Patterico's Pontifications

4/18/2008

Adam Liptak to Replace Linda Greenhouse for NYT Supreme Court Coverage: Somehow, It Seems Fitting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:34 pm

Yes, it’s old news, but it happened while I was on vacation (around April 4). So I just noticed it.

In June 2007, I wrote a post titled: Does Adam Liptak Really Get Paid to Write About Legal Matters?? (Plus a Defense of Peremptory Challenges).

I think I made a pretty strong case that he completely misrepresented the state of the law on peremptory challenges.

I should have guessed they’d pick him.

Answers to Texas Family Law Questions

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 9:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Now that Texas has taken temporary custody of the FLDS children, I’m posting for future reference the Texas Family Law Foundation’s questions and answers about proceedings in Texas family law cases. Click on this link or view the questions and answers beneath the fold.

In addition, the text of the Texas Family Code is here.

— DRJ

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Hillary Criticizes Moveon.org at Fundraiser

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 8:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Ben Smith at the Politico addresses Hillary Clinton’s criticism of Moveon.org at a private fundraiser and briefly compares it to Obama’s comments about bitter small-town Americans:

“In a weird mirror image of last Friday’s “cling” revelation — though perhaps without the same general election implications — this Friday afternoon brings a Huffington Post tape reportedly from a closed-door Hillary fundraiser in which Clinton scorns her opponent’s supporters — the liberal activists who make up a pillar of the Democratic party:

“MoveOn.org endorsed [Obama] — which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down,” Clinton said to a meeting of donors. “We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn’t even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that’s what we’re dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it’s primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don’t agree with them. They know I don’t agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me.”

Huffington Post says the comments — of which it provides tape, and which the campaign doesn’t dispute — came from a small, closed-door fundraiser after Super Tuesday but before March 5; slightly oddly, it doesn’t say where or when.”

Smith notes the irony in Hillary’s scorn for Moveon.org because it was “founded, after all, to save her husband from impeachment.”

There’s a lot of irony in Democratic politics right now.

— DRJ

InsideSoCal: “LAPD Union Backs Changes to Special Order 40″

Filed under: Immigration,Law — DRJ @ 7:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I’m not an Angeleno or even a Southern California resident but I’m familiar with Special Order 40 from the tragic Jamiel Shaw, Jr., murder and from earlier stories. This InsideSoCal report suggests the opposition to Special Order 40 may be gaining traction:

LAPD union backs changes to Special Order 40

Councilman Dennis Zine caused an uproar among immigrant rights groups when he proposed changes to Special Order 40, a 1979 rule that prohibits cops from asking about immigration status. He believes police should be able to ask about immigration status and though LAPD Chief William Bratton opposes any changes, the police union came out today in support of Zine.

“Councilman Zine’s motion offers a common-sense approach that will give our officers a needed tool to remove dangerous gang members from the communities they are threatening,” said Tim Sands, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League This motion will improve and enhance our officers’ ability to provide security in the neighborhoods where hard-working men and women, immigrants or native born, are trying to protect themselves and their families from gang violence.”

— DRJ

FLDS Child Custody Testimony (Day 2) & Ruling

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 6:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The San Angelo Standard Times and other media report that Judge Walther ruled the children will not be returned to the ranch and they will be genetically tested:

“7:29 p.m. — Court reconvenes.

The judge thanks all members of the bar for their work and cooperation.

She announces her decision that the children should not return to the ranch.

She says this is the beginning. Hearings will begin June 5, but they will not be en mass. The court orders maternity and paternity testing for each child.

On Monday, a mobile lab at the fairgrounds will test the DNA of all the children and mothers there.

Parents are entitled to an attorney, whether or not they can afford it, she notes.

For now, it’s over.”

In the meantime, “Marleigh Meisner of Texas Child Protective Services said the children will be placed in foster homes pending hearings.”

I’ll add excerpts from the second half of today’s testimony below the fold or, better yet, click on this San Angelo Standard Times link for the complete live-blog.

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FLDS Child Custody Testimony: Day 2 (Prosecution)

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 6:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Deseret News reports Judge Barbara Walther has recessed court and may be prepared to rule on temporary custody of the FLDS children:

“UPDATE: Judge Barbara Walther entertained closing arguments in today’s child custody case involving 416 FLDS children. She then recessed the court and appears poised to make a ruling.”

The live-blog from the San Angelo Standard Times is below the fold and can be accessed directly here. The prosecution section of today’s testimony is excerpted below.

