Alan Dershowitz on the Defense (His Own) by Barry Meier [The New York Times]
Last month, demonstrators at Johns Hopkins University interrupted Alan M. Dershowitz as he was giving a fiery speech defending Israel. The disruption normally would not have fazed Mr. Dershowitz, a former Harvard Law School professor who thrives on controversy and relishes taking on opponents in and out of the courtroom. The protesters, however, were not challenging his Middle East politics. Instead, they held up a sign reading, “You Are Rape Culture.” Mr. Dershowitz knew what it meant. A decade ago, he had defended a friend, a money manager named Jeffrey E. Epstein, after authorities in Palm Beach, Fla., found evidence indicating that he was paying underage girls to give him sexual massages. The lawyer led a scorched-earth attack on the girls and, with a team of high-priced lawyers, cut a plea deal for Mr. Epstein that the local police said was too lenient.[more inside]
Adnan Syed’s case is being reopened. NPR's Serial Podcast, formerly discussed abouts these parts, seems to have finally precipitated the state of Maryland to allow a new examination of the case, considering new evidence stemming from the podcast series and following events. The Guardian's post-podcast rundown.
Amanda Knox Acquitted of 2007 Murder by Italy’s Highest Court [New York Times]
"ROME — Italy’s highest court overturned the murder convictions of Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend on Friday, throwing out all charges and ending a long-running courtroom drama over the killing of a British student in 2007. The ruling in favor of Ms. Knox, a 27-year-old former exchange student from Seattle, and her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, 31, was a shock in Italy, where the convictions had been expected to be upheld in the stabbing death of the British student, Meredith Kercher.Previously. Previously. Previously. Previously.
On Trial for Rape by Ann Brocklehurst [The Walrus Magazine]
"Late last year, in a Toronto courtroom, a young woman faced off against the university student whom she accused of raping her in a school parking lot. The media ignored the story. This is a series about a criminal rape trial that took place in Toronto late last year. The trial lasted eight days; the judge announced his verdict earlier this month." —Ann Brocklehurst[more inside]
9 years and 364 days ago, the then MEP (and later cabinet minister), Chris Huhne caught a flight back from Brussels to London Stansted, landing at 10.27pm. He picked up his car, with the distinctive number plate H11HNE, and sped back to his home in Clapham, South London, setting in motion a chain of events that would ultimately see him and his wife, economist Vicky Pryce, each sentenced to 8 months in jail. [more inside]
The Supreme Court of the United States has held only one criminal trial in its history: United States v. Shipp. [more inside]
Scott Horton at Harpers.org writes about Julian P. Heicklen, a 78-year-old retired chemistry professor from New Jersey, now faces federal criminal charges for informing people entering the federal courthouse about the doctrine of jury nullification. Scott Horton's post is a response to the New York Times column on Mr. Heicklen. [more inside]
Jury nullification, a situation in which jurors acquit in a criminal trial even if the facts favor conviction (often because the jurors disagree with the law), is of ancient provenance in the Anglo-American legal tradition. Courts are ambivalent towards it, regarding it both as quasi-illegal (they'll remove jurors if they catch them during the attempt) and as something that they cannot overturn once it happens. Nullification has furthered many causes, from anti-death-penalty to pro-southern-lynchings. Lawyers can't mention it in court on pain of contempt, but some hope to educate people in other ways.
Sacco and Vanzetti et al. The amazing Famous Trials website, compiled as a labor of love by University of Missouri law professor Douglas Linder, is a motherlode of information on historically significant trails, ranging from Galileo to the Amistad to Lenny Bruce. It features not only official transcripts, but also equally intriguing details such as a map of the railroad cars in the Scottsboro Boys trial, Klan documents from the Mississippi Burning case, and opinion polls related to the My Lai courts martial.
Saddam Hussein. After his defiant appearance in court, is it impossible for him to face a fair trial? Does anyone feel he deserves one after his actions?
The justice system at work. A sitting Judge in Oklahoma has been removed from the bench for using a male enhancement pump, pleasuring himself and oiling his nether regions during court proceedings - including an August 2003 murder trial. At least he was awake during the proceedings, unlike other judges.
Oregon man says brain tumor caused him to jump in neighbor's bed Although Jackson County has paid nearly $150,000 for surgery and medical treatments, the Judge said "I do not find adequate evidence of mental defect," There are many examples of persons who may have acquired sociopathic personalities due to pathological brain lesions, such as tumors, yet no doctor testified to the tumor's effect at the trial. Poor lawyering?