Tuesday, November 21, 2006

U.S. v. Lazarenko (9th Cir. - Nov. 21, 2006)

"Sandy, baby!" Welcome to the Ninth Circuit!

Justice O'Connor sat on a couple of panels last month, and this opinion is the first published disposition from that crew. Justice O'Connor doesn't write the opinion -- Judge Tallman does -- and the appeal involves a fairly unusual set of circumstances, arising as it does from the siezure of $2.5 million in assets from the former Ukranian Prime Minister (Pavel Ivanovich Lazarenko). (Lazarenko, by the way, is one of a very select group of former foreign leaders -- Manuel Noriega comes to mind -- who's currently serving time in a U.S. prison.) (Total parenthetical note: Did you guys know that Noriega is scheduled to get out of prison sometime next year? Wow. Time really flies!)

Okay, enough parentheticals. The opinion itself concerns complicated fed courts issues that wouldn't be worth slogging through but for the involvement of the various judicial and foreign dignitaries referred to above. In the end, the appeal is dismissed, and everyone -- including Sandy -- concurs.

Justice O'Connor. Noriega. The former Soviet Union. I feel like it's the 1980's all over again.