Federal Judges

Judge Matz

[T]his Court is compelled to find that the Government team allowed a key FBI agent to testify untruthfully before the grand jury, inserted material falsehoods into affidavits submitted to magistrate judges in support of applications for search warrants and seizure warrants, improperly reviewed e-mail communications between one Defendant and her lawyer, recklessly failed to comply with its discovery obligations, posed questions to certain witnesses in violation of the Court’s rulings, engaged in questionable behavior during closing argument and even made misrepresentations to the Court.

– Judge A. Howard Matz of the Central District of California, benchslapping federal prosecutors — and vacating the convictions, and dismissing the indictment — in a high-profile Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prosecution. (Gavel bang: Daniel Fisher.)

(Additional links and information about this case — if you do FCPA or white-collar criminal work, this may be of interest to you — after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: What Not To Do If You’re A Prosecutor”

Here at Above the Law, we regularly cover benchslaps: judges laying the smackdown on poorly performing attorneys. But what about when it’s the judge who says, “I’ve made a tiny huge mistake”?

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh made a significant technological blunder in a patent case between two of Silicon Valley’s heaviest hitters. Yet her mistake is almost quaint. It harkens back to an earlier, simpler time –– like, pre-2006. When legal technology was a bit more primitive, and, more specifically, when the legal profession was still learning to master PDF files.

So, what did she do? Let’s just say she couldn’t keep a secret….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “I Don’t Think ‘Redaction’ Means What You Think It Means”

Justice Clarence Thomas

Elie here. Imagine Santa Claus stopping by your house — except this time Saint Nick is a mute, who stuffs your stocking with personal responsibility and brings you wooden toys, because those were the only ones available when his legend was born.

Well, joking aside, Justice Clarence Thomas will be stopping by Yale Law School on December 14th. And since there won’t be a case in front of him, he’ll actually be talking.

But not to everybody. Sources tell us — and Yale Dean Robert Post confirmed, in a school-wide email — that Justice Thomas will be speaking to the Yale Federalist Society and to the Black Law Students Association, as well as attending a class and a private reception. He won’t be making any general public appearance.

Setting aside commencement, it’s fairly typical for guest speakers (including Supreme Court justices) to speak to specific student groups and not the law school at large. If Justice Elena Kagan went to Yale, she’d likely speak to the American Constitution Society and the Socratic Hard-Ass Faculty Coven.

Some students claim, however, that the Yale administration has contacted several student organizations and asked them not to protest during Thomas’s visit. We don’t know if that’s true, and a message from Dean Post (reprinted below) does not directly mention anything about student protests. But the mere rumor of Yale trying to quash protests, circulated on “The Wall” (the YLS list-serv), has made some students angry.

Should they be? Strap yourselves in for an ATL Debate….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clarence Thomas Is Coming To Town”


Let’s play a quick game (which we might return to later if there’s interest). If we were to give out awards to the different federal judicial circuits, in the manner of a high school yearbook, which awards would go to the different circuits? Here are some of my nominations:

(Article III groupies: Feel free to suggest others, in the comments.)

As for the other awards, well, they’d all go to the Ninth Circuit. It’s the nation’s most famous (or infamous) federal appeals court, so it would win “Most Likely To Become A Celebrity.” It’s the biggest, so it would win “Most Popular” (especially among the ACS and ACLU crowd). It would win “Most Athletic,” since it includes California. And it would win “Biggest Flirt,” thanks to its numerous superhottie judges. (Don’t you wish they all could be California jurists?)

