Saturday, January 22, 2005

Inventing right and wrong

This Solum post deals with a new paper available on SSRN dealing with Mackie's Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, which I read during my undergraduate days as a philosophy major at the University. Indeed, it is on the shelf somewhere in this room.

I once wrote a note to a professor (a great man, now deceased) of the Philosophy Department, which note said essentially this: having learned from Mackie that we need morality on account of our limited sympathies, I am hoping that as this is my last semester your sympathies are not so limited, because I have no moral claim to your acceptance of my paper at this late date. I slipped the paper and the note under his closed door in Old Cabell Hall and lingered in the hall long enough to hear him laugh - I told you he was great.

(And you thought I thought John Mackie was the tight end for the Colts back in the Unitas days.)

State records for Virginia's assisted living facilities go online

This report says you can now go online and view records of the licensed assisted living facilities, via this website from the Department of Social Services.

What is the retroactive effect of Booker in the W.D. Va.

Back in October, in Lilly v. U.S., Judge Jones declined to give Blakely retroactive effect.

According to this post from the Ninth Circuit Blog, Judge Jones' opinion was cited in the first habeas petition before a federal magistrate in the case of Quirion v. U.S., in which the Court similarly declined to give Booker retroactive effect. The opinion cites to these words from Judge Jones' opinion: "In Summerlin, the Court found that Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002), a case that extended Apprendi to aggravating factors in capital cases, was a new procedural rule and was not retroactive. A similar analysis dictates that Blakely announced a new procedural
rule and is similarly non-retroactive." Lilly v. United States, 342 F. Supp.2d 532, 537 (W.D. Va. 2004).

Triplett hires on at BMS

The Bristol paper reports here that Kevin Triplett, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress this past go around, has taken a job with the Bristol Motor Speedway. Previously, he indicated he would stay in the area. If he is still around, he would surely have a good chance of getting the nomination again in 2006.

Poe turns 196, again with roses and cognac

Here is this year's AP story on the birthday ritual at the gravesite of Edgar Allen Poe in Baltimore, as again a mystery man brought roses and cognac.

Here and here are accounts of Poe's time at the University of Virginia, with this link to pictures of his room on the West Range. (Of course, it was No. 13).

Virginia county where it is tough to seat a grand jury

The Daily Press has this account ("Jury of 5 hard to find in rural county," 1/22/05) on how difficult it can be to convene a grand jury in Mathews County.

It says, recently 7 were called but only three showed: "Among the four who spurned the duty, one called in sick, another claimed to be drunk and one couldn't be found." Thus began a search around town for two more grand jurors. Since one of the cases up for consideration involved a public official, none of the employees at the courthouse would sit on the grand jury. The extra two jurors were recruited from a nearby law office and a real estate offie.

Virginia traffic webcams

TrafficLand has links to a bunch of webcams for the D.C., Richmond, and Hampton Roads areas, and a couple for I-81 and one on Afton Mountain.

Right now, it looks nasty at Front Royal, but that is far from here.

More on the ruling in the Ealy case

The Richmond paper has this article ("Tazewell man won't get another trial," 1/22/05) on Chief Judge Jones' denial of the motions of the only defendant ever convicted in connection with the Pocahontas murders.

Online vigilantes target perverts, point police to Virginia man arrested in Roanoke

The Roanoke paper has this article ("Online group involved in man's arrest," 1/22/05) a volunteer group that tries to catch potential child-molesters online and turn them over to the police or otherwise give them grief.

Odd news about road money

This AP article about funding for transportation makes me think that that there is not very much consensus in the General Assembly on what to do about Virginia's roads.

Pinnacle Living picks Jonesborough as best Southern Mountain town

Pinnacle Living picked Jonesborough as the best town in the Southern Highlands, as reported here in the Kingsport paper.

