Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi’

From the unsealed Mississippi allegations on AG-cozy law firms

We took note last month that a court was unsealing the allegations of a since-settled lawsuit alleging quid pro quo payments at a prominent class-action firm that has represented the state of Mississippi. Now Alan Lange at YallPolitics has more details. “I still maintain that if this case involved any other state officeholder other than Jim Hood that there would be above the fold headlines for days on end.”

Meanwhile, the Fifth Circuit has overturned a procedural win by Google that had halted an investigation by Mississippi AG Jim Hood into Google business practices in which Hood has more or less openly acted as the cat’s paw of Hollywood studios: “in some cases demand letters that came from Hood’s office were actually written by MPAA lawyers.” Google will still have the right to challenge the investigation at a later stage. [Joe Mullin/ArsTechnica, earlier]

Court unseals suit charging kickbacks in Mississippi state legal work

“A federal appeals court in New York has ordered a lawsuit by a former attorney with Bernstein Litowitz unsealed, saying the public has the right to see allegations the prominent class-action firm paid an attorney with connections to the Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s office more than $100,000 to help secure work with the state.” [Daniel Fisher/Forbes] “When he had protested the unnecessary project given to [assistant attorney general DeShun] Martin’s wife, [Bruce] Bernstein says he was told by a fellow partner, ‘Do you ever want us to work with Mississippi again?'” [John O’Brien/Legal NewsLine] The allegations in the lawsuit, which was later settled, were never tested in court and the law firm denies wrongdoing, saying the suit had made “sensational, unfounded accusations.” [Alison Frankel/Reuters]

Crime and punishment roundup

  • If tempted to idealize the U.K. justice system, be aware it was in a London court that Saudi millionaire beat rape charge by arguing that he “tripped” into sexual congress [New York mag]
  • Dear Reuters: it would be great if you could report the full story behind a perp walk like Martin Shkreli’s [Ken White, Popehat]
  • Better for ten innocents to be imprisoned than one businessperson go free: “The New York Times has come out against the creation of a minimum mens rea element for all federal crimes.” [Scott Greenfield, Scott Shackford] More: Orin Kerr; more Greenfield; Cato podcast on mens rea with Robert Alt.
  • Obama Justice Department’s incursions on mens rea dovetail with its efforts on the responsible corporate officer doctrine [Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer, National Review]
  • Escalating fines and fees, as well as a probation system under an incentive not to work, drag down poorer residents of Biloxi, Miss. [Radley Balko]
  • How federal law came to define “sex trafficking” to include non-coerced adult prostitution [American U. law professor Janie Chuang quoted by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post “Fact Checker”, who also debunks wildly inflated figures from Attorney General Loretta Lynch]
  • If only the late Gary Becker, a towering figure in law and economics, could have been persuaded to give up one of his less happy theories… [Alex Tabarrok]

Schools and childhood roundup

  • “Someone could have put their hand in the window and unlocked the door and taken the kids” [Lenore Skenazy/Free Range Kids; related stories here and here; similar, Illinois Policy]
  • Police warn that plan in Scotland to provide state guardian for every child could backfire in abuse investigations [Telegraph, more on “named person” scheme]
  • Also from Scotland: Law Society says proposed ban on liquor promotion is so broad it might snag parent wearing rugby-sponsor jacket at school pickup [Express]
  • Judge rejects Mississippi school finance suit [Andrew Ujifusa, State Education Watch, background]
  • Widespread criticism of Michigan judge for sending kids to juvenile detention for not wanting to have lunch with their father [Radley Balko]
  • “Two Parents Weren’t Sure How Their Little Girl Fractured Her Leg, So CPS Took the Kids” [Lenore Skenazy, more, yet more on “medical kidnapping”]
  • Caleb Brown and Andrew Grossman discuss educator-dues case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association [Cato Daily Podcast, earlier on case, its SCOTUSBlog page]

