9th Circuit

The information subpoenaed does not need to be relevant to a crime; in fact, it may be used to dissipate any suspicion of a crime.

Judge William Fletcher, in a Ninth Circuit decision ordering utilities companies to turn over customer records even without a warrant. The case, U.S. v. Golden Valley Electric Association, deals with Alaskans suspected of growing marijuana indoors.

No more misleading stats.

* The ABA adopted a rule that law school data must not be “misleading.” That rule of course means nothing unless the ABA has the will to enforce it. [American Bar Association]

* Posner, gay porn, and the future of the internet. Oh yeah, you’re clicking on this link. [Hollywood Reporter]

* Some Penn State trustees are filing an appeal over their NCAA sanctions. Yeah, because we really want a higher power to take a closer look at PSU. [ESPN]

* Alex Kozinski kind of apologizes for the 9th Circuit judicial conference in Maui. Kind of. [9th Cir. via How Appealing]

* I was in the opening segment of the new Planet Mancow show with Erich “Mancow” Muller. Apparently, I’m the only guy who thinks an Escape from New York scenario where everybody is armed is a bad thing. [Planet Mancow]

* Media bias isn’t necessarily what you think it is. [The Atlantic]

It is a part of our circuit. We wish people would pay attention to that. It’s more often held elsewhere than it’s held in Hawaii. It’s often held in California. There’s a great concentration of judges and attorneys in California.

David Madden, public information officer for the Ninth Circuit, refuting Republican accusations that the appeals court is being wasteful by holding a conference for federal judges in Hawaii.

* The Ninth Circuit denies en banc rehearing in the Prop 8 case. Can we please hurry up and get this thing in front of the Supreme Court already? [Ninth Circuit via Metro Weekly]

* Even more law schools are shrinking their class sizes. Do we have a trend on our hands yet? [Crain's Cleveland Business]

* AOL’s attorneys at DLA Piper sent a nastygram to a Maryland blogger, alleging intellectual property infringement, based on the blog’s aggregation. Because you know, AOL/the Huffington Post has never aggregated anything. [Maryland Juice]

Laura Flippin

* Speaking of DLA Piper lawyers, just before she was found guilty of public intoxication, partner Laura Flippin was also accused of lying under oath by the judge in the case. In short, things did not go as well they could have. [The Flat Hat]

* Remember the law school martyr Phillip J. Closius? He may no longer be Dean of University of Baltimore Law, but he has not finished his crusade to improve the financial security of students. Keep fightin’ the good fight, Phil. [Baltimore Sun]

* Congratulations to the 15 firms that made the NLJ’s 2012 Appellate Hot List. Most are Biglaw shops, but three elite boutiques made the cut: Bancroft, Horvitz & Levy, and Kellogg Huber. [National Law Journal]

* Ever wondered what life in prison is like? Check out this podcast, in which Jeffrey Deskovic, who served 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit, is interviewed by Professor Zachary Shemtob (disclosure: Shemtob is Lat’s co-author and special friend). [Cruel and Unusual: A Podcast on Punishment]

QE's Kathleen Sullivan as Lawyer Barbie

* Dewey know the firms that have been tapped to represent the groups that this failed firm owes money to? Yes, we do! Brown Rudnick for the unsecured creditors’ committee, and Kasowitz Benson for the former D&L partners. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* The Ninth Circuit is supposed to be issuing an order today regarding an en banc reconsideration request on the Prop 8 case. They really ought to slap a big fat denial on that motherf’er and call it a day so we get some SCOTUS action. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* Matthew Kluger, most recently of Wilson Sonsini, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, which is the longest sentence that anyone’s ever received in an insider trading case. Uh yeah, he’ll be appealing. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Hughes Hubbard & Reed has billed more than $17M in the first four months of its work on MF Global’s unwinding. Will the firm will be handing out spring “special” bonuses like they did last year? [Reuters]

* Mattel is appealing MGA’s $310M copyright award, claiming that the judgment was based on “erroneous billing invoices.” Don’t you call my billable hours into question, Kathleen Sullivan. [National Law Journal]

* Jerry Sandusky’s accusers will be named in court thanks to this judge’s ruling. But don’t worry — there’s no tweeting, texting, or emailing allowed in his courtroom. Like that’ll make a difference. [Legal Intelligencer]

* Trust me, I’m a lawyer: a now-disbarred Colorado attorney managed to scam a convicted con artist out of more than $1 million. Now that’s some pretty sweet karmic intervention for you. [Missouri Lawyers Media]

* A bus driver is suing a hospital because he claims that instead of treating his painful erection, the staff watched a baseball game on TV. Whatever, that was a really great Yankees game. [Associated Press]

Seriously?

* The bassist of The Vandals, an 80s punk band famous for songs like “Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government),” is running for judge in southern California. Man, I would love to see his campaign video. [The Atlantic]

* Congratulations to Judge Morgan Brenda Christen, the first Alaskan woman to join the Ninth Circuit. [Courthouse News]

* It’s hard out here for a transfer student. [Inside the Law School Scam]

* Can a judge force you to turn over your Facebook status updates? Inquiring minds want to know when you ate your grilled cheese sandwich, and when you fed your cat. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Do you think the Divorce Hotel takes a AAA discount? Are they available for corporate retreats? Do you need to book a separate bedroom for the kids? [Legal Blog Watch]

* Take note, future political candidates: when the going gets tough, the tough get going change their legal name to a website URL. [Legal Juice]

Really, judge? Really?

