Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Congrats to the Srebnick brothers for their SCOTUS win

The case is Luis v. United States, issued today.  Here's the intro by Justice Breyer:
A federal statute provides that a court may freeze before trial certain assets belonging to a criminal defendant accused of violations of federal health care or banking laws. See 18 U. S. C. §1345. Those assets include: (1) property “obtained as a result of ” the crime, (2) property“traceable” to the crime, and (3) other “property of equivalent value.” §1345(a)(2). In this case, the Government has obtained a court order that freezes assets belonging to the third category of property, namely, property that is untainted by the crime, and that belongs fully to the defendant. That order, the defendant says, prevents her from paying her lawyer. She claims that insofar as it does so, it violates her Sixth Amendment “right . . . to have the Assistance of Counsel for [her] defence.” We agree.
 And here's a picture of Howard arguing the case, from SCOTUSblog:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

United States v. Dracula

For real, this guy's nickname is Dracula because "he sometimes dressed up as a vampire, complete with yellow contact lenses and gold-plated fangs."  You can guess how the 11th Circuit decided the case...  Here's the intro by Judge William Pryor:
This appeal and cross-appeal require us to review the convictions and sentence of Damion Baston, an international sex trafficker nicknamed “Drac” (short for Dracula) who sometimes dressed up as a vampire, complete with yellow contact lenses and gold-plated fangs. Baston forced numerous women to prostitute for him by beating them, humiliating them, and threatening to kill them, and he pimped them around the world, from Florida to Australia to the United Arab Emirates. Baston challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for one conviction, a supplemental jury instruction, and the award of restitution to his victims. Those challenges fail, but the cross-appeal by the government about a refusal to award one victim increased restitution has merit.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Get ready for traffic and t-storms...

...spring break is over.


Any trials starting up in Federal Court this week?

In the meantime, here you go...

The NY Times has this funny piece by Scott Shane. Maybe the other DM and I should do a post.

TAKE a glance at who wrote this article and you’ll understand the problem. Who’s who?

Two people with the same name can get mixed up — in both senses. Throw in the Internet, which can make geography irrelevant, and the possibility for confusion rivals that of a Shakespeare comedy, without the happy ending.

Just ask us.

For more than two decades, Scott Shane the business-school professor and Scott Shane the journalist have been mistaken for each other by co-authors, collection agencies, Google, a journalism school, public relations firms, an ex-congressman, a book distributor — and, yes, this newspaper. Being Internet doppelgängers has never been more than a persistent nuisance. But it reflects an era in which a person is not just flesh and blood but also an electronic composite, patched together from words, numbers and images, accessible at a click.

Dave Ovalle does this nice obit on Red from the state courthouse:
Outside Miami’s criminal courthouse, he was known to many only as “Red” the panhandler, a distinctive character woven into the colorful fabric of the justice community, as much a fixture as attorneys, hot-dog carts and TV news trucks.

On the Internet, his wild, woolly and wall-eyed mugshot made him a briefly viral meme to be mocked or, oddly enough, the face of an online ad hawking a dubious blood-pressure cure.

In real life, he was a 34-year-old named Brett Heinzinger, a man whose only luck seemed bad. He was born to heroin addicts, heard his grandfather murdered as a child, got addicted to drugs as a young man and wound up in South Florida chasing his next cocaine score and living under an overpass.

He died here, too — run down by a motorist on a dark rainy January night on Northwest 12th Avenue, under the Dolphin Expressway, next to the courthouse. The car never stopped. Next to him, Miami detectives found the foam cup he used to panhandle, seven pennies inside.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Will 4th Circuit split with 11th on cell site tracking?

The entire 4th Circuit considered whether the police need a warrant before getting your location data when your cell phone connects to cell towers.  The en banc 11th Circuit said no in US v. Davis and the Supreme Court denied cert, but the Florida Supreme Court said yes in Tracey.

The Washington Post covered the oral argument here:

Almost immediately Wednesday, questions from the bench centered on whether location information from cellphones is any different than records of banking transactions or landline phone calls.

Defense attorney Meghan S. Skelton said the government had essentially tracked the defendants’ every move, equating cellphone location data to “dragnet surveillance.” Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein countered that the information gleaned from cell towers was imprecise, unobtrusive and created by the wireless provider — not the government.

