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Oral Arguments in United States v. ComstockToday, the U. S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the sex offender civil commitment case, U. S. v. Comstock (08-1224).  Doug Berman and Corey Rayburn Yung both have posts discussing the case.  On Sentencing Law and Policy, Berman reports that early press coverage of the case provides "distinct takes on what the Justices are thinking."  He points to a Bloomberg report indicating that the Justices will uphold the national civil commitment law, and then links to a Reuters report that the Justices "expressed skepticism" of the Obama administration's argument.  SexCrimes blog editor, Corey Rayburn Yung, posts on the key points of the government's and Comstock's oral argument.  He believes that the government is "asking for way too much" and praises Comstock's attorney for conceding that federal jurisdiction to commit sex offenders could exist if the civil commitment was made as part of the original sentence.  Tony Mauro also has this report on Blog of Legal Times.

Cameras In the Courtroom:  Televising California's Proposition 8 trial has stirred up some legal controversy according to Lyle Denniston's post on SCOTUSblog.  The controversy began when federal district judge Vaughn R. Walker announced his plans to allow delayed television, and later a YouTube webcast, of the trial.  The trial opened on Monday morning, but the U. S. Supreme Court quickly stepped in and blocked any broadcast outside the San Francisco courthouse until 4p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. In the meantime, the policy-making arm of the U. S. federal courts, the U. S. Judicial Conference, wrote a letter to Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Kozinski reminding him of its policy against television broadcasts of federal trials.  Judge Kozinski fired back, arguing that broadcasting from trial courts "rests exclusively with the Judicial Council of each circuit, consistent with the statutory governance structure of the courts."  Judge Kozinski is now considering public viewing of the trial only through a link in the District Court's own website.  Ashby Jones reports on Judge Kozinski's "unrelenting" belief that cameras should be allowed in the courtroom on the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog.

More Ghailani Coverage: 
Wall Street Journal's Law Blog also covered yesterday's oral arguments in the suspected terrorism trial of Ahmed Ghailani.  As we've written before, Ghailani is accused of participating in the 1998 bombings of a U. S. embassy in Tanzania and Kenya, and claims his right to a speedy trial has been violated.  Wall Street Journal writer Suzanne Sataline provides further coverage.

Deterrence Theory:
  Freakonomics blog editor reports that some European countries are raising ticket fines in proportion to the incomes of their wealthiest speeders.  Getting slapped with a $290,000 fine for speeding might cause some drivers to think twice about accelerating, but will it really stop people from speeding?

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