- Today at Cato, all-day “Policing in America” conference, watch online; also check out recent Cato podcasts with Caleb Brown on the power of cop unions [Derek Cohen] and law enforcement drones [Connor Boyack];
- Despite recently enacted New Mexico law ending civil asset forfeiture, Albuquerque goes right on seizing residents’ cars [C.J. Ciaramella, BuzzFeed] Tulsa DA warns that asset forfeiture reform will bring headless bodies swinging from bridges [Radley Balko]
- Through court orders and settlements, Justice Department has seized control of the practices of police departments around the country. How has that worked? [Washington Post]
- Punishing the buyers: “The Nordic model for prostitution is not the solution — it’s the problem” [Stuart Chambers, National Post]
- “Plaintiff Wins $57,000 Settlement Over False Gravity Knife Arrest” [Jon Campbell, Village Voice] Will Republicans block reform of New York’s notorious knife law? [Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit] Second Circuit on standing to sue by knife owners;
- Union-backed bill had Republican sponsor: “Bill shielding identities of police who use force passes Pennsylvania House” [Watchdog]
- Federalist Society convention breakout session on “Ferguson, Baltimore, and Criminal Justice Reform” resulted in fireworks [YouTube; Tim Lynch, Cato]
- Case of Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, suspended 5 times before faking his suicide as death in the line of duty, also illustrates how hard it is to fire a public employee [Scott Reeder/Chicago Sun-Times, reprint at Reboot Illinois]
- More on campaign to extend hate crime laws to cover assaults on police [Tim Cushing/TechDirt, earlier here]
- If cops in bad shootings can’t be prosecuted, is it too much to ask at least that they be fired? [Jonathan Blanks, Washington Post] Or at least that we get to find out their names? “Bill shielding identities of police who use force passes Pennsylvania House” [Watchdog]
- Speaking of privacy: “Three Minneapolis officers sue after their names are revealed in prostitution sting” [Star Tribune]
- Also, how Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights (LEOBR) laws fit in: “How bloated pensions contribute to police brutality” [Radley Balko]
- “Reducing the Power of Paramilitary Unions is a Civil Rights Issue” [John McGinnis, Law and Liberty; related, Campaign Zero, Coyote, Michael Wear/USA Today]
- Albuquerque cop, fired after having his lapel cam turned off during a shooting, wins reinstatement to force [David Kravets, ArsTechnica via Matthew Feeney, Cato]
Our readers and commenters knew more than we did about that case referenced week before last in which the New Mexico courts are deciding whether a Texas doctor can be sued under New Mexico’s relatively pro-plaintiff law over care delivered in the Lone Star State, following a patient’s referral by a New Mexico health insurance plan. Alarmed at the ruling, some Texas docs are threatening to not accept New Mexico patients. You can find more coverage of Montano v. Frezza by Josie Ortegon at El Paso’s KVIA, and the Texas Alliance For Patient Access has a website about the case, which has drawn amicus briefs from organizations that include the University of Texas System and Texas Medical Liability Trust. Samuel Walker of McGinn, Carpenter, Montoya, and Love provides a plaintiff’s-side view of the issues in the several related Frezza suits.
