Law Firm Famed in Stockholder Suits May Split in Two

“Lawyers at Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, known for its prolific filing of shareholder suits against corporations and executives, are considering splitting the firm in two, senior partners said yesterday. A division of the 220-lawyer firm, which has offices in several cities, including New York and San Diego, would be closely monitored by lawyers who represent shareholders and who defend companies,” The New York Times reports here.

UPDATE: The Recorder has a similar article, but theirs says “it’s come to a head because of a feud between Lerach and Weiss over the handling of the WorldCom litigation.”

Supreme Court Vacancy Looks Less Likely This Year

“Any prospects for a partisan fight this summer over confirming President Bush’s first Supreme Court nominee appeared to dim recently after justices agreed to hear a contentious case in September, signaling that the bench will remain unchanged at least until then,” The Washington Times reports.

Sex Scandal Brings Down 3 In New York DA’s Office

This is the kind of story I live for. I can parade it about as “legal news,” when in reality it is nothing but the most base, vile gossip. Woo-hoo!

“A Queens prosecutor who had romances with her boss and a co-worker sparked a steamy district attorney’s office scandal that ended with two men being demoted and another resigning under pressure, the Daily News has learned. The district attorney’s office declined to comment, but the uproar – including allegations of harassment, pot smoking and misconduct – is the talk of the courthouse.”

Find out more sordid details here from the NY Daily News.

Guantanamo Death Chamber Plan

“A court and execution chamber could be built at the US detention camp in Cuba under plans being drawn up by military officials. Military tribunals for some of the hundreds of men detained at the US base on Guantanamo Bay moved a step closer last month with the appointment of a chief prosecutor and chief defence counsel,” the BBC reports here.

I’m not sure this development is going to help the rest of the world’s opinion of the U.S. Especially not the Arab world’s opinion of us. I just hope that we afford the detainees due process, and make it very clear that we have done so.

NY Laws Against Campaigning Judges Upheld

“ALBANY, N.Y. — State rules that largely bar judges and candidates for the bench from campaigning are constitutional, the state’s highest court decided Tuesday.”

“The pair of rulings by the Court of Appeals effectively put the state Commission on Judicial Conduct back into the business of regulating politicking by judges and judicial candidates.”

“Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down restrictions on campaign statements by judges in Minnesota. But the New York court said Tuesday that the state’s rules are different from Minnesota’s because they restrict candidates’ statements during campaigns without prohibiting them outright,” reports. NY chimes in on the story here.

Criminal Court Resumes Work in Iraq

“In a sweltering courthouse Tuesday, an Iraqi judge held the first criminal hearings in Fallujah since the war began when U.S. military police brought him three suspects. All three men pleaded innocent,” reports here.

That sounds like good news to me. I can’t imagine any country ever being able to function without a working criminal (not to mention civil) justice system.

Britney Spears’ Lawyers Demand Attorney Fees

“Apparently, winning isn’t enough for pop songstress Britney Spears and her lawyers. In the wake of a decisive court victory last month — in which a federal judge tossed out a copyright infringement suit brought by two men who claimed that Spears stole one of their songs — lawyers for Spears and Jive Records are now asking for an award of more than $140,000 in attorney fees and costs,” reports here.

Rebellious Judges

“Don’t be fooled by their dark robes and serious demeanors: some judges are rebels. Their acts of insubordination may be quiet ones, but they still shake the foundations of the judicial hierarchy.”

“If strict obedience to the Supreme Court’s rulings is the best measure of judicial docility, then there is reason to view the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as the country’s most rebellious appellate tribunal. In case after case, the Ninth Circuit is reversed by the Supreme Court, often by a unanimous vote,” Findlaw’s Writ reports here.

For Bloggers, NYT Story Was Fit to Print

“Webloggers kick Trent Lott out of his job! Weblogger Salam Pax gives the best on-the-scene reports from Iraq! Webloggers take down the top management at The New York Times! Well, two out of three ain’t bad. The last one is a bit of a stretch, if you try to piece together the Net’s role in the undoing of Times Executive Editor Howell Raines and Managing Editor Gerald Boyd.” The USC Annenberg OJR says bloggers are giving themselves a bit too much credit.