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Democrats Sue Georgia Over Photo Voter Law
Law Firm News | 2008/05/27 20:53
The Georgia Democratic Party claims enforcement of the state's photo ID requirement violates the Georgia Constitution by discriminating against hundreds of thousands of registered voters, black voters particularly, who do not have driver's licenses, passports or other state-issued ID.

Unlike the civil rights claims of the 1960s, which appealed to the federal government to override racist Southern laws, this complaint "asserts no claims that arise under the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States."

Plaintiffs claim the state's "2006 Photo ID Act" - SB 84 - violates the Georgia Constitution "because it imposes an unauthorized additional condition on the fundamental right to vote."

They claim the bill "discriminates against African-American voters in particular."

And they claim that it is an illegal "retroactive law" because "it applies to citizens of Georgia who were lawfully registered to vote before the effective date" of the law.


Court Nixes Dog-Killing Deputy's Job Transfer
Court Watch | 2008/05/23 14:46
A sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a dog while on duty should not have been reassigned to the same sheriff's department, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled.

Deputy David Freeman was bitten by a dog, and the owner refused to help him. Freeman responded by shooting the dog, causing injuries so severe that the dog had to be euthanized.

But the bitten deputy suffered only minor injuries that did not require a trip to the hospital.

Sheriff David Zoellner fired Freeman for violating department policy. Freeman appealed to the Leavenworth County civil service board, which transferred him to a "comparable position in the Jail Division."

Judge Marquardt affirmed the district court's ruling that the board had improperly placed Freeman in a different section of the same sheriff's department.

The district court found that the law's provision for Freeman to go to a different department means a "law enforcement office completely separate and apart from the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office."

The appeals court reversed the board's order to transfer Freeman to a different county, saying the board lacked the authority to do so.


Houston Wins Ruling In Face Off With Phone Co.
Law Firm News | 2008/05/22 14:32
The City of Houston does not have to reimburse Southwestern Bell for moving its telecommunications equipment out of the public right of way, the 5th Circuit ruled.

A three-judge panel held that the Telecommunications Act protects municipalities when they exercise ownership over public rights of way. Therefore, Southwestern Bell is not entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of moving its equipment.

Southwestern Bell had claimed that a Houston ordinance violated the act by requiring telecommunications companies to move facilities at their own expense.

Writing for the panel, Judge Barksdale ruled that in order for the telephone company to prevail, it would have to prove that the act specifically created a right to be reimbursed for the moving of its equipment.

Also, Barksdale ruled that even the local government protection afforded by the act does not indicate a right for telecommunications companies


'Boy Band' Creator Gets 25 Years
Law Firm News | 2008/05/21 15:52

Boy band mogul Lou Pearlman, who launched Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Wednesday for swindling investors and major U.S. banks out of more than $300 million.

But U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp gave Pearlman the chance to cut his prison time by offering a one-month reprieve for every $1 million in cash he helps a bankruptcy trustee recover for his victims.

Theoretically, Pearlman could cancel his entire 300-month sentence by repaying the $300 million debt.

His lawyer, Fletcher Peacock, said in a written plea that 25 years amounted to a "sentence to death in prison" for the 53-year-old impresario who lived a jet-set life of mansions and luxury cars before the fraud scheme collapsed.

In an audacious two-decade scam, Pearlman admitted in his plea agreement to enticing individuals and banks to invest millions of dollars in two companies which existed only on paper -- Transcontinental Airlines Travel Services Inc and Transcontinental Airlines Inc.

He won investors' confidence with fake financial statements created by a fictitious accounting firm.

During sentencing, Sharp held up a book with letters from Pearlman's victims, saying they included "his family, his close friends and people in their 70s and 80s who have lost their life savings."

"So the sympathy factor doesn't run high with the court," the judge said.



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