Monthly Archives: November 2013

” What A Maroon ! “

Hip-Hop tweeting Tea-Party Republican congressman Trey Radel (third from right) pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in DC Superior Court this morning and was given a suspended sentence and one year probation. He is on the record, having voted in the House, in support of drug testing food stamp recipients.

You can read about it here.

 

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Posted in Congress, Courtroom

Life, Plus Life, Plus Five Years

“The scope, the callousness, the depravity of your crimes, are almost unfathomable,” Judge Denise Casper told Whitey Bulger before passing sentence. “The testimony of human suffering that you and your associates inflicted on others was at times agonizing to hear and painful to watch,” she said as the families of his victims sat on the right side of the courtroom.She then ordered Bulger, who throughout the two-day sentencing has sat facing forward making no eye contact with the public seated behind him, to stand for sentencing. “You are hereby committed to the Bureau of Prisons for the term of life,” said the judge.And this is probably the last we’ll see of Whitey Bulger.

Boston Globe story here.

 

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Posted in Courtroom

Victims Speak at Bulger Sentencing

At the beginning of the two day sentencing for Boston mobster Whitey Bulger the government asked for life, plus life for machine guns, plus five years for other guns. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly said, “he is going to spend the rest of his miserable life in jail.”Then it was time for the relatives of Bulger’s victims to speak up.

Sean McGonagle, “My father was no Boy Scout, but he was a better man than you’ll ever be.

Whitey Bulger sentencingTom Angeli, “We feel robbed every day”.

Whitey Bulger sentencing

Marie Mahoney, “We got you, you rat.”

Whitey Bulger sentencingBulger was not convicted in the murder of Bill O’Brien’s father four days before the birth of the junior O’Brien. “I really got nothing out of this trial. I got more questions than answers.”

Whitey Bulger sentencing

Patricia Donahue said that Whitey killed her husband “while a corrupt FBI agent watched.”

Whitey Bulger sentencing

Meredith Rakes, “The healing can begin. The nightmare is over, the pain stops here.”

 

Whitey Bulger sentencing

Tim Connors, “Your legacy is already cemented as a rat.”

Whitey Bulger sentencing

Pat Callahan, “You won’t even turn around and look at us?”

Whitey Bulger sentencingKathleen Nichols, “I believe he is evil.”

Whitey Bulger sentencingTheresa Bond, “Mr. Bulger, can you look at me?” ( Whitey Bulger kept his head down throughout ) “I can’t judge you.”

Whitey Bulger sentencingSteve Davis, “You piece of shit, look at me”

Whitey Bulger sentencingDavid Wheeler, “Shame on you Mr. Bulger, for all your notoriety you are a punk.” Referring to his father’s murder, Wheeler  said that the FBI was “as responsible  . . . as the defendant here sitting before you.”

Sentencing proper will take place tomorrow.

NYT story here.

 

 

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Posted in Courtroom

Tsarnaev Hearing On Motions

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was not in the courtroom today as his defense team, pictured above, argued before Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr. on a motion lift the “Special Administrative Measures”, or SAMS, that interfere with this defendant communicating with his lawyers. Other issues discussed today concerned change of venue and whether the death penalty will be sought for the accused Boston marathon bomber. The government asked to set a trial date sometime next fall, but the judge opted to wait until those other issues are decided.

Andrew Cohen’s story on SAMs is here.

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Posted in Courtroom

A Visit to the Fourth Circuit

Last week I travelled down to Richmond to hear some arguments before the Fourth Circuit. The highlight was a cock-fighting case from South Carolina – unfortunately not the one I sketched.

In a tradition that reeks of southern gentility the judges, at the conclusion of each argument, come down from the bench to shake hands with the lawyers in the case.

I also had a chance to do a little sketching on the streets of Richmond.

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Posted in Appellate Courts

Gambling on Nevada Venue Not a Sure Thing

When professional gamblers Gina Fiore and Keith Gipson passed through the Atlanta airport on their way home to Nevada after a gambling trip to Puerto Rico a search of their bags turned up $97,000 in cash. The DEA was contacted and Fiore and Gipson were detained for questioning. They told Anthony Walden, a local police officer deputized as DEA agent, that they learned the cash legitimately at the gambling tables. Nevertheless the cash was seized and Walden told them that they would get it back once they provided proper documentation.

