Patriot Act

Brown and Bush FEMA Denver Law.JPGI always wondered where former FEMA director Michael Brown would end up. I imagined he would end up as a greeter at the Bush presidential library. You know, something that he is actually qualified to do.
Instead, it appears the overmatched bureaucrat is taking his show to law school. No, not as a student, as a professor. TPMMuckraker reports:

Michael Brown, the much-ridiculed former FEMA director who became a symbol of the Bush administration’s disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina, has landed a new gig: teaching a law-school class on the Patriot Act next spring.

What student body will be lucky enough to learn from the best? Details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brownie’s New Heckuva Job”

airplane cabin 2 Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgSome updates and corrections to our post from yesterday, And Don’t Even Think About Joining the “Mile High Club”. We quoted an AP article that begun thusly:

A couple’s ill-concealed sexual play aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles got them charged with violating the Patriot Act, intended for terrorist acts, and could land them in jail for 20 years.

First, a correction. The couple wasn’t charged with violating the Patriot Act, but with violating 49 U.S.C.A. § 46504. As Professor Orin Kerr explains, this provision was amended by the Patriot Act, but “the substantive offense that was charged dates back to the 1960s.”
Second, an update. The couple may have needed air sickness bags rather than a hotel room. From a later AP piece:

A man arrested for allegedly engaging in “overt sexual activity” with his girlfriend on an airliner was lying with his head on her lap because he wasn’t feeling well, his attorney said.

That gesture was misinterpreted by a flight attendant, who humiliated and harassed the couple, said attorney Deb Newton, who represents Carl Persing.

But we can’t blame the flight attendant for misinterpreting things. After all, the woman was “observed smiling.”
Chicken or beef? We’ll have what she’s having.
Lawyer: Man Felt Sick — Not Sexy — on Plane [CNN]
Earlier: And Don’t Even Think About Joining the “Mile High Club”

airplane cabin flight attendant steward Above the Law.jpgJeez, the terrorists really HAVE won. They’ve sucked all the fun out of flying:

A couple’s ill-concealed sexual play aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles got them charged with violating the Patriot Act, intended for terrorist acts, and could land them in jail for 20 years.

According to their indictment, Carl Persing and Dawn Sewell were allegedly snuggling and kissing inappropriately, “making other passengers uncomfortable,” when a flight attendant asked them to stop.

“Persing was observed nuzzling or kissing Sewell on the neck, and … with his face pressed against Sewell’s vaginal area. During these actions, Sewell was observed smiling,” reads the indictment filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Help us out here. How does “pressing one’s face” against the “vaginal area” of a fellow passenger violate the Patriot Act? Especially if that passenger is “observed smiling”?

On a second warning from the flight attendant, Persing snapped back threatening the flight attendant with “serious consequences” if he did not leave them alone.

The comment was enough to have the couple, both in their early 40s, arrested when the plane reached its destination in Raleigh, North Carolina, and charged with obstructing a flight attendant and with criminal association.

Okay, that makes more sense. Press all you want into the “vaginal areas” of your fellow passengers (provided, of course, that you know them and they consent). Just don’t threaten the stewardess flight attendant when ordered to stop, and you’ll be fine.
Update: Professor Orin Kerr has some doubts about this case. See here.
Further Update, and Correction: They weren’t charged under the Patriot Act, but under 49 U.S.C.A. § 46504. See Professor Kerr’s update. Serves us right for not looking at the indictment ourselves.
Mid-flight Sexual Play Lands US Couple Afoul of Anti-Terrorism Law [Associated Press]