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TEHIN INDICTED BY FEDERAL GRAND JURY A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted San Francisco attorney Nikolai Tehin on broadened charges of mail fraud and money laundering. The indictment stems from Tehin’s alleged misuse of more than $2 million in settlement funds that belonged to his cli-ents. FBI agents arrested Tehin, 56, of Tehin & Partners, in July. According to the complaint, Tehin used various client settlement funds to pay the mortgage on his Pacific Heights home and finance repairs on his yacht. Tehin was suspended from active practice by the State Bar in August 2002 following numerous complaints. The bar took control of his practice later that year. Thursday’s indictment contained six counts of mail fraud and nine counts of money laundering, compared to the single counts of mail fraud and money laundering contained in the original criminal complaint. Tehin is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges Monday before Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman of San Francisco. – Alexei Oreskovic COURT PUTS LIMITS ON POLICE SEARCHES Evidence obtained by cops during a warrantless search cannot be used against anyone in the household even if it’s later learned that one of the residents is a probationer subject to searches, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday. In People v. Sanders, 03 C.D.O.S. 6777, Bakersfield police found cocaine base in 1999 in the home of Arlene Sanders and Kenton McDaniel during a search initiated by a neighbor’s report of a fight. Later, officers discovered that McDaniel was a parolee subject to search at any time without a warrant. By a 6-1 vote, the high court said the evidence must be suppressed for both defendants because officers cannot justify a search based on a later discovery of parole conditions. “This result,” Justice Carlos Moreno wrote, “flows from the rule that whether a search is reasonable must be determined based upon the circumstances known to the officer when the search is conducted and is consistent with the primary purpose of the exclusionary rule — to deter police misconduct.” Another reason to suppress, he wrote, is to “protect the rights of the parolee’s co-habitants and guests” — in this case, Sanders. Justice Marvin Baxter agreed that the search infringed on Sanders’ constitutional rights, but not on McDaniel’s. “Finding the search reasonable in circumstances such as these,” he wrote in dissent, “would advance the significant governmental interests in deterring parolees from criminal activity and protecting the public from their crimes.” – Mike McKee GEORGE TO LEAD U.S. CHIEF JUSTICE GROUP Chief Justice Ronald George took over Thursday as president of the Conference of Chief Justices. As head of the organization, which represents the top judicial officers of all 50 states and the American territories, George will become a national leader and spokesman on important issues facing state courts. He will also be chairman of the board of directors of the National Center for State Courts. George replaces Judith Kaye, the chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, and will serve a one-year term. In a prepared statement, George said he was honored to serve. “In recent years, courts nationwide increasingly have sought ways to improve access to justice for all,” he said. “With severe economic issues facing almost every state, many courts are striving to provide basic services — and are determined to preserve many of the innovations that have proved to be of great service to the community.” – Mike McKee N.Y. JUSTICE REVERSED IN ATTORNEYS FEES CASE NEW YORK — New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, on Thursday shut down Justice Charles Ramos’ sua sponte inquiry into a $625 million fee award to the six firms that represented New York state in a lawsuit against the tobacco industry that netted a $25 billion settlement. Though finding “laudable” Justice Ramos’ concern that the fee award might be “excessive,” Justice Richard Andrias found him wrong, and in instances dead wrong, on every legal conclusion he had to reach in order to proceed with his inquiry. Even Justice Ramos’ concern over the amount of the fees was based on a factual “misapprehension” and was reached by reviewing the fee award out of context, Justice Andrias wrote for a unanimous panel in State of New York v. Philip Morris, 1360N. Justice Andrias further suggested that Justice Ramos had done the six firms an injustice by “hauling” them into court without any legal authority. The panel also reversed Justice Ramos’ order appointing an independent counsel to defend his ruling on the appeal, leaving in doubt how the two appointed lawyers, Jack Hoffinger and Harvey Fishbein, would be compensated for their work. Hoffinger, who argued the appeal, said he would ask the Court of Appeals to review the case. The question of his own compensation, Hoffinger said, is “on the back burner.” One question that lingered with the reversal of the appointment order was whether the two lawyers would have any legal authority to pursue a leave application to the Court of Appeals. Justice Ramos, who was assigned to the tobacco case after Justice Stephen Crane was appointed to the Appellate Division, Second Department, in March 2001, first signaled to the parties that he wanted to examine the propriety of the fee award in early March 2002. Justice Crane had signed off on the $25 billion settlement three years earlier in December 1998. New York’s case, like that of 45 other states, had been resolved as part of a nationwide settlement between the tobacco industry and a coalition of states and local governments. – The New York Law Journal

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