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LAPD SWAT Report: A Con Job

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 12:34 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles police commission at last heard from the “Board of Inquiry” that looked at the LAPD’s SWAT team (discussed in previous posts here, here, here, and here, and elsewhere here and here). The Board attempted to present their report, which recommended more “diversity” among SWAT team members, as an impartial statement of the facts and of their recommendations for improvements. But to anyone who understands the issues the entire presentation was a fraud, one designed to justify the politically correct conclusions LAPD Chief William Bratton sought when he commissioned the Board two years ago.

Of the five police commissioners, only Alan Skobin (not coincidentally the only one with any police experience) seemed to grasp that the presentation was a con job. The others either didn’t know or didn’t care that they were being lied to. The entire episode has been a disgrace, but what is even more disgraceful is that no one in city government or the media will lift a finger to do anything about it.

UPDATE: Commenter Steve (No. 6) is correct. The officer in question, Jennifer Grasso, had a negligent discharge in SWAT school while practicing on the range with an MP-5. Grasso is a good cop and I wish her well, but the fact remains that until now such a serious safety violation would have resulted in any candidate’s immediate disqualification from SWAT. Chief Bratton and his sycophants maintain that SWAT standards have not been lowered, a ludicrous claim on its face, but this incident proves it to be an outright lie. Bratton wants a female in SWAT and that’s what he’ll get, standards be damned.

Was the FLDS Search Instigated by a Prank Call? (Updated: Apparently It Was)

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 12:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This post asks the question but we don’t know the answer … yet. However, thanks to a comment from Jerri Lynn Ward, we do know the Texas Rangers were in Colorado Springs yesterday as local authorities arrested Rozita Swinton for false reporting to authorities in connection with a February 2008 Colorado incident:

“Police in Colorado Springs have arrested a woman for investigation of making a false report to authorities that may be connected to the Fundamentalist LDS Church’s raid on the YFZ Ranch in Texas.

The woman allegedly has a history of making calls while pretending to be a young girl.

Rozita Swinton, 33, was arrested on a warrant charging her with false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor, the Colorado Springs Police Department confirmed in a brief statement issued late Thursday. Swinton was arrested at her home on Wednesday in connection with an incident that occurred in Colorado Springs in February, police said.”

The warrant has been sealed so it’s unclear if there is any connection between Swinton and the Texas case, other than the similarity of the calls and the presence of the Texas Rangers.

If this call does turn out to be a prank, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that assistant devil’s advocate has said this from the start. However, I still don’t think it matters – absent evidence the call was a prank, the authorities have to investigate calls reporting family violence. (I wish we had a family law lawyer who could straighten this out but all the ones I know are in San Angelo.)

In an odd coincidence, a person named Rozita E. Swinton of Colorado Springs is listed on the El Paso County Democratic Party website as an Obama delegate. I don’t know if this is the same person but it’s an unusual name.

UPDATE: According to the Eldorado Success, the Texas Rangers have released new details about the initial phone call. It sounds like Swinton is “Sarah” because the search of Swinton’s home yielded evidence linking her to the calls.

More on Rozita Swinton and the evidence found in her home in this Houston Chronicle article.

— DRJ

John McCain’s Tax News

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:57 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

John McCain is in the Presidential race, too, although it’s easy to forget since he’s not in the news as much as the Democratic contenders. However, McCain should get some press today because of these two tax stories:

McCain has introduced legislation called the “Summer Gas Tax Holiday” bill that “would suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon Federal gas tax, and the 24.4 cent diesel tax, between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2008.”

In other tax news, McCain has released his federal tax returns for 2006 and 2007 but his wife won’t be releasing her returns “in the interest of protecting the privacy of her children …”

I’m sure the McCain campaign hopes there is more coverage of the first tax story than the second.

— DRJ

Sometimes Actions Speak Louder than Words (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:28 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s hot political buzz centers on Barack Obama’s middle finger. Here’s the story from the LA Times political blog Top of the Ticket:

“It’s Sen. Barack Obama, according to the caption on YouTube posted just minutes ago, speaking to a friendly crowd in Raleigh, N.C., today.

He’s talking critically about his opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, and the kind of distasteful gotcha politics that occur in Washington. And he says, “That’s all right. Sen. Clinton looked in her element.”

Watch the video right then. The presidential candidate raises his right hand to seemingly scratch his cheek.

He doesn’t use his whole hand though. Just one finger. Briefly. A couple of strokes.

He pauses. He smiles slyly as the crowd begins to mumble and then he tries, somewhat distracted, to continue his remarks, smiling as the buzz spreads through the crowd.

He’ll no doubt deny it later, but that mischievous smile seems to confirm plenty. And the crowd sure sees something.”

Here’s the YouTube video so you can decide for yourself:

UPDATE: Here’s the image from another side. This is much ado about nothing. I wonder when the LA Times blog will update?

H/T ChenZhen.

— DRJ

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