The Gulf War: President Obama last night, in his first Oval Office address, outlined the government's "battle plan" to combat the oil spill that is "assaulting our shores." Stories here, here and here.
Warning Shot: Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday he is skeptical about the Justice Department's increased use of deferred prosecution agreements in corporate misconduct, The National Law Journal reports. Sessions brought up the issue at the confirmation hearing of James Cole, tapped for deputy attorney general.
Law Firms Sanctioned: A New Jersey state judge has sanctioned two law firms, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Lowenstein Sandler, for pursuing a "frivolous" and "ridiculous" legal claim on behalf of billionaire Ronald Perelman against his 85-year-old ex-father-in-law, The New York Law Journal reports via Law.com. Click here for a transcript of the proceedings.
Closing Arguments: Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of federal district court in San Francisco is scheduled to hear closing argument today in the landmark trial in a lawsuit that seeks to establish same-sex marriage as a constitutional right, The Washington Post reports. Click here for a write-up in The Recorder for analysis on how Walker's questions have framed the Proposition 8 trial closings.
Mandatory Minimums Questioned: A survey of more than 600 federal trial judges concluded that mandatory minimum sentences are too high and restitution for crime victims should be available in all cases, The National Law Journal reports today. The U.S. Sentencing Commission for the first time questioned judges on their views about sentencing under the advisory guidelines system in effect since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2005. The judges who participated in the survey specifically noted that mandatory minimums for crack, marijuana and receipt of child pornography are too high.
Videotaping the Police: The Washington Post examines a case in Maryland where a motorcyclist, who had a camera on his helmet, is charged with violating the state's wiretap laws for videotaping his encounter with a state trooper during a traffic stop. The trooper, who was in plain clothes, pulled a gun during the traffic stop. The motorcyclist later posted the video to YouTube. Click here for the write-up in The Baltimore Sun.