Today during his closing argument, prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola vouched for the credibility of known heroin addict Antonio Curatolo, who claimed during the criminal trial that he saw Knox and Sollecito near the crime scene the night of the murder.
Curatolo’s testimony unraveled during the appeal when Curatolo’s story grew more implausible as he claimed buses were running and students were congregating on a night when the buses were not running due to the disco being closed. During his closing argument, Costagliola apparently minimized the effect of heroin use on a person’s perceptions and credibility, which led Perugia Shock blogger to sarcastically write:
Heroin doesn’t give hallucinations … your perceptions won’t change. You can work the same if you take heroin. You can follow a class without any problem. You can work at the assembly line. You can manage your clients’ money. You can operate on your patients. You can sit on the directors’ board. You can sit in court to testify, or to judge people. It doesn’t give you hallucinations. So, why do people take it if it doesn’t give them not even a bit of hallucination?
In the U.S. the testimony of known drug addicts is so troubling that courts often will issue an “addict instruction” to the jurors cautioning them to be careful in considering the testimony of an addict. The instruction usually goes like this:
The testimony of a drug addict must be examined and weighed by the jury with greater care than the testimony of a witness who does not abuse drugs. An addict may have a constant need for drugs, and for money to buy drugs, and may also have a greater fear of imprisonment because his or her source of drugs may be cut off.
I noticed the prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola also asked the jurors: “As you make your decision, I wish that you jurors feel a little bit like the parents of Meredith Kercher…”. For what it is worth, in the U.S. these sort of put-yourself-in-the-victim’s-shoes type of arguments are considered prosecutorial misconduct, and are banned in courts.
Not to be out done by Costagliola, Mignini himself made some pretty outlandish statements today, comparing the Amanda Knox defense claims to Nazi propaganda. Mignini argued that the defense committed: “…slander, slander, slander in the hope that it some of it will stick. It’s worthy of the noted propaganda minister of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.”
Who was impressed by all this nonsense? Pretty much just Barbie Nadeau, who headlined her article as follows: “Knox Appeal Hits a Snag – Since her appeal began, Amanda Knox has appeared to be sailing toward an acquittal—but the prosecution’s powerful closing argument today could alter her fate once again.” Is she kidding? Apparently in the mind of Barbie Nadeau, the jurors said to themselves: “Hmmmm…. maybe we shouldn’t acquit. Mignini DID have a pretty good point about our war-time allies the Nazis.”
Lastly, Mignini made reference Rudy Guede and argued: “Don’t let the poor black guy be the only one to pay the price for this murder.” The best response to this was by EdLancey in the comment section of Nadeau’s article. He wrote: “Have you ever heard a more disgusting comment, the poor girl’s room was covered in his [Guede's] bloody footprints and semen, and this lunatic tries to play the race card.”
I just finished the book The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg, by Doug Bremner. The book describes Dr. Bremner’s attempts to study the side-effects of the acne medicine Accutane, and the book chronicles his life’s unraveling in the face of a smear campaign by the drug company Hoffman-La Roche.
Doug Bremner was working for Emory University in 2001 when he was approached by the father of a boy who had killed himself after being prescribed Accutane. Having no real idea of what he was getting into, Bremner volunteered to conduct studies and ended up in the vortex of a multi-million dollar battle between a ruthless pharmaceutical company and shark trial lawyers working for the plaintiffs.
Roche took the drug off the market in 2009, but not before accumulated statistics on suicides, birth defects and stunted growth attributed to the medicine. Roche warned of possible side effects in the fine print, but the company soon began pushing sales of the drugs to kids with just normal teenage acne. You will recall that this sort of pressure for more and more sales is what motivated Purdue-Pharma to be fined $600,000,000 for over-marketing OxyContin as a “safer alternative” to Percocet or Vicodin. (See earlier post.)
