Sunday, November 30, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I'm beginning to think that we should all move to India to find a job!
Revenue from patent work performed by legal professionals in India was about $46 million last year and may more than quadruple to an estimated $206 million by the end of 2012, according to a report released this week by an Irish market research group.
The Indian patent services industry has grown significantly in the past three to four years to include about 50 vendors with 1,500 professionals, according to a release about the new report. The vendors have grown in number with the increased outsourcing of patent work by U.S. and European law firms and companies.
The area lends itself to such overseas outsourcing because it typically entails "manpower intensive and process-driven services," the release said. The report estimates that the industry could ultimately grow to become a $2.2 billion market by building on work from existing clients and, perhaps, partly by gaining future business from patent offices themselves. The Dublin, Ireland-based company Market and Research released the report, "Offshoring Patent Services to India," which was produced by the Indian business market research company ValueNotes. by law.com
Roman Porter, the executive director of the Fair Political Practices Commission, which oversees California campaign finance laws, signed off on the investigation after reviewing a sworn complaint filed on Nov. 13.
The complaint, filed by Fred Karger, founder of the group Californians Against Hate, asserted that the church’s reported contributions — about $5,000, according to state election filings — vastly underestimated its actual efforts in passing Proposition 8, which amended the state’s Constitution to recognize only male-female marriage.
Broadly speaking, California state law requires disclosure of any money spent or services provided to influence the outcome of an election.
Mr. Porter said the announcement of the investigation was not “a determination on the validity of the claims or the culpability of the individuals,” but that the claims had been reviewed by a lawyer for the commission and its chief of enforcement and deemed worth pursuing.
Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issued a statement Tuesday saying it had received the complaint and would cooperate with the investigation. Frank Schubert, campaign manager for the leading group behind Proposition 8, said the accusations were baseless and made by a “rogue group.”
Responding to a plea from Mormon Church leaders to “become involved in this important cause,” members contributed millions of dollars and volunteered for countless hours on behalf of Proposition 8. The ballot measure passed with 52 percent of the vote, leading to protests and boycotts of supporters of the proposition, including some Mormon temples and businesses.
Mr. Karger’s complaint paints a sweeping picture of the involvement by the church leadership, and raises questions about who paid for out-of-state phone banks and grass-roots rallies in California before the Nov. 4 vote.
“Who paid for the buses, travel costs, meals and other expenses of all the Mormon participants?” the complaint reads. “No contributions were reported.”
The complaint also touches on a five-state simulcast from church leaders to Mormon congregations, as well as a Web site, preservingmarriage.org, that featured a series of videos advocating passage of the ballot measure and is labeled “an official Web site” of the Mormon Church.
Ms. Farah said the church had no comment on the particular accusations in the complaint.
If found in violation of election laws, the church could face fines of up to $5,000 per violation, Mr. Porter said. Bigger fines could also be levied by a civil court.
Mr. Karger said he respected the right of Mormons to vote in line with their religious beliefs, but added “if they’re going to play politics, then they need to play by the rules.”The California Supreme Court agreed last week to review the constitutionality of the measure, with a ruling expected next year. By NY Times
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Intellectual property work hasn't fallen into the malaise that some areas of law have suffered in the wake of the economic downturn, say law firms that are hiring lawyers to meet demand in the area.
Merchant & Gould; Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon; and McAndrews, Held & Malloy are among firms that have hired lawyers in recent months, beyond the usual associate classes, in response to steady or rising demand from some clients for enforcement of patents and general counseling in the area. Merchant & Gould, a Minneapolis-based intellectual property law firm with 100 lawyers in seven U.S. offices, has hired nine attorneys, Chicago's Wildman hired three associates in the area and McAndrews, also of Chicago, hired two senior lawyers.
"So far, we've been insulated from what other law firms are experiencing out there," said Merchant & Gould Managing Director Randall King, referring to the economic turmoil that has caused some firms to lay off lawyers, implement hiring freezes or disband altogether. "Generally, I think IP firms are somewhat insulated."
Despite the economic pressures, companies want to protect their patents from rivals to ensure the revenue that flows from them, said lawyers at the firms. They're also still maintaining defenses against so-called "patent trolls" and seeking counseling on other aspects of intellectual property matters, they said.
Patent litigation work picked up along with general litigation in the past three to six months, even though intellectual property work generally stayed strong in the past two years while general litigation flagged, said Amy McCormack, who leads the Chicago recruiting firm McCormack Schreiber Legal Search.
"We have not deviated from our model whatsoever in light of the economic crunch," said John Letchinger, the chairman of Wildman's IP practice. "We're not finding our clients shying away from investing in intellectual property."
Some intellectual property boutiques may be benefitting from offering clients lower rates at a time when many clients are trimming costs and perhaps seeking one-stop shopping for patent prosecution and litigation work, McCormack said.
"We're probably significantly less expensive than our major competitors," said Tim Malloy, a litigator and founding partner at intellectual property boutique McAndrews, Held & Malloy. Lynne Marek
The National Law Journal
Monday, November 24, 2008
This is a very interesting article written today by Mitt Romney in the NY Times.
IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.
Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.
I love cars, American cars. I was born in Detroit, the son of an auto chief executive. In 1954, my dad, George Romney, was tapped to run American Motors when its president suddenly died. The company itself was on life support — banks were threatening to deal it a death blow. The stock collapsed. I watched Dad work to turn the company around — and years later at business school, they were still talking about it. From the lessons of that turnaround, and from my own experiences, I have several prescriptions for Detroit’s automakers.
