Putting in the fix and giving them the Feldman Part 2: Slabbed explores the seemingly foreign concept of recusal in the Louisiana Eastern District Federal Courts as we tie a few more things together.

Subsection 455(b)(4) requires disqualification where a judge “knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.” Section 455(d)(4) defines “financial interest” for the purposes of section 455(b), and provides specific exemptions, such as investment in a mutual fund or ownership of government securities. Note that, apart from such exemptions, even the smallest financial interest (e.g., ownership of a single share of stock) requires recusal. It is a judge’s duty to keep abreast of all of his or her financial interests.

Te above text from Recusal: Analysis of Case Law Under 28 U.S.C. §§ 455 & 144 found at the Federal Judicial Center has provided us with a treasure trove of information. As is often the case what appear to be unrelated events in Louisiana there are often common roots.  My research on the landmark recusal case I cited yesterday on Jim Brown’s Common Sense, Liljeberg v Health Services Acquisition Corporation led to this post which is also one heck of a story, one that will bring us from that case in the 1980s to the current impeachment of disgraced Louisiana Eastern District Court Federal Judge Tom Porteous and several points in between.

We need to catch our readers up to a key concept that we’ve highlighted several times here on Slabbed in the concept of control in politics and the judiciary. Many times those that run for office or nominated for judgeships are mere lackeys for monied interests. A very wealthy South Mississippian that is well respected in the business community told me something long ago that introduced me to the concept:

Some people want money. Some people want the power. I always wanted money because money rents power. Continue reading “Putting in the fix and giving them the Feldman Part 2: Slabbed explores the seemingly foreign concept of recusal in the Louisiana Eastern District Federal Courts as we tie a few more things together.”

Louisiana readies for change in "honest services" with new "sweet potato" processing plant

As the rest of the nation ponders the implications of the USSC decision narrowing “honest services” to cases involving alleged bribes and kick-backs, our friends in Louisiana stand ready to open what agriculture giant “ConAgra thinks… is the first factory dedicated to sweet potatoes in North America”.

In Skilling v. United States, Justice Ginsburg’s majority opinion acknowledged that in prior case law there was “considerable disarray” about what it means to deprive omeone of honest services, at least at the outer boundaries of the doctrine.  But six justices agreed that at its core, the doctrine clearly prohibits schemes involving bribes and kickbacks.  The prototypical honest-services fraud case, according to the Court, involves a public official who accepts a bribe or kickback from a third party in exchange for awarding a contract; even if the government incurs no tangible loss, it has been deprived of the official’s honest services…

The implications of the Court’s holding that the honest-services theory of mail fraud encompasses only bribery and kickbacks are significant, to say the least.  The government should expect an avalanche of legal challenges on both direct and collateral review.  Any defendant whose conviction possibly rests on an honest- Continue reading “Louisiana readies for change in "honest services" with new "sweet potato" processing plant”