Source – abajournal.com/ By – Martha Neil Category – Matthews Bark
When David Seeley was working as a deputy prosecutor for Clark County, Wash., he happened to handle a number of cases against the son of a woman who said she knew Marlon Brando.
He didn’t believe her when she said the famous actor was interested in her son’s cases. And in 2000, when she called Seeley up shortly after he went into private practice and told him Brando wanted to meet him because she’d been impressed with his work, Seeley thought she was joking. When he had an assistant call the Los Angeles number the woman gave him, however, Brando’s iconic voice was soon on the other end of the line, reports the Seattle Times.
The woman who’d given him the number was a business manager for Brando and Seeley took a flight to Los Angeles the day after the phone call to meet the celebrity who would become his new client. Seeley, now 49, served as Brando’s general counsel for the last four years of the actor’s life and has continued to serve as general counsel for Brando Enterprises following the actor’s death in 2004. A partner of Livengood, Fitzgerald & Alskog, Seeley also handles general litigation, criminal defense and school district matters working in an office decorated with licensed Brando memorabilia.
“Any time the phone rang after 10 p.m. at home, I knew it was Marlon,” says Seeley. “I think to some degree he was lonely and a little isolated late in his life.”
Brando didn’t like Los Angeles lawyers, who he felt charged too much, Seeley says, and, although Brando never discussed acting or his films, he had eclectic business interests.
On Seeley’s first visit to Los Angeles, the lawyer brought with him a Seattle patent attorney, at Brando’s request. The actor, who loved to play bongo and conga drums, had a drumhead-tightening device patented in 2002, the Times recounts. At Brando’s instigation, Seeley also whipped up a contract on short notice for Michael Jackson to pay his client $1 million to introduce him for a television special. The introduction wasn’t used, but Brando still got the $1 million.
An Internet marketing plan to sell signed coconuts from Tetiaroa, an atoll in French Polynesia that Brando purchased after first visiting the island during the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty, was less fruitful. Although Seeley said he was present when Brando discussed the idea on speakerphone with Jeff Bezos of Amazon, it never went anywhere.
Nonetheless, the actor left a $26 million estate, and his survivors expect to profit from a 99-year lease that will allow a developer to open a luxury “eco-resort” on Brando’s island next year. It will be air conditioned through a plan Brando envisioned, using piped seawater, the article notes.
Source – theguardian.com/ By – Jon Henley Category – Matthews Bark
Amiran Natsvlishvili is not complaining about the kidnapping. Nor about the brutal beatings, or the huge ransom his family had to pay for his release. The former managing director of a state car plant in Georgia is not bitter, either, about the accusations of embezzlement and misuse of public funds.
No, as his young lawyer argues in a bright, high-ceiling courtroom in Strasbourg, what Natsvlishvili really objects to is that the state lied to him.
Locked up for more than four months in the same vile cell as the man who kidnapped and beat him as well as a convicted murderer, when the state finally offered him a deal – cop a plea, pay a fine and you’re free – Natsvlishvili was so desperate that he jumped at it. And then he was told he could not appeal.
That is why we are here, says the lawyer to the judges behind the bench at the European court of human rights: this man has plainly been denied the right to a fair trial. Georgia of course denies it, but it is in breach of article 6, paragraph 1 of the European convention on human rights.
Along with the European commission in Brussels, the Strasbourg-based ECHR could reasonably lay claim to being one of the most maligned institutions in Britain. (“Hardly surprising, I suppose,” quips a senior British court official. “Our name contains the words ‘European’ and ‘human rights’. Not exactly a winning combination.”)
Conservative MPs have said it is high time for Britain to “quit the jurisdiction” of a “supranational quango”. The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, is “reviewing Britain’s relationship” with an institution he says has “reached the point where it has lost democratic acceptability”.
Grayling said last week the ECHR did not “make this country a better place”. David Cameron has said the court risks becoming a glorified “small claims court” buried under a mountain of “trivial” claims , and suggested Britain could withdraw from the convention to “keep our country safe”. The home secretary, Theresa May, has pledged the party’s next manifesto will promise to scrap the Human Rights Act, which makes the convention enforceable in Britain.