Forfeiture roundup

  • How does your state rank on asset forfeiture laws? [Michael Greibok, FreedomWorks via Scott Shackford] Maryland delegate alleges that vetoed bill “would have made it easier for criminals to get their forfeited property back,” seemingly unaware that it focused on rights of owners *not* found guilty of anything [Haven Shoemaker, Carroll County Times] Arizona counties said to have nearly free rein in spending money [Arizona Republic via Coyote]
  • I took part last week in a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on civil asset forfeiture, sponsored by Right on Crime, and it went very well I thought [Sarah Gompper, FreedomWorks]
  • “Nail Salon Owner Sues For Return Of Life Savings Seized By DEA Agents At Airport” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt] And: “A federal judge has just ordered the government to return $167,000 it took from a man passing through Nevada on his way to visit his girlfriend in California.” [Cushing]
  • “How Philadelphia seizes millions in ‘pocket change’ from some of the city’s poorest residents” [Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post “Wonkblog”]
  • IRS drops structuring forfeiture case against N.C. convenience store owner Lyndon McLellan, will return more than $107,000 it seized [Institute for Justice]
  • Canada, too, has civil forfeiture when there has been no criminal conviction [British Columbia Civil Liberties Association]
  • Michigan testimony: “After they breached the door at gunpoint with masks, they proceeded to take every belonging in my house” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Town of Richland, Mississippi, population 7,000, builds $4.1 million police headquarters with forfeiture money. Thanks, passing motorists! [Steve Wilson, Mississippi Watchdog via Radley Balko]

Suit over outside-Mississippi adultery turns on awareness of boyfriend’s domicile

Mississippi, along with North Carolina, has preserved the tort of “alienation of affections,” which enables lawsuits by married persons against a spouse’s lover for undermining a marriage. Exercising long-arm jurisdiction, it even allows suits against alleged paramours who have never set foot in Mississippi but (it is claimed) engaged in trysts with a married Mississippian outside the state. In a recent case, however, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that a woman sued under the law could move to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction on the grounds that she had no idea her boyfriend resided in Mississippi over the course of a relationship conducted in other states. [Nordness v. Faucheaux via Volokh]

Medical roundup

  • Mississippi community rallies behind 88 year old doctor investigated by licensure board for practicing from his car [AP]
  • Pennsylvania: “Kill deal between Attorney General’s office and law firm, nursing homes ask court” [Harrisburg Patriot-News; earlier on AG Kathleen Kane; related on law firm of Cohen Milstein, on which earlier]
  • Hazards of overwarning in the wired hospital: “2,507,822 unique alarms in one month in our ICUs, the overwhelming majority of them false.” [Robert Wachter, Medium]
  • JAMS arbitrator, a retired California Supreme Court judge, resists subpoena seeking explanation of settlement allocation decisions among Prempro clients of Girardi Keese [National Law Journal; see also from way back]
  • Reports of VA-scandal retaliation raise question: do all the HIPAA laws in the world protect us from persons in high places wishing to pry into our medical records with ill intent? [J. D. Tuccille, Reason]
  • New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged that 79% of herbal supplements lacked appropriate DNA, but that claim itself turns out to be hard to substantiate [Bill Hammond, New York Daily News]
  • Nurses’ gallows humor defended against That’s-Not-Funny Brigade [Alexandra Robbins, Washington Post]

“Today we take another step away from Mississippi’s tortured past”

As I recount at Cato at Liberty, a new report from the Equal Justice Initiative on the long history of lynching in the South, combined with a federal judge’s widely noted speech upon sentencing three men in a racially oriented Mississippi killing, can bring us to think about how far America has fallen short of the ideal of the rule of law in some periods, and how far it has come since. [& Rod Dreher]

February 19 roundup

  • Sheldon Silver’s law firm reportedly loses its special status in courts [New York Post] “Ex-congresswoman could get payout from court tied to Silver” [same; former Rep. Carolyn McCarthy]
  • “High School Teacher With Fear of Young Children Loses Disability-Bias Case” [EdWeek, h/t @aaronworthing]
  • “Worth remembering that, if they had the power in the 1980s, the public health lobby would have forced us to eat a diet they now say is bad.” [Christopher Snowdon, earlier]
  • Numbers confirm that AG Eric Holder’s forfeiture reform won’t directly affect great majority of cases [Institute for Justice via Jacob Sullum, earlier]
  • Despite curiously thin evidence that they work, bans on texting while driving roll on, including Mississippi [Steve Wilson, Watchdog, thanks for quote, earlier here, etc.] Draft Ohio bill has numerous troubling features, including broad bar on future technologies, vague distraction ban, stiffer penalties without judicial discretion, mandatory court dates for minor offenses [Maggie Thurber, Ohio Watchdog, thanks for quote]
  • Cop’s defense in sex assault of teen: he “[had] money problems and a bad guy scared [him]” [Trumbull, Ct.; Scott Greenfield, Connecticut Post]
  • “Dance like no one is watching; email like it may one day be read aloud in a deposition.” [Olivia Nuzzi]