Jun 112007

Wow, the courts have sure been busy lately. They have given us lots of fun stuff to cover. Let’s see what we have:

Paris Hilton — OK, we won’t dwell on this case, as it’s a lot like a car wreck. You hate it happened, are pissed because it’s making you late, but you can’t help but slowdown and look as you go by. I do want to comment on those that think she’s getting jail time because she’s a celebrity…”after all,” they say, “she was only violated once on her probation.” Well, she’s had a couple of DWI’s, and been stopped several times for driving on a suspended license. The first time, the paper she’d signed agreeing to not drive was in the car with her. Come on, she thought she could get away with it. I’m fine with her doing some time.

Genarlow Wilson — You’ve probably never heard of Mr. Wilson, but a couple of years ago he received a felony sentence of 10 years in jail, and a sexual offender designation for having sex with a 15 year old girl. Sounds bad, right? Well the sex was consensual, and at the time Wilson was a 17 year old honor student and athlete in high school. A Georgia judge decided to use a little common sense and reduce the charge to a misdemeanor sexual battery charge, with a sentence of time served. Not surprisingly, Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker said Monday afternoon that he had filed notice of appeal, arguing that Georgia law does not give a judge authority to reduce or modify the sentence imposed by the trial court.

Robert Alan Soloway — Mr. Soloway is been dubbed variously the Seattle Spammer and the King of Spam. In a U.S. District Court in Seattle on 10 counts of mail fraud, 5 counts of wire fraud, 2 counts of e-mail fraud, 5 counts of aggravated identity theft and 13 counts of money laundering. According to MSNBC:

“Spam is a scourge of the Internet, and Robert Soloway is one of its most prolific practitioners. Our investigators dubbed him the Spam King because he is responsible for millions of spam e-mails,” Jeffrey Sullivan, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, said in a statement.

Soloway is being accused of operating false Web sites and more than 50 domains, through which he posed as an advertiser offering legitimate “broadcast e-mail services” with “permission-based opt-in e-mail addresses.” He allegedly deceived legitimate businesses into buying marketing software and services that turned out to be spam tools. Businesses that complained were met with intimidation and threats, according to the allegations against Soloway.

Ali al-Marri — Al-Marri has been held in solitary confinement in the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., since June 2003. The Qatar native and legal U.S. resident has been detained since his December 2001 arrest at his home in Peoria, Ill., where he moved with his wife and five children a day before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to study for a master’s degree at Bradley University. Unfortunately for the Bush Administration, the U.S. District Court, in a 2-1 ruling declared that al-Marri must be released or charged in civilian court and given due process. The Court rebuked the Administration by actually defending the Constitution. Their opinion says, “To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the president calls them �enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution – and the country,” Duhhh.

Lewis Scooter Libby — Bush appointee Judge Reggie Walton got in a great snark in a footnote in a recent ruling in the Libby case. Apparently a group of 12 “legal academics” lead by Robert Bork have sought to file an amicus brief arguing that the Special Prosecutor was not properly authorized, so Libby should get bail whilst awaiting sentencing. They actually try to create a precedent out of whole cloth by citing a dissenting opinion by Antonin Scalia. I hate to tell them, but a dissenting opinion does not law make in this country. Judge Walton is a man after my own heart, as he gets back at them. In a footnote in his ruling he writes:

It is an impressive show of public service when twelve prominent and distinguished current and former law professors of well-respected schools are able to amass their collective wisdom in the course of only several days to provide their legal expertise to the Court on behalf of a criminal defendant. The Court trusts that this is a reflection of these eminent academics’ willingness in the future to step to the plate and provide like assistance in cases involving any of the numerous litigants, both in this Court and throughout the courts of our nation, who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions even in instances where failure to do so could result in monetary penalties, incarceration, or worse. The Court will certainly not hesitate to call for such assistance from these luminaries, as necessary in the interests of justice and equity, whenever similar questions arise in the cases that come before it.

Let’s see if they step up to this.

Robert Bork — Of course Bork would think anyone who would disagree with “his President” would be wrong. Remember that Bork served as a hatchet man for Richard Nixon. I’m referring to the October 20, 1973 “Saturday Night Massacre.” Then Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox was in hot pursuit of the Nixon tapes. Nixon ordered then Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Because Richardson had testified to Congress that he would not interfere with Cox, Richardson resigned. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to do the deed. Ruckelshaus declined and also resigned. Nixon then ordered Solicitor General, now acting Attorney General Robert Bork to fire Cox. Bork had no problem. Good ole Bob Bork…he can always be counted on to help out a Republican law breaker.

Robert Bork — Along with his chicanery mentioned above, most recently Mr. Bork made it as a bronze medalist on Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person award. Bork famously argued against punitive damages and for a cap on damages for pain and suffering. Yet, when he slipped and fell on his way to the dais to speak at the Yale Club, he sued for punitive damages and $1,000,000 in pain and suffering damages?

Butts Charged with Stealing Toilet Paper — That’s the Associated Press headline. Police in a central Iowa town have charged 38 year old Suzanne Marie Butts with stealing three rolls of toilet paper from the courthouse. The fifth-degree theft charge, a misdemeanor, normally carries a sentence of less than a year in jail. But Butts could face more time if convicted under the state’s habitual offender law because she has prior theft convictions.

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