- Radley Balko begins a four-part series on the flawed science of bite mark analysis [parts one, two with Jim Hood angle]
- Federal judge Jed Rakoff “quits commission to protest Justice Department forensic science policy” [Washington Post]
- Disturbing, but, to those familiar with the false-memory literature, not all that surprising: “People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened” [Psychological Science on new research]
- Exposure of faulty fire forensics leads to another release after long time served [WHP, Harrisburg; James Hugney Sr. “maintained his innocence throughout” nearly 36 years in prison following conviction in burning death of sleeping son]
- Courts struggle with evidentiary significance of emoji [Julia Greenberg, Wired] Rap music as gang-tie evidence: “The only value it has is to scare the hell out of white juries, and it’s effective” [ABA Journal]
- Supporters of Brian Peixoto say his Massachusetts conviction typifies problems of shaken baby forensics [Wrongful Conviction News]
- “Allegations that NYPD cops may have planted evidence, perjured themselves and engaged in cover-ups while investigating gun cases.” [New York Times via Balko; NYDN 2011 flashback]
Who’d have guessed that movie studios would entrust populist Mississippi Attorney General and longtime Overlawyered favorite Jim Hood with a key role in pushing their rights as copyright owners against online services and search engines? Not I [Eli Lehrer, Weekly Standard] More from Mike Masnick at TechDirt: “it appears the MPAA and the major Hollywood studios directly funded various state Attorneys General in their efforts to attack and shame Google.” Related: The Verge.
Sequel: Google goes to court to block a sweeping subpoena from Hood [ArsTechnica, HuffPost (Hood: “salacious Hollywood tale”)] “One of Hood’s letters critical of Google, published earlier this week by The New York Times, was ‘largely written by lawyers for the movie industry,’ the company points out.” More: Hood vs. Google, from our archives.
New questions about the work in a shaken-baby-conviction case of Steven Hayne, the controversial state medical examiner whose work has been much defended by Mississippi Attorney General and perennial Overlawyered favorite Jim Hood. [Radley Balko, Washington Post; earlier on Hayne and on shaken baby cases]
- John McGinnis: As information technology disrupts the legal profession, will lawyers’ clout decline? [City Journal]
- Law schools, especially of the more leftward persuasion, collecting millions of dollars in cy pres lawsuit diversions [Derek Muller]
- Who’s still defending embattled medical examiner Steven Hayne? Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood, for one [Radley Balko, earlier here, here, here]
- Life in America will become more drab if Campaign for Safe Cosmetics gets its way [Jeffrey Tucker via @cathyreisenwitz, earlier on “CPSIA for soap”]
- LSAT settled with DoJ demands re: disabled accommodation back in 2002 and again just now, and the differences between the two settlements tell a story [Daniel Fisher, earlier] Some prospective students will be losers [Derek Muller]
- “‘Swoop and Squat': Staged car accidents, insurance fraud rise in L.A.” [Los Angeles Times]
- Toughen duty for California psychiatrists to inform on dangerous patients? Awaiting backfire in three, two, one… [Scott Greenfield]
Meanwhile: Houston judge reported to have issued what law professor Josh Blackman calls “blatantly unconstitutional” gag order requiring Google not only to remove all records of certain allegations against an individual, but also to refrain from discussing the gag order itself [Houston Chronicle]
- Radley Balko on a roll with harrowing, Louisiana-focused piece on misbehaving prosecutors and the system that protects them [HuffPo] “Former Cops Speak Out About Police Militarization” And a BBC interview (auto-plays video);
- Judge Alsup: pay-to-play allegations against Democratic Attorneys General Association, Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood, MSPERS won’t derail class action [Courthouse News]
- “Smoker’s Son Recovers $12.8M for Loss of Consortium” [NLJ]
- How easy is it to get a free federal cellphone (or two or three) without actually qualifying? [Jillian Kay Melchior, NR]
- “‘Total’ly Milking the FCPA Cash Cow?” [Koehler, FCPA Professor]
- “The unfair attack on arbitration” [Hans von Spakovsky]
- How public interest litigators got 501(c)(3) charitable status [Scott Walter, Philanthropy Daily; related earlier]
Following through on a deal announced a year ago, former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore, representing the state under an arrangement with current Attorney General Jim Hood, has now sued BP over damages from the giant Transocean Gulf oil spill. [WaPo, YallPolitics, Sid Salter/Jackson Clarion Ledger] The two figures have long been entwined with each other — and both with now-disgraced Gulf Coast attorney Dickie Scruggs — in litigations that leverage the power of the state to the advantage of private lawyers, including the Great Tobacco Robbery of the late 1990s and Katrina claims.
Peeking under the Hood, cont’d: Mississippi has finally passed sunshine legislation exposing to public scrutiny dealings of its attorney general with outside law firms, which can make large sums in contingency arrangements representing the state [Maggie Haberman, Politico] Not exactly unrelatedly, a Mississippi court has ruled that a settlement of the state’s case against MCI can’t funnel $14 million separately to private lawyers representing Hood on the theory that it was just a side payment and never represented public funds [YallPolitics, earlier on now-disbarred lead private lawyer in case]
The cozy dealings between the state of Mississippi and well-connected private lawyers — especially the way the state comes to hire those lawyers on contingency fee to pursue high-ticket suits against outside defendants — have long furnished grist for this site. Now, opening a new chapter, Mississippi AG Jim Hood has hired former AG Michael Moore, like Hood a longtime Overlawyered favorite, to sue BP over the effects of the Transocean oil spill on the state. [AP, YallPolitics] Per YallPolitics, “Interestingly, there is no specific financial arrangement. Moore and Hood contractually agree to work it out later and have fees paid directly by BP to the as yet to be named legal team led by Moore.” When Moore hired later-disgraced Dickie Scruggs to represent Mississippi what was to develop into the most profitable litigation in history — the multistate tobacco caper — the financial details were likewise shrouded in secrecy, and it was later claimed that there was no written agreement.