Saturday, December 1, 2012

WaterGate Documents

Passport photo of E. Howard Hunt, among the unsealed materials in Box 3.

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Unsealed Materials from U.S. v. Liddy

On May 1, 2009, Professor Luke Nichter of Texas A&M University-Central Texas petitioned Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the District Court for the District of Columbia to release records sealed in the case of U.S. v. Liddy, the Watergate break-in case. The sealed proceedings include evidentiary discussions held outside the jury's hearing, pretrial discussions between defendants' lawyers and the Court, and post-trial sentencing information.
On November 2, 2012, the District Court for the District of Columbia ordered most of these records to be unsealed, given the passage of time, completion of the criminal proceedings, and non-invasive nature of the content. Consistent with the recommendation of the Department of Justice, the court ordered that the following categories of records remain sealed, pending further review by the court:
  • Personal documents regarding living individuals;
  • Documents regarding the content of illegally obtained wiretaps; and
  • Grand Jury information.
Accordingly, the court directed the National Archives to release the uncontested records within 30 days from the date of the Order. The National Archives is therefore releasing the previously sealed records from U.S. v. Liddy, with the three categories of contested materials removed and marked "Court Sealed." If/when the Court later unseals additional materials, the National Archives will make them available.
NARA is releasing 36 folders of documents totaling approximately 950 pages. A folder title list is below:

Box 1

  1. Kevan Hunt affidavit; 8 pages, partially sealed.
  2. Grand Jury transcript; 15 pages, partially sealed.
  3. Letters from doctors re E.H. Hunt's health; 8 pages, partially sealed.
  4. Proceedings 12/15/1972 re Times Mirror subpoena; 12 pages, open in full. (7.5 MB)
  5. #241 Proceedings 1/2/1973 discussion of how Judge Sirica would listen to the Baldwin interview tapes; 9 pages, open in full.
  6. Proceedings 1/5/1973 discussion of Baldwin testimony; 49 pages, partially sealed. (21.96 MB)
  7. #190 Proceedings 1/5/1973 discussion of serving of Exhibit A on counsel (exhibits A-C are referred to in Item #6); 9 pages, open in full.
  8. #205A Proceedings 1/17/1973 discussion of Baldwin testimony; 53 pages, partially sealed. (30.21 MB)
  9. Exhibits B & C (exhibits A-C are referred to in Item #6); 12 pages, partially sealed.
  10. Exhibit A (exhibits A-C are referred to in Item #6); 6 pages, open in full.
  11. #207 Judge Sirica opinion filed 1/18/1973 on admissibility of overhears; 8 pages, open in full.
  12. Six cassette tapes of interview of Alfred Baldwin (will be released at a later date)
  13. #159 Transcript of interview of Alfred Baldwin; 181 pages, partially sealed.
  14. Proceedings 12/4/1972 (2 copies) re concerns by burglar's counsel about possible new indictment; 5 pages, open in full.
  15. #135 Proceedings 12/4/1972 re various pre-trial tasks; 122 pages, open in full. (62.96 MB)
  16. Proceedings 12/15/1972 (2 copies) re E.H. Hunt physical and mental health after his wife's death (bench conference portion of Item #4); 4 pages, partially sealed.
  17. #189 Proceedings 1/8/1973, pp. 71-75 re E.H. Hunt physical and mental health after his wife's death; 7 pages, partially sealed.

Box 2

  1. #191 Proceedings 1/9/1973 re possible Hunt guilty plea; 12 pages, partially sealed.
  2. #197 Proceedings 1/12/1973 folder contains only the steno tape, the transcript was unsealed in 1981; 3 pages, open in full.
  3. #287 Proceedings 1/24/1973, pp. 1490-1500G Judge Sirica's suggestions as to further investigation; 21 pages, partially sealed. (10 MB)
  4. #288 Proceedings 1/26/1973 re electronic surveillance; 16 pages, open in full.
  5. #289 Proceedings 1/27/1973 re telephone message from Gary Sellers re evidence; 5 pages, open in full.
  6. #339 Proceedings 7/17/1973 new evidence re E.H. Hunt; 26 pages, open in full. (14.86 MB)
  7. #342 Proceedings 7/24/1973 re burglars and their representation; 24 pages, partially sealed.
  8. #344 Proceedings 8/7/1973 (3 copies) re sentencing of the burglars; 23 pages, open in full. (13.66 MB)
  9. #362 Proceedings 9/17/1973 (3 copies) re meeting with Bernard Barker; 16 pages, open in full. (11.64 MB)
  10. #361 Proceedings 9/17/1973 re sentencing; 14 pages, partially sealed.
  11. #385 Proceedings 10/16/1973 (2 copies) re sentencing issues; 9 pages, open in full. (7.3 MB)

