Courts

Judge Michel Announces Resignation, Lays it On the Line (and promises more to follow)

CAFC Chief Judge Paul Michel doesn’t pull punches when he states his views on problems with the U.S. patent system and the federal courts more generally, and he didn’t pull too many when he announced his upcoming retirement from the CAFC on on November 20, 2009.  A few notable quotes from his speech:

On interlocutory appeals of claim construction rulings to the CAFC: A provision in a Senate patent reform bill would allow interlocutory appeals of Markman rulings.  Predictably, Judge Michel doesn’t like the idea.  He states that interlocutory appeals would double or triple the case load on the CAFC, and the court “can’t handle it.”

The median time to adjudicate a patent case before the CAFC?  One year “from filing, to the opinion going up on the Internet.”  Interlocutory appeals would double this to two years.

And, interlocutory appeals are unnecessary as a practical matter, he argues.  Some interesting statistics from Judge Michel:  “About 3,000 [patent cases] are filed a year, about 2,700 settled spontaneously.… Read the full article

"No, You May Not Buy a Judge," Supreme Court Rules, and the Dissent's "40 Questions"

“Turn it over, and turn it over, for all is therein.”

The Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Aboth, Ch. V, Mishnah 22 (I. Epstein ed. 1935), quoted in Justice Scalia’s dissent in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co.

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In mid-March I wrote a post about the decision facing the Supreme Court in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co.

The issue was whether a state court judge’s failure to recuse himself from a case in which he received substantial campaign donations from one of the parties violates the Due Process rights of the other party.

The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision today, holding that the judge’s failure to recuse in this case did violate the due process clause.

The majority decision was written by Justice Kennedy, who was joined by Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer.

Chief Justice Roberts dissented, joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito. Justice Scalia wrote a separate short dissent.… Read the full article

Who Watches the Watchmen?

by Lee Gesmer on April 2, 2009

Who Watches the Watchmen?

“How does the court have confidence that the public integrity section has public integrity?”
Judge Emmett Sullivan, during the trial of former Senator Ted Stevens

 

Prosecutor: I already got no proof how the victim got hold of that heroin. Now you’re saying I can’t put Hodgins on the stand? Why?
FBI Agent: You don’t wanna know the answer to that.
Forensic Investigator: Why doesn’t she wanna know?
Prosecutor: As the prosecutor in this case, I’m obliged to share everything I know with the defense.
Forensic Investigator: [starts to explain…]
Prosecutor: Whoa! Goodnight!

From TV Show “Bones”

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Prosecutors have a legal duty to provide criminal defendants with exculpatory evidence. Every criminal prosecutor knows this – it’s probably Rule No.1 for prosecutors: “YOU MUST GIVE DEFENDANT EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE.” This has been a constitutional right since the 1963 Supreme Court decision in Brady v. Maryland.Read the full article

If a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words ….

by Lee Gesmer on March 28, 2009

If you’re a lawyer with a case involving the complex interaction of physical objects (say a plane crash), nothing can compare to a video animation that faithfully recreates the event. Your expert can show it to the judge or jury, and vouch for its accuracy. Of course, it’s expensive to create one of these videos, but with Moore’s Law and better graphics software, it’s getting easier and easier.

And if you’re one of the many firms that creates these videos for lawyers, what better way to strut your stuff than to recreate the landing of US Air Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, with the actual pilot-controller audio overlaid? This is what Scene Systems, a forensic animation company, has done to show its skill. The two minute animation is here, with the recording of Sully and the controller synchronized to the action:
Read the full article