First, their huge disadvantage in costs relative to foreign brands must be eliminated. That means new labor agreements to align pay and benefits to match those of workers at competitors like BMW, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. Furthermore, retiree benefits must be reduced so that the total burden per auto for domestic makers is not higher than that of foreign producers.
That extra burden is estimated to be more than $2,000 per car. Think what that means: Ford, for example, needs to cut $2,000 worth of features and quality out of its Taurus to compete with Toyota’s Avalon. Of course the Avalon feels like a better product — it has $2,000 more put into it. Considering this disadvantage, Detroit has done a remarkable job of designing and engineering its cars. But if this cost penalty persists, any bailout will only delay the inevitable.
Second, management as is must go. New faces should be recruited from unrelated industries — from companies widely respected for excellence in marketing, innovation, creativity and labor relations.
The new management must work with labor leaders to see that the enmity between labor and management comes to an end. This division is a holdover from the early years of the last century, when unions brought workers job security and better wages and benefits. But as Walter Reuther, the former head of the United Automobile Workers, said to my father, “Getting more and more pay for less and less work is a dead-end street.”
You don’t have to look far for industries with unions that went down that road. Companies in the 21st century cannot perpetuate the destructive labor relations of the 20th. This will mean a new direction for the U.A.W., profit sharing or stock grants to all employees and a change in Big Three management culture.
The need for collaboration will mean accepting sanity in salaries and perks. At American Motors, my dad cut his pay and that of his executive team, he bought stock in the company, and he went out to factories to talk to workers directly. Get rid of the planes, the executive dining rooms — all the symbols that breed resentment among the hundreds of thousands who will also be sacrificing to keep the companies afloat.
Investments must be made for the future. No more focus on quarterly earnings or the kind of short-term stock appreciation that means quick riches for executives with options. Manage with an eye on cash flow, balance sheets and long-term appreciation. Invest in truly competitive products and innovative technologies — especially fuel-saving designs — that may not arrive for years. Starving research and development is like eating the seed corn.
Just as important to the future of American carmakers is the sales force. When sales are down, you don’t want to lose the only people who can get them to grow. So don’t fire the best dealers, and don’t crush them with new financial or performance demands they can’t meet.
It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition. I believe the federal government should invest substantially more in basic research — on new energy sources, fuel-economy technology, materials science and the like — that will ultimately benefit the automotive industry, along with many others. I believe Washington should raise energy research spending to $20 billion a year, from the $4 billion that is spent today. The research could be done at universities, at research labs and even through public-private collaboration. The federal government should also rectify the imbedded tax penalties that favor foreign carmakers.
But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost.
The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.
In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was a candidate for this year’s Republican presidential nomination.
Friday, November 21, 2008
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom warned Wednesday that the country's parliament passed a law that would make it more difficult for churches to register before they can operate legally, ban children from participating in religious organizations and ban distribution of religious materials in public places.
"If the president signs the law as passed by the parliament, religious freedom will be eroded in Kyrgyzstan, which used to enjoy the reputation of being (the) most democratic of the post-Soviet Central Asian republics," said Felice D. Gaer, head of the commission established by Congress to watch religious freedom globally.
She called for the United States to work through diplomatic channels to urge Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev not to sign the legislation, which she said would provide "legal cover for egregious discrimination on the basis of religion."
A State Department report released earlier this year said the LDS Church was already having troubles there even before the new law.
That report said, "Several religious groups had difficulties registering. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), which initially applied for registration in 2004, was still not registered at the end of the reporting period," a requirement before it may operate legally in the country.
The new law would make it much more difficult to register. Instead of requiring just 10 members in the country before a church could register, it would now require 200, the commission said.
Members of the European Parliament, in a visit to Kyrgyz last month, raised concerns about the new bill. Also, Alexander Shumilin, chairman of the Kyrgyz Council of Church of Evangelical Christians, told a press conference last month the new law could force many churches there into operating illegally and in hiding.
"We respect Kyrgyz laws, but our main mission is spreading of the gospel and we are so committed to it," he said.
The Kyrgyz Republic, which is slightly smaller than South Dakota, has a population of about 5.4 million. It is 75 percent Muslim, 20 percent Russian Orthodox, with other religions accounting for 5 percent of the population. It is bounded by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. by Deseret News
Thursday, November 20, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California's highest court agreed Wednesday to hear several legal challenges to the state's new ban on same-sex marriage but refused to allow gay couples to resume marrying before it rules.
The California Supreme Court accepted three lawsuits seeking to nullify Proposition 8, a voter-approved constitutional amendment that overruled the court's decision in May that legalized gay marriage.
All three cases claim the measure abridges the civil rights of a vulnerable minority group. They argue that voters alone did not have the authority to enact such a significant constitutional change.
As is its custom when it takes up cases, the court elaborated little. However, the justices did say they want to address what effect, if any, a ruling upholding the amendment would have on the estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages that were sanctioned in California before Election Day.
Gay rights groups and local governments petitioning to overturn the ban were joined by the measure's sponsors and Attorney General Jerry Brown in urging the Supreme Court to consider whether Proposition 8 passes legal muster.
The initiative's opponents had also asked the court to grant a stay of the measure, which would have allowed gay marriages to begin again while the justices considered the cases. The court denied that request.
The justices directed Brown and lawyers for the Yes on 8 campaign to submit arguments by Dec. 19 on why the ballot initiative should not be nullified. It said lawyers for the plaintiffs, who include same-sex couples who did not wed before the election, must respond before Jan. 5.
