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The Judge has grown weary of sulking in the shadows and letting the MeJDs and Chinaskis of Judged hog the limelight. Here you will find news about Judged, updates to our law firm rankings and the Judge’s daily ramblings. Want the real scoop? Check it out here.

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This November the California ballot will contain Proposition 19, which calls for the legalization of marijuana for all persons over 21.

This is a monumental step for marijuana advocates as they move past the
current state legislation which permits marijuana for medical use.
However, even if the proposition is passed, it doesn't guarantee that
marijuana will be legalized.

Proponents of the proposition seem to be near certain that, should the
initiative pass, federal authorities will immediately request an appeal.

''I have no doubt that the feds will file suit if Proposition 19
passes,'' says Sale Gieringer, the director of the California branch of
NORML, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The reasons for a federal suit go beyond opinion, according to nine former DEA administrators.

The former DEA authorities state that, ''The California proposition is
not a close call. It will be a clear conflict with established federal
law.'' One of those authorities is the former supervising U.S. attorney
in Los Angeles, Robert Bonner.

''The United States has treaties that would be violated if Proposition
19 were enacted. It would send a terrible signal to countries of the
world,'' said Bonner.

Last year, the medical marijuana movement accomplished a big feat when
Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the federal government would
cease targeting medical marijuana operations in states that permit
medical use.


It's been a very bad week for lenders in the mortgage industry. News broke today of Bank of America's intent to cease its foreclosure proceedings in twenty three states after one high ranking Bank of America employee owned up to signing off on 8,000 foreclosures in a single month. She justified her actions by saying that to slow down and carefully examine each one was simply not possible or acceptable from her employer's point of view. Her name has not yet been released, but she released a statement through her attorney that read in part, ''I typically don't read them because of the volume that we sign''.

The halt of these foreclosures is only applicable in those states that require a court hearing before being allowed to move forward. Bank of America isn't the only one that's under scrutiny. At least two more banks, including GMAC and JPMorgan, announced they would be stopping all proceedings, as well as evictions, until each can review its own respective process and affidavits. For JPMorgan, this means more than 56,000 foreclosures have suddenly come to a stop and for now, at least some families are feeling as though they might be able to make an eleventh hour save.

California has already issued a moratorium on foreclosures by two lenders, GMAC and Ally Financial. In recent days, however, it's expanded the moratorium to now include JPMorgan. Connecticut has taken it a step further and has ordered all lenders licensed to operate in its state a 60 day moratorium on all foreclosures and by all banks. It cited ''potential problems with documentation''. After these announcements began trickling down this past week, Colorado and Illinoi both stepped up and followed suit and now seven more states, as of late Friday, are now considering their own options.

The housing recovery is struggling and the sudden halt of so many foreclosures might just be the final nail in the coffin for at least a few banks. Lawyers across the nation are predicting lawsuits. Laurie Maggiano, with the Treasury Department's Homeownership Preservation Office, says the pace of foreclosures throughout the industry will likely be affected, including downgrades on agency ratings, which can have a significant impact on stocks. Worse case scenario, many lawyers and economists are saying this latest scandal will result in tens of thousands of homeowners who, by all rights, would be in foreclosure, but through a twist of fate, will remain in their homes at no cost to them. It might also mean a second chance for those homeowners who are ''this close'' to finally digging out of the residual of the recession the opportunity of staying in their homes.

Time will tell if this latest legal quagmire will work to the advantage of the homeowner or in fact will better protect the lenders; however, there is a significant absence of anyone taking responsibility, and instead, most are too busy placing blame.


Hotel heiress, and sometimes-actor, Paris Hilton is now facing felony drug charges after she was arrested last Friday on charges of cocaine possession.

According to the police report, Hilton’s vehicle was pulled over when a police officer smelled marijuana smoke coming from the SUV’s windows. Police were questioning the driver of the vehicle, her boyfriend, Cy Waits, when Hilton requested to be escorted to a bathroom at the nearby Wynn hotel to avoid a growing crowd. Officers agreed that removing Hilton from the scene would aid their investigation.

Hilton was taken to the Wynn security office bathroom when she reached in her purse, apparently for lip gloss, and a bindle, containing .8 grams of cocaine, fell out of her purse. Cocaine possession is a category E felony in Clark County, where Hilton was detained. It carries a maximum punishment of up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine. First-time offenders may be offered probation.

Hilton was taken in to custody and released nearly three hours later, on her own recognizance, due to crowding in the nearby jail.  Also found in Hilton’s purse were credit cards, $1,300 cash and a broken tablet of Albuterol, a drug used to treat conditions such as asthma.

TMZ, the popular celebrity news website, has reported that the Las Vegas District Attorney, David Roger, has already filed a felony case regarding the matter. Roger is the DA who is responsible for incarcerating O.J. Simpson after he was arrested for a robbery that took place at a hotel-casino in Las Vegas.

