Victims Say Japan Ignores Sex Crimes Committed by Teachers

Two years ago, a 16-year-old high school girl who lived near here was hospitalized with a high fever. After doctors found that she had an acute case of genital herpes, she told her parents that her teacher had had sex with her.

When approached by the parents, the teacher denied the claim, warning them that their daughter would be expelled if they reported him.

Experts say molestation and statutory rape are commonplace in schools across Japan, and that victims rarely come forward. To do so would violate a host of powerful social conventions, said Akiko Kamei, a retired teacher who is the country’s only nationally known expert in classroom sexual abuse.

The New York Times reports this disturbing story here.

Court That Liberals Savage Proves to Be Less of a Target

Democrats want to make the Supreme Court a key issue in the 2004 presidential campaign.

The liberal group People for the American Way warned in a recent study that the nation is “Courting Disaster.”

The Democratic National Committee offers Internet visitors an animated cartoon of the court collapsing in ruins.

The Web site calls for impeaching the five justices who decided the presidential election of 2000 in favor of George W. Bush. It also calls for impeaching the president over the Iraq war.

But the surprising events of the past week could require some fresh spin. That same Supreme Court — led by two of the justices from the Bush v. Gore majority — issued a series of rulings highly pleasing to the center-left.

The Washington Post has the details here.

Altheimer & Gray In Shock Collapse

“Chicago firm Altheimer & Gray is set to dissolve, following Brobeck Phleger & Harrison into the history books as two of the legal sector�s biggest failures. It is understood that the firm will dissolve its partnership by July. But as early as yesterday, The Lawyer was informed that Altheimer had begun contacting local firms in a bid to find new homes for its partners,” Britain’s The Lawyer reports here.

The Chicago Sun-Times has more on the story here.

UPDATE: Is it collapsing, or not? The (UK) keeps waffling: see here and here.

Key Lawyer Differs on U.S. Terrorism Trial Rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Air Force officer named as chief defense counsel for terrorism suspects tried by U.S. military commissions says he disagrees with some rules set by the Pentagon, including the government’s ability to monitor all conversations between defendants and their lawyers.

But Col. Will Gunn said he understood what he was getting into when he agreed to the job.

“It’s critical that these trials be done right. It’s critical that we hold true to fundamental American values,” Gunn said in an interview with Reuters late on Friday.

“As chief defense counsel, I have one fundamental goal: and that is responsibly to provide for zealous defense of any individuals who are brought before military commissions,” the Harvard Law School graduate added.

The New York Times carries the story here. I don’t envy his job, but I hope he does it well.

This Year’s Summer Associate “Oops”

�I�m busy doing jack shit. Went to a nice 2hr sushi lunch today at Sushi Zen. Nice place. Spent the rest of the day typing e-mails and bullshitting with people,” Skadden Arps summer associate Jonas Blank emailed to a friend. Problem is, he emailed it to everyone in his practice group at The Firm at the same time by mistake. Oops. The New Yorker has an amusing article about this new rite of summer – the “summer associate fuck-up.” (Feel free to add your favorites in Comments below.) (Link via Corp Law Blog)

Confounding the Court Watchers

The U.S. Supreme Court seemed bent this term on upending observers’ expectations. It was as if, after nine years of togetherness — the longest period of stability in the Court’s history — the justices became restless and decided to rearrange the furniture. Many attributed the term’s idiosyncratic trends to the dominance of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose centrist approach may help explain why many of the Court’s trends seemed to stall.

The Legal Times has the story here.

Justices Void Prison Term Given Gay Teenager in Kansas

Lawrence v. Texas is only a day old, but already having significant effects:

In one of the first consequences of its landmark ruling on gay rights on Thursday, the Supreme Court today set aside the lengthy prison sentence imposed on a gay Kansas teenager for having had sex with a younger boy.

In a brief order with little elaboration, the court vacated the 17-year sentence imposed in 2000 on the defendant, Matthew Limon, and returned the case to the Kansas courts “for further consideration in light of Lawrence v. Texas.” . . .

[M]atthew Limon was one week past his 18th birthday in early 2000 when he performed oral sex on a 14-year-old boy at the center for developmentally disabled young people where they both lived. No violence or coercion was involved.

Had Mr. Limon performed oral sex on a 14-year-old girl, he could have received a prison sentence of about 15 months, and possibly just probation. Instead, he is now about three years into a 17-year sentence in the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. Under his sentence, he was also ordered to register as a sex offender upon his release.

The Supreme Court’s order is tantamount to vacating Limon’s sentence as excessive, The New York Times reports here.