In our post yesterday about Judge Alex Kozinski’s horrifically bad ruling in favor of Cindy Garcia, an actress who briefly appeared in the infamous YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims,” we also mentioned the astounding gag order that Kozinski placed on Google/YouTube, saying that the company was simply not allowed to tell the world that the video had been ordered censored by a court for at least a week. However, the gag order is so crazy that it seemed worth a second post. It already appears to be a classic First Amendment violation to order Google to take down all copies of the video (and prevent new ones from being uploaded), but Kozinski seems to double the First Amendment problems with that gag order.
The big news in “Justice” today is a new report from Professor Samuel R. Gross of the University of Michigan Law School showing that exonerations of convicted criminals are on the rise. Gross used data from the National Registry of Exonerations to determine that 87 prisoners were freed from wrongful convictions last year, the highest number in decades.
In a way, that’s good news. More exonerations suggest that more resources are being spent going back over closed cases and freeing people based on new or better evidence. But the report is also chilling proof that our criminal justice system gets things wrong, all the time, and innocent people go to jail because of it.
Instead of being obsessed with conviction rates, state bars might want to look into prosecutorial f**k-up rates. Because it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer…
- Alex Kozinski, Books, California, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Job Searches, Lawyer Advertising, Non-Sequiturs, Sonia Sotomayor, Student Loans, Videos, YouTube
* Elizabeth Wurtzel: “I am a lawyer. The first rule of law: All the promises will be broken. Attorneys could not be in business if people did not fail to do what they agreed to do all the time — and lawyers are very busy.” [Nerve.com]
* Laura Ingraham clerked for SCOTUS, so presumably she knows that Puerto Ricans are American citizens — right? [Media Matters]
* Thomson Reuters Concourse keeps getting bigger and better. [Thomson Reuters]
* Want to know the backstory behind the awesome Jamie Casino Super Bowl ad? Keep reading….
Imagine this. You graduate from law school with a 4.0, the first person in your school’s history to do so. While in law school, you serve as editor-in-chief of the law review, win the moot court competition, and get a Ph.D.
You clerk for a federal appellate judge, followed by another circuit judge — this time a prominent feeder judge to the U.S. Supreme Court. You work as an associate at an elite law firm in a major city. You then return to your hometown and clerk for not one but two federal district court judges, to round out your already amazing résumé with some time in the trial court trenches.
And then you… get a Supreme Court clerkship? Or get charged with attempted aggravated rape and solicitation of a young child….
- Affirmative Action, Amy Schulman, California, Canada, Football, Gay, Gay Marriage, Law Schools, Non-Sequiturs, Patents, Prostitution, Women's Issues
* After striking down Canada’s anti-prostitution laws, our neighbors to the North went ahead and approved a law school that functionally bans gays. What’s going on up there? Play keep away with the Stanley Cup for 20 years and they just lose their damn minds. [TaxProf Blog]
* Professor Richard Sander won the right to examine law school race, attendance and grade information, in a bid to prove his central theory that affirmative action somehow hurts black folks. I guess the California Supreme Court is on Team Sander. [San Jose Mercury News]
* There’s a rundown of the top patent law stories of 2013 on the web next month. And there’s CLE to be had! [Patently-O]
Chief Judge Kozinski has been feisty with prosecutorial overreach lately. A couple months ago, he snarked his way through an en banc beatdown of a prosecutor who asserted facts not in the record to secure a conviction. He was no doubt hoping to give us an encore performance in a case out of Washington, but his colleagues denied the request for an en banc rehearing.
But that didn’t stop the inimitable jurist from penning a lengthy dissent from the decision leveling harsh criticism at the prosecutor for the “violence done to the Constitution.”
So is the Chief Judge just cranky or was there some real abuse here?
And no, it’s not about lowering their reversal rate in the Supreme Court. In fact, in recent years the Sixth Circuit has surpassed the Ninth Circuit as the most-reversed appeals court in SCOTUS. (Veteran Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein also pointed this out at our ATL reception with him a few weeks ago.)
So how can you help out the Ninth Circuit? It’s a very easy and simple request, sent to us from Chief Judge Alex Kozinski….
(Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.)
That’s right, plaintiffs’ counsel sat down to the negotiating table and cut a deal, without knowing a single thing about what cards their opponents held. For all counsel knew — for all they know even today — there are memoranda and reports in Nissan’s internal files disclosing that the LEAF’s Lithium-Ion battery suffers from a variety of defects, and that Nissan nevertheless decided to go to market with it.
– Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, filing an objection to a class action settlement between Nissan and buyers and leasers of its electric car, the LEAF. Alison Frankel of Reuters describes having Chief Judge Kozinski as an objector as a “lawyer’s nightmare.”
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* I’ve never heard of a “copyist.” Apparently it’s what you call people who “steal” intellectual property that isn’t actually protected. I’d care, but I’m too busy trying to figure out how The Onion would write this blurb. [You Thought We Wouldn't Notice]
* And now time for your annoying “why do LAWYERS get money instead of PLAINTIFFS??????” post: The Stop-and-Frisk edition. While I wait for some of you to get off the turnip truck, I’ll note that I don’t begrudge the lawyers who helped bring to light the horrible NYPD tactics one cent. [New York Observer]
* Tom Cruise’s lawyer almost got Tom Cruise’s ass beat down by Mark Wahlberg’s fists. [Gawker]
* IED explodes in a district attorney’s office in Oregon. No one was injured. So jokes about Stanford blowing up Oregon’s BCS title chances remain totally appropriate and cool. [ABA Journal]
* Every year, people ask if the February LSAT is “too late” if you want to start law school the next fall. And every year, I want to say “How in the f*** can you not get your s*** together to take the LSAT earlier, but just have to start attending law school as soon as possible?” [LawSchooli.com]
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Conservative and libertarian judges on the Ninth Circuit — yes, they exist — have been showing the East Coast a lot of love lately. Last month, my former boss, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, delivered the Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture at the Heritage Foundation (an excellent speech that you can watch here). Later this week, Judge O’Scannlain and one of his colleagues, Judge Carlos Bea, will make appearances at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention.
And yesterday, the ringmaster of the Ninth Circuit himself, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, delivered a talk at Yale Law School entitled “The Immigrant Experience and Judging.” He spoke to a packed house in YLS’s largest classroom.
Here are some highlights from his remarks….