Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
- LDS Church refuses alcohol waiver to Iron Gate Grill Restuarant. Herald Journal
- Competency review set in Elizabeth Smart case. AP
- 5,000 protest at UC-Berkeley over tuition increases, increased furloughs, layoffs. Contra Costa Times
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
February 5-6, 2010
The George Washington University Law School is proud to announce the National Religious Freedom Moot Court Competition. Religious freedom, embodied in the twin Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment, is one of the fundamental guarantees of the United States Constitution and is a founding principle of our nation. The Moot Court competition will focus on a current religious freedom issue that implicates a First Amendment controversy.
This year's problem will deal with the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause. Specifically, the problem will focus on issues regarding the decisions of a local police department to regulate the activities and dress of a police officer. This year, Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will judge the final round.
Last year's problem included issues regarding the employment decisions of religious groups in relation to state civil rights. In the past, the Moot Court's problem was described as "deliciously difficult" by the Honorable Jeffrey Sutton, of the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Previously, the winning brief was published by the Rutgers School of Law Journal on Law and Religion.
Past judges of the competition include:
* Honorable Jeffrey Sutton, United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
* Honorable Diarmuid O'Scannlain, United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
* Honorable Kent A. Jordan, United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
* Honorable John M. Rogers, United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
* Kevin "Seamus" Hasson, Founder and Chairman of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
* Martin S. Lederman, Former Attorney Advisor in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel from 1994 to 2002.
The competition is open to all 2L/3L/4L students from ABA-accredited law schools. Registration opens September 15, 2009 and must be completed by November 6, 2009.
Please join us next February as distinguished judges and skillful students from across the country consider an innovative and challenging problem in the field of religious freedom.
For more information and to register, please visit our website at: http://www.religionmootcourt.org/
The case was unusual in that a search commenced almost immediately. Law enforcement officials usually wait a few days before searching for a missing adult because adults have the autonomy to come and go as they please, but the Corvalis authorities agreed with family members that the straight-laced BYU coed was not the sort of young woman to disappear on her own. Despite the early and large-scale search and national headlines, Wilberger was not located no one reported having seen her.
Another unusual element of the case was the fact that Wilberger's long-time boyfriend was immediately ruled out as a suspect. Significant others are frequently prime suspects in disappearance cases, but Wilberger's boyfriend had an iron-clad alibi: he was in Venezuela serving as a Mormon missionary.
Eventually the investigation led to Joel Courtney, who was already doing 18 years in New Mexico for the kidnapping and rape of a college student in that state. Wilberger's DNA and hairs were found in Courtney's van, and Courtney was to go on trial in 2010 for the kidnapping and attempted rape and murder of two other Oregon State coeds, an incident that occurred on the same day Wilberger disappeared.
Yesterday Joel Courtney entered a guilty plea for the aggravated murder of Brooke Wilberger in order to avoid the death penalty. He received a life sentence without parole. As part of his plea, Courtney disclosed the location of Wilberger's body, which police later confirmed. Courtney's plea provides some closure to Wilberger's family, who have waited more than five years to know what happened to their daughter.
Monday, September 21, 2009
U.S. District Court filings show Val Southwick paid The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints $202,761.74 between 2001 and 2006.
In 2008, the LDS Church Corporation of the Presidency agreed to return the money as part of a Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement action.
I don't imagine $200,000 will go very far when the total amount stolen is more than $180,000 million, but it's better than nothing. I note that $200,000 in 10% tithing would indicate an income of about $2 million over the course of seven years. It seems very unlikely that Southwick only kept $2 million of the $180 million for himself, so it sounds like he was lying to his church as well as his investors. What a guy.
The Salt Lake Tribune article noted that LDS Church spokesperson Scott Trotter says the LDS Church has a policy of not profiting from alleged ill-gotten gains. I find it interesting that the Church rejects donations derived from allegedly ill-gotten gains. To some degree this policy delegates authority to law enforcement officers and prosecutors. In this case, the initial determination of wrong-doing was made by a prosecutor or SEC officer, not the LDS Church. But the policy seems like a prudent one to me, both in terms of practicality and perception.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Recently, the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Student Chapter published their first Newsletter. The chapter is comprised of law schools from all over the country, not just Brigham Young University's, J. Reuben Clark Law School. The Newsletter is designed to bring individual JRCLS chapters closer together and promote a greater sense of community throughout all the chapters.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The J. Reuben Clark Law Society, 2010, Conference is scheduled for February 11-13, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Conference's theme will be "Service for Good Through the Law"; featuring Dr. Stephen R. Covey, President Michael K. Young, President Cecil O. Samuelson, Elder Lance B. Wickman, Dean Hiram Chodish, Dean James R. Rasband, Professors Donna Lee Bowen, Cole Durham, RonNell Anderson Jones, Nancy McLaughlin, and many others.