Bremner signed on as an expert witness for plaintiff’s counsel for several families that sued Roche when they lost teens to suicide. I came to learn a little bit about what it is like to be a witness in a high-pressure court case by reading this book. Bremner was grilled by defense lawyers in 15 different, day-long depositions where he was forced to answer endless questions over a course of years. At Roche’s apparent urging, Bremner was brought up to defend ethics charges at the university where he worked, and Bremner’s life slipped out of control as one of the world’s richest corporations did everything they could to publicly discredit him. The lawyers working with Bremner failed to prepare him or fully protect him, and the stress pushed Bremner away from his family. Bremner tried to keep centered by reminding himself that he was helping the families of Accutane patients, but this only carried him so far. He escaped by taking long drives where he researched the background of his mother who died when he was just 4 years old. But this angered his other family members, who viewed this as an affront to his stepmother. Feeling alone, Bremner grew too close to an ex-girlfriend from high school in an online friendship. Bremner resolved these issues on a therapist’s couch, and in the book he mused on New Age religions, particle physics, genealogy, and contemporary music.
The book ends on an upbeat note as Roche pulled the drug from the market. Also, Bremner’s biggest detractor is exposed as being secretly on the payroll of Big Pharma. Doug Bremner healed his familial rifts when he smartened up and refocused on his wife. Bremner’s efforts to learn more about his mother led him through a trail of dinky towns in eastern Washington, which is the same area where I live and practice law. In the end, Bremner held a long-overdue burial service with his mother’s ashes.
Someday, society will hold these drug companies to higher standards of decency, and they will not be able to stall and hide these side effects for so long while they reap billions of dollars. But until this day, Doug Bremner will go down in the history books as a champion of the forgotten patients, as a physician who told the truth at great personal cost, or simply dared to conduct basic studies in response to patient complaints.
Doug Bremner writes in the book: “I don’t know how I got dragged into this mess… I always avoided controversy and confrontation like the plague.” I am sure Doug Bremner was selected as an expert witness because he was honest, well-credentialed, and could connect with a jury. But to take on a project like this, it helps to have a hide like an alligator. This book is an amazing personal story of a man who nearly lost everything in his bid to stand up for families harmed by a company that pushed Accutane for profit – it is definitely worth picking up.
I think Amanda Knox has a 91.5% chance of being set free this month when her appeal is concluded. That is my expert opinion as a practicing criminal lawyer who has followed this case closely. In other words it is just a wild-ass guess. But as everyone just powerlessly sits and wait, this “percent chance” question seems to be what everyone is asking. I have seen this “percent chances” question asked in blog forums and also in the comment section of Murder in Italy‘s Facebook page yesterday. Ultimately, all any lawyer can do is try his or her best to convince the judge or jury. There are no assurances of outcomes. Oftentimes, people will study the slightest thing judges or juries do in order to divine what result will be reached.
For example, it was generally viewed as a good sign when Judge Pratillo Hellman denied the prosecution’s request to have the DNA re-tested again. However, I suppose one could interpret this as meaning the judge believed the prosecutor’s case was sufficient without the DNA, and wished to spare the prosecution the trouble and delay. I have a feeling that when closing arguments begin on September 23rd, the lawyers will pretty much feel that they have made many of their points already.
One of the other things I wonder about is what sort of life Amanda Knox will have if she is freed and returned home. Surely that would be a good day to look forward to, but Mignini’s injustice has already done irreparable harm to Amanda and her family. My experience has been that individuals cleared of serious allegations experience a short “high” upon their release, but later dwell bitterly on their mistreatment when they reflect on time lost, legal bills, and the torment on their family members. In my opinion no sort of court victory will be complete without Giuliano Mignini being held to account and without reform in the Italian criminal justice system. While the press in the U.S. has been more fair to Knox, Americans too can be cruel. Mignini’s attacks and half-truths have reached our shores as well, and not just by the Lifetime T.V. network. It seems Giuliano Mignini should face separate criminal charges for how he has handled the Amanda Knox case. My expert opinion is that upon Knox’s acquittal, Mignini has a 96.2% chance of never practicing law again.
