Posts Tagged ‘Susan Illston’

Remembering the Cosco Busan Oil Spill Three Years Later – Turns Out That Everybody was to Blame

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Has it been only three years since the Cosco Busan, the leakiest 2001 Hyundai ever, spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel* into the bay? Seems longer.

Anyway, turns out that a dude who supposed to be up front looking out for stuff in the pea soup fog was downstairs in the galley eating breakfast. I did not know that, no sir. Of course, the idea to depart on sked despite the fog came from the bar pilot, so that’s the person who’s primarily responsible. But there still plenty of blame to go around. Deets below.

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

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All right, it’s Blame Time:

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the following probable causes of the accident:

- the pilot’s degraded cognitive performance from his use of prescription medications, despite his completely clean post accident drug test,
- the absence of a comprehensive pre-departure master/pilot exchange and a lack of effective communication between Pilot John Cota and Master Mao Cai Sun during the accident voyage, and
- (COSCO Busan Master) Sun’s ineffective oversight of Cota’s piloting performance and the vessel’s progress.

Other contributing factors included:

- the failure of Fleet Management Ltd. to train the COSCO Busan crewmembers (which led to such acts of gross negligence as the bow lookout eating breakfast in the galley instead of being on watch) and Fleet Management’s failure to ensure that the crew understood and complied with the company’s safety management system;
- the failure of Caltrans to maintain foghorns on the bridge which were silent despite the heavy fog;
- the failure of Vessel Traffic Safety (VTS) to alert Cota and Sun that they were headed for the tower. VTS is legally required to alert a vessel if an accident appears imminent, yet they remained silent;
- the malfunctioning radar on the COSCO Busan, which led Captains Cota and Sun to use an electronic chart for the rest of the voyage. Although Coast Guard investigators found the radar to be in working order, they did not examine it until days after the accident (allowing time for faulty equipment to be fixed, which is not uncommon after a marine accident)
- Captain Sun’s incorrect identification of symbols on the electronic chart;
- the U.S. Coast Guard’s failure to provide adequate medical oversight of Cota, in view of the medical and medication information he had reported to the Coast Guard

Happy Anniversary, Cosco Busan, or should I say MSC Venezia? Don’t ever come back.

The patched-up ship finally hits the road, back in aught-seven – this was the last time we’ll ever see the Cosco Busan in the Bay Area, most likely:

*Yeah, Wiki is still wrong on that gallonage figure, partly due to the U.S. Coast Guard sitting on information for months and months ’cause they didn’t want to earn themselves any more bad press.

Cosco Busan Oil Spill Endgame: Chinese-Based Fleet Management Ltd. to pay $10 Mil.

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Here’s the news from the boys and girls at Justice, below.

Patched up and riding high – the last time we saw the Cosco Busan back in 2007. Will it ever come back? She’s called the MSC Venezia these days, currently working in the Canaries.

Oh well, she’s not the first Hyundai to leak oil into San Francsico Bay, and she won’t be the last.

The full release, after the jump

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San Francisco’s Judge Vaughn Walker Drags Our Federal Courts into the 21st Century

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Once again, our little town is getting some attention from the Roberts Court – an order just came down from the U.S. Supremes about their temporary ban on broadcasts of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, San Francisco’s Proposition 8 / gay rights case.

It’s interesting to note that vaunted Vaughn R. Walker, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, was working on this very issue of cameras in the courtroom just few months back.

San Francisco City Hall Examiner Sweet Melissa Griffin makes a point as Judge Walker looks on, as seen last year:

The Future is Coming, of course, so we’ll have federal trials on YouTube sooner or later…

Filling up the void of information comes attorney Ted Olson. Get his punta de vista from this morning below.

UPDATE: And get the text of his opening statement after the jump.

Ted Olson to Make Opening Statement in Prop. 8 Trial/Avail Info

Trial on Unconstitutionality of Prop. 8 Begins in U.S. District Court; Plaintiffs To Testify First For latest information, visit equalrightsfoundation.org

The federal trial over the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 will begin Monday, January 11 with an opening statement by attorney Theodore Olson, who with David Boies is leading the legal team assembled by the American Foundation for Equal Rights to litigate the case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Opening statements will be followed by testimony from Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, who comprise two couples who wish to be married but who were denied marriage licenses because of Proposition 8.

 –  For courthouse access information, visit:
     https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv2292/
 –  For information about remote viewing locations, visit:
     http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/news/watch-prop-8-trial-live/
 –  Visit http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/ for updates regarding
     potential broadcast of trial, photos, any available footage, court
     filings, live tweets from the courthouse and more.
 –  Plaintiff’s case is outlined at
     http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/legal-filings/plaintiffs-trial-brief/

 
Olson and Boies notably represented George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore respectively in the 2000 Supreme Court case that decided the presidency.