The Ninth Circuit would also run away with “Most Likely To Be Made Fun of on YouTube” — since it already has been. How many circuit courts can claim that distinction?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How the Ninth Circuit Stole Christmas”

Justice Elena Kagan

The latest issue of New York magazine contains a very interesting profile of the U.S. Supreme Court’s newest member, Justice Elena Kagan, penned by Dahlia Lithwick. Here’s the bottom-line summary of the piece (via Ezra Klein):

“While Kagan is assuredly a liberal, and likely also a fan of the health-reform law, a close read of her tenure at the Supreme Court suggests that she is in fact the opposite of a progressive zealot. By the end of Kagan’s first term, conservatives like former Bush solicitor general Paul Clement (who will likely argue against the health-care law this coming spring) and Chief Justice John Roberts were giving Kagan high marks as a new justice precisely because she wasn’t a frothing ideologue. The pre-confirmation caricatures of her as a self-serving careerist and party hack are not borne out by her conduct at oral argument, her writing, and her interactions with her colleagues. In fact, if her first term and a half is any indication, she may well madden as many staunch liberals as conservatives in the coming years.”

That’s just the overview. Let’s delve into the details a bit more….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Portrait of Elena Kagan as a Young Justice”

On Thanksgiving Day, while you were enjoying your turkey (or tofurkey), we wrote about a different bird: namely, the ostrich. In a somewhat snarky opinion, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit compared a lawyer appearing before him to an ostrich: “The ostrich is a noble animal, but not a proper model for an appellate advocate. The ‘ostrich-like tactic of pretending that potentially dispositive authority against a litigant’s contention does not exist is as unprofessional as it is pointless.'”

Ouch. Judge Posner even included a photo (above right) of a man in a suit burying his head in the sand.

What did the lawyer in question, David “Mac” McKeand of Houston, have to say for himself? And what did McKeand have to say about Judge Posner?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Reverse Benchslap? Chastised Lawyer Lashes Out at Judge Posner”

* Seriously? We’re still deporting gay people who are married? Are there really people who are still in favor of this policy? [Stop the Deportations]

* On the upside, these shoppers can now literally say they got somebody a gift over that man’s dead body. [Huffington Post]

* When did Jed Rakoff become so godlike? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Christmas gifts that you’ll only like if you are a lawyer and already have an iPad. [Constitutional Daily]

* Is your job more interesting than soap for your hair? [Ross's Law Marketing Blog]

* I like the suggestion, by Professor Frank Pasquale, that firms are pushing the “useless first-year” meme to maximize their profits. If true, we should see a bunch of talented first years opening their own shops in 3…2…1… [Balkinization]

Happy Thanksgiving, from your friends at Above the Law. As always, we give thanks to our readers, our tipsters, our advertisers, and even our commenters.

We also give thanks to Judge Richard Posner. This brilliant and hilarious jurist has just given us something to chuckle over as we munch on our Thanksgiving turkey.

This opinion by Judge Posner, handed down yesterday, could be viewed as “giving the bird” to an offending attorney. And the bird in question is not a turkey. Can you guess which bird is involved?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Thanksgiving Greetings from Above the Law!
(And a bonus benchslap from Judge Posner.)

These days, mentioning the California city of Oakland conjures up images of tear gas and violence. It’s not a place that people associate with innocent fun right now.

But Oakland isn’t all protesters and police. We bring you a report from a recent visitor to that city, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Kozinski Occupies Oakland”

* The American Bar Association can’t handle law schools, yet Obama trusts them to vet potential judicial nominees. Well, seems like they’re doing a bang-up job with that, too. [New York Times]

* First the New Jersey bar exam results, and now more MF Global drama. Angry investors want to know if a lawsuit will help Jon Corzine remember where he put the missing $600M. [Bloomberg]

* Law school debt increased by $475M between 2008 and 2010. Grab a raincoat, because this bubble’s going to burst soon, and it’s not going to be pretty (except for Cooley Law; they’ll be rich). [Am Law Daily]

* And on that note, what on earth was Cornell Law thinking? Did they fail to realize that their Cooley rankings would plummet if they decimated their library square footage? [Cornell Daily Sun]

* UC Berkeley: “We never like to hurt our students.” Yeah, apparently that’s what the police are for. Occupy Berkeley protesters are suing the school over police brutality allegations. [Huffington Post]

Page 45 of 811...414243444546474849...81