Oral arguments could be scheduled as early as March, according to court spokeswoman Lynn Holton.
"This is welcome news. The matter of Proposition 8 should be resolved thoughtfully and without delay," Brown said in a statement.
Both opponents and supporters of Proposition 8 expressed confidence Wednesday that their arguments would prevail. But they also agreed that the cases present the court's seven justices - six of whom voted to review the challenges - with complex questions that have few precedents in state case law.
Although more than two dozen states have similar amendments, some of which have survived similar lawsuits, none were approved by voters in a place where gay marriage already was legal.
Neither were any approved in a state where the high court had put sexual orientation in the same protected legal class as race and religion, which the California Supreme Court did when it rendered its 4-3 decision that made same-sex marriage legal in May.
Opponents of the ban argue that voters improperly abrogated the judiciary's authority by stripping same-sex couples of the right to wed after the high court earlier ruled it was discriminatory to prohibit gay men and lesbians from marrying.
"If given effect, Proposition 8 would work a dramatic, substantive change to our Constitution's 'underlying principles' of individual equality on a scale and scope never previously condoned by this court," lawyers for the same-sex couples stated in their petition.
The measure represents such a sweeping change that it constitutes a constitutional revision as opposed to an amendment, the documents say. The distinction would have required the ban's backers to obtain approval from two-thirds of both houses of the California Legislature before submitting it to voters.
Over the past century, the California Supreme Court has heard nine cases challenging legislative acts or ballot initiatives as improper revisions. The court eventually invalidated three of the measures, according to the gay rights group Lambda Legal.
Andrew Pugno, legal counsel for the Yes on 8 campaign, said he doubts the court will buy the revision argument in the case of the gay marriage ban because the plaintiffs would have to prove the measure alters the state's basic governmental framework.
Joel Franklin, a constitutional law professor at Monterey College of Law, said that even though the court rejected similar procedural arguments when it upheld amendments reinstating the death penalty and limiting property taxes, those cases do not represent as much of a fundamental change as Proposition 8.
"Those amendments applied universally to all Californians," Franklin said. "This is a situation where you are removing rights from a particular group of citizens, a class of individuals the court has said is entitled to constitutional protection. That is a structural change."
The trio of cases the court accepted were filed by six same-sex couples who have not yet wed, a Los Angeles lesbian couple who were among the first to tie the knot on June 16 and 11 cities and counties, led by the city of San Francisco.
This is a great letter that was posted on theacorn.com website.
The "No on Prop. 8" crowd believes in one-way tolerance and in demonizing anyone who does not stand with them, denying my right to the democratic process and unabashedly trampling on the rights of individuals, businesses and churches.
When I was helping with the campaign for "Yes on Prop. 8," those who would vote differently tried to assure me that there would be no pushing of the gay agenda in the schools, others' rights would be protected, churches wouldn't be forced to acknowledge gay marriages if they didn't choose to. These are people who just want love and peace.
Any questions about that now? I drove to attend my temple on Santa Monica Boulevard, and there were protesters with signs screaming for the church to lose its tax exemption, vicious attacks on my religion and lies about what the religion embraces. There was a white powder scare, closing the temple down for the day, and death threats on individuals involved with the campaign.
Their slogan is "Stop The Hate." There is some inconsistency here. The only hate I saw or heard came from that side of the debate.
I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and never once have I heard any encouragement to hate gays and lesbians. I don't speak for the Mormon Church, but I know for a fact what the leaders have stated and teach, and that is complete love and acceptance of all God's children even if we don't accept their choices. I don't mind that they want to have a different opinion, but the protests are out of control.
This community needs to take a look at the shameful behavior of those who threw water bottles, flipped off, called names.
I've heard that "Mormons are going to have to watch their backs." Did I mention property damage and vandalism to signs on both sides of the issue?The answers aren't in Sacramento or Washington, D.C. How we treat each other when we disagree is what shows how ready we are to having lasting peace among ourselves.
Fellow Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionary Joshua Heidbrink, of Greeley, Colo., was by Young's side as the two prepared to end their day on the streets of Deep Creek on the day after New Year's 2006.
They saw a man up the street backing away from a house, his arm extended. There was a gunshot, then the hooded man with a gun ran toward them.
"It was very quick," Heidbrink testified Wednesday in Chesapeake Circuit Court.
Heidbrink said he recalled two flashes. The first sent him to the ground.
"Then I saw another flash, and then I heard a bang from a pistol,'' he said.
The second shot sent 21-year-old Young face-first to the rain-soaked pavement. He had been shot in the head and would soon be dead.
Heidbrink tried to wake his companion, but there was no response. He went for help at the nearby Charity House.
"I opened up my raincoat and suit coat and saw the blood running down my chest,'' Heidbrink testified. He had been shot in the shoulder.
Heidbrink was a prosecution witness in the trial of James Boughton Jr. The 21-year-old is charged with first-degree murder, malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding and three counts of use of a firearm.
Police had shown Heidbrink a photo lineup of six people after the shooting.
"I could not identify anybody," he testified.
Commonwealth's Attorney Nancy Parr and Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney D.J. Hansen used the testimony of another witness, 19-year-old Mario Felton, in an attempt to tie Boughton to the shootings.
Felton and Boughton had gone to the Elkhart Street duplex of Gregory "Life" Banks Jr. They laid in wait for Banks outside his home, Felton said.
Felton and Banks were feuding over $80 in drug money.
"Why were you going to go over there?" Hansen said.
"To beat him up," Felton said.
