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State courts are under siege. On Tuesday, lawyers for Quitman County, Miss., started a trial against the state that seeks funding for indigent legal defense. State courts in Oregon are no longer open on Fridays, and defense attorneys are suing the state in federal court. National Center for State Courts Director Roger Warren says Oregon is the worst off, but Los Angeles County has closed 29 courtrooms, New York state has stopped filling court jobs, and Texas may drop two of nine judicial positions from the state supreme court. … Virginians may soon lose seemingly attractive offers to enlarge or shrink parts of their bodies. The governor signed an anti-spam law authorizing prison time and seizure of assets from those who send misleading information through bulk e-mail. Ringing the same bell, the Federal Trade Commission reported Tuesday that a third of all spam contains false information on the “from” line, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., is proposing a bill to reward tipsters who help bust spammers. … Magistrate judges, handling misdemeanors and discovery beefs while lacking lifetime appointments, are the working stiffs of the federal judiciary. But they got a boost Tuesday when the high court reinforced their authority to handle full civil matters with the consent of the parties. The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 that parties who went through a whole trial before a magistrate, and then complained they hadn’t formally agreed to do so, had blown their chance. Justice Clarence Thomas led dissenters who said the agreement to go before a magistrate must be express. … The long-running parlor game trying to guess the identity of Deep Throat, the mysterious Washington Post source on Watergate, is back in fashion. The latest spin of the bottle, in Slate, points toward Fred Fielding, the former Nixon aide and now name partner at Washington, D.C., regulatory law powerhouse Wiley Rein & Fielding. – Bill Kisliuk

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