“The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld the dismissal of a libel lawsuit filed over an email that referred to a Seward home inspector as a ‘total idiot.'” [AP/Omaha World-Herald via @VBalasubramani]
In Philadelphia, the city has seized a widow’s home and car for forfeiture after her son was nabbed on charges of selling pot [Inquirer] “Minneapolis police plan to keep $200,000 seized in a raid of a tobacco shop, even though they didn’t find any evidence to merit criminal charges. Meanwhile, a former Michigan town police chief awaits trial on embezzlement and racketeering charges for allegedly using drug forfeiture money to buy pot, prostitutes and a tanning bed for his wife.” [Radley Balko] Nebraska cops seize nearly $50,000 from a Wisconsin man driving from Colorado, “a known source state for marijuana,” but a court orders it returned [same]. Connecticut police use forfeiture proceeds “to buy new police dogs, undercover vehicles, technology, fitness equipment — and to pay for travel to events around the country.” [New Haven Register]
More: Half-forgotten history of how the feds pushed the states to embrace forfeiture [Eapen Thampy, Forfeiture Reform] And for once good news: “Rand Paul introduces bill to reform civil asset forfeiture” [Balko again] And: Rep. Tim Walberg introduces a bill on the House side; video of Heritage panel today with Balko, Walberg and IJ’s Scott Bullock, Andrew Kloster of Heritage moderating.
I’ll be speaking at the University of Nebraska College of Law on Monday and Creighton University School of Law on Tuesday, both lunchtime addresses sponsored by the Federalist Society. More of my speaking schedule for this fall:
Sept. 17, Washington, D.C., panel moderator, Cato Institute annual Constitution Day.
Sept. 19, Baltimore, Md., Baltimore Lawyers Chapter, Federalist Society.
Sept. 25, Ann Arbor, Mich. University of Michigan Law School, Federalist Society.
Sept. 27, South Royalton, Vt. Vermont Law School conference, “The Disclosure Debates: The Regulatory Power of an Informed Public.”
Oct. 15, Frederick, Md.
Oct. 30, Buffalo, N.Y., Canisius College.
Nov. 7, Baltimore, Md., University of Baltimore School of Law, guest lecture.
Nov. 11, Chicago, Ill. University of Chicago Law School, Federalist Society.
If you’d like me to visit your campus or group, drop me a line. (& welcome Joe Patrice, Above the Law readers)
“Washington D.C. city council members are considering a bill that would give D.C. residents the strongest protections against the abuse of civil asset forfeiture in the country.” [John Ross] “Court Ruling Forces Nebraska Police to Return $1 Million Seized from a Former Exotic Dancer by Asset Forfeiture” [Ilya Somin, Lincoln Journal-Star] The American Bar Association, admittedly not a wholly disinterested party, “is supporting the right to a pretrial hearing to challenge court orders freezing assets that a defendant needs to retain counsel.” [ABA Journal] And not necessarily a forfeiture story, but worth pondering even if not: “Undercover Informant Plants Crack Cocaine in Smoke Shop, Business Owner Saved by Tape” [Scotia (Schenectady County), N.Y.; Krayewski]
- Arkansas: “‘Corruption of Blood’ Amendment Withdrawn After House Supporter Is Reminded What Century It Is” [Above the Law]
- George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case heads for trial [TalkLeft, Doug Mataconis, and Richard Hornsby via Megan McArdle on evidentiary standards, earlier]
- Is New Hampshire citizens’ group harassing town parking meter enforcers, or monitoring their work? [Union Leader, ABA Journal, Reason]
- New York politicos quarrel over Hank Greenberg suit, overbroad Martin Act is to blame [Bainbridge]
- Enforcement grabs higher-ups in Ralph Lauren Argentine customs bribery case [FCPA Professor, earlier]
- Who stole the tarts? “Mom has son arrested for stealing Pop-Tarts” [Lowering the Bar; Charlotte, N.C.] Tip from Georgia cops: avoid situations where you might have to cling to hood of moving car [same]
- “Omaha officers told: Don’t interfere with citizens’ right to record police activity” [Omaha World-Herald via @radleybalko (“Good work, Omaha.”)]
A federal judge has declined jurisdiction of the Oglala Sioux tribe’s lawsuit claiming that liquor sellers just over the Nebraska border are legally answerable for the harms of alcoholism on the reservation. The dismissal is without prejudice to possible refiling of the claims in state court; New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof had promoted the cause. [BBC]
- Former county prosecutor convicted of theft is still prosecutor in another county [Nebraska Watchdog]
- Epstein vs. Posner on patents [via Josh Wright, TotM] “Congress Takes Aim at ‘Patent Trolls’ With SHIELD Act” [Lisa Shuchman, Corporate Counsel]
- “Guest Post: The Bucky Balls Ban” [Free-Range Kids, earlier]
- Preacher Bill Keller threatens defamation suit against SPLC unless it removes his ministry from “hate group” list [Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly, earlier on SPLC vs. critics]
- Both sides of the law: “Shon Hopwood robbed five banks. Now he’s a budding attorney with a pair of U.S. Supreme Court cases under his belt.” [Lincoln, Neb. Journal Star]
- “New Mexico Supreme Court Will Hear the Elane Photography Case” [Volokh, earlier here, here]
- James Huffman on tort law: “How modern law promotes victimhood over liberty.” [Hoover “Defining Ideas”]
I’ve got a piece out at Reason today in which I de-foam the Times columnist’s highly aerated assertions about beer sales near the Pine Ridge, S.D. Oglala Sioux reservation. And a followup at Cato: Kristof has written about the failures of the Drug War, so why does he not apply those lessons here? See also: NYT “Room for Debate” discussion. A different view: Eric Turkewitz.
“An American Indian tribe sued some of the world’s largest beer makers today, claiming they knowingly contributed to devastating alcohol-related problems on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.” The Oglala Sioux tribe is asking for $500 million. [AP; Lincoln Journal-Star; Don Surber] More: Jacob Sullum, Ted Frank.