Box 3

  1. Presentence reports and Bureau of Prisons evaluations on Barker, Sturgis, Martinez, and Gonzalez ; 104 pages, partially sealed. (22.93 MB)
  2. #360 Sealed addendum to Government's motion re McCord's writ of error coram nobis; 4 pages, open in full.
  3. #176 Letters and filings re McCord's writ of error coram nobis; 5 pages, open in full.
  4. #363 Proceedings 1/3/1973 re McCord's writ of error coram nobis; 9 pages, open in full.
  5. #380 Proceedings 10/11/1973 McCord's writ of error coram nobis; 7 pages, open in full.
  6. Court of Appeals receipts; 6 pages, open in full.
  7. Hunt passport, Jenkins statement, Martinez diary; 22 pages, open in full. (10.83 MB)
  8. Liddy insurance papers; 24 pages, partially sealed. (10 pages released and 14 pages withheld in full).
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

JURIST - Paper Chase: Supreme Court orders rehearing in health care case

JURIST - Paper Chase: Supreme Court orders rehearing in health care case

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Supreme Court orders rehearing in health care case

Julia Zebley at 8:35 AM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday remanded [order list, PDF] Liberty University v. Geithner [docket; JURIST report] to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website]. The court ordered the lower court to re-consider the case in light of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius [JURIST report]. The Fourth Circuit previously dismissed [JURIST report] the suit as untimely. The suit's original petition for certiorari [text, PDF] questioned whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [HR 3590 text; JURIST backgrounder] could force the insurance mandate on both employers and citizens. The court denied certiorari in Delling v. Idaho [docket; SCOTUSblog backgrounder] over the dissent of three justices. The case would have reviewed whether the ability to raise a defense of insanity in a criminal case is mandated by the Constitution. Justice Stephen Breyer, in dissent, argued that the issue needed to be decided in consideration of Idaho's policies on the issue:
To illustrate with a very much simplified example: Idaho law would distinguish the following two cases. Case One: The defendant, due to insanity, believes that the victim is a wolf. He shoots and kills the victim. Case Two: The defendant, due to insanity, believes that a wolf, a supernatural figure, has ordered him to kill the victim. In Case One, the defendant does not know he has killed a human being, and his insanity negates a mental element necessary to commit the crime. In Case Two, the defendant has intentionally killed a victim whom he knows is a human being; he possesses the necessary mens rea. In both cases the defendant is unable, due to insanity, to appreciate the true quality of his act, and therefore unable to perceive that it is wrong. But in Idaho, the defendant in Case One could defend the charge by arguing that he lacked the mens rea, whereas the defendant in Case Two would not be able to raise a defense based on his mental illness. Much the same outcome seems likely to occur in other States that have modified the insanity defense in similar ways.
Breyer was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
The Court also released a per curiam summary judgment [opinion, PDF] in Nitro-Lift Technologies, LLC v. Howard [docket] that the Oklahoma Supreme Court had erred by not following the Federal Arbitration Act [text]. "By declaring the noncompetition agreements in two employment contracts null and void, rather than leaving that determination to the arbitrator in the first instance, the state court ignored a basic tenet of the Act's substantive arbitration law."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Release | Supreme Court accepts major PLF property rights case - Pacific Legal Foundation

Release | Supreme Court accepts major PLF property rights case - Pacific Legal Foundation