Former lord chief justice Lord Judge and three other senior British judges have recently backed this stance in high-profile lectures, arguing that by treating the convention as a “living instrument” the ECHR is “undermining democracy”. Its judges, rather than parliament, are now making British law, they allege, and parliamentary sovereignty should not be ceded to “a foreign court”. But another leading supreme court judge, Lord Mance, last week forcefully defended the ECHR’s contribution to British law.
Parts of the press have been more outspoken, railing against “meddling, unelected European judges” who are “wrecking British law” and demanding the government “draw a line in the sand to defend British sovereignty” by “defying Europe … and ignoring the rulings of this foreign court”.
That’s not how they see things in Strasbourg. In the 60 years of its existence, the ECHR has reached well over 10,000 judgments in cases such as that brought by Natsvlishvili, prompting changes to national laws and procedures in nearly 50 countries that have now signed the convention.
In the past decade, the court has required Bulgaria to care properly for people with mental and physical disabilities, and Austria to allow same-sex couples to adopt each other’s children. It has forced Cyprus to take action against sex trafficking and Moldova to halt state censorship of TV. Its judgments have compelled improvements in Russian prisons, and more effective punishment of domestic violence in Turkey.
In France, laws have been passed to protect domestic servants from forced labour, while illegitimate children now have equal rights to inheritance.
Britain has been obliged to take greater care of vulnerable prisoners, regulate the monitoring of employees’ communications, protect the anonymity of journalists’ sources, bring the age of consent for gay people in line with that for heterosexuals and force local councils to observe proper safeguards in evictions.
“It isn’t just about the human rights of individuals,” says Paul Mahoney, the court’s veteran British judge, “it’s about the functioning of the rule of law – of democratic institutions – in countries not all of which have, like the UK, enjoyed 300-odd years of democracy and freedom.
At the end of the day, it’s possible for somebody from a tiny village to come here, take their government to court and get the law changed. That really is a small miracle.”
Deputy registrar Michael O’Boyle is equally forthright. “For six decades,” he says, “this institution has radiated a highly impressive body of case law out to the legal systems of a large number of countries – 47 today. It’s an advance in civilisation.”
A week after he entered Washburn University’s School of Law in August 2011, Bryan Alkire nearly quit. He wasn’t sure if he would fit in with the other students or be able to meet the challenges of its rigorous curriculum. His doubts proved to be unfounded. This coming Friday, Alkire, who is partially blind and partially deaf, will graduate with his law degree. “I’m hoping to go into a small-town general practice, handling all kinds of cases,” Alkire, 33, of Topeka, said during a recent email interview. “My plans are to take the Missouri bar exam in July 2014 and while studying for the bar exam, I’ll be looking for a job in Missouri, preferably in a small town.” Alkire, a native of Lexington, Mo., was born with a partially paralyzed right arm, hand, and fingers and a severe hearing loss. After graduating from Lexington High School in 1999, he went to Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., where he graduated in May 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science. About six weeks before his college graduation, he began losing his vision because of complications related to surgeries to treat a detached retina and acute angle glaucoma. He lost most of the vision in his left eye, and the vision in his right eye was reduced to light, some color and some motion.
After attending the Helen Keller National Center in Sands Point, N.Y., and the Lions World Services for the Blind in Little Rock, Ark., he completed a job training program for the Internal Revenue Service. He moved to Kansas City in October 2007 to work for the IRS, but within a few months his vision had declined so much he had to resign. In April 2010, Alkire spent a couple of months at Alphapointe Association for the Blind to ready himself to return to an academic setting. Tell me about the most challenging aspects of law school and getting your law degree.
The most challenging aspect of law school is keeping up with the material over the course of the semester. Often there’s 50 or more pages to read every day, and the material isn’t the easiest to read. Then, of course, there’s the finals. I’d say keeping mentally focused and not letting the stress and lack of sleep and physical ailments, like colds, become overwhelming is the most challenging aspect mentally. Tell me about the most rewarding aspect of your law school experience.