- Surprised this story of interstate lawsuit exposure hasn’t had national coverage: “Texas docs threaten to stop seeing New Mexico patients” [Hobbs, N.M., News]
- More on the Daraprim episode and the fiasco of FDA generic-drug regulation [Watchdog, earlier here and here] More: Ira Stoll/N.Y. Sun;
- Warrants, HIPAA be damned: Drug Enforcement Administration agents pose as Texas medical board to get at patient records [Jon Cassidy/Watchdog, Tim Cushing/TechDirt via Radley Balko]
- Litigation finance and champerty: the reaction is under way [MathBabe, earlier on pelvic and transvaginal mesh surgery speculation]
- No longer alas a surprise to see JAMA Pediatrics running lame, politicized content on topics like “youth gun carrying” [Jacob Sullum]
- “Shame, blame, and defame”: in alcohol regulation as in other public health fields, government-funded research can look a lot like advocacy [Edward Peter Stringham, The Hill]
- More adventures in public health: study finds dry counties in Kentucky have bigger problems with methamphetamine [Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post “WonkBlog”]
- Med mal something of a regional problem: nearly half of payouts are in Northeast, with New York alone paying out more than the entire Midwest [New Jersey Civil Justice Institute on Diederich Healthcare analysis] “Neurosurgeons were 50% more likely to practice defensive medicine in high-risk states compared with low-risk states” [Smith et al., Neurosurgery via NJCJI]
- New Paul Nolette book on state attorneys general Federalism On Trial includes history of suits led by New York’s Eliot Spitzer to redefine as “fraud” widely known drug-pricing practices that Congress had declined to ban or otherwise address. The resulting lucrative settlements also earmarked money to fund private critics of the pharmaceutical industry;
- City of Chicago signs on to one of the trial bar’s big current recruitment campaigns, suits seeking recoupment of costs of dealing with prescription opioid abuse [Drug & Device Law; earlier here, here, here]
- We here in Washington, D.C. take very seriously any violations of HIPAA, the health privacy law. Just kidding! If a union supporter pulls information from an employee medical database to help in an organizing drive, that might be overlooked [Jon Hyman on National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge decision in Rocky Mountain Eye Center]
- “Preferred Care defendants respond to New Mexico Attorney General’s lawsuit, argue it was filed at urging of Cohen Milstein law firm” [Legal NewsLine]
- Philadelphia police run warrant checks of hospital visitor lists, and as a result many persons with outstanding warrants avoid going to hospitals. So asserts sociologist Alice Goffman in her book On the Run, but the evidence is disputed [Sara Mayeux last August, Steven Lubet in review challenging the book more broadly on ethical and factual grounds, Goffman’s response]
- Making contraceptive pill available over the counter without prescription should please supporters of birth control access, right? Funny you should ask [Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason, earlier]
Significant news: New Mexico “Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has signed [into law] HB 560 … effectively abolish[ing] civil asset forfeiture by requiring a criminal conviction before the government can seize property.” [Adam Bates/Cato; Scott Shackford, Reason and more]
Late this afternoon (Monday) I’ll be speaking to an invitation-only group in Annapolis on what state lawmakers should know about the gathering momentum for civil forfeiture reform. If you’re in or near Maryland’s capital city and interested in learning more, contact me.
We posted earlier about a court’s dismissal after five years of the suit by Santa Fe, N.M. resident Arthur Firstenberg against neighbor Raphaela Monribot, over his claims that her electronic devices were exacerbating his condition of “electromagnetic hypersensitivity.” Don’t miss George Johnson’s excellent New York Times write-up, which fills in many more details:
…I assumed the case would be quickly dismissed. Instead, in 2010, it entered the maze of hamster tubes that make up the judicial system.
…About a week ago, after the Court of Appeals upheld the decision, I stopped by the office of Ms. Monribot’s lawyer, Christopher Graeser, with a tape measure. The files for the case sat in boxes on a table. Piled together, the pages would reach more than six feet high.
Court costs, not counting lawyers’ fees, had come to almost $85,000, or more than $1,000 an inch. Because of what the court described as Mr. Firstenberg’s “inability to pay,” the bill went instead to Ms. Monribot’s landlord’s insurance company — as if someone had slipped on an icy sidewalk, or pretended to.
Mr. Graeser and another lawyer, Joseph Romero, represented her pro bono, writing off an estimated $200,000 in legal fees.
We ran a post recently on how Mora County, New Mexico, had somehow passed an ordinance purporting to enact various fringy environmental theories (legal rights for natural landscape features like wetlands, a ban on oil and gas extraction by incorporated businesses, declaring all water a public trust) while stripping away a variety of currently recognized constitutional rights, both for businesses and others. A judge proceeded to strike the ordinance down, but several of our readers wondered how such a law could ever have made it past the review of lawyers in the first place, assuming the county was advised by such. Now Joseph Bottum, at the Weekly Standard, digs much deeper into the back story of the ordinance with exactly such questions in mind. He also explores the secessionist/insurrectionist tendencies implicit in the ordinance’s rejection of the supremacy or even authority of higher levels of government. It’s quite a story.
County in New Mexico purports to ban oil/gas extraction, assign legal rights to rivers, wetlands and other natural features, declare all water a public trust, create an enforceable legal right to a “sustainable energy future,” strip corporations of various current constitutional rights, and make the whole thing self-executing against private parties. Federal court: uh, no, guys [Eugene Volokh on decision in Swepi, LP v. Mora County, striking down ordinance on various grounds including Supremacy Clause, First and Fifth Amendments.]