Stop calling the DA "the Government!" it hurts her feelings or something. The defense responds..'Should this Court disagree, and feel inclined to let the parties basically pick their own designations and ban words, then the defense has a few additional suggestions....defense counsel does not wish to be referred to as a "lawyer," or a "defense attorney." Those terms are substantially more prejudicial than probative. See Tenn. R. Evid. 403. Rather, counsel for the Citizen Accused should be referred to primarily as the "Defender of the Innocent." This title seems particularly appropriate, because every Citizen Accused is presumed innocent. Alternatively, counsel would also accept the designation "Guardian of the Realm."'
... it was notable for the nation’s top law enforcement official to declare that it is constitutional for the government to kill citizens without any judicial review under certain circumstances. ... “Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces,” Mr. Holder said. “This is simply not accurate. ‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” [more inside]
TARP is winding down...bring on the lawsuits. Within the next week, the US government is set to sue a dozen banks for billions in losses caused by those banks' misrepresenting the risks of mortgage-backed securities. This is in addition to numerous State Attorneys General suing the banks for failing to reach an agreement in foreclosure abuses. Insurance giant AIG will also be suing BofA to recoup losses over the mortgage bonds. BofA had also agreed to a settlement of $8.5 billion to cover losses from soured mortgage debt issued through Countrywide. Deutsche Bank is suing WaMu. Goldman Sachs already settled with the SEC for $500 million for their fraud and have been sued by othersseeking to recover losses. [more inside]
Utah Attorney General Announces Execution on Twitter. Today marked an evolution of sorts for Twitter. It’s no longer just for following your favorite celebrity rants or for informing your followers you’re having a ham sandwich or just took a shower. And self-promotion on Twitter seems so yesterday. Consider Friday’s tweets from Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Around midnight, he tweeted that he’d given “the go ahead” to execute condemned inmate Ronnie Gardner.
Late last night, a cyclist was killed in Toronto. "Ontario's former attorney general Michael Bryant ... will be charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death, a police source tells the Globe, after a collision left a 33-year-old cyclist dead." Accounts vary, but the sequence appears to be 1) Some collision and argument between the cyclist and the driver; 2) The cyclist grabs the driver's door and hangs on (or he may have been caught on the car accidentally) while the Saab convertible drives on; 3) The car drives into the opposite lane, across a construction zone, and the cyclist is battered against mailboxes and light posts; 4) The cyclist falls under the car's back wheels and is killed. [more inside]
Newsweek has "four knowledgable sources" who claim attorney general Eric Holder is considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Bush administration interrogation practices. (h/t Glenn Greenwald).
The Justice Department - brought to you by the letters ORLY? The left gets to hate him because he "is the RIAA's favorite lawyer". (Note however, that the RIAA has still never actually won a judgement against a file sharer.) The right gets to hate him because he was the lawyer for Terry Schiavo's husband. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Thomas J. Perrelli, Obama's selection for associate Attorney General. [more inside]
Alberto Gonzalez says "there is no express grant" of habeas corpus in the Constitution. Previously on MeFi and AskMe.
Not-in-the-NewsFilter "Is Mr. Ashcroft neglecting real threats to the public because of his ideological biases?" Paul Krugman on the case of William Krar, a terrorist the justice department isn't talking about.
John Ashcroft's Patriot Games. An interesting article from last month's Vanity Fair on Ashcroft and his revolution inside the Justice Department. Now the Justice Department wants to wage a war on porn, and "are spending millions of dollars to bring anti-obscenity cases to courthouses across the country for the first time in 10 years. Nothing is off limits, they warn, even soft-core cable programs such as HBO's long-running Real Sex or the adult movies widely offered in guestrooms of major hotel chains." [Via Boing Boing and Instapundit.]
Attorney General Is Closely Linked to Inquiry Figures Karl Rove, President Bush (news - web sites)'s top political adviser, whose possible role in the case has raised questions, was a paid consultant to three of Mr. Ashcroft's campaigns in Missouri, twice for governor and for United States senator, in the 1980's and 1990's, an associate of Mr. Rove said on Wednesday. Jack Oliver, the deputy finance chairman of Mr. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, was the director of Mr. Ashcroft's 1994 Senate campaign, and later worked as Mr. Ashcroft's deputy chief of staff. No wonder 69% of Americans think that an independent counsel should conduct the investigation.
Meet Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, whose nomination to a federal appeals court may be running into trouble.
Ground Laid for Historic Presidential Powers Push But as recently as March 4, Attorney General John Ashcroft was being coy about it, refusing to discuss any of the 86-page draft at a Senate hearing. Among the more extreme powers Patriot Act II would grant the executive branch: The ability to strip citizenship from an American who supports a group the feds label as terrorist. Secret arrests—the government could avoid revealing the location of, charges against, and evidence on someone it was holding. Far looser checks on search-and-seizure activities of law enforcement. And a DNA database for people deemed to be terrorist suspects. But with this "really cool war to watch on TV", who will even notice before it's too late?
Is forcing a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic medication to make him sane enough to execute cruel and unusual punishment? (NYT link) A federal appeals court ruled that officials in Arkansas can force a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic medication to make him sane enough to execute. The problem is that the American Medical Association's ethical guidelines prohibits precisely that. To make the case more surreal, a representative of the Arkansas attorney general's office who argued for the state later said: "The ethical decisions involving doctors are difficult ones, but they are not ones for the courts". Does this mean that COs -Correction Officers- are to figure out for themselves which medication to administer? Do they also call the shots when deciding if the "waiting" patient is sane enough???
John Ashcroft: activist attorney. Long and revealing article about Ashcroft's "my morals and religious beliefs first and law second" political history.
Threat of 'dirty bomb' softened Attorney General John Ashcroft on Monday overstated the potential threat posed by "dirty bomb" suspect Abdullah Al Muhajir, Bush administration and law enforcement officials said Tuesday. Ashcroft's remarks annoyed the White House and led the administration to soften the government's descriptions of the alleged plot. "I don't think there was actually a plot beyond some fairly loose talk and (Al Muhajir's) coming in here obviously to plan further deeds," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told CBS on Tuesday. So, does this mean he'll actually get treated like an American citizen and get to see a lawyer?
Government Will Ease Limits on Domestic Spying by F.B.I. (NY Times link) As part of a sweeping effort to transform the F.B.I. into a domestic terrorism prevention agency, Attorney General John Ashcroft has decided to relax restrictions on the bureau's ability to conduct domestic spying in counterterrorism operations, senior government officials said today. Here's the Wash. Post's take on the story.
Ashcroft's Jihad. "Attorney General John D. Ashcroft yesterday cast the government's war on terrorism in religious terms, arguing that the campaign is rooted in faith in God and urging Christians, Jews and Muslims to unite in the effort." So as an agnostic, am I excused from the war?
More on Ashcroft (via Salon) Supported a law that makes it OK to kill abortion providers. This is not a "political difference of opinion." The man is dangerous.
The "Stop Ashcroft" movement gets busy - does this coalition have a website? I've already e-mailed my senators but I'd like to see what else I can do to keep this goon as far away from the Attorney General's office as possible.