Legal Briefing: Shock Jock's Blog Post Was Violent Threat, Not Free Speech

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legal briefing

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Third Time's a Charm: Radio Shock Jock Convicted of Threatening Judges

Hal Turner, a right-wing radio shock jock who has advocated violence against minorities and judges multiple times, was convicted last Friday of threatening the lives of three appeals judges. It was his third trial on the charge -- two prior juries had deadlocked. The third one took only two hours to convict him. Unusually, the second and third trials involved the testimony of the judges themselves. Turner faces up to 10 years in prison.

The case against Turner tested the bounds of the First Amendment. When does speech become a threat, an incitement to violence? In the wake of a decision by the three judges that Chicago's handgun ban was constitutional, Turner posted on the Internet the judges' pictures, names, addresses, a map of their court house and this call to action: "Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed.... Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty. A small price to pay to assure freedom for millions." A few years earlier, Turner had written approvingly of the murder of a judge's husband and mother by a disgruntled litigant, noted Bloomberg.

Ironically, the judges Turner targeted are known to be conservative and perhaps, if they'd had a blank slate to decide the case, might have struck down the handgun ban. But at that point, the case's outcome upholding the law was compelled by Supreme Court precedent. When the judges' decision was appealed, the Supreme Court struck down the handgun ban, in the process making new constitutional law. The landmark decision was McDonald v. The City of Chicago.

Eli Lilly Loses Strattera Patent Case

In 2007, Eli Lilly (LLY) sued generic drugmakers preparing to bring to market knockoffs of Strattera, an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug, alleging the generics infringed a Strattera patent. Last Thursday, a judge disagreed, finding that the patent was invalid because it lacked "utility", reports the Am Law Litigation Daily.

However, the generics might not launch yet -- Lilly has promised an appeal. Even so, Lilly announced the decision would force it to lay off workers and otherwise reduce costs.

And in the Business of Law

A $55 million suit against Paul Hastings survived a motion to dismiss because the plaintiff, a unit of Cerberus Capital Management, sufficiently claimed that the law firm negligently advised it during an acquisition, reports New York Law Journal.

Note to men accused of sexual harassment: Saying "testosterone made me do it" isn't going to cut it. Chauncey M. Depew, a Kansas attorney on testosterone therapy just found that out -- he's been suspended for a year and must write apologies to his victims, reports the ABA Journal.