November 19, 2010

White House: Middle Class Task Force - Equal Access to Justice

Richard Zorza has reminded us that the White House is conducting an event on access to Justice today with Vice President Biden as one of the featured speakers. The event started at 10:30AM. You should be able to listen in on the proceedings by clicking here. For those of us concerned with equal access to legal services, including legal information, this is an important event.

October 22, 2010

ABA Report: Recommendations for Improving Judicial Disqualification Practices and Procedures Among the States

ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence (SCJI)

In an October 20, 2010 e-mail discussing the Report, William K Weisenberg, Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence writes:

"On behalf of the Standing Committee on Judicial Independence (SCJI), I am pleased to present for your consideration recommendations and a report that address one of the most significant issues impacting the public’s trust and confidence in a fair, impartial and independent judiciary – the disqualification of a judge when the impartiality of the judge might reasonably be questioned either through specific conduct or the appearance of impropriety. In July, 2010, an updated draft of the recommendations and report was distributed widely for review by ABA entities and outside groups. The Committee held a public forum at the 2010 ABA Annual Meeting on Saturday, August 7, 2010, in order to encourage audience comments and suggestions on the revised proposal. Based upon the comments and suggestions received both at the forum and thereafter, SCJI revised the recommendations and report. They will be submitted to the House of Delegates for consideration at the 2011 Midyear Meeting. SCJI feels strongly that it has met its objective of helping states improve their judicial disqualification practices and procedures by providing to state supreme courts a menu of options to be considered as states move forward with adoption of standards and rules, while promoting public confidence in the state courts...."


In recent years, judicial disqualification has emerged as an important policy issue in several states and an important focus of discussion and debate on ways to improve both the reality – and the public perception – of the fairness and impartiality of our court system. That focus has been sharpened because of intense public scrutiny and criticism in several highly publicized cases of refusals by judges to recuse themselves in circumstances where, as the default standard articulated in the Model Code of Judicial Conduct puts it, "the judge‟s impartiality might reasonably be questioned"'

.The ABA has traditionally taken the leading role in providing guidance to the States on matters of judicial ethics and judicial conduct.4 Since 2007, the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence ('SCJI' or the “Committee”) has been working on a project to survey disqualification rules and practices in state courts around the country, to identify problems and uncertainties that arise under existing regimes, and, if and as appropriate, to propose reforms. The Judicial Disqualification Project ('JDP') has conducted research, solicited comments on particular ideas and proposals (primarily within the ABA but also from certain outside entities with a strong interest in the area, such as the Conference of Chief Justices), and gradually refined the thinking of the Committee's membership on these issues.

It bears mention here that the focus of the JDP has been on the State judiciaries and not the federal. Notwithstanding that focus, this Report benefits from the guidance provided by federal case law, some of which is cited herein. Indeed, much of the law on judicial disqualification as it has developed in this country, and the concomitant guidance to the judiciary as a whole and the practicing bar, has been the product of federal decisions. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that the transformation of the landscape described below has been occasioned by dramatic changes in judicial elections and judicial campaign finance, neither of which has any relevance whatever to the federal judiciary...."


October 18, 2010

Leading Executives in the Legal Research Industry Join Bloomberg Law

Leading Executives in the Legal Research Industry Join Bloomberg Law

Lou Andreozzi and Larry D. Thompson to Lead Expansion of Bloomberg’s Web-Based Legal Platform

New York, October 18, 2010 – Bloomberg today announced that Lou Andreozzi has joined the Company as chairman of Bloomberg Law and Larry D. Thompson, PhD, has joined as chief operating officer. Andreozzi and Thompson will play key leadership roles in the growth of Bloomberg Law, the innovative real-time legal research system from the world leader in data and information services.

In his new role, Andreozzi will provide strategic leadership for Bloomberg Law aimed at driving the platform’s expansion in the legal research industry. He is widely recognized as a leader in the field of legal research, most recently serving as CEO of IQNavigator, Inc., and is a former CEO of LexisNexis North American Legal Markets.

Thompson will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Bloomberg Law including go-to-market, sales, content, data and relationships. He most recently was Senior Partner with The Sterling Group 925 LLC, and formerly served as Senior Vice President at LexisNexis.

“Lou Andreozzi and Larry Thompson are among the top executives in the field of legal research and together they bring extraordinary strategic expertise and deep market knowledge to Bloomberg Law,” said Beth Mazzeo, head of Data Products for Bloomberg. “With the recent completion of our successful pilot phase, we are excited to move forward with Lou and Larry at the helm. It is a pleasure to welcome them to Bloomberg Law.”

“Bloomberg Law is breaking new ground in the world of legal research by bringing to lawyers, through the Web, the same innovative technology and analytics that set Bloomberg apart in the financial world,” said Andreozzi. “I am delighted to be part of the team that will take Bloomberg Law to the next level.”

“Bloomberg Law is a formidable product, and I am confident it will change the legal research playing field with its expertise in data, technology and its extraordinary financial news and business analysis,” said Thompson. “Bloomberg Law has the flexibility of a stand-alone product with access to Bloomberg’s world-class resources and delivered to the legal profession in an intuitive interface.”

