Rape Defendant Sues County For $20,000

If convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl, Kenneth Williams could be sentenced to 112 years to life in prison. It would be his third (and last) trip to state prison, authorities say. But what recently has upset the 41-year-old Williams is a dinner he was served on May 2 in the county jail. He claims he found a fly in his mashed potatoes. Williams is seeking $20,000 from San Diego to ease the “mental stress and anguish” he said finding the fly inflicted upon him, according to this. You can read Williams’ claim here. (Via Overlawyered.com)

Court Excoriates Both Judge and Defense Counsel

Having just finished reading today’s 21-page opinion from California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, all I can say is “WOW”! It’s quite a page turner. Miguel Hernandez was injured at work. Later, a physician, Richard M. Paicius, who was treating him for pain resulting from two surgeries on the initial injury, allegedly injured him again. He sued for malpractice. Mr. Hernandez was an illegal alien, but that was irrelevant to his case and defendant’s potential liability, as he did not claim any lost earnings. But the judge, in an extraordinary colloquy, refused to grant a motion excluding evidence of plaintiff’s immigration status, and betrayed his own extreme bias in the process. The appellate court rakes the trial judge, James M. Brooks, over the coals.

But it gets worse. Plaintiff’s expert witness, Dr. Aengst, was also defense counsel’s client in several malpractice actions against him! Despite that (and despite her duty of loyalty to him), defense counsel, Constance A. Endelicato (a partner at her law firm), absolutely devastated Dr. Aengst on the witness stand, largely through her own improper testimony (based on inadmissible evidence) about the malpractice cases against him, including at least some in which she represented him! I have never seen stronger disapproval in an appellate court opinion. Not only did the Court order its clerk to report her to the state bar, but it ordered her to report herself! Hernandez v. Paicius is worth the time it will take to read it. And I’ll bet you won’t stop reading until the end!

Nigeria Stoning Appeal Adjourned

“A Nigerian woman sentenced to be stoned to death for having a child outside marriage has had her appeal against her conviction for adultery adjourned. Mother-of-four Amina Lawal, 30, was told her case will not be heard by the Islamic appeal court until August 27 — two days after the date set for her execution,” CNN reports here.

Court Strikes Down Video Games Regulation

“A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that a St. Louis County law limiting children’s access to violent or sexually explicit video games was unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis overturned a ruling issued last year that supported the ordinance,” the AP reports here. The court held that the ordinance is a regulation of speech based on content and does not survive strict scrutiny. You can access the Court’s opinion at Interactive Digital v. St. Louis County.

“Two Lawyers Win (an Uncollectible) $9 Million”

“In a bittersweet victory, a husband-and-wife lawyer team have won a $9 million libel award against a former South Carolina television news director. That was the sweet part.
The bitter end for the plaintiffs came when the defense prevailed with a directed verdict acquitting the station that employed the news director, all but eliminating the couple’s chances of collecting any of the money from the imprisoned defendant,” The National Law Journal reports here. Apparently, news director Don Feldman engaged in some rather extreme behavior . . . .

Man Wins Right To Sue U.S. Government Over “Pot Car”

A Mexican national may sue the U.S. government for selling him a car with a hidden load of marijuana, and then arresting him when he tried to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in it, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the government’s argument that it should be immune from Jose Aguado Cervantes’ lawsuit was “so off the mark as to be embarrassing,” Reuters reports here. You can access the Ninth Circuit’s opinion here.

DC Comics Beat The Winter Brothers

In this closely watched case, the California Supreme Court held today that DC Comic’s First Amendment rights trumped Johnny and Edgar Winter’s statutory right of publicity in an interesting opinion you can read here. DC Comics had published a comic book featuring two characters called “The Autumn Brothers.” Some of the Autumn Brothers’ distinctive characteristics were recognizably taken from the real-life Winter brothers. But the Autumn Brothers were also “depicted as villainous half-worm, half-human offspring born from the rape of their mother by a supernatural worm creature that had escaped from a hole in the ground,” according to Justice Chin. UPDATE: Here’s an article on the case from The Recorder.