- Sorry, Denver cops, but you can’t keep a journalist from photographing an arrest on the street by telling her she’s violating the health-privacy law HIPAA [Alex Burness, Colorado Independent on handcuffing of editor Susan Greene]
- Conor Friedersdorf interviews Scott Greenfield, criminal defense blogger and longtime friend of this blog, at the Atlantic;
- Claim in new article: “extremely broad criminal statutes, no less than vague and ambiguous criminal statutes, are constitutionally problematic for depriving ordinary people of ‘fair notice’ about how the legal system actually works” [Kiel Brennan-Marquez guest series at Volokh Conspiracy: first, second, third]
- “We Cannot Avoid the Ugly Tradeoffs of Bail Reform” [Alex Tabarrok; Scott Greenfield] New York should learn from Maryland on risks of unintended consequences [New York Post, and thanks for mention] And a Cato Daily Podcast on bail reform with Daniel Dew of the Buckeye Institute and Caleb Brown;
- In Little Rock and elsewhere, police use of criminal informants creates disturbing incentives that can challenge both probity and accountability [Jonathan Blanks, Cato on Radley Balko account of Roderick Talley raid episode]
- Call to scrap juries in UK rape trials (because they acquit too often) is met with criticism [Matthew Scott, Spectator]
In learning to reason impartially about constitutional law, a valuable exercise is to come up with a list of instances in which the best reading of the Constitution cuts *against* your own view of good policy. Ilya Somin goes first, with examples that include near-total Congressional control over foreign trade; too much use of juries; the extreme difficulty of removing a seriously bad President; the near-indelible status of state lines; and an amendment process that is too hard to use.
“As dogs and other animals are increasingly used in courts to comfort and calm prosecution witnesses, a few voices are calling for keeping the practice on a short leash, saying they could bias juries.” [AP/WTOP]
- After malpractice caps, doctors ordered fewer invasive tests to diagnose heart attacks [Elizabeth Cooney, Stat]
- Product liability defense lawyer manages to survive peremptory challenge and make it onto a jury for a med-mal case, and here are his observations [Stephen McConnell, Drug & Device Law]
- “How Big Government Backed Bad Science and Made Americans Fat” [Reason interview with Nina Teicholz]
- Suits against blood thinner Xarelto have done poorly. Can plaintiff’s lawyers keep plugging away till they get wins? [John O’Brien, Legal NewsLine]
- “Pharmacy Benefit Managers Are Not the Cause of High Prescription Drug Prices” [Ike Brannon]
- Advice for physicians: “5 ways to live through medical malpractice lawsuits” [Stacia Dearmin, KevinMD]
- Torts class hypotheticals come to life: tipsy axe-throwing, discussed in this space last June, is coming to D.C. [Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian] One guess why Japanese “slippery stairs” game show might not translate easily to Land O’ Lawyers [Dan McLaughlin on Twitter]
- “California lawyer pleads guilty in $50M visa scam” [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal]
- Claim: longstanding practice in Louisiana and Oregon of not requiring jury unanimity for felony convictions reflects states’ racial past [Angela A. Allen-Bell, Washington Post]
- “Judge Halts Copyright Troll’s Lawsuit Against A Now-Deceased Elderly Man With Dementia And An IP Address” [Timothy Geigner]
- David Henderson reviews Richard Rothstein book on history of federal encouragement of housing segregation, The Color of Law [Cato Regulation magazine]
- Class action: sellers of cold-pressed juice should have disclosed that it was high-pressure-processed [Elaine Watson, Food Navigator USA]
How can you resist a debate between two of the nation’s most distinguished federal appeals judges — Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit and J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the Fourth — moderated by Tim Lynch? [more; coverage, Jacob Gershman, WSJ]
P.S. More on Judge Kozinski’s recent ideas on criminal justice reform (sample: let defendants choose jury or bench trial, study exonerations in depth, go after bad prosecutors) from Eugene Volokh and Radley Balko.
- Skull and crossbones to follow: San Francisco pols decree health warnings on soft drink, Frappuccino billboards [Steve Chapman]
- Judge criticizes feds’ punitive handling of AIG rescue as unlawful, but says no damages are owed to Hank Greenberg [Bloomberg, Thaya Knight/Cato, Gideon Kanner who predicted outcome, W$J]
- Congress resisting Obama/HUD scheme to force communities to build low-income housing [Jonathan Nelson/Economics21, Marc Thiessen, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing or AFFH]
- California, following New York, proposes 50 hours of mandatory pro bono work for prospective lawyers [John McGinnis]
- Five part Renee Lettow Lerner series on historical role and present-day decay of juries [Volokh Conspiracy, introduction, parts one, two, three, four, five] Related: Mike Rappaport and follow-up on Seventh Amendment, Liberty and Law.
- Latest Scotland drunk-driving blood threshold: Drivers “warned that having ‘no alcohol at all’ is the only way to ensure they stay within the limit” [Independent via Christopher Snowdon]
- How not to argue for bail reform: Scott Greenfield vs. NYT op-ed writer [Simple Justice]
- “Lying to a Lover Could Become ‘Rape’ In New Jersey” [Elizabeth Nolan Brown/Reason, Scott Greenfield]
- “A $21 Check Prompts Toyota Driver to Wonder Who Benefited from Class Action” [Jacob Gershman, WSJ Law Blog]
- On “right of publicity” litigation over the image of the late General George Patton [Eugene Volokh]
- HBO exec: “We have probably 160 lawyers” looking at film about Scientology [The Hollywood Reporter]
- Revisiting the old and unlamented Cambridge, Mass. rent control system [Fred Meyer, earlier]
- Lawyers! Wanna win big by appealing to the jurors’ “reptile” brain? Check this highly educational offering [Keenan Ball]
- “Suit claims Google’s listings for unlicensed locksmiths harmed licensed business” [ABA Journal]
The Securities and Exchange Commission is increasingly steering cases to hearings in front of the agency’s appointed administrative judges, who found in its favor in every verdict for the 12 months through September, rather than taking them to federal court.
Previously, the agency had tended to use the ALJs (administrative law judges) for relatively cut-and-dried enforcement actions, while taking more complex or cutting-edge disputes to federal court. Now, following the Dodd-Frank expansion of its powers, it prefers ALJs even for many complex and demanding cases arising from charges such as insider trading. Defendants enjoy a range of protections in federal court that are not provided in administrative litigation, including juries as well as the presence of federal judges who are independent of agency control, held to a more demanding ethical code, and drawn generally from higher and more sophisticated circles within the legal profession. Read the entire Bainbridge commentary, with followups linking Henry Manne (adjudicatory actions are ways to avoid the more demanding process of rulemaking) and Keith Bishop (current system open to constitutional challenge?).