Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana’

Lawyer files First Amendment challenge against uses of Louisiana bar dues

“A libertarian attorney filed a lawsuit on Thursday taking aim at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s monopoly on the legal profession, joining a wave of similar litigation in other states. New Orleans insurance defense lawyer Randy Boudreaux alleges in the federal court suit that his rights of free speech and free association are being violated because the bar association collects his mandatory dues while taking positions on controversial issues like the death penalty and LGBT rights…. Boudreaux, a married gay man, said he agrees with the bar association’s position in favor of LGBT rights. But he’s opposed to the idea of compelling his fellow lawyers to pay for a group with which they disagree.” [Matt Sledge, NOLA.com, earlier] But note: Eighth Circuit rejects argument that North Dakota bar fees are open to challenge under Janus [Fleck v. Wetch]

Libel and defamation roundup

  • Though ruled unconstitutional a half century ago, Louisiana’s criminal defamation law has remained on the books and could still cause you grief, especially if a sheriff’s office thinks you’ve defamed it [Sara Pagones and Katie Moore, NOLA.com]
  • Certiorari petition filed asking Supreme Court to stop climatologist Michael Mann’s lawsuit against National Review [NR, earlier]
  • Latest sassy response to a cease-and-desist demand (language) [Mike Masnick, TechDirt; “Diamond and Silk” versus Wonkette] Person “threatens to sue the Guinness World Record folks for removing his records” [same]
  • Also Techdirt-related: “Defamation lawsuit brought by self-proclaimed email ‘inventor’ settles” [Cyrus Farivar, NBC, related]
  • New Hampshire high court: inventor and company weren’t defamed by being called patent troll [ABA Journal, earlier here and here] Lawsuit alleging adult defamation of a seventh grader results in liability but no damages [Eugene Volokh; Massachusetts Superior Court]
  • Council in Peachtree City, Ga. considers proposal to pay legal bills of city workers and officials who sue critics for defamation [George Franco, Fox 5 Atlanta]

Law enforcement for profit roundup

Fifth Circuit: basing judges’ fund on fines and fees violates due process

Orleans Parish, Louisiana (= county, in this case coterminous with the City of New Orleans) funnels the revenue from many criminal fines and fees into a judicial services fund which, while it does not pay judges’ salaries, does cover many related expenses including staff salaries, conferences and office supplies. Judges themselves help determine the volume of inflow to the fund by their rulings in cases. Now a unanimous Fifth Circuit panel has ruled that given the fund’s substantial dependence on such revenue, the parish “failed to provide a neutral forum” and thus violated defendants’ constitutional right to due process [Nick Sibilla/Forbes, ABA Journal; opinion in Cain v. White]

Pharmaceutical roundup

Louisiana: “…an unknown third vehicle waves down an 18-wheeler”

Attorneys for Mississippi-based Whitestone Transportation “allege in court documents that their investigations have uncovered evidence of more than 30” incidents around New Orleans following a distinct pattern of “multiple people in a claimant vehicle, sideswipe allegations with commercial vehicle trailers, minimal damage to claimant vehicle, little to no damage to the insured trailer and a commercial vehicle driver who is either unaware of or denies impact, according to trucking attorneys.” “In Louisiana we estimate our insurance costs are three to five times more than the national average,” said Chance McNeely, executive director of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, and with the legal system not well suited to defeating claims for staged or pretended accidents, companies are increasingly turning to truck-mounted cameras.

“It’s always the same thing: Four people in a sedan, and there’s always a random witness who gives a loose statement to the cops and has a random appointment and has to get away, “ McNeely said. And all too often they use the same attorneys and the same doctors, he said….

“We have a lot of billboards for attorneys, and many of them demonize our industry,” he said.

[Eric Miller, Transport Topics]

Crime and punishment roundup

  • Bloodstain analysis convinced a jury Julie Rea killed her 10-year-old son. It took four years for her to be acquitted on retrial, and another four to be exonerated. Has anything been learned? [Pamela Colloff, ProPublica] Forensics’ alternative-facts problem [Radley Balko] The chemists and the coverup: inside the Massachusetts drug lab scandal [Shawn Musgrave, Reason, earlier here, here, here, etc.]
  • “I would say, you know, as a parting gift, if you’d like to throw in some iPhones every year, we would be super jazzed about that…. So, you know, a hundred, 200 a year.” A window on the unusual business of prison-phone service [Ben Conarck, Florida Times-Union, state Department of Corrections]
  • Should juries be forbidden to hear any evidence or argument about their power of conscientious acquittal? [Jay Schweikert on Cato amicus in case of U.S. v. Manzano, Second Circuit; related, David Boaz on 1960s-era jury nullification of sodomy charges]
  • This hardly ever happens: prosecutor disbarred for misconduct [Matt Sledge, Baton Rouge Advocate; Louisiana high court revokes license of Sal Perricone following anonymous-commenting scandal]
  • “Cultural impact assessments”: Canadian courts weighing whether race should play role in sentencing minority offenders [Dakshana Bascaramurty, Globe and Mail]
  • “The Threat of Creeping Overcriminalization” [Cato Daily Podcast with Shon Hopwood and Caleb Brown] “Tammie Hedges and the Overcriminalization of America” [James Copland and Rafael Mangual, National Review]

Free speech roundup

Land use and development roundup