Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When I No Longer Feel the Butterflies

If I ever stop feeling those butterflies when I'm about to go into a jury trial, make an opening statement to a jury, a closing argument, or an argument to an appellate court, I'll know for sure the time to quit practicing law has come.  I mean it.  To me, any attorney that can go into a jury trial or to oral argument on appeal not feeling them either does not know what he's doing or simply doesn't care anymore, ... and I really don't know which is worse.

But there is something magical about those butterflies.  If you have prepared well -and I usually overprepare- the moment you get into your opening statement to that jury, or that oral argument to the appellate judges, or the closing arguments they just seem to go away, at least for that stage. Oh, they'll be back, that's for sure.  But you start realizing what they're all about.  They are a reminder that you want to do well, that you have really serious business to take care of, that a human being's liberty may depend not only on the facts but on how well you perform.  Above all, they're a reminder that you care about what you do, and you care about that person you are representing, yes, your client, the one who has all his hopes and prayers placed on you.

Every trial I go to is the same, and they're all different. The same in the sense that my wife always tells me (several times as it gets later and later into the night), "Tom, you've been preparing for this forever, and you just can't let go. You need to come to sleep or you'll look lousy in front of that jury tomorrow morning. Don't worry, I'll wake you up really early."  She simply doesn't understand that I will not get any sleep unless I feel I'm ready or too exhausted to continue getting readier. Sooner or later, usually later, I follow her suggestion.  The same routine is played at several different stages.  "Dear, I need to get this just right. I have to argue that Rule 29 motion. It's really important."  Or, "I prefer to be tired than not ready. Tired I can perform; not ready, no way!"  They're also different in that some trials you go into feeling there is a real fighting chance, whereas other times you know that the deck is really stacked against you. You know it, yes, but you still give it all your best. Even criminal trials where the deck is stacked against you as defense attorney have a funny way of playing out once you're into it, and you just have to be ready to make your moves.  Simply, you have to always be prepared.

And don't worry, the butterflies will be back even when you don't have to do much of anything, ... such as when you're standing there waiting for a verdict to be announced. You look at those jurors as they march into the courtroom, try to read them and hope they look at you or your client with a sympathetic eye. If they don't look, I usually worry a lot. But that's not always justified. I've had jurors look at me and convict, and others look away or down and acquit.  But when even one of them looks at you and smiles gently just that teeny little bit, as if to try to calm you, to reassure you, ... oh boy!

In another post I'll write about the time I hugged my client before they even announced the verdict. That was funny!  Well, the Judge didn't think so, ... but that's why he became a judge and I a criminal defense attorney.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The story of a CJA Voucher

"Frustrated" is not an accurate description for my feelings about the length of time it has taken to have a CJA Voucher processed and paid. Yes, the and paid is a very important step in this process. I filed a CJA Voucher on April 24, 2011. It was near mid-August, and the voucher had still not been audited at the District Court's CJA Clerk's Office. I know they have been overworked and understaffed, but almost 4 months is still a long time to have a voucher waiting to be audited. After some calls indicating that I was ready to commit suicide if the voucher was not audited sometime soon, it finally got audited in a few days and sent to the District Judge, who approved it within two days of receiving it from the CJA Clerk. But, because the voucher requested excess compensation (it exceeded the case compensation maximum) it still had to receive the blessing of the Chief Judge of the First Circuit Court of Appeals or her designee, who is usually the most junior judge on the Court of Appeals. But before reaching the designee at the First Circuit, it goes through another audit at the First Circuit. It finally got audited and approved again in mid-September 2011, and then it makes its way back to San Juan, to the CJA Clerk. So, as of Wednesday, September 28, 2011 the CJA Payment Status page at the District Court's website indicated my voucher had been "processed for payment."

You would think that is tantamount to telling me that the check is in the mail, but it isn't. The "processed for payment" entry means they have taken some step (I think) in getting it moved towards being actually paid, but definitely not all. And as of Friday, October 7, 2011, whatever additional internal steps were required to enter the voucher for payment had yet to be taken! When they finally take all the necessary steps at the District Court here, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts will receive electronic notice and the next day will issue and mail my check. Then the prayers start for the postal service to be efficient, as the Administrative Office does not do any direct deposit of these payments, although I'm told that they have long  had the capability of doing so.

So -with luck- I will actually  receive that payment from the April 24th voucher sometime in mid-October, or perhaps a little later?

