Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not so feel good stories

It is allways interesting to see what defense is raised in a criminal trial, when nobody had a guess as to what it might be.  In the Casey Anthony case, the defense just raised a very interesting, and plausable theory - that the child died in a swimming pool, and the mother covered it up out of fear and as a result of the years of abuse she suffered at the hands of her father.

Should be interesting to see what the evidence shows.

Also going on is the recent killing of Reynaldo Munoz, apparently while he was trying to steal a wave runner from the property of the father of the shooter.  Munoz was shot in the head with a shotgun during the crime, in daylight.  The Herald is reporting that Munoz was deaf and could not speak.  I question this only because a teacher who claimed to have taught Munoz apparently made no mention of it when she spoke to Channel 7 News.  Of course, Channel 7 is not the best source of information, unless you just like watching the weather.

I had an interesting discussion about this with a reader of the blog (hat tip to my one loyal reader who sent the Herald article to me), and I agree, no property is worth the life of another human being.  The law is in line with that sentiment as well; although we have the "castle doctrine" in Florida, take a look at the statute - it specifically covers the dwelling and porch of the home, no more.  I do not believe this shooting will be governed by the castle doctrine, even though Munoz was in the clearly enclosed back yard/curtilage of the home.

Of course, one cannot gloss over the fact that the shooter was a 14 year old kid, who was probably terrified when he confronted Munoz.  This should certainly play into any investigation the police are conducting.

Do any of my other readers believe that it is okay to kill somebody for trying to steal your property?

In other news, great Ninth Circuit opinion here, quoting from Twelve Angry Men.  No hat tips to any other bloggers - this is covered by the David Markus inevitable discovery doctrine.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Liberal Eleventh - German Sexual Depravity and Hungarian Hookers!

Turns out, even in the Eleventh Circuit, the government needs to prove that you know your are doing something illegal (obstructing a forfeiture proceeding) when you go to your friend's back yard to dig up $350,000.00 hidden in PVC pipes under the pool deck, in order to convict you.

In United States v. Friske, the 11th felt that knowledge of the forfeiture proceeding would have been one way of doing that:

"The only way the jury could conclude that Friske knew his actions were likely to affect a forfeiture proceeding, in the absence of any evidence that he was aware that a forfeiture proceeding was pending or foreseeable, would be through speculation. But speculation is not enough to sustain a conviction based on circumstantial evidence."

In light of this rare reversal, I am waiting for (1) the order vacating the opinion in favor of en banc review or (2) the Sun to turn blood red while locusts eat our oranges.

I am quite certain that Friske's lawyers will not be celebrating thier victory in the same manner as the German reinsurance executives do (of course, this assume that his attorneys were NOT state court PDs):

"One of the biggest insurance companies in the world held a party for salesmen where they were rewarded with the services of prostitutes.

Munich Re is the world's biggest re-insurer - in other words, the company acts as an insurance company for other insurance companies.

One of its divisions, Ergo, told the BBC that the party had taken place to reward salesmen in 2007.

A spokesman said the people who organised it had since left.

The gathering was held at a thermal baths in the Hungarian capital Budapest as a reward to particularly successful salesmen.

'Whatever they liked'

There were about 100 guests and 20 prostitutes were hired.

A German business newspaper said the prostitutes had worn colour-coded arm-bands designating their availability, and the women had their arms stamped after each service rendered.

According to Handelsblatt, quoting an unnamed participant, guests were able to take the women to four-poster beds at the spa "and do whatever they liked".

"After each such encounter the women were stamped on the lower arm in order to keep track of how often each woman was frequented," the paper quoted the man as saying.

"The women wore red and yellow wrist bands. One lot were hostesses, the others would fulfil your every wish.

"There were also women with white wrist bands. They were reserved for board members and the very best sales reps."

A spokesman for Ergo told the BBC that the party had happened, but said it was not the usual way of rewarding their employees."

Okay, some thoughts:

1) The 5-1 ratio seems a bit slim to me.  Even with the ability to identify the more "frequented" of the women, odds don't look so good.

2) What is the usual way the employees are awarded?

3) Who determined which women wore the white wrist bands?

4) What did the high performing female sales reps earn?

5) I know the Germans enjoy a special reputation for sexual depravity, but how does one company employ 100 dickheads who would do this type of thing?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Turns out Raj's defense worked!

"As deliberations began, the panel behaved as predicted by the jury research, according to jurors who were interviewed by The Wall Street Journal after the trial. Several said they found Mr. Rajaratnam to be personally likable, even charming, and that weighing those impressions against the damaging evidence was difficult."

Wow - I guess they just mistakenly checked the wrong box, over and over and over and over again. Here is the article.

Up now is Bill Barzee appearing on behalf of co-defendant "OctoPussy" in the Big Apple.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lawyers are allowed to give confidential advice?

"...there are serious implications for the practice of law generated by this prosecution. Lawyers can never assist a client in the commission of a crime or a fraud, and that's well established. Lawyers do not get a free pass to commit crimes.


