funny-pictures-cat-pays-you-for-the-dogYou can take the Blawgirl out of journalism, but you can’t take the journalism out of the Blawgirl.

You can, however, bury said journalistic spirit under a pile of Civil Procedure, Torts, Criminal Law, Property and Contracts reading, and see if (a) she has the fortitude to crawl out from under it, or (b) if she will just collapse in a sad, weepy, un-groomed mess under all that weight.

Fortunately, I fall into the former category (for now), and have been able to read news stories on a daily basis from my handy dandy Google Reader.

What’s great about reading a lot of the stories I come across is that they sometimes set off little law school light bulbs in my head, reminding me of things I’ve read or that were discussed in my law school classes.

As such, I’ve decided to share these stories with y’all from time to time under the title “Hypos in the Headlines”. It may (and I use “may” loosely) even get me to post more often.

First up? CivPro!

The CLASS: Civil Procedure II

The BOOK: Dukeminier

The TOPIC: Chapter 8, Resolution Without Trial

WHADDA ABOUT IT? Right now, we’re discussing how adverse parties rarely make it to trial and instead find some other way to resolve their differences. One option is through settlement, where the plaintiffs agree to dismiss a lawsuit in exchange for something else: money, silence, first-born children, etc.

In the HEADLINES: Dating site eHarmony came under lots of fire more than two years ago for discriminating against gays, lesbians and bisexuals by failing to provide same-sex dating services. Recently, the site ended a class-action lawsuit with gays and lesbians in California agreeing to pay half a million dollars and make its website more “welcoming” to seekers of same-sex matches, according to the L.A. Now Blog of the L.A. Times.

Photo: I Can Has Cheezburger

Tagged with:

438037919_36785da891In The Shark Attack, the Blawgirl brings you a list of links to blog posts published at The Shark, a blawg written by and for law students.

Holy crap! Just realized I haven’t posted one of these in several weeks. Here’s a rundown of stories written by the Blawgirl published at The Shark. Chompy, chomp.

Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr

llposterIt’s a difficult and sometimes dangerous world out there for journalists. While those here in the states face distrust from the public and disdain from pundits, those abroad often face the terror of tyrannical regimes that don’t believe in the freedom of the press and that would do anything in their power to suppress an idea contrary to their agendas.

Just this past year we’ve seen Sri Lankan editor Lasantha Wickramatunga gunned down, U.S. journalist Roxana Saberi detained and tried in Iran, and, more recently, Current TV freelance reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee tried and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor.

It’s infuriating that the North Korean regime chose to pursue legal action against these Americans on vague grounds, but what’s even more maddening is how little we’ve heard from Current TV or Al Gore, who founded the independent news network.

Ever since the beginning of the ordeal, Al Gore and Current TV have been very quiet about the goings on in the Hermit Kingdom. The network also reportedly took down stories and videos about the two journalists on its own Web site.

Further, according to New York Times blogger Brian Stelter, the “two women’s profiles were scrubbed of any reference to the detainments.”

Stelter further reports that:

“It is not unusual for news organizations to adopt a silent stance when their journalists are detained or otherwise endangered overseas. News outlets often choose not to comment as they work aggressively behind the scenes for the release of their employees. But the public nature of Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee’s detainments have put additional pressure on Current to comment about the case.”

If Current TV commented about the case yesterday, I would have said the statement was long overdue. As it stands, even with the news media outlets covering the case more extensively than they’ve done since the beginning of Ms. Lee and Ms. Ling’s detentions, Current TV has not said a word.

It may not be unusual for news organizations to be silent on their journalists’ detentions, but doing so is downright irresponsible. News organizations have a responsibility not just to their public to cover a story without bias, they also have a responsibility to their reporters who often put themselves in harm’s way to get their stories.

By remaining silent, Current TV has failed on both fronts.

Image: @LiberateLaura

438037919_36785da891In The Shark Attack, the Blawgirl brings you a list of links to blog posts published at The Shark, a blawg written by and for law students.