Upon their return to Las Vegas they sent the necessary documentation, but the DEA continued to hold on to the cash based on a questionable affidavit drafted by Walden. Eventually the money was returned and the gamblers filed a lawsuit against officer Walden in Nevada federal court.

The question before the Supreme Court at Monday’s argument in Walden v. Fiore is whether the court in Nevada has jurisdiction over an officer doing his job in Georgia and where should the case be tried. The above sketch shows Walden’s lawyer, Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, arguing that the case belongs in Georgia.

Tom Goldstein, on the other hand, argued that the injury occurred in Nevada and, as the Ninth Circuit concluded, should be tried there. He concluded by warning, “. . . if that’s not enough, you are closing the door absolutely to all internet cases . . . where someone sits at the computer and targets someone in another State.

 

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Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court

A Lively Argument on Government Prayer

Prayer at public government sessions was back before the Supreme Court this morning. It’s been thirty years since the Court last visited the issue when it ruled that it was constitutional for the Nebraska legislature to begin the day with a prayer. This time the prayer is at local government meetings of the Town of Greece, New York.

There was enough interest in the case for a group of law students spent the night in line outside the Court. Once they finally got their seat passes this morning, the Court’s cafeteria was a good place for a nap.Also in the cafeteria were several clergy, and I spied a group of nuns in the courtroom admiring the friezes, buttocks and all.

Attorney Thomas Hungar argued for the Town of Greece. As Hungar began Justice Kagan interrupted him to read an overtly Christian prayer from the record and asked if that would be permissible here at the Supreme Court.

University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, representing the two women who are challenging the town’s prayer, Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens, was asked by Justice Alito to give an example of a prayer that would not offend anyone. “I don’t think it’s possible,” said Alito, “to compose anything that you could call a prayer that will be acceptable to all of these groups.” “You can’t treat everyone equally without getting rid of prayer altogether,” Laycock responded.

The case is Town of Greece v. Galloway

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Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court

Chemical Weapons Prosecution Spurs Lively Argument

When Carol Anne Bond’s best friend gave birth to a baby fathered by her, Bond’s, husband, she sought revenge. She applied toxic chemicals to her friend’s mailbox, doorknobs, etc. She was caught on video surveillance and arrested, but the local authorities choose not to press charges. Instead she was charged in federal court under the Chemical Weapons Convention because she put postal workers at risk.

 

Arguing for Bond, Paul Clement told the justices that prosecutors had overreached; that the treaty should only apply to “warlike” uses of chemicals, and not to attempts to poison a “romantic rival”.

Solicitor General Verrilli had a harder time at the lectern trying to convince the Court to not put limits on the implementation of international treaties.

Among the many hypotheticals posed to the Solicitor General was a statement from Justice Alito that he and his wife had passed out “chemical weapons” to children -i.e., Halloween chocolate. Why, he asked, would that not fall under the Chemical Weapons Convention since the treaty bans any chemical harmful to animals as well as humans, and, he noted, “chocolate is poisonous to dogs”.

The case is Bond v. U.S.

Lyle Denniston covers the argument here.

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Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court

The 2004 Guantanamo Military Commissions

Last week NPR’s Morning Edition aired a story about Guantanamo sketch artist Janet Hamlin saying, “When the secretive military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay began, only one courtroom sketch artist was allowed in. Her name is Janet Hamlin.” That’s not exactly correct.

Janet is a great artist and has done a great job visually documenting the tribunals created  under the Military Commissions Act of 2006. She has recently come out with a book of her drawings, “Sketching Guantanamo, Court Sketches of the Military Tribunals, 2006-2013″, that is a must buy. But I just want to set the record straight that the first Military Commissions were in 2004. The Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld found that they violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and The Geneva Conventions, and that the president did not have the authority to create them without authorization of Congress.

So, to be correct, when the secretive military tribunals at Guantanamo began, in 2004, only one artist was allowed in, me. Below are some of my sketches, never before posted -it was before I had a blog, done during four days in August 2004 at Guantanamo.

Above, NGO observers; below, members of the arabic language press.

I wasn’t allowed to portray the likenesses of the detainees or Guantanamo personnel.

Above Australian detainee David Hicks, seated, his military lawyers’ hand on his back. Hicks’ parents are in the left foreground.

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Posted in Military
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