"However, a lawyer should never fear prosecution because of advice that he or she has given to a client who consults him or her, and a client should never fear
24 that its confidences will be divulged unless its purpose in consulting the lawyer was for the purpose of committing a crime or a fraud.

"There is an enormous potential for abuse in allowing prosecution of an attorney for the giving of legal advice. I conclude that the defendant in this case should never have been prosecuted and she should be permitted to resume her career.

"The institutional problem that causes me a great concern is that while lawyers should not get a free pass, the Court should be vigilant to permit the practice of law to be carried on, to be engaged in, and to allow lawyers to do their job of zealously representing the interests of their client. Anything that interferes with that is something that the court system should not countenance."

That was Judge Titus in the District of Maryland kicking the criminal case against attorney Lauren Stevens at the Rule 29 stage. Great win for the defense. The oral pronouncement has a good discussion regarding the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege.

David is reporting that Judge Jordan may be up for the Eleventh. I am personally happy for him because no judge is more deserving and will better serve the people of this Circuit. That being said, for entirely selfish reasons, I hope he stays here with us.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Should have hired Caruso and Flores

"Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire investor who once ran one of the world’s largest hedge funds, was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy on Wednesday by a federal jury in Manhattan.  He is the most prominent figure convicted in the government’s crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street.

Mr. Rajaratnam, who was convicted on all 14 counts, could face as much as 19 and a half years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, prosecutors said on Wednesday. He will be sentenced on July 29."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Eleventh Circuit Law Day

"The yeoman’s work of our judicial system is done by a single judge and a jury. Twelve ordinary citizens of Alabama were asked to sit through long days of often tedious and obscure testimony and pour over countless documents to decide what happened, and, having done so, to apply to these facts the law as the judge has explained it to them. And they do. Often at great personal sacrifice. Though the popular culture sometimes asserts otherwise, the virtue of our jury system is that it most often gets it right. This is the great achievement of our system of justice. The jury’s verdict commands the respect of this court, and that verdict must be sustained if there is substantial evidence to support it. Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 80 (1942)."

That is Judge Tjoflat's introduction to a rather lengthy opinion which affirmed in part and reversed in part, convictions secured by the government against Don Seligman, the former governor of Alabama.  The case also has a very interesting discussion relating to post-verdict juror examinations.  Bottom line, unless the examination relates to the question of whether or not information extraneous to the evidence or outside infulence played a part in the verdict - forget it.

The other opinion out of the Elventh this week can be summed up as thus:

If you show up to a computer arranged meeting to have sex with a minor, your car is going to be searched, even if you are arrested outside of it; and, the court is not going to suppress nothing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kathy Williams's Nomination

As a follow up to last week's post, it appears the Senate Judiciary Committee will be taking up Kathy Williams's nomination again on May 12, at 10:00 a.m., during an "Executive Business Meeting."  Here is a link to the committee's web page.

It is high time Mrs. Williams's is confirmed.  She is going to be a GREAT addition to the bench of the SD Fla.

In other news, it appears that my blog is even harder to find now.  Rumpole seems to have nixed the Kosher Meatball from his blogs list - in favor of none other than Roy Black.  I guess if you have to lose out, loosing out to Roy is a bit softer on the ego.

In retaliation, I am considering revealing Rumpole's identity, or possibly even dropping him from my blog list.  That's right Rumpy, your on the precipice!

Legal tip of the week:

Failure to convey a plea offer to your client is ineffective assistance; and, it is allways better to convey such offers in writing, so that you won't have to put your credibility at issue in a later evidentiary hearing.

So sayeth the Fourth in United States v. Evans.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Vote on Kathy Williams

Seems to have been delayed again -

One Republican - Senator Chuck Grassley showed up for the May 5, 2011 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  A review of the stream, beginning at about 30:30 minutes, seems to indicate that there are no holds on the nomination.  He does request a "usual" "one-week" hold over on Kathy Williams's, as well as several other nominees's, nominations. 

Not sure when the vote will happen, but time enough has past; this should have been done a long time ago.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ding Dong

bin Laden is dead.

What now?

Does this

bring back the Americans murdered on board the Cole, in the Embassy in Kenya, on 9/11?

The Thousands of troops that were sent to meet their maker in Iraq? 

The arms, legs, and normalcy for the Tens of Thousands more who have been permanently handicapped in the name of Daddy?

Our committment to Our Values?

Nope - gone.

Even this momentous operation was tainted by the degeneration of our moral authority. 

The identity of the courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden was obtained by torturing people (bad people) and holding some of them in indefinite confinement in purgatory without due process.

But they are not entitled to due process!

We all are....and when we fail to grant process to the most detested amoungst us, we fail.

So, congratulations to Obama for being the President in office when bin Laden was killed - I am glad he is dead.  But on this day we celebrate this Just Vengeance, let us not forget the path we chose to go down after 9/11 and let us Hope that Change will come soon.