- Cross-examination could be awkward: “Top Nevada Court Says Attorney Son Can Represent Dad in Divorce From Mom” [ABA Journal]
- “Phoenix Woman Ordered to Not Give Out Water in 112 Degree Heat Because She Lacked a Permit” [Doherty, Reason]
- Admitting no guilt, Yale capitulates to feds’ Title IX probe, promises crackdown on sexual “climate” [YAM, earlier here, here, etc.]
- Citing “egregious” ethics lapse, judge denies McGuireWoods fees in BarBri antitrust case [NLJ]
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act probe of retailers? [Reuters, FCPA Professor] FCPA piggyback shareholder suits falter [D&O Diary]
- Obama has postponed a slew of new regulations until after November, and they’re a costly lot [Rob Portman, WSJ]
- Fifth Circuit rejects challenge to sentencing in Paul Minor case [YallPolitics, background]
- “Law Prof Threatens Suit over University’s Plan to Reinstitute Single-Sex Dorms” [ABA Journal, WSJ Law Blog; John Banzhaf vs. Catholic U. in Washington, D.C.]
- Mississippi: Dickie Scruggs files motion to vacate conviction in Scruggs II (DeLaughter case) [Freeland, YallPolitics] Before defending Paul Minor’s conduct in cash-for-judges scandal, review the evidence [Lange, YallPolitics and more]
- Woman who filmed cop from own yard charged with obstructing his administration of government [BoingBoing]
- East St. Louis, Ill. jury awards $95 million in sexual harassment, assault case against Aaron’s rental chain [ABA Journal]
- Connecticut unions demand investigation of conservative Yankee Institute think tank [Public Sector Inc.]
- “Court Upends $1.75M Award, Finding Plaintiff Lawyer’s Remarks Prejudicial” [NJLJ]
- Hold it! San Francisco debates bathroom rights for schoolkids [C.W. Nevius, SF Chronicle]
- “Lawyer held in contempt for advising clients to retake foreclosed home” [Ventura County Star, earlier]
- Some perspective on Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s plans: about half the states curtail some or all public-sector unionism [Barro]
- Guy who sued over Jimmy Carter book offers his side of story [Turley, earlier]
- “Disbarment recommended for litigator Chesley over fen-phen fees” [NLJ, PoL, previously on scandal] Kenneth Feinberg affidavit in case draws scrutiny [Steele/LEF, Frank/PoL]
- Mississippi: “Minor, 2 ex-judges disbarred by state Supreme Court” [Sun-Herald, related on scheduled resentencing, earlier]
- “AIG Ended Up Having To Pay Millions For the Duke Lacrosse Stripper Lawsuit” [Business Insider, earlier]
- Labor Department hotline to put workers in touch with private lawyers [Fox Biz, Wood/PoL]
- Underage man on hook for child support to older woman [seven years ago on Overlawyered]
Despite much speculation that the Court’s rollback of the law of “honest services fraud” might help his case, the justices yesterday “let stand without comment a ruling by a federal appeals court that upheld most convictions of the lawyer, Paul Minor, and the judges, John Whitfield and Wes Teel. The men were convicted for their roles in a complicated scheme involving loans for the judges and allegedly favorable rulings in civil cases involving Minor.” [AP/Biloxi Sun-Herald, YallPolitics]
The Fifth Circuit has overturned (PDF) that portion of the convictions of Mississippi trial lawyer Paul Minor and two judges based on what is known as federal program bribery, while upholding the trio’s convictions for mail fraud and racketeering based on violations of state bribery law. The latter set of convictions, however, could be undermined should the U.S. Supreme Court strike down as unconstitutional the concept of “honest services” fraud. [ABA Journal, Freeland and more and yet more, Y’AllPolitics; our earlier, extensive Minor coverage]
Harper’s commentator Scott Horton and New York Times editorial commentator Adam Cohen have long defended Minor as the target of a supposed political prosecution premised on “vague allegations”, contending (to quote Cohen) that his crime “does not look much like a crime at all” and is based on things that “everyone” does in the Mississippi legal system. But the Fifth Circuit sharply rebukes this view of the case, laying out in some detail (quoting the ABA Journal) the nature of the corruption involved:
Structured as a short-term “balloon” loan that had to be renewed every six months, after the accumulated interest was paid, “the arrangement allowed Minor to keep Whitfield on a string while Minor held the bank at bay,” states the 68-page opinion, explaining the government’s theory of the case concerning this one judge. Minor directly or indirectly made the vast majority of the payments on the $140,000 in loans to Whitfield, the opinion notes, and little or none of the money apparently was spent on Whitfield’s judicial campaign.
Minor also repaid the $25,000 loan he arranged for Teel, which was deposited into the judge’s campaign account. However, neither judge reported the loans as required on campaign disclosure forms, the opinion states.
Each judge subsequently made rulings in a case that allegedly may have been influenced by their financial relationship with Minor. However, the legally required connection between federal funds the judges received [emphasis added] and their rulings was not established, the 5th Circuit found.
There are indeed plenty of legitimate questions — which hardly raised their heads for the first time in this case — about the armory of powers that federal prosecutors have developed over many years in their efforts to go after state-level corruption. But that this was an episode of grotesque corruption, and that Minor’s misconduct went far beyond anything remotely defensible as politics as usual, should by this point be apparent even to Harper’s and the Times.
- Judge cites Oregon elder abuse act in barring animal rights activists from harassing elderly furrier [Zick, Prawfsblawg]
- After fraud accusations against Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein, politicos race to return his many donations [NYT, AmLaw Daily,
DBR and more, Ashby Jones/WSJ Law Blog and more (Ponzi investments could exceed $1 billion, per FBI)]
- Ontario court ruling may invite U.S. class action lawyers to take on more projects in Canada [Kevin LaCroix]
- “Mississippi Cardiologist Won’t Go to Prison for Online Dating” [Balko, Freeland]
- Manuscript in the mail: “Kings of Tort”, Alan Lange/Tom Dawson book on Dickie Scruggs and Paul Minor scandals, which now has its own website and will go on sale Dec. 2;
- A “cultural institution destroyed” in Louisiana: more on proposed FDA ban on raw oysters [NYT, earlier]
- Update on Google Books settlement [Sag, ConcurOp]
- Mark Steyn on the Zack Christie case and other annals of knives-in-schools zero-tolerance [NRO, Steyn Online via Skenazy]
- Boy fatally shoots stepbrother at home, mom sues school district as well as shooter’s family [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]
- Problem gambler sues Ontario lottery for C$3.5 billion [Toronto Star]
- Cop declines training in which he’d be given Taser shock, and sues [Indianapolis Star]
- Ultra-litigious inmate Jonathan Lee Riches scrawls new complaint linking Bernard Madoff, Britney Spears [Kevin LaCroix]
- Just to read this update feels like an invasion of privacy: “Judge to Hear Challenge to $6M Herpes Case Award” [On Point News, earlier]
- “Best criminal strategy: join the Spokane police” [Coyote Blog] More: Greenfield, Brayton.
- Will mommy-bloggers be held liable for freebie product reviews? [Emily Friedman, ABC News, earlier]
- Update: “Fifth Circuit says no bail for Paul Minor” [Freeland]
Over the years we’ve traced some of the shifting theories by which it’s been argued that once-prominent attorney Paul Minor was railroaded and didn’t really deserve conviction in that seedy Mississippi cash-for-judges scandal. Now America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure®, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has started banging his bowl in Minor’s cause, prompting Alan Lange to do what Kennedy does not do, namely provide supporting documents and links by which the interested reader can check out the actual details of the Minor-Whitfield-Teel scandals rather than taking someone’s word for it.