What do you think about the latest developments in this case?
In the 13-year history of Washington’s medical marijuana law, the Department of Health (DOH) has not taken disciplinary action against any health care provider related to medical marijuana authorizations. However, DOH has opened an investigation recently into health care providers who are claimed to have issued the authorizations at Hemp Fest in Seattle. It pretty much started when a reporter from the Seattle Times, Jonathan Martin, stopped by a booth set up by 4Evergreen, and claims to have walked off with a medical marijuana authorization 11 minutes later. To get the authorization, Martin complained of “a four-year problem, treated by physical therapy, prescription, and over-the-counter pain remedies, with weekly flare-ups ranging from slight to severe.” This article pretty much highlights a difference in philosophy between medical marijuana advocates and others in the state. Many think medical marijuana should be a drug of last resort, whereas others view medical cannabis as a safer alternative to other powerful drugs such as hydrocodone or OxyContin. It would have been interesting for Martin to have conducted a similar experiment to see how easily he could obtain those prescription drugs. I would bet that his similar complaints could have led to a prescription for OxyContin in a lot of doctor’s offices.
The story by Jonathan Martin reminds me a little bit of what Clel Baudler did when he was fighting medical marijuana in Iowa. Baudler, who is a state representative, traveled to California and lied about a medical condition in order to demonstrate how easily he could obtain a prescription. He admitted he lied, and later faced ethics charges over the incident.
What do you think? Should state law be amended to make it harder to obtain authorizations?
Last month in Marijuana DUI (Part I), we discussed the extreme difficulty the scientific community has had in measuring the effects of marijuana on a person’s ability to drive. In part two of this blog post, we now turn to the practical difficulties criminal defense attorneys face in defending marijuana DUI charges.
Jury Selection on a Marijuana DUI Case
As a starting point, it is pretty much the experience of every defense lawyer that jurors tend to analogize marijuana to alcohol when it comes to DUI. As we discussed last month, there is no .08 limit for marijuana for THC. Consequently, jurors cannot convict a person based on a “number” alone. The criminal cases then turn when the prosecuting attorney proves that the person was actually impaired by the marijuana use. But how does marijuana impair a person’s ability to drive? Jurors have a wide range of views and experiences on this subject. Many jurors have never used marijuana, and so they are inclined to think of it in terms of drugs they have tried such as alcohol or prescription pills. Additionally, some jurors may have used marijuana in their youth and experienced a strong, somewhat hallucinatory experience as a first-time user. As one would imagine, asking prospective jurors about their experience with illegal drugs can be a little awkward. In urban environments such as Spokane or Seattle, jurors have a bit more anonymity during the jury selection process. However, in rural locales such as Okanogan County, Stevens County, Lincoln County, or Grant County, jurors are much more inclined to actually know one another. A defense lawyer or a prosecutor is just not going to get a straight answer out of the jury panel on the subject of marijuana use. Additionally, jurors in those rural counties such as Okanogan or Stevens County are going to have, on average, less accepting views toward marijuana use as a whole than say Seattle, for instance.
Marijuana Use and Observation of the Police
A prosecution for a marijuana DUI usually involves a police officer testifying about the ways he or she believed that a driver was effected by marijuana or THC. Jurors come to court knowing what a drunk person looks like, but often have no idea about the ways marijuana effects (or doesn’t effect) a person. Drug recognition experts (DRE’s) usually testify that a driver having consumed marijuana will have dilated pupils, red or bloodshot eyes, a lack of convergence of the eyes, an elevated pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, eyelid tremors, and disorientation. Compared to DUI involving alcohol, much less is taught about marijuana DUI investigation at the police academies. Officers seem to exchange tips on these investigations, and the techniques are frequently the subject of discussion in online police forums, see here, for example. Much of what the police study comes from the NHTSA manual Drugs and Human Performance. Unfortunately this volume is full of some pretty odd opinions and discredited techniques on such investigations. The manual mentions the “green tongue” phenomenon, or green coating on the tongue that a smoker of marijuana is “supposed” to have. Additionally, the manual opines that marijuana cigarettes “are often laced with adulterants including PCP or crack cocaine,” which is something I certainly don’t hear about “often” in my practice as a defense lawyer. Officers often describe looking closely with their flashlight for flakes of marijuana that might be on drivers’ laps, or remain on the tongue or mouth of a user after smoking a marijuana cigarette. Officers also seem to be of the opinion that hanging tree-shaped air-fresheners indicate that the driver has been using marijuana, according to above mentioned forum.
