News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Judge tosses suit against Mueller; PTAB appointment process struck down

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Robert Mueller

Former special counsel Robert Mueller.

Judge tosses suit against Mueller

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle of Washington, D.C., has tossed a lawsuit against former special counsel Robert Mueller by Jerome Corsi, a conservative author and conspiracy theorist. Corsi claimed Mueller tried to coerce him to testify falsely that he acted as a liaison between WikiLeaks and Roger Stone, an adviser to President Donald Trump. Corsi claimed the pressure was partly due to his research into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Corsi also claimed Mueller and his staff leaked grand jury information and illegally surveilled him. Huvelle said the claims were based on speculation and an incorrect interpretation of news articles. She also found the suit was served too late. (Courthouse News Service, Huvelle’s Oct. 31 opinion)

Federal Circuit strikes down process for appointing PTAB judges

The process for appointing administrative judges on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board is unconstitutional, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Thursday. The court said the judges are principal officers who should have been nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The court remedied the problem by severing a provision of the Patent Act that gives the judges protection from removal, which converts the judges from principal to inferior officers. As a result of its ruling, PTAB decisions in which a pending appeal raised the constitutional issue will be sent back for a new hearing before a different panel of judges. (The National Law Journal, Law360, Oct. 31 opinion)

Judge accepts food for fines

A judge in Butte, Montana, says he will accept donations to a food bank this month in exchange for a $100 credit on court fines. Judge Jerome McCarthy is acting under authority of a state law passed two years ago. To qualify, people will have to donate 20 canned goods to the food bank. (KXLH)

Death-row inmate denied new hearing after prosecutor’s alleged false statement

A death-row inmate is not entitled to a sentencing hearing based on the prosecutor’s alleged false statement to jurors that the victim’s parents wanted the death penalty, the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals has ruled. The court ruled that lawyers for the defendant, Paul David Story, waited too long to raise the claim because they could have discovered the parents’ death penalty stance earlier. (The New York Times)

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