Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Reminder -- don't take a GoPro into Court

This CNN intern learned the hard way yesterday at the Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court of the United States briefly removed media interns from its press room on Monday after a CNN intern was caught recording video footage with a GoPro camera that he had strapped to his chest, the On Media blog has learned.
The episode led to an impromptu meeting among top CNN executives and editors in Washington, a call to the company's legal department, and a profuse apology to the Supreme Court's public affairs team. Recording devices are prohibited from both the Supreme Court Press Room and the adjacent Public Information Office, as well as from the court room generally.
In a statement, CNN said that the intern "misunderstood the rules about recording inside the Supreme Court's Public Information Office and acted inappropriately. We've taken the necessary action to remedy this situation. We profusely apologize to the Court."
The intern, Walbert Castillo, had been assigned to serve as "a runner," relaying the court's opinions from the building to CNN correspondent Ariane de Vogue, who was waiting in the Supreme Court plaza. The process has become known as "the running of the interns," given the speed and intensity of the running-shoe clad youth.
In addition to his runner duties, Castillo had been asked to wear a GoPro camera to record the event for an episode of CNN's digital video series, "Being Moody," hosted by reporter Chris Moody. Castillo kept the GoPro recording while he was in the press room, which was prohibited -- the Supreme Court fears that a recording device may pick up audio of a court decision -- and was forced to turn it off. Castillo and other interns were then briefly removed from the room.
Three published criminal opinions yesterday  -- 1) United States v. Cavallo, per Julie Carnes, a reversal for not allowing the defendant to confer with his lawyer during his testimony; 2) United States v. Williams, per visiting Judge Coogler, an affirmance in a fake check case; and 3) United States v. Frediana, per Judge William Pryor, which addresses the following interesting issue:
This appeal requires us to decide whether hostilities related to the use of military force against terrorists and Iraq, as authorized by Congress, have“terminat[ed]” under the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3287. Seven years after Steven Frediani committed the crimes, a federal grand jury indicted him on one count of conspiracy to commit aircraft parts fraud, id. §§ 38(a)(1)(C), (a)(3), and two substantive counts of aircraft parts fraud, id. § 38(a)(1)(C). Frediani moved to dismiss the substantive counts of the indictment as untimely, id. § 3282(a). The district court denied his motion because, when Congress authorized the “use of the Armed Forces,” the Act tolled the statute of limitations for frauds against the United States until the “termination of hostilities as proclaimed by a Presidential Proclamation, with notice to Congress, or by a concurrent resolution of Congress,” id. § 3287. On appeal, Frediani argues that the “hostilities” related to the “use of the Armed Forces” “terminat[ed]” over a decade ago, id., so the Act does not toll the statute of limitations for his crimes. Frediani also argues that the district court abused its discretion when it admitted “other act” evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). Because the plain language of the Act requires a Presidential proclamation or a concurrent resolution of Congress to end the tolling of the limitations period and the district court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted the “other act” evidence, we affirm Frediani’s convictions.
No real fireworks from these opinions, unlike the Rosales-Bruno case, which Brian Toth blogged about.  It's really worth a read to see the bubbling hostility between the two factions of the court.  It's insane to me that an 87-month sentence can be reasonable after the court determined that the sentence was incorrectly decided the first time around because of an illegal 60-month enhancement. 

The Supreme Court is dishing out opinions at the end of the Term.  You gotta love Justice Kagan, quoting from comic books in the Spiderman case:
What we can decide, we can undecide. But stare decisis teaches that we should exercise that authority sparingly. Cf. S. Lee and S. Ditko, Amazing Fantasy No. 15: “Spider-Man,” p. 13 (1962) (“[I]n this world, with great power there must also come—great responsibility”). Finding many reasons for staying the stare decisis course and no “special justification” for departing from it, we decline Kimble’s invitation to overrule Brulotte.
I don't agree though -- if something is wrong, you have a great responsibility to fix it, not to stick to stare decisis.  We have the Supreme Court to improve upon the law when it's messed up.  In that case, everyone agrees that Brulotte makes no sense.  Fix it!


Literati said...

I think Kagan got it right. Stare decisis is particularly strong when you're talking about commercial transactions, since bright-line rules and predictability make it easier for lawyers to structure commercial deals and contracts. It makes it easier for litigators to predict outcomes for their clients too. Stare decisis is likely less relevant when you're talking about constitutional rights, since there getting it right is more important than predictability. But the case was about patent rights, not the fundamental right to education or marriage.

Anonymous said...

Don't think the hostility is bubbling. It's pretty direct.

Anonymous said...

Any update on Melgen? Is the poor bastard still in jail? Maybe time to bring in another set of lawyers?

Anonymous said...

You know who else hates being filmed? Cops who are out being abusive to ordinary citizens.

Anonymous said...

too bad the kid wasn't periscoping