Wednesday Writs for 12/12

Wednesday Writs for 12/12[L1]: Carol Bond was a woman scorned by a cheating husband, but it was her best friend, who happened to be her husband’s pregnant mistress, whom she blamed. The actions Carol took to exact her revenge resulted in her being charged with violation of an international treaty, and became the basis for Bond v. United States, our case of the week.

Carol Bond was a micro biologist, so naturally her plan was to poison her husband’s girlfriend with toxic chemicals. Fortunately for the homewrecker, Carol was caught before she could inflict any serious damage- but the federal government indicted her under the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act.

Mrs. Bond appealed the charges levied by the United States, on the grounds that the government had no authority to use an international treaty in a domestic prosecution. In support, she cited the Tenth Amendment, which says the federal government only has the powers granted to it by the Constitution. First, the government denied that Carol, or any individual, had standing to challenge federal law under the Tenth Amendment, arguing that only a state could do so. The Third Circuit agreed, but SCOTUS sided with Carol and sent the case back for reconsideration on the merits of her Tenth Amendment claim. Still, the Circuit Court sided with the government, opining that while the prosecution’s interpretation of the Act as used against Carol Bond was “striking” in its “breadth”, it nonetheless held it was applicable. But Carol once again appealed to the Supreme Court and in a unanimous decision (including three separately written concurrences), SCOTUS reversed her conviction in 2011.

[L2]: A few weeks ago SCOTUS heard argument in Nieves v. Bartlett, in which Russell Bartlett argues that his 2014 arrest for disorderly conduct and resisting was retaliation for his exercise of free speech- he claims he was arrested for approaching an officer to express displeasure at the officer’s questioning of a group of teens. The issue is whether his arrest- which was for resisting an arrest arising from his verbal complaints of the officer’s conduct- amounts to a retaliatory violation of his freedom of speech. The issue has been before the court twice before with mixed results. Erwin Chemerinsky speculates whether the third time is the charm.

[L3]: A Massachusetts judge is facing a probe into allegations she allowed a defendant appearing in her court room to escape out the back door to elude ICE agents waiting outside to take him into custody.

[L4]: A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Pinnacle Foods, Inc. over their Hawaiian brand potato chips on false advertising grounds, because the chips are made in Washington State. This is an outrage. Next, you’ll be telling me Swedish Fish aren’t actually made in Sweden (some are, but some are made in Canada).

[L5]: Were the Stormy Daniels/Karen McDougal payoffs-the ones the president didn’t know about, ok he did know but wasn’t involved, ok he was involved but it was legal, ok it wasn’t legal but it was Cohen’s mistake-an illegal campaign contribution? These analysts say yes.

[L6]: This one guy (besides Trump) disagrees.

[L7]: Pro-union advocates who were troubled by last summer’s SCOTUS decision in Janus are worried there may be another, more problematic case in the pipleline.

[L8]: In another Janus spinoff, one in which I have personal interest, a North Dakota lawyer demands to be free of bar membership.

[L8]: Podcast recommendation: The Modern Law Library from the ABA Journal is a short bi-weekly podcast featuring the authors or subjects of books of legal interest. The most recent episode features three judges who contributed to the book “Tough Cases: Judges Tell the Stories of Some of the Hardest Decisions They’ve Ever Made.”

[L9]: I should rename “Dumb Criminal of the Week” as “Florida Man of the Week”: If you illegally jump into a crocodile exhibit, don’t leave behind your Crocs. Or a trail of blood.

Wednesday Writs for 12/12


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Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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12 thoughts on “Wednesday Writs for 12/12

  1. L1: You would think that they had enough without the international chemical weapons charge. I swear it’s like a Craftsman with a new tool that they just have to use on something, even if it’s not really what the tool was meant for.

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    • Apparently, the State only prosecuted her for “harassing telephone calls and letters,” not for the attempted poisoning, which would be some form of criminal assault. I’m not sure why, maybe there were some evidentiary complications and the punishment for the assault added nothing to an easier case based upon correspondence?

      Kind of hard to do certain types of criminal justice reform if prosecutors can just apply the ratchet to whichever federal or state jurisdiction it chooses.

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  2. Lawyer achivement unlocked: a case I am working on got mentioned on a legal newsletter/blog. Snide mention though because the newsletter is very pro-pharma. I don’t know how anyone lives by being such a corporate lickspittle. They buried the lede that I was given motion to leave until the last paragraph.

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  3. L4: The underlying cultural questions of this sort of lawsuit are actually quite interesting. Is “champagne” a type of sparkling wine, or is it sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France? Similarly with any number of types of cheeses, sausages, etc. In the US we generally answer that it is a variety, not a place of origin. Italian immigrants from Parma settle in America, manufacture the cheese they enjoyed at home, and refer to it accordingly. We don’t expect Parmesan cheese to actually be manufactured in Parma. We don’t expect bologna to come from Bologna, frankfurters from Frankfurt, and so on.

    On the other hand, it would be odd (and possibly illegal?) to see oranges from Chile labeled “Florida oranges” on the grounds that they were varieties also grown in Florida. We aren’t entirely devoid of geographic expectations in food labels. It is just very culturally specific when we do and do not have such expectations.

    Processed snack food? Probably no such expectation, for me personally. But it isn’t ridiculous on its face. Potato chips have no particular association with Hawaii. I expect the idea they are conveying is the seasoning. But suppose it was dried pineapple (which is very good, in a high-sugar way) chip. If they were labeled as Hawaii dried pineapple, I would expect that they actually come from Hawaii.

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