All Things Legal - The Law for Non-Lawyers

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Aug 5, 2010
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Confidentially

Sorry if this is a duplicate to some as I am moving this question from a different thread in the clinic.


I am trying to understand how much flexibility the feds have in dealing with a potential witness. I have a basic understanding of the proffer process, and know that there are different types of immunity, but does anyone have knowledge concerning how much authority/flexibly the feds have toward keeping information confidential from other agencies?

During the negotiations before a witness appears in front of the grand jury. Do the feds have the ability to offer complete confidentially to a rider?

If confidentially is available do you think riders would take advantage of it? I imagine that there are many past & present riders who would like to cooperate but are concerned about potential legal/non-legal implications.

In the past if confidentially was agreed to have the feds been able to keep their part of the agreement? I am aware of the infamous confidential list from MLB that was subsequently leaked and the Troy Ellerman BALCO leak.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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uspostal said:
If the cyclists talking to the feds now and still ride, say they doped, could the UCI then come in and suspend then. Just wondering if that is a possability or could cause then to be less than forward, or only answer what is directly asked and no more.

Chuck
Grand Jury = private
Criminal Trial = public

Riders responsible for information leading to an indictment in the Grand Jury process, are likely to be expected to repeat their verbal performance in trial. If they are forced to admit and detail the use of performance enhancing drugs in the criminal trial, it stands to be likely that information could lead to a suspension with cycling authorities.
 
Aug 1, 2009
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Is it possible to use a person as a witness in court without that person having been before the grand jury beforehand? I mean, if somebody has talked to the feds but will not be subpoenad to the grand jury, does that mean that this person can/will not be used as a witness?

Can a foreigner be used as a witness in a US court?

Can a foreigner testify before the grand jury if he volunteers or would that be meaningless?
 
Jul 23, 2009
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HL2037 said:
Is it possible to use a person as a witness in court without that person having been before the grand jury beforehand? I mean, if somebody has talked to the feds but will not be subpoenad to the grand jury, does that mean that this person can/will not be used as a witness?

Can a foreigner be used as a witness in a US court?

Can a foreigner testify before the grand jury if he volunteers or would that be meaningless?
1. Trials often have testimony from witnesses who did not testify in the grand jury.

2. If a person talked to the Feds but did not testify at the grand jury is no real indication that they would not testify at trial.

3. Non-citizens can testify in US courts.

4. Non-citizens can testify in grand juries.

5. Who testifies in a grand jury is determined normally by the prosecutor *(sometimes the grand jury members may request testimony by persons referenced by other witnesses).
 
Jul 23, 2010
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FrankDrack said:
. . . During the negotiations before a witness appears in front of the grand jury. Do the feds have the ability to offer complete confidentially to a rider?
Not really. At some point, someone else (e.g., a defense attorney) is going to get a copy of what is contained in the GJ transcript, especially if the material is potentially exculpatory for the defendant, or the testimony may be used for cross-examination later. Certainly the prosecutors can and often do say that "they can't reveal" what is said in the GJ room and in that sense it's "secret and confidential" but that's subject to quite a few exceptions depending on how things turn out, i.e. whether there is a true bill returned and someone indicted.

[snip]

FrankDrack said:
In the past if confidentially was agreed to have the feds been able to keep their part of the agreement? I am aware of the infamous confidential list from MLB that was subsequently leaked and the Troy Ellerman BALCO leak.
The MLB "confidential" list was something that the league and the players union agreed to, not the feds. The idea was basically that a select number of players (about 104 players if I recall) were told that if they agreed to testing by the lab (Quest Labs in San Diego) employed by the league during the first year of testing, their names would never be disclosed to anyone and that all information derived from those tests would never be disclosed so that anyone in particular could be identified by name. MLB and the lab kept their word and the list remained confidential. The feds, using a search warrant obtained by Novitzky from a judge in Southern California --a different judge from the one who was set to hear some motions about why the information held by the lab should never be made public, since it involved confidential health information-- raided the lab, seized computer records and lists of players names which identified which had tested positive. Essentially it was the feds, acting through Mr. Novitzky, who refused to honor the nature of the confidentiality agreement between the players union and the league (a private agreement). So this is certainly not an example of the feds "respecting" the confidentiality of anything. This incident, and several others actually led to a probe of Agent Novitzky. See http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=li-novitzky020309

Ellerman's case was also different. He was a defense attorney who represented Conte and in that capacity had access to portions of the transcripts of the grand jury. He improperly disclosed them to two SF Chronicle reporters, who used them to write a series of articles. Ellerman was convicted of two counts of criminal contempt, one count of filing a false declaration, and one count of obstruction of justice. He was later sentenced to 18 months and some additional conditions, and he also lost his license to practice law. But it had nothing to do with the government extending any offer of "confidentiality" to a witness.
 
