- Unfounded prosecution of Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped [Austin American-Statesman, Eugene Volokh, earlier]
- Mens rea: “The American Civil Liberties Union has discovered yet another civil liberty it isn’t interested in defending” [Robby Soave/Reason, Scott Greenfield]
- Speaking of lack of mens rea: accidentally damaging a lamp in a federal government building in D.C. could send you to jail for 6 months [40 USC §8103(b)(4) (more) via @CrimeADay]
- North Carolina cyberbullying statute criminalizes posting “personal… information pertaining to a minor” with “intent to intimidate or torment.” Constitutional? [Eugene Volokh]
- Even as doubts mount about the science behind shaken-baby prosecutions, convictions continue [Kelsi Loos, Frederick News-Post; Maryland dad gets 20-year sentence; earlier here, etc.]
- Like Clinton, Bernie Sanders in 1990s backed three-strikes, longer sentences, funds for prison expansion [Mitchell Blatt, The Federalist]
- “Most of the crime lab scandals… have occurred at crime labs that were already accredited.” [Radley Balko]
Nearly everyone agrees with prosecuting public officials (as well as, on occasion, lobbyists and other private actors) for bribery and some other instances in which officials trade, or are asked to trade, a quid pro quo of official action for money or gifts. Defendants in such cases, on the other hand, such as former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, often object that they are being menaced with criminal sanctions for politics-as-usual doing of favors and constituent service, with the frequent additional suggestion that prosecution is selective and ginned up by opponents for purposes of criminalizing politics and destroying reputations in the media.
A panel discussion at the recent Federalist Society national lawyers’ convention discussed this issue including the episodes of the Wisconsin John Doe proceedings, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Tom DeLay, lobbyist Kevin Ring, and many others. Panelists included private attorneys Todd Graves (Graves Garrett), Edward Kang (Alston & Bird) and Peter Zeidenberg (Arent Fox), Prof. Eugene Volokh, and as moderator the Hon. Raymond Gruender of the Eighth Circuit. David Lat has a good write-up of the panel at Above the Law.
Related: Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer have some questions about recent prosecutions in New Jersey under its official misconduct statute [Cato].
- California may lead in number of arrested lawmaker scandals but jealous New York vows to catch up [NYDN]
- Will voters in hotly contested Massachusetts primary remember Martha Coakley’s central role in the Amirault travesty of justice?
- “State of unions: Illinois’ big unionized workforce has become a big campaign issue” [Peoria Journal Star] Teachers’ union top priority: unseat GOP governors [Politico]
- In which I’m quoted saying relatively favorable things about left-leaning New York gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout (though “enjoyed interacting with” is a long way from “would consider voting for”) [Capital New York]
- Meet the trial-lawyer-driven group behind the Rick Perry indictment [Texas Tribune; more of what’s up in Texas]
- Senate incumbents Reid, Pryor, and Durbin and hopeful Bruce Braley among recipients of asbestos law firm money [MCR, Legal NewsLine] Key trial lawyer ally Durbin has slipped in polls [Chicago Sun-Times]
- Montana Democrats’ candidate for U.S. Senate looking a little Wobbly [Lachlan Markay, Free Beacon; A. Barton Hinkle, Richmond Times-Dispatch; #wobblydem]
- Ninth Circuit: Holland America cruise line not responsible for customer’s swimming mishap at Mexican beach [Metropolitan News-Enterprise]
- “President Perry would mean high noon for trial lawyers” [Kurt Schlichter, Washington Examiner; Politico; Prof. Bainbridge (“If the trial lawyers hate Rick Perry, maybe I should reconsider him”)] Christie praises Perry’s “laudable” record on liability reform [PolitickerNJ] “Perry’s ‘loser pays’ is an economic winner” [Patrick Gleason and Jason Russell, Washington Times; Mass Tort Prof; background] Missing the point on the Texas med-mal experience [Coyote, earlier here, here, etc.] A bad sign: Gov. Perry reaches out to Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio [NRO, background] Another: courting social conservative vote, he pledges interference in state marriage law [Houston Chronicle]
- Alan Lange and Tom Dawson discuss their Dickie Scruggs book [Above the Law, background]
- Hospital pays $25M to settle lawsuit charging lack of Katrina preparedness [White Coat]
- Democratic majority on CPSC plans to ram through burdensome CPSIA testing and certification rule next month [Commissioner Nancy Nord, more]
- For matching willing buyers with sellers through Canadian pharmacy ads, Google agrees to pay fine of $500 million, a forfeiture geared to the revenue the pharmacies (not it) took in from the ads [Atlantic Wire, Chris Fountain]
- “Woman Won’t Have to Pay for Her Own Cavity Search” [Lowering the Bar]