August 19 roundup

  • Judge bans $1.35 billion sugar beet crop for lack of environmental impact statement [NY Times]
  • Brennan Center, Justice at Stake attracting attention with new report on money in state court judicial races [report in PDF, Kang/ConcurOp]
  • Obama signs “libel tourism” bill into law [Levy, CL&P]
  • “Zach Scruggs claims new evidence clears him” [Patsy Brumfield, NE Mississippi Daily Journal via YallPolitics]
  • Second Circuit panel blasts 1980s abuse-accusation panic in ruling on Friedman case [opinion via NYT and Bernstein/Volokh]
  • Famed Cincinnati lawyer Stanley Chesley may face disciplinary action before Kentucky bar over role in fen-phen scandal [Courier-Journal via Dan Fisher and PoL]
  • Sexual harassment verdict against California casino “amounts to 2/3 of the company’s net worth” [Fox, Jottings]
  • Every White House needs to hire some partisan brawlers. But with “ethics czar” duties? [Matt Welch, Reason]


  • In the story “Second Circuit panel blasts 1980s abuse-accusation panic in ruling on Friedman case,” the link under “opinion” does not exist.

  • Thanks, fixed now.

  • Chesley was a Bill Clinton appointee to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and a big Democratic political donor. I tend to be wary of these “investigating” type stories. Casts aspersions on someone without really giving them due process.

  • I grew up on Long Island and, in fact, one of the people who works for me at my company took classes with the Friedmans as a chil.

    The crimes they were convicted of were simply impossible to commit. It would have been an unsuccessful defense, given the “gross out” nature of the technicalities. But if you were to try do the math on how one can physically commit forced anal intercourse on 12 underage boy in the course of 45 minutes (an actual charge they were being tried on) and then get everyone cleaned up (again, not to be gross, but think of all the lubricant you’d need) and off again, to be picked up by their parents, you would see that it simply is impossible.

    That’s 3.75 minutes per alleged victim.

    They might as well have convicted them for practicing witchcraft or time travel.

    So I asked the person who works for me, who’s now 33 years old, if he thought anything odd was going on during those classes. He said “No, but _something must have happened_.” Sadly, it’s that attitude, especialy when dealing with squeamish subject matter, that gets people wrongly convicted.

    I think it’s nearly impossible for anyone accused of child molestation to get a fair trial. Nobody, especially parents, wants to seem ‘soft’ on child molestation. They’re voting to convict to show that they’re repulsed by the charges, and not the facts of the trial.

  • Regarding the sugar beet story, the judges ruling sounds like a win for corn sweetener industry. Which I’m pretty sure is evil just not as evil as the genetically modifying agro-industry. I have a hard time keeping track of which industries are evil.

  • The sugar beet story doesn’t indicate that there was some real lack of clarity as to the need for an environmental impoact assessment. If that is the case, it seems to me that the primary fault is with Monsanto and the Agriculture Department for failing to follow the law and regulations.

  • Years ago I took an interest in “The Little Rascals Day Care Center” case in North Carolina. The cook at the day care center was a young married woman with a new bay. The authorities took her baby from her and sentenced her to life imprisonment. It broke my heart.

    The Little Rascals case was important not just because of the horrible injustices, as they might have been statistical false positives. What is disturbing is the hideous lack of reasoning by the trained lawyers and judges involved in the case. What goes on in our law schools?

    The Second Circuit Decision is just wonderful in setting out the problem of child molestation hysteria in the courts.

    Judge Reena Raggi correctly noticed that the Second Circuit went beyond what was necessary for their ruling. I wonder if she is indifferent to scope of the problem. A similar result happened with Justice Ginsberg in the Skilling ruling. Justice Ginsburg was concerned about the embarrassment of a 13 year old in the incorrectly labeled “strip search” case, but was indifferent to the witchcraft trial and 24 year sentence of Mr. Skilling. In my opinion, Mr. Skilling did nothing wrong. He was caught in a run on company embedded in the boiler-plate in loan contracts. I think Justice Ginsburg’s opinions were based on gender. She is cuckoo.

    If you carefully read the Second Circuit ruling, you will notice that the concept of evidence was grossly distorted. The same was true with the recent priest scandal. Father Shanley was convicted on testimony congruent with that in the day care center cases, which testimony was given credence by the shame expert Daniel Brown.

    In my opinion the priest scandal was a total hoax.