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January 6, 2012

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Sotomayor & Retroactive Sentencing Adjustments: Surprisingly Constrained

Sotomayor & Retroactive Sentencing Adjustments: Surprisingly Constrained

The fears of the judicially conservative during the nomination and confirmation of any SCOTUS justice from a liberal Administration is that the newly seated justice will expand the Constitution like a rubber band until it snaps.  Now-seated Associate Justice Sotomayor had these fears bounced off the side of her head throughout the review process.  I’m […]

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January 5, 2012

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Being HIV+ and committing Assault by Default

Being HIV+ and committing Assault by Default

Having HIV is not the death sentence it used to be.  HIV is, however, a communicable and incurable disease.  As such, recklessly transmitting it to an unsuspecting person is a crime.  Historically, a body part could be a “deadly weapon” only in very limited circumstances, but that seems to have changed.  Under many current laws, […]

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January 4, 2012

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Due Process v. Ex Post Facto: Why we’re still arguing a Death Penalty case 34 years later

Due Process v. Ex Post Facto:  Why we’re still arguing a Death Penalty case 34 years later

This case is so old, I’ve added the “History” tag.  Oh for the days when a horse thief was found guilty on Monday and hung on Tuesday.  So you know where we’re heading before we get lost in the decades, SCOTUS has been petitioned to grant cert.  No reaction yet, but I suspect they will […]

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January 3, 2012

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How to write like a lawyer (a good one), at least according to a PA SCt Justice

How to write like a lawyer (a good one), at least according to a PA SCt Justice

An associate justice of the PA Supreme Court wrote an article entitled, “The Necessity of Clarity and Brevity in Legal Writing.”  All due respect to one of our Supreme Leaders, but the article reads more like a reminder of the basics rather than one providing deep insights into litigation success.  Regardless, the basics – particularly […]

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January 2, 2012

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Preview of selected SCOTUS Arguments – January 2012

Preview of selected SCOTUS Arguments – January 2012

SCOTUS has 12 cases presently set for oral argument in January 2012.  I’ve grabbed four I thought may be of interest to you. The first case pits the strong arm of the federal government against us little guys in Sackett v. EPA (10-1062).  It’ll be argued on January 9, 2012.  Check this out: Chantell and […]

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January 1, 2012

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Lawsuit of the Day: I’m not entirely sure what to do with this …

Lawsuit of the Day:  I’m not entirely sure what to do with this …

So I pull a civil complaint – Estate of Stacie Smith v. Casto.  I immediately set aside that the attorney, filing on behalf of the mother as personal representative for the estate, misspelled Stacie’s name in the caption as “Stacice.”  I like civil cases that have underlying criminal matters.  Stacie, sad to say, was murdered. […]

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December 31, 2011

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Tripping through Legal History at the end of 2011

Tripping through Legal History at the end of 2011

Let’s look over our shoulders at what happened on or around this day in legal history … On December 31, 1775, George Washington ordered recruiting officers to accept free blacks into the army.  Concerning slaves, Washington had a mixed history.  He owned slaves for most of his life, as president he sent money to France to […]

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December 30, 2011

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When Habeas Corpus Fails

When Habeas Corpus Fails

The Writ of Habeas Corpus (Latin – We command that you have the body) is a cornerstone of our Constitutional rights.  Properly filed, it requires the government to produce an incarcerated person and to defend the basis for the imprisonment.  If the government’s defense fails, the person walks … kinda sorta that’s how it works […]

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December 29, 2011

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Eyewitness testimony: Remembering what you didn’t see

Eyewitness testimony:  Remembering what you didn’t see

Set aside the alleged over-importance jurors give to Expert Witnesses when it’s explained from the comfortable confines of his $3,000 hand-tailored suit that Analyses A and B led to Conclusion C with a 99.9944% accuracy, and then the DA rams home during closing argument that Conclusion C points to and only to the guilt of […]

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December 28, 2011

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Lawsuit of the Day: Can necessity excuse cannibalism?

Lawsuit of the Day:  Can necessity excuse cannibalism?

“Necessity,” which we’ll discuss later in this post, is a legal concept that excuses certain otherwise illegal acts.  A common example is torching a house to stop the progress of a fire which would otherwise take out an entire neighborhood.  The Arson is overlooked for the greater good. A less dramatic example is when a […]

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