Constantin Cotzias, who oversaw the successful launch of Bloomberg Law, is returning to London to be part of the senior leadership team in Bloomberg Europe, where he will head Government and Regulatory Affairs and government business development and strategy in Europe. Cotzias played a critical role in shaping Bloomberg Law’s development and the introduction of the platform to over 90 percent of the top 100 U.S. law firms.

In the newly created role, Cotzias will take advantage of Bloomberg’s presence in Europe to expand Bloomberg's Government Affairs division. He will help coordinate the Company’s government affairs efforts around the globe, and will help broaden Bloomberg's product offerings for government. Cotzias' team will monitor government initiatives and public policy development globally, assisting the business team and Bloomberg customers in assessing impact.

Andreozzi spent over 10 years at LexisNexis. As CEO of North American Legal Markets, his portfolio included some of the most prominent legal products and brands including the Lexis online service, Shepard’s, Matthew Bender, Martindale-Hubbell and Prior to becoming CEO, Andreozzi was General Counsel of LexisNexis.

Most recently, Andreozzi has been serving as president and chief executive officer of IQNavigator, Inc., a leading provider of services spend management software and managed services, and will continue to play a leadership role in the company. He also served as CEO of Inference Data, a leading software-as-a-service provider of solutions for legal data analysis and review. He has been a strategic advisor for ValueAct Capital, The Carlyle Group and Bain Capital on large media and technology deals. Andreozzi is a graduate of Rutgers University and received his JD from the Seton Hall School of Law.

Thompson has more than 25 years of experience as an executive in the legal publishing field, 12 of them with LexisNexis where he rose to the position of Senior Vice President, Business Development, Strategy & Marketing and Global Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to that, Thompson was Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Shepard’s/McGraw-Hill. Most recently, Thompson was Senior Partner with The Sterling Group 925 LLC, a boutique consulting firm that works within legal and professional markets assisting with strategy, sales, marketing, and business development efforts. He received a PhD in Mass Media and an MA in Telecommunications from Michigan State University and a BA from Montana State University
For additional information see: Bloomberg Law Gets LexisNexis Experience by Monica Bay on LTN Law Technology News..October 18, 2010.

October 18, 2010

Are Federal Judges Cutting Corners to Hire Clerks Early?

The system for placing them with federal judges is breaking down.

Karen Sloan National Law Journal

October 18, 2010

Are the Wild West days of federal clerk hiring back? That's what some law school administrators and judges fear. They worry that the voluntary system whereby federal judges wait until September of the 3L year to hire clerks is teetering. Judges are choosing clerks earlier in the year and are being inundated with applications as the legal job market narrows. And a trend toward hiring the already graduated means fewer positions are available for fresh law graduates.

Complete National Law Journal article.

See also: U.S. Federal Judges Law Clerk Hiring Plan 2010

October 18, 2010

From the Offices of Lesley Ellen Harris

A New Bog:

Those of you who follow this blog will know that I occasionaly post Lesley Harris's excellent Newsletter The Copyright & News Media Law Newsletter, (latest issue posted below with permission) where she covers a wide range of topics from copyright and licensing to jobs for librarians. Although the Newsletter is by itself an ambitious undertaking, Leslie has now outdone herself by also launching a new blog, which, as you might expect, is about "copyright, licensing and digital property". I have been following the blog since she launched it a few months ago: it is a nice complement to her newsletter. I especially like the Questions and Answers feature. You can see the blog at

David Badertscher

The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter
Vol. 14 No. 5 October 11, 2010.
ISSN 1489-954X


1. Studies, Legislation and Conventions
Inquiry on Copyright Policy
Report on Legal Implications of News Aggregation
The State of Recorded Sound Preservation Report

2. Legal Cases:
Vernor v. Autodesk Decision Overturned
Georgia State University Update
Beatles v. Beatles Lawsuit

3. Of Interest:
Looking for a Job in Copyright?

4. Seminars and Publications:
Write Your Own Copyright Policy
Webinar for Librarians, Publishers and Vendors

Copyright, New Media & E-Commerce News is distributed for free by the office
of Lesley Ellen Harris. Information contained herein should not be relied upon or
considered as legal advice. Copyright 2010 Lesley Ellen Harris. This e-letter may
be forwarded, downloaded or reproduced for non-commercial purposes provided
that you cc:

This e-letter, from 1996 to the present, is archived with Library & Archives
Canada at


INQUIRY ON COPYRIGHT POLICY – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
is conducting a comprehensive review of the relationship between availability and
protection of online copyright-protected works and innovation in the internet
economy. Public comments are being sought by November 19, 2010. See

Berkman Center for Internet & Society published a white paper that discusses hot
news misappropriation and copyright infringement claims against news
aggregators. The paper also provides “best practices” for using online third-party
content. See

Council on Library and Information Resources and The Library of Congress
recently published this report. The report discuss various relevant intellectual
property issues. See



Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has strengthened the position of copyright owners
who license their works that are in turn sold to others. The Ninth Circuit
concluded in Vernor v. Autodesk that an agreement is a license (and not an
assignment) where the copyright owner specified that the user is granted a license,
significantly restricts the user’s ability to transfer the work, and imposes notable
use restrictions. See

Federal District Court (Atlanta) has ruled on the cross motions for summary
judgment in the infringement lawsuit by three publishers against Georgia State
University. The case centers on the use of course readings for students via e-
reserves and the campus course management system. See judgment at

BEATLES V. BEATLES LAWSUIT – The Nevada-based Fab Four is suing
another Beatles tribute band, The Fab 4 of Colorado. The Nevada group is
claiming that the defendants are trading on their reputation and success and are
asking the court to stop the Fab 4 from using any trademark that sounds like “Fab
Four” and is also seeking monetary damages.