I like all of the towns and cities on their list, at least the ones where I've been, which is all but 4 or 5.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Two facts you did not know about former Fourth Circuit Judge Sprouse

It says herethat he was "a former Golden Gloves boxer and a former CIA agent."

The late Judge Sprouse served on the Fourth Circuit from 1979 to 1992 and was a senior judge from 1992 to 1995.

The chemistry of crime from that other Bristol

It says here that over in Bristol, England, authorities are urging bar owners to spray their porcelain facilities with WD-40, so they cannot be used by cocaine sniffers.

Bredesen on conservative talk radio

Instapundit is right when he says here the Democrat governor in Tennessee does well on conservative talk radio. I've heard Bredesen a few times on Marc Bernier, Bristol's own live-from-Florida conservative talk radio program on WFHG, which by the way has this website with a version of its local news reports, with big stories like this one about the 80-something minister who claims he grabbed some women in his church because they were possessed by demons.

So, in between stories like that, Marc talks to people like Phil Bredesen.

Reporterette also likes Bredesen.

Judge Williams awards sanctions, enjoins new filings by pro se litigant against hospital

In Payman v. Wellmont, Judge Williams granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment, and the defendant's motion for sanctions, and the defendant's motion to enjoin the plaintiff from filing further lawsuits against them.

Fifteen years, 4 jury trials, and millions of dollars later

In U.S. v. Ealy, Chief Judge Jones denied the motion of Samuel Stephen Ealy, who sought relief from his federal court conviction in connection with the Pocahontas murders, after his alleged co-conspirators were acquitted in a separate trial.

The opinion concludes:

"It is ironic that Ealy was first acquitted in state court by blaming the murders on Church and Church was thereafter acquitted in federal court after blaming the murders on Ealy. Fifteen years after the murders, and four jury trials later, Ealy ends up being the only person held criminally responsible for killing the Davis family.
Depending on one’s point of view, the course of the case is a galling example of the vagaries and inconsistencies of our system. On the other hand, it may also be seen as an ultimate triumph of a system that tries hard to make sure that in the end, justice to both victim and the accused is obtained."

In a footnote, the Court adds:

"And after the expenditure of millions of dollars. See United States v. Church, No. 1:00CR00104, 2004 WL 2790598, at *3 (W.D. Va. Nov. 24, 2004) (detailing defense costs paid overall in case under the Criminal Justice Act)."

The last Virginia gentlemen

This article from Christianity Today about the goings on at today's colleges begins:

"Nineteen sixty-six, the year in which Walker Percy's The Last Gentleman was published, is also the year I entered as a first-yearman at the University of Virginia. We did not stoop to the State U level of referring to ourselves as freshmen, sophomores, and such - not at 'The University.' We were all men at U.Va. - 'gentlemen,' we were told. Young women visited on weekends from Sweet Briar and Randolph-Macon, Mary Washington, and Hollins College. But they did not stay in the dormitory or the fraternity house. They stayed in college-approved housing, more often than not the home of a widow who had a few rooms to let and happily accepted a delegation from the colleges to assume the responsibilities of in loco parentis."

Somehow, that reminds me of the story of a Bristol lawyer who was late for a lunch date, and the date told the waitress she was "waiting on a gentleman." When he arrived, the waitress said, "well, shoot --."

You can guess the rest.

Compromise on medical malpractice reform in Virginia

The Norfolk paper reports here ("Doctors, lawyers back malpractice truce in Assembly," 1/21/05) that some doctors and lawyers have compromised their differences and are promoting SB 1173 which contains some incremental reforms.

The preamble to the bill says: "A BILL to amend and reenact §§ 8.01-399 and 8.01-581.1 of the Code of Virginia, to amend the Code of Virginia by adding sections numbered 8.01-20.1, 8.01-50.1, 8.01-52.1, by adding in Article 2 of Chapter 21.1 of Title 8.01 a section numbered 8.01-581.20:1 and by adding sections numbered 16.1-83.1, 38.2-2228.2, and 54.1-2912.3, relating to medical malpractice" - so, there's a lot going on in that one bill.