A divided three-judge panel of the court ruled in August that accessing the location information without a warrant for an “extended period” is unconstitutional because it allows law enforcement to trace a person’s daily travels and activities across public and private spaces.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Can you get a fair trial in an identity theft case if one of the jurors is paranoid and thinks you are "al Qaeda" and needs to be in the "jury protection program"?

According to the 11th Circuit, the answer is yes:

The district court did not clearly err in finding that Juror 9 could be fair and impartial. After hearing her answers to its questions, the district court “believe[d] her when she said that she would be fair.” ... Furthermore, the district court took measures to allay Juror 9’s fears by explaining that the case had nothing to do with terrorism and that her life was not in any danger. It reasonably found that this discussion “quelled” her concerns, especially because her concerns did not appear to be that serious to begin with. As soon as the district court started questioning her, Juror 9 confessed that she is “just paranoid.” 
Well, I guess if the juror was just paranoid, then we have nothing to worry about with the verdict of the "Arab, Muslim" defendant charged in a run of the mill identity theft case that had nothing to do with al Qaeda or terrorism.

Never give up!

I keep watching the last minute of this Texas A&M game.  Down double digits with under a minute to go... And they pull it off.  It's just a sick sick finish and shows: 1) anything is possible, and 2) how great March Madness is.  I love it.

It's Spring Break, so posting will be light this week.  If anything is going on, please email it to me and I will post it.  Or if you'd like to do a guest post, shoot one over!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Go Dore Go!

Dore Louis, along with his trusty trial partner Ricardo Martinez-Cid, scored a JOA yesterday before Judge Graham in a CJA "mere presence" case.  Interestingly, the judge granted the judgment of acquittal after the government closing (but before Dore closed).  Kudos to Judge Graham for continuing to call it like he sees it and not just letting cases go to the jury when they shouldn't be brought in the first place.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

President Obama nominates Merrick Garland to Supreme Court

The irony is that he is more conservative than Justice Scalia on criminal justice issues.  Even the President is promoting his law and order background:
The Republicans would be silly to say no to him.

President Obama to announce SCOTUS pick at 11am (UPDATED)

UPDATE at 10am -- the AP is reporting that sources say it's Judge Merrick Garland.From ThinkProgress:
The former prosecutor also has a relatively conservative record on criminal justice. A 2010 examination of his decisions by SCOTUSBlog’s Tom Goldstein determined that “Judge Garland rarely votes in favor of criminal defendants’ appeals of their convictions.” Goldstein “identified only eight such published rulings,” in addition to seven where “he voted to reverse the defendant’s sentence in whole or in part, or to permit the defendant to raise a argument relating to sentencing on remand,” during the 13 years Garland had then spent on the DC Circuit.
To be clear, Garland’s record does not suggest that he would join the Court’s right flank if confirmed to the Supreme Court. He would likely vote much more often than not with the Supreme Court’s liberals, while occasionally casting a heterodox vote. Nevertheless, as Goldstein wrote in 2010 when Garland was under consideration to replace the retiring liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, “to the extent that the President’s goal is to select a nominee who will articulate a broad progressive vision for the law, Judge Garland would be a very unlikely candidate to take up that role.”