Aug 5, 2010
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QuickStepper said:
Not really. At some point, someone else (e.g., a defense attorney) is going to get a copy of what is contained in the GJ transcript, especially if the material is potentially exculpatory for the defendant, or the testimony may be used for cross-examination later. Certainly the prosecutors can and often do say that "they can't reveal" what is said in the GJ room and in that sense it's "secret and confidential" but that's subject to quite a few exceptions depending on how things turn out, i.e. whether there is a true bill returned and someone indicted.

Thank you for taking the time to reply, it was very informative.
 
I am a retired trial lawyer. I was a Crown Prosecutor in Canada and then a criminal defence lawyer for 35 years. Evidence and it's admissibility was one of my favourite areas of the law. I also loved the tactics involved in defending people and construcing both substantive defences and rights defences under the Canadian Charter of Rights.

Regrettably the level of ignorance about the law in lay people is so profound that I am tired of trying to comment on and correct the misunderstandings, the misinformation and the misconceptions of armchair lawyers.

There are so many people who continuously slag the judicial system when they have no absolutely no idea what they are talking about. I am sorry to come across as a grumpy curmudgeon but this thread is on a path to nowhere.

If you want to understand the law, go to law school.

PS I would also suggest that American lawyers are not the sole repository of knowledge and understanding about all things legal. I have observed cases in the USA, England, Scotland and Italy and I wil boldly state that the Canadian legal system and the quality of it's trial lawyers is as good as it gets.
 
Feb 21, 2010
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RobbieCanuck said:
I am a retired trial lawyer. I was a Crown Prosecutor in Canada and then a criminal defence lawyer for 35 years. Evidence and it's admissibility was one of my favourite areas of the law. I also loved the tactics involved in defending people and construcing both substantive defences and rights defences under the Canadian Charter of Rights.

Regrettably the level of ignorance about the law in lay people is so profound that I am tired of trying to comment on and correct the misunderstandings, the misinformation and the misconceptions of armchair lawyers.

There are so many people who continuously slag the judicial system when they have no absolutely no idea what they are talking about. I am sorry to come across as a grumpy curmudgeon but this thread is on a path to nowhere.

If you want to understand the law, go to law school.

PS I would also suggest that American lawyers are not the sole repository of knowledge and understanding about all things legal. I have observed cases in the USA, England, Scotland and Italy and I wil boldly state that the Canadian legal system and the quality of it's trial lawyers is as good as it gets.
Since your other posts display a profound lack of objectivity, sweeping ignorance of the issues and topic being discussed, and overall arrogance, I'd suggest taking a step back, hit the reset button and give your entry into this forum another attempt.
 
Apr 28, 2010
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You do realize that this thread concerns the US justice system and their evidentiary rules. SO US attorneys in this case are the best source of information

But Canada as the best legal system and the best trial lawyers, I doubt it.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Barrus said:
You do realize that this thread concerns the US justice system and their evidentiary rules. SO US attorneys in this case are the best source of information

But Canada as the best legal system and the best trial lawyers, I doubt it.
Whoa! What do you have against Canucks? It wasn't us that let OJ run free. :)
 
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Anonymous

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BroDeal said:
OJ is doing hard time right now. Karla Homolka is walking free today.
Obviously posted by another Canuck seeing that Americans are oblivious to anything that happens north of the 50th parallel. Traitor.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
BroDeal said:
OJ is doing hard time right now. Karla Homolka is walking free today.
Sorry ... just trying to introduce a little light humour. I didn't mean to offend. Agreed ... the Homolka situation is a tragedy. :mad:
 
Oct 7, 2010
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Since a cyclists licensing body, and thus antidoping agency from said country have the responsibility to suspend or punish for violation of doping rules, wouldnt they have specific rights to the blood or urine samples as to afford access to the athlete and representation? In my logic, how could a governing body punish without having rights to, or possession of the samples? In this logic, the UCI, the licensing body, and antidoping agency all share rights to the samples and can call upon them for proceedings or other matters. If all this is true, then Novitsky or others within this case would have a much simpler time gaining access to any samples, regardless of location. Also, since these samples are a ward of antidoping agencies, UCI and home governing bodies, does the line not blur in relation to International Law and access to potential evidence, since they are not part of that countries legal system, or within their evidence system?

My background is that I am an ABA certified Paralegal.
 
May 6, 2009
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Sorry without trying to sound completely ignorant, doping isn't illegal in the US, like it is in places like France, but rather the use of PEDs is illegal, but not doping per se? Or is it all illegal, no matter what?

Thanks :)
 
Sep 24, 2009
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JV is suing me for Libel!

Can he win?

WTF can I do?

Is there a lawyer in the house. I got cash!

I'm joking about JV. I'm a big fan of lawyers. Noble profession. Good stuff.

I am curious about Libel. Has it been answered already?
 
Apr 28, 2010
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unless you know something is not true and that it would have unwanted effects on JV, he cannot do anything. And even if these two things are the case it would be very difficult for JV to prove otherwise. And even if he could he is still a public figure which ensures you have much more leeway. But is short, no, no he can't realle make a case against you

That's the short and easy answer to your question, for a more insigthful look, you should talk with one of the US lawyers, either on here or somewhere else.
 
Sep 24, 2009
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Barrus said:
unless you know something is not true and that it would have unwanted effects on JV, he cannot do anything. And even if these two things are the case it would be very difficult for JV to prove otherwise. And even if he could he is still a public figure which ensures you have much more leeway. But is short, no, no he can't realle make a case against you

That's the short and easy answer to your question, for a more insigthful look, you should talk with one of the US lawyers, either on here or somewhere else.
Oh, I was almost absolutely sure I couldn't be sued because I believe what I say and intend no malice.

I was waiting for a lawyer to answer definitively, and even in that case, two lawyers will give 3 different opinions.

I take it you're not a U.S. lawyer?:rolleyes:
 
Apr 28, 2010
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buckwheat said:
Oh, I was almost absolutely sure I couldn't be sued because I believe what I say and intend no malice.

I was waiting for a lawyer to answer definitively, and even in that case, two lawyers will give 3 different opinions.

I take it you're not a U.S. lawyer?:rolleyes:
Nope, but read enough about libel and slander in the US to make some broad comments. I mainly focused on liability of third parties in my research and not on the exact interpretation of the term in US Law
 
Jun 16, 2009
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buckwheat said:
Oh, I was almost absolutely sure I couldn't be sued because I believe what I say and intend no malice.

I was waiting for a lawyer to answer definitively, and even in that case, two lawyers will give 3 different opinions.

I take it you're not a U.S. lawyer?:rolleyes:
My father & grandfather both prominent lawyers with over 100 years of experience. The one thing they drummed in to me at a young age

"Anyone can bring a lawsuit for any reason whatsoever, it is up to a judge as to whether it has any merit"

They used to regale me with stories of preposterous lawsuits that were not only allowed to go to trial but succeeded. Sometimes judge's decisions went contrary to the law on the face of it but the judge would find some rationalization in order for the trial to go forward.

Also i have heard & seen of blatant miscarriages of justice. One of the worst involved an "open & shut" case. A woman ran a stop sign, and totalled my Mothers car, breaking her leg. The woman admitted fault and her sole defense was something along the lines of "the sun was in my eyes". she was at fault, caused extensive damage broken several laws and admitted liability. The trial had barely started when the judge took all parties into chambers, he turned to my mother and said"isn't your husband that big shot lawyer who wins all his cases?" my mother said yes and he said he was going to even things out a little by dismissing the lawsuit.
and he did.
When my mothers lawyer asked why the judge said "i dont have to give you a reason," and invited him to take it up with the bar.
I couldnt believe it, my father was livid when he heard, but that was that.
He explained to me that this happens everday, people bait your pride and if you take the bait they will ruin you financially. It is one huge chess game that most people should avoid.
Some judges make their own law. That is a fact and every decent lawyer in this country(US) knows it.
sad but true
so to reiterate
anyone can bring an action against anyone else for any reason whatsoever.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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now, here’s the thing that bothers me. what overwhelming evidence could he have submitted to the panel in the 10 day appeal window (mind you, we’re talking about the events settled months ago) that he could not have submitted 10 days earlier ? Simply put, why did he not submit the exculpatory evidence right away ?

This all stinks of a political settlement and I’m starting ( for the first time in this case) to distrust contador’s lawyers and the rfec’s professionalism.

‘let’s give him an illogical one year showing to the world the Spanish are tough on doping, then let’s look wise and prudent because we’ve seen more information……….and let the chips fall whre they may‘

Strange to say the least..
 
Jul 23, 2009
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From the NYVelocity thread:
Oldman said:
He won't do time for perjury in that case because it was a civil case.
This is not the first time that I've seen someone state that the SCA testimony is inapplicable to perjury. Can someone explain what it is about the relevant US/State law that makes this so? I checked the difference in definitions of perjury between the US Code and the Canadian Code with which I am more familiar. Was the SCA hearing held under some state law that is outside the scope of the US Code? The US Code states any case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered; do civil cases not apply? I'm interested in learning more about this.

EDIT: Maybe this can be dropped as a 'sticky' thread. Nobody has posted in it for six weeks until now.
EDIT2: Ah, good point Martin.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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pedaling squares said:
EDIT: Maybe this can be dropped as a 'sticky' thread. Nobody has posted in it for six weeks until now.
I think maybe the value of this thread isn't really how many posts it attracts, more so how many new threads don't get created.
 

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