Writer’s Picks for February 17, 2012: Mafiosos and more


I’m from Chicago, where everyone knows someone who knows someone in the mob. That’s why I loved this case, U.S. v Ambrose, sent to me by Laurel. It’s chock full of good mafia stories and lingo involving a crooked Deputy U.S. Marshal and a made guy in the “Chicago outfit” who turned state’s evidence.

In other criminal law cases, a defendant in the 10th Circuit was convicted of selling drugs at his apartment and for selling them within 1000 feet of a playground. Defendant challenged the definition of playground, which the court did not find convincing, holding that even if there was “one apparatus…intended for recreation of children,” then the place was a playground under the statutes. US v. West. In other words, “that’s nice.”

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in Univ. of Conn. v. Freedom of Info. Comm’nr that public agencies can create trade secrets entitled to protection from disclosure under FOIA. This seems like a pretty big deal.

Finally, the 9th Circuit issued an interesting case that dealt with wildlife management and press rights. The court remanded a case back to the district court to determine whether the public had a First Amendment right of access to the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse roundups and, if so, whether the viewing restrictions were narrowly tailored to serve the government’s overriding interests. Leigh v. Salazar. The opinion doesn’t mention what they do with the horses when they round them up–I’m not sure I want to know.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone.