Overlawyered http://overlawyered.com Chronicling the high cost of our legal system Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:27:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 “The increasing criminalization of corporate behavior in America…” http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/economist-criminalize-business/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=economist-criminalize-business http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/economist-criminalize-business/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:27:00 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47967 “…is bad for the rule of law and for capitalism,” opines The Economist, saying regulation-through prosecution has become “an extortion racket,” from hundreds of millions in Google drug-ad settlement money spread among Rhode Island police departments, to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s muscling in to extract money from BNP Paribas in a settlement of legal […]

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“…is bad for the rule of law and for capitalism,” opines The Economist, saying regulation-through prosecution has become “an extortion racket,” from hundreds of millions in Google drug-ad settlement money spread among Rhode Island police departments, to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s muscling in to extract money from BNP Paribas in a settlement of legal offenses against U.S. foreign policy as distinct from New York consumers:

Who runs the world’s most lucrative shakedown operation? The Sicilian mafia? The People’s Liberation Army in China? The kleptocracy in the Kremlin? If you are a big business, all these are less grasping than America’s regulatory system. The formula is simple: find a large company that may (or may not) have done something wrong; threaten its managers with commercial ruin, preferably with criminal charges; force them to use their shareholders’ money to pay an enormous fine to drop the charges in a secret settlement (so nobody can check the details). Then repeat with another large company. …

Perhaps the most destructive part of it all is the secrecy and opacity. The public never finds out the full facts of the case, nor discovers which specific people—with souls and bodies—were to blame. Since the cases never go to court, precedent is not established, so it is unclear what exactly is illegal. That enables future shakedowns, but hurts the rule of law and imposes enormous costs.

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Kennewick Man: science 1, Army Corps and DoJ 0 http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/kennewick-man/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kennewick-man http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/kennewick-man/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 15:34:22 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47950 The U.S. government was intent on “repatriating” the ancient remains of Kennewick Man for burial to Indian tribes in compliance with the perceived spirit of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), though any relation between those remains and current tribes is at best notional. The U.S. Department of Justice and Army Corps […]

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The U.S. government was intent on “repatriating” the ancient remains of Kennewick Man for burial to Indian tribes in compliance with the perceived spirit of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), though any relation between those remains and current tribes is at best notional. The U.S. Department of Justice and Army Corps of Engineers had thrown their full weight on the side of immediate burial, even threatening criminal charges against individual scientists who insisted on litigating the case. “If it weren’t for a harrowing round of panicky last-minute maneuvering worthy of a legal thriller, the remains might have been buried and lost to science forever.” Fortunately, scientists won in the end, leaving the “most important human skeleton ever found in North America” finally free to disclose his secrets. [Smithsonian, earlier]

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ALS group drops attempt to trademark “ice bucket challenge” http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/als-group-moves-trademark-ice-bucket-challenge-viral-sensation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=als-group-moves-trademark-ice-bucket-challenge-viral-sensation http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/als-group-moves-trademark-ice-bucket-challenge-viral-sensation/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 15:44:24 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47938 The retreat came after Mike Masnick at TechDirt and Joe Mullin at ArsTechnica pointed out some of the reasons the attempt might be problematic, among them that the challenge had been used widely by other charities before it caught on in August in connection with ALS. Tweet Tags: trademarks

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The retreat came after Mike Masnick at TechDirt and Joe Mullin at ArsTechnica pointed out some of the reasons the attempt might be problematic, among them that the challenge had been used widely by other charities before it caught on in August in connection with ALS.

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Writer observes misery of tow impound lot http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/writer-observes-misery-tow-impound-lot/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=writer-observes-misery-tow-impound-lot http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/writer-observes-misery-tow-impound-lot/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:17:58 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47935 And thinks to blame economic inequality, but not municipal coercion [David Sheff, Time] For a Northern California tow-and-impound saga that makes even San Francisco look mild, see earlier coverage here, here, and here. Tweet Tags: San Francisco, traffic laws

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And thinks to blame economic inequality, but not municipal coercion [David Sheff, Time] For a Northern California tow-and-impound saga that makes even San Francisco look mild, see earlier coverage here, here, and here.

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Rule against children playing on grass leads to $80K payout http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/children-playing-grassy-common-areas/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=children-playing-grassy-common-areas http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/children-playing-grassy-common-areas/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:42:50 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47880 According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a Fremont, Calif. apartment building’s rule against children’s playing in grassy common areas amounted to “family status” discrimination. Resulting settlement: $80,000. [DoJ complaint, press release] Tweet Tags: Department of Justice, housing discrimination

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According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a Fremont, Calif. apartment building’s rule against children’s playing in grassy common areas amounted to “family status” discrimination. Resulting settlement: $80,000. [DoJ complaint, press release]

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In Houston, grand jury frequent fliers http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/grand-jury-frequent-fliers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=grand-jury-frequent-fliers http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/grand-jury-frequent-fliers/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:15:41 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47820 Revelations that a single senior Houston police officer served on at least ten grand juries have been an eye-opener to those who might have assumed that the grand jury as constituted in Harris County (Houston) was random or representative in its composition. Radley Balko: …critics allege that the “key-man” system that many Harris County judges […]

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Revelations that a single senior Houston police officer served on at least ten grand juries have been an eye-opener to those who might have assumed that the grand jury as constituted in Harris County (Houston) was random or representative in its composition. Radley Balko:

…critics allege that the “key-man” system that many Harris County judges use to pick grand jurors selects for law enforcement officials and their friends, family, and acquaintances. Critics say it’s too easily manipulated, and results in grand juries continually picked from the same pool of people — cops, retired cops, friends and family of cops, and older, whiter, wealthier, more conservative people who both have the time and money to serve, and are familiar enough with the system to even know to volunteer to serve on a grand jury in the first place.

