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Roger Stone in Trouble for Post About Judge in His Criminal Case

Roger Stone, the embroiled political consultant, sent the wrong message to a federal judge.

Stone posted an Instagram message that showed a picture of Judge Amy Berman Jackson with a target-like image behind her. He realized his misstep, however, and quickly apologized to the judge.

It was a good thing he apologized because the judge is presiding over Stone's criminal case. It could also be too little, too late.

The public loves a good mystery, and the secret case unfolding before the watchful eye of the mystery-hungry media is surely generating quite a bit of buzz.

The case is believed to involve the Mueller probe and a Russian or other foreign corporation, however, that's all speculation. All that is really known is that "the Corporation" located in "Country A" has been fighting a subpoena claiming the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act protects them. Unfortunately for the undisclosed company, neither the district court, nor did the D.C. Circuit panel agree.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ordered Robert Mueller and Roger Stone's attorneys to file briefs explaining how the ouster of Attorney General Jeff Sessions impacts their case.

Notably, due to Sessions having recused himself from overseeing the Mueller probe, the big question being asked by pundits is whether Matthew Whitaker, Sessions' replacement, will also recuse himself. As of yet, there does not seem to be any indication that he will do so. And that raises the even bigger question of whether Whitaker will acquiesce to President Trump's demands to "STOP THE WITCH HUNT" against him and end the Mueller probe.

Court Probes Guantanamo Lawyers' Spying Claims

A federal appeals court wants to know if prosecutors intruded on attorney-client communications in a case out of Guantanamo Bay.

Defense attorneys withdrew from the case after they found a microphone in the client meeting room. Prosecutors said it was for interrogations and not used during attorney-client meetings.

In Spears v. United States of America, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia wants to know more. The panel has ordered the government to produce "any and all" relevant information, including "classified or unclassified" information.

DC Circuit Lets Stand Concealed-Carry Law

Following a discharge from an appeals court, a shoot-out over permits to carry guns in public appears headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected a request to reconsider its previous decision, which upheld a local permit law. The law gives wide discretion to law enforcement to grant permits to applicants who show "good reason" to carry guns.

Opponents believe the Supreme Court will take up the case, but for now they have lost at every level of the judicial system.

On appeal, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated the conviction of Ezra Griffith, who was found guilty of possessing a firearm as a felon. In doing so, the court, in U.S.A. v. Ezra Griffith, clarified what information is necessary in an affidavit to support a search for a cell phone or other electronic storage devices.

The key issue on appeal was whether the Griffith's motion to suppress the evidence gathered during a search of his home was properly denied. While the lower court found that the search warrant was not proper, it nevertheless allowed the evidence discovered during the search to be used at trial, as it found the good-faith exception applied. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals saw it differently and has raised the bar for what's acceptable in a search warrant affidavit in support of seizing a cell phone.

The Other Blue Book: DOJ's Prosecution Manual Can Be Kept Secret

Several years ago, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska was criminally indicted on corruption charges but managed to slip by a conviction on what many consider a technicality. The case against him produced much debate about whether or not government lawyers were being properly trained in their ethical duties of disclosure. It also produced "the Blue Book."

Not that Blue Book, but the Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book. And it, unlike its more famous cousin, is probably more important than you know.

'Fokker' Decision Raises Concerns About Deferred Prosecution Agreements

According to a recent ruling by the D.C. Circuit, federal judges have no authority to "second-guess" the practice of federal prosecutors cutting deals with companies indicted for criminal wrongdoing. Such deals are known professionally as "deferred prosecution agreements."

The opinion, written by Judge Sri Srinivasan, shines a light on the somewhat controversial practice of negotiating with criminal defendants to pay big money instead of marring themselves with a criminal record.

Tobacco companies won't have to include disclosures stating that a federal court has ruled they deliberately deceived the American public, the D.C. Circuit ruled last week. While statements about the health consequences and addictiveness of cigarettes can be required, forcing the companies to announce the court's findings is too backwards looking to be allowed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

The case is the fifth appeal in a suit that was filed 15 years ago, when the U.S. sued Philip Morris and eight other "Big Tobacco" companies. According to the government, the companies engaged in illegal RICO violations through an "ongoing conspiracy to deceive the American public" about cigarettes' addictiveness and health consequences. The court agreed and imposed strict civil remedies to prevent future violations.

A warrantless airport seizure of a man's laptop, followed by extensive searches of its contents, can't be justified as a routine border search, the District Court of D.C. ruled last week. Contrary to government arguments, a computer isn't just a container agents can pop open and look in to, as they might a suitcase or backpack.

In 2012, DHS agents seized a foreign citizen's computer as he was boarding a flight to Korea, after suspecting he was involved in illegal trading with Iran. They shipped the computer to San Diego, copied it, searched it, and burned the information onto a DVD -- all before bothering with a warrant. That's not the type of border search that's allowed, the circuit ruled, finding that the evidence from that search must be suppressed.