HB 2254 would bring Daubert to Virginia?

HB 2254 would amend Va. Code 8.01-401.3 to make it more like the federal standard for the admissibility of expert opinion testimony. I don't know the origins of this proposal, whether it has the support of one or more of the bar groups.

The VTLA has this very detailed issue paper which explains why, in the authors' view, no such amendment is necessary, and that the law derived from the current lineup of Virginia precedents is more fair than Daubert.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Would the Virginia Supreme Court write an opinion like this?

In this opinion, the Indiana Court of Appeals did not short-arm its analysis of the effect of the Supreme Court's Lawrence decision.

Appeal sought in Lynchburg billboard case

The Lynchburg paper reports here ("City billboard rule headed to Virginia Supreme Court," 1/20/05) on the petition for appeal in zoning dispute over whether the landowner can move his billboards a few feet instead of replacing them on the same spot.

One of those other Williams Mullen lawyers assumes statewide office

The Richmond paper reports here that Jim Meath from Williams Mullen will take office today succeeding Ted Ellett as president of the Virginia Bar Association. The VBA board had a meeting in Abingdon not too long ago and I had some fun talking with both of these two guys.

Boucher on telecom reform

This fine article from the Industry Standard highlights, among other things, the ideas of SW Virginia's own Congressman Boucher for reform of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

A federal judge once told me watch what you ask for or you just might get it

This post from Legal Reader describes how an appeal got $1.3 million award of punitives reversed, leading to an award of $30 million on retrial.


Benefitsblog has this interesting post that says a federal court in Florida has upheld the federal Defense of Marriage Act, dismissing a lawsuit by two women seeking to have their Massachusetts marriage recognized in Florida. The post includes links on the subject of the ERISA consequences of DOMA.

Sixth Circuit affirms $25,000 compensatory, $100,000 punitive, and $460,000 in fees in sex harassment case

In McCombs v. Meiger, Inc., the Sixth Circuit affirmed an award of attorneys' fees in a Title VII case of over $400,000, in a sex harassment case that was tried over eight days.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Look who is sponsoring the bills to add a third judgeship to the 28th circuit

I see SB 1167 is sponsored by Senator Stolle and HB 2662 is sponsored by Delegate Robert McDonnell, which makes me a fan of both. With such high-powered support, I can begin to believe that this session there will be a third judgeship for the hometown circuit, which Judge Lowe and Judge Kirksey covering Abingdon, Bristol, and Marion.

Sen. Stolle says med mal caps DOA

In an interesting choice of words, the Richmond paper quotes Senator Stolle in this article ("New caps not seen happening," 1/19/05) that proposed caps for noneconomic damages in medical malpractice awards are "dead on arrival."

Republicans pick Judge Haley from Fredericksburg over Judge Ney from Fairfax for Court of Appeals

The Washington Post reports here ("Republicans Reject Two N.Va. Judges," 1/19/05), somewhat disingenuously, that the Republicans are rejecting two Northern Virginia judges.

The House Republicans are rejecting the woman appointed by Governor Warner for the Circuit Court in Alexandria. The Richmond paper says here ("GOP deadlocks on judge selection," 1/19/05) that the Republicans deadlocked again on the Alexandria and Hampton judgeships that confounded them last year, and so Governor Warner will likely reappoint the same two judges for another one year term

The other job is for the Court of Appeals, which is going to Judge Haley from Fredericksburg, who was a candidate for the slot that went to Judge McClanahan last year, instead of Judge Ney from Fairfax, the local favorite of some Northern Virginia legislators.

The Post article says:

"Republican and Democratic lawmakers from Northern Virginia said that Haley's selection violated an informal agreement among Republicans to allow each of the state's 11 congressional districts an opportunity to have a judge on the Court of Appeals."

I never heard of such an agreement, but it figures there is one. Judge Ney was a high-powered lawyer in his private practice, with many appearances before the Virginia Supreme Court. I think Judge Haley has been on the bench longer, but I don't know that for a fact.

The Fredericksburg paper has this article on Judge Haley's selection. This article notes: "Haley has been a candidate for the Court of Appeals before. Last year, he was one of six judges vying for appointment when a seat became vacant, but legislators chose Elizabeth McClanahan --in part, they said then, because Chichester and Howell hadn't put Haley's name forward soon enough."

Hugh Lessig of the Daily Press has this article on the likely reappointment of Judge Andrews from Hampton.

Lawing over a murder case in Lee County

The Coalfield Progress has this interesting article on the pretrial skirmishing in the Lee County murder case of Jimmy Allen Ayers, accused of murdering his great-grandparents.

Ken at CrimLaw will like the last bit:

"Rivers asked the judge to require that prosecutors respond to all defense motions in writing, to create a paper trail in case of an appeal.

McElyea said her office has not generally done that.

Why should they have to? Sergent asked. In the event of an appeal, what matters is the court's rulings, he said."

The Mark II story

Here is the Bristol newspaper's interview with Mark Lawson the Elder and Mark Lawson the Younger regarding the latter's appearance on network television last Sunday night.

Making the nation more like the Commonwealth

This Reason post says the NY Times has written that judging the use of sentencing guidelines in Virginia and elsewhere, making the federal sentencing guidelines less than mandatory will not change the outcome in very many cases.

Eine revolution im Staat Virginia

This post is the least comprehensible thing I've read about the Virginia Supreme Court's decision in the Martin case - because I don't read or speak German.

More on Kilgore joining Williams Mullen

This Sic Semper Tyrannis post names the law firms joined by Mark Earley in 2001 and Jim Gilmore in 1997, besides noting that AG Kilgore is going to Williams Mullen.

I thought that in the old days the really high-powered figures joined either McGuire Woods if they were Republicans (Dalton, Allen) or Hunton & Williams if they were Democrats (Robb, Baliles) but maybe that was never really true or maybe those firms didn't think enough of anybody lately to invite them to play.

Virginia Information Technologies Agency lists 2005 legislation of interest

Here is VITA's list of proposed bills for the upcoming General Assembly session that relate to technology and the following topics: Administrative and General Laws; Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), Virginia Research and Technology Advisory Commission (VRTAC), and Technology Economic Development; Courts and Court Records; Crimes, Offenses, Public Safety, and Homeland Security; Electronic Commerce and Tax; Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Virginia Public Records Act (VPRA), Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act (GDCDPA), Privacy, and Data Security; Human Resources, Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM), and Virginia Retirement System (VRS); New IT Projects and Responsibilities; Procurement and Contracting; Telecommunications; Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA); and Wireless E-911 Services and Advisory Board.

Tennessee jury pool

This AP story about a jury pool for a trial in Memphis - it is just hilarious.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Arguments waived on appeal by failure to cite some law

In Jeter v. Com., the Court of Appeals in an opinion by Judge Humphreys joined by Senior Judge Annunziata and Judge Felton said this:

Jeter also contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to strike, contending that Schwartz’s “ultimate opinion” was not reliable because Schwartz did not personally test the control samples used to identify the presence of cocaine. In his opening brief, however, Jeter fails to cite any authority in support of this argument. According to Rule 5A:20(e), an appellant’s opening brief must contain “[t]he principles of law, the argument, and the authorities relating to each question presented.” By failing to cite any authority in support of this argument in his opening brief, Jeter has violated the provisions of Rule 5A:20(e). “[S]tatements
unsupported by argument, authority, or citations to the record do not merit appellate consideration.” Buchanan v. Buchanan, 14 Va. App. 53, 56, 415 S.E.2d 237, 239 (1992). Thus, we will not consider this issue on appeal.