So as you can see, the current state of marijuana DUI enforcement leaves much to be desired. The practical effect of all this is that drivers are often at the mercy of the subjective opinions of the officer as to how he or she looked. These “evaluations” for marijuana intoxication are typically not video-recorded.
What do you think about how society should deal with this issue? Please share you thoughts, opinions, or experiences on this subject in the comment section below.
What is a “marijuana DUI”? What does it mean to be “under the influence” of marijuana? What is the safe level, and how is it measured? How are marijuana DUI’s defended?
Law enforcement in the last few years has really been pushing investigations and arrests over so-called “marijuana DUI’s.” In this two-part blog post we will look at how marijuana affects a person’s ability to drive, and more importantly, how it does not. Today we will discuss the scientific studies, and then we will come back in a couple of weeks to discuss more law, and how marijuana DUI court cases work for a defendant and the criminal defense lawyer. It is illegal under Washington State law RCW 46.61.502(1) to drive “under the influence” of any drug. ”Under the influence” is typically defined as when the person’s ability to drive “is affected to an appreciable degree.” There is no .08 equivalent for marijuana. In each case, a police officer must prove “under the influence.” Let’s turn to the subject of the scientific studies.
Professor Harry Klonoff Experiments in 1973
In 1973, Professor Harry Klonoff of the University of British Columbia decided to run experiments on the effects of marijuana on a person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle. Professor Klonoff provided marijuana cigarettes that contained .7 grams to his subjects, and he instructed them to smoke the marijuana by inhaling for 3 seconds, and holding it in their lungs for 15 seconds, and then exhaling and then resting for 15 seconds until the cigarette was completed. Since the test was “double blind,” he had half the group use a placebo form of marijuana. He then sent the test subjects out on a driving course, and then later sent the drivers out into rush hour traffic in the city of Vancouver, B.C. (Yeah, I know, it is hard to imagine the city of Spokane allowing such a test today). The only apparent safety precaution was that the vehicles used were “dual control,” so the cars had driver’s-education style brakes on the right-hand side where a professional observer sat.
The study was extremely complex with a number of different variables, methods of scoring, and scientific controls. Professor Klonoff concluded that for some drivers the use of marijuana hurt the individual’s driving ability. However, the study also found that some drivers performed better after smoking marijuana. Dr. Klonoff wrote:
It is evident that the smoking of marijuana by human subjects does have a detrimental effect on their driving skills and performance in a restricted driving area, and that this effect is even greater under normal conditions of driving on city streets. The effect of marijuana on driving is not uniform for all subjects, however, but it is in fact bidirectional; whether or not a significant decline occurs in driving ability is dependent both on the subject’s capacity to compensate and on the dose of marijuana. For those subjects who improved their performance, the explanation may lie in overcompensation and possibly the sedative effect of the drug.
The biggest takeaway from Dr. Klonoff’s study is that marijuana does not have a predictable negative effect on a person’s ability to drive. Consequently, it is very difficult for any principled expert to testify in a court of law that a person was affected by the marijuana in any certain way. If you want to look up the article at your local medical school library, the citation is: Klonoff H. Marijuana and Driving in Real-Life Situations. Science 1974;186(4161);317-24. Klonoff’s test pretty much carried the day in the scientific community until a similar test was run in Maastricht, Holland two decades later.