LOOKING FOR A JOB IN COPYRIGHT? – Job listings in copyright and
licensing (many for nonlawyers) are now listed at


WRITE YOUR OWN COPYRIGHT POLICY – October 18, 2010 is the start date
for the online course, Developing A Copyright Policy. This is an assignment-
based course in which participants draft a copyright compliance policy/guidelines.
Register at

9, 2010 is a free webinar on How Copyright Affects Librarians, Publishers and
Vendors. Register at
This is the prelude to the 7-course certificate in copyright
management offered by SLA and

This newsletter is prepared by Copyright Lawyer Lesley Ellen Harris. Lesley is
the author of the books Canadian Copyright Law, 3rd ed. (McGraw-Hill), Digital
Property: Currency of the 21st Century (McGraw-Hill), Licensing Digital Content:
A Practical Guide for Librarians, 2nd ed. (ALA Editions), and A Canadian
Museum’s Guide to Developing a Licensing Strategy (Canadian Heritage
Information Network). Lesley edits the print newsletter, The Copyright & New
Media Law Newsletter. Lesley may be reached at

If you are looking for further topical and practical information about copyright
law, obtain a sample copy of the quarterly print or PDF newsletter, The Copyright
& New Media Law Newsletter, from

October 15, 2010

Chief Judge Lippman Announces Creation of Permanent Sentencing Commission for New York State

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman on October 13, 2010 announced the establishment of the New York State Permanent Sentencing Commission, charged with conducting a comprehensive and ongoing evaluation of sentencing laws and practices and recommending reforms to improve the quality and effectiveness of statewide sentencing policy. A very important aspect of this Commission is that has been designated as permanent. There have been previous commissions created to look into these matters in New York State but they were designated as temporary. Hopefully the permant designation of this Commission will increase its influnce and help ensure that it's recommendations and ongoing guidance will have significant impact over many years.

For official Unified Court System Press Release announcing establishment of New York State Sentencing Commission visit:

Related Stories include:

Michael Jacobson named to New York State sentencing commission ...
Vera's director, Michael Jacobson, has been named to the new New York State Permanent ... announced today by the New York State Unified Court System. ...

News for lippman "sentencing commission" new york
Sentencing Law and Policy: New York gets a permanant commission to ... Oct 14, 2010 ... As reported in this New York Daily News article, ... "The present sentencing laws are a mess," Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman told the Daily News. ... in charge of the Permanent Sentencing Commission for New York State. ...

The Crime Report » Archive » Blue-Ribbon Panel To Study New York ... Oct 14, 2010 ... A blue-ribbon panel aims to clean up New York state's ... will head the Permanent Sentencing Commission for New York State. ... ¿We don't know whether the offenders are prepared to live useful lives,¿ Lippman said. ...

Permanent Sentencing Commission for New York State New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman says 'the present sentencing ...

October 14, 2010

Ethics and Social Media Use By Court Staff

Real world examples needed.I

am posting the following request for real-world examples of issues and problems regarding ethics and social media that have occurred in our courts as a service to all of us who really need access to this information. Please contact Norman Meyer directly if you have any helpful information. Congratulations to Mr. Meyer for taking on this project.

David Badertscher

Hello, everyone. I am beginning to draft an article for the National Association for Court Management's (NACM) "Court Manager" journal on the topic of ethics and the use of social media by court staff, and I would appreciate your help. In particular, I'm looking for real-world examples of issues and problems that have happened in our courts in this area. If you have anything to share in this regard, I'd appreciate it -- I intend to sanitize any examples to not reveal which court or person(s) may be involved, so don't worry about that. And, if you have any insights in general about social media use and how that relates to court ethics/Codes of Conduct, that would be useful to me, as well. Thanks in advance for any help you may provide me.

Norman Meyer
Clerk of Court
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
District of New Mexico

p.s. I am familiar with, and am using, the wonderful recent publication from the federal court AO's Office of the General Counsel, "Resource Packet for Developing Guidelines on Use of Social Media by Judicial Employees," so I do not need duplication of information contained there.

p.p.s. If you are not a member of NACM, I urge you to consider joining it as well. NACM is a great organization, with really good publications, educational opportunities, and networking with our peers. As a Past President of NACM, I know that it has been a tremendous help to me in my career. To find out for yourself, take a look at the NACM website: (in particular, the "about us" page gives a nice summary of what NACM offers: ), or I'd be happy to respond to any questions.