Boughton had a gun that night and wore a black hoodie, Felton said. Boughton waited at one end of the house; Felton waited behind the other end of the duplex.
Felton testified that he ran away when he heard a car coming. As he ran, he noticed two white men, with a black man on the street nearby, he said.
He continued to run and heard a single shot, he said. Then there were two more. Then, he testified, Boughton ran up behind him yelling a racial slur and said, "I got them. I got them."
Felton admitted to hiding the 9 mm handgun Boughton was carrying. He also gave police a statement when they approached him about his actions that night.
"I told them that I shot the gun three times," he testified.
He said that was a lie to cover for Boughton, a friend he often referred to as "Sleep.''
"I was trying to protect Sleep. Then I started thinking, for what?" he testified.
Andrew Sacks, Boughton's attorney, is expected to cross-examine Felton today when the trial resumes. by the Virginia Pilot
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The California Supreme Court accepted three lawsuits seeking to nullify Proposition 8, a voter-approved constitutional amendment that overruled the court's decision in May that legalized gay marriage.
All three cases claim the measure abridges the civil rights of a vulnerable minority group. They argue that voters alone did not have the authority to enact such a significant constitutional change.
As is its custom when it takes up cases, the court did not elaborate on its decision.
Along with the gay rights groups and local governments petitioning to overturn the ban, the measure's sponsors and Attorney General Jerry Brown had urged the Supreme Court to consider whether Proposition 8 passes legal muster.
The court directed Brown and lawyers for the Yes on 8 campaign to submit their arguments for why the ballot initiative should not be nullified by Dec. 19. It said lawyers for the plaintiffs, who include same-sex couples who did not wed before the election, must respond before Jan. 5. Oral arguments could be scheduled as early as March, according to court spokeswoman Lynn Holton.
Both opponents and supporters of Proposition 8 expressed confidence Wednesday that their arguments would prevail.
But they also agreed that the cases present the court's seven justices _ six of whom voted to review the challenges _ with complex questions that have few precedents in state case law.
Brigham Young University’s master's of business administration program is climbing the charts according to BusinessWeek’s latest rankings that place BYU at 22nd in the nation — the program’s highest ranking since the publication started grading MBA programs 20 years ago.
“We’re very proud of the students who come through our doors,” says Gary Cornia, Marriott School dean. “They’re building a strong reputation around the world for their leadership, honesty and tremendous ability.”
BusinessWeek’s MBA rankings are published every two years and are based on a survey of graduating students and recruiters. The magazine also looks at the number of articles published by each school’s faculty in 20 top academic journals.
“It’s very satisfying to see the school break into BusinessWeek’s top tier. This is not only commendation for the quality of our students but also our excellent placement staff and the superb faculty at the Marriott School,” adds Cornia.
According to BusinessWeek, BYU’s MBA program is helped by a focus on ethics, values and leadership, which draws top recruiters to the school.
“Our students are known for their work ethic and integrity,” says Craig Merrill, MBA director. “And our focus is on developing their leadership skills so they can quickly contribute to their employer’s success.”
The rankings mark the first time BYU has cracked BusinessWeek’s top tier; in 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2006 the program was ranked in the second tier. Ranking No. 22 puts BYU’s Marriott School in the top five percent of American schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
“I think recruiters value BYU students because they know they will get good, ethical employees,” says Ryan Allred, a first-year MBA student from Greenville, N. C. “The alums who came before have gone out and done well and that makes recruiters want to come back.”
The University of Chicago was at the top of the rankings followed by No. 2 Harvard, No. 3 Northwestern, No. 4 University of Pennsylvania and No. 5 University of Michigan. Rounding out the top 25 were No. 20 Notre Dame, No. 21 Texas–Austin, No. 22 BYU, No. 23 Emory, No. 24 Yale and No. 25 USC.
BYU was also ranked highly for return on investment, coming in fifth among U.S. business schools. On average, BYU MBA graduates pay off their educations in less than four years. In addition to a relatively low total cost, BusinessWeek estimates BYU MBA graduates will gain an 80 percent salary increase over their pre-MBA salaries.
The Best B-Schools are featured in the Nov. 24 issue of BusinessWeek available on newsstands beginning Nov. 17.
The Marriott School has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.
For this and other Marriott School news releases, visit the online newsroom at marriottschoool.byu.edu/news.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The event began "as a fun way to benefit the Center for Women and Children in Crisis," said Jackie Ball, a program co-chair for the Women's Law Forum, in an e-mail. "The event is also a nice break from the rigorous course load, especially for 1Ls (first-year law students)."
The event brought two teams of law professors together, The Repeat Offenders and The Attractive Nuisances, who competed to answer student-submitted questions on many different topics.
"The question subjects range from pop culture to history to law, so they can get pretty hilarious," Ball said. "Many students win prizes, and all have a fun time watching their professors 'put on the spot' to answer questions (a sort of role reversal). All have a lot of fun."
The questions covered math, the law school, music, movies, law and politics, literature and sports.
When the professors answered correctly, they received a point. When they were stumped, the student who wrote the question received a prize.
The prizes included tickets to Hale Center Theatre, gift certificates to Magleby's Fresh, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory chocolate and a stay at the Marriott.
Roaring cheers and boos filled the room throughout the event, especially when the professors had to answer a pop-culture question that required more than a short answer.
One question asked for a professor to rap two lines from a Snoop Dogg rap while another asked a professor to sing the first verse and chorus to "Follow the Prophet."
As the professor who sang the children's song reached the chorus nearly everyone in the room was clapping to the beat then began singing the chorus with her.