P.S. - I stand corrected. The CJA Voucher payment was issued Sept. 29th. But ... it still took from April 24 to Oct. for me to receive payment!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

eMarketing reflections - a new blog from Australia

Jeroen Hoekman, an eMarketing specialist, has started his new blog eMarketing reflections. The content, however, is not only relevant to eMarketers, but to all who use or may be thinking of using social media. After all, when we use social media (facebook, twitter, etc.) to communicate with others, not all of those "others" are so-called "close friends" that we might want to trust with certain information. I find that some of the concerns about using social media for eMarketers which Jeroen Hoekman expresses apply to us all. For example, think of the things you have said on Facebook which you would definitely not want some prospective employer seeing or learning about. Some good counsel in some of those reflections by Jeroen. I invite you to take a more in depth look at his blog, which is just starting out.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Lou Gehrig's Speech on July 4th, 1939 and my friend Jorge L. Arroyo Alejandro

On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig reminded the world that even though he'd had a bad break, he had an awful lot to be thankful for. Watch a tribute to the Iron Horse which reminds us this Independence Day of all we have to be thankful for in our lives.

This also brings to the minds of many of us at the Puerto Rico Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers the passing away last October of our dear friend and Past President, Jorge L. Arroyo Alejandro, who reminds me of what Lou Gherig would have been like if he had been an attorney. As if fate were calling, Jorge died of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Not too long ago I ran into Jorge's wife, Ana, and one of his beloved daughters. All I can tell you is that I cried a little after meeting them, just feeling their own inner strength. Jorge, you must be watching over them, I know.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obama and the Dems Better Get their Act Together

I was so glad that the Obama administration decided to take on health care. And I was extremely glad when he pushed for a public option. Truly, I'm all for telling insurance companies to go to hell, and would like to see universal health coverage, but would settle for a single payer system. I'd even settle for just having a decent public option.

Yet I am deeply disappointed to see that President Obama is even considering as something acceptable the half-baked so-called public option hatched by the Democratic right wing - and I'm talking of the idea of cooperatives. This is not a solution. See Making the Case for Public Plan Option, Part III: Coops are Not the Answer at Balkinization.

Give us a real public option or else forget about 2010 or 2012!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Barack Obama: There Will Be Bamboozling

Is this what this guy is all about? I have been feeling that he has been the one playing the race card all along, just as his wife has, and I'm more convinced than ever that is the case. There will be buyer's remorse with Obama.

In Puerto Rico he has promised things that he knows he is not capable of ever delivering, but I guess it's okay for him to baboozle us. Shame on you, Barack!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Nuevo Blog - Puerto Rico

If you can read Spanish and are interested in Puerto Rico's history, you will find the columns appearing at the new blog - Puerto Rico - authored by Francisco Ortíz Santini, quite interesting. The blog consists mostly of his columns published in El Vocero newspaper. Here, from his introductory post, is an idea of what the author wants to do:
Lo que usted encontrará aquí, son una serie de columnas sobre temas de Historia de Puerto Rico y el Caribe, previamente publicadas en días viernes alternos en el periódico El Vocero de Puerto Rico. Las mismas no necesariamente llevan una secuencia cronológica o analítica de la historia. Son más bien el fruto de un modesto esfuerzo por provocar la discusión de temas históricos, políticos, jurídicos y antropológicos, más allá de los espacios académicos. No son textos para citar ni mucho menos; pero son un esfuerzo.

El paso de los años no debe ser óbice para la rectificación y la iluminación del entendimiento opacado por el barniz de la leyenda.
The discussion of the Insular Cases from the beginning of the 20th Century is very good, one covered by my former boss, Judge Juan R. Torruella, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in his book The Supreme Court and Puerto Rico: The Doctrine of Separate and Unequal (1985), as well as other scholars. I invite you to check out this new blog.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Chega de Saudade - Antonio Carlos Jobim & Joao Gilberto Reunited

Two musical giants who have given so much joy to so many for so long.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Yet Another Political Discrimination Case from Puerto Rico Reaches the First

Today's decision by the First Circuit in Carlos Calderon-Garnier v. Hon. Anabelle Rodríguez, No. 06-2222 (1st Cir., Oct. 22, 2007) involves an interlocutory appeal in yet another Puerto Rico political discrimination case. The appeal is from the denial of qualified immunity. The parties to the appeal are a former Commonwealth prosecutor (now a PRACDL member) and a former Commonwealth Secretary of Justice (now an Associate Justice of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Supreme Court). The PRACDL member prevails, at least at this stage of the proceedings.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Meetings before President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status and Congressional Action on October 23, 2007

Meetings will be held at the Department of Justice next Tuesday, October 23, 2007 presided by the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status. We last posted here on the Report by the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status.

