News - June 2006
President Bush Nominates Raymond Kethledge, Michigan Law '93, to U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
June 30, 2006
President George W. Bush today sent four federal appeals court nominations to the Senate, among them Raymond M. Kethledge, 39, who earned his J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School in 1993.
Kethldege is currently a partner in the Troy, MI law firm of Bush, Seyferth, Kethledge, and Paige, where his practice has focused on product liability litigation. Previously, he had been a partner with the firm of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn. He has briefed or argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals, and among others, the Michigan Supreme Court.
Prior to entering private practice, Kethledge served as a law clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Ralph B. Guy, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, as Judiciary Counsel to former U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham, and as Counsel to the Ford Motor Company.
The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has 23 judges, including 12 active jurists, who handle appeals from Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.
Supreme Court upholds Rich Friedman's arguments in Hammon v. Indiana
June 19, 2006
In an 8-1 decision with only Justice Thomas dissenting, Richard D. Friedman, Ralph D. Aigler Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, today won a major Supreme Court victory for his client in Hammon v. Indiana. The case involved the Confrontation Clause the Sixth Amendment right of the accused to be “confronted with the witnesses against him.”
In Hammon v. Indiana, police responded to a reported domestic disturbance at the home of Amy and Hershel Hammon, but were told by Amy nothing was wrong. Nonetheless allowed in, one of the officers interviewed Mrs. Hammon while the other kept her husband away from them. Amy told the officer that Hershel had hit her and signed a battery affidavit to that effect. She did not appear at Hershel’s subsequent trial but her affidavit and testimony from the officer were admitted over the defendant’s objection that he had no opportunity to cross-examine her. Hershel Hammon was ultimately convicted and that conviction was affirmed on appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court which held that the affidavit should not have been admitted, but that the error was harmless because the officer’s testimony of Amy’s oral accusation was admissible.
In today’s decision, the Court held that Amy Hammon’s oral statement to the police, as well as the affidavit, was “testimonial” in nature and not much different from the statement involved in the watershed case Crawford v. Washington, a 2004 decision in which Friedman participated as “Second Chair.” By “testimonial,” the decision notes that Amy’s interrogation by the officers was part of an investigation rather than in response to an emergency in progress; she was telling a story as opposed to seeking aid. That testimonial nature of her response to police, in the eyes of the Court, requires the opportunity for direct confrontation and her affidavit is thus excluded.
Friedman argued the case on March 20, 2006 after mooting it before a panel of Michigan Law faculty and student auditors on March 14.
An expert on evidence and Supreme Court history, Rich Friedman’s research and scholarship has appeared in numerous law journals, he is general editor of The New Wigmore, has been designated to write the volume on the Hughes Court in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the United States Supreme Court, and has published The Elements of Evidence, now in its third edition. Friedman’s background includes a B.A. and J.D. from Harvard, editorship of the Harvard Law Review, a D. Phil in Modern History from Oxford, clerking for Judge Irving R. Kaufman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and working as an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York.
Niehoff Ethics Affidavit Part of ACLU Efforts to Stop NSA Warrantless Wiretapping
June 8, 2006
Len Niehoff, Michigan Law Adjunct Professor, submitted an ethics affidavit to a legal memorandum prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union which argues that the National Security Agency's (NSA) policy of warrantless wiretapping is unconstitutional and impedes the work of journalists and attorneys. Niehoff’s affidavit points out that the NSA program "creates an overwhelming, if not insurmountable, obstacle to effective and ethical representation" because it requires attorneys to avoid using phone or email in working with their clients and obtaining information. Niehoff concludes that such alternative means of communication and information-gathering "at best will work clumsily and inefficiently and, at worst, will not work at all."
The ACLU memorandum asks a Detroit court to find the NSA's surveillance program unconstitutional and in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Oral arguments are scheduled for June 12th.
In addition to teaching mass media law, evidence, and ethics and professional responsibility at Michigan Law, Niehoff maintains an active practice at the firm of Butzel Long in First Amendment, media law, and constitutional litigation, as well as an active pro bono docket. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and its Law School.
The complete affidavit is available at www.aclu.org/safefree/nsaspying/25791lgl20060605.html.