This year they tried mixing things up with letting the professors try to stump the students. This was not well received. When they announced the new portion students questioned what was going on.
"We get stumped everyday," one student yelled out.
To this James D. Gordon, III, the emcee, asked, "Want to keep humiliating the professors?"
Gordon's question received one of the loudest cheers of the day.
In the end The Repeat Offenders won the competition with 16 points and were crowned the winners while The Attractive Nuisances got stumped and received a tree that looked very similar to Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.
The event raised $800 in ticket pre-sales with even more raised at the door. All of the proceeds will go to the Center for Women and Children in Crisis. by BYU NewsNet
Catania knows his city's politics much better than I, but I wonder whether his confidence is fully justified. Given the strong opposition to same-sex marriage among blacks, as demonstrated most recently in their 70% support for Prop 8, the city council in an overwhelmingly black city might get cold feet as the vote nears. Another open question is whether, even with an enlarged Democratic majority, Congress would overrule the city's recognition of same-sex marriages.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors sacrificed $86 million in capital-improvement projects Monday, instead unanimously deciding to spend the money on a courtroom complex in downtown Phoenix.
The 16-story Criminal Court Tower could cost $340 million and likely will be the county's most expensive project, filling a block bounded by First and Second avenues and Jackson and Madison streets.
Most criminal cases are tried in the downtown Phoenix Superior Court Complex, but with 40,000 felony cases filed yearly and the number projected to grow, the tower is meant to handle ever-increasing caseloads.
In shelving other projects, the board hammered home that it is committed to the tower, despite slumping revenues, a gaping hole in its budget, and bleak briefings from economists who predict the economic situation will get worse.
"There will never be a better time to build that building than right now," said Republican Supervisor Max Wilson.
To help cover court-tower costs, the board shelved a $67 million plan to expand a regional court in Mesa, a $13 million project to build a sheriff's office 911 center and crime lab, and a $6.3 million plan to knock down First Avenue Jail.
For years, county officials have squirreled away money for the judicial complex, which will add 32 courtrooms. Now's the time to spend it, they say, when prices for labor and building materials are down.
"We consider it a business decision," County Manager David Smith said. "It's one that's made apart of the ups and downs of the current economy. We've been saving money for at least eight years, and it's the right way to do economic stimulus, with the 500 jobs (that will be added during) the next three years during construction. We're doing it with cash, we're injecting that savings account back into the economy, (and) that will circulate several times, all to local employees and contractors and so on."
Kenny Harris, an assistant county manager, said, "We're going to save money . . . because of the recession. As long as the economy struggles, it's the best time for government projects to step up.
"In order to keep their businesses open, (subcontractors) are willing to do the work and reduce their profit margins and their fees to do the work. It's better to stay in business and take less money than close your doors."
The county hopes to open the court-tower doors in early 2012.
Eighteen months ago, the board gave the go-ahead to design and build the tower, and authorized spending $342.4 million. Officials have spent about $11 million, and on Monday, reduced the project's funding to $339 million. The county will break ground on the project next month, starting with storm-sewer relocation and garage demolition.
The court tower is designed at 16 floors, including two underground floors. At 682,000 square feet, it would house 32 criminal courtrooms; 22 courtrooms would be built immediately; and 10 more would be finished later.
Plans also include a jury-assembly room for the entire criminal-court complex, state-of-the-art technology, and separate waiting rooms for victims and witnesses. The tower would include judges' chambers and restorative-justice services, in which people try to repair the harm caused by crime by working in the community. by azcentral.com
Monday, November 17, 2008
Position: White Collar Litigation Associate
Location: Washington, DC
Description: The Washington, D.C. office of an international law firm is seeking a white collar litigation associate. The ideal candidate will have at least 2-3 years of white collar litigation experience and excellent academic credentials. Previous employment at the DOJ is a plus. Some criminal investigations experience is a must. Candidate must be self-motivated, highly qualified and possess the ability to work well in groups.
Membership in Lateral Link is free and you can apply at www.laterallink.com/register.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Five months ago, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a letter to members of the Church in California, encouraging them to join the millions of other Californians from many religious denominations, ethnic groups and political persuasions in a broad coalition to defend marriage as it has been defined for millennia.
During the election campaign, both sides of the argument on Proposition 8 had ample opportunities to express their viewpoint. The result was conclusively in favor of traditional marriage. More than 40 states in the United States have now voted to protect traditional marriage, either directly or through their elected representatives.
Today the First Presidency issued this statement about the democratic process:
Since the people of California voted to reaffirm the sanctity of traditional marriage between a man and a woman on November 4, 2008, places of worship have been targeted by opponents of Proposition 8 with demonstrations and, in some cases, vandalism. People of faith have been intimidated for simply exercising their democratic rights. These are not actions that are worthy of the democratic ideals of our nation. The end of a free and fair election should not be the beginning of a hostile response in America.
The Church is keenly aware of the differences of opinion on this difficult and sensitive matter. The reasons for this principled stand in defense of marriage have already been articulated elsewhere. However, some of what we have seen since Californians voted to pass Proposition 8 has been deeply disappointing.
Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues. People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal. Efforts to force citizens out of public discussion should be deplored by people of goodwill everywhere.
We call upon those who have honest disagreements on this issue to urge restraint upon the extreme actions of a few that are further polarizing our communities and urge them to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other.
Equality California, a gay rights group which ran the "No on 8" campaign, said this week it intends to launch an effort to put a ballot initiative to reverse the gay marriage ban in two years should current legal efforts fail.
