News Roundup

The stock market dropped like a rock yesterday, but it shouldn’t take famous litigator David Boies long to make up his losses. He’s just increased his billing rate to $1,220 per hour. I’m thinking of doing the same. Oh, wait, I don’t have a billing rate. In other news:

1. Jamie blogged here about North Carolina’s decision not to comply — at least for now — with federal mandates regarding state sex offender laws. This CNN report notes that only “14 states, nine tribes, and the territory of Guam” have substantially complied with the Adam Walsh Act’s standards. Why so few? The article notes that “Texas has put the estimated federal funding cuts [for noncompliance] at $1.4 million, compared to a cost of $38.7 million [to implement the required changes].” By contrast, this interesting new paper by the Heritage Foundation argues that states’ reasons for noncompliance aren’t valid and that full implementation of federal standards is essential. (Hat tip: Sentencing Law and Policy.)

2. The recent Georgia execution of Andrew DeYoung was videotaped for the purpose of gathering data about the practice of lethal injection and whether it results in suffering by the condemned. (No visible evidence of suffering was noted.) This New York Times editorial argues that all executions should be not only recorded, but televised: “[A] functioning democracy demands maximum accountability and transparency. As long as executions remain behind closed doors, those are impossible. The people should have the right to see what is being done in their name and with their tax dollars.”

3. The San Francisco Chronicle notes here that California has passed a new law that prohibits convictions based on the uncorroborated testimony of jailhouse informants. The bill itself is available here. It’s interesting and not long. One noteworthy feature of the law is that it limits the state’s ability to use one in-custody informant to corroborate another. The Chronicle says that 17 other states have similar laws.

4. In last week’s news roundup, I noted a New York case in which a harassment case was dismissed on free speech grounds. A somewhat similar issue has grabbed some national attention this week: In Renton, Washington, prosecutors have applied for a search warrant in connection with the posting of “Southpark-style parody videos” mocking local police, apparently on the theory that because the videos contain some foul language, they violate Washington’s cyberstalking statute. The statute makes it a crime to “with intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass any other person . . . make[] an electronic communication¬† . . . [u]sing any lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language.” You can read more about this case on the Volokh Conspiracy, which poses some interesting hypotheticals regarding Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner, and Jerry Falwell, or the WSJ Law Blog.

5. On a somewhat lighter note: Some criminal defense lawyers have tacky personalized license plates innovative marketing strategies; a Connecticut court recently ruled that a motion to suppress a “large crocodile” should have been granted; and whatever problems the UNC football program may be experiencing, it’s still better to go to a game here than at Georgia Tech, where they’ll strip search you if they think you’re hiding Chik-Fil-A in your pants. Allegedly.

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