Taxpayers of the Arizona county are shelling out millions in settlements to compensate victims of the systematic abuses committed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and D.A. Andrew Thomas. The latest settlement, $1.4 million, was to a developer whose office was ransacked as part of a series of raids conducted against Arpaio’s and Thomas’s political enemies, purportedly in search of evidence of political corruption. “Thomas was disbarred for his actions last year, but Arpaio was re-elected to a sixth term as sheriff in November.” When organized lawyers display higher ethical standards than an electorate, I’m not sure it reflects well on the electorate. [Aaron Kase, Lawyers.com, Phoenix New Times; earlier on Arpaio and on Thomas]
…you don’t actually need to have driven under the influence. If it’s an illegal substance, metabolites in your blood may suffice whether or not you were impaired at the time you actually did the driving. At least that’s the ruling of a state court of appeals; the Arizona Supreme Court could still reverse it. [John Ross/Reason, Scott Greenfield]
Paul Karlsgodt at Class Action Blawg reports that the bill “sets forth some specific requirements for class certification that are much more exacting than those required under federal Rule 23 and most state class action rules” and summarizes the provisions as follows (quoting directly):
- clear and convincing evidence would be required to justify a grant of class certification
- orders granting class certification would have to be supported by a detailed written statement of the reasons and evidence justifying the decision
- in assessing superiority, the court would be required to consider, among other things, ”whether it is probable that the amount which may be recovered by individual class members will be large enough in relation to the expense and effort of administering the action to justify maintaining the case as a class action”
- there would be a rebuttable presumption against class certification in cases involving claims where individual knowledge, causation, and reliance are required elements
- certification of a case as a class action would not relieve any class member of the requirement of proving individual injury or damages
- class notice must include a statement of ”the possible financial consequences for the class”
- the law would expressly provide that the plaintiff would bear the initial cost of distributing notice to the class
- appeals from orders granting or denying class certification could be taken as a matter of right the same as a final judgment, and trial court proceedings would be automatically stayed pending the appeal.
A prerequisite for a high school diploma in Arizona, if some lawmakers there get their way. [Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal]
As noted earlier, last week U.N. Human Rights Council rapporteur James Anaya (who also happens to be a lawprof at the University of Arizona) declared the U.S. to be trampling the aboriginal land rights of Indian tribes. I have a new Daily Caller piece pointing out (as I detail at more length in Schools for Misrule) that the U.N.’s involvement with American law school projects is nothing new: “Now the plaintiff’s counsel [in the Western Shoshone claim] of a few years back re-surfaces as the official instrument of a U.N. body, a revolving-door arrangement that is actually quite typical of the international human rights establishment, where a rather small band of crusading law professors, ‘civil society’ activists and Guardian readers around the world seem to take turns investigating each others’, or as the case may be their own, countries for putative human rights violations.” (& Julian Ku, Opinio Juris)
Former Maricopa County, Arizona state’s attorney and frequent Overlawyered mentionee Andrew Thomas now faces disbarment for misdeeds that include launching unfounded prosecutions of local officials who had criticized him [Terry Carter, ABA Journal] The latest ABA Journal headline is an instant classic: “Defiant After Disbarment Ruling, Ex-Maricopa Attorney Andrew Thomas Compares Himself to Gandhi”
An Arizona lawmaker has proposed (how many regrettable stories begin with that lead-in!) a crackdown on looks-enhancement in advertising. “House Bill 2793, proposed by Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, would require advertisers who alter or enhance a photo to put a disclaimer on that ad alerting customers that ‘Postproduction techniques were made to alter the appearance in this advertisement. When using this product, similar results may not be achieved.’” [Arizona Republic via Coyote, earlier (and compare)]
A Massachusetts federal judge has declined to throw out an ADA suit against Netflix demanding captioning of its streaming movie service, but “stayed the case pending rulemaking by the Federal Communications Commission.” [Qualters, NLJ] Relatedly, Arizona’s largest movie chain will install closed captioning and headset systems in all its outlets following an adverse ruling by the Ninth Circuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). [East Valley Tribune, earlier] Meanwhile, following an audit negotiated in a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, “The city of Tucson may have to find an estimated $17 million to bring many of its facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.” [Star]
My new Cato post points out that while this may be craziness, it’s craziness with a long pedigree:
It was way back in the first Bush administration that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) began filing lawsuits against employers for “discriminating” against employees with difficult-to-understand or heavily accented speech, the theory being that this served as an improper proxy for discrimination based on national origin. The scope for allowable exceptions was exceedingly narrow, too narrow to cover most teaching positions, as I wrote quite a while back when the issue had just come over the horizon in a Massachusetts case. Indeed, the National Education Association (I pointed out) had been prevailed on to pass a resolution “decrying disparate treatment on the basis of ‘pronunciation’ — quite a switch from the old days when teachers used to be demons for correctness on that topic.”
Read the whole thing here (& Alkon, Peter Pappas/Tax Lawyer’s Blog, Bader). Another view: Josh Hanson.
Bad enough when the media caters to this sort of thing, but when government itself does it, you may have crossed into Arpaio territory [Coyote] Related: David Kravets, Wired.