News Roundup

Weekly Briefs: Lawyer censured over false time sheets; California law allows 'stealthing' suits

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Lawyer censured for seeking no-show pay

Lawyer Laura Cail, of Rensselaer County, New York, has been censured for filing false time sheets to collect more than $12,000 for work that she didn’t perform at the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. Cail had previously resolved criminal charges in the matter with a guilty plea to disorderly conduct and payment of restitution. Cail was censured by the Appellate Division’s Third Judicial Department of the New York Supreme Court. The court noted that Cail expressed remorse and had a “blemish-free disciplinary history.” (The Albany Times Union, New York inspector general press release)

New California law allows suits over ‘stealthing’

A new California law allows civil suits against sexual partners who remove a condom during sex without consent, a practice known as “stealthing.” California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the measure into law last week. California is the first state in the nation to specifically ban the practice. (The Sacramento Bee)

Sotomayor says argument format changed partly for this reason

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Wednesday the high court changed its format for oral arguments partly because of studies showing that female justices are interrupted more often than men are. Now that the justices are back in the courtroom, the Supreme Court has adopted a hybrid format in which there is a period of open questioning followed by take-your-turn questioning by justices in order of seniority. CNN noted that justices aren’t cutting each other off, as what has happened in past terms. The new system seems to be working for Justice Clarence Thomas, who rarely spoke speak during the free-for-all. He became an active questioner during more orderly telephone arguments. Back in the courtroom, he asked the first question of 10 out of 11 lawyers last week. (CNN, Law.com via How Appealing)

Federal judiciary reviews conflicts screening

U.S. District Judge Roslynn Mauskopf of the Eastern District of New York, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, warned judges about recusal obligations Wednesday. Her warning followed a Wall Street Journal investigation finding that 131 federal judges failed to recuse themselves in the last decade, even though they or their spouses owned stock in companies before the court. Mauskopf emphasized that judges can’t rely on a blind trust or a managed account controlled by a financial adviser to avoid recusal obligations. She also ordered a review of the judiciary’s conflicts screening process. (Reuters, Mauskopf’s memo)

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