"We will go back to the ballot only after we have exhausted our legal avenues and after we have a majority of voters with us," said Geoffrey Kors, the group's executive director, according to The Associated Press.
While the San Francisco-based organization has indicated that it was not currently active in pursuing a repeal effort, one gay rights group said they have already begun an effort to put an initiative reversing Prop. 8 on the 2010 ballot.
A group called Courage Campaign said it is taking lessons from the "Yes on 8" campaign and attempting to build a grassroots network, similar to the network of churches used to support Prop. 8, that would boost the repeal effort.
"The problem was, the other side ran a better media campaign, and had thousands and thousands of people, typically through churches, who they were organizing," the Campaign's founder Rick Jacobs told Capitol Weekly.
As of Friday, the group garnered over 180,000 signatures toward a petition to repeal Prop. 8.
If a repeal effort does appear on the 2010 ballot, it would be the third time Californian voters has considered a ballot initiative concerning gay marriage.
Last week, state voters passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, 52 to 48 percent. In 2000, 61 percent approved a similar ban on gay marriage, known as Proposition 22, which was opposed by 39 percent of voters.
Following Prop. 8's passage, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit, Strauss v. Horton, on behalf of several same-sex couples and Equality California.
The lawsuits ask the California Supreme Court to block the measure from taking effect, which would allow gay marriages to continue under the Court's ruling in May.
The suits also challenge the validity of the measure and argues that the measure prevents the courts from protecting fundamental rights. "Any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters," argued Equality California in a press release.
Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal firm, has filed a motion to intervene to defend against the lawsuits. A number of Christian-based groups have also filed amicus briefs arguing against the opponents of Prop. 8.
"The law suit seeking to block Proposition 8 is patently frivolous," said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, in a statement. "The people have a right to amend their constitution."
Glen Lavy, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, said there was "no structural revision to the state constitution" that took place.
"The people have simply restored the definition of marriage that the constitution has always assumed," he stated.
Christians are outraged as thousands of protesters surround Mormon temples and Protestant churches, chanting such words as "Mormon scum" and vandalizing church property and church members' cars.
"What hypocrisy from those who spend all of their time preaching tolerance to the rest of us! How dare they threaten and attack political opponents? We live a democratic country, not a banana republic ruled by thugs," stated Chuck Colson, an influential evangelical and founder of Prison Fellowship.
At a press conference on Friday, Frank Schubert, co-manager of the campaign supporting Prop. 8, highlighted, "Amidst all this lawlessness, harassment, trampling of civil rights and now domestic terrorism, one thing stands out: the deafening silence of our elected officials. Not a single elected leader has spoken out against what is happening. Where is Governor Arnold Schwarzenengger while churches are being attacked? And where is Senator Dianne Feinstein while people are losing their jobs and grandmothers are being bullied by an angry mob?"
Leaders of ProtectMarriage.com gathered Friday to voice opposition against attacks and harrassment they say are increasing against them.
According to ProtectMarriage.com, in Sacramento, a musical theater director was forced to resign after he was blacklisted for contributing $1000 to the initiative, numerous churches have had their property defaced, and an unknown white powder was mailed to several Mormon temples and the National Headquarters of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization that supported the campaign.
Gay rights advocates, who are riled over the passage of Prop. 8, plan to hold a nationwide protest on Saturday against the measure. In California, the protest is scheduled to take place throughout the state, including Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, Modesto, Los Angeles and San Diego.
The state's top court has not indicated when it will decide to whether to take up a the case.
Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage also passed last week in Arizona and Florida.
Connecticut began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this week, joining Massachusetts as the only two states where gay marriage is legal. by Katherine Phan of the Christian Science Reporter.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Karger said by phone from Los Angeles that he and others had been monitoring contributions to support this campaign since July 1. He alleges that their research shows 59,000 Mormon families ponied up more than $22 million to the cause, amounting to 77 percent of funds raised. "I know what things cost," said Karger, a retired political consultant with nearly 30 years experience. "I'm convinced huge expenditures were made that, for whatever reason, went unreported - which is not in keeping with California law."
But LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter issued a strong response, saying the church "fully complied with the reporting requirements of the California Political Reform Act," relied on advice from experienced California counsel and made no violations when it came to reporting expenditures. In fact, he added in a written statement, the LDS Church "filed four reports with California authorities; these reports are a matter of public record. A further report will be filed on or before its due date, Jan. 30, 2009. . . . The so-called 'sworn complaint' filed by Fred Karger with California and Utah authorities has many errors and misstatements. Any investigation would confirm the Church's full compliance with applicable law."
The evidence Karger claims to have gathered points to unreported investments to organize phone banks in Utah and Idaho, send out direct mailers, provide transportation to California including travel by LDS Church leaders, mobilize a speakers bureau, develop Web sites, produce "at least 9 commercials and 4 other video broadcasts" and a couple of satellite simulcasts spanning five states. He said the church stepped over the line when communication stopped being just between members. At that point, he said, he believes reporting nonmonetary activity should have been required, which is why he turned the complaint over to FPPC, a group he described as the "political watchdog of California." Roman Porter, executive director of FPPC, said from his Sacramento office that the commission had not yet seen the complaint but explained that upon its receipt, "We have 14 days to notify the person making the complaint of what our intended action is - whether we will investigate or not, or issue a warning letter."
