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Federal appeals court says state must pay for inmate’s sex-change operation

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 6:32pm
In what is being billed as the first such decision by a federal appeals court, the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday agreed with a trial court judge that the state of Massachusetts must pay for an inmate's sex-change operation. Upholding a 2012 decision by U.S. District…

Judge subpoenas sheriff to explain why assistant DA jailed for violating gag order was released

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 4:34pm
An assistant prosecutor who acts as a spokesman for the New Orleans district attorney's office was sent to jail for 24 hours Thursday afternoon by a judge who found him in contempt of a gag order for speaking to the media about a murder case. But Assistant Orleans Parish DA…

With the Supreme Court’s OK, states begin imposing new laws to limit the vote

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 4:03pm
When Brother Albert Phillipp arrived at his newly formed parish in 1996, he found an area in dire need of help. The parish of San Felipe de Jesus consisted of desperately poor people who lived in ramshackle houses, many of which were unsafe. The sun-baked rural community lacked paved streets,…

Divorce case sparked attacks on lawyer, judge and others, jurors in murder trial are told

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 3:10pm
A bitter divorce in which Bruce J. Nozolino lost custody of his children led the former white-collar worker to kill a man with whom his wife had had a brief affair and try to kill his wife's divorce lawyer, the Colorado judge who heard the case and others, jurors were…

Driver ticketed for Google Glass acquitted, but ‘the fun is just starting,’ legal expert says

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 1:40pm
A California driver ticketed for driving while wearing Google Glass has been acquitted at trial. But that doesn't necessarily mean others who wish to utilize the computerized recording device behind the wheel should breathe a sigh of relief. A San Diego County traffic court commissioner said it wasn't proven beyond…

Woman gets 5 years for making false rape report

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 12:30pm
A 38-year-old Michigan woman was sentenced Friday to five years in prison after being convicted last month of making up a story that two men had entered her home about 80 miles from Detroit and raped her. The two men, who attended the same church as Sara Ylen's ex-husband, likely…

Obama announces curbs on phone data collection

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 11:31am
President Obama on Friday announced he is planning a “new approach” for the bulk collection and handling of phone records, part of a series of new privacy protections to be implemented after leaks by Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency's surveillance program. Obama said he planned to end the…

Judge didn’t give notice before dismissing cases, lawyer says in complaint

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 11:29am
A lawyer has made a complaint against a Texas judge, contending in an email sent to the Harris County District Attorney's public integrity unit that family court judge Denise Pratt failed to give notice before dismissing hundreds of cases last month, as required by court procedural rules. In fact, says…

Judge approves forfeiture of more than $25M in Bitcoins

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 9:21am
A federal judge in Manhattan has approved the forfeiture more than $25 million worth of Bitcoins, a virtual currency seized from the servers of a website allegedly used to facilitate illegal drug sales. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan on Thursday announced the forfeiture order for nearly 30,000 Bitcoins seized…

Don’t talk to police without an attorney? For some, that’s hard advice to take, blogger writes

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 8:30am
Popehat blogger Ken White thinks that it is always too risky to talk to police before seeking a lawyer's counsel. "If you talk to them, it is somewhere between possible and likely that you will incriminate yourself, whether or not you have done anything." And this week, White…

Lawyer leaves Winston & Strawn to defend Utah ban on same-sex marriage

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 8:30am
Updated: Winston & Strawn partner Gene Schaerr is leaving the law firm to defend Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced on Thursday that Schaerr will be lead outside counsel for the state’s defense of the ban in a case pending before the Denver-based 10th U.S.…

Convicted killer snorts and gasps during execution; is society too ‘namby pamby’?

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 6:57am
An Ohio inmate who was executed using a new two-drug cocktail on Thursday made snorting and snoring noises during the longer-than-usual process. A Columbus Dispatch reporter who watched the execution of Dennis McGuire wrote that he “struggled, made guttural noises, gasped for air and choked for about…

Jurors reject blame-the-paralegal defense in embezzlement case

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 6:15am
Corrected: Jurors in Warwick, R.I., convicted a former state senator on Wednesday of conspiring with his former mistress, who worked as his paralegal, to steal more than $160,000 from his legal clients in three real-estate transactions. Former state Sen. Patrick Timothy McDonald was found guilty of three counts of embezzlement…

Which six law firms made Fortune’s list of 100 best companies to work for?

Fri, 2014/01/17 - 5:45am
Baker Donelson is the 31st-best company to work for in the United States, according to Fortune’s list of 100 top workplaces. It's the best ranking ever for Baker Donelson, which outranked five other law firms that made the 2014 list, according to a

Oops. Ringing cellphone during court hearing leads to new trouble for defendant

Thu, 2014/01/16 - 5:45pm
In court on Wednesday in suburban Chicago to pay a $150 fine, Nichalas Weesies apparently forgot to turn off his cellphone. It rang. That, along with what Lt. Michael Rompa of the Bolingbrook police called a "derogatory comment," led Judge Dave Carlson to hold Weesies in contempt in the Bolingbrook…

Man is tried from hospital bed, convicted of murdering his 91-year-old wife

Thu, 2014/01/16 - 4:49pm
A 49-year-old man whose weight has dwindled to 92 pounds due to periodic fasting over the past year was tried on his hospital bed and convicted Thursday of first-degree murder in the death in 2011 of his 91-year-old wife. It was the first case ever tried in D.C. Superior Court…

Cities and counties can ban marijuana use that is legal under state law, AG says

Thu, 2014/01/16 - 3:25pm
Adding more complexity to a new Washington law legalizing the possession and sale of recreational marijuana, the state attorney general is supporting the rights of cities and counties to ban pot within their precincts. In a Thursday opinion (PDF), Attorney General Bob Ferguson says the voter initiative authorizing…

Courtney Love testifies at first US ‘Twibel’ trial, sued by her ex-lawyer over critical tweet

Thu, 2014/01/16 - 2:25pm
Three years ago, Courtney Love paid $430,000 to settle a fashion designer's lawsuit over a series of insulting tweets made by the singer and actress in the heat of a dispute over a $4,000 bill. Now the rock singer and actress is at trial in a California defamation suit brought…

Gibson Dunn to represent NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s office amidst ongoing probe of traffic jam scandal

Thu, 2014/01/16 - 12:05pm
A former federal prosecutor who co-chairs the litigation practice group at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher will be representing the office of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie amidst ongoing investigation of its role in the so-called Bridgegate traffic jam scandal. At issue is to what extent the office was involved in…

Lawyer gets 3 years in $1.35M investment fraud; some of the money helped him run for judicial office

Thu, 2014/01/16 - 11:15am
A onetime Georgia judge was sentenced Friday to more than three years in federal prison for defrauding investors of $1.35 million. Authorities say former part-time DeKalb Recorder's Court Judge Michael Rothenberg used the money to fund an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the DeKalb County Superior Court, as well…