ("Courthouse Clerk Blows Off Steam on the Football Field," 8/29/04) about a deputy clerk for the Circuit Court of Prince William County, who is also a football player.

Norfolk paper discovers music in Southwest Virginia

The Norfolk paper has started a series on "mountain music" in Western Virginia, beginning with this report from Floyd County and moving next to Scott County on Monday.

More on the town council that went over against Wal-Mart

The Richmond paper has this report ("Council looks to switch sides," 8/29/04) on the new Town Council in Front Royal, elected to fight the new Wal-Mart, that has intervened in litigation on the side of those who opposed the rezoning decisions by the previous Council.

Wanting more ways to get post-conviction relief

The Roanoke paper has this editorial ("Evidence rules still hinder justice in Virginia," 8/29/04) claiming that more needs to be done to allow convicted persons to prove their innocence in Virginia.

The Norfolk paper has this editorial ("State cannot ignore 3 wrong convictions," 8/29/04), which more or less says the same thing. The Norfolk paper points to the cases of Marvin Lamont Anderson, Julius Earl Ruffin, and Arthur Lee Whitfield as three Virginians exonerated by DNA evidence after years in prison. The Virginian-Pilot notes that these three owe their freedom to someone who went the extra mile in preserving evidence:

"The common thread in these human horror tales — beyond the black skin of all three of the wrongfully accused — is their saving grace: a deceased state serologist named Mary Jane Burton.

Had Burton not defied usual policy at the Virginia Division of Forensic Science during the 1970s and ’80s by methodically attaching samples of biological evidence to her files, Anderson, Ruffin and Whitfield would have gone to their graves tarred as rapists. Whitfield would still owe the state 41 more years, Ruffin five life terms."

McSweeney - tax relief not Warner's idea

In the latest column from Patrick McSweeney, he says, among other things, that Governor Warner had no choice in dealing with the surprise surplus:

"What was especially galling to some legislators was that Warner made it appear in announcing the acceleration of the personal exemption that it was his initiative. In fact, it was required by the General Assembly. Warner even proposed an amendment earlier this year to relax that statutory requirement so that surplus revenues could be used for purposes other than tax relief. His amendment failed."