At trial, Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, will weigh witness testimony, a multitude of documents and other evidence, and arguments presented by some of the nation’s most distinguished attorneys.

“This unequal treatment of gays and lesbians denies them the basic liberties and equal protection under the law that are guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the plaintiffs’ suit states.

 According to the suit, Prop. 8:
 –  Violates the Due Process Clause by impinging on fundamental liberties.
 –  Violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
 –  Singles out gays and lesbians for a disfavored legal status, thereby
     creating a category of “second-class citizens.”
 –  Discriminates on the basis of gender.
 –  Discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

 
Olson and Boies will also point out the “crazy quilt” of separate, unequal and unconstitutional classifications of people that Prop. 8 has compelled the California government to create:

 –  Opposite-sex couples who have full marriage rights
 –  Same-sex couples who have no marriage rights
 –  Same-sex couples married between May and Nov. 2008 whose current
     marriages are recognized, but who will be unable to remarry if widowed
     or divorced
 –  Same-sex couples married in other states who may petition California
     for recognition.

The defendants have the burden of demonstrating that Prop. 8 is narrowly drawn to serve a compelling government interest. Olson and Boies will demonstrate at trial, however, that the initiative fails to advance even a single legitimate interest. Tellingly, when asked by Chief Judge Walker at an Oct. 14 hearing to identify any harm to opposite-sex marriage that would result from marriage equality, the defendants’ attorney answered “I don’t know.”

The case against Prop. 8 has proceeded with uncommon speed toward trial. In an order issued after the first hearing in the case, Chief Judge Walker stated: “Given that serious questions are raised in these proceedings … the court is inclined to proceed directly and expeditiously to the merits of plaintiffs’ claims. … The just, speedy and inexpensive determination of these issues would appear to call for proceeding promptly to trial.”

“More than 30 years ago, the United States Supreme Court recognized that marriage is one of the basic rights of man,” the suit states, referring to the Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia.

Chad Griffin, board president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, noted that near the time when the Supreme Court struck down interracial marriage bans with its 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision, a Gallup poll found that 73 percent of Americans did not approve of interracial marriage.

While Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown were named defendants in their official capacities, along with other state and county officials, Prop. 8 is being defended in court by a prominent conservative organization, the Alliance Defense Fund. Gov. Schwarzenegger earlier filed a brief that did not dispute the unconstitutionality of Prop. 8, and called for swift action by the courts. Attorney General Brown, the state’s chief law enforcement officer, filed a brief agreeing with the plaintiffs’ position that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional.

The ACLU, Lambda Legal, and National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) are participating in the case as amici (friends of the court) in support of the plaintiffs. The City and County of San Francisco, led by City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart, are supporting the plaintiffs’ team as co-counsel, with a specific focus on the negative impact Prop. 8 has on government services and budgets. Herrera and Stewart led the legal battle toward the California Supreme Court decision that struck down California’s previous same-sex marriage ban.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights Advisory Board, which was announced January 9th, includes Julian Bond, Lt. Dan Choi, Margaret Hoover, Dolores Huerta, Cleve Jones, Stuart Milk, David Mixner, Hillary Rosen and Judy Shepard. For more information, see http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/press-releases/american-foundation-for-eq ual-rights-names-advisory-board/.

Olson is a former U.S. Solicitor General and is widely regarded as one of the nation’s preeminent constitutional lawyers, and has argued 55 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. Boies ranks as one of the leading trial lawyers of his generation, having secured landmark victories for clients in numerous areas of the law. This is the first time they have served alongside each other as co-counsel.

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier have been together for nine years and are the parents of four boys. Perry is Executive Director of First 5 California, a state agency that promotes education and health for children under five. She holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MSW from San Francisco State University. Stier is Information Technology Director for the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services Agency. She is originally from Iowa and is a graduate of the University of Iowa. Perry and Stier first tried to marry in 2004, after the City of San Francisco began issuing licenses. They live in Berkeley, CA.

Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo have been together for eight years. Katami is a fitness expert and business owner who graduated from Santa Clara University before receiving his graduate degree from UCLA. Zarrillo is the General Manager of a theater exhibition company. A native of New Jersey, Zarrillo graduated from Montclair State University. Having wanted to marry each other for more than two years, they considered options including traveling to other states for a “civil union,” but felt any alternative fell short of marriage. They live in Burbank, CA.

They have issued the following joint statement: “We and our relationships should be treated equally under the law. Our goal is to advance the cause of equality for all Americans, which is the promise that makes this nation so great.”

