Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’

More talks on redistricting reform

I’ve been doing a fair bit of speaking on the cause of redistricting reform in Maryland, which is sure to be back next year although the powers that be in the legislature just adjourned for the year without letting it reach floor consideration or even a committee vote. I joined popular D.C.-area radio host Kojo Nnamdi and had a chance to explore the issues at more depth on Frederick County’s “Eye on Our Community” with Kai Hagen.

In the Herald-Mail, Tamela Baker also has a great write-up of my speech this week (with PowerPoint!) at Hagerstown Rotary. Don’t hesitate to invite me to speak on this topic just because you’re in another state — the issue is a national one.

Crime and punishment roundup

  • Judges generally aren’t supposed to jail defendants over petty fines and fees they’re unable to pay, but many do anyway. How one Texas judge resists [Ed Spillane, Washington Post]
  • Maryland legislature passes amended version of asset forfeiture bill I spoke favorably of at Annapolis press event in January [Tenth Amendment Center, background]
  • Child services hair-sample forensics: “This Canadian Lab Spent 20 Years Ruining Lives” [Tess Owen, Vice]
  • Cato’s 1995 Handbook for Congress urged repeal of Clinton crime bill, but Congress didn’t listen [Tim Lynch, Newsweek and more]
  • “The main thing going through my head was, ‘I’m never going to get a job again.’” Public shaming as punishment [Suzy Khimm, The New Republic]
  • Judge Alex Kozinski publicly names prosecutors in Washington state he thinks may have violated a defendant’s rights [Matt Ferner, HuffPo]

What it took to introduce competition in alcohol retailing

Bethesda Magazine profiles David Trone, whose Total Wine and More chain has helped introduce or reintroduce price-cutting, the negotiating of quantity discounts from vendors, and other advances in the business model for alcohol sales. Along the way, after infuriating competitors who were protected by existing state regulatory arrangements, Trone has been arrested three times, targeted by a Pennsylvania attorney general who was himself later sentenced to prison, subjected to grand jury proceedings at which allied merchants were urged to sever ties with him, and much more, which culminated in getting most of the charges thrown out and paying money to settle others. He spent millions on legal fees. After bad regulatory and legal experiences in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Trone shifted to a new strategy, part of which has involved generous campaign contributions: “So generally what we do now when we enter a new state is hire a lobbyist, hire a great legal team, and go meet the regulators. It’s preemptive, 100 percent.” Now he’s running for Congress.

March 23 roundup

  • Never know who’ll benefit: supersedeas appeal bond limits, sought by tort reformers, may now save Gawker from ruin [WLF, earlier] Plus a Florida appellate court ruling on newsworthiness, and other reasons the scurrilous media outlet is hoping for better luck on appeal if it can get past the bond hurdle [Politico New York]
  • Governance in Indian country: Native American lawyer Gabe Galanda disbarred by Nooksack tribe while fighting disenrollment of some of its members [Seattle Times, followup (tribal judge rules due process was lacking, but in so doing, as employee serving at tribe’s pleasure, “potentially left herself open to being fired”)]
  • Revenge of the broken-winged pterodactyl: Maryland Democrats accuse each other of complicity in gerrymander in fight for Van Hollen’s House seat [me at Free State Notes]
  • Oh, DoJ: “enforced donation to ‘public service’ organizations that just happen to support the ruling party’s goals” [Jeb Kinnison citing this post of ours on mortgage settlements]
  • “Trump’s long trail of litigation” [Brody Mullins and Jim Oberman, WSJ; our earlier here, here, here, etc.]
  • Lansing prosecutor, an “outspoken advocate for ending human trafficking and prostitution,” now facing charges of go ahead and guess [WILX; our Eliot Spitzer coverage]

March 9 roundup

  • Jury tells Marriott to pay $55 million after stalker takes nude video of TV personality from adjoining hotel room [Business Insider]
  • R.I.P. John Sullivan, long-time advocate for lawsuit reform in California [Sacramento Bee]
  • Colleges, speed cameras, and surveillance on buses in my latest Maryland policy roundup; paid leave, publicly financed conference centers and criminalizing drinking hosts in the one before that;
  • AAJ, the trial lawyers lobby, “panned companies’ method of fighting class actions as unfair after member accused it of using the same strategy” [John O’Brien, Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine]
  • In the 1920s, battling chain stores was part of the mission of the Ku Klux Klan [Atlas Obscura]
  • Class-action lawyer Goodson, “husband of Supreme Court justice, recommended 2 firms that got state auditor contract” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]
  • “Indian court issues summons to Hindu monkey god Hanuman” Again? [Lowering the Bar]