At oral argument, Jeter admitted that he did not cite any authority in support of this argument in his opening brief, but he asserts that the citation of authority in his reply brief should be sufficient to meet the requirements of Rule 5A:20(e). Initially, we note that Rule 5A:20 expressly applies only to the “Opening Brief of the Appellant.” There is an entirely separate rule – Rule 5A:22 – that focuses on an appellant’s reply brief. Compliance with one rule cannot excuse Jeter’s failure to comply with the other.

Regardless, one of the fundamental purposes of Rule 5A:20(e) is to provide the appellee with notice of the authorities upon which the appellant purports to rely. Excepting oral argument, the appellee is given a single opportunity to distinguish cases and respond to arguments raised in the appellant’s opening brief. See Rule 5A:21; see also Rule 5A:19 (granting the appellant, but not the appellee, the right to file a reply brief). The appellee therefore has no meaningful opportunity to address arguments and authorities raised for the first time in a reply brief. Permitting an appellant to sidestep the provisions of Rule 5A:20(e) by citing authorities only in his reply brief would therefore deprive the appellee of the opportunity to meaningfully respond to the appellant’s argument, thereby eviscerating the underlying purpose of the Rule.

Because he presented no authority in his opening brief in support of his argument that the trial court erred in denying his motion to strike, Jeter has waived this issue on appeal, and we need not address it.

In a footnote, the Court added:

We further note that none of the authority Jeter cites in his reply brief has any bearing on whether the trial court erred in denying Jeter’s motion to strike. The arguments and authorities contained in Jeter’s reply brief focus on whether Schwartz’s opinion was inadmissible because it lacked a sufficient foundation. If the opinion of an expert witness lacks an adequate foundation, the appropriate action at trial is to move to strike the testimony of the expert witness. See, e.g., Harward v. Commonwealth, 5 Va. App. 468, 364 S.E.2d 511 (1988).

The trial court’s decision as to whether to strike the testimony of an expert witness is a question relating to the admissibility of the evidence. Jeter, however, did not move to strike the testimony of the expert witness. Rather, he moved to strike all of the Commonwealth’s evidence. Whether the trial court erred in denying a motion to strike all of the evidence is a question of the sufficiency – not the admissibility – of the evidence. Accordingly, the authorities Jeter cites in his reply brief miss the point entirely: Jeter should have cited authority supporting the proposition that Schwartz’s testimony was insufficient, not authority supporting the proposition that Schwartz’s testimony was inadmissible – an argument he did not raise before the trial court.

Well, I've got a case in the Court of Appeals, and I don't know what will happen, but THIS CASE will not be cited in the Court's opinion. I cite lots of cases, not withstanding Judge Luttig's admonition that appellate judging should not be based on the numbers.

Commonwealth barred from prosecuting juvenile for failure to prove breach of cooperation/immunity agreement

In Lampkins v. Com., the Court of Appeals in an opinion by Judge Frank joined by Chief Judge Fitzpatrick and Judge Bumgardner held that where the appellant/juvenile had cooperation/immunity agreement, the Commonwealth could not obtain a direct indictment in circuit court without proving violation of the agreement, which it did not do.

Chief Judge Jones denies appeal of remand order in bankruptcy case

In Appalachian Power Co., Inc. v. Sprinkle, Chief Judge Jones agreed with Judge Stone of the bankruptcy court that the debtor's lawsuit against the power company should be remanded to Smyth County.

The debtor was claiming somehow that his cows have been harmed by the power lines.

The argument for and against the remand mostly had to do with whether the case would be resolved quicker in state or federal court.

I'm guessing that claims for injuries to cows from power lines might end quicker in federal court, but that reminds me of another oft-told tale:

Years ago, I went up to Clintwood and met Leslie Mullins, the Wise County lawyer from the firm that produced all those judges, and he found out who I was and that I had worked for Judge Williams and he proceeded to tell me that way back when a fellow had come to his office claiming that he owned the world's best milk-producing goat, a five-titted goat, and it had been injured and the man wanted to bring a lawsuit not only for the lost production but also for the goat's emotional pain and suffering.