Original Post -- DC people are predicting Sri Srinivasan.  If you are looking to kill time until the announcement, you can read a summary of all of his opinions by Tom Goldstein here:
Srinivasan has few significant criminal law decisions. So far as I can determine, he has voted to overturn a criminal conviction only in a single case, in which he overwhelmingly rejected the defendants’ appeals.  United States v. McGill, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 3734, No. 06-3190 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (member of unanimous per curiam majority) (overwhelmingly affirming convictions and sentences in large-scale drug racketeering case, although reversing with respect to a few limited issues).  In the other cases, he affirmed.  In re Sealed Case, 809 F.3d 672 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (member of unanimous majority) (rejecting challenge to sentence of supervised release); United States v. Zagorski, 807 F.3d 291 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (member of unanimous majority) (affirming child pornography sentence); United States v. Miller, 799 F.3d 1097 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (opinion for the Court) (rejecting challenges to fraud conviction); United States v. Cano-Flores, 796 F.3d 83 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (member of unanimous majority) (rejecting challenges to drug importation conviction but remanding for reassessment of $15 billion forfeiture); United States v. Ballestas, 795 F.3d 138 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (opinion for the Court) (upholding extraterritorial application of Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act); United States v. Munoz Miranda, 780 F.3d 1185 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (rejecting attempt to challenge guilty plea); United States v. Arrington, 763 F.3d 17 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (opinion for the Court) (rejecting attempts to reopen criminal conviction); United States v. Baxter, 761 F.3d 17 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (member of unanimous majority) (rejecting challenges to fraud conviction); United States v. Garcia, 757 F.3d 315 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (member of unanimous majority) (rejecting challenges to conviction and sentence for cocaine importation); United States v. Fahnbulleh, 752 F.3d 470 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (member of unanimous majority) (affirming fraud convictions and sentences); United States v. Solofa, 745 F.3d 1226 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (member of unanimous majority) (rejecting challenge to conviction and sentence); United States v. Taylor, 743 F.3d 876 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (member of unanimous majority) (rejecting challenge to refusal to reduce crack cocaine sentence).
Srinivasan has also rejected a variety of other claims by criminal defendants, in addition to the filing fee ruling discussed above in which the Supreme Court agreed with his reading of the statute. Asemani v. United States CIS, 797 F.3d 1069 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (opinion for the Court) (upholding denial of in forma pauperis status to prisoner under three-strikes bar); Thomas v. Holder, 750 F.3d 899 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (member of unanimous majority) (rejecting prisoner’s appeal on the merits) (concurring opinion argues that Prison Litigation Reform Act’s three-strikes provision may be unconstitutional); United States v. Dillon, 738 F.3d 284 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (member of unanimous majority) (sustaining order to medicate defendant to render him competent to stand trial).
Srinivasan’s rulings favoring criminal defendants have been largely procedural. United States v. Mathis-Gardner, 783 F.3d 1286 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (member of unanimous majority) (remanding for explanation of decision to terminate supervised release); Daniel v. Fulwood, 766 F.3d 57 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (member of unanimous majority) (reinstating ex post facto challenge to parole guidelines); Payne v. Stansberry, 760 F.3d 10 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (member of unanimous majority) (reinstating claim for denial of effective appellate counsel); In re Miller, 759 F.3d 66 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (member of unanimous court) (authorizing filing of successive challenge to criminal defendant’s sentence); United States v. Wyche, 741 F.3d 1284 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (dissenting opinion) (dissenting in relevant part from sua sponte determination that sentencing determination was harmless).
In the search-and-seizure context, Srinivasan’s most interesting case found a violation of the Fourth Amendment over a dissenting opinion. United States v. Peyton, 745 F.3d 546 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (member of two-judge majority) (holding that evidence must be suppressed because third party lacked authority to authorize search of shoe box) (dissent would find authority to consent because shoebox was in common living area). But in another case, he found no Fourth Amendment violation under existing precedent and declined to join an opinion that would have revisited that precedent. United States v. Gross, 784 F.3d 784 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (opinion for the Court) (rejecting claim that police encounter amounted to Fourth Amendment seizure) (concurring opinion argues for overturning existing precedent).

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Former SDFLA U.S. Attorney says reject Trump

Bob Martinez, a well-known and well-respected lawyer in South Florida, and a longtime Republican wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald urging voters to reject Trump:
I do not believe that any political party should stir up bigotry or racial animosity (that should not be a remarkable statement in 2016, particularly in this country, yet, sadly, it needs to be said today — in this country). As a lifelong and proud Republican, I reject in every way the appeal to sexism, racial animosity and bigotry that Trump espouses, as he plays to people’s worst and imagined fears: supporting “the total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering this country,” solely because of their religion, making vulgar, sexist remarks, mocking the disabled, calling for the mass round-up and deportation of undocumented Latinos and flirting with white supremacists, including his comment that: “I don’t know anything about David Duke” — making him either the most ignorant candidate, or just the latest political demagogue.
I refuse to engage in the folly of assuming that this is just “shtick” and that Trump will obviously govern differently, or that the weight of the office will mold him into something more high-minded. History is littered with these assumptions and rationalizations, and they only lead to moments of great regret. I don’t know the man. But, I take his words and his actions seriously. Apart from the total idiocy of his pretend policy statements, he carefully selects his words to divide the nation and provoke hatred and bigotry.
If we learned anything from Niemoeller’s journey, it is that the only way to combat bigotry, regardless to whom it is directed, is head-on and with a clarity of conviction, and even at moments — especially at moments — when there may be less confrontational routes.
If we treat hate speech and bigotry with anything less than outrage, we give it oxygen. We give it life.
I am fond of my political party, but I love this nation far more. If the Republican Party stands for nothing other than winning elections, then it will lose its legitimacy to govern and it will lose the general election. To vote for Trump is to vote for a bigot. It is no more complicated than that.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy PI day.