Also on Tuesday the House of Representatives will be going through the markup of what appears to be an Amendment In The Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 900 Offered by Mr. Rahall of West Virginia. In essence, this provides for a referendum vote for or against the current status -- a colonial status.

UPDATE: You can view the House Committee on Natural Resources markup hearing here.

New Look for Macondo Law

Perhaps getting a new look on Macondo Law will make me want to post more regularly. It's not as if I don't want to post, or have run out of things to write about. Recently I have had a lot of work to get out. I can say that I am cautiously optimistic about the outcome of Gall v. US, No. 06-7949 and Kimbrough v. US, No. 06-6330. (Briefs and Oral Argument Transcripts added to the sidebar).

On the Puerto Rico front, we had the recent embarrassing news spread all over the world about the dozens of pets seized from their owners and thereafter apparently thrown over a bridge some 50 feet to their deaths (for the most part). The pet owners resided in public housing and had been threatened with eviction unless they handed over the pets. A lawsuit requesting in excess of $20 millions has been filed in U.S. District Court against the municipal government of Barceloneta, PR, the mayor, personnel from the municipality, as well as a private entity --Animal Control Solutions, Inc. (ACS)-- alleged to have carried out the part of taking the pets away and throwing them over the bridge to their deaths. ACS owner Julio Díaz has also been sued.

More news on this later as it develops.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Happy Birthday to "El Gabo" and Cien Años de Soledad

The story of Macondo turns 40 as Gabriel García Márquez turns 80 on March 6th. Our congratulations and thanks to him for such enjoyable times in our many readings of "Cien Años de Soledad" and the many other great novels.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some PRACDL Members Compete in World's Best 10K Race

In the photo on the left is attorney Lydia Lizarribar (probably discussing a case with a client) before starting her run at the World's Best 10K this past Sunday.

There were runners, dominated by the Kenyans, and there were walkers (of which I was supposed to be one). A bad cold during the last week, probably the result of a recent change in climate while visiting New Orleans for the Annual CJA Panel Representatives Conference, caused me to drop out of the race. Next year we plan to organize a team of runners and walkers from the Puerto Rico Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Luis Balbino Arroyo Colón

Luis Balbino Arroyo Colón, all of age 16, earned his bachelors degree with a 4.0 grade point average from the University of Puerto Rico, with a major in Physics. He now plans to go on for graduate studies in Physics and, then, for a law degree! At his graduation ceremony he was awarded all sorts of prizes: a recognition as the outstanding student in the Arts and Sciences Faculty, the Enrico Fermi Award, given to the best student in the Physics Department, and the Luis Stefani Raffucci Award, the top academic award granted by the UPR's Recinto Universitario de Mayaguez.

Luis says he is "very happy." We are also very happy for Luis, who should have a distinguished future in anything he sets out to do.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Top 10 Law Schools for 2007 from U.S. News & World Report's

U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the top 10 law schools for 2007:
  1. Yale Law School
  2. Stanford Law School
  3. Harvard Law School
  4. Columbia Law School
  5. New York University School of Law
  6. University of Chicago Law School
  7. University of Pennsylvania Law School
  8. University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  9. University of Michigan Law School
  10. University of Virginia School of Law

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Report by the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status

There is very little that goes on in this lovely island of Puerto Rico that is not somehow permeated with status politics. Today The White House released the Report by the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico‚’s Status. I have always favored statehood for Puerto Rico as a preferable solution to independence. Puerto Rico's current status is unstable. Just think, Congress can do away with our U.S. Citizenship unilaterally according to this Report.

My wish for the coming year? That all local politicos would only say things to the public as regards the status issue that would serve to properly educate the public and help them make proper choices, rather than the choices necessarily advocated by the particular politicos. If they do this, then win, lose, or draw I'll be more than satisfied.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Lesson from my Friend Carlos

My friend Carlos has passed on. He had long suffered from muscular dystrophy. Recently he had some breathing problems and had to be hospitalized. He developed a pneumonia and three days ago, early in the morning, he stopped breathing.

As is natural, some of us who knew Carlos all our lives were talking about him. Some of the outrageous (at least in his mom's eyes) things he would do as a kid, only made us laugh a little. But we also spoke of the manner in which Carlos dealt with his muscular dystrophy. He never gave in to his illness, but did everything humanly possible to continue living as normal a life as possible despite his condition. Others may have become extremely depressed, but Carlos, in his own way, faced up to the harsh reality and did not want anyone to feel sorry for him, nor did he feel sorry for himself.

