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Special Announcement: The Tony Moss Firm, L.L.C., is Relocating!!

MIAMI — It’s my pleasure to announce that, to begin an exciting and prosperous 2012, The Tony Moss Firm, L.L.C., is moving to downtown Miami!!

Beginning January 5, 2012, the Firm will be located at 169 E. Flagler Street #1241, Miami, Florida 33131-1205 (the historic Alfred DuPont Building, directly across from the Gusman Theater). It’ll still be readily accessible to the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building via Metrorail, but now I’ll be much closer to the federal court complex on N. Miami Avenue.

The new phone number is not so new after all. It’s the same one as the South Dade office: 786-219-5467. Watch this space for the new fax number.

Many thanks to Carl Masztal, the best landlord I could have had for the past six-plus years. I’ll always appreciate the personal and professional growth that I experienced here, as well as the friendships forged in the neighborhood. Now I look forward to experiencing a different kind of energy, one that’ll enhance my effectiveness as an advocate and a person as well.

See y’all downtown!!

Gov. John Kitzhaber stops executions in Oregon, calls system ‘compromised and inequitable’ (11.22)

SALEM — Gov. John Kitzhaber announced today he will not allow the execution of Gary Haugen — or any death row inmate — to take place while he is in office. The death penalty is morally wrong and unjustly administered, Kitzhaber said. “In my mind it is a perversion of justice,” he said at an emotional news conference in Salem. (Folks, we have just seen political courage in its most fundamental form. Here is a man who has had to make the ultimate call, which none of us either within or outside the system has ever done; so his words carry a special gravitas that did not apply to the legislative repeals of the death penalty in New Jersey, Illinois, and New Mexico. Thank you, Gov. Kitzhaber, for standing up for the highest ideals of the laws you were sworn to enforce and protect.) Read more

Meanwhile, back in the all-too-real world of the Death Belt . . . .

Louisiana Supreme Court Declines to Remedy Endemic Racism in Caddo Parish (10.27)

BATON ROUGE — On October 22, 2011, the Louisiana Supreme Court refused to grant rehearing to reconsider its astonishing refusal to address endemic racism in a capital case in State of Louisiana versus Felton Dorsey. Dorsey was tried in a courthouse which one enters by walking past a huge monument to the Confederacy’s Last Stand against federal intrusion, on which proudly waves a Confederate flag. The case was first highlighted on Second Class Justice, here and here. A juror in Dorsey’s case –- citizen Carl Staples –- objected to serving as a juror in a courthouse in front of which such a symbol of racial tyranny and injustice flew. Mr. Dorsey’s white court-appointed lawyers had not objected to the flag or Mr. Staples’ removal as a juror, and the capital trial had proceeded under the flag’s ugly symbolism. On appeal, Mr. Dorsey’s counsel had asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to look especially closely at the impact of endemic racism on the case, to undertake its obligation to ensure that race plays no role in the operation of the death penalty. (And there are still those who think the Civil War ended in 1865. Really, how much more can I add to a story as sorry as this?) Read more

Probe finds prosecutorial misconduct at Stevens corruption trial (11.21)

WASHINGTON — The lawyer appointed to investigate the conduct of the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington during the corruption trial of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens “is not recommending any prosecution for criminal contempt,” a federal judge said Monday. The special prosecutor’s still-sealed report, however, found “systemic concealment” of information that would have proven favorable to Stevens at his criminal trial. The longtime Alaska lawmaker had claimed he did not knowingly file false information on his Senate disclosure forms. He died in a plane crash last year in his home state. Read more

Justices to decide if lying journalist is fit to practice law (11.21)

SACRAMENTO — The California Supreme Court will decide whether Stephen Glass, the former journalist whose skyrocketing career collapsed in a web of lies, should be accepted into the State Bar, the justices announced this week. The announcement marks the first time in 11 years that the Supreme Court has granted review in a moral character case, according to the Bar. (Tough call here. None of us wants to be judged solely by the worst decisions we’ve ever made, especially if they took place a decade ago. But for a profession in which unquestioned honesty is the coin of the realm, this guy’s history gives plenty of reason to pause.) Read more

Supporters reaffirm importance of North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act in face of prosecutors’ challenges (11.18)

Leaders from North Carolina’s civil rights groups, such as the NAACP, and from the defense bar have re-affirmed the need for the state’s Racial Justice Act, which was passed in 2009. The Act allows death row inmates to challenge their death sentences using data from statistical studies of racial bias within the state. The North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys is attempting to have the law repealed because they say it threatens the entire death penalty system. (Elections Have Consequences, Pt. 2,445: it took a bare majority in a Democratic General Assembly to pass the Act. Once both houses flipped to the GOP last year, Round 2 was inevitable.) Read more

Viola Drath’s husband requests to represent himself in trial; says wife was killed as part of Iranian hit (11.18)

The man charged in the fatal beating of his socialite wife in Georgetown fired his attorneys on Friday and decided to represent himself on the murder charges. At a hearing in D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell F. Canan allowed Albrecht Gero Muth, 47, to serve as his own lawyer. In lengthy ramblings, Muth also told the judge he believed the Aug. 11 death of his wife of 22 years, Viola Drath, 91, was actually a “hit” ordered by Iranian agents. (Let’s see, a socialite victim, a Georgetown crime scene, a husband 44 years her junior—who claims to be a general in the Iraqi army—hmmm, is it just me, or do we all see a circus in the making?) Read more

Lawyer for Ark. Death Row inmate says failure to toss tweeting juror should require new trial (11.17)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A man sent to death row for robbing and shooting a teenager after a party should have his murder conviction overturned because a judge wouldn’t dismiss a juror caught tweeting during the trial, his lawyer argued Thursday to the Arkansas Supreme Court. (Talk about poor courtroom management—didn’t this judge even think to collect the jurors’ cell phones at the start of the day and return them at the end? And I’m not clear whether the attorney objected on the record, but I can only hope so.) Read more

Justices Rebuke a New Orleans Prosecutor (11.9)

WASHINGTON — Donna R. Andrieu, an assistant district attorney in New Orleans, had the unenviable task at the Supreme Court on Tuesday of defending her office’s conduct in withholding evidence from a criminal defendant. She made the least of it. (This from the same office that gave us Kyles v. Whitley and Connick v. Thompson on the very same issue. These guys never learn, do they? Read more

Supreme Court worries that new technologies could create ‘1984’ scenarios (11.08)

The government is free to attach a GPS device to the car of any American and record that person’s public movements for a month or more without a warrant or suspicion of wrongdoing, a government lawyer told the Supreme Court on Thursday. Even the nine justices themselves. Read more

Appeals court stays Skinner execution (11.7)

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals today stayed Wednesday’s execution of Henry Skinner, pending resolution of an appeal filed to gain DNA testing of clothing, weapons and biological samples collected at the scene of a 1993 Pampa triple killing. (Thus sparing Rick Perry the potential embarrassment of having to explain a rush to execution in the midst of the silly season called the Republican presidential debates.) Read more

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