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Friday Roundup

Once a con, always a con.  Daryl Simon didn't go in for those low-rent scams, like calling old ladies and telling them they'd just won the Botswana Lottery and needed to send him a grand to pay the taxes before he sent them their check for $24 million.  No,  his scams involved things like buying a car for 30 large with a bogus cashiers check, and running a high-tech credit-card forgery operation out of his apartment; when the cops raided it, they found over 1200 stolen credit card numbers and personal information.

Still, he hoped to get a break from the federal judge who was to sentence him on his credit-fraud and bail-jumping charges.  After all, he'd submitted plenty of evidence of good character:  pictures of him doing charity work at hospitals and schools, and letters from various charitable organization and individuals attesting to his non-criminal qualities.

Turns out that was fake, too.  The prosecutors took a look at the pictures and determined they'd been photoshopped.  In fact, one picture was the exact same:  Simon appeared with a physical-therapy patient, and in the other the exact same image, flipped, had him placed next to a teen-age student.

The judge, thoroughly unimpressed, gave Simon a 235-month sentence for the other crimes, and tacked on fifty more for "attempting to commit a fraud on the court."

According to the story (h/t to SL&P), at one point Simon worked as a magician under the name Justin Lusion.  I'm guessing he finds no lack of reality in the bars on his windows in the next quarter-century.

"Fleeting Expletives" Update.  As the legions of my regular readers know, I've faithfully chronicled the legal oddyssey resulting from Bono's speech at the 2003 Golden Globe Awards, in which he immodestly declared during his acceptance speech that his award was "fucking brilliant."  This prompted a fine from the FCC, which announced that it was ending its "fleeting expletive" policy, in which isolated incidents of profanity would not be punished, and would henceforth penalize any use of the word "fuck."  My post here detailed the 2nd Circuit's reversal of the fine, which the Supreme Court itself reversed, but on narrow administrative law grounds.  It sent the case back to the 2nd Circuit for consideration of the other issues raised in the case, but not addressed.

Like the free speech issues.  And sure enough, last week the 2nd Circuit again reversed the FCC, this time concluding that the agency's policy was "void for vagueness" on First Amendment grounds.  The FCC could decide to go back before the Supreme Court, but it had barely escaped before with a 5-4 decision, and even at that, Justice Thomas in his concurrence had expressed a willingness to revisit the entire issue of whether the First Amendment allowed the FCC to regulate broadcast content at all.

So, be forewarned that Janet Jackson's breast could be coming to a TV screen near you.

Here's someone who never watched Bugs Bunny cartoons.  From my forthcoming book "It is Impossible Not to Write Satire" comes this story from Germany:

As school pranks go, drawing rabbits on the blackboard may seem rather tame. But it has triggered a court case in the northern German town of Vechta where an outraged school teacher filed a legal complaint against the alleged offender, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, and accused her of spreading the vicious rumor that she suffered from rabbit phobia. 

Marion V., who teaches German and Geography, refuses to say if she is actually afraid of rabbits. But when she walked into the classroom and spotted the drawing [of a rabbit] on the board she burst into tears and fled.

Well, truth is a defense in the Fatherland as well as here, and the teacher's defamation suit was dismissed, the court holding that "V.'s fear of rabbits is a fact, which the defendant proved in court."  Good thing; the story notes that if the defendant "was found guilty, she would have faced a €5,000 fine for any further incidents of rabbit drawing in front of V."

Slumming.  If you don't happen to have anything better to do -- and if you're reading this blog, we both know the answer to that question, don't we? -- you might want to take a stroll over to the Tosh.0 blog and vote on your favorite Lindsay Lohan mugshot.  I have to confess that I'm sorta partial to the July '07 clip.  For those of you who appreciated her agony when it was announced that she was going to have to spend 90 days in jail for what seemed like only her 57th probation violation, you'll be glad to know that the sentence won't be quite so draconian; due to jail overcrowding and a resultant policy of shortened stays, Lohan, who donned the orange jumpsuit on Tuesday, has a release date of August 2. 

Which, according to my calculations, should have the Tosh.0 blog re-running its contest about eight months from now, this time giving contestants four options.


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