Friday, February 11, 2011


Last night was an unbelievable event for the FBA. Congrats to Brett Barfield for the most well-attended event in recent history.

The District just updated its website, but now there is a push to have all the district courts conform to a template. Not sure why this is what our government should be spending money on. Does it matter if our District's website is the same as the District of Oregon's website? This example of inconsistency doesn't really persuade me:

The home page for the U.S. District Court for Alabama's middle district cheerily offers a "Kids' Corner" where "kids of all ages" can find out more about the federal court system. But if you go to the court's home page for information on filing a judicial misconduct complaint, you'll only find it if you click on the "judges information" tab.

Nebraska's federal district court site, on the other hand, has a tab specifically labeled "judicial misconduct and disability" on its home page. But its "kids' corner" is pretty well hidden under a "community/educational outreach" tab.

Those randomly picked examples of inconsistency between federal trial court Web sites may become a thing of the past because of a recently created "website toolbox" that went out to all 94 district courts late last month.

In other news, Mr. Melendez-Diaz of Supreme Court fame, just won an acquittal. From the Boston Globe:

A Jamaica Plain man has been acquitted in a retrial of a cocaine trafficking case that went to the US Supreme Court and resulted in a landmark decision affecting evidence in criminal trials around the country.

Melendez-Diaz’s appeal of his 2004 cocaine trafficking conviction led to a ruling by the Supreme Court in 2009 that the US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantees defendants in criminal cases the right to confront forensic experts in court.

The ruling invalidated a Massachusetts law that allowed prosecutors to present forensic experts’ reports as evidence without giving defendants a chance to cross-examine them.

During Melendez-Diaz’s retrial, prosecutors followed the new regime laid out by the high court. On Wednesday, they called to the stand a chemist from the state Department of Public Health who testified that the substance allegedly found in the back seat of a police cruiser with Melendez-Diaz and two other men in 2001 had tested positive for cocaine.

Margaret Fox, defense lawyer for Melendez-Diaz, said the verdict was “an enormous relief.’’

“It was a case that really seemed to be about guilt by association,’’ she said. “He’s very thankful he was given a second trial and that the jury got it right.’’

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