SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Friday, June 10, 2005

SPITZER SLAPPED DOWN AT TRIAL. "Prosecution by press release won't do in court," says today's OpinionJournal editorial. I won't pretend to have any particular familiarity with the facts in the case of former Bank of America broker Theodore Sihpol. But the editorial provides an interesting read about a recent courtroom defeat for NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

I don't remember too many high profile cases involving AG Spitzer actually making it to trial. His forte seems to be in getting defendants to make settlements on generous terms for the state of New York.

But alas, Sihpol and his case proceeded to trial. A New York jury apparently thought the State's case against him for "late trading" was weak. They sided with Sihpol on 29 counts. The jurors weren't as convinced as AG Spitzer was that late trading was unlawful.

Seeing as AG Spitzer is one of America's most powerful unelected leaders--elected by New Yorkers, perhaps, despite the fact that many of his high-profile lawsuits have profound effects nationally--I like to read articles discussing the latest developments in his interesting tenure as NY AG.

In any event, the editorial closes by noting the U.S. Department of Justice's ability to secure verdicts in major fraud cases, whereas AG Spitzer has used NY's Martin Act to prosecute legally questionable cases. My thought is: Why don't other states get the message and pass Martin Act equivalents? It's seems more reasonable than not that enterprising state legislators would wish to keep their states on equal footing with NY and get in on the aggressive litigation action. (Not that that would necessarily be a good thing.)

Short of a more desirable situation in which federal authorities deal with business and commercial matters of interstate import, it's a wonder why other states haven't taken cue from AG Spitzer and become more agressive. Maybe we should just give the states more time...

(Chelan, WA)

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