The Maastricht Studies of 1993
In 1993, the U.S. Department of Transportation sponsored a study done by the Institute of Human Psycho-pharmacology at the University of Limburg in Maastricht, Netherlands.
Like the Klonoff study, the Maastricht study was done by providing marijuana for the test subjects to smoke, and then monitoring their ability to drive. Doses were provided in the THC amounts of 0 (control group), 110, 200, and 300 ug/kg. The subjects then drove through a closed roadway and then a roadway with traffic present. As with the Klonoff study, vehicles with “redundant controls” were used as a safety precaution. In the executive summary of the published study, the scientists wrote:
This program of research has shown that marijuana, when taken alone, produces a moderate degree of driving impairment which is related to the consumed THC dose. The impairment manifests itself mainly in the ability to maintain a steady lateral position on the road, but its magnitude is not exceptional in comparison with changes produced by many medicinal drugs and alcohol. Drivers under the influence of marijuana retain insight in their performance, and will compensate where they can (for example) by slowing down or increasing effort. As a consequence, THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small.
The scientists had hoped to determine whether it was possible to predict driving impairment by the levels of THC in the drivers’ blood. However, they concluded that the answer was “very clear” that this was not possible. They explained that some drivers were impaired with both high and low levels of THC, and conversely some drivers with high levels of THC in their blood performed quite well. For more details see: Robbe HW, O’Hanlon JF. Marijuana and actual driving performance. US Department of Transportation/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration November: 1-133 (1993). DOT HS 808 078. The study failed to provide clear guidance to the U.S. government on marijuana DUI policy.
The Grotenhermen Study of 2007
The last study to look at is the research report entitled “Developing Limits for Driving Under Cannabis” published in 2007 in the journal for the Society for the Study of Addiction. That study again tried to determine a limit for THC levels in a driver’s blood that would be similar to the .08 limit for alcohol DUI charges. The scientists compared a THC blood level of 4.2 ng/ml to driving with a blood alcohol level of .04. The study explains that the margin of error in testing is great with a confidence interval of 3.1 to 7.7. Due to such a large margin of error, the study suggests that a legal limit be set in the amount of 7 to 10mg/ml for blood. Rather than base the study on driving tests, this study based its conclusions on studies done on individuals who had had their blood tested after a crash.
The Challenge to Defense Lawyers
Many jurors have difficulty understanding the way marijuana affects the human driver. Jurors’ knowledge and experience with marijuana will vary significantly, and it can be awkward to ask about marijuana use during jury selection. Juror views on marijuana can vary sharply between metropolitan areas like Spokane, and more rural areas like Okanogan or Colville, Washington. Jurors usually try to analogize other drugs to alcohol, which jurors are more familiar with. However, the effects of marijuana are very different from alcohol. Criminal defense lawyers also have a steep learning curve in understanding the science of marijuana intoxication. A defense attorney should consider hiring or consulting with an independent toxicologist. Due to the complexity of the science of marijuana use, it is a challenge to all the participants of the criminal justice system. Because the science is so vague, the representatives from the Washington State Toxicology Lab usually testify about the ways THC is “likely” to affect an individual. The Washington state toxicologists typically base their testimony on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s manual entitled “Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets.” That manual cautions “It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person’s THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects. Concentrations of parent drug and metabolite are very dependent on pattern of use as well as dose.” In light of the difficulty in interpreting blood test results, marijuana DUI charges often come down to officer testimony and the field sobriety tests. We will discuss this aspect in part two of this blog post.
Ready for some fair press coverage about Amanda Knox? After all, it is not just the Italian and British tabloids that suck. The Lifetime Network’s movie about the trial was pretty bad, and the coverage on the network news is hardly insightful. So check out the new Rolling Stone article about the Knox trial by Nathaniel Rich. The article is entitled: “The Never Ending Nightmare of Amanda Knox.” If you want to pick it up at the news stand, look for the new issue with Katy Perry on the cover.
