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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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Joe Jackson, father of the late Michael Jackson, filed a lawsuit against his son's physician and pharmacy. The wrongful death suit, according to Jackson's lawyer Brian Oxman, was filed in Los Angeles on November 30.

If this sounds a bit like deja vu, it is. Late last month, Jackson's federal suit was dismissed; and before that, he'd filed it with the state of California. This latest re-filing took place in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Jackson's physician, Conrad Murray, was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the summer of 2009, just weeks following Jackson's death. The courts agreed with the medical examiner once the autopsy was completed and ruled that an overdose of Propofol, a dangerous anesthetic used only in surgery, is what killed Jackson.

The civil lawsuit claims that Murray was negligent in administering the strong anesthetic. It also claims there was a lack of proper procedures in place when new employees were hired, trained and supervised in at least one of the medical clinics Michael Jackson frequented. Further, the suit also names Applied Pharmacy Services and says it sold the drug to Murray on Jackson's behalf. The senior Jackson has said before that Murray attempted to hide important evidence because it factored into his son's death. It does appear Murray kept no medical records, which is illegal in California. His lawyers say there is more than enough negligence to go around. The amount of the suit has not been released and it's quite likely it never will be.

While it's certainly sad, the fact is, Joe Jackson may not have the proverbial leg to stand on. He is not named in Michael Jackson's most recent will. His attorney agrees he may not have a case; however, both Jackson's mother and his children are named as plaintiffs as well. This could clear the way for the suit to move forward, provided he has the authority to sue on behalf of those children.

As mentioned, the case was re-filed only this week. It's unlikely this will find its way to a courtroom in the near future. For now, the Jackson Family's attorneys continue to gather information that will prove beneficial for their case.


12-02-2010


It is highly doubtful anyone would agree that Julian Assange has a single ounce of scruples, dignity or morals.  He is disturbing, to say the least.  Even as WikiLeaks continues to slowly turn out its promised papers that address ''every major issue'', there are two simultaneous goings-on.  First, the majority of the politicians agree on something.

This has to be a first. The second concurrent event is that the rest of the nation seems to be coming together, having found a common denominator. Everyone wants Assange to report front and center on American soil, and it doesn't matter which state. Folks want him here and they want him here now. He has a lot of explaining to do, which is exactly why it's unlikely he'll ever breathe American air.

Many of the country's leaders, including Senators Clair McCaskill (D-MO) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), are demanding that the international ''shadow'' (since he seems to be in hiding) be prosecuted. He has clearly compromised the nation, every principle it was built on, and more importantly, he has compromised the safety of every member of our nation's military. This is unacceptable. Senator Graham said on Sunday, ''I don't know what the cables may say, but we are at war. The world is getting dangerous by the day. People who do this are low on the food chain as far as I'm concerned. If you can prosecute, let's try''. Senator Graham said on Fox News early Sunday morning, ''Leaking the material is deplorable. The people at WikiLeaks could have blood on their hands''. Indeed they could. The way Assange got the information, what he's opted to do with it and the way he's done it are illegal.

McCaskill suggested he ''do a gut check about patriotism''. That's part of the problem, Assange has no sense of patriotism; he is not an American.

The New York Times posted ''A Note to Readers – The Decision to Publish'' on Sunday. In its piece, it confirmed it had received around 250,000 cables with the only condition attached that there be no publication of the leaks before November 29, 2010. The editors at the newspaper said they pulled many of the cables for publication and then submitted what was left to the White House in an effort to ensure no one was compromised. Unfortunately, it's just not that simple. That said, the Times has a point, at least to a small degree:

But the more important reason to publish these articles is that the cables tell the unvarnished story of how the government makes its biggest decisions, the decisions that cost the country most heavily in lives and money. They shed light on the motivations - and, in some cases, duplicity - of allies on the receiving end of American courtship and foreign aid. They illuminate the diplomacy surrounding two current wars and several countries, like Pakistan and Yemen, where American military involvement is growing. As daunting as it is to publish such material over official objections, it would be presumptuous to conclude that Americans have no right to know what is being done in their name.

Fair enough. Still, this does not lessen the severity of the problem. International laws apply and every effort should be made to find Julian Assange and prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. It's the American way.


12-01-2010


As the nation held out hope for the three remaining family members that had been missing for more than a week, news broke that their bodies had been found in Knox County, Ohio.  On November 10, three family members, including Tina Hermann and her two children, a ten year old son, Kody Maynard, his 13 year old sister, Sarah Maynard, and a family friend, Stephanie Spring, who was 41, were reported missing by Hermann's employer when she did not report to work that day.

Several days later, Sarah Maynard was found by a SWAT team. She had
been held captive in the basement of a home occupied by Matthew Hoffman.
He was arrested on charges of kidnapping, but refused to cooperate
with police in finding the other missing people. On November 18, police
gave a press conference and announced the bodies of the still-missing
had been found in trash cans that were hidden in a hollowed out tree.

Hoffman,
who has a public defender, remains in jail though he has not been
charged with murder. The young girl remains in the hospital and police
will only say she is doing well, considering what she'd been through.
It's not known if she is aware of the fate of her mother, brother and
friend.

Hoffman, who is an unemployed tree trimmer, is also an ex
convict. It's been reported by Fox News that he spent at least six
years in a Colorado prison after being convicted of arson. Court
documents from Colorado revealed that he'd set a townhouse on fire in an
effort to cover up a burglary. The Knox County, Ohio prosecutor says
it's likely other charges will be filed, but he declined to say when
those charges might come. Prosecutor John Thatcher said during the
presser, ''The tragedy today is just devastating''. Knox County Sheriff
David Barber also said he'd never been part of a case ''this big, this
serious and this tragic''.

Other details released at the press
conference included Hoffman leading police to the bodies, as well as an
interview that had been conducted with Hoffman's ex girlfriend, who said
he choked her and pinned her neck with his forearm as recently as
October 24. It's believed Hoffman has been in Ohio since his release in
2007.



11-20-2010


You'd think two politicians would know it's going to take more than an
alleged handshake to seal a deal. That's exactly what two political
consultants are using in court in hopes of proving Arianna Huffington
and Ken Lerer stole their idea for a website that is now The Huffington
Post.

The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court earlier this month,
details the claim that Huffington and Lerer, after having met with
Democratic consultants Peter Daou and James Bryce, had all shook hands
after having come up with the idea for the liberal website. It states
that Huffington and Lerer then struck out without their two
supposed-partners. The complaint reads in part:

Huffington
has styled herself as a new media maven and an expert on the effective
deployment of news and celebrity on the internet in the service of
political ends...


Attorneys for the consultants are certain
they can prove the website was ''founded on false impressions and
inaccuracies'' and that the new media ideas were stolen from Daou and
Brice and therefore, the promise, via the handshake, was broken. The
site was intended to ''push the message'' for the Democratic party while
also serving as a fundraising avenue. Huffington denies the charges
and calls the lawsuit ''absurd'' and a ''ludicrous supposition''. She
also claims the two men approached her in search of a job, and not a
business proposition most recently (she does state they approached her
six years earlier, but the lawsuit is in regards to a more recent
meeting). She states, ''We have now officially entered into Bizzaro
World''.

Huffington and Lerer have both stated that they declined
to go into business with the consultants more than six years ago and
reiterated Daou and Bryce had nothing to do with the creation, running
or financing Huffington Post. Further, they insist the two consultants
said they'd not file the suit and ''would go away for just a little
money''.

Whether or not it's true and if the two plaintiffs win
their suit, which many say is unlikely, they will use the funds to
support progressive causes and citizen journalists. Despite those who
say the suit will never be won, it's important to note that anytime
intellectual property is involved, such as the one with the 2008
Facebook lawsuit, there is reason to not jump to any conclusions. Some
say if Daou and Boyce can absolutely prove the offering included
something specific and more than a general notion, there's a good chance
they could win. Forbes Magazine values Huffington Post at $100 million
in 2008.


11-18-2010


What happened to Zahra Baker?  Investigators announced November 11 that they may nearing a break in the case of the little girl, who went missing more than a month ago. With the help of a medical examiner and hundreds of law enforcement officials and volunteers, most in the search for the little girl, missing since October 9th, has focused on a nearby river bank that was close to the home she shared with her father and stepmother. Her biological mother resides in Australia and for reasons not yet known, she allowed her daughter to relocate to the United States with her ex-husband so that he could marry a woman who he met online. Emily Dietrich, Zahra's mother, is currently enroute from Australia.

Since Zahra's father and stepmother reported her missing October 9th, police officials have discovered she was likely missing much longer and many are convinced she was dead long before she was reported missing, as well. Many who knew the family have come forward to say that they saw Zahra being physically abused. Since then, her stepmother, Elisa Baker, was arrested for writing a ransom note in an effort to throw the authorities off, along with other charges that are not related to Zahra's disappearance. So far, she is being jailed only on obstruction of justice charges. Her court appointed lawyer has reiterated Baker is ''cooperating with authorities''.

Zahra, a sweet faced girl, survived a cancer diagnosis that left her partially deaf and resulted in the loss of one of her legs. Born in Wagga Wagga, Australia, she lived in New Castle for several years before her father relocated her to the U.S. She had used a prosthesis since the amputation. That prosthesis was found near one of the rental houses the family lived at. At yet another rental home, a bone was found and while DNA testing is still being conducted, at least one investigator says they're convinced it's Zahra's. Also, early on during the investigation, a mattress was found at a landfill and again, investigators insist they have reason to believe it was the mattress Zahra slept on.

As the media looked on today, officials ordered reporters out and away from the area suddenly and without explanation. They closed the road and refused to provide any kind of explanation. This, along with a comment from an unnamed person related to the case, say this could be the break everyone has waited for. Some have suggested Zahra's father could be charged in the near future, though it remains speculation.




11-15-2010


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