* Dewey have any cash to pay the people helping to wind down our firm’s business? Nope! Even though JPMorgan backed D&L’s $8.6M motion to fund the firm’s ongoing operations, Judge Glenn insisted that the bank “[r]oll [its] truck up and start collecting accounts receivable.” [Am Law Daily (reg. req.)]

* “Don’t tase my baby, bro!” SCOTUS has declined to review a case where the Ninth Circuit ruled that the use of a Taser on a seven-month pregnant woman constituted excessive force. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* “The jury has sent a note that they’ve reached… [dramatic pause] … a good stopping point.” Judicial humor lightened the mood after the seventh day of deliberations without a verdict in the John Edwards trial. [ABC News]

* Dharun Ravi finally issued an apology for his “stupid and childish” behavior, and he’ll be heading off to serve his 30-day jail sentence on Thursday. And you know, that jail sentence is joke enough for this blurb. [CNN]

* “Dumb Blonde” isn’t a name that Elizabeth Warren takes too kindly to being called. She much prefers the name that her Native American ancestors bestowed upon her: “Running Joke.” [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Four of the alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case have asked the court to protect their identities. It’s kind of like the Michael Jackson case, but everyone cares more because this one involves football. [Bloomberg]

* Hundreds of lawyers, notaries, and other legal professionals took to the streets in Montreal earlier this week to publicly protest Bill 78, a law that limits public protests. That’s so meta, eh Canadians? [Montreal Gazette]

Judge Paul Watford

Congratulations to the newest member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Honorable Paul J. Watford. On Monday, Watford, currently a 44-year-old partner at the super-elite Munger Tolles & Olson, was confirmed to the federal bench. The vote was 61-34, and it came after a bit of drama in the Senate.

It’s surprising that Watford’s nomination was so contentious, given that he has a number of backers from the right side of the aisle. As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, “[h]is supporters included conservative UCLA law Professor Eugene Volokh, who has described Watford as brilliant and ideologically moderate, and attorney Jeremy Rosen, former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the conservative Federalist Society” (and a noted appellate lawyer, who has appeared before in these pages).

That’s not all. Watford clerked for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, one of a handful of prominent conservative or libertarian judges on the (generally liberal) Ninth Circuit. If you look at the ranks of former Kozinski clerks, you’ll see many members in good standing of the vast right-wing conspiracy (and some who are not, like Paul Watford — who went on to clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and was nominated to the Ninth Circuit by a Democratic president).

Now that the handsome Watford has joined his superhottie boss on the bench, we have a trivia question: Who is the circuit judge with the most former law clerks to join him on the Court of Appeals during his lifetime?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Some Federal Judicial Congratulations — and a Bit of Trivia”

How would you define excessive force? There doesn’t seem to be a precise definition, if only because it’s a matter of legalese. Generally speaking, the police shouldn’t be using force beyond what is called for under the circumstances, which is a somewhat subjective test.

We’ll lob you a softball so you can decide the answers to these important questions. Can you use a Taser on a pregnant woman? How many times can you do it? Once? Twice? Three times?

Now, if your initial reaction was something like, “Holy sh*t! Who does that?,” you must be thinking that the police would be crazy to tase a pregnant woman — especially a pregnant woman who’s two months away from her due date. She’d have to have done something egregious to warrant the use of such force.

But that’s not what happened to a pregnant woman in Washington who received the punishment for a mere traffic violation. And the police officers who inflicted her pain want to take the case to the United States Supreme Court….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Many Times Can You Tase a Pregnant Woman Before Your Case Winds Up Before the Supreme Court?”

Ed. note: Please welcome Matt Kaiser, our new Supreme Court columnist at Above the Law. His photo and bio appear after the jump.

This is my first column for Above the Law on the Supreme Court. In an effort to help me generate effective linkbait, the Supreme Court issued an opinion yesterday at the intersection of bankruptcy and tax law for farmers — Hall v. United States.

Basically, Hall means that, if you’re a farmer and you declare bankruptcy on your farm under Chapter 12 (“the one just for farmers”), and, while in bankruptcy, you sell your farm, you will still have to pay capital gains tax on the sale of your farm — any liability to the IRS is not dischargeable.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the opinion is that Ninth Circuit was affirmed. Though, in fairness, the Ninth Circuit opinion was written by Judge O’Scannlain, so it’s not as though the Supreme Court affirmed Judge Reinhardt.

Also, farmers who are in bankruptcy and sell their farms now have to pay tax on the profits from those sales. I’m sure much of the Midwest is rioting in response.

For those who practice tax law, bankruptcy, or farming law, you will definitely want to read the opinion and some of the write-ups on it.

But the most exciting part of the morning involved new members of the Supreme Court bar….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bankrupt Farmers, Tax Law, and Bar Admissions Ceremonies”

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