October 13, 2010

Around the Blawgsphere

October 13, 2010.

Argument recap: Court doubts that failure to suppress confession is prejudicial in felony murder case
posted by James Bickford at SCOTUSblog -
On Tuesday, the Court heard oral argument in the case of *Premo v. Moore*.

Overcriminalization 2.0: Developing Consensus Solutions posted by White Collar Crime Prof Blogger at White Collar Crime Prof Blog
The Journal of Law, Economics & Policy at the George Mason University School of Law will host its annual symposium on October 21, 2010, in partnership with the Law & Economics Center at George Mason Universi...

Two or Three Myths About Substantive Due Process

posted by Timothy Sandefur, guest-blogging at The Volokh Conspiracy
(Timothy Sandefur, guest-blogging) When talking about “substantive due process,” as I’ve been doing, one must address a number of myths about that theory that, sadly, are so common

Costs of capital punishment getting the spotlight in Connecticut case
posted by Doug B. at Sentencing Law and Policy -
As detailed in this local article, which is headlined "Steven Hayes Defense Outlines High Cost Of Putting Someone To Death," the significant economic costs of capital punishment has moved from policy debate ...

Mapping Your Return to Useful Websites
posted by admin at Legal Talk Network -
Internet search is only half of the equation. Many times, you simply want to return to a site you had previously found. Managing bookmarks and favorites has long been a less-than-satisfying experience. Why...

October 13, 2010

Report Predicts Hiring Boom for Lawyers Who Think Outside the Box

Report predicts hiring boom for lawyers who think outside the box
Hiring in the legal profession is expected to increase by about 13% between 2008 and 2018, roughly on par with the expected average increase for other jobs, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The outlook is a little better for nontraditional legal jobs, however: Lawyers who are willing to take a detour into administrative, managerial and business positions are likely to find jobs more easily, the report suggests. ABA Journal (10/12)

September 28, 2010

From the Brennan Center: The Federal Judiciary

.Following up on our postiing about U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Bryer, we wanted to share with you the following excerpts from news and commentary sent to us by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School

September 24, 2010.

1.. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee again voted to approve four of President Obama's nominees for federal judgeships. Goodwin Liu, a Berkeley law professor for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Louis Butler Jr., a former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Chen of California, and lawyer John McConnell Jr. of Rhode Island - all of whom had been previously approved by the Senate panel but never received a final vote on the Senate floor - were approved along party lines. The Blog of Legal Times says the vote indicates a partisan showdown in the weeks before the heated mid-term elections. Two opposing editorials illustrate how divisive the issue is: a New York Times editorial recently blasted "An Extreme Judicial Blockade" by Senate Republicans while a Washington Times editorial stated that a "GOP Senate [is] needed to block bad judges."

David Ingram, Democrats Push Forward On Goodwin Liu, Other Judge Nominees, The Blog Of Legal Times, September 23, 2010; An Extreme Judicial Blockade, The New York Times, September 22, 2010; Editorial: GOP Senate Needed To Block Bad Judges, Washington Times, September 15, 2010.

2.. "These delays are excessive . . . . The timeliness of information enhances its value. If un-elected administrators can impose an arbitrary 10-day waiting period, what's to stop them from deciding 30 days or three years might be even better?" So says an editorial in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which decries the difficult and slow process of obtaining judicial disclosure statements. The topic of judges' disclosures of their financial holdings - and whether those holdings should disqualify judges from ruling on specific cases - received national attention earlier this year after the public discovered that the federal judge tasked with ruling on the Obama administration's deepwater drilling moratorium held shares of Exxon Mobil. According to the Associated Press, a routine disclosure statement from the judge, Martin Feldman, revealing his oil industry stock ownership, would have signaled a potential conflict of interest in the drilling case - but wasn't available because "Judges' disclosures [are] hard to get." The article juxtaposes judicial disclosure statements with those filed by legislators and concludes that while the public can read Senators' and House members' statements from a computer, concerned citizens should "be prepared to wait" to see a federal judge's disclosure statement because it can take two weeks for such a report to be provided, the reports are not posted on the judiciary's website, and judges are notified when someone asks for a copy.

Mark Sherman, Inside Washington: Judges' Disclosures Hard To Get, Associated Press, September 20, 2010; Editorial: Waiting Period, Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 22, 2010.

September 17, 2010

ABA Criminal Justice Section Iniated or Co-Sponsored Resolutions*

Approved by the ABA House of Delegates

Sept. 2010

At the 2010 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the House of Delegates approved resolutions that the Criminal Justice Section initiated or co-sponsored regarding the following issues (click on the relevant REPORT # to view the full text of the resolution and the background report):

REPORT 100A* (Investigations and reports of professional misconduct of U.S. Justice Department Attorneys)

Urges the United States Department of Justice to continue in its commitment to investigate allegations of professional misconduct on the part of the Department’s lawyers and to release as much information regarding completed investigations as possible, consistent with privacy interests and law enforcement confidentiality concerns.

