Tuesday, September 16, 2014

All but one of Montana's Supreme Court Justices file amicus brief defending ban on acceptance of political endorsements

Six justices filed an amicus brief (PDF) in Montana federal court defending a rule barring judicial candidates from seeking or accepting partisan endorsements.  The suit was filed by a candidate for justice of the peace, "the Helena Independent Record reports. The candidate, Mark French, is running against an incumbent who found him guilty of failing to wear his seat belt. French plans to ask for the endorsement of a county Republican committee that is chaired by his wife, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
The rule, adopted in 2008 as part of Montana’s judicial conduct code, says judicial candidates can’t 'seek, accept or use endorsements from a political organization, or partisan or independent non-judicial officeholder or candidate.' Judicial elections in the state are nonpartisan.
French told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that the rule 'inhibits freedom of speech and sneaks up on the freedom of assembly.'
The justices’ brief seeks to distinguish a 2012 decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down a Montana law barring political parties from endorsing judicial candidates. 'We urge this court to acknowledge that regardless of what a political organization is allowed to do, a candidate for judicial office may and should be held to a standard commensurate with the dignity, gravity and optimal function of judicial office,' the amicus brief says."


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Friday, September 12, 2014

Co-worker who texted juror about case gets reply text from judge

"A co-worker who texted an alternate juror in a New York manslaughter case, providing information about the defendant, got an unusual response from the judge overseeing the case.
After the alternate informed Onondaga County Court Judge Joseph Fahey about the text, he himself responded to the texter, at the juror’s suggestion, the Post Standard reports.
'This is Judge Fahey,” he wrote. “Do not send any more text messages about this case or there will be consequences.'
The judge said it is the first time he ever sent such a text, and prosecutor Robert Moran said it might be the first such text in county history.
“I’m just coming of age in the digital world,” the judge told the newspaper."


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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Prominent Delaware law firm says it knew nothing of claimed sunken treasure fraud in Florida, and wasn't counsel of record anyway so the court has no jurisdiction



Responding to the court’s show-cause order, s partner, Bruce Silverstein, at a well-known Delaware law firm, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, says he and Young Conaway acted in good faith while representing Jay Miscovich and his Delaware company, JTR Enterprises, in matters linked to the emeralds the novice diver said he had found undersea some 40 miles from Key West, and knew nothing about an alleged fraud on a federal court in Florida concerning a client’s claimed sunken undersea treasure find.
"The filing cites the lawyer’s unblemished 27-year practice in Delaware and says Silverstein is 'deeply offended' by suggestions that he deep-sixed test results that showed the jewels were modern. . . .The party, salvage company Motivation Inc., initially was concerned that Miscovich might be claiming rights in sunken treasure that belonged to Motivation. Now the company is seeking attorney fees and costs, contending that Silverstein and his firm unnecessarily prolonged the admiralty litigation." More.

Posted originally in ABA Journal News, Sept. 2, 2o14, by Martha Neil.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Appellate Specialist Easley publishes new treatise on handling federal appeals in all U.S. Courts of Appeals

Appellate Specialist Dorothy F. Easley has published a new treatise on handling federal appeals in all U.S. Courts of Appeals from the First through the Eleventh Circuits. More information.

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