A funny thing happened to me today. My cell phone rang, and it was a call from Carlos! At least that is what the caller ID indicated. Actually it was his older brother, who is my age and also a lawyer, who was calling me from Carlos' house to let me know the time of the funeral this morning.

Carlos never seemed to have asked "why me?" Instead, he accepted it and set out to live with and around his illness. In so doing, Carlos not only made life easier for himself, but for all of us around him as well. And, even more important, he taught us all how to deal with adversity.

Carlos, I will try to recall your lesson often. Until we meet again, a big hug.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks, R.I.P.

It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Rosa Parks. Her last name -it seemed to us- should have been Spark rather than Parks, for her one woman act of defiance certainly was a spark for the civil rights movement.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Harry Potter

Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, said a record 6.9 million copies of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" were sold in the first 24 hours in the U.S. And you just wait until Harry starts blogging!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

End of Term - My Pick of the Worst Decisions

The term is up, and I have let sufficient time pass to allow everyone else in the blogosphere to comment about it. To me the following were the biggest disappointments: the remedies portion of U.S. v. Booker, No. 04-104 (Jan. 12, 2005); Kelo v. City of New London, No. 04-108 (June 23, 2005) (see our previous posts here and here); and Castle Rock v. Gonzales, No. 04-278 (June 27, 2005) (see our post It was "Poor Joshua!" then and will it now be "Poor Rebecca, Katheryn, Leslie and Jessica"?

And on the question of who will replace Justice O'Connor, I only hope that it is someone who will be an additional vote to undo the Booker remedial opinion, and who will also vote to undo Harris and Almendarez-Torres, but I will not hold my breath waiting.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Nino's Dictionary -- or -- The Meaning of "Shall" from Booker to Castle Rock

During Oral Argument in United States v. Booker last October 4, 2004 (transcript here), Justice Breyer and Justice Scalia had the following exchange:
JUSTICE BREYER: All right, if I believe that that is just out of the question, it's so complicated, nobody could do it, it would [*45] be a radical change, Congress could never have intended that, what about a much simpler approach? What you would do is take 3553(b), and you say, "Read the word 'shall' -- i.e. 'shall apply the guidelines' -- to 'may,'" so that the guidelines become advisory, either because the "shall" becomes a "may" or because you give each judge the power to give any reasonable reason at all as to why the Commission's guideline, they didn't actively consider this factor. In other words, read 3553(b) as permissive. And now, assuming I've expressed myself on the underlying Apprendi questions, so I, but suppose Blakely does apply, would you -- is -what would be wrong with taking that approach?

MR. CLEMENT: Assuming I understand the approach you propose, there would be nothing wrong with taking that approach.

JUSTICE BREYER: All right, I have thought of one thing that might be wrong.

JUSTICE BREYER: So I'll ask you about it, if you want.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Could it be that "shall" [*46] does not mean "may"? Right?

JUSTICE SCALIA: Oh, that's not it? "Shall" -

JUSTICE BREYER: All right, well, I -- you see nothing wrong with that. That makes the guidelines advisory, and there are a number of objections -- maybe not, maybe big, maybe small. One objection I was worried about is -- I'm giving you my thought process, you know, and I -- because I'm trying to get a -- your response -- is that if we did take that approach, you'd leave the appellate section in place. That means every time the judge didn't use the guideline, the appeals courts would have to review for reasonableness. Now that would be in place. We would discover judges all over the country having different views on that. Courts of appeals would have different views about was or what was not reasonable. We would be here to review those differences, and we would become the sentencing commission. I thought I had escaped.

JUSTICE BREYER: Now, how, how serious an objection is that? Or do you recommend that, if [*47] you lose on this point, we take the approach of, in that way, making the guidelines advisory?
That was Booker and Justice Scalia was quite cocky as to "shall" does not mean "may." But somehow he found a new dictionary when it came time to write the opinion in Castle Rock v. Gonzales, and decided that he would interpret the Colorado statute at issue so that every shall was magically turned to a discretionary shall or a may. The statute reads in part (taken from Court's opinion):
Nino, you are less than consistent. As a matter of fact, you have done in Castle Rock that which you so much complain of: you made up the law to suit the result you wanted.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Director of the U.S. Marshals Service Resigns