REPORT 100B* (Prosecutorial “misconduct” and “error”)

Urges trial and appellate courts, in criminal cases, when reviewing the conduct of prosecutors to differentiate between “error” and “prosecutorial misconduct.”

REPORT 100C* (Funding for defense advice about immigration consequences)

Urges federal, state, territorial, tribal and local governments to provide funding to state and federal public defender offices and legal aid programs specifically for the provision of immigration advice about the immigration consequences of criminal proceedings to indigent non-U.S. citizen defendants, and about any available relief from such consequences.

REPORT 100D* (Funding for forensic science research)

Urges federal, state, local and territorial governments to provide sufficient funding and resources necessary to facilitate basic and applied scientific research to improve and/or further develop forensic science disciplines.

REPORT 100E* (Funding for standards, accreditation, examinations of forensic laboratories)

Urges the federal government to provide funding and resources sufficient to facilitate the examination of existing standards, accreditation and certification for government and private laboratories, examiners/analysts in government and private laboratories, and identified forensic science service providers who offer examination conclusions and/or interpretations of forensic laboratory results.

REPORT 100F* (Funding to integrate forensic sciences into homeland security)

Urges the federal government to provide the funds, resources and other support necessary to effectively integrate the forensic science community into the nation’s system of homeland security.

REPORT 100G* (Funding for mandatory medico-legal death accreditation, certification)

Urges federal, state, and territorial governments to provide funding and enact legislation necessary to support requiring that all offices charged with conducting medico-legal death investigations meet mandatory accreditation, certification or professional practice standards within a reasonable timeframe.

REPORT 100H* (Funding re fingerprint identification and ballistic information networks)

Urges Congress to enact legislation and authorize and appropriate funds necessary to achieve nationwide interoperability of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System and improve the effectiveness of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

REPORT 100I (Funding for testing and re-testing evidence and for expert assistance)

Urges federal, state, local and territorial governments, legislative bodies and courts to provide the funds and other resources necessary to assure that in criminal cases an accused: 1) is able to obtain testing or retesting of evidence, and 2) is provided expert testimonial or other assistance when necessary to assure a fair trial or sentencing proceeding.

REPORT 115** (Micro-stamping of semi-automatic pistols)

Urges federal, state and territorial governments to enact laws requiring that all newly-manufactured semi-automatic pistols be fitted with microstamping technology which would enable law enforcement to identify the serial number of the pistol and hence the first known purchaser of a weapon used in a crime.

REPORT 116** (Money laundering and terrorist financing)

Supports the U. S. Government’s efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and observes that voluntary, risk-based and updated guidance would assist legal professionals to avoid money laundering and terrorist financing risks when providing services to clients and adopts the Voluntary Good Practices Guidance for Lawyers to Detect and Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.
* A service of the ABA Criminal Justice Section.

September 17, 2010

About Justce John Paul Stevens

Justice John Paul Stevens’ career offers many lessons for those interested in learning about the attributes of a good judge, maintains an editorial in the July-August issue of Judicature, the journal of the American Judicature Society. As the editorial explains, Justice Stevens is someone who sets high personal standards, demanding much of himself. He personifies traits such as candor, civility, integrity, courtesy, and responsibility. In short, he is the embodiment of what has come to be known as professionalism.

The editorial also notes that he is characterized by virtually everybody as open-minded, and a
good listener, as genial and humorous, as warm and welcoming and kind, as gentle and
possessing a generousness of spirit. He is a modest, humble, and unpretentious person,
notwithstanding all that he has accomplished in life, and a man possessing empathy for those
who are less fortunate. Former clerks all portray him as a wonderful teacher and role model.

The July-August issue also contains reminiscences of Justice Stevens by three former law
clerks from different time periods, and a review of John Paul Stevens: An Independent Life.


September 17, 2010

At Age 103, A Judge Has One Caveat: No Lengthly Cases

Judge Wesley E. Brown, is a spry, active 103 year old Federal District Court judge in Kansas. He still hears a full complement of criminal cases, but warns lawyers preparing for lengthly court cases that "he may not live to see cases to completion...." adding "At this age I'm not even buying green bananas."

For more, see the September 16 New York times article: At 103, a Judge Has One Caveat, No Lengthly Trials by A. G. Sulzberger

For more information about Judge Brown go to Wesley E. Brown Inn of Court. This source includes both biographical information and a videw, made when Judge Brown was just 22 years old!

September 14, 2010

Criminal Jurisdiction

Click on link below for various information sources related to criminal jurisdiction collected through the Google News Alert Service, September 13, 2010.

By john Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair
Current Eyewitness Identification Procedure Reinforce False Memories and Lead to Wrongful Convictions By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair There have been 258 DNA exonerations in this country over the last two decades, according to the New ... Even conservative, law-and-order minded Texans have grown weary and disgusted with repeated, highly publicized cases of innocent people being wrongfully convicted and who have spent decades in prison. ...

