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News: After a three-week trial, hotly contested motions, billboards, press conferences and tearful jurors, marijuana guru Ed Rosenthal is sentenced to one day in prison. Comment: Sure, it’s not the most efficient way to administer justice. Fortunately, our courts have limitless resources to call on nowadays. News: The government is expected to appeal the sentence to the Ninth Circuit. Comment: Yep, you can bet that Stephen Reinhardt, Harry Pregerson et al., will have little patience for the downward departures granted in this case. News: The city of Oakland settles the “Riders” police misconduct case for $11 million in February. The settlement includes numerous departmental reforms and the hiring of an independent monitor to track their progress. Two months later, police fire non-lethal ammunition into a crowd of anti-war protesters, resulting in another round of lawsuits. Comment: The monitor’s first report should make for some fun reading. News: The Bar Association of San Francisco is closing in on its goal of raising $90,000 and 10,000 pounds of food for the hungry in its annual Food From the Bar drive. As part of the drive, Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos & Rudy sends a truck to Costco and invites schoolchildren and community volunteers to fill it with 3,000 pounds of food. Comment: Sometimes the bad reputation lawyers get is simply undeserved. An exceptional good deed like this can make you feel good about the entire profession. News: The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative public interest group based in Washington, D.C., sues to stop the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration from imposing tighter fuel economy standards on sport utility vehicles. The group’s general counsel, Sam Kazman, says in a press release that the tougher standards would force automakers to produce smaller SUVs, which he says are less safe than big ones. “Once again, NHTSA has increased a [fuel economy] standard with absolutely no recognition of its lethal impact on safety,” Kazman says. Comment: Disregard previous comment. News: The California Supreme Court rejects Johnny and Edgar Winter’s right-to-publicity claim against a comic book company that depicted the former rock stars as half-human, half-worm monsters. Comment: The most remarkable feature of Justice Ming Chin’s unanimous opinion is that it was completed in a crisp 11 pages. Note to other justices: It can be done. News: Reversing a San Diego federal judge, the Ninth Circuit reinstates a man’s claim against the U.S. government for negligently leaving 119 pounds of marijuana hidden in a car that he bought at a marshal’s auction. The government’s defense “simply fail[s] the straight-face test,” Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw writes in her opinion. Comment: If the argument fails the straight-face test, then why did the trial judge buy it? News: Superior Court Judges Carlos Bea (San Francisco) and Carolyn Kuhl (Los Angeles) are awaiting Senate confirmation to the Ninth Circuit. Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., court watchers are speculating about a “nuclear scenario” this summer if any Supreme Court justices retire and the Democrats try to filibuster nominees to that court. Comment: Bea’s nomination shouldn’t be very controversial, but both he and Kuhl will have a much greater chance of confirmation before July than after. News: Wells Fargo General Counsel Stanley Stroup announces he will retire at the end of the year. Comment: Stroup was a class act who strongly supported diversity efforts and pro bono work. We can only hope he doesn’t use his retirement to sue the government for bigger SUVs.

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