On The ABA Not Standing Up To A ‘Libel Bully’

Donald J. Trump at a campaign rally in Naples, Fla., on Sunday. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Donald J. Trump at a campaign rally in Naples, Fla., on Sunday. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Welcome to the age of the “libel bully.” The American Bar Association used the phrase to describe Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in a report on his litigation, but knew better than to publish that report. The New York Times writes that “… the [ABA] report concluded that Mr. Trump was a “libel bully” who had filed many meritless suits attacking his opponents and had never won in court. But the bar association refused to publish the report, citing “the risk of the A.B.A. being sued by Mr. Trump.

The story notes that “..  internal communications, the bar association’s leadership, including its general counsel’s office and public relations staff, did not appear to dispute the report’s conclusions.
But James Dimos, the association’s deputy executive director, objected to the term ‘libel bully’ and other sharp language in the report, saying in an Oct. 19 email that the changes were needed to address ‘the legitimately held views of A.B.A. staff who are charged with managing the reputational and financial risk to the association.'”

Another quote from A.B.A. staff push-back: “While we do not believe that such a lawsuit has merit, it is certainly reasonable to attempt to reduce such a likelihood by removing inflammatory language that is unnecessary to further the article’s thesis,” Mr. Dimos wrote. “Honestly, it is the same advice members of the forum would provide to their own clients.”

Catch up on your irony here:

Central California Justice Among The Nation’s Most Rationed Court

Eastern California is home to some of the nation’s most fertile agricultural regions, but it’s also growing a reputation as the nation’s slowest federal court district. Bakersfieldnow, the online home of ABC’s Eyewitness News in the area, explains in a new report that “… the problem area is the Eastern District of the 9th Circuit Court that serves much of the eastern half of the state, from Bakersfield to the Oregon border.

The story is illustrated with the story of Wesley Morris, a gun-store owner involved in a lawsuit against the state. The plaintiffs, affiliated with the Calguns Foundation, are “… bringing a first amendment challenge to an old state law that regulates handgun advertising.”
Morris’ group filed their case in 2014. It’s not scheduled for trial until 2017. And the news report says that “… a three year wait for a civil case is not uncommon in the Valley. It’s the average, according to federal data obtained by Eyewitness News via public record request. Nationwide, the average civil case takes 26.8 months to finish. In the Eastern District of our circuit court, the average is 37.8 months.”

Read about the rationing here:
http://bakersfieldnow.com/news/investigations/central-valleys-federal-justice-system-among-slowest-in-the-nation

CNN Notes FBI Director Blaming ‘Ferguson Effect’ For Crime Increase

Has a “chilling effect” on police activity, sparked by increased scrutiny by cellphone cameras and media attention in the wake of Ferguson, Mo. controversy, caused an uptick in crime? That’s a theory apparently getting traction with FBI Director James Comey, who CNN reports “… has thrown his weight behind the idea that restraint by cops in the wake of criticism is at least partly to blame for a surge in violent crime in some cities.”
 
The important CNN report outlines that violent crime is actually at historic lows but certainly has increased when compared year-to-year in some cities. The report also notes that the increase comes just as various political factions seem to agree that reduced criminalization and incarceration rates should be a civic goal.
 

L.A. Court Houses Nix Direct News Distribution

News organizations are crying foul after the Los Angeles Superior Court began enforcing an order banning most direct-distribution print products from its courthouses. Among them is at least one who finds the move comes suspiciously close to an article he published with political implication.
 
James Preston Allen, publisher of L.A. County-based Random Lenghts News and a contributor to this website and our print editions, says that his newspaper “… is not the only publication that is targeted by this General Order. All publications are being targeted unless the publication is sanctioned as acceptable by a third party vendor inside the courthouse. So now, our press freedoms are being adjudicated by a commercial vendor?” 
 
The publisher also contends that the order singles out printed material: “With the advent of WiFi access at many courthouses and the universal availability of the Internet on any smartphone, this General Order is impossible to enforce, yet the presiding Judge David S. Wesley, insists upon enforcing it on traditional press distribution methods and other forms of protected speech such as newspapers, flyers and people demonstrating.
 
He noted that the eviction letter from the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Executive Officer Clerk Sherri R. Carter came “… just a few days after our past front page story ran, ‘Stop Or We’ll Shoot’ (July 11-24, 2014 Rln). This story challenged the use of force policy at the Long Beach Police Department, whose chief, Jim McDonnell, now is running for Los Angeles County Sheriff.”
 
Allen notes that his newspapers are not actually distributed in a courthouse since his local one closed last year. Read his story via City Watch here: Censorship Exposed! At LA’s Superior Courts