Not all of Chapman thrilled to see you. Last week, I was pretty thrilled to discover The Daily Chapman, a satirical blog about Chapman University, but I was even more thrilled to see to see that they had written a piece about law school visiting professor and torture memo writer John Yoo’s tortuous law school class. Yoo ought to check out the piece at The Shark, which also has a link to the article. Yoo may find it funny and Yoo-seful. OK. I’m done.

Want to learn some yoga? Go to law school. Law school seems the least likely place to get your “Ohm” on. But the Roger Williams University School of Law is trying to change that. The associate dean of students at the law school instituted a class that teaches students meditation and relaxation techniques that future lawyers can use before going into the courtroom. It also supposedly teaches them how not to be soulless, hope-eating zombies with their clients and fellow lawyers.

Wait, can a disbarred attorney work for a law school? The Yoo saga saw more developments this week after the Office of Professional Responsibility within the Justice Department indicated that it is unlikely that former Bush administration legal advisers would face criminal prosecution. It did, however, leave open the possibility of a potential disbarment for Yoo, and impeachment for his former boss Jay S. Bybee, who is now a federal appeals court judge.

438037919_36785da891In The Shark Attack, the Blawgirl brings you a list of links to blog posts published at The Shark, a blawg written by and for law students.

Facebook groups. Go. Join. Gripe. Law students are the least likely of all the students in the world to complain about anything. Now that I’ve made your heads implode and have possibly awakened the anti-Christ from the improbability of that last statement, I urge you, law students and prospective law students alike, to check out the groups listed in the post. If you want a picture of law school different than those displayed in the glossy, Abercrombie and Fitch-ed law school catalogs, the discussions in these groups are real eye-openers. There’s sex, doomed relationships, alcoholism … basically anything you’d find in any daytime soap opera worth its salt. It would make for very entertaining reading if it wasn’t something to be feared.

Fark on law school. If you thought that law students in all their sainted, high-achieving splendor were immune from stupidity, I would like to have what you’re having. Seriously, though. I was rather surprised by how many times the term “law student” and “law school” came up in my Fark search for the worst of the worst law school students to make Fark headlines. Follow the link and see who made it to the No. 1 spot.

Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr

Jonathan Mann committed himself to writing and posting a song a day to his YouTube channel. The inspirations for the songs cover such diverse topics as Battlestar Galactica, Israel and Palestine, and Tumblr.

And what was his inspiration April 19?

Why, the torture memos of course.

Mann took the text of a portion of the memos released last week and set them to music. The result is a somewhat peppy guitar and piano tune that sounds like an unsettling mix of a CNN news anchor, Jack Johnson and the Moldy Peaches. Throw in some air quotes ala Dr. Evil, a couple of tortured-looking grimaces, and a split screen and you have yourself a music video. Check it out.

(via BoingBoing)

Tagged with:

438037919_36785da891In The Shark Attack, the Blawgirl brings you a list of links to blog posts published at The Shark, a blawg written by and for law students.

Has the hysteria hit you yet? Stay calm amidst the ranking craze. Students and bloggers peed themselves Sunday and Monday when U.S. News and World Report law school rankings were leaked (see what I did there?).

Torture memo debate at Chapman turns up the dialogue rather than the drama. Chapman University School of Law visiting professor and former Bush administration legal adviser John Yoo debated professors at the Orange County, Calif., law school about Presidential Power and Success in Times of Crisis. Shoe tossing was upsettingly absent from this debate.

Berkeley professor spends years developing alternative to LSAT. LSAT, shmel-sat. A team of Berkeley professors, with the blessing of the Law School Admissions Council, researched a test that is supposed to more accurately test whether a student will make a better lawyer.

Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr

117048243_7cc6bb0b87The Obama administration today released previously undisclosed memos regarding the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency, but has decided not to go forward with the prosecution of CIA interrogators who performed the acts described in the documents.

Attorney General Eric Holder, in a press release from the Department of Justice, stated that President Obama has stopped the use of the interrogation techniques described in the opinions. “We are disclosing these memos consistent with our commitment to the rule of law,” he stated.