It's also March Madness.  Canes are a 3 seed in a tough bracket.

And Thursday is St. Patrick's Day.

What a busy week.

Local news -- the Broward Marshal who was involved in the drug ripoff in California got 10 years.  (via Paula McMahon).

And this guy really really had to go. (via Daily Commercial).

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Judge Reggie Walton speaks to Federal Bar Association

It was an entertaining and informative talk.  His college roommate and best friend, Judge Donald Graham, introduced him.  But neither of them would give up any good college stories about the other.  Friend privilege is even more sacred than the FISA privilege...

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Judge Adalberto Jordan withdraws name from SCOTUS consideration

CNN broke the story here:
Adalberto Jordan, a federal judge in Miami seen as a top contender for the Supreme Court vacancy, has withdrawn his name from contention, a lawmaker told CNN on Wednesday.
"He pulled himself out of consideration," Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida told CNN. Nelson said Jordan made the decision because of a "personal, family situation" involving his mother.
"I talked to him ... I think that's unfortunate because he is squeaky clean," Nelson said, citing Jordan's long judicial record and his overwhelming confirmation by the Senate in 2012.

Curt Anderson profiles Judge Jordan, SCOTUS short-listers's the piece:
Adalberto Jordan, a federal appeals court judge twice confirmed by the U.S. Senate, could become the Supreme Court's first Cuban-American justice if nominated by President Barack Obama and approved once again.

Jordan, 54, is one of a number of potential nominees to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last month. Obama has vowed to nominate a successor, but Senate Republicans say they will withhold approval in hopes that a new Republican president can pick the next justice.

Born in Havana shortly after the communist revolution led by Fidel Castro, Jordan emigrated to the U.S. with his family as a small boy, along with thousands of other Cuban exiles. He attended a Catholic high school in Miami and got both his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Miami.

Jordan, who goes by "Bert," has served as a federal prosecutor, a U.S. district judge appointed by President Bill Clinton and has sat on the generally conservative 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2012 - the first Cuban-American to do so. He also clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and was in private practice for five years.

The Senate confirmed him to the Atlanta-based appeals court by a 94-5 vote.

During his confirmation hearings, Jordan was asked by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, about his views on the impartiality of judges and whether there was any place for personal or political viewpoints in their rulings.

"We are all human beings, of course, but I think as a judge you need to try and strive very, very hard to make sure you are deciding the case on something other than your own preferences and views, whatever those might be," Jordan replied. "So I have strived and I hope I have achieved impartiality in my years on the bench in Miami."

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Federal prosecutor and defense lawyer debate meaning of "poop" emoji 💩💩💩


I kid you not. This was the Molly retrial in front of Judge Moreno. This time, it ended in a guilty verdict.

Dave Ovalle covers it here:

Prosecutors also introduced text messages, jail phones calls from Melton and Hernandez to Pereira, who was in jail on an unrelated case. Also shown to the jury were records that the government said showed at least 12 boxes of Molly were ordered to the company, Transfreight International.

The star witness was Hernandez, 37, a heavily tattooed former U.S. Army soldier and Arabic linguist who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an only-in-Miami moment, both sides sparred over the meaning of the smiley-faced “poop” emoji in a text from Hernandez to Melton — with the government insisting it was sent to indicate alarm over law-enforcement scrutiny on their operation.

As Billy Corben would say: "Because Miami."


Monday, March 07, 2016

It's Leahy's turn at SCOTUSblog

His sunshine post made me think of this song.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, a staunch believer in open government, famously said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Transparency enables the American people to hold their government accountable and to engage in the democratic process. Unfortunately, eleven Republican Senators are trying to deny a full and open debate on the next nominee to the Supreme Court – BEFORE that individual has even been named.

