Ark. Woman Shows Up Drunk at DWI Hearing

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A Little Rock woman facing her fifth drunken-driving charge in the span of a year — and third in less than a month — showed up to a court appearance drunk Tuesday morning, a court official said.

Susan Marshall, 55, was arrested for contempt of court after a brief appearance in Little Rock District Court, said chief probation officer Sheila Farley. Marshall later had a blood-alcohol level of 0.147 percent, Farley said. The legal limit for adult drivers in Arkansas is 0.08 percent.

Marshall said she did not drive to her court appearance and had no keys when arrested, Farley said.

Marshall, who had three drunken-driving arrests in September, was taken to Pulaski County Jail. She was scheduled for another court appearance Wednesday, Farley said.

Details here from the AP via the New York Times.


Govt. Must Reveal Some Eavesdropping Info

NEW YORK (AP) — Justice Department employees involved in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Sept. 11 detainees must disclose whether they know of any government monitoring of conversations between the detainees and their attorneys, a judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Gold ruled in response to a motion by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a human rights group representing the detainees. It filed the motion after the public disclosure in December of a secret government program that allowed investigators to eavesdrop on international communications between Americans and people suspected of terrorist ties.

The class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York in 2002 on behalf of hundreds of Arab and Muslim men who were detained and deported as part of the government’s investigation into the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The center had asked the judge to order the government to disclose whether telephone, e-mail or other communication between detainees and their lawyers had been monitored or intercepted since the detainees left the country.

The Justice Department said its lawyers and support staff hadn’t received any attorney-client communications and that such conversations wouldn’t be used in its defense.

But the government would not say whether employees or potential witnesses knew of any monitoring, saying such a disclosure could reveal classified information. It said it would allow witnesses to pick one of a series of statements about what they knew but reserved the right to call witnesses who refused to sign any statement.

The Center for Constitutional Rights applauded the ruling. “Now they have to step forward and answer some tough questions,” said the center’s legal director, Bill Goodman.

Detailse here from the AP.


Man Who Opposes ‘God’ in Pledge Gets $1M

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A man who challenged the reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance in court won a $1 million judgment Thursday against a minister who allegedly libeled him in an article on the Internet.

Michael Newdow said he does not expect to receive any money from the Rev. Austin Miles. . . .

[I]n an Internet posting shortly after the federal appeals court ruling [against the pledge], Miles accused Newdow of perjury, saying he lied about his daughter suffering “emotional damage” and “a sense of being left out” for not reciting the pledge at school.

Miles sought unsuccessfully to have Newdow, an attorney, removed from the California State Bar.

Newdow denied ever making the comments. “I never said that,” he said. “I only said she had a right to go to school and not be indoctrinated in religion.”

The U.S. Supreme Court currently has Newdow’s case under submission. Details about the $1M judgment are here from the AP.


U.S. Charges 4 Under New Anti-Spam Law

Federal authorities say they managed to pierce the murky underworld of Internet spam e-mails, filing the first criminal charges under the government’s new “can spam” legislation.

Court documents in the landmark case in Detroit describe a nearly inscrutable puzzle of corporate identities, bank accounts and electronic storefronts in one alleged spam operation.

At one point, investigators said, packages were sometimes delivered to a restaurant, where a greeter accepted them and passed them along to one defendant.

Officials at the Federal Trade Commission, who planned to announce the arrests in Washington on Thursday, told U.S. postal investigators they had received more than 10,000 complaints about unwanted e-mails sent by the defendants.

Court records identified the defendants as Daniel J. Lin, James J. Lin, Mark M. Sadek and Christopher Chung of West Bloomfield, Mich., near Detroit.

They were accused of disguising their identities in hundreds of thousands of sales pitches for fraudulent weight-loss products and delivering e-mails by bouncing messages through unprotected relay computers on the Internet.

I say “hang ’em high.” I have spent hundreds of dollars and countless hours dealing with and trying to prevent spam. And my computer is now loaded up with so much anti-spam and anti-virus software that it runs painfully slowly. It’s time for some of these people to be put to trial.

Details here from the AP via LexisOne.com.


D.C. Police Are Arrested At High Rate

Thirteen D.C. police officers have been arrested so far this year on charges including sexual assault, drunken driving and possession of PCP, according to police and court records.

The cases show that the District’s problems with arrested officers have carried over from last year, when 28 officers were charged with crimes. Twenty-two D.C. officers were arrested in 2002. The totals are far out of proportion to those of police departments in the D.C. suburbs and other big cities.

Here in San Francisco, officers are rarely arrested. When it happens, it’s usually when they are off duty and drunk, and decide to beat up civilians on the street and steal their fast food. Details of D.C.’s problem are here from The Washington Post.


Lawyers Questioning , Abandoning Their Profession

Thanks to Howard Bashman for spotting this one before I did:

“Generally speaking, being a lawyer today has become much more demanding, much more stressful, and there is less satisfaction from the work,” said Boston lawyer and former Massachusetts Bar Association president Thomas F. Maffei. In Boston, most lawyers know of someone who has recently left the profession or abandoned a big-firm partnership. Bar association officials who track industry trends say former local lawyers have started new careers ranging from rabbi to venture capitalist, English teacher, and romance novelist.

The problem, complex and wide ranging, has been building for some time. A Boston Bar Association survey released nearly six years ago concluded that a “significant cross-section of lawyers are dissatisfied with the quality of their professional lives.”

The British lawyers at Allen & Overy might want to read this article carefully (see three posts down for British Firm Ups Hours, Angering Associates).

What was traditionally a noble and rewarding profession has been largely converted to a public joke and a personal nightmare by a relatively few lawyers’ greed and blind ambition. The Boston Globe reports the story here.


Massachusetts Court Mulls Gay Marriages

The president and the pope may have their opinions about gay marriage, but it’s the seven relatively obscure judges on Massachusetts’ highest court who may write the next chapter in the debate about whether same-sex couples should be allowed to wed . . . .

[A] decision could come soon in a lawsuit filed by seven gay partners who want the court to force the state to give them marriage license. The case has drawn national attention amid mounting predictions that the first American gay marriages could soon come to pass.

No matter which way the Mass. court rules, expect a lot of noise and posturing about the ruling, the AP report here.



EEOC Seeks Key Testimony in Sidley Austin Age Discrimination Suit

Sidley Austin Logo

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has moved to compel testimony about recent conversations between Sidley Austin partners and a former financial director who signed a 1999 letter stating that the firm had a mandatory retirement policy.

Sidley has denied having such a policy in the face of an EEOC suit claiming the Chicago-based law firm discriminated against 31 partners on the basis of age when it demoted them to counsel in 1999. The EEOC has claimed the financial director’s letter “flatly contradicts” the firm’s position.

The letter, dated Oct. 21, 1999, and addressed to the Social Security Administration in Chicago, states that “it is the general policy of Sidley & Austin not to permit a partner of the firm to continue as a partner commencing the first of the year following the year age 65 is reached.” The letter is signed by William B. White, financial director.

According to the EEOC motion filed last Tuesday in Chicago federal court, White testified at a July 26 deposition that he believed the letter to be an accurate statement of the firm’s retirement policy at the time he signed it. But he also testified that, after conversations earlier this year with Sidley partners William F. Conlon and Theodore N. Miller, he realized the letter did not accurately state firm policy.

Sounds like lawyer-speak to me. Details here from the New York Law Journal via Law.com.