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“The Paper Chase” Legal News Resource

Via the always informative Resource Shelf, an excellent way for the interested layman to keep track of “legal news worth reading about,” The Paper Chase. Researched and reported by Professor Bernard Hibbitts and law students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, here is a glimpse of what’s up right now:

    Second Zimbabwe high court judge resigns
    Bernard Hibbitts at 9:10 AM

    Zimbabwean High Court judge Moses Chinhengo resigned for “entirely personal” reasons Friday, becoming the second High Court Justice to leave office in the past month as Zimbabwe’s judiciary comes under increasing pressure from the government of President Robert Mugabe (a third High Court Justice, Sandra Mungwira, was said to have fled to the United Kingdom earlier this month, but she appears to have left for extended medical treatment and the Zimbabwean Media and Information Commission has filed a police complaint saying that the original report was criminally defamatory). A colleague, Michael Majuru, left the bench for purportedly medical reasons last month (faxing his resignation from South Africa) after becoming involved in controversy surrounding the government’s closure of the Daily Nation independent newspaper. Eight High Court and Supreme Court judges have left office since 2001; in March 2001, Supreme Court Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was forced to retire after ruling against forcible seizures of white-owned land by pro-Mugabe “war veterans.” South Africa’s Mail & Guardian has more.
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    New Jersey Supreme Court says uninsured drivers can’t sue
    Bernard Hibbitts at 8:52 AM

    The New Jersey Supreme Court overturned lower court rulings Thursday in holding that a 1997 state law barring suits by uninsured drivers against tortfeasors in auto accidents was in fact constitutional. Justice Barry Albin wrote, “The uninsured driver forfeits the right to sue by failing to comply with a necessary precondition to filing suit: maintaining insurance coverage.” One of the lawyers for the uninsured party challenging the state law said that the decision makes New Jersey law the nation’s most severe in this respect. Read the opinion here [PDF]. The Property Casualty Insurers of America praised the ruling as providing an incentive for drivers to obtain coverage; read their press release here. AP has more.
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    Muhammad lawyers seek new trial
    Bernard Hibbitts at 8:24 AM

    Lawyers for convicted DC sniper John Allen Muhammad sought a new trail for their client Thursday, saying that letters that his associate Lee Boyd Malvo sent to another inmate in prison were improperly excluded as evidence. The letters allegedly show that Malvo was not under Muhammad’s direction or control, material elements of the law under which Muhammad was convicted of capital murder. The Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office offers images of all documents filed in the Muhammad case. The Washington Post has more, and provides additional background on the DC sniper shootings of 2002.
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    SF gay marriages in court again as city sues California
    Bernard Hibbitts at 8:11 AM

    San Francisco went on the legal offensive in its same-sex marriage initiative Thursday, filing a suit against the state of California alleging that the state law that defines marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a women is discriminatory and unconstitutional. Read their cross-complaint here [PDF]. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer issued a statement saying he would defend the state’s marriage law against the city’s challenge, which comes as a California Superior Court judge is set Friday to take up once again a conservative group’s petition for a restraining order against the city’s gay marriages that was put off Tuesday on procedural groups. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.
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    Prosecution in Stewart trial may rest today after defense cross of damaging witness
    Bernard Hibbitts at 7:55 AM

    The prosecution phase of the Martha Stewart stock trading trial may end Friday once Stewart’s lawyers finish cross-examining Mariana Pasternak, a longtime friend of Stewart who testified Thursday that Stewart told her a few days after she sold her ImClone shares that she (Stewart) knew that ImClone founder Sam Watson was selling his own shares in the company, as well as those of his daughter. Prosecutors say they have only a few other additional witnesses to call; once their case concludes, the defense will begin setting out its evidence, which might could include testimony from Stewart herself. CNN has more.
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    US law and business press review ~ Friday, February 20
    Maryam Shad at 6:17 AM

    In Friday’s US law and business press, the Miami Daily Business Review reports that a FL trial judge will hear details of a proposed $100 million global settlement of a class action suit over the desecration of hundreds of gravesites by cemetery workers in two FL counties…. The New York Law Journal reports that in a case of first impression, a NY judge has ruled that a toy gun that shoots paintballs is an “air gun” under city and state laws and that a teenager and his parents are liable for injuries to another child…. The New York Law Journal also reports that based on improper jury instructions, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court ruling and turned aside a $106 million verdict in a lawsuit over fraudulent loan applications…. The ABA Journal advises attorneys on when they must turn over materials to successor counsel…. FindLaw’s Writ features Part 2 of Hastings law professor Vikram David Amar’s column on improving jury selection, as well as DC attorney Matt Herrington’s book review of Constitutional Law Stories, edited by FindLaw columnist and Columbia law professor Michael C. Dorf.
    click for the previous US law and business press review
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The site is updated almost around the clock on weekdays and features links and commentary providing context and supplemental info on important cases – pretty flipping great.

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Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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