STUPIDERER: Two North Carolina teens hit with child porn charges after consensual sexting

We're well on our way to self extinction by using unnatural selection to make ourselves as dumb as possible. Two teens sending dirty pictures to each other should be a parental matter, not a criminal case with both willing participants getting charged with adult felonies.

Source: Arstechnica

Article III federal judge takes prosecutor to task for lying in court

In an article from December 2014, Sidney Powell offers a colorful description of a proceeding in which a federal judge excoriated a federal prosecutor for lying in his courtroom.  Sidney Powell, Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy Blasts Federal Prosecutor For Lying in Court (December 16, 2014) observer.com.  Sidney Powell worked in the Department of Justice for 10 years and was lead counsel in more than 500 federal appeals. She is the author of Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.  Sadly, these sorts of abused of power appear to be increasing in frequency (or the technology age has rendered them easier to detect and widely disseminate).

Source: http://observer.com/2014/12/federal-judge-...

Appellate briefs you have to read to believe....and even then

As Captain Renault said, "I'm shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here!"  And like Captain Renault, not really.  On the last day of 2013, I noted in a post some news stories about the happenings in a class action suit alleging a scheme to transform most or all of $6 million settlement into attorney's fees without fully disclosing the scheme to roughly 600 clients until it was too late for them to do anything about it.  Those articles were eye-opening to say the least.  But now I can safely say that you haven't seen anything yet.  I have in my digital fingers the appellate briefs from the main case (the appeal of an injunction issued by the trial court).  The Respondent's Brief, in particular, is something you won't see very often.  Check them out:

Chickens and homes and roosts for Capstone Law APC, if recent suit has anything to say about it

I've covered the very interesting moves of attorneys from Initiative Legal Group to Capstone Law here.  Now, a suit filed in San Francisco Superior Court, entitled Maxon v. Capstone Law, CGC-13-528884, offers a possible context for the rapid movement of attorneys from Initiative Legal Group to Capstone Law, and that context is disturbing.  In a column on law.com, Scott Graham, of The Recorder, reports on the allegations contending that Capstone Law was formed to hide assets from a fraud lawsuit filed against Initiative Legal Group related to dealings with 600 clients.  Scott Graham, Plaintiffs Shop Hit With New Ethics Suit, The Recorder (February 21, 2013).

AOC moves to smother criticism by judges, stifling First Amendment rights along the way

A story first made the rounds quietly in November of last year about a proposed ethics rule that is just broad enough and vague enough that it can be used as a tool by AOC to punish any judge with the gumption to criticize decisions of the AOC.  That rule has passed, unsurprisingly (Note: when you see a news report that something entirely likely to occur is "unexpected," that should tip you off to the agenda of the reporter, not that the event was "unexpected").  It was entirely expected that it would pass.  It was proposed to stifle dissent by using the costs associated with an ethics inquiry to shut down free speech.

We have two simultaneous problems in California's judicial branch of government, a constitutional and co-equal branch.  First, the judicial branch is catastrophically underfunded.  The Los Angeles Superior Court should not be shutting down courtrooms.  A member of the bench who shall remain nameless told me that with the coming courtroom closures in Los Angeles, the average caseload that is currently running somewhere between 550 and 600 cases per judge will jump by about 150 cases per courtroom.  What sort of justice will anyone receive under those conditions?

Second, the AOC has ballooned into a bloated bureaucracy that serves itself.  Why did the AOC mushroom from 100 employees to well over 1,000 employees inside of a decade?  Fixing this bloat would save some money.  Getting rid of the endless boondoggle of the unicorn known as CCMS saved some money, but it doesn't close the gap between current funding levels and what those levels should be at to have courts in each county that can manage the caseloads they face.  I don't know the right caseload for a civil trial court, but it isn't 550 case, and it surely isn't 700 cases.  You'd probably receive real attention and a better measure of justice if those caseloads were more like 250-300 cases per courtroom.

I condemn the current and past legislatures for allowing this to happen.  I condemn AOC for succumbing to corruption and administrative bloat (I refer to the allegation of embezzlement in the alleged amount of $100,000 that was not reported or charged as an example of that).

So to the massive audience of Legislators reading this and waiting for my go-signal, here it is: Fix the funding shortfall (who cares if you have to cancel a high speed train to do it - this is a co-equal branch of government we're talking about) and root out the administrative bloat (in other words, start insisting upon the firing of AOC staff until you have half the number you started at and then reassess, and then get rid of some more).

By the way, if someone handed me half the amount of money that was wasted on CCMS, I could have a Statewide court system database up and running in a few years, with enough left for me to retire on in a castle that I would have constructed out of rare marble on my own private island.

More Supreme Court News from the December 14, 2012 Weekly Conference

While I reported on two depublication orders on Wednesday, other activity of note occured at the California Supreme Court's Weekly Conference hed on December 14, 2012.  The Court Granted a Petition for Review in Reyes v. Liberman Broadcasting (in which the Court of Appeal reversed the denial of a petition to compel arbitration) and Ordered the matter Held pending the outcome of Iskanian.  Many years from now we may know more about the extent to which arbitration agreements will be enforced in different settings.