Any actions by the commission will depend on whether it decides to pursue an investigation. Karger said regardless of how the FPPC rules, he feels standing up for equal rights, including the ability to marry, is "for the best" and will help the LDS Church learn to "recognize and love everyone regardless of sexual orientation." "We've turned a corner . . . We're fighting back," he continued. "They've awakened Godzilla." by SL Trib.
Karger has no idea of who he's up against here. This is a matter that will be settled in the courts and with all of the Mormon lawyers that there are in the country you'll see a sleeping giant awakened when push comes to shove.
"Our mailroom employees discovered an envelope that had been mailed to us from California shortly before noon," Pat Korten, vice president of communications for the Knights of Columbus, told the Deseret News late Thursday. "When they opened it some white powder escaped."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Knights of Columbus are both major backers of the controversial Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. However, the FBI cautioned late Thursday there is no evidence to link the threats to Prop. 8 opponents.
"We've got to follow the evidence and at this point we have not received anything that would lead us to believe the opponents of Prop. 8 are behind any kind of terroristic activity," FBI Special Agent Juan Becerra said from the agency's Salt Lake City office. "It would be irresponsible to say that at this point."
LDS Church security officials called Salt Lake police and firefighters about 4 p.m. Thursday when an employee in the recorder's office inside the Salt Lake Temple annex opened a manila envelope.
"When the employee opened it up and looked inside it, there was actually another white envelope inside that had a white powdery substance in it," Salt Lake Fire spokesman Scott Freitag said.
The employee who opened it immediately set the envelope down and called church security officials, who came over wearing a respirator and plastic gloves. They sealed the envelope inside a plastic bag, Freitag said. Three employees in the room at the time were quarantined. Security denied access to the room and shut off the air vents. "They are not complaining of any injury or illness," Freitag said, adding that they did not have to undergo a decontamination process.
Hazardous materials teams sanitized the substance to ensure it was not a biological agent like anthrax.
On the Main Street plaza, missionaries and other church employees were allowed to come and go. A lone LDS security official stood behind the temple gates. He opened the gate for firefighters, then closed and locked it behind them. A pair of FBI agents left Temple Square with the envelope in a black plastic bag. The envelope was taken to a lab to be tested. "We are working to find out what it is and hopefully it's harmless," Becerra told the Deseret News.
Firefighters said they did not see anything of a threatening nature with the envelope. Because the annex is a separate building, the temple itself was not evacuated. However, church security did not allow anyone to come or go while hazmat teams were there. A portion of North Temple was also closed to traffic. "At first, we thought it was maybe picketing again," said Poulsen Udall, who was inside the temple at the time. He was referring to mass protests outside Temple Square last week against the LDS Church's backing of Prop. 8. Similar demonstrations were held outside LDS temples in California and New York. "It's a sad thing that all of this is going on," said Udall's wife, Pauline.
At the LDS Church's temple in Westwood, Calif., the grounds were closed Thursday afternoon after an employee there opened an envelope similar to the one at church headquarters in Salt Lake City. "They received an envelope with a suspicious white powdery substance," Los Angeles police officer Karen Smith told the Deseret News. "It's been cleared and there was no hazardous material." In New Haven, Conn., workers at a printing plant for the Knights of Columbus opened the envelope containing white powder. Hazardous materials teams responded, Korten said, and took it to a lab to be tested. "We do not yet know what was in that envelope," he said. The Knights of Columbus did not know if it had been targeted over Prop. 8. "We've got a great deal of pretty vulgar communication from people who are not happy with our role to help pass Prop. 8," Korten said. "Whether this has any connection or not, we don't know." The LDS Church declined to speculate on whether Prop. 8 had a role in the hazardous materials scares. "We're working with local law enforcement and the FBI," church spokesman Scott Trotter said.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Chesapeake Circuit Court Judge Randy Smith also denied a defense motion to delay the case.
On Monday, Smith dismissed more than 60 potential jurors for Veterans Day and asked that they return this morning for what is expected to be another full day to determine their qualification to serve. Commonwealth’s Attorney Nancy Parr and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney D.J. Hansen could begin the state’s case Thursday morning with opening statements, followed by witnesses.
Boughton, a Camelot resident, is charged with first-degree murder, malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding and three counts of use of a firearm. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.
On Monday, Boughton pleaded not guilty to killing 21-year-old Morgan W. Young of Bountiful, Utah, and not guilty to wounding Joshua Heidbrink of Greeley, Colo. The two missionaries were walking on Elkhart Street in Deep Creek, proselytizing door-to-door, when they were shot on the night of Jan. 2, 2006.
Boughton also pleaded not guilty to the attempted malicious wounding of Gregory L. Banks Jr., a man who lived in the neighborhood.
Young and Heidbrink, who was 19 at the time, may have unwittingly walked into and witnessed an unfolding crime between other men, according to earlier court testimony. A gunman in the crime, after firing at Banks, approached the two missionaries and shot them both, then fled.
Boughton’s attorney, Andrew Sacks, asked the court on Monday for a trial delay, arguing that he had been “caught totally off guard’’ by evidence the prosecution just turned over to him the day of the trial.
Sacks argued that the prosecution had evidence since February involving a potential witness who has a criminal record but failed to disclose it.
“I’ll have to say I’m not ready to go forward in light of this,’’ Sacks argued Monday.
Judge Smith denied the motion this morning. by The Virginia Pilot
The incident happened at about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1939 E. Easter Ave., according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.
A church member found the book and brought it to the attention of other members. The incident was reported to the Sheriff's Office at about 7:15 p.m.
Church members have told investigators that they believe the incident may be in "retaliation" for Mormon support of Proposition 8, a measure passed in California earlier this month that banned gay marriage.
