Posts Tagged ‘Alabama’

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

Schools roundup

  • Libertarians warned about this: New Jersey’s broad “anti-bullying” law used to silence 15 year old student’s political tweets [Robby Soave, Reason]
  • “New proposal would put armed, retired cops in New Jersey schools” [NJ.com]
  • Chapters ostensibly agreed, though their leeway to refuse not clear: “University of Alabama quietly testing fraternity brothers for drugs” [Al.com]
  • About time Congress noticed: Sen. James Lankford asking questions about Department of Education’s Dear Colleague letter [FIRE]
  • Schools vigilant against danger of grandparents reading aloud to class without background checks [Lenore Skenazy]
  • No helicopters in sight: German preschool/kindergartens send kids as young as three to camp in woods [WSJ]
  • Los Angeles and New York City school officials got same anonymous threat, but only L.A. closed schools [Ann Althouse]

Rating states on legal climates

“West Virginia courts have a well-deserved reputation for favoring plaintiffs, but the state’s Supreme Court may have gone too far this year when it said drug addicts who broke the law to obtain narcotics could sue the doctors and pharmacies who supposedly fed their addiction.” Rulings like that, writes Daniel Fisher, are one reason West Virginia perennially ranks at the bottom in the U.S. Chamber’s ranking of state legal climates, and did again this year. Louisiana, Illinois, and California are other cellar-dwellers, while Alabama and Texas, despite extensive reforms and the success of business-oriented candidates in many judicial races, also languish in the lower ranks with continuing problems such as the litigation atmosphere of east Texas [Lou Ann Anderson/Watchdog Arena] More: Bob Dorigo Jones. Related, from ALEC: State Lawsuit Reform.

“Take a Valium, Lose Your Kid, Go to Jail”

During pregnancy “occasional, small doses of diazepam (the generic name for Valium) are considered safe… But one morning a few weeks later, when Shehi was back at her job in a nursing home and the baby was with a sitter, investigators from the Etowah County [Alabama] Sheriff’s Office showed up at the front desk with a warrant. She had been charged with ‘knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally’ causing her baby to be exposed to controlled substances in the womb — a felony punishable in her case by up to 10 years in prison. The investigators led her to an unmarked car, handcuffed her and took her to jail.” [Nina Martin, ProPublica]

P.S. Expanded into a longer post at Cato at Liberty.

March 4 roundup

“Alabama man gets $1K in police settlement, his lawyers get $459K”

“An Alabama man who sued over being hit and kicked by police after leading them on a high-speed chase will get $1,000 in a settlement with the city of Birmingham, while his attorneys will take in $459,000, officials said Wednesday.” [Reuters/Yahoo] Readers may argue about whether this kind of outcome is fair, but note that it seems to happen more often, rather than less, in this country (with its putative “American Rule” that each side pays its own fees) than in other industrialized countries which tend more to follow “loser-pays” or “costs follow the event” fee principles. One reason for that is that the U.S. does not actually hew consistently to the so-called American Rule; across wide areas of litigation, including civil rights suits, it follows “one-way shift” principles in which prevailing plaintiffs but not prevailing defendants are entitled to fees, and whose encouragement to litigation is greater than either the American Rule or the loser-pays principle.

Related: The Pennsylvania legislature is moving to adopt a rule adopting one-way fees for some cases in which municipalities trample rights protected by the Bill of Rights’ Second Amendment, provoking peals of outrage (“dangerous,” “outrageous,” “threatens municipalities’ financial stability,” etc.) from elected officials few of whom seem to be on record objecting to one-way fee shifts when plaintiffs they like better are doing the suing. [Free Beacon]