Posts Tagged ‘perjury’

Orange County: government workers were not on clear notice not to lie in court, falsify evidence

“Using taxpayer funds, government officials in Orange County have spent the last 16 years arguing the most absurd legal proposition in the entire nation: How could social workers have known it was wrong to lie, falsify records and hide exculpatory evidence in 2000 so that a judge would forcibly take two young daughters from their mother for six-and-a-half years?” The argument did not fare well as a hearing before Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Trott: “I’m just staggered by the claim that people in the shoes of your clients wouldn’t be on notice that you can’t use perjury and false evidence to take away somebody’s children. That to me is mind boggling.” [R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly; video]

Garlock asbestos bankruptcy settlement

The case famous for helping crack open some of the secrets of the asbestos litigation business has reached a settlement, which will apparently include a settlement (probably without admission of wrongdoing) of civil RICO claims against several law firms. The revelations in the Garlock bankruptcy helped to bolster evidence that “some victims and their lawyers tell one story in one venue and another someplace else to ‘double dip’ the system” in cases against separate defendants. [Sara Warner, National Courts Monitor/Huffington Post; earlier]

Police and prosecution roundup

  • “Emails show feds asking Florida cops to deceive judges by calling Stingrays ‘confidential sources.'” [Wired]
  • Trial penalty: mortgage fraud defendants in study fared far worse if they insisted on process of law to which they are notionally entitled under Constitution [Wes Oliver at Daniel Fisher’s; more on joint Duquesne Law/Pittsburgh Post Gazette study from reporter Rich Lord, first, second]
  • “‘Florida’s Worst Cop’ Finally Convicted of Something, May Be Headed to Jail” [Ed Krayewski, Reason, earlier]
  • “Plans to expand scope of license-plate readers alarm privacy advocates” [Center for Investigative Reporting, earlier here, here, here, here, here] But at least our sensitive personal information will be safe with the government! [Lowering the Bar]
  • “Challenges to ‘shaken baby’ convictions mounting” [Wisconsin State Journal, earlier]
  • A Pavlik Morozov for the Drug War? “Brave” Minnesota 9-year-old hailed for turning in parents on pot rap [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, background on Soviet youth hero]
  • “Police SWAT teams in Massachusetts form private corporations, then claim immunity from disclosure laws” [Radley Balko via @gabrielroth, more from ACLU report on police militarization]

Police and prosecution roundup

“Asylum fraud in Chinatown: An Industry of Lies”

“All you would be asked is the same few rubbish questions,” said the lawyer. “Just make it up.” However, the 2010 conversation was being secretly recorded by the feds as part of an investigation that “has led to the prosecution of at least 30 people” including lawyers, paralegals and others employed by ten law firms, as well as a church employee “accused of coaching asylum applicants in basic tenets of Christianity to prop up their claims of religious persecution.” [Kirk Semple, Joseph Goldstein and Jeffrey E. Singer, New York Times] Earlier on asylum law here, here, here, etc..

January 22 roundup

  • Reminder: federal panel finally mulling reform of ultra-costly pretrial discovery, now’s the time to send comments [Kyl/WSJ, earlier]
  • Michigan woman convicted of false rape claim had sent man to prison for 10 years in earlier case [ABA Journal]
  • Strickland, key figure in disastrous CPSIA law and then chief at NHTSA, lands at BigLaw’s Venable [AutoNews, Detroit News]
  • A religious accommodation too far? Devout student at secular university asks not to work with female classmates [York U., Ontario; CBC via @amyalkon, also related on Nova Scotia aikido class] Inviting shop clerks to set up “no booze/pork” check lines is a sensitivity too far [Andrew Stuttaford, Secular Right]
  • “Top 2013 Jury Awards: Price-Fixing, Nursing Home Liability, Defamation” [Margaret Cronin Fisk, Bloomberg] Top legal ethics stories of 2013 [Legal Ethics Forum and followup on R v Farooqi & Ors]
  • Liberate history-talk: “Another Battle Against Silly Tour-Guide Regulations” [Ilya Shapiro] Handing out $1,000 fines in Charleston, S.C. [Brian Doherty]
  • “The line between Salon and Granma is getting awfully blurry” [@dandrezner; more about DoNotLink.com]

Crime and punishment roundup

  • Under new Illinois law, third offense of tossing cigarette to ground will be a felony [Andrew Stuttaford]
  • “The New York Times calls for prosecutors to establish an ‘open file’ policy to combat prosecutorial misconduct.” [Nicole Hyland, LEF; New York Times; Radley Balko, whose column at the Washington Post has now launched]
  • “Three Arrests Illustrate the Impact of New York’s Silly Seven-Round Ammunition Limit” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Forfeiture reform on the agenda in Michigan? [John Ross/Reason, Institute for Justice, earlier]
  • Speaking of law enforcement for profit, more on the proliferation of fees and third-party collectors that can land minor miscreants in “debtors’ prison” [Fox News; related, Balko]
  • “Want to stop repeats of Columbine and Newtown? Deprive mass killers of the spotlight. Can the media do that?” [Ari Schulman, WSJ via @garyrosenwsj]
  • “She’s regretted the lie that sent him to prison ever since.” [NY Mag]

“I don’t feel good about it — lying to people”

A New Yorker writer sympathetically if uneasily profiles one of the many who choose to pursue legal immigrant status (with lawyers’ help) by petitioning for asylum on the basis of made-up atrocity stories. “‘I have never been raped,’ she admitted, giggling with embarrassment… ‘Telling that story makes me sad, because I know it’s true for someone.'” But not necessarily true for most of those in her position: “There’s one [a story] for each country,” explains a lawyer. “There’s the Colombian rape story — they all say they were raped by the FARC. There’s the Rwandan rape story, the Tibetan refugee story. The details for each are the same.” [Suketu Mehta, “The Asylum Seeker: For a chance at a better life, it helps to make your bad story worse,” New Yorker](& Legal Ethics Forum)

A false-statement epidemic?

Jeff Rosen has a sharp review in the New York Times of a new book by veteran business writer James Stewart entitled “Tangled Webs: How False Statements Are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff”:

Although Stewart, now a business columnist for The New York Times, claims that lying has been on the rise, a more plausible thesis is that prosecutions for false statements have been rising — not because of growing contempt for the truth but because defendants are increasingly prosecuted for doing nothing more than denying their guilt to investigators. (These are the kinds of lies that courts used to excuse under a doctrine called the exculpatory no.) It wasn’t until the post-Watergate era that prosecutors began routinely to indict people not merely for lying under oath but for lying to federal officials even when not under oath — using a novel law that is the basis for several of the prosecutions Stewart celebrates.

(& Bad Lawyer)