Sunday, August 23, 2009

Renton women use stolen IDs for more than $2 million in student loans

Renton women use stolen IDs for more than $2 million in student loans | The News Tribune, Aug. 20, 2009. One woman took Social Security numbers from medical records at the clinic where she worked, then a group of people applied for student loans and used the money for travel, cars, jewelry, and entertainment. "At sentencing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said, 'these were student loan funds for a very precious, almost sacred purpose.'"

An identity theft case may require a big team: "The case was investigated by Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Seattle Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Norman Barbosa and Aravind Swaminathan as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Working Group on Identity Theft."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Judge Betty’s Revenge

The Seattle Weekly's current cover story is a profile of Judge Betty Fletcher (9th Cir.), a 1956 graduate (top of her class) of the University of Washington School of Law. Judge Betty’s Revenge, Seattle Weekly, Aug. 18, 2009.

Cases discussed include ones on NEPA, affirmative action, and the death penalty.

Photo by Steven Miller, Seattle Weekly.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Florida blogger finds fame digging up dirt on slayings | Seattle Times Newspaper

Florida blogger finds fame digging up dirt on slayings | Seattle Times Newspaper, Aug. 17, 2009.

The local prosecutor said that a couple was murdered in the course of a robbery. But a local blogger got tips that it was a murder for hire. He posted and the case changed shape. The sheriff says the blogger had helped the investigation and his anonymous sources were largely right. A newspaper publisher says that the blogger benefited from his support of the sheriff's election campaign and has looser journalistic standards than the newspaper.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Police ultimatum to drug dealers: Quit, or go to prison | Seattle Times Newspaper

Local News | Police ultimatum to drug dealers: Quit, or go to prison | Seattle Times Newspaper, Aug. 7, 2009:

Confronted with photos, video clips and binders full of evidence gathered in a yearlong operation along Seattle's 23rd Avenue corridor, from Madison to Jackson streets, the dealers were promised they wouldn't be arrested, prosecuted or sent to jail for 20 months or more if they embraced the job training, educational opportunities, housing assistance and chemical-dependency treatment being offered them.
This story was picked up by the ABA Journal's Law News Now.

The Legal Rebels Project

The ABA Journal is going to begin profiling -- in print and online -- lawyers who are "remaking their corners of the profession. . . ., finding new ways to practice law, represent their clients, adjudicate cases and train the next generation of lawyers." You can nominate "legal rebels" to be profiled, and you can participate in a wiki to draft the Legal Rebels Manifesto. See Legal Rebels - Who's a Legal Rebel?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tweets, Texts, and Other Messaging in the Courtroom

Gadgets can gum up trials. Examples: jurors going online to research facts not presented in evidence, a witness texting another company official for advice about testimony, a spectator's phone ringing with a rousing chorus of "Louie, Louie," someone recording proceedings, jurors tweeting about deliberations.

But gadgets aren't all bad. Sometimes a lawyer needs to contact someone back at the office, or get a message that a witness is stuck in traffic.

Katherine A. Helm suggests reforms:

The best way to manage this problem is one that only a handful of courts across the country have adopted: Allow preauthorized counsel to bring electronic devices into the courtroom and make all other courtroom attendees (jurors, witnesses, observers) check their devices in the lobby. The Southern District of New York is testing out such an interim rule now, where authorization can be given only by specific court order — although being forced to specify each device for each named attorney each day might be overkill.
Katherine A. Helm, Courtrooms all atwitter, Nat'l L.J., Aug. 10, 2009.