Legal Marijuana. Gay Marriage. Peace. What the Heck’s Going On Up North, Eh?

Peaceniks, pot and people of the same sex exchanging wedding vows: It’s a trinity from the church of high liberalism, or a right-wing trifecta of decline and doom.

Either way, it’s a perfect storm of cultural weather patterns that you’d expect to be brewed only in, say, the East Village, Dupont Circle or the intersection of Haight and Ashbury.

But, whoa! We’re talking about what’s going on in Canada, as the Washington Post reports here.

Hacker Who Threatened Bloomberg Gets Prison

A Kazakh citizen was sentenced on Tuesday to more than four years in prison for hacking into Bloomberg L.P.’s computer system in an attempt to extort $200,000 from the business news service and its founder, Michael Bloomberg, now New York City’s mayor.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood sentenced Oleg Zezev to 51 months in prison, one of the longest terms ever given for computer intrusion, federal prosecutors said.

Read the whole story here from Reuters.

Judge Declines to Issue “Cost-Free Speculators’ Insurance”

CorpLawBlog has a post about a decision by a New York Federal Court today in which Judge Milton Pollack dismissed “complaints seeking damages for supposedly overly optimistic dot com research reports issued by Merrill Lynch and its former research analyst Henry Blodget.” Quoth Judge Pollack:

The record clearly reveals that plaintiffs were among the high-risk speculators who, knowing full well or being properly chargeable with appreciation of the unjustifiable risks they were undertaking in the extremely volatile and highly untested stocks at issue, now hope to twist the federal securities laws into a scheme of cost-free speculators� insurance. Seeking to lay the blame for the enormous Internet Bubble solely at the feet of a single actor, Merrill Lynch, plaintiffs would have this Court conclude that the federal securities laws were meant to underwrite, subsidize, and encourage their rash speculation in joining a freewheeling casino that lured thousands obsessed with the fantasy of Olympian riches, but which delivered such riches to only a scant handful of lucky winners. Those few lucky winners, who are not before the Court, now hold the monies that the unlucky plaintiffs have lost — fair and square — and they will never return those monies to plaintiffs. Had plaintiffs themselves won the game instead of losing, they would have owed not a single penny of their winnings to those they left to hold the bag (or to defendants).

That’s putting things pretty succinctly! Thanks again to CorpLawBlog for the post, where you’ll find a link to the complete order. UPDATE: Here’s an article from the New York Law Journal on the order.

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUSTArter & Hadden Staff Told Closure Is Imminent

Arter & Hadden, a Cleveland-based firm that expanded nationally in the 1990s, has just two weeks’ worth of operating capital and told employees on Friday that the firm was shutting down July 15.

The firm circulated a memo to personnel in all 10 of its offices, including the five the firm maintains in California, stating attempts to fix its financial problems had failed.

California’s The Recorder has the story here.

Lawyer Liable in Bronx Case

“A Manhattan Supreme Court judge has found a Brooklyn lawyer liable for malicious prosecution on the grounds that he misled a Bronx court clerk into entering a $200,000 default judgment in a baseless suit even though opposing counsel had already entered responsive papers,” reports here.

First in Her Class

Check out this very long article from The Weekly Standard about Blair Hornstine, the Moorestown, New Jersey high school student who successfully sued to be her senior class’s sole valedictorian, and earned the enmity of the entire town by doing so. It’s quite an interesting story. blogs this too.

A Look Ahead to Next Term

“The Supreme Court’s 2002-2003 term has produced a series of blockbuster cases, and next term promises to produce landmark decisions as well,” the Legal Times reports here.

Cal. Supremes Back Free Speech in Intel E-mail Case

The state Supreme Court boosted free speech over property rights in cyberspace Monday, denying Intel’s attempt to stop an angry ex-employee from using the company’s e-mail system to send messages to thousands of workers.

Lower courts had ruled that the unauthorized use of the computer giant’s computer system amounted to trespassing. The state’s high court disagreed in a 4-3 ruling, saying Intel failed to show any harm to its computer system or property interests.

The time that employees spent in reading the messages, and the company spent in trying to block them, did not constitute property damage “any more than the personal distress caused by reading an unpleasant letter would be an injury to the recipient’s mailbox,” the court said.

The San Francisco Chronicle has the story here. The court’s opinion, including a concurrence and two dissents, is Intel v. Hamidi. (PDF)