Without a doubt, meeting people at Washburn Law that I never would have met otherwise. I’ve met some very special people in my time here. When I’ve left a place and moved on, I tend to remember the people more than the classes or work itself. Early on, you didn’t have a study group, and socializing with peers was difficult. Did that ever change or get better? Yes and no. I never did study with others, but I did socialize a bit more with peers as I got to know more people at school.
Did you require, and did the university offer, any special accommodations because of your hearing and vision impairments? Did you have any special equipment that helped in the classroom? I used an FM system to hear the professor in class. It’s a system where the prof wears a special microphone and I wear a special receiver tuned to a frequency through a setting on my hearing aid. When on, the FM device allows me to hear the prof as though the prof was sitting next to me (and) speaking directly to me. For textbooks, I used PDF copies of my texts, which my computer would read out loud to me. For exams, I took my exams in a room where I would read the exam on my computer and then dictate my answers to a person sitting next to me.
What advice would you give to individuals with disabilities who may have doubts about whether they can succeed in a higher-education setting? First, remember that the school has confidence in you. They accepted you based on your application and test scores, regardless of what challenges you’ve faced. The school wants you to succeed and wants to help you succeed. In order to help you, they need to understand you and what you need to succeed since no one solution works for every disabled person. This means you need to develop a close relationship with the people who handle accommodations so that everyone can figure out what works and what doesn’t. You need to educate them on the things you need to succeed. Educate your fellow students as well so they can help you as needed and get to know you. If you have all the support you need and enjoy the program you’re in, then there’s no reason you can’t succeed. It’s challenging, but remember, it’s challenging for everyone, not just the disabled.
So prosecutors thought they had a solid case when they charged a Manatee County woman who failed to tell her female partner that she was HIV-positive. A Tampa appeals court, however, threw out the case, ruling that “sexual intercourse” could take place only with a penis and a vagina — in other words, between a man and a woman. But last month, a South Florida appeals court issued a conflicting opinion, upholding charges against a Key West man whom police had accused of lying about being HIV-positive to his male partner. The ruling more broadly defined intercourse, finding that it did not require opposite genders or specific body parts.The Florida Supreme Court is likely to end up resolving the clashing opinions, which are being closely monitored by gay-rights advocates.
On the one hand, they support legal rulings that convey equal status to same-sex relations — but they also oppose the HIV disclosure law, arguing that the long-controversial statute stigmatizes people infected with the virus. “It’s a progressive ruling, but the law itself is draconian,” said Norm Kent, a South Florida activist and criminal-defense lawyer who publishes the South Florida Gay News. Scott Schoettes, the HIV Project Director for the gay-rights group Lambda Legal, said it was hard to see “a silver lining” in a disclosure law he called unjust.
“It’s nice to have courts recognize relations between two men,” he said. “But it would be nice to recognize granting us our rights in an affirmative sense, not just when it comes to criminalizing our sex lives.” In Florida, it is a third-degree felony — punishable by up to five years in prison — for a person who knows he or she is HIV-positive to have sex with someone else without informing them. The law came into effect as part of the “Control of Sexually Transmissible Disease Act” that Florida lawmakers passed in 1986 as fears about HIV, which can lead to AIDS, were growing nationwide. The disclosure law also covers other sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia — but HIV is the only one that carries a felony charge. Thirty-four U.S. states and territories have passed similar laws. Detractors are widespread. In February, President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS issued a resolution calling criminalization of HIV an “unjust, bad public health policy” that “is fueling the epidemic rather than reducing it.”
The council pushed for states to repeal or revise the laws. Critics say the laws ignore scientific data that show HIV is rarely transmitted through oral sex or digital penetration, and that the risk is often considerably low even in cases of vaginal or anal sex. “All of these laws are just based upon misconceptions about how easy it is to transmit HIV. It’s not that easy,” said Schoettes, a lawyer who believes the laws should be altered to include proving “intent” and that a victim actually contracted the virus.The law came under scrutiny in 2010, when the Second District Court of Appeal in Tampa took up the case of an HIV-positive Manatee County woman charged with having oral and digital-penetration sex with another woman.