Source: American Foundation for Equal Rights

Web Site:  http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/

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Sweet Melissa Griffin Stars at New Media Judicial Conference in San Francisco

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

As promised, San Francisco’s federal judges hosted a conference this afternoon at the Old Federal Building that focused on the changing nature of the news media. Check it:

How Blogs, Twitter and Social Media are Changing Legal Reporting

Today’s draw was famous legal commentator Sweet Melissa Griffin, who kicked things off by revealing  to the judges a surreptitious recording that she had just made.

Melissa holding up her small recording device. So tricksy: 

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That led into an interesting conversation covering new media and our courts. (I’ll link to the video after it gets posted – these bits from John Steele and Kimberly A. Kralowec) should hold you until then). Be sure to listen for Judge Susan  Illston talk about how she worked hard to be media friendly when preparing for the Barry Bonds trial and how she wonders just who the media is these days.

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Speaking of which, there was a ton of media there, so you’ll be sure to hear more about this conference in the coming days.

It’s nice to see all the people in the federal court system working on these issues. Hurray!

Sweet Melissa Griffin, Federal Judges to Star at New Media Conference in San Francisco

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Hey, are you a journalist, Blogger, New Media Content Provider and/or a person who  reports on the business of  courts? If so, you are in luck - word comes today from Kimo Crossman about a FREE half-day conference is coming up at San Francisco’s Old Federal Building (Big Blue) in the Tenderloin / Civic Center area on November 4, 2009. And to butter up all you ink-stained wretches beforehand, the 9th Circuit Office of the Circuit Executive is going on about how “old media” is “imploding.” Quelle surprise!

Anyway, it’s called, How Blogs, Twitter and Social Media are Changing Legal Reporting  - A half-day conference focusing on the changing nature of the news media and its coverage of the federal courts.” Whew.

See?

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And best of all, San Francisco City Hall Examiner Sweet Melissa Griffin will be on one of the panels. OMG! U got 2 go 4 sure!!!

SMG adressing the City Club earlier this year:

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In short, it’s going to be on. But space is limited, so register today!

When:   Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009
1 to 5 p.m., reception to follow
     
Where:   Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
450 Golden Gate Ave.
San Francisco, California
     
Sponsors:   U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Public Information and Community Outreach Committee.
     
To Attend:   Journalists, bloggers, new media content providers and others reporting on the business of the courts are encouraged to attend. The event is free but space is limited.

Conference Program

How Blogs, Twitter and Social Media are Changing Legal Reporting  – A half-day conference focusing on the changing nature of the news media and its coverage of the federal courts

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
 
1:00 p.m. Welcome

Hon. Judge Vaughn R. Walker, Chief District Judge
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Hon. Marilyn L. Huff, District Judge, PICO  Committee Chair
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

1:15 p.m. Media Mania and the Courts

With “old media” imploding and the “new media” exploding, just who is reporting on the courts these days and how are they doing it? What should judges and courts expect from the new media? Join a distinguished panel in discussing how court coverage is changing and what that means for accuracy and access.

Panelists:
James R. Bettinger, Director
Knight Fellowships Program Stanford University

Melissa Griffin, Blogger
TheSweetMelissa.com

Hon. Susan Y. Illston
U.S. District Judge, Northern District of California

Kelli L. Sager, Esq.
Davis, Wright, Tremaine
Ninth Circuit PICO Committee

Peter Scheer
Executive Director
First Amendment Coalition

2:45 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. Blogging, Tweeting: New Media in the Courtroom

Who qualifies as a journalist and does it really matter anymore? Are bloggers the new court reporters? How have courts responded to the challenge of instant reporting via wireless communications devices? Join a judge, a working journalist, legal blogger and Internet law expert in a discussion of new media in the courtroom.

Panelists:
Hon. Jeremy Fogel
U.S. District Judge
Northern District of California

Eric Goldman
Associate Professor & Blogger
Santa Clara University Law School

Jennifer Granick
Civil Liberties Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Howard Mintz
Legal Affairs Writer
San Jose Mercury News

4:30 p.m. Round Up

5:00 p.m. Reception in the Lawyers Lounge, 18th Floor 

The Conference is sponsored by the United States District Court for the District of Northern California and the Ninth Circuit Public Information and Community Outreach Committee. The program will take place at the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco.
 
Parking
The courthouse does not have a public parking lot.
Public parking lots are available on 735 Van Ness between Turk & Eddy streets (open until 5:30 p.m.), and at the corner of Golden Gate and Larkin streets. The Civic Center Garage is also available on McAllister Street between Polk and Larkin streets.

See you there!

All the attendees with bios, after the jump.

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