September 9, 2010

Same Sex Marriages: Legal Issues

Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues
BY: Alison M. Smith, Legislative Attorney
Report No. RL31994
Subjects: Families; Law; Minorities
Congressional Research Service Reports, 111th Congress (8/18/2010; Posted: 9/8/2010)


The recognition of same-sex marriages generates debate on both the federal and state levels. State legislators in Vermont and New Hampshire have legalized same-sex marriages. At the same time, federal and state courts are beginning to address the validity of statutory and constitutional provisions limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. State courts in New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and Iowa have held that denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry violates their state constitution. Some state courts have also found that domestic partnership/civil union laws are not the constitutional equivalent of civil marriage. These variations raise questions concerning the validity of such unions outside the contracted
jurisdiction and have bearing on the distribution of federal benefits
Questions regarding same-sex marriages figure prominently in California. After the state supreme court’s decision finding that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the state constitution, voters approved a constitutional amendment (“Proposition 8”) limiting the validity and recognition of “marriages” to heterosexual couples. Subsequent court challenges ensued. In Strauss v. Horton (207 P.3d 48 (CA 2009)), the California Supreme Court found that Proposition 8 is a properly enacted limited constitutional amendment. However, the court found that the amendment applies only prospectively, and does not affect the estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages that occurred prior to the amendment’s passage. Proposition 8 opponents subsequently challenged the amendment on constitutional grounds. On August 4, 2010, a federal court judge in the Northern District of California found that Proposition 8 violates both the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Perry v. Schwarzenegger (2010 WL3025614 (N.D. Ca. August 4, 2010)), the court found that the federal constitutional right to marry applies equally to same-sex couples and that Proposition 8 is not rationally related to any legitimate government purpose. This is the first time a federal court has recognized such a right.

Currently, federal law does not recognize same-sex marriages. The Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA), P.L. 104-199, prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages and allows
individual states to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in other states. Section 3 of
DOMA requires that marriage, for purposes of federal benefit programs, must be defined as the
union of one man and one woman. As federal agencies grapple with the interplay of DOMA and
the distribution of federal marriage-based benefits, lower courts are beginning to address the
DOMA’s constitutionality. On July 8, 2010, a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts found section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional in two companion cases (Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, 699 F.Supp. 2d 374 (D. Mass. 2010) and Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 698 F. Supp. 2d 234 (D. Mass. 2010)) brought by same-sex couples married in Massachusetts. At issue were a myriad of benefits. In one case, the court found that DOMA exceeded Congress’s power under the Spending Clause and violated the Tenth Amendment. In the other case, the court held that Congress’s goal of preserving the status quo did not bear a rational relationship to DOMA and thus, violated the Fifth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. It is unclear whether the government will appeal either of these cases.

This report discusses DOMA and legal challenges to it. It reviews legal principles applied to
determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various
approaches employed by states to enable or to prevent same-sex marriage. This report also
examines House and Senate resolutions introduced in previous Congresses proposing a
constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts’ This report also
examines House and Senate resolutions introduced in previous Congresses proposing a
constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts’ jurisdiction to hear or determine any
question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.

September 9, 2010

ABA: Justice is the Business of Government (JBiz) Taskforce

In September 2009, the Executive Committee of the ABA Board of Governors (“BOG”) approved the formation of a joint Task Force of the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence (“SCJI“) and the National Center of State Courts (“NCSC”) to follow up on recommendations made at the May 2009 ABA Summit Conference, "Justice is the Business of Government,” in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Justice is the Business of Government (“JBiz”) Task Force is co-chaired by Mary C. McQueen, President of the NCSC; H. Thomas Wells, Jr., ABA President (2008-2009), and Edward W. Madeira, Jr., SCJI Special Advisor. Jack L. Brown, immediate past Chair of the ABA Judicial Division (“JD”), chairs the JBiz subcommittee on principles and standards relating to state court funding.

JBiz members additionally include: David Adkins, Executive Director, Council of State Governments; Hon. Louraine C. Arkfeld, Presiding Judge (retired), Tempe Municipal Court (1994-2010); Hon. Russell Carparelli, Colorado Court of Appeals; Hon. Ernestine S. Gray, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court; Steven C. Hollon, Administrative Director, Supreme Court of Ohio and past President, Conference of State Court Administrators (2009-2010); Hon. David A. Horowitz, Chair, ABA JD Lawyers Conference; Donald Murray, Senior Legislative Director, Justice and Public Safety at National Association of Counties; David Quam, Director, Office of Federal Relations at National Governors Association; William T. “Bill” Robinson III, President-Elect, American Bar Association; William K. Weisenberg, Assistant Executive Director for Public Affairs and Government Relations, Ohio State Bar Association and Chair, SCJI; and Robert N. Baldwin, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, NCSC.

The focus of JBiz is to address and advance the cause of adequate funding for our state courts. Towards that end, the NCSC acts as the staffing component of the Conference of Chief Justices (“CCJ”), recognizing that the courts must plan "to do more with less." The NCSC, working to establish the value of courts in the administration of justice, has engaged in a "re-engineering" project implicating case administration, court governance, the functions of state courts, and principles for funding...
Source: Excerpts from ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence E-mail, September 7, 2010.

