Disbarred Lawyer Sues Judges

“A veteran Queens lawyer who was disbarred last April has filed a federal suit against two state Supreme Court judges, claiming they signed off on a conspiracy to swindle him out of real estate worth $3.8 million,” the NY Post reports here.


More Second Amendment Fun from the 9th Circuit

The 9th Circuit has just published another Second Amendment case, Nordyke v. King, which holds that an Oakland, California law banning the possession of firearms or ammunition on county property is constitutional. The law effectively bars gun shows in the county.

In the portion of the opinion discussing the Second Amendment, the panel followed the 9th Circuit’s own ruling in Hickman v. Block, 81 F.3d 98 (9th. Cir. 1996), which held that the Second Amendment gives a collective right to a militia to the states, not a right to own guns to an individual . The court noted that it had no choice but to follow Hickman, and criticized the panel that recently decided Silviera v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2003), for including a detailed analysis of the Second Amendment when such an analysis was unnecessary because of the binding precedent of Hickman.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Ronald M. Brown goes so far as to say that though he is bound to follow Hickman, he believes that both it and Silviera are wrong, and that the correct rule is that the Second Amendment does confer an individual right to gun ownership, as was held by the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001). (In other words, “I know this decision is wrong, but I am bound by precedent to render it.”)

Looks like the issue is ripe for a new Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment, which it has not addressed for a quarter century. Or at least for en banc review in the 9th Circuit, which could result in Hickman‘s reversal.

UPDATE: Law.com has published an article about today’s decision here.


California Judges Clamp Down on Publicity

“Judges who preside over some of California’s highest-profile trials have been clamping down on press coverage despite legal rules and admonitions from higher courts telling them to keep doors and documents open,” the AP reports here.


Tech Manufacturers Using Copyright Law to Thwart Competitors

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was supposed to protect copyrighted materials — such as music and movies — from digital piracy. But, as some argued in opposing it, tech manufacturers are beginning to use the DMCA to try to stifle competition. As BusinessWeek reports here, Lexmark has filed a suit under the DMCA trying to stop a chipmaker from selling chips to third-parties who sell remanufactured toner cartridges for Lexmark’s printers, arguing that the code in the chips is protected by copyright.


Google Buys Pyra, the Parent of blogspot.com and Blogger

I love Google! Honest I do! If I ever said anything bad about Google, I take it back . . . .

Google now owns the host of the website you are reading, and the software I use to maintain it, according to this article in the San Jose Mercury News. In all honesty, I do love Google. The “Google Tool Bar” is one of the most useful web inventions yet. Plus, Google has given WeirdOfTheNews a “PageRank” of six out of ten, which virtually guarantees that my website will be found by all manner of freaks and weirdoes doing Google searches — which is an endless source of amusement to me. Just check Disturbing Search Requests if you don’t believe me.



NY Lawsuit Poses Test of Same Sex Marriages

New York lawyer Neal Conrad Spicehandler died in the hospital three days after suffering a fractured leg when hit by a car on a hit-and-run spree. He was “married” to his partner John Langan under Vermont’s civil union law. Langan is now suing the hospital, and the suit will test whether Vermont’s civil union law will be recognized in New York, or whether it will be trumped by the federal “Defense of Marriage Act,” the NY Law Journal reports here.



9th Circuit Justice Kozinski’s Impartiality Questioned After Visit to Death Row Inmate

The California Attorney General’s Office is questioning whether Kozinski can continue to hear death penalty cases after he corresponded with and then met inmate Michael W. Hunter. This despite the fact that Kozinski is generally considered an unwavering proponent of the death penalty. Fellow Justice Reinhardt thinks “they have to be nuts” to seek Kozinski’s disqualification, the L.A. Times reports here (registration [free] required).