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No Jail Time For Arenas


The government had asked Judge Morin to sentence the Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas (seen here seated while his attorney Kenneth Wainstein addresses the judge) to three months in prison for bringing handguns into the Verizon Center locker room.  The judge instead sentenced Arenas to two years probation and 30 days in a halfway house along with community service and a $5000 contribution to a crime victims fund.

WaPo story here.

This Week’s Drawings

I took a couple of commissions this week from lawyers arguing before the Supreme Court.  The drawings are unfinished.  I plan to use watercolors, instead of my usual markers, to add color.  Both cases were argued Monday morning, March 22.

Hamilton v. Lanning

Levin v. Commerce Energy

Tune in tomorrow for sketches of Gilbert Arenas‘ sentencing.

Jihad Jane Pleads Not Guilty


Colleen LaRose, who allegedly used the screen names “Jihad Jane” and “Fatima Rose” on Internet postings where she pledged to commit murder in the name of Jihad, appeared cheerful as she greeted her public defenders at her arraignment in a Philadelphia courtroom.  She is accused of plotting the murder of Swedish provocateur and second-rate cartoonist Lars Vilks.

She is a very short woman, pictured here between her attorneys Mark Wilson and Ross Thompson.  Her blond hair was braided in thick cornrows and she appears to have put on some weight since her imprisonment last October, at least compared to the gaunt visage in her mugshot.

NYT story here.

The Trend Toward Anonymous Juries


When former congressman William “Cold Cash” Jefferson stood trial in Alexandria last summer sketching the jury was not permitted.  Three decades earlier, at the bribery trial of congressman “Dapper” Dan Flood, the “jury-shot” was a standard among the images an artist was expected to turn out, along with the required wide-shot and head-shots.  What happened?

While forbidding artists to sketch the jury is not the same as juror anonymity it is part of the same trend.  Maryland and Virginia are both currently considering proposals to make all juries anonymous.

The reasons usually given for an anonymous jury are : (1) the defendant’s involvement with organized crime, (2) capacity to harm jurors, (3) interference with judicial process, (4) possibility of a severe sentence, and (5) extensive publicity that could expose jurors to harassment.

At the Oklahoma bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh a wall was built in the courtroom specifically to block the artists’ view of the jurors, which while perhaps excessive (trust us!) was understandable.

On the other hand, why the jury in the “Scooter” Libby trial was anonymous (identified by number only) escapes me.

Historical note: the jurors in Rep. Dan Flood’s trial voted 11-1 to convict on five bribery counts and three counts of perjury.  There followed a jury tampering investigation in which the only juror to vote for acquittal failed two lie-detector tests, but no further legal action was taken.

Flood entered a guilty plea before the start of his second trial.

More about anonymous juries here.


Second Amendment, Round Two


Lawyers, journalists and spectators, some of whom camped out in front of the Supreme Court over 26 hours, packed the courtroom as the Justices heard the second Second Amendment case in two years (that’s a lot of twos!).   In Heller v. DC, argued in March 2008, the Court recognized a Second Amendment right for an individual to own a handgun, but it only applied to the District. Today’s case seeks to extend that constitutional right to residents of the States.

NYT article here.