Law.com reports here that the director of the U.S. Marshals Service, Benigno Reyna, announced his resignation Friday, following strong criticism over inadequate security for federal judges. The resignation is effective July 31, 2005, bringing to a close his tenure in that office since October 2001.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

On Edgar Ray Killen's Conviction

Justice delayed is justice denied, but there is always a modicum that can be achieved even 41 years later. Such is the case with the conviction of Edgar Ray Killen for manslaughter in the deaths of Andrew Goodman, then 20, and Michael Schwerner, then 24, and James Earl Chaney, then 21, three young, idealistic civil rights workers who were in Mississippi in 1964. The conviction has come 41 years after the murders, and Mr. Killen - what a name - should have been in prison for years now, but it is better late than never.

As a citizen, I like to see justice done. And when proper convictions have been achieved, I like to see them upheld. But as a lawyer I also understand that prosecutors sometimes do things that jeopardize these convictions, and this annoys me because the prosecutor acts in a manner that may deprive a defendant of a fair trial, not to say jeopardizing a conviction that should otherwise stand. I mention this because in an Associated Press article on the conviction, it states that "Prosecutors had asked the jury to send a message to the rest of the world that Mississippi has changed and is committed to bringing to justice those who killed to preserve segregation in the 1960s." Prosecutors should not be asking jurors to send messages to the world. This is absolutely improper argument, and may well jeopardize an otherwise valid conviction. That jury was not there to atone for past wrongs by some of Mississippi's citizens; it was only there to decide the guilt or lack thereof of one man in the deaths of 3 young men 41 years ago. Shame on the prosecutor for making this sort of argument. The end does not justify the means. If it did, someone would have probably murdered -justifiably- Mr. Killen long ago, rather than wait 41 years for a modicum of justice.

Chief Judge Steven J. McAuliffe (D.N.H.) to sit by designation in Marquez-Marin v. Gonzales, et al.

First Circuit Chief Judge Michael Boudin, at the request of District of Puerto Rico Chief Judge José Antonio Fusté, has designated Chief Judge Steven J. McAuliffe, District of New Hampshire, to preside over Marquez-Marín v. Gonzales, et al., Civil No. 05-1619, a case brought by Carmen Marquez-Marín, a former Assistat U.S. Attorney in Puerto Rico, against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Humberto Garcia a/k/a "Bert". You can see the designation here, and our previous post (with link to the Complaint) here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Marquez-Marín v. Gonzales, et al. - Complaint by Former AUSA

Here is the Complaint in Marquez-Marín v. Gonzales, et al. No. 05-1619 -HL. Most of the stuff alleged therein has been vox populi for some time now. Former AUSA Carmen Marquez-Marín is a straight shooter, incapable of including allegations in a complaint that are not true. The question then becomes: will there be anyone at our U.S. Attorney's Office who will stand up and tell the truth, rather than constantly telling everyone else outside the office how bad things are in there? Carmen's credibility will withstand any attacks from defendants, so I would suggest to defendants they ought to think twice before deciding that the only thing to do is defend at all costs. I doubt they listen to me, so . . . let the games begin.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I saw Bert on TV - He's Distracting Us

I actually got to see H. S. "Bert" Garcia, our Texan U.S. Attorney in Puerto Rico, on the TV news last night when they showed a portion of a press conference the U.S. attorney's Office gave to announce a number of indictments in what they call a $4 billions a year money laundering operation and drug trafficking conspiracy. I was going to repress myself and not comment on the case, given that I have a client who is accused, but why should I have to shut up while the U.S. Attorney blabs to the press.

Bert, my client is innocent!

Bert must be thrilled to have some big indictments to put forth after playing with silly putty for more than a year. See our post on "Thin Resources" a/k/a AUSA's in D.PR in which we summed up the Chief Judge's comments to one of the Assistant U.S. Attorney's as to the paltry grand jury returns for the past year in this district.

Moreover, Bert must also be thrilled to have something to distract the attention momentarily from a lawsuit filed against him and others by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Marquez, who Bert fired. Carmen was a serious prosecutor, and she now has a formidable attorney named Judith Berkan. I would not enjoy being on the opposite side of Judy Berkan.

So, Bert, the distraction will only last for a short while. Enjoy your depo. Maybe I'll help Judy set it up in TrialDirector so that the same can be videotaped and then the transcript can be played along synchronized with the video. And, remember, the truth and nothing but the truth! Can you handle that?

