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Troop of heavy-hitters want 9th Circuit whole Eric George, the son of California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George and a lawyer known for his behind-the-scenes influence, has organized a troop of big-name lawyers from across the political spectrum to oppose splitting the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The group sent a four-page letter to California’s congressional delegation earlier this week asking representatives to vote down pending legislation that would break up the circuit. Besides Eric George, the letter was signed by 15 defense, business and plaintiffs lawyers, including Ronald Olson of Munger Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles; State Bar of California President Anthony Capozzi of Fresno; Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein; Jerome Braun of Farella Braun & Martel; and John Keker of Keker & Van Nest. Coke’s Patrick stays on Deval Patrick, the top attorney for Coca-Cola Co., still plans to resign, as announced on April 11, but now he’s expected to remain at Coke through the end of the year instead of leaving now. “At my and the board’s request, he will concentrate his time and attention on resolving the pending government investigations” of the company and other issues, Chairman and Chief Executive Doug Daft wrote in a memo to employees last week. Patrick became the latest high-level executive to announce a split from Coca-Cola. Patrick, 47, is the company’s highest-ranking African-American executive. He was hired in 2001, shortly after the company agreed to settle a class action racial discrimination suit filed by black employees. Coke faces an ongoing criminal investigation into fraud allegations raised in a whistleblower suit. Shot in Pa. courtroom A 24-year-old defendant was shot by a sheriff’s deputy while lunging at a city judge who sentenced him to two to four years in prison at the conclusion of a parole violation hearing yesterday. The defendant, Shawn Frazier, was appearing before Judge Gary S. Glazer for a parole violation hearing related to a 1999 firearms conviction when he was sentenced. Police officials said the 6-foot-3, 285-pound Frazier responded by flipping over the defense counsel table and chasing after the judge. Good news (finally) for corporate associates Firms are signing on increasing numbers of corporate associates, leading recruiters to call the past six months the most optimistic hiring stretch since 1999. “Hiring is up 60% over this time last year,” said Robert Major Jr., a partner at legal search firm Major, Hagen & Africa. “Demands [for associates] are accelerating. You can start to hear the stress in our clients’ voices, which is always nice to hear. It’s music to their ears as well.” When the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, firms thinned their ranks. After years of frenzied hiring, recruitment had all but frozen during the past three years. Scalia says ‘I’m sorry’ In a surprising move, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia expressed regret last week over a recent episode in which a deputy U.S. marshal ordered two reporters to erase their tape recordings of a speech Scalia was giving on April 7 in Hattiesburg, Miss. “I have written to the reporters involved, extending my apology and undertaking to revise my policy so as to permit recording for use of the print media,” Scalia wrote to the director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. N.J. high court blasted Blasting New Jersey’s Supreme Court and a defense attorney, a federal judge overturned the capital sentence of contract killer Robert Marshall-until now the state’s most death-eligible inmate. U.S. District Judge Joseph Irenas did not disturb Marshall’s conviction but concluded that he was the victim of ineffective assistance of counsel during the trial’s penalty phase. Irenas remanded the two-decade-old case, Marshall v. Hendricks, No. 97-5618 (D.N.J.), to state court for a new sentencing hearing within 120 days. Marshall was convicted of hiring men to kill his wife, Maria. He was indicted more than four months after the crime, and stood trial in 1986. The case was made famous by a book and television miniseries, Blind Faith.

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