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Chief immigration judge is reassigned The U.S. Department of Justice has quietly reassigned controversial Chief Immigration Judge Michael Creppy to a smaller venue as chief administrative hearing officer, heading an office that had fewer than 50 cases last year, rather than the 350,000 he managed as the nation’s top immigration judge. Creppy came in for criticism among federal appellate judges and immigration practitioners for lax discipline of abusive immigration judges and a 2002 streamlining program that pushed thousands of immigrant appeals into federal courts [NLJ, Jan. 30, Feb. 6]. His departure may be the harbinger of more changes given the near completion of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ internal review of immigration courts nationwide. But Larry Levine, spokesman for DOJ’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, said that criticism of Creppy did not prompt the reassignment. DOJ officials decided Creppy was the right person to head the hearing office, which investigates document fraud and oversees employer sanctions, Levine said. Meanwhile, a new immigration reform proposal by Senator Arlen Specter, R-Penn., calls for adding 20 new immigration judges to the current 220, at least 50 new immigration staff attorneys and 50 new federal prosecutors nationally to work on immigration cases. David L. Neal, a Board of Immigration Appeals staff attorney, takes over from Creppy this week. Go ahead, be vulgar (when you’re creating) Script writers for both television sitcoms and dramas were given license last week to be as raunchy as they like during the creative process-as long as their raw talk doesn’t single out specific employees as the butt of the jokes. In a case that put the entertainment and publishing industries on edge, the California Supreme Court ruled that sexually coarse and vulgar language is often a necessary part of the creative process when producing a hit TV show. The case involved alleged harassment by writers for the sitcom Friends, and the decision, authored by Justice Marvin Baxter, held that crass brainstorming- complete with foul words and lewd sexual simulations-crosses the line only if it targets a person because of his or her sex or is severe and pervasive. Neither behavior occurred in Lyle v. Warner Brothers Television Productions, No. 06 C.D.O.S. 3258. Roberts names a new director for U.S. courts Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. announced last week that he picked James Duff, managing partner of the Washington office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, to run the judicial branch as the next director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Duff, 53, served as administrative assistant to the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist from 1996 to 2000. There, Duff won praise as a low-key team player and a skillful behind-the-scenes negotiator. Duff will replace Leonidas Ralph Mecham, who has held the job for 20 years with a sometimes combative style. Roberts praised Mecham but said Duff’s arrival represents “a good chance for a fresh start and a renewed effort” to improve relations and address “tensions and disagreements” between the judiciary and Congress. Kelley Drye merges with Collier Shannon Kelley Drye & Warren and Collier Shannon Scott have officially merged. The firm will operate as Kelley Drye & Warren, except in the Washington area, where the firm will be known as Kelley Drye Collier Shannon. The newly merged firm has nearly 400 lawyers, with more than 150 located in the Washington area. Gross revenues are expected to be more than $220 million. The move expands New York-based Kelley Drye’s presence in Washington, where Kelley Drye and Collier Shannon have had practices for several decades. Danny E. Adams, who will remain as managing partner of Kelley Drye’s Northern Virginia office, and Brad E. Mutschelknaus, who managed Kelley Drye’s Washington office, will continue as members of the firmwide executive committee. Kelley expects to offer new or enhanced capabilities in such areas as international trade and customs. The merger also bolsters Collier’s depth in litigation and other practices in Kelley offices in New York, Chicago and elsewhere.

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