Entries in the Category "courts"

Don't skinnydip in the piranha pond

"We knew what we were doing was something new, and it would take some time for people to get their arms around it, but we were not expecting this visceral of a reaction,"

Duh! You start a web service for rating lawyers, and you're surprised when they sue you? That's like hitting a beehive with a baseball bat. And judges are lawyers too. You are screwed, Mr. Britton.

DC gun ban lifted!

Oh, this is beautiful! A federal appeals court strikes down DCs handgun ban. It's a fairly narrow decision focused on possession of handguns within the home, in working order. But it's an individual-rights based decision that makes hash of DC's legal arguments. A few choice tidbits:

The District claims that the Second Amendment “protects private possession of weapons only in connection with performance of civic duties as part of a well-regulated citizens militia organized for the security of a free state.” Individuals may be able to enforce the Second Amendment right, but only if the law in question “will impair their participation in common defense and law enforcement when called to serve in the militia.” But because the District reads “a well regulated Militia” to signify only the organized militias of the founding era—institutions that the District implicitly argues are no longer in existence today—invocation of the Second Amendment right is conditioned upon service in a defunct institution. Tellingly, we think, the District did not suggest what sort of law, if any, would violate the Second Amendment today—in fact, at oral argument, appellees’ counsel asserted that it would be constitutional for the District to ban all firearms outright. In short, we take the District’s position to be that the Second Amendment is a dead letter. (13-14)
Every other provision of the Bill of Rights, excepting the Tenth, which speaks explicitly about the allocation of governmental power, protects rights enjoyed by citizens in their individual capacity. The Second Amendment would be an inexplicable aberration if it were not read to protect individual rights as well. (p.24)

Gotta love this, quoting DCs code against it:

Just as in the 1792 enactment, Congress defined the militia broadly, and, more explicitly than in its founding-era counterpart, Congress provided that a large portion of the militia would remain unorganized. The District has a similar structure for its own militia: “Every able-bodied male citizen resident within the District of Columbia, of the age of 18 years and under the age of 45 years, excepting . . . idiots, lunatics, common drunkards, vagabonds, paupers, and persons convicted of any infamous crime, shall be enrolled in the militia.” D.C. Code § 49-401.(p.33)
[Maybe they should have argued that most of DC's population is thus barred from participation in the militia! -JAQ]

Miller’s definition of the “Militia,” then, offers further support for the individual right interpretation of the Second Amendment. Attempting to draw a line between the ownership and use of “Arms” for private purposes and the ownership and use of “Arms” for militia purposes would have been an extremely silly exercise on the part of the First Congress if indeed the very survival of the militia depended on men who would bring their commonplace, private arms with them to muster. A ban on the use and ownership of weapons for private
purposes, if allowed, would undoubtedly have had a deleterious,if not catastrophic, effect on the readiness of the militia foraction. We do not see how one could believe that the First Congress, when crafting the Second Amendment, would have engaged in drawing such a foolish and impractical distinction,and we think the Miller Court recognized as much.(45)

D.C. Code § 7-2502.0218 prohibits the registration of a pistol not registered in the District by the applicant prior to 1976.19 The District contends that since it only bans one type of firearm, “residents still have access to hundreds more,” and thus its prohibition does not implicate the Second Amendment because it does not threaten total disarmament. We think that argument frivolous. It could be similarly contended that all firearms may be banned so long as sabers were permitted. Once it is determined—as we have done—that handguns are “Arms” referred to in the Second Amendment, it is not open to the District to ban them. See Kerner, 107 S.E. at 225 (“To exclude all pistols . . . is not a regulation, but a prohibition, of . . . ‘arms’ which the people are entitled to bear.”). Indeed, the pistol is the most preferred firearm in the nation to “keep” and use for protection of one’s home and family. See Gary Kleck & Marc Gertz, Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun, 86 J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOLOGY 150, 182-83 (1995). And, as we have noted, the Second Amendment’s premise is that guns would be kept by citizens for self-protection (and hunting). (55-56)

First heads up to Beck, then to Claire Files.

I'm glad there's nobody famous named Jeffrey Quick

Keith Urban (the artist) is being sued by Keith Urban (Mr. Nicole Kidman) because he called his domain Keithurban.com. Don't we normal people have a right to our own name anymore? I'd like to see a judge tell Mr. NK where he can stick his suit, and his guitar.

Lacrosse-team persecutor gets slapped by bar

Mike Nifong's actions stink so badly that even the North Carolina Bar has filed a complaint against him. Among other choice statements he made to the media, I had missed these gems:

-- Nifong referred to the lacrosse players as "a bunch of hooligans."

-- He declared: "I am convinced there was a rape, yes, sir."

-- He told ESPN: "One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong."

So much for "innocent until proven guilty".

"Judge, there's a fly in my water!"

A Windsor, Ontario court had awarded $341K to Waddah Mustapha because there was a fly in his bottled water. Not that he drank the water, mind you, but the mere sight of the fly had turned him into a nutcase. The appeals court threw it out, AND ordered him to pay court costs, because he was ALREADY a nutcase; that's why he was drinking the water.

I don't think you'd see that in the US.