What Were They Thinking

Boring Lawsuit We Missed the First Time Around ….

by Lee Gesmer on April 11, 2009

How many residential driveways are there in the USA? I have no idea, but I would estimate tens of millions. So it figures that someone whose driveway was videotaped by Google and put on the Internet for all to view (!?) on Google Street View would sue Google for invasion of privacy and trespass.

Copy of opinion here.

Link to the Boring’s home on Google Maps here.

My theory: these people actually crave attention for their property, and what better way to get it, than this? But then, I am married to a psychologist.

Oh, and of course, there’s this.  No need to get paranoid, now …..

Read the full article

It’s not often that the U.S. Department of Justice prosecutes a sitting U.S. Senator, obtains a conviction at trial, and then concludes it has no choice but to voluntarily dismiss the charges and let the former defendant walk free, totally vindicated.  But that’s what happened in United States v. Ted Stevens, the government’s case against the longest-serving Republican in the Senate’s history.  If this has ever happened before in the United States, I’m unaware of it.

To quote from today’s New York Times:

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan dismissed the charges against Mr. Stevens, which was expected given the way the case has disintegrated since the conviction in October. But the judge went well beyond that step, declaring that what the prosecutors did was the worst “mishandling or misconduct that I’ve seen in my 25 years.”

Judge Sullivan spoke disdainfully of the prosecutors’ repeated assertions that any mistakes during the trial were inadvertent and made in good faith.… Read the full article

Who Watches the Watchmen?

by Lee Gesmer on April 2, 2009

Who Watches the Watchmen?

“How does the court have confidence that the public integrity section has public integrity?”
Judge Emmett Sullivan, during the trial of former Senator Ted Stevens


Prosecutor: I already got no proof how the victim got hold of that heroin. Now you’re saying I can’t put Hodgins on the stand? Why?
FBI Agent: You don’t wanna know the answer to that.
Forensic Investigator: Why doesn’t she wanna know?
Prosecutor: As the prosecutor in this case, I’m obliged to share everything I know with the defense.
Forensic Investigator: [starts to explain…]
Prosecutor: Whoa! Goodnight!

From TV Show “Bones”


Prosecutors have a legal duty to provide criminal defendants with exculpatory evidence. Every criminal prosecutor knows this – it’s probably Rule No.1 for prosecutors: “YOU MUST GIVE DEFENDANT EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE.” This has been a constitutional right since the 1963 Supreme Court decision in Brady v. Maryland.Read the full article

The Face of Evil May Be Behind The Judge’s Bench

by Lee Gesmer on February 13, 2009

The Face of Evil May Be Behind The Judge's Bench

Judge: Miss West, are you trying to show contempt for this court?’
Mae West: On the contrary, your Honor, I was doin’ my best to conceal it.’
(During a trial in which she was accused of indecency on stage)

“The thing to fear is not the law, but the judge”
Russian Proverb

“One bad apple ruins the barrel”


History is replete with judges who are open to bribery, who serve special interests or who are otherwise corrupt.  We often read of judges who are sanctioned or prosecuted for misconduct. When a person dons a judge’s robe her character and values don’t change.

Despite the long history of judicial misconduct, I still was surprised to read about this kickback scheme in the February 13, 2009 New York Times. Quoting excerpts from the article:

[O]n Thursday . . . judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, [judge] Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa.,

Read the full article