Posts Tagged ‘Janet Reno’

April 17 roundup

  • “I did not know what kind of monster we were dealing with”: dramatic testimony from Judge Lackey on Scruggs corruption [Folo; and repercussions too]
  • New at Point of Law: Pork-barreling Albany lawmakers shell out for just what NY needs, three more law schools; Sarbanes-Oxley unconstitutional? Ted goes after JAMA on Vioxx; sadly, appeals court overturns Santa Clara opinion that nailed ethical problems with govt.-paid contingency fee; legal aid lawyers, to subprime borrowers’ rescue? and much more;
  • Cadbury claim: we own the color purple as it relates to chocolate [Coleman]
  • A world gone mad: Innocence Project directors include… Janet Reno? [Bernstein @ Volokh]
  • Not unrelatedly: Can a California prosecutor be held liable for wrongful murder conviction of man freed after 24 years? [Van de Kamp versus Goldstein, L.A. Times via Greenfield]
  • With all his lawyer chums from Milberg-witness days, you’d think Ben Stein could have saved the makers of his creationist movie from stumbling into textbook IP infringements [Myers, again, WSJ law blog]
  • Groggy from dental anesthesia, plus a half a glass to drink: then came the three felony DUI counts [Phoenix New Times, Balko via Reynolds]
  • Shell says boaters had years of notice that mandated ethanol in fuel was incompatible with fiberglass marine gas tanks, which hasn’t stopped the filing of a class action [L.A. Times via ABA Journal]
  • Terrorism asymmetry: “They say ‘Allahu Akbar!’ we say ‘Imagine the liability!'” [McCarthy/Lopez, NRO]
  • Deborah Jeane Palfrey convicted [WaPo; earlier]
  • David Neiwert truly born yesterday if he thinks Kevin Phillips is noteworthy for his record of being right [Firedoglake; some correctives]


This is a bit off topic from civil litigation, but Tom Kirkendall, a Houston attorney following the Enron trial, makes the case that the Enron prosecution team or “task force” has been pushing the envelope of prosecution tactics, with disturbing results.

In an unprecedented move, the Task Force has named over 100 co-conspirators in the case. So, the potential definitely exists for substantial testimony about out-of-court statements going to the jury without the defense ever having an opportunity to cross-examine the persons who made the alleged statements. Moreover, fingering unindicted co-conspirators is an equally effective technique for the Task Force to prevent testimony that is favorable to the defense because persons named as unindicted co-conspirators are likely to the assert their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and thus, not be defense witnesses during the trial. Thus, the Task Force’s liberal use of the co-conspirator tag has a double-whammy effect — not only does it allow the Task Force to use out-of-court statements against defendants without having the declarant of the statements subjected to cross-examination, it has also effectively prevented previous Enron-related defendants from obtaining crucial exculpatory testimony from alleged co-conspirators who have elected to take the Fifth and declined to testify.

Kirkendall argues that despite these tactics, the task force botched the broadband prosecution, and already seem to be making mistakes in the Lay/Skilling trial. He has a lot of fun, in particular, with the task force’s indictment against Lay and Skilling, which was apparently so poorly written that the prosecution itself has petitioned the court not to let the indictment be referred to in cross examination. (Tom Kirkendall, Houston’s Clear Thinkers, Jan 27)

Almost makes you nostalgic for Marcia Clark. But probably not Janet Reno. Over at CoyoteBlog, I wonder whether NJ prosecutors are more interested in upholding the law or getting front page pub in the NHL betting case.