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Dissenting Judge Tells Lawyers to Take It to YouTube

Used to be that when dissenting judges didn't get their way, they could only get mad. But as federal judge Beverly Martin's dissent in Buckley v. Haddock (11th Cir. 2008) shows, dissenting judges can now also get even in the court of public opinion -- courtesy of YouTube.

Here's what happened. Understandably, federal judge Beverly Martin (N.D. Ga.) was upset when she could not convince her colleagues to agree with her view that "the Fourth Amendment forbids an officer from discharging repeated bursts of electricity into an already handcuffed misdemeanant -- who is sitting still beside a rural road and unwilling to move -- simply to goad him into standing up." (For more detailed analysis, see Appellate Law & Practice Blog). In fact, Judge Martin apparently couldn't even get the court to publish the opinion to make the facts of the case more widely known.  [Correction] But, as Howard Bashman reports today, the video of the taser incident was made available on YouTube. See this link.

Is Judge Martin's decision the start of a new precedent? Will courts start making available all of the underlying evidence in a case online? And is it appropriate for a litigants to make the material available where the court won't? 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 17, 2008 at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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