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August 2 Digest

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Judge bars secret FBI recordings in alleged bid-rigging plot

Insisting that some degree of privacy survives in an era of technology, a federal judge barred the FBIon Monday from using evidence of conversations that agents secretly recorded outside the San Mateo County Courthouse during an investigation of alleged bid-rigging. “The government has utterly failed to justify a warrantless electronic surveillance program that recorded private conversations spoken in hushed tones by judges, attorneys and court staff” as well as the five targets of the investigation, said U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco. By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle

Court finds cement masons union official and attorney retaliated against whistle-blowers

A federal court has found that the leader of a Southern California cement workers union and an attorney for the organization’s trust funds retaliated against two employees who questioned the labor official’s financial practices. Ruling in a whistle-blower lawsuit brought by the U.S. Labor Department, the court ordered Scott Brain, who heads the Cement Masons Union Local 600, and attorney Melissa Cook permanently barred from any position with the trust funds, which pay for retirement and other benefits for the labor group’s members. By Paul Pringle — Los Angeles Times

Santa Clara County's court clerks declare strike

In a move that could bring Santa Clara County's legal system to a near standstill, hundreds of Superior Court clerks and other workers late Monday notified the court that they will go on strikeWednesday. The threatened strike, which would be the court's first in 14 years, caught officials off-guard, giving them only 36 hours to come up with a contingency plan to provide limited staffing for hundreds of crucial services, such as arraignments, bail hearings and requests for domestic violence restraining orders. By Tracey Kaplan — San Jose Mercury News


A very different court

The most important lesson from the just completed term of the U.S. Supreme Court is that there are no longer five votes for a conservative result. From 1971, when President Richard M. Nixon had his fourth nominee confirmed for the court, until Justice Antonin Scalia died on Feb. 13, there were at least five justices appointed by a Republican president and who were ideologically conservative. But no longer. By Erwin Chemerinsky — California Bar Journal

Supreme Court could redefine insider trading law

There are longstanding differences between Boston and New York, like the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees. Adding a new one, the federal appeals courts in each city have taken different approaches to the type of benefit a tipper must receive in exchange for inside information to make trading on it a violation of the securities laws. By Peter J. Henning — The New York Times

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