Thursday, September 30, 2010

LAW.COM Newswire Highlights September 30, 2010

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2nd Circuit Upsets Order Requiring Wiretap Turnover in SEC Case Against Galleon
New York Law Journal

A unanimous federal appeals panel has overturned an order requiring defendants in the sprawling Galleon securities fraud case to hand over to the SEC roughly 18,000 wiretapped conversations they had been given by prosecutors in a parallel criminal prosecution. The 2nd Circuit panel found a lower court judge had "clearly exceeded" his jurisdiction by ordering the conversations' disclosure "prior to any ruling on the legality of the wiretaps and without limiting the disclosure to relevant conversations."

Leahy Introduces Bill to Allow Retired Supreme Court Justices to Serve
The National Law Journal

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has put into writing a proposal he first discussed publicly in June: allowing a retired U.S. Supreme Court justice to hear a case when a sitting justice has recused. A big question has been how to decide which retired justice would serve during times when there is more than one retiree who is willing to serve. Skeptics have wondered whether litigants might be able to game any substitution. Leahy's bill would answer the question by handing the decision to the Court itself.

Business Groups Sue SEC Over New Proxy Rules
The National Law Journal

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable filed suit against the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, objecting to new proxy access rules for nominating corporate directors. The groups assert that the rules impose unjustified costs and empower unions and other special interest shareholders at the expense of regular investors. The petitioners have asked the SEC to stay the Nov. 15 effective date of the rules pending conclusion of the litigation.

Chief Justice to Hear Pfizer Cases After Selling Company's Stock
The Associated Press

Chief Justice John Roberts has sold his shares of Pfizer Inc., a move that allows him to participate in two pending Supreme Court cases involving the pharmaceutical maker. In the past, Roberts has not taken part in cases involving Pfizer because he owned less than $15,000 of the company's stock. Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg offered no explanation for Roberts' decision to sell the stock now, but it appears likely that Justice Elena Kagan's need to sit out the two cases played a role in Roberts' timing.

Senate Responds to High Court Ruling on 'Crush Videos'
The National Law Journal

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to address the First Amendment implications of banning animal "crush videos" -- a response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in April that struck down as overbroad the federal Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act of 1999. The high court majority suggested in its ruling that a narrower statute, one limited to crush videos, might pass constitutional muster. The legislation would criminalize the creation, sale, distribution, advertising, marketing and exchange of animal crush videos.

Former Law Firm Partner Charged With Bribing Senator
New Jersey Law Journal

A former partner at one of New Jersey's most prominent law firms is accused of paying $192,000 to a state senator in exchange for legislation and other favors intended to benefit the attorney's land-developer clients. An indictment announced this week charges that Eric Wisler, while a partner at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole, made regular payments from 2004 through 2006 to Sen. Wayne Bryant, D-Camden, in return for Bryant's influence in the Legislature.

Calif. Federal Judge in Gay Marriage Case to Return to Private Practice
The Recorder

Judge Vaughn Walker announced Wednesday he will step down as chief judge of the Northern District of California at the end of the year and will leave the court in February. After two decades on the federal bench, Walker said he wants to return to the private sector. That means if the landmark same-sex marriage case tried before him earlier this year is remanded, it would go to a different judge. The case, in which Walker found the state's gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, is set to be argued at the 9th Circuit in December.

'Apprentice' Contender Quits Brooklyn DA's Office
New York Law Journal

An assistant Brooklyn district attorney has tested whether participating in "the ultimate job interview" on Donald Trump's reality show "The Apprentice" is compatible with being a prosecutor. Apparently, it isn't. Mahsa Saeidi-Azcuy's decision to resign this week renders moot the question of whether District Attorney Charles J. Hynes would be compelled to borrow Trump's trademark tagline: "You're fired."

Calif. Supreme Court Says Inmate's Execution Can't Be Hurried
The Recorder

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday dealt the latest blow to the state's effort to execute a condemned inmate. The court unanimously refused to accommodate the state's timeline for executing Albert Greenwood Brown by suspending its own rules or speeding up its process for reviewing how the prison system adopted new execution regulations. The ruling comes after a federal judge stayed Brown's execution on different grounds.

Bill's Passage Boosts Chances for Settlement of 9/11 Cases
New York Law Journal

The odds of a $712.5 million settlement being approved by responders and cleanup workers at Ground Zero got a boost as the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill setting aside $7.4 billion to provide compensation and free health care. The bill passed following changes that would ensure that police, firefighters and cleanup workers do not have to choose between the bill and a proposed settlement with New York City and its contractors who are insured through the federally funded World Trade Center Captive Insurance Co.

Fla. Grand Jury Won't Probe Complaint Over 'Taj Mahal' Courthouse
The Associated Press

A grand jury has decided against investigating a citizen's complaint about a $48 million appellate courthouse so opulent that critics are deriding it as a "Taj Mahal." The new home of the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, Fla., has become a political football, with politicians blaming each other for approving a sprawling structure replete with a rotunda, dome and columns. Other features include private bathrooms with granite countertops for each of the 15 judges as well as big-screen televisions and kitchens.

80 Years Later, Capone Wins Freedom Again in Mock Trial

Daily Business Review

Miami attorneys, journalists and others -- all in snappy suspenders and fedoras, slick shoes and even slicker hair -- took part Tuesday in a re-enactment of a 1930 trial of notorious Prohibition-era gangster Al Capone, as part of the celebration of the 100th year of Miami-Dade Circuit Court. Judge Scott J. Silverman, who organized the retrial, said the original case was the product of an angry South Florida community eager to rid itself of the nation's biggest mobster -- and willing to illegally arrest him to do it.

India Shuts Out Foreign Law Firms
The American Lawyer

Only a few days after large foreign firms in Brazil received some troublesome news about their ability to operate in that country, many of those same firms got another dose of bad news, this time about their aspirations to gain a foothold in India. India's Ministry of Law and Justice issued two statements on behalf of The Bar Council of India stating that the regulatory body "has decided not to permit foreign lawyers into India."
Visit International News

GCs: Legal Directories Out, Online Searches In
Corporate Counsel

Google searches and online bios are replacing traditional legal directories when it comes to finding outside firms to hire, according to a panel of top legal officers gathered in Denver this summer. Lessons for law firms? Beef up online bios, diversity sells, and get a handle on tech.
Visit Legal Technology

Why No Big Law Reality Series?
Fulton County Daily Report

With all the legal dramas on TV, why aren't there any reality series starring attorneys? The Snark takes a shot at working up a concept for "Big Law Bites," but knows such a show is unlikely, noting, "Sometimes truth isn't stranger than fiction. It's just less interesting."
Visit News & Views

The Careerist: When the Stay-Home Parent Wants to Go Back to Work
The Careerist

Check out some of the latest posts on the blog, The Careerist. When the Stay-Home Parent Wants to Go Back to Work: A how-to guide Also Law School News: Pushy Mom; Spammed Prof, Spurned Students; Lit Prize Also So That's What Men Do!

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