• Archive for June, 2015

    Kling Comments on Dennis Hastert Indictment

    by  • June 10, 2015 • Faculty Commentary, Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    Professor Richard Kling has spoken with numerous news sources about the recent federal indictment and arraignment of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. According to Prof. Kling, the former speaker will likely accept a plea deal to avoid the public spotlight of an extended trial. See below for a roundup of Prof. Kling’s media appearances:

    Video

    Audio

    Hastert pleads not guilty in hush money case,” WBEZ/NPR

    Elonis v. United States: Treading Carefully with Regard to Threats and Free Speech

    by  • June 5, 2015 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    Heyman_Steven thumb By Steven J. Heyman [Reposted from ISCOTUSnow]


    This Monday, June 1, 2015, the Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited decision in Elonis v. United States. In a 7-2 ruling by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., the Court narrowed the circumstances under which individuals can be convicted of making criminal threats under federal law when they post statements on social media like Facebook. At the same time, the Court showed a prudent inclination to tread cautiously in a difficult area.

    After Anthony Elonis’s wife left him, he began to write graphically violent rap lyrics and post them to his Facebook account. In several posts, he fantasized about murdering his estranged wife. Others contained violent thoughts about the workplace from which he had been fired, his former co-workers, and an FBI agent who had investigated the matter. In one post, he even talked about massacring a local kindergarten class.

    Elonis was tried and convicted in federal court of four counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 875(c), a 1939 law that makes it a federal crime to transmit in interstate commerce “any communication containing any threat . . . to injure the person of another.” The trial judge instructed the jury that, under this statute, it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the defendant intended his statements to be threatening. Rather, it is enough to prove that the defendant reasonably should have known that other people would take his statements to be threats—a standard that is often referred to as negligence. (more…)

    Birdthistle on FIFA at the Volokh Conspiracy

    by  • June 3, 2015 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    In two new guest posts at the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Professor William Birdthistle unpacks the United States’ recent indictment of FIFA on charges of racketeering, bribery, money laundering, and fraud. In the first post, “Americanized football” (May 27, 2015), Prof. Birdthistle pursues the immediate questions raised by the indictment:

    Why is the United States bringing these charges? Perhaps a secret competition was held amongst international prosecutors, and we won the bidding over Qatar and Russia? No, that would never happen. Countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain might be far more likely candidates to police corruption in the game they love so much. But if they struck at King Blatter and missed, they could suffer serious reprisals from an organization that has amply proved its unprincipled style of governance. The United States may be the only country in the world both powerful enough and indifferent to soccer enough to hunt down FIFA.

    Continue reading at The Volokh Conspiracy→

    In the second post, “Burst Blatter” (June 2, 2015), Prof. Birdthistle looks at FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who was not named in the indictment but who resigned from his post this week:

    The New York Times reported Monday that a $10 million bribe for the South African World Cup had been authorized by Jérôme Valcke, Sepp’s bro-hugging number two at FIFA. FIFA, in true gangland style, immediately identified a dead person as the true perp, but documents published Tuesday showed Valcke’s name on key correspondence.

    What exactly was Valcke’s authority? FIFA said that Valcke, as secretary general, “has authority to make transactions.” But organizational by-laws, even of nonprofits, don’t typically authorize officers simply “to make transactions” — such unlimited authority would invite embezzling officers to fire off billions to a Cayman account and then disappear. Surely that couldn’t happen at FIFA, could it? Credible organizations often either specify a dollar amount up to which the person has spending authority or require a board resolution authorizing the officer to make specific payments. So perhaps Valcke made the payments without authorization or made them with Blatter’s full knowledge.

    Continue reading at The Volokh Conspiracy→