Online Registration Begins October 15, 2009.
Join the hundreds of J. Reuben Clark Law Society, attorneys, law students, and friends of the society who will be in attendance.
Friday, September 11, 2009
I was not familiar with the hierarchy of Roman Catholic tribunals, so this process was fascinating to me. Apparently there is a rehearing mechanism that is part of the Roman Rota, in which another panel of the Rota could hear the matter again (somewhat like an en banc rehearing). I thought it was interesting that Rauch, who is not Catholic, still had “standing,” for lack of a better word, to appeal the Boston Archdiocese’s decision.
The Mormon Church has its own system of church courts, mostly focused on the ward and stake level. My understanding is that an “appeal” from a stake disciplinary hearing goes straight to the First Presidency. I also believe that, in some situations, such as a temple divorce, a determination is made in conjunction with the First Presidency and local leaders. (Commenters with better information are welcome to clarify or correct me as to these policies.)
The Roman Catholic Church is a much larger worldwide denomination than the LDS Church. But despite the disparity in size, the two churches have much in common because they are both centrally operated. As the Mormon Church deals with the challenges of operating in many countries, I think it would be instructive to look to Catholic procedures to see how it handles similar challenges. With a membership of over 13 million, a surprisingly large number decisions in the Mormon Church are still made at the level of the First Presidency. However, as membership and population bases spread, I can imagine a time in which the First Presidency assigns some of these proceedings to a separate body. For example, a panel of members of the Quorum of the Twelve or the Presidency of the Seventy could be assigned to examine some appeals, much as the Roman Rota would hear an appeal from an archdiocese.
Obviously, this is pure speculation on my part. But in our lifetimes we have seen the Quorums of the Seventy expanded significantly, and the general trend in the LDS Church is to designate more autonomy away from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve to the Seventies and Area Authorities. So some modifications to church court appellate procedures are certainly possible.
Image credit: Cris Pierry.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The ABA Journal is looking for suggestions of the best legal Blawgs in the country to include in it's annual '100 Best Legal Blawgs'. Click HERE to submit your favorite blawg to the ABA Journal. I submited the Volokh Conspiracy even though I think it's the second best Blawg in the country.
Monday, September 7, 2009
This past month California Lawyer Magazine featured LDS Judge J. Clifford Wallace. He is a senior Judge on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who has been serving on the bench since President Nixon appointed him in 1972.
Wallace “has traveled to some 60 countries, advising judiciaries on everything from combating corruption to implementing mediation programs to staving off interference by a military president. His pioneering work in the international rule of law movement predates the American Bar Association's initiative in Eastern Europe by 20 years.
The silver-haired judge, who turned 80 last December, is revered as one of the world's leading experts on judicial administration. In Thailand, Wallace is referred to as "father of the courts." The chief justice of Guam considers himself "blessed" to have Wallace's guidance.
Wallace enjoys a following in the United States as well, at least among conservatives… he has taken stands in his legal writings against affirmative action, abortion rights, and physician-assisted suicide. According to a 2006 study, Wallace was the least likely of the circuit's judges to grant asylum, voting in favor of asylum seekers only 4 percent of the time. A frequent speaker for chapters of the Federalist Society and the American Enterprise Institute, on more than one occasion he was considered for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2005 he received the Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award—the most prestigious honor in the federal judiciary—and more than 60 of his former clerks turned out for the presentation.
The amount of good that the Honorable Judge Wallace has done throughout the world is amazing. He’s an inspiration we can all look to. Click HERE to read the full story.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
As always the job of the week is brought to you by Lateral Link
Position: Employment Attorney
Location: Atlanta, GA
Description: A medium-sized Atlanta-based firm is seeking an employment litigation associate with 3-4 years of employment lit experience, preferably with some ERISA class action experience. The firm offers associates the chance for significant responsibility and lean case staffing and is known for maintaining the flexibility of a smaller firm, while providing a level of sophistication usually associated with much larger firms. The quality of the Firm's attorneys is evidenced by numerous honors and awards, including recognition as one of Atlanta's top law firms by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Big firm experience and excellent academic credentials required. Out-of-state candidates preferred.
For more information about this position, see www.laterallink.com.
Friday, September 4, 2009
This is what I call the "Penthouse Level" the view is great but I'm too lazy to walk the four flights of stairs to get up to it.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I was glad to see the announcement of practice groups within the JRCLS. Groups for law professors, in-house consels have been established, as well as practice groups for IP law, litigation, immigration law, estate planning, and commercial banking/M&A/regulation. More groups are contemplated, so if you would like to see another group or join an existing group, contact Tom Isaacson through the information provided in the newsletter.
The newsletter includes several other interesting topics, including an upcoming reception for female undergraduates and attorneys and biographies of new attorneys hired by the LDS Church. The August JRCLS Newsletter is available here.