The Senate Judiciary Committee began its practice of holding public hearings on Supreme Court nominees a century ago, in 1916, and fittingly the nominee was Louis Brandeis. Since then, the Senate’s process for considering nominees to the highest court in the land has become more transparent and more accessible to the American people. In 1981, for example, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made history in two ways – she was the first woman nominated to the Court, and her confirmation hearings were the first to be televised. Today, Americans can follow these important public confirmation proceedings through online webcasts, social media, and other platforms. These are positive steps towards opening up the highest court in the land to the Americans it affects.

Recently, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that they want to block this transparent process. They gathered in a closed-door, backroom meeting in the Capitol and unilaterally decided that the Senate Judiciary Committee would not consider any Supreme Court nominee this year. The meeting was closed to press, to the public, and to Democratic Senators who serve on the Judiciary Committee. In a letter to the Majority Leader after the meeting, Republican committee members justified their decision as one “born of a necessity to protect the will of the American people.” What are Republicans trying to protect Americans from? And what exactly was said during that closed-door meeting?

In my forty years in the Senate, every pending Supreme Court nominee has received a public hearing and a vote. This process has given Americans the opportunity to experience democracy in action. It is a chance to witness history in the making as Senators discuss with a Supreme Court nominee pressing issues about our democracy, our government, and crucial questions about our Constitution.

Meantime, the NY Times covers amicus briefs here:

As in all big Supreme Court cases these days, there were scores of supporting briefs filed in Wednesday’s showdown over a restrictive Texas abortion law.
From Our Advertisers

These friend-of-the-court filings — lawyers call them “amicus curiae briefs” — were diverse, but they were not random. They were the product of a coordinated campaign of judicial lobbying called “the amicus machine,” according to a new study based on interviews with more than 20 leading Supreme Court lawyers.

The teams preparing for major Supreme Court cases must now include two new members, the study said: the amicus wrangler and the amicus whisperer.

“The wrangler is gathering the troops,” said Allison Orr Larsen, a professor at William and Mary Law School and one of the study’s authors, “and the whisperer is coordinating the message.”

Finally, Joe Biden has an idea -- nominate Cruz to the Supreme Court:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had some tongue-in-cheek advice for President Obama on Saturday about whom he should nominate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy that has preoccupied the White House and incited an election-year fight.

Choose Senator Ted Cruz, Mr. Biden joked, referring to the Republican presidential candidate from Texas, who is unpopular with his colleagues.

“Look, I told Barack if you really, really want to remake the Supreme Court, nominate Cruz,” Mr. Biden said at the annual Gridiron Dinner, according to excerpts from his prepared speech released by his office. “Before you know it, you’ll have eight vacancies.”

It was more than just a humorous dig at Mr. Cruz during the traditional Washington event, where politicians roast themselves in speeches and journalists lampoon them in musical skits. Mr. Biden’s remarks hit on the historic stakes facing the president as he ponders his choice to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last month, leaving Mr. Obama with a chance to fundamentally reshape the nation’s highest court by replacing its leading conservative.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Add Robin Rosenbaum to SCOTUSblog's shortlist

Tom Goldstein puts Rosenbaum along with Jordan and Pryor (Jill), right outside of the top 5:
Three judges on the Eleventh Circuit easily could appear on this list of serious candidates from the courts of appeals, although I consider them somewhat less likely for various reasons.
Hon. Aldaberto Jordan was confirmed to the Eleventh Circuit by a vote of 94-5. He previously served as a district court judge, confirmed 93-1.
Hon. Jill Pryor was unanimously confirmed to the Eleventh Circuit.
Hon. Robin Rosenbaum was unanimously confirmed to the Eleventh Circuit, and previously served as a district judge (confirmed 92-3) and worked as a prosecutor.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Justice Kagan knows that there are two Zoolander movies!

She says so in today's dissent in Lockhart v. United States:

