Friday, July 30, 2004

Public Defenders

And this just out... Massachusetts' supreme court ruled last Wednesday that "a shortage of defense lawyers caused by low pay is violating poor defendants' constitutional rights, and said cases must be dismissed against suspects who go without a lawyer for more than 45 days.."

More Blakely


Also... The July 20th. issue of BNA"s U.S. Law Week is carrying the headlines, "Post-Blakely Uncertainty about sentencing guidelines intensifies as Second, Fifth, and Sixth Circuits prescribe different responses."

A article on July 21st. relates U.S. District Judge Donald Graham in Miami, Florida, becoming the first federal judge in South Florida to declare a key part of federal sentencing guidelines unconstitutional. (> )


With the Department of Labor's new overtime regulations going into effect in just about two weeks now, the following links may be useful to some of our readers:

The Department of Labor’s “FairPay Overtime Initiative,” designed to
assist in the understanding of the new regulations
( )

“Employment Law Guide” at

“Compliance assistance” at

“white sheets” on individual exemption requirements at
( )

The Department of Labor has also issued new overtime security rules. The “Overtime Security Amicus Program” ( ) is hoped to ensure employees better understand their rights, employers their legal obligations, and the DOL to be better able to effectively enforce the law.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Morning News

   Special Prosecutor Thomas J. Sammon of the Cuyahoga Prosecutor’s Office has reported that a grand jury looking into allegations of whether an imprisoned former stockbroker’s having bribed a public official connected to the state treasurer’s office does not implicate Treasurer Joseph T. Deters of any type of criminal misconduct.

   With the Department of Labor’s new wage regulations and “white collar” exemptions going into effect on Aug. 23rd., there remains much controversy and confusion making the transition to the new standards anything but smooth.
   A study be Hewitt Associates has found that at least 20% of all companies won’t be able to meet that deadline, and, with the number of overtime lawsuits having soared in recent years, that could spell trouble.

   USA Today  article @


   Amber Alert    There is a statewide amber alert out this morning for four children missing from Miamisburg, Ohio.  Suspect is driving a green 1996 Ford Contour with license plate number  DGG 5925.
   Further information @

Friday, July 23, 2004

Morning notes

     Dissenting justices, including Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, warned that the recent ruling in Blakely v. Washington, would undermine—if not destroy—federal guidelines, which were meant to reduce disparities among punishments handed out by different judges.
( )


   Quick action on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report  is considered unlikely by many observers. An “executive summary” of the report is available  @ , with the complete 585-page report  available @

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Other news

   Amber alert systems, developed by Scottsdale, Arizona firm E2C,  debuted in 12 states last Monday allowing police to broadcast directly to cell phones, e-mail addresses, and handheld computers. ( )
  Hamilton County has a unique witness protection program started with funds from both County commissioners and the State’s Attorney General’s Office. County Prosecutor Mike Allen stated that it was the first of its kind in Ohio.
( )

"Blakely v. Washington"

 “A July 2nd. Memorandum by Deputy Attorney General James Comey to all federal prosecutors sets out the government’s legal position that a recent US Supreme Court decision does not apply to the US Sentencing Guidelines.
   “In Blakely v. Washington, US No. 02-1632, 6/24/04, the Court ruled 5-4 that sentencing schemes that allow sentences to be enhanced on the basis of facts other than those found by the jury in convicting the defendant or admitted by the defendant violate the 6th. Amendment right to a jury trial”  

(Corporate Counsel Weekly, July 14,2004   Pp. 1)

   Articles on recently describe federal court judges holding that Blakely doesn’t apply to federal sentencing guidelines and is unconstitutional. ( ) and (
   There are articles in BNA’s U.S. Law Week and Corporate Counsel Weekly relating to the Attorney General’s position as stated above, if anyone’s interested.
   Additionally, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), an on-line source for liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news, has created a Blakely v. Washington resource page @   “keeping track of post-Blakely decisions and news, including links to major websites covering the case.”
   There is a “state sentencing commission response to Blakely.” Representing Kansas and Pennsylvania @  and one from the Indiana Law Blog @
   I found an article on Hastings College of Law professor Rory Little, “in a long-shot attempt to clear up the nationwide chaos over the Blakely sentencing decision…to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider the case” @
   Also, Tom Enneking, MLS, reference and assistant law librarian at the Cincinnati Law Library, has an article in the current Library newsletter, which by the way, is now being circulated to all members and Hamilton County court officials.
(Case posted on FindLaw @ )
(Supreme Court posting @ )

Monday, July 19, 2004


   The Cincinnati Law Library came into being in the middle of the 19th. Century at a time when “bigger was better.”  Law firm libraries were massive and filled entire rooms. That was then, this is now; and you can see it almost everywhere in the legal community. It’s the reign of palm pilots and laptops.... Gone, or fading, at least, are the massive collections of bound books & bookcases.
   The Law Library is a unique entity in a number of ways. It is a private, non-profit, membership library. It is also one of Ohio’s 88 county law libraries funded, in part, with public funds.  County law libraries were created to serve its membership and the judges & elected officials of the general legal community in the area, but as time goes on it’s becoming very evident that they will no longer have the luxury of just collecting books.  There will have to be a much greater outreach if they are to survive.
   Four years ago in the Ohio Courts Futures Commission Report ( ), one of the recommendations made to the Supreme Court for overall improvement to Ohio’s judicial system was to have courthouses and county law libraries linked together in a statewide network.  The Future Courts Commission also suggested that “court users in all 88 counties have access to that network’s resources through court-provided terminals or other user-friendly means.”
 We will use this blawg to reach out and share news and items of interest with our members, and the library and legal communities.