August 1 roundup

  • Truly good news for both individual liberty and harm reduction: FDA grants reprieve for now to e-cigarettes/vaping [New York Times, Jacob Sullum/Reason, related; earlier on vaping, tobacco harm reduction, and the FDA here, here, and generally. Update: I’ve got a longer treatment up now at Cato;
  • HUD seems finally to be backing off its long dispute with Westchester County, N.Y., long chronicled in this space and elsewhere [Howard Husock, City Journal]
  • “Which side of the case is the federal government coming in on?” “Both, Your Honor.” [Rob Rosborough on DoJ’s intervention on opposite side from EEOC on question of whether Title VII covers sexual orientation, earlier on which here, etc.; Tony Mauro on DoJ split from NLRB on arbitration in Murphy Oil case; Thaya Brook Knight in March on constitutionality of CFPB] See also Marty Lederman, SCOTUSBlog, 2014;
  • “Michigan Juror Rights Pamphleteer Free From Jail Pending His Appeal” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Many satirical limericks later, Olive Garden’s parent company says its nastygram to a blogger “was auto-generated, and the company will take no further action.” [Charlotte Allen, Weekly Standard; earlier]
  • There’s a delivery out front: “Florida man who drove dead body to lawyer’s office won’t be charged” [AP/ClickOrlando]


  • RE:Delivery Out Front.

    Northeast of Ft Myers in Cocoa, FL (NOT Cocoa Beach) is a case playing out where a man walked into a retention pond and could not get back to land. He drowned. His struggle was caught on film (isn’t everything?) by 5 teens aged 14-18 who knew the man was in trouble but didn’t do anything to help him and laughed as he struggled.

    Law enforcement and the State’s Attorney have struggled to find any law they can charge the teens with.

    They eventually settled on FS 406.12 which requires a person to call the County Medical Examiner when “a person becomes aware of the death of another person.”

    Seems like the guy who drove the person to the lawyer should be charged with the same crime. Right?

    The Cocoa Police Chief, the County Sheriff and the State’s Attorney are looking at putting forth a law that requires people to render assistance to someone in trouble like the man who drowned. Of course, there is no legal requirement that First Responders have a duty to assist, but apparently normal citizens should risk their lives instead.

    • So the local politicos in Cocoa want a law requiring untrained persons to assist someone who is drowning? What about the tragic event in San Francisco not long ago, where an entire fire trunk crew stood and watched a man drown, because the fire crew did not have the correct equipment for a water rescue. I had not heard of this case but expecting teenagers to risk their lives to go into a retention pond, containing potentially snakes, alligators, and runoff chemicals, sure sounds like a classic bad idea.

      • Haw dare you confuse politicos with facts and laws!

        Here’s the video of the kids laughing at the man. (NSFW!) It’s horrible to watch. To not call or try something and instead just laugh at the man is, in my opinion, morally reprehensible.

        But my moral outrage does no mean a legal duty to assist or that I want a law requiring such a duty.

  • In regard to the Keith Wood – jury nullification case in Mecosta County, Michigan, the judge who made these terrible decisions was Kimberly Booher, whose term on the bench began on January 1, 2015. Fortunately, in Michigan, voters have judge nullification. Judge Booher is up for reelection in 2020.