Massachusetts: “A Tewksbury motel owner who just beat back U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s three-year bid to seize his business has become the latest critic to accuse the Hub’s top fed of prosecutorial bullying. … The feds first tried to grab [Russ] Caswell’s property in 2009 under drug seizure laws, citing numerous drug busts at the motel. Caswell’s defense team argued that he was not responsible for what guests did. And his lawyers found there was actually more drug activity at nearby businesses, and theorized the government was going after Caswell, who has no criminal record, because his mortgage-free property is worth more than $1 million.” [Boston Herald; earlier]
By one estimate, “something like 86 percent of the loot that state and local law enforcement agencies receive through federal forfeitures will be unaffected by Holder’s new policy.” [Jacob Sullum, Reason; earlier] “Eric Holder’s Asset Forfeiture Decision Won’t Stop the Widespread Abuse of Police Power” [Jonathan Blanks, New Republic] “New Holder Policy Means Fewer Bal Harbours, More Motel Caswells” [Eapen Thampy, Americans for Forfeiture Reform] More: Balko, continued.
- Justice done in Tewksbury, Mass. as feds won’t appeal loss in Motel Caswell forfeiture case [Institute for Justice]
- Oh, FTC: “Government Now Says Tweets Have To Include ‘The Fine Print'” [Business Insider]
- Judge lifts “no Facebook posts” order against class action objector [Paul Alan Levy, ABA Journal, earlier]
- House Judiciary Committee hearing on litigation abuse feature Ted Frank, John Beisner [link to video, Chamber-backed LNL]
- Update: minister who aided Miller-Jenkins custody-napping gets 27 month sentence [AP,earlier]
- Pennsylvania high court judge convicted on charges of using state staff for campaign [AP] Also in Pa., wife/chief aide of high court justice “has received 18 payments as referral fees for connecting law firms with clients” [Philadelphia Inquirer] “Arkansas Supreme Court Justice reports $50k gift from plaintiff lawyer” [LNL]
- Widow sues church for refusal to accept NASCAR-themed cemetery headstone [IndyStar]
- “The Cash Machine: How the Philly D.A. seizes millions in alleged crime money — whether there’s been a crime or not.” [Isaiah Thompson, Philadelphia City Paper via Alkon] Jacob Sullum on the Motel Caswell forfeiture case [syndicated, earlier]
- Online symposium on Brandon Garrett’s Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong [Co-Op]
- Victims of Detroit police raid on art gallery nightclub get some justice [Ferndale 115]
- John Baker on mens rea and “strict liability” crimes [Fed Soc, PDF]
- Radley Balko has moved his Agitator blog to Huffington Post. And (via @normative) Cato’s Police Misconduct project is tweeting at @NPMRP.
- Want to cross-examine someone on that traffic-camera ticket? Be prepared to pay travel costs for the camera company person [Scott Greenfield] “The mission creep of rape shield law” [same]
- “Does the Criminalization of Tort Inhibit Safety Investigation?” [Beth Haas, Faculty Lounge]
Florida: “The U.S. Justice Department shut down Bal Harbour’s celebrated federal forfeiture program and ordered the police to return more than $4 million, slapping the agency with crushing sanctions for tapping into drug money to pay for first-class flights, luxury car rentals, and payments to informants across the country.” [Miami Herald; more on forfeiture, Institute for Justice, Motel Caswell case]
- Mortgage robo-signing settlement not actually as punitive toward the banks as you might think, succeeds in sticking costs onto various parties not at table [FT, more (US taxpayers could wind up covering much of write-down costs through HAMP program); Felix Salmon (write-downs of underwater mortgages should not be assessed at face value); Mark Calabria, Cato and more, Bloomberg (banks managing to offload much of the cramdown onto investors such as pension funds); Daniel Fisher/Forbes one, two, three (banks get covert benefits, politicos get social engineering and fees — shades of the collusive tobacco settlement!); Above the Law (Schneiderman steers money to legal services programs); Linette Lopez, BI (banks still exposed on many issues). More: Hans Bader, John Steele Gordon.
- “Burned at mediation by my own Facebook post” [Stuart Mauney, Abnormal Use]
- As anti-discrimination law advances, religious liberty retreats [Roger Pilon, Cato] Two views on the birth control mandate [Cathy Young, David Henderson] More: Adler, Frum.
- Motel Caswell case from Tewksbury, Mass. heads to court, could test forfeiture law [Balko] More: Washington Post editorial.
- Which is more unreasonable, OSHA regulation or FAA’s? Open to dispute [John Cochrane, Grumpy Economist]
- Indiana becomes a right to work state. On to Michigan next? [Shikha Dalmia, Reason]
- Warning! Tale of trial psychologists in wizard garb comes from a sinister source, namely me [“In the News,” forensic psychologist Karen Franklin, handsome illustration swiped from Cato site]