Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thursday Ft Bend Bar Association

Russian Amnesia. Weird how everyone "just forgot" their contacts with Russia.

Photo bombing today. Maybe I should have higher goals?


From a retired judge we admire:





Republican Unity on Health Care Is Elusive, Despite Trump's Support


Fundamental disagreements remain between Republican leaders and the party's most conservative members, particularly over the details of a proposed tax credit.



A long struggle begins.

Turner v. Driver No. 16-10312

Before WIENER, CLEMENT, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.

AFFIRMED in part and REVERSED in part. (February 16, 2017).

Judge CLEMENT dissented.

PostPosted in Civil Rights, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Phillip Turner was video recording a Fort Worth police station from a public sidewalk across the street when Officers Grinalds and Dyess approached him and asked him for identification. Turner refused to identify himself, and the officers ultimately handcuffed him and placed him in the back of a patrol car. The officers' supervisor, Lieutenant Driver, arrived on scene and, after Driver checked with Grinalds and Dyess and talked with Turner, the officers released Turner. Turner then brought the underlying suit against all three officers and the City of Fort Worth under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his First and Fourth Amendment rights. Each officer filed a motion to dismiss, insisting that he was entitled to qualified immunity on Turner's claims. The District Court granted the officers' motions, concluding that they were entitled to qualified immunity on all of Turner's claims against them. The District Court reasoned that Turner failed to meet his burden of showing that the defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity because he failed to show that their actions violated any of his clearly established statutory or Constitutional rights or that their actions were objectively unreasonable. Turner appealed. The Fifth Circuit concludes that in light of the absence of controlling authority and the dearth of even persuasive authority, there was no clearly established First Amendment right to record the police at the time of Turner's activities. Consequently, the Court affirms that all three officers are entitled to qualified immunity on Turner's First Amendment claim. Although the right was not clearly established at the time of Turner's activities, a panel majority of the Court explains that whether such a right exists and is protected by the First Amendment presents a separate and distinct question. In answer to that question, the majority concludes that First Amendment principles, controlling authority, and persuasive precedent demonstrate that a First Amendment right to record the police does exist, subject only to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. The Court agrees that Grinalds and Dyess are entitled to qualified immunity on Turner's claim that they violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from detention absent reasonable suspicion. Overruling the District Court, a panel majority holds that Grinalds and Dyess are not entitled to qualified immunity at this stage of the litigation on Turner's Fourth Amendment claim that the officers violated his right to be free from warrantless arrest absent probable cause. The Court finds, however, that Driver had acted objectively reasonably in light of the circumstances - namely, by apprising himself of the situation and acting accordingly. As such, the Court affirms that Driver is entitled to qualified immunity on Turner's Fourth Amendment claims. A dissent takes issue with the majority's dicta purporting to clearly establish a First Amendment right to film the police and disavows the majority's reversal of the District Court's grant of qualified immunity to Officers Grinalds and Dyess regarding Turner's unlawful arrest claim.
On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (John H. McBryde).
Attorney for Appellant - Kervyn Bryce Altaffer, Jr., Dallas, TX
Attorneys for Appellees - Kenneth E. East, North Richland Hills, TX; Luis Alfredo Galindo, Fort Worth, TX



President Obama in December. Some in his administration feared that intelligence about Russian interference in the 2016 election could be covered up or destroyed.
Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking


Obama administration officials scrambled to ensure intelligence of connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials was preserved after they left office.


How to Fix the Met: Connect Art to Life


The Metropolitan Museum of Art must start by mixing things up - periods, functions, cultures. It also must hire a more diverse staff, and react to the times.








Judge who ordered handcuffing of public defender is banned from the bench

Mar 1, 2017, 3:17 pm CST

Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch has a plan to revive the near-extinct civil jury trial

Judge Neil Gorsuch.
Juries try less than 1 percent of civil cases in the federal court system, and U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has a plan to do something about it. Gorsuch has joined with Circuit Judge Susan Graber to propose changing federal procedural rules to make civil jury trials the default, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports.

