Sunday, February 25, 2007

Politics Real Reason for Prosecutors' Dismissals?

The New York Times has received copies of "[I]nternal Justice Department performance reports for six of the eight United States attorneys who have been dismissed in recent months ..."

For months the Justice Department has been claiming the fired prosecutors were let go because of performance issues. As the Times article points out. the attorneys were rated “well regarded,” “capable” or “very competent.”

But wait, an unnamed senior Justice Department official had this to say: “The reviews don’t take into account whether the U.S. attorneys carried out departmental priorities.”

But the Times article points out:
However, each case report included a statement that each of the ousted prosecutors had established strategic goals set by the Justice Department in high priority areas like counterterrorism, narcotics and gun violence.
So what does this leave? Politics.

Ya think?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Appeals Court Rules Against Detainees

Chalk one up for the Neo-Cons.

From The New York Times:
A divided federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a new law stripping federal judges of authority to review foreign prisoners’ challenges to their detention at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The decision set the stage for a third trip to the Supreme Court for the detainees, who will once again ask the justices to consider a complex issue that tests the balance of power among the White House, Congress and the courts in the murky context of the fight against international terrorism.

It also prompted some senior Democratic lawmakers, who have fought the Bush administration on the matter before and who now hold sway in Congress, to vow enactment of a law more favorable to the prisoners.

The Supreme Court previously ruled twice that federal statutes empowered the courts to consider Guantánamo prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions challenging the grounds for their detention. In response to those rulings, Congress twice rewrote law to limit the detainees’ avenues of appeal. The most recent rewriting was at issue in Tuesday’s 2-to-1 decision.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Police Taping Facing Limits

If your are exercising your right of free speech in New York you will no longer be videotaped by the police.

A federal judge in Manhatten has ruled that the police do not have carte blance to videotape peaceful demonstrations unless there is a clear indication of "unlawful or terrorist activity."

Exerpt from The New York Times:
Citing two events in 2005 — a march in Harlem and a demonstration by homeless people in front of the home of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — the judge said the city had offered scant justification for videotaping the people involved.

“There was no reason to suspect or anticipate that unlawful or terrorist activity might occur,” he wrote, “or that pertinent information about or evidence of such activity might be obtained by filming the earnest faces of those concerned citizens and the signs by which they hoped to convey their message to a public official.”

While he called the police conduct “egregious,” Judge Haight also offered an unusual judicial mea culpa, taking responsibility for his own words in a 2003 order that he conceded had not been “a model of clarity.”

The restrictions on videotaping do not apply to bridges, tunnels, airports, subways or street traffic, Judge Haight noted, but are meant to control police surveillance at events where people gather to exercise their rights under the First Amendment.

“No reasonable person, and surely not this court, is unaware of the perils the New York public faces and the crucial importance of the N.Y.P.D.’s efforts to detect, prevent and punish those who would cause others harm,” Judge Haight wrote.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Friday, February 09, 2007

Anna Nicole and DNA

Seems that even the dead can't rest when paternity tests are ordered by judges.

This from FOX News:
A judge on Friday refused to order an emergency DNA test on the body of Anna Nicole Smith as part of a paternity suit involving her infant daughter, but he ordered that the body be preserved until a hearing in 10 days, attorneys said.

Two men are contesting the paternity of 5-month-old Dannielynn, and experts say the custody decision could determine the child's inheritance.

With major legal issues undecided, Smith's legacy could take years to untangle and could leave the baby girl with millions of dollars or nothing at all.
Why would the entire body have to be preserved? Seems that a tissue sample would be sufficient. Anna Nicole's so-called celebrity continues to spill over.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Astronaut needs psych eval

Lisa Marie Nowak, astronaut turned arrestee who is free on bail following charges of attempted kidnapping and attempted murder, should have a thorough psychological examination prior to her case going forward.

However, the charges against her are in Florida. Need we say more?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Two Charged in Boston Fiasco

Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens pleaded not guilty to charges of placing a hoax device in a way that causes panic and disorderly conduct in a Boston.

They are the two men were hired by an advertising agency to place boxes resembling Lite-Brite boards promoting a program on the Cartoon Network. Panic ensued when the Boston police were notified of suspicious devices and treated them like a terrorist attack.

The city closed major highways and subway systems and went into full "we're under attack mode." The devices were up for two weeks before coming under suspicion. Officials in nine other U.S. cities apparently saw them for what they were and took no action.

Turner Broadcasting reportedly agreed to pay the city up to $1 million to help offset the costs, which they will undoubtedly recoup through the free advertising.

Boston officials, who some say over reacted, would be smart to quietly dismiss the charges and let the matter die.