Upcoming speeches

I’ll be speaking over the next two weeks in Philadelphia, St. Louis, D.C., and Maryland’s Eastern Shore:

Tues. March 8, Washington, D.C., Common Cause “Blueprint for a Great Democracy” conference, panel on Article V constitutional convention proposals.

Mon., March 14, Philadelphia, Temple Law School Federalist Society, on the life and work of Justice Scalia.

Tues., March 15, Centreville, Md., Queen Anne’s County Republican Club, on redistricting.

Tues., March 22, St. Louis, Mo., Intercollegiate Studies Institute debating Michael Farris on Article V constitutional convention proposals.

For details on any of these events, or to invite me to address your group, inquire at editor -at – overlawyered – dot – com.

Maryland falters on LEOBR reform

Following a series of episodes including the death of Freddie Gray in a Baltimore police van, sentiment seemed to run high for reconsidering at least some of Maryland’s “Law Enforcement Bill of Rights” law, which erects tenure-like obstacles to firing or disciplining police over suspected misconduct. But critics say by the time a commission’s recommendations made it to legislative consideration, they had been watered down to accomplish relatively little and even give the state’s police unions more power than before [WBAL, Jim Giza/Baltimore Sun]

Disabled rights roundup

  • Effort to qualify California ballot initiative to curb state’s infamous ADA filing mills; Harold Kim (US Chamber) podcast on lawsuit abuse and small businesses;
  • Costly canines: Ohio’s Kent State will pay $145,000 for not letting two students have emotional support dogs in housing [Insurance Journal]
  • USC football coach Sarkisian and alcohol: “Lessons In Disability Accommodation and the Interactive Process” [Nancy Yaffe, California Employment Law]
  • “Does ADA require nursing homes to admit obese patients?” [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal]
  • “It’s difficult to think of a piece of legislation that failed more abysmally than the ADA. So now what do we do?” [Scott Sumner; we’ve been on the post-ADA decline in labor force participation by the disabled for a long, long time]
  • After football player collapses on field with heat stroke, resulting in nine-day coma that brings him near death, team doctor refuses to clear him to play again due to re-injury risk; Fourth Circuit reverses lower federal court that had ruled for his claim of disability discrimination [Gavin Class v. Towson University, opinion]
  • Second Circuit: hearing-impaired IBM employee can’t get to jury after rejecting sign-language translation and transcripts of company videos as reasonable accommodation on the ground that captioning would have provided overall nicer experience [Wait a Second! via Daniel Schwartz]

January 15 roundup

  • Malheur standoff: here come the self-styled “citizens’ grand jury” hobbyists [Oregonian, my two cents on this branch of folk law, earlier]
  • Your egg-flipping, coffee-guzzling grandma was right all along about nutrition, federal government now seems gradually to be conceding [Washington Post]
  • “Obama’s State of the Union pledge to push for bipartisan redistricting reform was a late add” [L.A. Times, Politico, American Prospect, Todd Eberly on Twitter, some earlier takes here and here]
  • More Charlie Hebdo retrospectives after a year [Anthony Fisher, Reason] Another bad year for blasphemers [Sarah McLaughlin, more] The magazine’s false friends [Andrew Stuttaford; hadn’t realized that departing NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos, who so curiously compared the magazine’s contents to “hate speech unprotected by the Constitution,” has lately held “the James Madison Visiting Professorship on First Amendment Issues” at the Columbia School of Journalism]
  • “The Ten Most Significant Class Action Cases of 2015” [Andrew Trask]
  • More from Cato on Obama’s “mishmash” of executive orders on guns [Adam Bates, Tim Lynch, Emily Ekins]
  • The “worst and most counter-productive legal complaint that’s been filed in a long, long time” [Barry Rascovar, Maryland Reporter on move by ACLU of Maryland/NAACP Legal Defense Fund to challenge as racially discriminatory the decision to cancel construction of a new Baltimore subway line]