Posts Tagged ‘Alabama’

Alabama law enables sheriff to eat well

Under an Alabama law passed before World War II, many county sheriffs can keep what are deemed extra sums allocated for inmate meals but not used for that purpose. Some large counties require the surplus to be turned over to general county funds. Can sheriffs of other counties convert the funds to personal use? In Etowah County (Gadsden), a local resident says he was paid to mow the sheriff’s lawn with checks from from the sheriff’s “Food Provision Account.” [Connor Sheets, Al.com] And in a followup, four days later local police arrested the resident who had told the reporter about being paid for lawn-mowing. The raid, said to have been based on an anonymous call reporting the odor of marijuana issuing from within an apartment, resulted in charges against him later bumped up to felony drug trafficking based on weight: “Once that marijuana was mixed with the butter then the whole butter becomes marijuana, and that’s what we weighed.” [Sheets, Al.com]

Law enforcement for profit roundup

  • “When you find yourself threatening to find more reasons to put even more citizens in jail in order to protect your revenue stream, it’s maybe time to take a step back and think about what you’re doing.” [Scott Shackford on Alabama forfeiture debate]
  • How IRS spent $20 million on debt collection program that generated $6.7 million in payments [Howard Gleckman, Tax Policy Center]
  • “Federal Judge Strikes Down New York City’s Dragnet That Seized Thousands Of Cars Without Warrants” [Nick Sibilla, IJ/Forbes]
  • Prison phone calls and other captive markets: “Stop squeezing prisoners’ families for cash” [Megan McArdle]
  • “The high price of being wrongly accused in Alabama’s ‘monetized’ criminal justice system” [Ashley Remkus, Al.com]
  • “Cop Who Called Asset Forfeiture ‘A Tax-Liberating Goldmine’ Sued for Illegal Traffic Stop and Seizure” [C.J. Ciaramella; Kane County, Ill.]

Concert booker not liable for patron’s injury

“The Alabama Supreme Court says a man can’t go forward with his lawsuit against a company involved in booking a death metal concert where he was injured.” The plaintiff said he was thrown to the ground during the Mobile event and suffered serious spinal injuries. “The decision says ICM Partners received a $250 commission for booking the band but had no other involvement.” [Insurance Journal; compare successful claims against advertisers, broadcasters, and others following the 2003 Rhode Island Station Nightclub fire]

Free speech roundup

Annals of nastygrams: Roy Moore’s lawyer to Alabama press

Lawyers, grammarians and connoisseurs of nastygrams will be studying this one for a long time: attorney Trenton Garmon, representing Alabama Senate candidate (and longtime Overlawyered favorite) Roy Moore, has sent a demand letter to Alabama press outlets instructing them that they had better not run certain negative stories. [Elliot Hannon, Slate; Ed Kilgore, New York mag] More: Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar.

Law enforcement for profit roundup

  • In Mississippi, a “mother has been forbidden from any contact with her newborn for 14 of the 18 months the child has been alive” because of unpaid misdemeanor fines [Radley Balko, WLBT/MSNewsNow; judge has now resigned, but similar practices reported to be common] Is Biloxi going to do better? [ABA Journal]
  • “They … didn’t give it back”: outrageous tales of asset forfeiture from Alabama [Connor Sheets, AL.com]
  • Efforts afoot in Lansing to write down nearly $595 million in unpaid Michigan drivers’ fees [Chad Livengood, Crain’s Detroit Business] Warren, Mich., residents invited to turn in neighbors on suspicion, win bounties from forfeiture funds [Scott Shackford]
  • Ethical red flags: maker of heroin-cessation compound “marketing directly to drug court judges and other officials.” [Jake Harper, NPR]
  • In Craighead County, Arkansas, private probation firms sue judges who cut them out of the process [Andrew Cohen, The Marshall Project]
  • From Ohio “mayor’s courts” to asset forfeiture, prosecution for profit imperils due process [Jacob Sullum]

“Professionalism and decorum,” plus foes’ “tattered bodies littered around the courtroom”

A lawyer recruitment ad from Birmingham, Alabama is raising some eyebrows [Keith Lee]. “Maintaining professionalism and decorum” is important, at least up to a point: “You should want to destroy your enemies and leave their tattered bodies littered around the courtroom.” The pay? It starts at $35,000 a year.

May 12 roundup