September 7, 2010

LEH Copyright, New Media Law, and E-Commerce Newsletter

Volume 14, No. 4. September 1, 2010
ISSN 1489-954X

Published and Distributed by the Office of Lesley Ellen Harris. 2010 is the 15TH year of publication of the LEH Newsletter. All back issues are archived at
1. Studies, Legislation and Conventions
Canadian Copyright Reform Bill
U.S. Exemptions from Prohibition against Circumvention of Technological Measures

2. Legal Cases:
Google/YouTube Win Viacom Legal Suit
Teaching Materials Subject to a Tariff in Canada
Disney Sues “Mookwalks”

3. Of Interest:
Oxford Dictionary in Electronic Form Only?

4. Seminars and Publications:
The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter
Special Issue on Copyright Jobs
Fall 2010 Online Courses
Webinar on Licensing Tips


CANADIAN COPYRIGHT REFORM BILL – The Canadian Government introduced Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, on June 2, 2010. Discussions on this bill will take place in the Fall, 2010. Further information at

U.S. EXEMPTIONS FROM PROHIBITION AGAINST CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES – On July 27, 2010, the Librarian of Congress announced six classes of works that are now exempt from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyright-protected works. Details at


GOOGLE/YOUTUBE WIN VIACOM LEGAL SUIT – On June 23, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton ruled in favor of Google that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) protects Google-owned YouTube from copyright infringement. Stanton wrote that “mere knowledge of prevalence of [infringing] activity in general is not enough.” The DMCA grants a “safe harbor” to service providers who are not aware of specific copyright infringements and who fix copyright infringements when they learn about them.

TEACHING MATERIALS SUBJECT TO A TARIFF IN CANADA - On July 26, 2010, the Federal Court of Appeal (in Canada) confirmed a Copyright Board of Canada decision after a six-year legal battle. This decision gives Canadian creators and educational publishers the right to receive reasonable compensation for the reproduction of copyright-protected teaching materials that are used in the classroom. See

DISNEY SUES “MOONWALKS” – On August 26, 2010, The Walt Disney Co., Sanrio Co., and DC Comics initiated an action in a federal court in Chicago against a company that supplies inflatable enclosures for children-related events. Chicago Moonwalks is accused of deliberately infringing trademarks and copyrights including Snow White, Cinderella and Ariel, Hello Kitty and Batman. The plaintiffs are seeking destruction of all allegedly infringing products and promotional material, monetary damages of $200,000 for each trademark infringed, $150,000 for each copyright infringed, additional damages as high as $2 million, and three times the profits from each act of infringement, attorney fees and litigation costs.


OXFORD DICTIONARY IN ELECTRONIC FORM ONLY? – The first edition of the full multi-volume Oxford English Dictionary (“OED”) was published in 1928 and the second edition in 1989. Eighty lexicographers are now preparing the third edition of the OED which will likely be ready in a decade. OED publisher has not yet made a decision as to whether the third edition will be available in printed form, and the decision will be made closer to the time of publication. OED Online is updated every three months with revised and new entries.


THE COPYRIGHT & NEW MEDIA LAW NEWSLETTER SPECIAL ISSUE ON COPYRIGHT JOBS – The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter, Volume 2010, Issue 2, is now available in print and PDF. This special issue summarizes interviews with various non-lawyers who work on copyright and licensing issues including librarians, educators, and an employee of Creative Commons and Copyright Clearance Center. This unique publication provides plain English copyright compliance and licensing information aimed at a diverse audience including librarians, educators, government employees, publishers, digital content creators and distributors, and lawyers. The PDF version of this issue only of the Newsletter is available under a Creative Commons license at

FALL ONLINE COURSES – September 27, 2010 is the start date for two online courses. Managing Copyright Issues is a 16 e-lesson course with interaction through a discussion blog. Developing A Copyright Policy is an assignment-based course in which participants draft a copyright compliance policy/guidelines. Register at If you are interested in a series of mini online copyright courses on digital copyright issues including Web 2.0, e-publishing, online courses, permissions and licensing e-content, email

WEBINAR ON LICENSING TIPS – September 16, 2010 is a free webinar for SLA members as part of the quarterly Ask the Copyright Experts: Licensing Tips – 10 Ways to your Comfort Zone When Licensing E-Content. Lesley Ellen Harris will present, followed by a panel with Fred Haber, Copyright Clearance Center, Keith Kupferschmid, Software and Information Industry Association, and Adam Ayer, LicenseLogic. Register at

This newsletter is prepared by Copyright Lawyer Lesley Ellen Harris. Lesley is the author of the books Canadian Copyright Law, 3rd ed. (McGraw-Hill), Digital Property: Currency of the 21st Century (McGraw-Hill), Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians, 2nd ed. (ALA Editions), and A Canadian Museum’s Guide to Developing a Licensing Strategy (Canadian Heritage Information Network). Lesley edits the print newsletter, The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter. Lesley may be reached at

If you are looking for further topical and practical information about copyright law, obtain a sample copy of the print newsletter, The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter, from

August 31, 2010

New York is Moving Forward on E-Discovery and E-Filing

In his August 31, 2010 New York Law Journal article, Court Rule Altered to Buttress E-Discovery; I-Filing Advances, Joel Stashenko discusses the amended Uniform Rules of Trial Courts of the State of New York as an effort to insure that lawyers keep "up to speed" regarding their clients' records at the early stages of discovery. The amended rules were published August 18 and went into effect immediately, having been approved beforehand by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and the presiding justices of the four appellate division departments.