The article debunks a lot of the myths about Knox, her family, and her personal life. The article contains interviews with Knox’s friends who visit her regularly, and share what Knox is thinking and how she is holding up. The people who know Knox described her as a naive kid, with few self-preservation skills or street smarts, that she would talk to strangers, and always assume that people were good and fair. So we see how that could be a problem in the Italian criminal justice system. The reporter obviously spent a lot of time camped out in court, and bumped into Candace Dempsey there last month. As an American lawyer, I found Rich’s observations about the Italian court interesting. He writes: “…[T]here is never order in the court, the lawyers and defendants constantly interrupting the proceedings with groans and catcalls and wild gesticulations, while the press in the gallery yammers away like the kids in the back of the classroom.” Rich doesn’t really set his sites on Giuliano Mignini so much as the evidence in the case as a whole. The reporter does fault the Italian police officers who first arrived at Knox’s apartment. The first officers on the scene did not have much experience, and he compares the investigation to something out of Scooby-Doo. The article contains an interview with Giuliano Mignini, and that probably was not easy to arrange. The article doesn’t mention any questions posed about Mignini’s own criminal conviction, or the frivolous slander charges Mignini has brought against Knox’s parents.
The funny thing about what Mignini says is that many of his opinions about Knox seem to be based on her demeanor, which I find really superficial as I have complained about before.
I am interested in what you think about this article or the case in general. Post your comments below.
The case against Amanda Knox was further weakened yesterday when Italian jail inmate Luciano Aviello testified and contradicted Giuliano Mignini’s theory of the case. Luciano Aviello is a mobster from Naples that is serving a 17-year sentence for racketeering. Luciano Aviello tried to contact Italian authorities numerous times to give them the information that he had on the death of Meredith Kercher. He was ignored, but was called to the stand yesterday by Amanda Knox’s lawyers to testify in her appeal. Luciano Aviello testified that his brother Antonio Aviello returned home with a knife one day, covered with blood, and confessed to the crime. These sort of jail-house witnesses always pose a problem for any judicial system, whether in Italy or the U.S. However, there are ways to test the credibility of such statements. Usually, such witnesses are produced by the prosecutor, after he or she agrees to give a lenient sentence. Since Luciano Aviello was called by the defense, we know that there has not been any such inducement. The timing of the statement is also important. Here Luciano Aviello consistently reported his concern to authorities but was apparently ignored. The track record of a witness is also important. In this case Luciano Aviello has been used repeatedly by prosecutors to testify against other mobsters, but only when he speaks in Knox’s defense is he deemed to lack credibility. Luciano Aviello claims that he and his brother were living in Perugia at the time of the killing, and this should probably be pretty easy to confirm or refute. Luciano claims that his brother described the killing as resulting from a botched burglary. It would be interesting to hear if Antonio Aviello has a criminal record for other such burglaries. Luciano Aviello has always claimed that he buried the knife used to murder Meredith Kercher near his home, covering it with earth and lime, along with the keys to the house. As pointed out by an Italian writer, the strange thing is that the keys to the victim’s apartment were not ever found. At Amanda Knox’s first trial, the defense team was not allowed to produce this testimony. This is an issue that American criminal courts wrestle with too. U.S. courts do not always allow defense attorneys to call witnesses to state that others have confessed to the crime. Such testimony is sometimes considered hearsay, and is governed by evidence rule 804 which requires that the evidence be corroborated before it is presented to a jury.
Additionally, a fellow inmate of Rudy Guede, Mario Alessi testified yesterday that Rudy had confessed to him that Knox and Sollecito had nothing to do with the crime. Rudy Guede denied ever speaking to Alessi, but other detainees corroborated that they had spoken. Usually what police look for when considering such statements is whether the witness knows of some crime-scene detail that a person would only know if they were at the scene of the crime. However, in this case the police seem to have leaked out all the details of the offense to the press.