Supreme Court accepts major PLF property rights case

Orange County, FL; October 5, 2012: The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will hear a major property rights case out of Florida, in which attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) represent property owner Coy Koontz, Jr.
The caseKoontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District — challenges the confiscatory and unconsti­tutional demands that a local government agency imposed on the Koontz family as a condition of giving permission to develop the family’s property.
PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard issued this statement today, in response to the Supreme Court’s acceptance of the Koontz case: “Property owners large and small, from coast to coast, should be thankful that the U.S. Supreme Court has accepted this important property rights case. If the Koontz family can be hit with the government rip-off that happened in this case, then everybody’s property rights are put at risk. The Koontz family merely wanted to exercise their rights as property owners, to develop the family’s land in legal and responsible ways. But regulators saw a chance to pounce and make all kinds of costly, unrelated, outrageous demands. Without any justification, the government demanded money, labor and resources as the price for allowing the Koontzes to use their own land. This was a flat-out shakedown, a form of extortion. And government shakedowns of property owners aren’t just wrong, they’re unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is to be applauded for deciding to weigh in on this injustice.”

Making Extortionist Demands

Paul J. Beard II
Principal Attorney

Alan E. DeSerio
Managing Attorney

Brian T. Hodges
Managing Attorney
For years, the father of PLF’s client, the late Coy Koontz, Sr., sought to develop the vacant, commercially zoned land that he owned, immediately south of State Road 50 and east of State Road 408, in Orange County.
But the St. Johns River Water Management District refused to issue any of the necessary permits, because Koontz would not agree to costly and unjustified conditions that the District imposed as the price of getting a permit. Specifically, the District demanded that Koontz dedicate his money and labor to make improvements to 50 acres of District-owned property located miles away from the proposed project.
“The demand that Mr. Koontz spend his resources improving government-owned property, miles away from his own land, bore no connection to the development project that he proposed,” said Beard. “In other words, what we have here is a classic case of an unconstitutional shakedown. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that government violates property rights — it commits a ‘taking’ in violation of the Fifth Amendment — if it tries to use the permitting process to extract conditions that aren’t related to the impact of the proposed development.”
Officially, most of the 3.7 acres that Mr. Koontz sought to develop lay within a habitat protection zone, and was classified as wetlands subject to District jurisdiction. But the property had actually been seriously degraded, and made unfit for animal habitat, because of development on adjacent land owned by others, including government land. Nevertheless, Mr. Koontz offered to mitigate for the proposed disturbance of wetlands by dedicating 11 acres of his own land in the vicinity (nearly 80 percent of his property in the area) to the state for conservation.
But the District was not satisfied with this offer. Instead, it demanded that Mr. Koontz replace culverts and plug ditches on some of the District’s own property located up to seven miles away. Cost estimates for the off-site work ranged from $10,000 (the District’s estimate) to between $90,000 and $150,000 (Koontz’s expert’s estimate).
“The District never demonstrated how the off-site improvement of 50 acres of wetlands on government lands was related in nature or extent to the alleged impact of Mr. Koontz’s proposed development on little more than three acres of his own property,” said PLF’s Beard.
Mr. Koontz refused the District’s unreasonable demand. Because of his refusal to comply, the District denied his permit applications outright.
The Koontz family sued in state court, arguing that their Fifth Amendment rights had been violated, and they won at the trial and appellate levels. After the District issued the necessary permits without the off-site mitigation condition, Mr. Koontz was awarded damages for the period of time during which the District unlawfully withheld permits.
However, the Florida Supreme Court then ruled for the District, refusing to recognize that the District had imposed an unconstitutional taking. Coy Koontz, Sr., died before he could see his property developed, and his son took over his legal battle.

PLF Carries on the Fight at the High Court

“We petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case, because the District unconstitutionally used the permit process for its own gain, not as a means of reasonable regulation of property use,” said Beard.
Nollan v. California Coastal Commission is the landmark 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling establishing that governments can’t impose unrelated demands as the price of permits or other regulatory actions. The Nollan case was brought to the Supreme Court by Pacific Legal Foundation, and one of PLF’s ongoing missions is to force regulators to abide by Nollan’s principles.
About Pacific Legal Foundation and its Atlantic Center
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation ( is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates, pro bono, for limited government and property rights, in courts nationwide. PLF’s Atlantic Center is headquartered in Stuart, Florida.
Today’s announcement by the Supreme Court brings to eight the number of PLF direct-representation cases for liberty and limited government that have been accepted by the High Court over PLF’s four-decade history. Of the seven previous PLF cases at the Supreme Court, PLF has won six — most recently Sackett v. EPA, which was decided earlier this year.

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