Gorsuch and Graber are proposing that jury trials be held in any case in which a party is entitled to one, unless the party specifically waives a jury. The judges suggested the idea in a June 2016 letter (PDF, page 73) to the federal judiciary’s Advisory Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure.
“Several reasons animate our proposal,” Gorsuch and Graber say in the letter. “First, we should be encouraging jury trials, and we think that this change would result in more jury trials. Second, simplicity is a virtue. The present system, especially with regard to removed cases, can be a trap for the unwary. Third, such a rule would produce greater certainty. Fourth, a jury-trial default honors the Seventh Amendment more fully.”
The letter recognizes that making civil trials the default “would be a huge change” but encourages discussion of the idea. The committee has said it is researching the suggestion.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog spoke with UCLA law professor Stephen C. Yeazell about the idea. He said the idea “sounds dramatic,” but he doubts it would have much of an impact on jury-trial trends. If state courts adopted the proposal, there would be a slightly bigger impact, he said.


 March 2, 2017
You are cordially invited to join the Fort Bend County Bar Association (FBCBA).
The Board of Directors continues to offer our members "more bang for your bar buck."
In addition to our monthly CLE luncheons, the opportunities and benefits of membership include semiannual Bench Bar Socials, an annual golf tournament, free CLE opportunities, monthly "Coffee with the Court", and our annual party. So far this year members have enjoyed four free CLE events and one hugely discounted CLE event (totaling 6.5 MCLE hours with 1.5 hours ethics)....and the year is only one-quarter over.
Upcoming events include:
  • Monthly "Coffee with the Court" with free CLE, coffee, and breakfast. The courts are featured on a rotating basis.
  • Monthly luncheon CLE on the last Thursday of each month through October.
  • Spring Bench Bar Social.
  • Fall Bench Bar Social.
  • Golf Tournament at Sweet Water County Club typically in October.
  • Badge Day (an opportunity to receive your 2018 FBC Courthouse badge ahead of the crowds).
  • December 1st Christmas Party at Briscoe Manor.
Our bar is expanding in opportunities for networking, education, and service to the community. We invite you to become a part of Fort Bend County Bar Association.
If you would like to participate in the FBCBA, please complete the online form here.
I look forward to seeing you at the next FBCBA event.
Kerri Graham
Fort Bend County Bar Association President


This justice attended Obama's speeches but skipped Trump's

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg skipped President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, a turnabout from the Obama years when she attended (and sometimes nodded off).
Five justices attended the speech: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The Washington Post, the Huffington Post and Bloomberg News have stories.
Absent, along with Ginsburg, were Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., who stopped attending the speeches when Barack Obama was president.
Ginsburg criticized Trump as “a faker” with “an ego” during his campaign for president but later apologized for her remarks.
Some tweets focused on cutaways that showed the justices watching the event, including a glum-looking Justice Kagan.


Federal judge blasts 'at best, unprofessional' behavior of lawyer who wrote 'meritless' objection

A federal judge in Manhattan has expressed “grave concerns” about the conduct of a lawyer who drafted an objection to a class-action settlement that was, in the judge’s words, “frivolous for a variety of reasons.”
U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni is the latest judge to criticize Corpus Christi, Texas, lawyer Christopher Bandas, the New York Law Journal (sub. req.) reports.
“Throughout this proceeding, Bandas’ behavior has been, at best, unprofessional, and at worst, an unseemly effort to extract fees from class counsel in exchange for the withdrawal of a meritless objection to the proposed class settlement,” Caproni wrote in a Feb. 27 opinion (PDF, sub. req.).
Caproni said she wasn’t convinced she had the jurisdiction to sanction Bandas because he used local counsel and didn’t file an appearance. But she wanted to make sure local counsel in the future are aware of Bandas’ “track record” in other cases where judges have raised concerns, so she ordered him to give her opinion to any local counsel he tries to engage in the Southern District of New York.
Caproni said Bandas had been criticized by “numerous courts throughout the country” for drafting frivolous objections to class-action settlements, including a court in Illinois that deemed him “a professional objector.”
“This court joins the other courts throughout the country in finding that Bandas has orchestrated the filing of a frivolous objection in an attempt to throw a monkey wrench into the settlement process and to extort a pay-off,” Caproni said.
Caproni issued her decision in a class action over Major League Baseball Internet TV packages. She cited several reasons why the objection drafted by Bandas and filed by local counsel was frivolous.
The objection maintained the proposed settlement wasn’t adequate because it didn’t provide for monetary damages—even though the case had been certified as a class action for injunctive relief only.
The objection also stated that the proposed award of $16.5 million in attorney fees was excessive, but its proposed alternative would have yielded only $1.18 per class member—an amount that was so low “it would have made little economic sense to distribute it,” Caproni said.
And the objection asserted that Bandas’ client was a class member who had timely filed a claim, even though he had not filed a claim, as there was no procedure in the case for doing so.
Bandas did not immediately respond to an ABA Journal email seeking comment.



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