Bob Meldrum, a church spokesman in Colorado, said church officials "don't know what the motive is," but that the church is "deeply concerned" and "saddened" by the incident.
Opponents of Proposition 8 have picketed churches in California and Utah, and some vandalism has been reported.
On Friday, more than 3,000 people marched in downtown Salt Lake City past the LDS temple and church headquarters, protesting church involvement in the successful measure.
The LDS Church got into the thick of the California battle when church officials encouraged members to actively support the proposition. Mormons are estimated to have given as much as $22 million to the ban effort, according to a report in the Salt Lake City Tribune.
Over the weekend across the Wasatch Front in Utah, windows at several LDS ward houses were shattered by rock throwing and BB-gun shooting vandals. The property crimes in Utah are being investigated.
Investigators here have not established that the book burning is in response to Proposition 8, but regardless, the incident is being investigated as arson and a hate crime.
"Anything you do that tends to intimidate or harass a person based on religion is a felony," said Capt. Mark Fisher of the Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Office has called in investigators with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to aid in the investigation, Fisher said.
In 2007, there were five reported hate crimes carried out at churches, synagogues or temples in Colorado, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation statistics. There also was one hate crime in 2007 that involved arson.
There were a total of 18 reported "religious biased" crimes in the state in 2007, according to the CBI. Four were "anti-Islamic," eight were "anti-Jewish" and four were aimed at other religions, according to the statistics.
The CBI analysis did not have a separate breakdown of reported crimes against the Mormon Church.
Two men were seen driving away from the church parking lot in a silver sedan, possibly a Honda Civic or a similar car, at about the time the book was discovered, the Sheriff's Office said in a news release. The witness did not get a license-plate number.
Anyone with information on the incident or details on possible suspects is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 303-795-4711. by Denver Post
For months, the Mormon church sought to portray itself as just one member of a coalition of Catholics, evangelicals, black Protestants and others supporting Proposition 8, a measure to stop gay marriage in California.
Since the measure's passage last week, media outlets reported chants of "Mormon scum" and slurs against church founder Joseph Smith at a demonstration outside a Los Angeles-area temple, and a church meeting-house was vandalized. More Mormon-specific protests are in the works.
"I think it is a purely tactical reaction from those who are supporting gay marriage because if it can be made to appear the opposition is essentially one religion that is, frankly, an often misunderstood religion, it's easier to make the case that the other side is reasonable," said Michael Otterson, spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon church.
"I don't think the Mormon church stepped outside the boundaries available to any faith community that wants to get organized on values they hold dear," said Lindi Ramsden, a Unitarian minister who organized interfaith opposition to the measure. "The part that saddens me is that money donated by people of faith was used to finance advertising that is as close to blatant lies as you can get."
The Mormon church's Proposition 8 efforts represent its strongest push into politics since it opposed the Equal Right Amendment in the 1970s.
In June, the LDS First Presidency, its highest governing body, announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read at every congregation. Members were asked to donate their "means and time" to the effort to undo a May court decision that legalized gay marriage in California and opened the door for 18,000 same-gender couples to wed in the past four months.
Because the church itself did not donate money to the campaign, Hansen sought to identify Mormon donors of $1,000 or more, matching campaign records to tips from site visitors and church members and what she and others uncovered with search engines.
The site attributes $15 million in donations to Mormons, or nearly half the Yes on 8 war chest in a state where Mormons make up 2 percent of the population.
"For months, these sacred houses of worship were the precinct offices, members were called to be campaign workers and ward lists were turned into voter rosters," Hansen said. "Basically, if the church wants to know why Mormon sacred places are targeted, look in the mirror."
Hansen said she is a Mormon but does not attend church. Otterson, the church spokesman, said the church recognizes freedom to demonstrate, but hopes it is in "good taste and respectful."
Some gay marriage backers in California began taking a sharper tone against Mormons in October.
On Election Night, the group aired a controversial ad that depicted Mormon missionaries ransacking a lesbian couple's house and destroying their marriage certificate.
"All it did was dramatize what the church wanted to do and in fact did do," said Rick Jacobs, chairman of the Courage Campaign. He said religious bigotry was not at work.
"There is no place in America for anything but an embrace — not just tolerance — of people's religious beliefs," Jacobs said. "Equally, I would say great caution should be exercised when people try to restrict people's rights."
"It's especially inappropriate to target the physical buildings — the places of worship themselves — because that invites the kind of religious intolerance we have suffered too much of in the history of this country," Carpenter said. Roman Catholic Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento also defended Mormons, calling the backlash "serious religious bigotry."
Protests also have been staged at a Catholic cathedral and an Orange County megachurch led by pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren, who endorsed Proposition 8.
But if anything, gay-rights activists are intensifying their focus on the Mormon church. Building on protests at LDS temples in California and Salt Lake City in the past week, they went on to plan a demonstration Wednesday night at the church's temple in Manhattan.
"They weren't the only conservative sort of extremist anti-gay religious group that got involved in the campaign," said Lorri L. Jean, the center's chief executive officer. "But nobody did what they did."
Anti-Mormon rhetoric is politically safe because Mormons remain a relatively small minority and "have never been completely assimilated as 'normal Americans' to completely live down the image of 'weirdness' inherited from the 19th century," Mauss said in an e-mail.
The evangelical mantra that Mormons aren't Christian — as well as this year's raid in Texas of a polygamist sect, a group not always distinguished from mainstream Mormonism — feeds into that, he said.