Mr. Mullins replied that he could not help the man, but there was a new lawyer down in Jonesville named Glen Williams, and five-titted goat cases were his specialty.

Such a story must be true, who could make up a thing like that, and so maybe the power company filed their notice of removal hoping to draw Judge Williams for the case, due to his expertise.

Million dollar man

Brandon Meyer posts here on the accomplishment of his candidate for lieutenant governor, Sean Connaughton, who has now raised over $1,000,000 in contributions for his campaign.

B. Meyer says he will be working for Connaughton in Salem.

Looking at VPAP, it appears that there's only one contributor listed on there for Mr. Connaughton with a zip code that starts out "24___," so I'm thinking Mr. Meyer will have plenty of room to improve his candidate's standing in the Southwest.

Kilgore to join Williams Mullen law firm for now

This AP report says that Jerry Kilgore will join the Williams Mullen law firm for the next few months while he runs for governor. I'm not sure of the significance of the selection of the law firm. Steve Baril of that same firm is one of the two candidates for the Republican nomination for attorney general.

It says here that Howard Dobbins joined the firm in 1947, and he's still getting it done, last I heard.

You read it here first

It says here on this page from the Bacon's Rebellion site, in a discussion fo Virginia blogs: "The site with the most depth is SW Virginia Law Blog."

Stated otherwise, I'm told that there is no limit as to how deep it gets on this blog.

Steve Emmert analyzes Friday's opinions by the Virginia Supreme Court

Virginia lawyer Steve Emmert has an essay here on his website analyzing the opinions of the Virginia Supreme Court from Friday. Check it out.

Fellow wingnut on Martin

This take on the Virginia Supreme Court's Martin case is even nuttier than mine.

I just wanted the Virginia Supreme Court to give the issue more consideration, because there will be other issues where Lawrence is used to argue this, that, or the other thing. What would the Virginia Supreme Court do with the Goodrich case? Even if Martin provides no clue, the proponents of a no same-sex marriage amendment to the Virginia constitution will use the Martin decision as fuel for their movement, the argument being, they can't count on the Virginia Supreme Court after the way it just threw up its hands before the task of examining another Virginia statute under Lawrence, or so I would guess.

As I read in the paper the other day in a quote attributed to Professor Sabato, mobilization begets mobilization. A court throws out a law, somebody gets energized to change the law, which energizes another bunch to oppose them.

Ms. Jagdmann to be interim AG?

Sic Semper posts here that Judy Jagdmann may be named interim Attorney General, citing this story ("Attorney General Kilgore To Resign," 1/17/05) in the Washington Post, which says: "Senior Republican lawmakers and other GOP sources said Kilgore deputy Judith W. Jagdmann, who heads the civil division, is the leading candidate."

I ashamed to say that I only got to know Ms. Jagdmann a little bit in these last four years, she is one of my favorites.

Verizon seeks new franchise law so it can compete with cable to provide video

The Daily Press has this story ("Phone firm seeks level playing field," 1/15/05) that says Verizon is supporting a new bill that would change the franchising requirements for providing video services, to help it compete with cable companies to provide video in Virginia. The new bill is HB 2534.

I'm no expert, but technology and competition (where it exists) continues to pull the rug out from under the mainstays of the communications monopolists - cable does phone, phone does video, both do digital, there ought to be competition every where.

Monday, January 17, 2005

The math they teach at Duke

From this post of the College Basketball blog:

Back in 1980, according to writer John Feinstein, the Atlantic Coast Conference had six good teams, and so -

"The ACC is so strong," Duke star Gene Banks declared one day, "that if six teams get into the NCAAs, all of them will make the Final Four."

More Rufus on mediation

Every time I read a Rufus post on mediation like this one, I have to laugh out loud.