Lisa Bloom, a CBS News Legal Analyst, says Hilton’s defense will face troubles due to her contradicting reports to authorities. “I’m sure her attorney at this point is saying, ‘Why did you talk at all to the police? You should have invoked your right to remain silent,’” said Bloom.

Hilton reportedly told officers that the purse was not hers and that she thought the cocaine was gum. “That is just logically inconsistent,” said Bloom. “She should have picked one or better yet, remained silent.”

However, Bloom also says that playing stupid may prevent Hilton from a possible conviction. “The police do have to prove that [Hilton] knew the cocaine was there. That it was either her cocaine or that she was knowingly carrying it. That’s called mens rea in the criminal law.” Bloom added, that if Hilton could prove she was ignorant of the cocaine in her purse, “she could have a defense.”

The celebrity heiress is no stranger to run-ins with the law. Hilton spent 23 days in the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California back in 2007 after being sentenced to 45 days for violating probation. Hilton was placed under probation after pleading no contest to reckless driving charges in January of that year.


Immigration control in Florida may soon resemble the new legislation in Arizona. The Republican gubernatorial candidate and attorney general of Florida, Bill McCollum wants to see the controversial laws enacted in his state of Florida if he’s elected governor. And McCollum isn’t exempt to the controversy.

McCollum suffered backlash from the Hispanic Community after he introduced his proposal.  “Arizona is going to want this law,” McCollum said as “We’re better, stronger, we’re tougher and we’re fairer.”

The attorney general proposed law that would require immigrants to carry legal paperwork or face up to 20 days in jail. It would also subject illegal immigrants to tougher penalties.

The immigration law in Arizona has mustered up quite a stir. Foreign ministers of Turkey and Mexico have met to express their concerns over the new immigration laws in the state. Ahmet Davtoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister is concerned that the new law would lead to xenophobia.

Patricia Espinosa, Mexico’s foreign minister said that “human rights should be held above” the state’s concerns over illegals. Human rights are core to the opposition’s argument.

Utah was initially among the states that would pass similar legislation. Republican Governor Gary R. Herbert was even expected to sign such legislation. However, it seems that officials in Utah may have changed their approach to the issue.

“At one stage, all the talk was about an Arizona bill, it was just like a runaway train,” said Tony Yapias, a Latino community activist in Utah, and host of a popular Spanish-language radio show. “But I haven’t hear about that lately. Now there are other ideas, like a guest worker program, that have changed the direction of the debate.”

Herbert succumbed to the threat of boycotts in the state, claiming they could not be ignored. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s part of what is happening in the marketplace,” the governor said.

Last month, the names of 1,300 people suspected of being illegal immigrants were published. Yapias and Alex Segura, the founder of the Utah Minutemen Project, got together to protest the publication of the list, claiming that publishing the list was illegal itself. They called for the debate to be conducted to be in a “more civil manner.”

It remains to be seen whether or not the new immigration law will be taken in states all over the country. Even in Arizona, specifics on Arizona’s bill have yet to be approved.

Governor Herbert is now working with leaders to create a guest worker program, which has been backed by the state’s Chamber of Commerce, Utah’s Attorney General, and Republican senator Howard Stephenson.

“Everyone who has an interest in this issue needs to be at the table to express their points of view,” said Governor Hubert in an interview. “If we do that, then I think the process will lead us to a conclusion, and hopefully a consensus conclusion – that almost everyone can feel good about.”


Although a federal judge overturned proposition 8, California's ban of same-sex marriage, gays and lesbians may have a long battle ahead of them before the county clerk's office starts issuing them marriage licenses. Some analysts say that same-sex couples in California could be waiting over a year before they have the right to marry, if ever.

However, opponents of Prop 8 may have a solid case on their hands. Vikram Amar, a law professor at UC Davis, explained that, ''The Challengers to Proposition 8 argue that the change that it makes is so fundamental that it ought to be considered a revision, not an amendment.And because the legislature did not initiate Proposition 8, then it's
invalid, because it didn't go through the right procedure.'' On the other hand, Amar also warned that ''litigation doesn't resolve things until it's run its course.''

After Judge Walker's ruling on Wednesday, supporters of defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman immediately filed an appeal to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They also asked for astay, keeping gays and lesbians from marrying until after the appeal.

Judge Walker ordered a temporary stay on Wednesday, requesting arguments in writing from both sides to be turned in by Friday. If Walker rejects the stay, Prop 8 supporters will most likely request an emergency stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

There was some question as to why same-sex couples could not immediately obtain marriage licenses after the historic ruling. A legal analyst from UC Hastings, professor of law Rory Little, said that marriages issued now, that may be subject to nullification in the event that a higher court overturns Judge Walker's decision, could create too much

Little said, ''Maintaining the status quo, even if you don't think it's necessary, is a value for a court system.'' Little cited the example of two federal judges who stayed their rulings on desegregating schools in the 1950's for two years before they were confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.


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