Ex-San Francisco Police Chief Sues Ex-DA, City

Former San Francisco Police Chief Earl Sanders filed a $33 million claim against the city and former District Attorney Terence Hallinan on Thursday, blaming Hallinan for ruining his health and reputation when he briefly prosecuted Sanders for allegedly plotting to block last year’s investigation into an alleged assault by off-duty officers.

Sanders, who has since retired after a 39-year career, was one of seven high-ranking cops who were indicted by a grand jury last February on charges that they conspired to trip up the investigation into the alleged assault by three off-duty cops against two civilians on Union Street. The civilians claimed they had been attacked by the officers after failing to turn over a bag of fajitas.

Hallinan, who lost his bid for re-election in December, later dropped charges against Sanders but not before Sanders was arrested with other top brass. The chief went on medical leave soon after.

“He almost killed the chief. He had a stroke during the arraignment,” Sanders’ attorney, Charles Bonner, said Thursday.

What a shitstorm! Details here from the San Francisco Chronicle.

UPDATE: Reuters weighs in via CNN.com: From a bag of fajitas, a $33M suit


Aussie Police Raid Offices of File-Swapping Company Kazaa

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Investigators from the Australian recording industry raided the Sydney offices of Internet file-swapping network Kazaa on Friday in search of evidence to support allegations of copyright infringements.

The raid was conducted under a rarely used law, known as Anton Pillar, which allows litigants in civil copyright cases to gather evidence.

The Federal Court gave major Australian record labels permission to raid 12 premises in three states to collect evidence against Kazaa, said Michael Speck, general manager of Music Industry Piracy Investigations.

Details here from the AP via the San Francisco Chronicle.


3 Accused of Putting Hairpieces on Cows

Three livestock exhibitors at last year’s Ohio State Fair have been disqualified for allegedly outfitting their Holstein cows with hairpieces.

State Fair inspectors said the three glued or painted hair from another part of the animal or from another animal to create straighter backs on the cows and enhance their appearance in the show ring.

Not a legal issue, strictly speaking, but I couldn’t resist the headline. Details here from the AP via Findlaw.com


Fingernail Tug-Of-War in Phil Spector Murder Case

A dead woman’s gunpowder-covered fingernail is at the center of a tug-of-war between prosecutors and lawyers defending music producer Phil Spector against charges that he murdered a B-movie actress last year in Los Angeles, court documents showed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors demanded that Spector’s attorneys turn over the fingernail, which apparently was overlooked by detectives called to investigate the fatal shooting of actress Lana Clarkson at Spector’s Alhambra, Calif. mansion.

According to court documents, prosecutors found out about the fingernail after a defense investigator bragged about the find to former colleagues at a Sheriff’s Department barbecue last summer.

Detective Mark Lillienfeld said defense investigator Stan White told him at the July 2 barbecue that the “torn piece of the victim’s fingernail … was blackened on one side with visible gunpowder residue from a gunshot.”

However, “Hollywood defense attorney Ronald Richards said the fingernail will be significant only if Abramson can prove the nail did not break during a struggle for the gun or as Clarkson held her hand in front of her face as she was shot.”

Details here from Reuters via Findlaw.com.


Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims File Lawsuit Against US Companies

In the first lawsuit of its kind, Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange, the defoliant used by American forces during the Vietnam War, have initiated legal action in a New York court against US chemical companies.

Tran Van Thu, secretary of the Vietnam Association for Agent Orange Victims, said the papers were couriered Friday to the US Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York on behalf of three victims of the defoliant.

“We are demanding compensation from more than 20 American companies for the health problems caused by America’s use of Agent Orange,” he told AFP.

Details here from Agence France Presse via LexisONE.


Firm’s Former Web Address Used To Hawk Paris Hilton Sex Tapes

People with an old Internet bookmark for the St. John & Wayne site will get a surprise next time they load the Newark firm’s home page in their browser. StJohn-law.com is now being used to sell the Paris Hilton sex video.

The firm has changed its Web address to the similar but more streamlined www.StJohnlaw.com, abandoning the hyphen.

The unfortunate consequence has been that the old address has been taken over by an operation called “Pay Site Guide,” which describes itself as “Your Guide to Great Porn.”

Aside from the Hilton, er, deposition, StJohn-law.com also touts content featuring “midgets,” “feet,” “uniforms” and “wrestling.”

On its own that’s not a problem, except that the old address remains listed in directories for the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the Washburn University School of Law, FindNYC.com, New Jersey Insider and editions of Martindale-Hubbell published prior to 2002.

Details here from the New Jersey Law Journal via New York Lawyer.


Court Clerk on Trial for Leaking Information to Drug Gang

The Diablo Boys, a violent Atlanta drug gang, infiltrated the federal clerk’s office, gaining access to confidential details of investigations, a prosecutor told a jury this week.

For about 18 months, a data clerk working in the office of the Clerk of Court for the Northern District of Georgia leaked sealed information about ongoing wiretaps, vehicle traces, witnesses and suspected gang members under investigation by federal agents to Diablo gang leader Billy D. Ladson, Assistant U.S. Attorney Yonette M. Sam-Buchanan said in her opening statement.

Details here from the Fulton County Daily Report via Law.com.


U.S. Appeals Court Hears Key File-Sharing Case

In a landmark case over online piracy, a federal appeals court on Tuesday considered whether Napster-like Internet services can be shut down if their users swap unauthorized copies of movies and music.

Lawyers for the entertainment industry squared off against attorneys for file-sharing services Grokster and Morpheus before a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena to revisit a key ruling by a lower court.

Details here from Reuters via Findlaw.com.


N.J. Fraud Law Not for Doctors, Lawyers

Doctors, lawyers and other professionals cannot be sued for false advertising under New Jersey’s consumer fraud law because it wasn’t written to cover them, the state Supreme Court ruled.

Even though such professionals can advertise today, at the time the false advertising law was written, they could not. So the court ruled that the law could not have been intended to include them, the AP reports here.


Google Threatens to Sue “Booble”

It’s Google versus Booble.

Google, the Internet search engine, has accused a similarly named adult search pretender of trademark infringement.

In letter sent Jan. 20, Google accused Booble of imitating its design, logo and name. It then demanded that Booble be taken down and that it turn over the registration for the booble.com domain.

A week later, Booble responded with its own letter dismissing Google’s request. Booble, owned by Guywire Inc. in Los Angeles, said the Web site is in fact a parody of Google and is therefore permitted by law.

Details here from the San Francisco Chronicle.

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