Honest Services (part 2) – a Supremely interesting commentary

“ The prosecutor has more power over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America.”

United States Attorney General and Supreme Court Jus tice Robert H. Jackson

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz provided a supremely interesting commentary on his  “up close and personal” experience  with the honest services law and federal prosecutors, USA v Minor et al,  in a review of the Kings of Torts published in the  Northside Sun, a popular Jackson weekly .

We are left to wonder why the court records were not sufficient to support the author’s positions and opinions? Why do they resort to unsworn statements and unproven allegations?

Specifically, why did the authors feel compelled to state as fact that I lived in a condominium owned by Paul Minor free of charge when prosecutors offered no proof of this because they discovered that it was not true? Why did they describe an event involving Paul Minor at a hotel bar, when court testimony clearly showed the event did not occur? Continue reading “Honest Services (part 2) – a Supremely interesting commentary”

Jim Brown on the sad state of Louisiana

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Remember ole’ Calypso Joe doing the limbo and singing in the deep voice…”How low can you go?” Few would be surprised if they learned he was singing about that state of insurance affairs in Louisiana. To many observers, 2009 cannot end quickly enough. Each month of the year has produced more bad news for Louisiana property owners. Rates have continued to rise and the Insurance Department has been mirrored in one law suit after another. But November has proven to be the cruelest month. Will the bad news for Louisiana policy holders get worse and will the bottom continue to drop out in 2010?

Just this week, new figures were released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that rated Louisiana as having the highest automobile insurance rates in the country with an average yearly cost of $1,262.00. That’s some 25% above the national average. An even more disturbing figure shows that Louisiana also has the least affordable auto insurance costs compared to gross income. Where the percent cost in most states averages around 3.5%, Louisianans pay 6.72 percent of their average income for automobile insurance.

And Louisiana drivers face even more bad news when a new law kicks in requiring more coverage on January 1. Forty per cent of motorists who buy minimum liability coverage will see rates jump by at least 14%. Insurance officials dismiss these high costs as not being that “out of the norm,” saying only 12% of Louisiana drivers are uninsured.

Ask any cop on the traffic beat who pulls over drivers for traffic violations. They will tell you the numbers are much closer to 30%, and this figure has stayed consistent for a number of years. Yet the fact that driving a car has become unaffordable to many Louisiana drivers has received scant attention from both the Insurance Department and the legislature. Aggressive enforcement action in other states has led to a crack down on uninsured drivers, drunken drivers, text messaging and cell phone using drivers and teenage drivers. The proof is in the pudding. Rates are dropping throughout the country, but going up in Louisiana. Continue reading “Jim Brown on the sad state of Louisiana”

Honest Services (part 1) – a Supremely interesting concept

An anti-corruption law that has been central to the convictions of numerous public officials and corporate executives in recent years could be at risk of being struck down or narrowed after it was met with extreme skepticism by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday.

TPM reported on the arguments before the Court and the Court’s reaction:

The Supreme Court yesterday [Tuesday, December 8, 2009] heard arguments in two separate cases related to the law — one involving [Conrad] Black, who was convicted of defrauding his company, and the other involving Bruce Weyhrauch, the Alaska GOP legislator convicted for failing to disclose that he had solicited business from an oil-services company with business before the legislature. According to the New York Times, justices from both the court’s liberal and conservative wings showed outright hostility to the law, suggesting that they saw it as overly vague. Continue reading “Honest Services (part 1) – a Supremely interesting concept”