You cannot bully people around and expect all of them to go away quietly. Some will inevitably come back to haunt your life. You cannot sully someone's reputation and expect them to take it in stride. No, Bert, you can't do that. And I believe Carmen any day, just any old day, before I believe you.

To the reader it may seem as if I have something against Bert. Well, I really do not know Bert other than by what gets out to us defense lawyers - but that's usually an earful - and the lousy treatment he gave me the one time I called him directly on a civil forfeiture matter. Bert, you could have been courteous, it would not have hurt much. Arrogance, sheer arrogance!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Google celebrates Frank Lloyd Wright

Google celebrates Frank Lloyd Wright.


(CTRL + left click on image) And I again daydream what if's about my architectural career that never happened. But, hey, being a lawyer --particularly a criminal defense lawyer-- is not bad at all.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

No Entrapment Here

Today the First Circuit decided United States v. Villafañe-Jiménez, No. 03-1230 (1st Cir. June 7, 2005) dealing with an appeal from one of the trials in the "Lost Honor" investigation. As expected, defendants lost on all the important issues to their appeals. I wrote about the "Lost Honor" investigation and prosecutions over at The Best Defense some time back. See When defendants think they know more than the lawyers. While I am not handling the appeal for the client I represented at trial, it all looks too familiar and the result would surprise me if it was any different.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Gal Costa

This year's Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest is dedicated to the great Brazilian singer Gal Costa. She will be performing Saturday night and I will be right there to enjoy. Lawyers who have gone through the hassle of having to reinstall everything in their computers, and then do innumerable updates, do deserve some leisure time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fresh Starts

I'm sitting here waiting for my dial-up connection to download Scansoft's PaperPort 10 Professional (a 258.4 MB download), one of several downloaded programs I lost when my previous hard-drive decided to call it quits. I am greatful that I had backups of all my files, as that would have really represented a huge loss. And I am also greatful for the fast attention Dell Latin America gave to me, getting a new hard drive installed at 9:00 a.m. after having contacted them the previous afternoon. Oh, and they actually delivered exactly as they said they would: "Mr. Lincoln, we don't have the Maxtor 120 GB drive, so we will be sending you a Seagate Barracuda SATA 160 GB drive, if you don't mind."

Now, if that download would only end soon, but it's only about 42% through. I've had to download Windows XP Service Pack 2, Norton Internet Security 2005 (plus all the updates), Acrobat Reader, and a few other programs. We have both DSL and cable internet connections available in San Juan, so maybe it's time to think of upgrading from my old trusty dial-up.

Monday, May 23, 2005

To Circuit Judge Howard: You may be last, but certainly not least

We blogged on the May 12, 2005 Memorandum and Order in Igartua de la Rosa v. United States in this post. The First Circuit has now published an errata for the Igartua de la Rosa case here, that reads as follows:
The memorandum and order of this court issued on May 12, 2005, should be amended as follows:

On the cover sheet replace "Torruella, Selya, Lynch, Howard and Lipez, Circuit Judges." with "Torruella, Selya, Lynch, Lipez and Howard, Circuit Judges."
Well, my favorite Circuit Judge has always been the one with the least seniority on the Court, since it is to that Judge that the Chief Judge traditionally delegates the review of all CJA Vouchers from the District Court, so Circuit Judge Howard may now be last, but certainly not least, certainly not in my view of things.

Monday, May 16, 2005

It is a Crime to Gossip

No, I'm not kidding and neither is the mayor of Icononzo, Colombia.
Fed up with people targeted by false rumors turning up dead or wrongfully arrested, the mayor of a small Colombian town has made gossip a crime punishable by up to four years in prison.

"Human beings must be aware and recognize that having a tongue and using it to do bad is the same as having dynamite in their mouths," says an official municipal decree issued last year in Icononzo, 40 miles southwest of the capital, Bogota.
According to this Associated Press story, a story that could have just as well been written by Gabriel García-Marquez, the move to criminalize gossiping was necessary --said the mayor-- because "in a country as violent as Colombia, gossiping can have serious consequences."

Nobody has been charged with felonious gossiping, but officials say it is not because they aren't gossiping, but merely that they have not been caught. There are also fines up to $150,000.00 for gossiping.

While the story does not mention our esteemed Representative Feeney, we have noticed that Rep. Feeney did not vote on the House of Representatives' latest harsh sentencing bill, H.R. 1279. See this Final Roll Call under NV here. Could it be that Rep. Feeney has moved to
Icononzo, Colombia? Ooops, better not start gossiping now.