Law blog roundup

scalesofjusticeimageWelcome to Monday, the 92nd anniversary of the first radio broadcast of a baseball game. Here are some news items to get the week started.

– Turkish court sets the price for a failed coup attempt.

– Online gun sales might provide a show-like loophole.

– Buying someone a drink has landed one Texas man in big trouble.

– Court-martial of accused Fort Hood shooter begins Tuesday — nearly four years after deadly rampage.



Law blog roundup

Wall StreetWelcome to the final Monday of January. Here are some news items to get your week before the big game started.

– Military lawyer clashes with Obama administration over breadth of war crimes.

– Muslim students file First Amendment appeal in California.

– Wall Street receives advice on dealing with the Justice Department.

– Another “M” state debates the death penalty.

The more things change …

“Steve, call John McCain and get his reaction to the U.S. attack on Libya.”

That assignment from my editor came not last month but nearly 25 years ago, on April 15, 1986.

The U.S. military, on the orders of then-President Ronald Reagan, had just carried out air strikes against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in response to the bombing by Libyan agents of a West Berlin nightclub that killed three people — including two U.S. servicemen — and injured 229 others 11 days earlier.

McCain, then an Arizona congressman, was running for the Senate seat held by then-retiring Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, R-Ariz. I was an intern at the Mesa (Arizona) Tribune.

Fast forward a quarter century and there’s McCain, now a veteran senator and former Republican presidential nominee,  reacting recently to the U.S. attack on Libya’s air defenses in support of a U.N. sanctioned no-fly zone.

Can you think of any other back-to-the-future moments?

Law blog roundup

Short work weeks make Mondays that much more bearable. Get a little more enjoyment out of your Monday with some law links below:

  • Maryland’s top court is studying whether the court can alter the contributory negligence standard through a rule or whether it would need to do it through a judicial order. See our story on the study here.
  • The Paycheck Fairness Act fails to get a vote in the Senate.
  • Actor Wesley Snipes was ordered to begin serving his three-year prison sentence Friday. But no money train is going to save this guy from doing time for federal tax evasion.
  • Should terror suspects be tried in civilian courts or military courts? The debate rages on after Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was acquitted of 284 of 285 counts last week in civilian court.
  • Mega insider trading case on the way?
  • Manila could give India a run for its money in legal outsourcing.
  • Work-life balance advocates may have hurt women in the recession.
  • Superheroes band together against the LAPD.

Monday law blog round-up

Happy Monday! Here are a few law links to start your gonna-be-another-hot-one week.

On a personal note, this will be my last blog round-up, since I will be wrapping up five great years at The Daily Record this Friday. The round-up will be taken over by Danielle Ulman, who will also be moving from covering finance, energy and biotech to covering the business of law. She’ll do a great job!

Special Tuesday mini round-up

There’s just too much good law-related stuff out there this morning to tell you all about! Here’s a special, miniature (fun size, if you will) law round-up:

  • John Bratt of the Baltimore Injury Lawyer Blog says he’s glad he doesn’t work for Doug Gansler. Bratt noted my colleague Steve Lash’s report that assistant attorney general Brian Kleinbord is the attorney of record for Maryland v. Shatzer, which Gansler argued in the Supreme Court yesterday. “You know what that means?” Bratt writes. “It means that Kleinbord and the other lawyers wrote the briefs and did all the work. Now that it is time for argument, the guy at the top of the letterhead is swooping in to take advantage of all of the attention, and the glory if he wins.”
  • The guy who wants the military to combat proselytizing of soldiers and cadets is suing to get a former Navy chaplain to “stop asking Jesus to plunder my fields… seize my assets, kill me and my family then wipe away our descendants for 10 generations.” The former chaplain says he was just quoting Scripture and never incited violence against Mikey Weinstein, though he said he “pray[s] the Psalm that his days are few.”
  • This line from The National Law Journal’s account of the opening day of the Supreme Court term yesterday is hilarious: “Justices Breyer and Clarence Thomas spent several minutes during arguments peering at the marble friezes of lawgivers on the walls of the Court high above them, apparently noticing new features they hadn’t seen before from their earlier vantage points.” I really can’t add anything to that.

A potentially explosive burglary

If my home were ever burglarized, I think the strangest thing a thief could pilfer would be an 18-inch-tall sailor statue that sits on a side table in my living room. (Old Salty is good at his job; I’ve never gotten seasick nor have I been attacked by pirates while sitting on my sofa.)

I thought about this after I received a press release from Baltimore County police yesterday warning residents that the burglar of a Monkton home took two hand grenades that possibly could explode.

The suspect stole so-called “pineapple” hand grenades commonly used in World War II. Here are the key sentences from the police e-mail:

“The caretaker of the weapons does not remember whether the grenades were disabled or are live. These grenades are DANGEROUS, and can cause injury or death.”

I would have to echo a person who responded to The Sun’s story about the burglary: why did the homeowner have possible live grenades in his home?

Memorial Dedication

patriot-plaza.jpgThe courtyard in front of the Baltimore County Circuit Court in Towson has a new name: Patriot Plaza.

The plaza was formally dedicated Friday morning in honor of past and current members of the armed forces. County Executive Jim Smith also recognized members of the 29th Infantry Division who fought in the D-Day invasion 65 years ago.

Brig. Gen. James A. Adkins, adjutant general and secretary of state’s Department of Veterans Affairs, also spoke during the ceremony.

Fighting for freedom of (or from) religion

Army Spc. Jeremy Hall doesn’t mind putting his life at risk to protect his country. What he does mind is having religious beliefs pushed on him by the government — and being punished for his lack of faith.

That’s why he filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, among others, claiming that his First Amendment right to religious freedom had been violated.

According to CNN, Hall, a former Baptist-turned-atheist, claims that the military discriminates against non-Christians. Unlike most plaintiffs, Hall isn’t asking for money. Instead, he wants the military to guarantee religious freedom for all soldiers.

What do you think? Should the military be allowed to encourage religious exercise and accommodate religion, or does the First Amendment prohibit any commingling of church and state?

CHRISTINA DORAN, Assistant Legal Editor

Video: Pentagon says spy satellite shot down


LiveLeak has the video of the Pentagon briefing where General Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed his “high level of confidence” that the rogue spy satellite has been destroyed. Video of the missile launch and “interception” with the satellite is included.

The Kaboom blog says:

While they can’t confirm completely the destruction of the tank, which was needed to release the toxic fuel that may have posed a danger to us Earthlings, the Pentagon has declared the mission a complete success and with good reason.