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CROSS EXAMINER Newspapers like truth, but attorney Joseph M. Alioto believes that the Hearst Co. retaliates against witnesses who speak it. This comes in the nervy antitrust case that Alioto, representing Clint Riley, filed, challenging the Hearst handover of the low-circulation San Francisco Examiner (with a $66 million sweetener) to a local publisher connected to the San Francisco mayor, Willie Brown. Pushing the case on behalf of a spurned buyer of the paper, Alioto called Examiner editor/publisher Timothy White to the stand, where he testified that he suggested to Brown that favorable coverage might ensue if city lawyers let the deal go through. White recanted within hours and Brown backed him up, saying that White got snookered by the questioning: “It’s what we good lawyers do.” But Hearst suspended White the next morning. Alioto argued this was a warning to future witnesses who work at Hearst — tell the truth in open court and off with your head. Hearst lawyer Gary Halling, of Los Angeles’ Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, argued that White’s testimony was irrelevant to the case and thus his subsequent suspension was just “a sideshow.” Alioto asked the judge to issue a restraining order preventing Hearst from firing anybody else. The judge, unimpressed with the whole circus, declined and warned everybody to behave already. Testimony ended Monday, but the case will continue for at least another 2 1/2 weeks; attorneys will deliver final arguments on May 31. From The National Law Journal BAR-OWNING LAWYERS BOUNCED Rejecting the New Jersey Disciplinary Review Board’s softer stance, the state Supreme Court voted 4-2 to disbar two lawyers who served as fronts for a tavern owner ineligible to hold a liquor license. Another lawyer in the deal got a three-year suspension. Glenn Rocca, Michael Ahl and Angel Pena of Rocca, Ahl & Pena of Fort Lee and Union City, N.J. told the state police in 1993 that they had purchased the Good ‘N Plenti bar in Hoboken from a man ineligible to hold a liquor license because of his criminal past. In fact, the deal called for the seller to remain as a silent half-partner. A judge found out about the deal during the course of litigation and called in the ethics police. The DRB found that the lawyers violated rules against dishonesty, fraud and deceit and voted to disbar Pena, suspend Rocca for three years and suspend Ahl for two years. But the state supreme court majority, noting that Rocca and Pena had been in trouble with the ethics authorities previously, disbarred them both; Ahl was suspended for three years. They had all “poisoned the well of justice,” but only Ahl deserved a break, the majority said in a per curiam opinion. From the New Jersey Law Journal HIGH COURT HUMORIST Known as the only U.S. Supreme Court justice who can make Ruth Bader Ginsburg laugh, Antonin Scalia lived up to his billing last week when he took the podium at the Judge Eldon B. Mahon Lecture Series in Fort Worth, Texas. Scalia, who often sprinkles his conservative judicial philosophy with humor, explained what it was like to be an “originalist,” a belief that the U.S. Constitution is not a “living document” and it should be strictly adhered to. It’s not a philosophy that’s popular with law school professors or students, Scalia said. “Students used to say, ‘Judge Scalia, when did you first become an orginalist?’” Scalia said. “It was like asking, ‘When did you first eat little babies?’ You can fire a cannon in the great hall of any law school with great shot and not strike an originalist,” Scalia said. His point was that some cases that may be considered “unconstitutional” really should be left to legislative bodies to resolve. A good example is the $4 million punitive damage award against BMW over a paint defect that his court struck down. “I don’t know the excessive punitive damages clause of the Bill of Rights,” he said. From the Texas Lawyer MISSING IN ACTION It was start and stop last week for D.C.’s Hogan & Hartson’s Allen Snyder and his quest to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee granted the former clerk to then-Justice William Rehnquist a hearing, along with five nominees for federal district court judgeships in Pennsylvania and Louisiana. By Thursday, the District Court candidates had made it onto the Judiciary Committee meeting agenda, while Snyder’s name was absent. A spokeswoman for Judiciary Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Snyder “wasn’t ready to be put on the agenda.” From the Legal Times

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