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COUNTY: NO PATTERN OF JUVENILE ABUSE SAN JOSE — Federal authorities investigating reports of civil rights violations at Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall uncovered some incidents of excessive force, but found no “pattern of abuse,” according to county officials. County officials said Monday that U.S. Department of Justice investigators sat down with them last week for an exit interview after conducting an onsite investigation of the San Jose facility. Federal authorities toured juvenile hall and sifted through records, investigating reports that teenagers in custody were injured by hall staff. In a series of articles published in April, The San Jose Mercury News detailed 25 incidents of alleged abuse during the past decade. Teenagers and parents said complaints about excessive force aren’t taken seriously. A full federal report is still months out, but county officials said they were told the incidence of severe injuries and the use of force were very low. “While the Department of Justice found that there were no civil rights violations at juvenile hall, they indicated that better management information is needed to ensure that policy-makers are alerted to potential problems,” according to a county press release. Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Raymond Davilla Jr., who supervises juvenile delinquency court, said the court will issue its own set of recommendations. Davilla said he would review a detailed report from Chief Probation Officer John Cavalli, who oversees juvenile hall. “The court and the county will convene a working group to review disciplinary systems, complaint processes and internal reporting procedures,” Davilla said in a written statement. Deputy DA Kurt Kumli, who supervises the juvenile delinquency unit, said attorneys also would now be more alert. “These reports have re-sensitized us to the need for vigilance with the respect to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the kids whose lives are essentially our responsibility,” Kumli said. – Shannon Lafferty FRIED, ASHURST BREAK OFF MERGER TALKS NEW YORK — New York’s Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and London’s Ashurst Morris Crisp have broken off merger discussions, ending a year of speculation on whether the two firms would undertake the first trans-Atlantic merger of equals. In a joint statement issued Tuesday, the firms said they had concluded “there were too many uncertainties in the path of completing a combination of two partnerships of substantial size and histories.” “For each of us the merger was an opportunity but not a need,” the statement continued. “The two firms remain on excellent terms, and we expect to continue to work together in the future as we have in the past.” Tuesday’s announcement was the first time either firm had publicly acknowledged they were in discussions. But reports of a possible merger have been a fixture in the British legal press since last spring, animating conversations within legal circles on both sides of the Atlantic. The proposed combination would have been the first merger of British and American firms of roughly similar size, profitability and transactional practice strengths. Earlier trans-Atlantic combinations involving Clifford Chance, Jones Day and Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw have paired large, international firms with much smaller New York or London partners. According to Recorder affiliate The American Lawyer magazine’s AmLaw 100 and Global 100 surveys, 560-lawyer Fried, Frank and 686-lawyer Ashurst Morris had respective profits per partner of $875,000 and $868,000 in 2001. Both firms have strong reputations in mergers and acquisitions, and capital markets in particular. – The New York Law Journal

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