By Rebecca Hamilton
Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the first defendant convicted by the
Hague-based International Criminal Court, is filing the first appeal of an ICC final judgment. In this case, it's his
conviction and sentence.
Lubanga, a former Congolese warlord, was found guilty in
March of using child soldiers. Although his sentence was for 14
years, he only has eight years left to serve because of the time
he spent in pretrial detention.
Lubanga was not the only one dissatisfied with the trial
court's decision. The prosecution, headed by new ICC prosecutor
Fatou Bensouda, also lodged an appeal on Wednesday asking for
Lubanga's 14-year sentence to be increased.
How sweet it is
By Rebecca Hamilton
In March this year, Summary Judgments posted the story of
Richard Cebull, the U.S. federal judge in Montana who admitted
to sending a racist email about President Barack Obama. Although
a misconduct review is still ongoing, The Blog of Legal Times
now reports that Judge Cebull will move to "senior status" in
March next year.
Senior status is a pretty sweet gig. Defined in the federal code, it is a form of semi-retirement that enables judges over
65 years who have at least 15 years of service to take on a
reduced caseload while still drawing their full salary.
Groups that have been calling for Judge Cebull's resignation
since the racist email was made public are none too happy about
the news. "Judge Cebull should resign or retire, not take senior
status," said Michael Keegan, president of the advocacy group
People For the American Way.
Bring it on
By Peter Rudegeair
Can cheerleading be considered school prayer? That's a
question an East Texas judge is weighing after a group of
cheerleaders sued their local school district after they were
told they could not use signs displaying Bible verses at high
school football games, The New York Times reported on Friday.
Earlier this season, the cheerleaders at Kountze High School
decided to update slogans on run-through banners, those
oversized paper signs a football team bursts through as it takes
to the field. Instead of the standard rah-rah fare, they had
substituted religious messages like "And let us run with
endurance the race God has set before us" (Hebrews 12:1) and "I
can do all things through Christ, which strengthens"
(Philippians 4:13). Superintendent Kevin Weldon subsequently
banned such banners on the grounds that they violated the
prohibition on prayers led by students at high school football
games, which the Supreme Court established in Santa Fe
Independent School District v. Doe. The cheerleaders' lawyers
argue that the case has no bearing here because the banners have
nothing to do with prayer and because no one has expressed any
opposition to their message. The judge presiding over the case
delayed his ruling on Thursday for an additional 14 days.
One only has to wonder what would have happened if Tim Tebow
had gone to Kountze. Would school officials have required him to
remove the "John 3:16" he wrote in silver on top of his
By Rebecca Hamilton
A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday ruled that a man whose
wife was forced to have an abortion under China's restrictive
family planning policy was not automatically entitled to refugee
Xian Tong Dong came to the U.S. in 2006 hoping to establish
asylum and then bring over his wife and son. His claim relied on
a federal statute designed to help those fleeing China's
population control policies. The statute grants refugee status
to "a person who has been forced to abort a pregnancy." Xian argued that because a man whose wife was forced to have an
abortion "loses the child in the same way as the mother," he was
covered by the statute.
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, upholding the
immigration board's denial of Xian's asylum application. But the
court didn't rule out the possibility that other men whose wives
had been forced to have an abortion could receive asylum under
the statute if they could show a well-founded fear of forced
sterilization or persecution for their opposition to the
government's population control policies.
By Dan Brillman
Earlier this week, we reported on the financial woes of
personal injury attorney Willie Gary, who was ordered to pay
$12.5 million to a litigation finance company. Nate Raymond
wrote about the precarious state of Gary, Williams, Lewis and
Watson -- seven partners have left the firm since 2010 -- and
touched on another lawsuit seeking repayment of money to finance
a private jet.
