The Justice Department has disclosed to the Associated Press that it subpoenaed more than two months of phone records of several AP editors and reporters in 2012. The AP, as well as civil liberties groups, are angry.
Obtaining a broad range of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power. Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy, and that freedom often depends on confidential communications between reporters and their sources."
This foiled airline plot from Yemen in May, 2012 appears to be what triggered the phone records searches.
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There was a hearing in the James Holmes Aurora theater shooting case today. The judge ruled Holmes has met the test for changing his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. The change of plea hearing will be held at a later date.
Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell has been convicted of first degree murder.
Busy day today, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.
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O.J. Simpson is in court today, seeking a new trial in his Nevada robbery and kidnapping case. The grounds: ineffective assistance of counsel. His lawyer, Yale Galanter, denies the allegations.
Galanter is also being sued in federal court by his local co-counsel in the case, Gabriel Grasso. Grasso alleges he had an oral agreement with Galanter to be paid $250,000 in legal fees for his participation in the defense. Grasso says he expended over 1,000 hours and expended thousands in costs. He says Galanter received $500,000 for defending OJ and never paid him anything other than a partial cost reimbursement of $15,000. In pleadings obtained from PACER, Galanter argues there was no written fee agreement with Grasso and under Nevada ethical rules, it would be improper to share fees with another lawyer without the written permission of the client. [More....]
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Move over, Bon Jovi. One of the happiest and funniest videos, from of all places, the Jay Leno Show's Pumpcast News. In three days, it's gotten 6 million views. (Thanks to reader Magster for pointing me to it last night.)
Jay brought the couple back to the show to sing with the Late Show band. Is The Voice next?
My agenda tonight: The Survivor finale, Celebrity Apprentice and Nurse Jackie.
This is an open thread, all topics welcome.
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Happy Mother's Day to All. What's Mothers' Day without pictures of the kids who made us mothers? Here are some of my favorites of the TL kid and me, in chronological order:
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RiaNovosti in Russia recently interviewed Devens Medical Center spokesman John Colautti about Dzokhar Tsarnaev's conditions of confinement.
Jahar is locked down 23 hours a day 5 days a week and 24 hours a day on weekends. He has no TV. He could listen to a walkman radio if he had $45 to buy it. His meals are brought to his cell. A book cart is brought by his cell a few days a week. He eats every meal alone in his cell. He gets three showers a week -- in his cell. He's not allowed contact with other prisons. Even if his injuries improve and he is moved to another facility, it's unlikely his living conditions will be any different -- he'll be deemed to be a "celebrity" inmate who needs to be segregated from general population. This could easily go on for a year.
The only people he sees besides medical staff are his lawyers, and they are 30 miles away. He still can't have visitors because it takes a while. He has to submit the names of visitors -- they have to be people he knew before being arrested -- and then a thorough background check is done on them.
His cell is about 10 feet by 10 feet and contains only a bed bolted to the floor, a sink and a toilet. When he is taken out for exercise, he is shackled at the hands and feet by two guards, and brought to a cage type place outdoors where he can exercise. If weather is inclement, there's an indoor room where he could exercise alone. If the prison gets put on lockdown, or staff is short (e.g. from furloughs), he doesn't get to go.
More details here.
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Interesting segment last night on Fox News 31 (Denver) on the cost to taxpayers of prosecuting Aurora Theater Shooting defendant James Holmes as a death penalty case. It explains the cost is likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars. It brings up the Nathan Dunlap case, brought by the same office. Dunlap was recently scheduled for execution in August and a petition for clemency is pending. The cost of his case so far: $18 million.
It also points out that the D.A. turned down Holmes' offer to plead guilty and accept life without parole. I kept waiting for some former DA to come on and attempt to justify the decision to seek the death penalty. It didn't happen. Maybe they couldn't find anyone to take the other side.
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O.J. Simpson could get a new trial in his Nevada case. Hearing next week.
This is an open thread, all topics welcome.
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Tamerlan Tsarnaev is buried in Richmond, Virginia. Get over it. The protests are nothing more than rank bigotry.
“He’s a Muslim. We don’t need that here,” Margaret Stevens, a 68-year-old-retiree, said.
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Via Blog at the Legal Times, the Department of Justice has filed this brief seeking to prevent an Office of Legal Counsel memo of advice to the FBI on electronic surveillance from being released to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The DOJ document "establishes the scope of the Executive Branch’s authority under federal law to obtain private communications records without legal process or a qualifying emergency, in spite of apparent statutory prohibitions to the contrary," the EFF lawyers said in their court papers.
Here is the amicus brief filed by several groups, including the ACLU, CREW, the Brennan Center and Washington Post.
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While the sand slipped through the opening
And their hands reached for the golden ring....
CNet reports Apple has been so swamped with law enforcement demands to decrypt iPhone data, it has created a waiting list.
For background on the decryption, see here and this earlier article. I've uploaded the two pages of the October, 2012 ATF search warrant discussing Apple's ability to bypass security codes and provide the information to law enforcement here. (Obtained from Pacer in the Kentucky case, it's a poor copy but readable.)[More...]
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Via Wired's Threat Level: Buried in the 800 page proposed immigration reform bill is a provision creating a biometric database for all Americans, not just immigrants.
The bill, titled Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is here.
Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.
Employers would be obliged to look up every new hire in the database to verify that they match their photo.
Privacy advocates say "Think of it as a government version of Foursquare, with Big Brother cataloging every check-in." [More...]
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Here is the Government's latest salvo in the federal criminal case in Virginia against Kim Dotcom and his partners. Here is Dotcom's Rebuttal. Torrent Freak has a good explanation without the legalese as to what it's about.
More interesting to non-lawyers is #kimdotcom's announcement today that Megaabox is ready for launch. [More...]
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Funny and apt.Starts about 1 minute in.
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Lawyers for George Zimmerman today filed a motion asking the jury in his upcoming trial over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin be anonymous. The motion is here.
It's pretty unusual for a defendant (as opposed to the prosecution) to ask for an anonymous jury (sometimes called an innominate jury.) Will the state object? In at least one case, that of an outlaw motorcycle gang, the state defended a judge's discretion to order an innominate jury. (An innominate jury is one in which all information about the jurors is disclosed to the parties, with the exception of the jurors' names, addresses, and exact place of work. Some courts use the term "innominate," instead of "anonymous" because anonymous connotes a "clandestine, forbidden, and obscure" jury panel.)
Among the factors that may warrant an anonymous/innominate jury in Florida is where "extensive publicity that could enhance the possibility that jurors’ names would become public and expose them to intimidation and harassment." [More...]
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