Please Support CT News Junkie!

Dear Readers,

It is no secret that the “best of times” for traditional print media continues to recede in the rear view mirror.  The business model that long supported newspapers and magazines–print advertising revenue–barely works anymore.  However, entrepreneurs who understand the critical importance of an informed citizenry to a well-functioning democracy continue to invest in new ways to get the news out.  Its called public service journalism.

Two of those entrepreneurs are Christine Stuart and her husband, Doug Hardy.  They publish CT News Junkie, the web-based source for must-have news about Connecticut.  I depend on it to know what is happening in the state, clicking my link to the site at least a dozen times a day.

CT News Junkie is officially ten years old.  Please help celebrate its first successful decade, and help it continue for at least another decade, by saying “no” to free riding and “yes” to reader support for public service journalism.  I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Sincerely,

Dan Klau


Sandra Bland And The “Lawful Order” Conundrum

Writing in connection with the Sandra Bland controversy, Orin Kerr has this interesting post over at The Volokh Conspiracy about a citizen’s obligation to comply with a police officer’s orders, for example during a traffic stop.  A citizen must comply with a lawful order but not an unlawful one.  The conundrum? How the heck does a citizen know whether an order is lawful or not?

UPDATE: (7/24/15) Orin Kerr has a follow-up post on this issue.


Judge Kozinski’s “Must Read” Article On Criminal Justice (Or Injustice)

Judge Alex Kozinski is one of our nation’s most thoughtful appellate jurists, having sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for decades.  He is generally considered to be a libertarianish conservative. His new article, “Criminal Law 2.0,” recently published in the Georgetown Law Journal, is a must-read for anyone interested in a realistic assessment of our nation’s criminal justice system.

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Atticus Finch

Eleven years ago I released my first CD, The Billable Hour Blues, which my good friend and then-publisher of the Connecticut Law Tribune, Vince Valvo, produced.  He wrote the liner notes for the CD, beginning with: “Cross Mel Tormé with the Capitol Steps, add a dash of Atticus Finch, and you get Dan Klau.” I’ve always loved that sentence. The Mel Tormé and Capitol Steps references captured my musicality, and the Atticus Finch reference was both flattering and inspirational.

So, what am I to do now that the world has learned that Atticus Finch was not the man we all thought he was, the man we desperately wanted him to be, the man Gregory Peck portrayed, the man who inspired so many people to become lawyers?

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Pluto!!!

I know this is a legal blog, but I must digress for a moment to share my excitement about the impending arrival of the New Horizons spacecraft at Pluto!!!!  Barely 20 hours from now, the spacecraft–launched nine years ago and having traveled 3 billion miles–will pass within 7,800 miles of what was formerly the ninth planet in our solar system, but was downgraded several years ago to “dwarf planet” status and is now considered part of the Kuiper Belt, a vast population of small objects orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune.

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Malloy Signs Arrest Records Law

Kudos to Governor Dannell P. Malloy for signing Public Act 15-164, which makes arrest records public.   (Click here for a summary of the act.)  The act reverses the Connecticut Supreme Court’s unfortunate decision in Comm’r of Public Safety v. Freedom of Information Comm’n, 312 Conn. 513 (2014), which rejected the Freedom of Information Commission’s two-decade old interpretation of the state’s open government law as requiring public access to arrest records.   Christine Stuart has more on this important development over at the CT News Junkie.

In honor of this auspicious occasion, I’m reposting a little musical ditty I wrote about the FOIA a few years back.  Enjoy!


New Threat To Public Sector Labor Unions

Over the past week the public’s attention has been focused on several major decisions the U.S. Supreme Court released, involving issues such as same-sex marriage, the Affordable Care Act and drugs used for lethal injections in death penalty cases. In the midst of the release of these major decisions, the Supreme Court has also issued some routine orders concerning cases it has decided to hear next year.

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Did UCONN’s “Behind Closed Doors” Budget Discussion Violate The Freedom Of Information Act?

Answer: Yes.

Explanation:  Without a single word of discussion, the UCONN board of trustees recently voted to adopt a $1.3 billion budget for the upcoming year.  How is it possible to adopt a budget of that magnitude without any public discussion? According to UCONN, by having the discussion behind closed doors before the formal vote in public session.

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U.S. Supreme Court Recognizes Same-Sex Marriage

A closely divided Supreme Court ruled today that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  As expected, Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.  Chief Justice Roberts and justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito each wrote their own dissents.

More to follow later!

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“Obamacare Survives! The King v. Burwell Saga Ctd.

In a 6-3 decision penned by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court once again upheld the Affordable Care Act against attack by forces committed to its destruction–interest groups that seem absolutely convinced that our country is better off when millions and millions of people do not have health insurance.

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