Read more : miamiherald.com/2013/11/18/3763310/hiv-disclosure-law-sparks-unique.html#storylink=cpy
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, was freed on bail Thursday after six months under house arrest.“Islamabad’s commissioner issued the release order at 10:30 a.m. today,” said Aasia Ishaque, a spokeswoman for Mr. Musharraf’s party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, referring to the top district official. A court granted bail to Mr. Musharraf on Sunday in a case related to his role in the 2007 military siege of a mosque in Islamabad where militants were holed up. His lawyers submitted surety bonds on Wednesday. He can travel freely within the country. But he is barred from traveling abroad without court permission, Ms. Ishaque said.
Speculation has been rife here that he will go into exile after his release, on the pretext of visiting his ailing mother in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Ms. Ishaque denied the speculation. “He is not leaving,” she said. “He will stay in Pakistan.” Ms. Ishaque said the threat level to Mr. Musharraf’s security was “extraordinarily high.” “He will not hold any public meetings for the next two days,” she said. “After that, he will start meeting people and will also hold a press conference.” Since April, Mr. Musharraf has been at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. Paramilitary troops and police officers guard the premises because of threats against the former ruler from militants from the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Mr. Musharraf, 70, was put under house arrest soon after his return to Pakistan from self-imposed exile in March. He faces an array of criminal charges, including involvement in the deaths of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto; a nationalist politician, Akbar Khan Bugti; and a religious leader, Abdul Rashid Ghazi. Mr. Musharraf has denied the accusations and said the cases against him are politically motivated. Mr. Musharraf took power after a bloodless military coup in 1999 and ruled until 2008, when he was defeated in an election. He faces potential treason charges over his role in suspending the Constitution in 2007, though few analysts believe that the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to go ahead with those charges. Mr. Musharraf was disqualified from running in the general election in May, in which his party performed poorly. Few Pakistanis have shown much enthusiasm for returning him to power.
(CNN) — Even if it’s not the land of opportunity it once was, the Big Mobility Scooter still has a lot going for it. In fact, there are at least 10 things by our count that you can’t find as good anywhere else on earth. With the caveat that China is on a trajectory to take over at least six of these categories by 2016, we present them without further interruption. Except for this last interruption (interrupting also being something Americans are fantastic at): Be sure to express your wholesale agreement with our list in the comments.
1. Effusive greetings
“Ahoy!” “Aloha!” “Hey!” “Hola!” “Howdy!” “Hiya!” “Ho there!” “Well, look who it is!” “What’s happenin’?!” “‘Sup!” “Yo!” “Hello!”
The variety and vibrancy of the American greeting is unrivaled, upholding a threshold of friendliness that Americans demand, Europeans find onerous and others find perplexing.
Want to slip through somewhere un-greeted?
Whether you’re leaving a hotel, shopping for a pair of jeans or just trying to get around a bystander, someone’s going to pop out from the shadows with a neighborly salutation, the enthusiasm of which may border on deranged.
2. Road trips
If we’re talking about something that can be done while seated, Americans are probably going to excel at it.
Germany likes to lay claim to the world’s first road trip, but having come of age at the same time as the automobile, the United States was custom-built for it. With roadside oddities like Carhenge in Nebraska and the world’s largest ball of paint in Indiana, along with infamous rest areas and national parks (more on those later) dotting America’s majestic roadscape at uniform intervals, you’re never far from the next adventure.
Unless you’re driving through Texas.
With all due respect to the English city, the U.S. is the home of the derby in all its forms, be it racing, smashing or haberdashing. Originating in the county fairs of the nation’s 1950s backwoods, demolition derbies, like the one held annually in Delaware County, New York, pit hulking early-model autos against one another in contests of Americanly excessive ramming until only one remains functional. On the oval track, Louisville’s Kentucky Derby is a spectacle of horseshoed pageantry, while roller derbies from Austin to Seattle are cataclysms of people-wheeled fury.