Recollecting the end of segregated schools and public facilities in Bristol

Today's Bristol paper had this interesting article with recollections of some Bristolians of what it was like when the schools and other facilities were integrated in Bristol.

The article says that small towns like Bristol did not put up much of a fight against integration. One story retold is that on a Wednesday, the mayors from the Virginia and Tennessee sides and the manager of the Paramount theater met and on Thursday blacks were admitted to the movie theater.

I've retold here before the story of a Virginia judge who recalled when as a child on a trip to town he first saw a water fountain that said "Colored," he rushed over to see what color the water was, only to be disappointed that the water appeared was not colored water at all. The point of the discussion in which this story was told, as I recall it now at the remove of some years, was not that the progress of race relations has been remarkable, but rather that it is remarkable how much had to change just to get where we are now.

Virginia Supreme Court grants appeal in Coeburn murder case

The Kingsport paper reported here on Friday that the Virginia Supreme Court has granted the petition for appeal in the case of Harless Rose, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of an assistant grocery store manager who was trying to make a bank deposit in Wise County.

The article notes that the prosecutors were Joey Carico and Gary Gilliam and the defense lawyers were Stephen Kalista and Walt Rivers.

Good thing I don't practice in Washington County, TN, Criminal Court

The Kingsport paper has this article in which a Tennessee judge is saying that "he believes the prosecutors who practice in front of him take a harder line on cases than those who appear before Judge Lynn Brown."

Wahoo first-year from SE Virginia plays National Anthem on violin at Lakers' game

I love National Anthem stories, and this one is great, almost as good as Mo Cheeks helping out the girl at the Trailblazers' game last year.

What's this about filing an ex parte motion?

The Winchester Star has this story ("Attorney General Claims Bell Filing Is 'Unethical,'" 1/13/05) about allegations by the Office of the Attorney General that a lawyer for a deathrow inmate filed an unethical ex parte motion in the habeas corpus proceedings before Chief Judge Jones of the W.D. Va.

I'm not sure that I understand what it means to file an ex parte motion, particular now with electronic filing, but then again, it never says anywhere in this article whether or not the defense lawyer served the motion on the Commonwealth or how they find out about it.

That's so cool

My wife and I enjoyed watched the young Mark Lawson on Sunday's episode of the CBS television program Cold Case.

Prince William County case could be test for new feticide law

The Washington Post reports here ("County May Test Va. Fetus-Killing Law," 1/16/05) on a criminal investigation that could lead to the first application of Virginia'a new law against feticide.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Richmond paper takes on the law schools at Liberty and Regent

Sunday's Richmond paper has this article ("New faith in the law," 1/16/05) about the new law school at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, this article ("Faith is not held in contempt," 1/16/05) about the law school in Virginia Beach at Dr. Pat Robertson's Regent University, and this article ("A partnership of education - and action," 1/16/05) about the collaboration between Regent students and alumni and Jay Sekulow's ACLJ.

The articles say, among other things, that Liberty plans to have 450 students within 5 years, and that Regent's study body is around 500. The new dean at Liberty is a graduate of Regent. Del. McDonnell, one of the two Republican candidates for Attorney General, is an early graduate of Regent. 15 or 20 Regent students per year work as interns for the ACLJ.

One paragraph says: "If the law schools at Regent and Falwell's Liberty University cause any uneasiness, it appears to be the fear they will train their students to specifically attack abortion rights and other issues that some Christians see as immoral."

The only lawyer I've ever met who actually litigated an abortion rights case was the former Wailing Cat, Ed McNelis, who litigated the partial-birth abortion statute before Judge Williams. I'm thinking that not more than 1 out of every 1,000 of the 1,000,000 lawyers in America will ever have anything to do with litigating abortion rights. The idea that any law school will "train their students to specifically attack abortion rights" is sort of like saying that Virginia Tech is going to specialize in producing astronauts, or Georgia Tech is gearing its student body towards becoming infielders in the National League.