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Ex-Tyco GC Belnick acquitted of all charges Former Tyco International Ltd. General Counsel Mark A. Belnick last Thursday was acquitted of all charges that he stole more than $30 million in compensation and loans from the company. The verdict came on the sixth day of jury deliberations, following more than two months of testimony. Belnick, who was chief corporate counsel at Tyco from 1998 to 2002, had been charged by the Manhattan district attorney’s office with grand larceny, securities fraud and falsification of business records. The prosecution had argued that the lawyer received a $17 million bonus and more than $14 million in interest-free loans without board approval because he helped former Tyco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer L. Dennis Kozlowski cover up his own thefts from the company. Yale professors can sue Forty-four faculty members of Yale Law School have won standing to proceed with their suit against U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld over the Pentagon’s demand for on-campus military recruiting in spite of its prohibition on openly gay and lesbian service members. In an early courtroom battle, U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall also found the controversy ripe for adjudication. The suit arose over the Department of Defense’s threats to withdraw over $300 million in federal funding if the law school didn’t include military recruitment in the career development services it provides to students. N.Y. judicial election rules under attack Three members of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct said last week that New York’s rules governing judicial candidates are so restrictive that they violate the First Amendment. The commissioners’ position, expressed in a case about a town justice, puts them at odds with both the panel on which they serve and the state’s highest court, which reviews their work. The commissioners said that New York’s rules cannot rationally survive constitutional scrutiny-regardless of a Court of Appeals decision to the contrary-and that the state should either scrap judicial elections or permit candidates for judgeships to behave like the politicians they are. “[W]e have chosen to throw most of our judges headfirst into the political process by requiring them to run in partisan judicial elections,” wrote Commissioner Richard D. Emery, a partner at Emery Celli Cuti Brinckerhoff & Abady of New York. “If the state were genuinely concerned about insulating its judges from politics, then the state could, and would, abolish judicial elections altogether.” Minority firm merger Alvarado Smith & Sanchez has merged with Adorno & Yoss to form one of the largest minority-owned law firms in the country. With 185 attorneys and eight offices in California, Florida and Georgia, the new firm will focus on banking, real estate, litigation, corporate and public agency law. Now known as Adorno Yoss Alvarado & Smith, the firm plans to open additional offices in New York, Washington and Baltimore. Stewart gets five months Martha Stewart was sentenced last Friday to five months in prison and five months of home confinement for lying about a stock sale. Just before her sentence was pronounced, Stewart asked the judge to “remember all the good I have done.” “Today is a shameful day. It’s shameful for me, for my family and for my company,” she said. Stewart was also fined $30,000. U.S. District Court Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum stayed the sentence pending appeal. Cedarbaum rejected a defense request to send to Stewart to a halfway house for the first five months. Washington attempts a long shot on ‘Blakely’ In a long-shot attempt to clear up the nationwide chaos over the Blakely sentencing decision, the state of Washington last week enlisted University of California Hastings College of the Law Professor Rory Little to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the case. Little, a former federal prosecutor who lectures on criminal law and legal ethics, filed an application with the high court asking for a time extension so Washington can file a petition for rehearing. Although lawyers and judges across the country are crying out for clarification in the wake of Blakely v. Washington, 04 C.D.O.S. 5539, Little acknowledged the odds aren’t in his favor. In Blakely, the high court threw out the sentence of a man who had been prosecuted in Washington state court and said any upward departures in sentencing must be decided on facts considered by a jury and not just on the determination of a judge.

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