From the press release:

“Holder also stressed that intelligence community officials who acted reasonably and relied in good faith on authoritative legal advice from the Justice Department that their conduct was lawful, and conformed their conduct to that advice, would not face federal prosecutions for that conduct.”

Holder further states that the government would provide no-cost legal representation to any employee in any state or federal judicial or administrative proceeding brought against the employee based on such conduct, and would also indemnify any employee for any monetary judgment or penalty ultimately imposed against him for such conduct and will provide representation in congressional investigations.

You can download the memos at the New York Times Web site. If you don’t want to download them on your own, you can read them at The Huffington Post, which is seemingly outsourcing the digging through them to its readership. And here’s a link to President Obama’s statement regarding the release of the memos.

Included in the documents is a memo published by the Office of Legal Counsel August 1, 2002 (under Jay Bybee and Chapman Law visiting professor John Yoo) which the New York Times had previously reported as “a legal authorization for a laundry list of proposed C.I.A. interrogation techniques.”

The memo discusses the case of Abu Zubaydah, described as one of the highest-ranking members of Al Qaeda and one of the planners of the Sept. 11 attacks.

According to the memo, Zubaydah is thought to be witholding vital information from interrogators, and because of the amount of “chatter” that was equivalent to that which preceded the Sept. 11 attacks, it was permissible to up the ante so to speak: to go from regular interrogation methods into the “increased pressure phase”.

And what does the increased pressure phase entail?

Ten techniques: the attention grasp, walling, facial hold, facial slap (insult slap), cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation, insects placed in a confinement box, and the waterboard.

Page two of the documents gives a rundown of what each technique involves. Ultimately, the memo writers conclude that none of the techniques used on Zubaydah would qualify as “torture”.

According to the Associated Press, former CIA Director Michael Hayden stated that the Obama administration is endangering the country by releasing the memos.

The release of the memos today should make Saturday’s scheduled National Lawyers Guild Teach-In On Torture at Chapman Law’s Kennedy Hall and next week’s debate regarding Presidential Power and Success in Time of Crisiswith Mr. Yoo, Dean John Eastman, Professor Katherine Darmer, and Professor Larry Rosenthal – all the more timely.

Photo: Joe Gratz / Flickr

Tagged with:

5697895_5c57981a6dMemos from the justice department that condoned the use of torture and that outline the methods used by the CIA in secret prisons overseas are scheduled to be released today by the Obama administration, according to The Caucus, a political blog of the New York Times.

The Times writes that among the memos expected to be released is one penned by former Bush legal advisers John Yoo and Jay Bybee that is “a legal authorization for a laundry list of proposed C.I.A. interrogation techniques.”

Yoo, who is a professor at the U.C. Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, is currently a visiting professor at the Chapman University School of Law.

It is unknown how much of the memos will be intact when they are released.

According to The Times, CIA Director Leon Panetta had pushed for weeks to have portions of the memos redacted because information contained in them could “pave the way for future disclosures of intelligence sources and methods, and would jeopardize the C.I.A.’s relationship with foreign intelligence services.”

The “most immediate concern of C.I.A. officials is that the revelations could give new momentum to a full-blown congressional investigation into covert activities under the Bush Administration,” The Times wrote.

The Spanish court was considering pursuing its own criminal investigation into six former Bush officials. The Times reported this morning, however, that Spain would not be opening an investigation of the Bush Six.

The Bush Six includes Yoo, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; Justice Department official Jay S. Bybee; and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes.

Photo: mindgutter / Flickr

Tagged with:

117048243_7cc6bb0b87Scott Horton of The Daily Best is reporting that, according to sources close to the case, Spanish prosecutors will be going forward with a criminal investigation of six Bush administration officials, including Chapman University School of Law visiting professor John Yoo, over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Gitmo.

Horton writes:

“Baltasar Garzón Real, the investigating judge, accepted the complaint and

Continue reading »

Tagged with: