By Terry Baynes

Thu Feb 2, 2012 4:51pm EST

(Reuters) - A federal appeals court sanctioned two California lawyers on Thursday over a lawsuit they filed, dismissed as frivolous, that accused former officials in the Bush administration of allowing the September 11 Pentagon attack to occur as part of a broad conspiracy.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ordered the two lawyers to pay $15,000 total in sanctions in addition to double an unspecified amount the government spent defending the case.

Three attorneys -- Dennis Cunningham, William Veale and Mustapha Ndanusa -- filed the lawsuit in 2008 on behalf of April Gallop, a member of the U.S. Army injured in the Pentagon attack on September 11, 2001.

The lawyers accused then-Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld of allowing the Pentagon attack to occur through inaction, despite having what the suit described as real-time information that a hijacked plane was approaching.

The suit, which also questioned the nature of the attacks, said the inaction rose to the level of conspiracy to create a political atmosphere that would allow the U.S. government to pursue domestic and international policy objectives.

The suit accused the men and others of conspiracy to cause death and bodily harm and a violation of the Antiterrorism Act.

The September 11 attacks, carried out by 19 hijackers from the global militant network al Qaeda, led U.S. forces to invade Afghanistan to topple the Taliban rulers who had harbored al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

That war served as a precursor to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, which the administration chiefly justified by citing intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were subsequently found.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin dismissed the case in 2010, ruling that the complaint was frivolous and a product of "cynical delusion and fantasy." A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit upheld that decision, imposing $15,000 in sanctions on the three lawyers for filing the suit. All three appealed.

In requesting a rehearing, the lawyers asked the court to disqualify the three-judge panel "and any like-minded colleagues" from participating in the decision to grant review, accusing the panel of "severe bias, based in active personal emotions arising from the 9/11 attack."

But the 2nd Circuit took exception to the request, concluding no attorney would make such a demand in good faith.

The court upheld sanctions against Veale and Cunningham but reversed them against Ndanusa, who only served a minor role as local counsel. Ndanusa said all of the lawyers acted in good faith in bringing the lawsuit.

The court also ordered Cunningham, who described himself as "the decider" in developing the case, to inform other federal courts in circuit of the sanctions order for the next year.

"We are not delusional by any means. We have the facts, and they cannot be explained," said Veale, a former chief assistant public defender for Contra Costa County, California.

Cunningham did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting By Terry Baynes; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

Pre-Law Legal Externship 3-4 hours a week (University of Arizona)
(Posted to Craigslist, 01-23-2012)
Interested in Law School?! Don't know if you're interested and want the Law School experience to see if it fits you? ! Want to start off Law School already knowing how to brief your cases, Ace your Finals, and manage your time?! Don't pay thousands of dollars for pre-law courses when you can have One on One mentoring with a current UA law student.

This is a Pre-Law Externship, meaning financial compensation is minimal, as the actual compensation comes in preparation for Law school through working with a current University of Arizona Law student.

2-3 Hours a week (get as much as you put in). 

1. Preparation of case briefs:
Students will be assigned 5-10 cases a week in wich they can create custom case briefs (instructions on how to create case briefs will be given, and feedback on products created will be given to increase the student's legal analysis skills). This is actually quite easy, as there are sites that already provide the case briefs for the majority of cases. So for 90% of cases, this will simply entail searching google for "Case Name brief" and copying this into word. This allows the student to become familar with the style of Case Briefs, and saves the Graduate student time.

The law student assigned to the undergrad will be performing the required reading and case analysis, augmenting the case briefs provided by the undergrad, and walking the undergrad through the case briefs (both the intent and meaning of the case, as well as important factors that were missed and/or superfluous). 

2. Ocassional Lecture attendance - Student will on ocassion be allowed to attend special speaker presentations on innovative law concepts (such as the effects of judiciary discretion and polarization in politics). Students may also have the opportunity to sit in a real law class to see how the dynamics of the Socratic method teaching style plays out.

3. Coffee! A couple times a week, the student can treat themselves to a Free Starbucks coffee (paid for by the graduate student), by picking up a cup for themselves and the grad student and swinging by the law school before class. This time can also be used to review the case briefs and discuss any other questions the student may have. 

This mentoring program can be as versatile or as limited as the student wishes. Either meeting once a week to discuss case briefs and have coffee, or meeting a couple times a week to discuss law school preparation and study tips. 

4. Free class notes, outlines, and test prep form a previous law school student! Start off already having the tools to succeed!

This is an unofficial externship, not sponsored by the UA college of law, and thus is primarily compensated via the mentorship, preparation for law school, and free coffee. Those interested can respond to this post with:

Why you're interested in law.

Resume/acheivements is also a plus. 

Apply today to be light years ahead of your fellow law students when you start your new field!
Justice court’s lack of gavel leads to decertification talks


The Salt Lake Tribune

For want of a gavel, a Utah justice court found itself momentarily on the brink of decertification.

The Utah Judicial Council on Monday morning gave the Heber Justice Court until the end of February to come into compliance with two rules, including one that mandates each justice court has a gavel.

The gavel is not required in district courts, but is required for the smaller municipal and justice courts because proceedings are often held in city council chambers or other spaces that don’t necessarily convey the characteristics of a courtroom, officials said.

"There are really only two things that make it clear you’re a judge," Assistant State Court Administrator Rick Schwermer said. "One is a robe and one is a gavel."

Contacted after the council’s decision Monday, Heber Justice Court Judge Randy Birch said the decertification talks were the result of an oversight.

Birch, who has sat on the bench for about 18 months, said he saw the gavel on a checklist of requirements when he applied for the court’s re-certification late last year, but didn’t think the absence of one would cause problems.

When he was informed otherwise by court officials, Birch said the city purchased a gavel from an Internet site but did not inform state administrators of the purchase prior to the council’s meeting.

"Lesson learned," Birch said. "We’ve fixed it."

The Heber Justice Court also was out of compliance because the court did not have a room set aside for witnesses and victims.

Birch said he has since made arrangements to use the mayor’s office for that purpose on days when court is held.

The Judicial Council on Monday also took action regarding other justice courts:

• The Hildale Justice Court was given until the end of May to have a new judge in place. The Utah Supreme Court in 2006 ousted Judge Walter Steed for engaging in a plural relationship with three women. Richard D. Carr was appointed as a temporary judge shortly after that, and has been serving in the same capacity ever since.

• The Parowan Justice Court was re-certified after being granted a waiver for being out of compliance with a rule that requires courts to have separate tables for defense and prosecution. Court officials said the single, 12-foot-long table being used is sufficient.

Letter from the Dean of the University of Chicago Law School to 1Ls:

Dear 1Ls:

Today will be the first time many of you have ever received a B or a C, because at some point after 3:30 you will receive the grades your professors gave your exams. The grades you receive are a reflection of what a professor thought of your exam and how much you were able to convey in one 3 hour or 8 hour period. Your grades are not a reflection of your worth as a lawyer, as a student, or anything else.

If you are thrilled with your grades, congratulations. Go home, pat yourself on the back, and remember that law school is like a pie eating contest. Only the prize for getting great grades is the same as the prize for getting lower grades: more pie. Take some time to whoop, call your non-Law School friends, and get back to work.

If you are disappointed with your grades, go home, take some time to be frustrated, and remember that law school is like a pie eating contest. Only the prize for getting lower grades is the same as the prize for great grades: more pie. Take some time to be disappointed, call your non-Law School friends, and get back to work.

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