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FBI ends controversial bullet comparison test The FBI announced last week that it would no longer perform a controversial test to tie suspects to bullets found at a crime scene. Conclusions reached by FBI analysts from comparative bullet lead analysis (CBLA) were criticized by the National Research Council in 2004. This year, the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed a murder conviction based on CBLA, calling it “false, unproven or unreliable.” [NLJ, 4/4/05]. The agency disclosed that it provided CBLA testimony 521 times since 1986, but never said where or against whom. The FBI still stands behind the science, but sent notices to 300 agencies that received positive test results since 1996. West, Kaplan hit with bar review antitrust suit Another lawsuit alleging antitrust violations against West Publishing and Kaplan Inc. has been filed by two attorneys who claim that the companies illegally formed a monopoly on bar review courses. The latest action, following a similar suit filed in May, alleges that a market division scheme between West Publishing, Bar/Bri and Kaplan resulted in anti-competitive pricing that affected some 300,000 students and attorneys. A Kaplan spokesperson said the company would “vigorously defend” the lawsuit. West Publishing, which acquired Bar/Bri in 2001, declined to comment. California judges meet to address attacks The California Judges Association hopes to tackle head-on the explosive issue of attacks on the judiciary next week. The CJA will host an estimated 450 judges in San Diego for the group’s 76th annual meeting on Sept. 9. The theme: “Independence of the Judiciary!” Sessions open to attendees bear defiant titles, including, “Standing Your Ground-Judicial Independence Up Close and Personal.” CJA President James Mize, a judge on the Sacramento County Superior Court, said politicians and special-interest groups have tried in recent years to make the judiciary “a whipping boy for the ills of society” by railing against so-called “activist judges.” “People have to understand that judges aren’t sitting there making law,” Mize said. Coordination ordered in 1,000 OxyContin cases One thousand “accidental addicts” filed suits recently in Staten Island, N.Y., against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, thereby establishing the matter as the largest ever to be managed by New York’s nascent Litigation Coordinating Panel. The panel ordered coordination of OxyContin actions earlier this month following Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Joseph J. Maltese’s denial of a class action bid in February. “Clearly . . . it will be in the interests of all parties to have common discovery issues coordinated,” the panel held in Hurtado v. Purdue Pharma Company, Panel Case 0001/05. “It will also promote efficiency and ease the burdens on the court system to have these related matters pending during the pretrial phase before one Justice rather than perhaps many,” the panel added. N.Y. judge charged in organized crime probe A Long Island, N.Y., judge was arrested last week and charged by federal prosecutors with participating in a money laundering and fencing scheme with a suspected organized crime associate. According to a 71-page complaint unsealed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Judge David Gross of the Nassau County district court helped an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent posing as a stolen diamond trafficker unload merchandise as well as launder about $130,000 in illicit funds. Gross allegedly explained to the agent several means of laundering the funds, including through the judge’s campaign fund. “[T]he whole point is to make it look legitimate,” he allegedly told the agent.

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