Much of this activity has been influenced by a New York court system report, Electronic Discovery in the State of New York, published in February 2010. The key recommendations of that Report includes: establishing an e-discovery work group; improving the preliminary conference; more e-discovery programs in Education and Training; more court attorney referees serving as e-discovery specialists, establishing an institutional presence at the Sedona Conference; and working harder to improve the quality of E-Discovery practice.

On the second front mentioned in Mr. Stashenko's article, electronic filing of litigant papers is said to be proceeding in New York at a deliberative pace. While more than10,000 lawyers registered for New York's electronic filing system in 2009, compared to only 300 in 2002, there is , as Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau has observed, "there is a long way to go: before e-filing and E-Discovery are required in all New York Courts. After 11 years of experimentation with electronic filing, New York has accorded permanent status to the effort and is now beginning to institute mandatory e-filing in limited areas.

August 20, 2010

New Politics of Judicial Elections, 2000-2009: Decade of Change

A new study of judicial independence from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School

Authored by James Sample, Adam Skaggs, Jonathan Blitzer, Linda Casey
Edited by Charles Hall

Foreword by Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

August 16, 2010.

This Report has been out less than one week and is already receiving wide attention.

From the Executive Summary

State judicial elections have been transformed during the past decade. The story of America’s 2000–2009 high court contests—tens of millions of dollars raised by candidates from parties who may appear before them, millions more poured in by interest groups, nasty and misleading ads, and pressure on judges to signal courtroom rulings on the campaign trail—has become the new normal.

For more than a decade, partisans and special interests of all stripes have been growing more organized in their efforts to use elections to tilt the scales of justice their way. Many Americans have come to fear that justice is for sale. Unlike previous editions, which covered only the most recent election cycle, this fifth edition of the “New Politics of Judicial Elections” looks at the 2000–2009 decade as a whole. By tallying the numbers and “connecting the dots” among key players over the last five election cycles, this report offers a broad portrait of a grave and growing challenge to the impartiality of our nation’s courts. These trends include:

➜➜The explosion in judicial campaign spending, much of it poured in by “super spender” organizations seeking to sway the courts;

➜➜ The parallel surge of nasty and costly TV ads as a prerequisite to gaining a state Supreme Court seat;

➜➜ The emergence of secretive state and national campaigns to tilt state Supreme Court elections;

➜➜ Litigation about judicial campaigns, some of which could boost special-interest pressure on judges;

➜➜ Growing public concern about the threat to fair and impartial justice—and support for meaningful reforms.

Foreword by Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
"This report, the latest in a series begun in 2000, provides a comprehensive review of the threat posed by money and special interest pressure on fair and impartial courts. . . . We all have a stake in ensuring that courts remain fair, impartial, and independent. . . . For 10 years, the New Politics reports have played a leading role in documenting the growing threat to the credibility of our courts. I applaud the authors . . . for working to protect the courts that safeguard our rights."
— Sandra Day O'Connor

August 13, 2010

Skyriver and Innovative Interfaces v. OCLC

On JUly 28, 2010, Skyriver Technology Solutions, LLC and Innovative Interfaces, Inc. filed a complaint against Online Computer Library Center, Inc.(OCLC) in the District Court Northern District of California alleging federal and state antitrust violations and unfair competition. More specifically the complaint states that OCLC " unlawfully monopolizing the bibliographic data, cataloging services, and interlibrary lending markets and is attempting to monopolize the market for integrated library systems by anticompetitive and exclusionary agreements, policies and practices."

OCLC has responded though a Statement from Larry Alford, the Chair of the OCLC Board of Trustees and Jay Jordan OCLC President. The Statement reads in part:

"We at OCLC believe the lawsuit is without merit, and we will vigorously defend the policies and practices of the cooperative
"OCLC's General Counsel, working with trial counsel, will respond to this regrettable action by SkyRiver and Innovative Interfaces following procedures and timetables dictated by the court. This process will likely take months or even years, not days..".

We are not particularly surprised by this action because in our view it is a manifestation of growing concerns and tensions resulting from the increasing commercialization of many organizations serving libraries and other sectors of the information community. Those interested in this issue should also read, or perhaps re-read, Joni Cassidy's posting on this blog: Skyriver: Could It be a Contender?

Here are some other documents and postings we recommend to those interested in following this action. :

Complaint: Docket No 10-cv-03305-BZ

Link to Statement from OCLC Board of Trustees and President about Skyriver, Innovative Interfaces Complaint..

Library Journal article discussing the founding of SkyRiver as a competitor of OCLC and its potential impat on tehnical Service

"SkyRiver Tech and Innovative Interfaces Seeks Access to "OCLC's Unlawfully Acquired Database" in Unfair Competition Complaint" August 10 posting on Law Librarian Blog.