What do you think? Could Antonio Aviello have committed the offense? Could he have been with Rudy Guede on the night of the offense? The press is treating the testimony of Luciano Aviello and Mario Alessi as contradictory, but is it really that inconsistent? If Antonio Aviello has committed a sexual assault, would he really want to admit this to his brother? Doesn’t it make more sense that if he wanted his brother’s help that he would have described the homicide as a botched burglary?
I guess I don’t give a lot of “shout outs” in this blog, and my last one was in February of 2010, but I want to mention a law firm in Colville, Washington that does good work, and is recently expanding. That would be the firm of attorney Tom Webster. About 3 years ago he left a job at a small firm and opened up his own place. Then about a year later, he hired another lawyer to come work for him, and then more recently another. I hadn’t been in his office for a while, but I stopped by last week, and noticed he has recently expanded his office. His practice is growing for a simple reason – his firm does good legal work. If you have an issue of family law, or a tort case, or a business dispute, check him out. His website contains the tag line that Stevens County residents need not go to Spokane to get good representation. But it won’t be long before people from Spokane start driving north to see him.
Well, I sent out my first DMCA take-down notice last week when law.hukuni.net republished one of my blog posts without permission. For those of you who don’t know, a DMCA take-down notice is a legal warning that you send to a website that infringes on copyrighted material, and the notice is usually sent to the webhoster, and sometimes the search engines too. So here is how it went.
Last Sunday, I posted a new blog post about going to court on a marijuana charges. A reader informed me that my blog post had been republished on hukuki.net, and that the hukuki.net version was coming up first in Google. I looked up where the hukuki.net domain was registered on whois.net, which led me to this page, which gave me the contact info for where to send this threatening letter.
I am the copyright owner of the article being infringed at:
The article is a direct infringement of http://www.grahamlawyerblog.com/2011/06/05/charged-with-marijuana-possession-here-are-9-things-you-should-know-before-your-arraignment/ which is owned by me.
This letter is official notification under the provisions of Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to effect removal of the above-reported infringements. I request that you immediately issue a cancellation message as specified in RFC 1036 for the specified postings and prevent the infringer, who is identified by its Web address, from posting the infringing article to your servers in the future. Please be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to “expeditiously remove or disable access to” the infringing writing upon receiving this notice. Noncompliance may result in a loss of immunity for liability under the DMCA.
I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of here is not authorized by me, the copyright holder, or the law. The information provided here is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I swear under penalty of perjury that I am the copyright holder.
Please send me at the address noted below a prompt response indicating the actions you have taken to resolve this matter.
/s/ Stephen Graham email: firstname.lastname@example.org
When I didn’t hear back right away, I sent a complaint to Google, and they responded:
Thank you for your note.
In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have completed
processing your infringement complaint. The following webpages will be
removed from Google in a few hours:
Please let us know if we can assist you further.
The Google Team
When I clicked on that link I confirmed that Google had, in fact, removed the page. I was kind of hoping that Google might just nuke the whole hukuki.net site, but I guess that was too much to hope for. The site law.hukuki.net is kind of like the Napster of law blogs. All it does, apparently, is just pilfer law- related sites and republish the articles. Then I went back online today, and wasn’t able to access any of law.hukuki.net so maybe the whole site has been taken down.
When hukuki.net republished my blog post, it did credit the post back to me with a nofollow link, but at the same time the site was cluttered up with a bunch of do follow links to mesothelioma lawyers. I probably wouldn’t have cared that law.hukuki.net had reprinted my post except for the fact that Google was applying a duplicate content penalty to my site. And by that I mean that is Google had misidentified my original version as a copy and had ranked the hukuki.net version higher in their search engine.
So my advice to other bloggers would be to complain to Google. I never did hear back from the hukuki site, which is based in Turkey.