Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back to work

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving weekend.... Updates on the district:

1. The Liberty City 7 case is slowly coming to a close -- closing arguments should start at the end of this week. Jay Weaver had a story in the Herald this weekend about the case.

2. Chief Judge Federico Moreno will be speaking at the federal bar luncheon on December 12 (CORRECTED) at noon at the Banker's club. Last month's event with Judges Barkett and Marcus sold out and was really fun. If you are interested in attending, RSVP soon.

3. The South Asian Bar Association is hosting a complimentary wine and cheese night on Wednesday, December 5 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with Saira Rao, author of the Chambermaid, the controversial and entertaining debut novel. The event will take place at SolAmbit's new office located at 700 South Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301. For more information on the author and the book, please visit

4. Judge Cooke denied the post-trial motions in the Padilla case, which means the sentencing (and appeal) will proceed. Vanessa Blum has more here.

5. I found this article really interesting about Judge Paul Cassell leaving the district court bench to go back to being a law professor:

Cassell said he found himself questioning some laws at each turn. "I felt like it was proper judicial role to ask questions, even if we weren't necessarily charged with fixing the problem," he said. But he wanted to do more — he wanted to make a change. Being a federal judge, he couldn't do that. "One of the frustrations about being a trial court judge is that you never set broad principles of law; of course, that's reserved for the appellate courts. ... When I was there for 5 1/2 years, I began to think that maybe I would have more effect in moving the law in a way that I think is desirable by doing appellate litigation."

There aren't too many more powerful positions than a federal judge, yet Cassell was "frustrated" he couldn't do more. He has a lot more to say, including his position on draconian federal sentences... It's worth a read.

(HT: Orin Kerr and Doug Berman)


Anonymous said...

In his letter of resignation to the President, Cassell blamed judicial pay for his leaving the bench.

Federalist nut anyway.

Anonymous said...

In bemoaning the prevelance of mandatory minimum sentences he says:

"There's a kind of ratchet effect where the Republicans will say, 'We want a five-year mandatory minimum sentence,' and Democrats will say, 'We'll up you, we want a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence . . . ."

Really? I can't recall the Democrats proposing to double a mandatory minimum suggested by the Republicans.

In fact, 14 members of Congress recently wrote the USSC regarding the issue of whether the crack guideline amendments should be retroactive. The position of the letter is that the Commission should reject retroactivity. The political party of the letter writers? All Republicans.