Today, Above the Law looks into Gary's lavish lifestyle and
his shameless promotion of it. A noticeably dated video on his
website shows off his 25,000-square-foot mansion, both jets
(Wings of Justice I and Wings of Justice II) and a lot of luxury
cars. Also dramatically detailed is his rags-to-riches story,
work with children and his cadre of celebrity pals. How far the
mighty have fallen, however, remains to be seen. Gary's plane is
now grounded, and austerity is the word around what remains of
his office. "We have a lot of debt from the good times," he told
Raymond in July. "I can guarantee we learned our lesson, that's
By Suhrith Parthasarathy
Approval for the Pirate Parties International's application
for an observer status at the World Intellectual Property
Organization has been put off for another year, reports Ars Technica. The PPI, registered as a Belgium-based international
non-governmental organization, represents the Pirate Party
movement across Europe. The party's main agenda is to reform
copyright and patent law, and it has a member in the state
senate in Germany and a member of the European Parliament from
Sweden. But the WIPO, a United Nations body that sets
international rules on intellectual property law, has delayed
deciding on its status.
Typically, political parties can join the WIPO as observers
through an NGO, and the PPI in its application has asserted its
international NGO status, according to Intellectual Property Watch. But in a closed-door session on Oct. 3, WIPO granted
observer status to all applicants except the PPI. The delay,
says Knowledge Ecology International, came after France, the
United States and Switzerland objected to the party's
"We are exactly that which a political party is supposed to
be: a bridge between the political debate that people are having
and feeling, and the institutions that can do something about
it," wrote Swedish Pirate Party MEP Amelia Andersdotte in
response to the decision.
By Rebecca Hamilton
On Thursday morning, The Blog of Legal Times reported that
the websites were down at more than three dozen top-flight law
firms. As The Wall Street Journal picked up, the ready
assumption was that BigLaw had incurred the wrath of
hacktivists. But a few hours later it appeared there was a more
In an update on Thursday afternoon, The Blog of Legal Times
reported that all the disrupted websites are hosted by the same
company. The common host, One North Interactive, explained the
problem in a message to law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld,
describing "a hosting incident" that was "caused by an issue
with a critical DNS record."
For a plain English translation, Summary Judgments turned to
Reuters' social media guru, Anthony DeRosa (@AntDeRosa). "DNS is
sort of like the post office. They hold records for the address
of the computer where your website resides," De Rosa explained.
"If something gets screwed up there, and people try to connect
to the website, it won't know how to direct you to the website
and you'll get an error."
A scan of the affected websites by Summary Judgments on
Friday morning showed that all were again operating normally.
One North Interactive was formed from a portion of One
Hubbard, sold by Thomson Reuters in August.
A win for Love
By Caitlin Tremblay
Back in June Summary Judgments reported on rocker and serial
tweeter Courtney Love's various legal woes, specifically a
defamation suit brought against her by her former lawyer. The
attorney, Rhonda Holmes, sued Love over comments the singer
posted to her Twitter account after a falling out with Holmes.
Love tweeted that she was "devastated" when Holmes was
"bought off," a vague reference to how Holmes handled a lawsuit
Love filed against former employees of her late husband, Nirvana
singer Kurt Cobain. Love claimed they "looted" money from his
estate. Holmes sued Love for defamation and, as part of the
litigation, subpoenaed Love's daughter with Cobain, Frances Bean
Cobain, hoping Frances could help make the case.
It looked like a good idea at the time. Frances is famously
at odds with her mother and emancipated herself at 17, in favor
of being cared for by her father's mother and sister. She even
tweeted, "Twitter should ban my mother," over Love's claims that
former Nirvana member and current Foo Fighter Dave Grohl had hit
But Holmes's strategy did not impress a LA Superior Court
judge, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The judge said
Holmes cannot depose Frances, now 20. It's a mini-victory for
Love because the judge also said that Holmes can't obtain
Frances's guardianship or emancipation records, meaning Love's
dirty laundry can remain unseen. But that's OK, Love will
probably tweet about it eventually, anyway.
Summary Judgments for October 4
Summary Judgments for October 3
Summary Judgments for October 2
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