Adding to the problem, grand jury members are invited to go on police ride-alongs, are given free time at police shooting ranges, and are invited to participate in 3D shooting simulators designed to make them empathetic with police officers. Those same grand jurors are then asked to assess the validity and credibility of the police officers who testify before them, not just in routine investigations, but in investigations of the killing of police officers, alleged abuse by police officers, police shootings, or police corruption.

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Banking and finance roundup http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/banking-finance-roundup-20/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=banking-finance-roundup-20 http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/banking-finance-roundup-20/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:05:14 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47718 Following public furor, are feds backing off “Operation Choke Point” program discouraging banking services to lawful but disfavored enterprises? [Daily Signal] Or does the choking continue? [Washington Business Journal (Capital One cuts off check-cashing firms)] FATCA challenge: “Ontario women sue Ottawa over compliance with new U.S. banking law” [Winnipeg Free Press, earlier] Corporate tax inversions: […]

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  • Following public furor, are feds backing off “Operation Choke Point” program discouraging banking services to lawful but disfavored enterprises? [Daily Signal] Or does the choking continue? [Washington Business Journal (Capital One cuts off check-cashing firms)]
  • FATCA challenge: “Ontario women sue Ottawa over compliance with new U.S. banking law” [Winnipeg Free Press, earlier]
  • Corporate tax inversions: yes, journalist Jonathan Alter really did recommend “McCarthy-era loyalty oaths” [Taranto/WSJ] Obama admininstration was for them (in Delphi case) before it was against them [Bloomberg] And they’re popular with President Obama’s donors even aside from Warren Buffett [same] More: Charles Krauthammer.
  • WSJ editorial on sanctions against Robbins Geller in Boeing securities suit;
  • Profile of Vanguard tax informant David Danon [Philadelphia Inquirer, earlier]
  • Some Denver foreclosure lawyers settle overcharge case [Kevin Funnell, earlier]
  • Contains real juice: “$35 million will go to groups that provide legal, housing and community development programs.” [AP/The Saratogian on New York's share of Bank of America settlement; Stephen Bainbridge]
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    In print on police militarization http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/print-police-militarization/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=print-police-militarization http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/print-police-militarization/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:40:11 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47913 Three columns to read on the subject: Gene Healy, Glenn Reynolds (linking this site), and Nat Hentoff (like Healy, a Cato colleague) in his syndicated column (thanks for mention). I had a letter to the editor yesterday in the Frederick News-Post drawing connections with local lawmakers (as well as a blog post at Free State […]

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    Three columns to read on the subject: Gene Healy, Glenn Reynolds (linking this site), and Nat Hentoff (like Healy, a Cato colleague) in his syndicated column (thanks for mention). I had a letter to the editor yesterday in the Frederick News-Post drawing connections with local lawmakers (as well as a blog post at Free State Notes with similar themes) and the Arizona Republic quoted me Tuesday on the federal subsidy programs that drive militarization, including transfers to the ever-controversial Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office of Joe Arpaio. Earlier here, here, here, here, here, etc.

    P.S. Also quoted on NPR.

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    Driver leaves scene of accident http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/driver-leave-scene-accident/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=driver-leave-scene-accident http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/driver-leave-scene-accident/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:15:41 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47910 And returns accompanied by more victims. After a private car and public school bus were involved in a fender-bender in Jackson, Miss., police say, things began to get a bit wild: “Precinct 4 Commander James McGowan says the driver of a white sedan, the only person in the car at the time of the accident, […]

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    And returns accompanied by more victims. After a private car and public school bus were involved in a fender-bender in Jackson, Miss., police say, things began to get a bit wild: “Precinct 4 Commander James McGowan says the driver of a white sedan, the only person in the car at the time of the accident, left the scene, more than once, and returned with people claiming to be involved in the wreck and injured.” After further altercations, two people present were “charged with disorderly conduct, interfering with police and inciting a riot.” [WLBT]

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    Labor roundup http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/labor-roundup-3/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=labor-roundup-3 http://overlawyered.com/2014/08/labor-roundup-3/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:05:35 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47896 What’s wrong with the NLRB attack on McDonald’s franchising, cont’d [On Labor, earlier here, etc.] Postal union calls in American Federation of Teachers, other public employee unions to kill Staples postal partnership plan [Huffington Post] U.S. Department of Labor uses coercive hot-goods orders to arm-twist blueberry farmers, judges say no [Jared Meyer, Econ21 and Salem […]

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  • What’s wrong with the NLRB attack on McDonald’s franchising, cont’d [On Labor, earlier here, etc.]
  • Postal union calls in American Federation of Teachers, other public employee unions to kill Staples postal partnership plan [Huffington Post]
  • U.S. Department of Labor uses coercive hot-goods orders to arm-twist blueberry farmers, judges say no [Jared Meyer, Econ21 and Salem Statesman-Journal]
  • “Watch Closely Obama’s Treatment of Unions” [Diana Furchtgott-Roth] “Obama ‘Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces’ Executive Order Will Punish Firms in Pro-Worker States” [Hans Bader, CEI]
  • Judge: massive document request signals NLRB’s emergence as litigation arm, and co-organizer, of unions [Sean Higgins, Examiner] Wobblies on top: NLRB sides with IWW workers over poster claiming eatery’s food was unsafe [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, earlier]
  • Academic debate on union issues already wildly lopsided, union-backed labor history curriculum unlikely to help [Alex Bolt, Workplace Choice]
  • Turning unionism into a protected-class category in parallel with discrimination law is one of the worst ideas ever [Jon Hyman, earlier here, etc.]
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