Judge Dismisses Antitrust Lawsuit Against Blockbuster, Studios

“A judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit against video rental giant Blockbuster Inc. and five movie studios, saying video store operators who brought the case failed to show the defendants conspired to strike favorable deals not available to other video stores. Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney granted Blockbuster’s motion for summary judgment,” the AP reports here.

Burglar Gets No Break Because Occupant Was Dead

“A Rochester-area burglar’s claim that he could not be convicted of breaking into a ‘dwelling’ because the ‘occupant’ was dead split an appellate panel 3-2 but failed to persuade any of the judges on New York’s highest court,” according to this.

New York State Judicial Conduct Rules Struck

“A U.S. judge in Albany, N.Y., on Thursday delivered a body blow to the New York State Judicial Conduct Commission’s power to regulate the political activities of judges. Judge David N. Hurd, ruling in a challenge brought by Albany Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo, struck all specific prohibitions on judicial activity contained in the New York Code of Judicial Conduct as a prior restraint on protected First Amendment activities.” Read all about it here.

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.