Not to keep taking shots at Germany, but there’s only so much you can do with barley and hops. Live a little, Üter! By contrast, American brewers aren’t bound by purity restrictions on their craft, allowing them to push the pint glass with new additives, processes, styles and malt and hops strains moved through the largest number of breweries of any nation on earth. Whether it’s Portland, Oregon’s Hopworks, Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Founders, or Asheville, North Carolina’s Wicked Weed breweries, in no country is beer more innovative.
The U.S. is a microcosm of nearly every world culture, climate, landscape and category of wildlife. (And whatever doesn’t occur naturally gets recreated at Disney.) Beaches extend from Cape Cod to Kaanapali; bayous encircle the Gulf of Mexico; alpine mountains streak the Rockies and Appalachians; rain forests span the Pacific Northwest; deserts stretch across the Southwest. Cougars, wolves, bear, bison and mustangs roam plains and forests; gators, crocs, whales, dolphins, turtles and snakes frequent the coasts; condors, eagles, falcons, flamingos, bats and pterodactyls — just making sure you’re still with us — inhabit the skies. But of course the Melting Pot concept was built on ethnic diversity. Despite the politics of immigration, the U.S. has and will continue to welcome the world’s huddled (and also brilliant) masses, making it as heterogeneous as any nation on earth.
Geo-diversity has pocked much of the landscape with vast gorges and canyons that create expansive pockets of pure emptiness ringed by the most stunning rock formations, vegetation and slack-jawed tourists imaginable.
Unbelievable until experienced, Utah’s Bryce Canyon is the closest you can get to another planet without tickets on Virgin Galactic.
Then there’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado), Palo Duro Canyon (Texas), Canyon de Chelly (Arizona), Sequioa and Kings Canyon (California), Waimea Canyon (Hawaii) and hundreds more to round out a list so deep and wide that it makes the U.S. the hands-down winner in this category even without mentioning the Grandest one of them all.
7. National parks
Overlooked during the westward expansion of the American frontier in the 1800s, Yellowstone was made the world’s first national park the way you might give the last kid picked for kickball the top spot in the order.
Turns out it’s one of America’s great national treasures, a tradition extended to 400 more areas comprising more than 84 million acres of buttes, plateaus, rapids, coral reefs, caverns, badlands, volcanoes, glaciers, falls, fjords, swamplands, sandstone arches, mangroves, geysers, gift shops and excellent interpretive centers ranging from coast to coast.
Make all the fat jokes you want — seriously, they’re hilarious — but no other nation offers the portions and varieties of culinary experimentation found in the U.S. This year’s gastronomic breakthrough was the cronut, a croissant-donut hybrid introduced by Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. It’s just the latest in a litany of extreme foods that’s yielded curated cupcakes, ramen burgers, sushirritoes, Korean tacos — the only limit will be an eventual shortage of truffles. There’s nothing the home of super-sizing won’t deep-fry, roll in bacon or drown with nacho cheese sauce, proving Americans eat like none other. Just don’t ask them to do math.
Most countries have a national sport. The U.S. has four. (OK, three; you can have hockey, Canada.)
While the world’s most popular sport, soccer, has yet to gain critical traction in the U.S., it also has the burden of competing with the seasonal panoply of baseball, football, basketball and hockey. That’s tough enough without NASCAR, golf and action sports like extreme death gliding and low-orbit cloudboarding or whatever else is nipping at soccer’s heels. Some of the best places to catch a game in the U.S. are Wrigley Field (Chicago) and Fenway Park (Boston) for baseball; Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wisconsin) for football; and Cameron Indoor Stadium (Durham, North Carolina) and Rupp Arena (Lexington, Kentucky) for college basketball.
10. Moving pictures
From internationally beloved TV shows like Breaking Bad and The Daily Show to movies like Avatar and anything the Coen brothers do to viral videos like Harlem Shake and the Kardashian sex tape, America is the world’s dramatic chipmunk.