Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Write-On Competition - Part I - $0.12/page

Although the Law Review write-on competition package was issued last Monday, I didn't really begin to read it until this past weekend. By Sunday, I had finished reading only the first case, about 17 pages. The yesterday, at Borders Westwood, I managed to crank out another 50 pages. Today, I finished the whole dang thing. I admit I skipped most of the footnotes in Professor La Fave's treatise, but I can always return to those later if I need to. For now, the important thing is, I'm done reading.

By the way, the $25 application fee for 205 pages of reading comes out to just over $0.12/page. For that price you'd think the copies would be neater. But you didn't hear that from me.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"They shall in all Cases ..."

Finals season is over, but all is not quiet in Law Law Land. It is now time for the write-on competition for positions on the school's journals, the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, the Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review, and the Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review. The subject just so happens to involve Amendment IV, which came up obliquely as part of another topic I've been keeping my eye on lately: The raid of Congressman William Jefferson's offices.

I won't get into the nitty gritty of the particular events, but I wanted to recall a conversation I had with an online friend lately. The friend had said, in part, the following:

Whether or not the warrant is valid is a separate issue from whether or not the search is allowed ab initio. The warrant could have been perfectly valid and any special procedures could have been followed and the search could still be entirely illegal per AI S6.

This is what I wrote in response:

Hrm. Let me restate what I think you're saying: Regardless of whether or not procedures are in place and followed in order to separate Speeches and Debates material from material required for a major criminal investigation (specifically, AIS6 excepts "Treason, Felon and Breach of the Peace"), the presence of Speeches and Debates material exempts all other materials in the office.

If I'm misunderstanding you, skip the rest of this post and correct me.

If I'm not misunderstanding you, we have 2 issues raised by that interpretation:

  1. Are there ever any circumstances in which a MoC's office can be searched? What about in case of a bomb scare, in which officers (presumably led by Capitol Police, who report to Congress, but possibly including ATF and/or FBI officers, who report ultimately to the Executive) are called about a possible bomb in one of the offices? Such a thing was unfolding this morning when someone reported that there were gunshots at the Rayburn House Office Building. Capitol Police fielded the call, but FBI were involved as well.

    If there are some circumstances in which a MoC's office can be searched, what might pose such a circumstance?

  2. AIS6 poses the following (as you're aware):

    They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.


    1. The privilege from Arrest has nothing to do with "Speech or Debate".
    2. The exceptions come first. So where a major crime is involved, there is no privilege.
    3. Nowhere does it mention an extraordinary privilege from searches and seizures, except possibly with regard to Speeches and Debates.

It seems to me that Jefferson's Complaint claims not so much that he is protected by the privilege from Arrest than that his office is immune to searches and seizures because searches and seizures should be interpreted as questioning him about his legislative operations.

From there, I can see another way of getting to your conclusion, that validity of warrant is irrelevant. The core issue, as proposed by Jefferson, seems to be: Searches and seizures of an office which holds legislative material should be interpreted as questioning his speech and debate material.

I think there is definitely an issue of law there. A judge must then consider the practical effects.

  1. If he agrees with the interpretation (i.e., a search of an office, regardless of the target and regardless of procedure, is an unrebuttable per se violation of AIS6), then the following becomes true:
    1. Jefferson wins.
    2. Any Member of Congress can hide evidence of treason and felony in his office and claim immunity.
    3. There would be new issues as to what exigencies, if any, can justify any searches. (That goes back to the item about today's reported gunfire.)
  2. If he disagrees with the interpretation (i.e., a search of an office, regardless of the target and regardless of procedure, is an unrebuttable per se violation of AIS6), then the following needs to be resolved:
    1. Must searches and seizures be limited to Capitol Police, which report to the Congress?
    2. May Executive Branch officers ever be involved (considering the FBI's heavy involvement in D.C., it probably would not be practicable to exclude Executive Branch officers entirely)?
    3. Under what circumstances may Executive Branch officers be involved? (Presumably, only when the Judiciary signs off on a warrant; i.e., no unilateral action by the Executive Branch.)
    4. Under what circumstances, if any, may a Judicial Branch officer sign off on a search?

My guess is that no judge will grant absolute immunity of the sort Jefferson seems to be looking for. I also don't think any judge will lay down an exact rule as to how a search may be conducted. If anything, the court would probably issue a guideline or a balancing test to help future judges decide whether or not appropriate precautions have been and will be taken before signing off on a warrant.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Day After

By the time the Constitutional Law final rolled around, it was getting a bit anticlimactic. Apparently, Sections 1 and 2 had our finals around the same time (in the afternoon) -- and apparently, the questions were very nearly the same. That should not come as a huge surprise: Dean Burcham, who taught Con Law to Section 2, had himself taken Con Law with Professor May, who taught Section 1 this year.

Around 5pm, after we had all packed up our laptops and milled out to the quad, we were greeting each other as 2Ls. Some of us decided to head over to the Daily Grill at the southeast corner of Flower and 6th in Downtown Los Angeles.

But the real festivities were yet to come! Genevieve Walser-Jolly, a bona fide 2L, had arranged to reserve Hollywood Club Day After for a special shindig for all Loyola Law School students and their friends and tagalongs. The club was at the famed interesection of Hollywood and Highland.

Update: (2006.05.30.11:10 PDT) FormosanWonderBoy has pictures, including the interesting case of the Girls Who Can't Take a Straight Picture With Him.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Last Meal

So this is what Law Law Stud is having for the last meal before the last final of my first year:

  1. Beef, marinated with spicy sesame seed oil, Worcestershire sauce, pinch of sugar, pinch of salt, some red chili peppers, black pepper, crushed basil, and chopped garlic.
  2. Bottle of Heineken.


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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Legal Continuity

Lexington Green of Chicago Boyz has an excellent post on the continuities between English and American law. I know it's finals time, but it's worth reading when you get a chance.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

So It Begins

The final stretch of the first year of law school is upon us! Section Two does battle with the Property final starting in nine hours. I finished my outline about six hours ago. The question is, can Law Law Stud survive? Stay tuned!

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