Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Tuesday morning news and notes

1.  Adam Liptak has this interesting article in the NY Times about "the death clerk" at the Supreme Court:

The unseemly and unsettling spectacle of a last-minute legal scramble in the shadow of the ultimate deadline, with the condemned inmate waiting for word of his fate just outside the death chamber, may suggest that the Supreme Court does not render considered justice when it is asked to halt an execution.
But it tries. Indeed, the court goes to extraordinary lengths to get ready, and its point person is a staff lawyer named Danny Bickell.
“Cases where there is an execution date,” he said with a sigh, “that’s where I come in.”
Mr. Bickell’s formal title is emergency applications clerk, but capital defense lawyers have an informal title for him, too. They call him the death clerk.
In remarks at a conference of lawyers specializing in federal death penalty work at a hotel here last month, Mr. Bickell provided a rare inside look at the Supreme Court’s oversight of the machinery of death in the United States. 

2.  Another prosecutor behaving badly and again DOJ goes to bat for him.  Via BLT:

A clash between the U.S. Justice Department and the D.C. Office of Bar Counsel over a former federal prosecutor's alleged ethics transgression is playing out in front of a Washington attorney ethics board.
Andrew Kline, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, is challenging an ethics committee's conclusion in March that he didn't play by the rules in a shooting case when he kept certain information to himself that the victim had earlier provided to police.
The Justice Department is backing Kline in the dispute, pending before the D.C. Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility. DOJ lawyers argue that the hearing committee too broadly interpreted a prosecution conduct rule, opening the door for ethics cases and "unwarranted sanctions" against prosecutors. Kline is no longer in government service.
The D.C. Office of Bar Counsel this month filed a response to Kline and DOJ, which submitted an amicus brief in the case supporting the former assistant U.S. attorney. You can read bar counsel's brief here and the DOJ brief here.
At issue in the case is whether Kline, in 2002, should have turned over information the victim told police shortly after the shooting. The victim's recollection cast doubt on the identity of the shooter. Kline obtained the information from a police officer who spoke with the victim at a hospital.
DOJ lawyers contend Kline was not obligated to turn over the victim information because it was not "material," or relevant, to the defense.
Elizabeth Herman, deputy bar counsel, said in her brief that Kline's legal team "selectively picks and highlights information from the criminal trial records and disciplinary hearing in an attempt to distort the record and sanitize his testimony before the committee."

3.  Griselda Blanco was assassinated.  Rumpole covers it here:

The history of Miami includes many characters, some good, some bad. Griselda Blanco, as bad as she was, occupies a place in this town's history. Her murder, if she was indeed killed, does little to assuage  the wide swath of death and destruction she wrought in our town. Blanco's story was the centerpiece of director Billy Corben's Cocaine Cowboys documentary.  If you new ASAs and PDs want to know the history of where you're working, Cocaine Cowboys is a good place to start.

I like Billy's quote in the Herald article: “This is classic live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword,” Corben said Monday. “Or in this case, live-by-the-motorcycle-assassin, die-by-the-motorcycle assassin.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/03/2983362_p2/cocaine-godmother-griselda-blanco.html#storylink=cpy


Anonymous said...

DOJ picking the record??? Nahhh. I will never hire a AUSA to work at my firm - ever - I simply take their resumes when they come in (we get about 8 - 12 a year) and dump them in the garbage.

Bob Mabry said...

The professionalism of the Supreme Court of the United States when it comes to dealing with last minute death penalty appeals contrasts with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals's closing their clerk's office on a death night recently. I posted about it (crediting this blog with the lead about the NYT SCOTUS clerk article) on my Courts and Writing blog (courtsandwriting.blogspot.com).

Anonymous said...

10:44: That's probably why your firm sucks!

Anonymous said...

Great story in the Sun-Sentinel regarding the recent ruling by Judge K. Michael Moore holding that Florida's practice of denying in-state tuition to U.S. CITIZENS and residents of Florida based on their parents' immigration status was unconstitutional.