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Neither ‘Crawford’ nor ‘Blakely’ are retroactive A Northern District of New York judge has ruled that the two recent watershed criminal rights rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court- Crawford v. Washington and Blakely v. Washington-do not apply retroactively. Senior U.S. Judge Thomas J. McAvoy’s ruling last week in Garcia v. U.S., No. 04-CV-0465, represents the latest in a plethora of often conflicting judicial decisions predicated on Crawford and Blakely. Crawford bans the trial use of statements made to police by witnesses who can’t be cross-examined. Blakely held that any fact that increases a sentence must be proven to a jury. Garcia involved a convicted drug dealer who is serving 30 years under federal sentencing guidelines after pleading guilty to distributing and conspiring to distribute crack cocaine. Ban on college ads gone A Pennsylvania law that bans alcohol-related advertising in college newspapers is unconstitutional, the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, because the state was unable to show that such a law is necessary to discourage underage or abusive drinking. Ruling in favor of the student-run newspaper at the University of Pittsburgh, the panel ruled that the law ran afoul of the First Amendment by prohibiting liquor license holders from advertising in student newspapers with the threat of fines and revocation of liquor licenses for violators. The Pitt News v. Pappert. Whistleblower can’t collect on settlement A three-judge panel of the California 1st District Court of Appeal last week dismissed a corporate whistleblower’s claim to a portion of attorney fees stemming from a successful class action against Bank of America. Ruling in McIntosh v. Mills, No. 04 C.D.O.S 6992, the court said former Bank of America employee J. Nicholas McIntosh was not entitled to recoup what he claimed was his share of approximately $20 million in fees from lawyer Robert Mills, a consumer law specialist at San Rafael, Calif.’s Mills Law Firm. But Justice Ignazio Ruvolo’s ruling also lambasted both parties for ethical lapses. If allegations that the two conspired to conceal a fee-sharing agreement are true, he wrote, then the parties took part in “nothing less than an appalling abuse of this state’s civil justice system.” Open discipline proposed The Philadelphia Bar Association’s Board of Governors weighed in last week with its support of a proposed rule to open Pennsylvania attorney disciplinary proceedings once formal charges are filed. By an 11-7 vote, the board adopted a resolution sponsored by the professional responsibility committee backing the disciplinary rule amendment with two modifications. The resolution calls for the continued confidentiality of proceedings stemming from an appeal of private discipline. As Pennsylvania’s disciplinary system is currently structured, the only way to contest a private reprimand or informal admonition is to request the Office of Disciplinary Counsel to file formal charges, which, under the proposed rule, would open the matter to the public. All Calif. bench recused The entire northern District of California bench has been recused from hearing whether a former electronics CEO tried to have a federal judge killed, while the defendant’s attorneys moved on Aug. 4 to distance themselves from the case. Amr Mohsen of Los Gatos, Calif., will now appear in front of Judge William Shubb of California’s eastern district, though the case has not been transferred out of the northern district. Shubb will be in Oakland, Calif., later this month for his first hearing in the case. Last week, Mohsen pleaded not guilty to charges that he solicited the murder of U.S. District Judge William Alsup. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman took the plea, but then referred all substantive matters to Shubb. Class action lays bet on Internet search engines Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins has brought a new level of risk to the business of Internet search. The San Diego plaintiffs’ firm filed a class action against Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and 10 other Internet search engines that claims they have been promoting illegal gambling on their Web sites and requests that they fork over the ad revenue. The complaint, filed last week in San Francisco Superior Court, requests that the search engines put revenue from advertising Internet gambling into a fund that would provide restitution to California Indian tribes or other licensed gambling businesses in California. Cisneros v. Yahoo, No. 04433518.

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