JUSTICE KAGAN, with whom JUSTICE BREYER joins, dissenting.
Imagine a friend told you that she hoped to meet “an actor, director, or producer involved with the new StarWars movie.” You would know immediately that she wanted to meet an actor from the Star Wars cast—not an actor in, for example, the latest Zoolander. Suppose a real estate agent promised to find a client “a house, condo, or apartment in New York.” Wouldn’t the potential buyer be annoyed if the agent sent him information about condos in Maryland or California? And consider a law imposing a penalty for the “violation of any statute, rule, or regulation relating to insider trading.” Surely a person would have cause to protest if punished under that provision for vio­lating a traffic statute. The reason in all three cases is the same: Everyone understands that the modifying phrase—“involved with the new Star Wars movie,” “in New York,” “relating to insider trading”—applies to each term in the preceding list, not just the last.
That ordinary understanding of how English works, in speech and writing alike, should decide this case. Avon-dale Lockhart is subject to a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for possessing child pornography if, but only if, he has a prior state-law conviction for “aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor or ward.” 18 U. S. C. §2252(b)(2). The Court today, relying on what is called the “rule of the last antecedent,” reads the phrase “involving a minor or ward” as modifying only the final term in that three-item list. But properly read, the modifier applies to each of the terms—just as in the examples above. That normal construction finds support in uncommonly clear-cut legislative history, which states in so many words that the three predicate crimes all involve abuse of children. And if any doubt remained, the rule of lenity would command the same result: Lockhart’s prior conviction for sexual abuse of an adult does not trigger §2252(b)(2)’s mandatory minimum penalty. I respectfully dissent.

The Empire Strikes Back... on SCOTUSblog

Senator Chuck Grassley has responded to President Obama on SCOTUSblog.  You gotta love that a law blog is hosting a debate between the President and the chair of the judiciary committee.  It's incredible when you think about it.  Well, here's the intro:
The Constitution grants the authority to nominate and approve Supreme Court Justices to coequal branches of the federal government. The President has authority to nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court, and the Senate has the authority to consent or withhold consent.
However, in his post, President Obama six times states that he “appoints judges to the Supreme Court.” From that fundamental misunderstanding, he reveals that the person he will nominate, not appoint, will be someone whose decisions are not tied to the Constitution’s text.
Like most of his nominees, the President pays lip service to the notion that judges are to “interpret the law, not make the law,” but then submits that in cases where “the law is not clear” his nominee’s views “necessarily will be shaped by his or her own perspective, ethics, and judgment.” And of course, his nominee will “arriv[e] at just decisions and fair outcomes” based on the application of “life experience” to the “rapidly changing times.”
The President, candidly to his credit, has unambiguously informed the American people that his nominee will apply his or her own ethics and perspectives in deciding cases. This goes to the heart of the matter and it is a question that confronts the American people during this presidential election.

Meantime, it's NY vs. California in the Apple vs. FBI showdown.  A New York federal magistrate has correctly ruled that Apple does not need to help the government break into one of its customer's phones:
A federal magistrate judge on Monday denied the United States government’s request that Apple extract data from an iPhone in a drug case in New York, giving the company’s pro-privacy stance a boost as it battles law enforcement officials over opening up the device in other cases.
The ruling, from Judge James Orenstein in New York’s Eastern District, is the first time that the government’s legal argument for opening up devices like the iPhone has been put to the test. The denial could influence other cases where law enforcement officials are trying to compel Apple to help unlock iPhones, including the standoff between Apple and the F.B.I. over the iPhone used by one of the attackers in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., last year.

Judge Orenstein, in his 50-page ruling on Monday, took particular aim at a 1789 statute called the All Writs Act that underlies many government requests for extracting data from tech companies. The All Writs Act broadly says that courts can require actions to comply with their orders when not covered by existing law. Judge Orenstein said the government was inflating its authority by using the All Writs Act to force Apple to extract data from an iPhone seized in connection with a drug case.
The order is here

And if you want some local news, we have West Boca banker Richard Ohrn who is charged with faking getting lost at sea.  From the Sun-Sentinel:

Ohrn on March 31, 2015, set a rented, blood-stained fishing boat adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, used an inflatable boat to motor back to shore and then fled to Georgia in a pickup truck, according to a Palm Beach County sheriff's report.
That triggered more than two days of rescuers searching by air and sea over 3,100 square miles for someone who had actually slipped away to a rented house in Albany, Ga. — all to try to escape mounting costs from a lawsuit, according to the report.
Now Ohrn, 45, faces a felony charge of communicating false distress to the U.S. Coast Guard, according to a grand jury indictment filed Thursday.
Ohrn knowingly caused "a false distress message" that prompted the Coast Guard "to attempt to save lives and property when no help was needed," according to the indictment.
The Coast Guard last year estimated that it cost nearly $400,000 for the aircraft expenses alone in the search for Ohrn.
 Only in the Southern District of Florida!