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Monday, February 27, 2012

What the Sewing Lawyer does when she's not sewing*

I live in Canada.  It's cold and snowy for months at a time.  Staying indoors is not really an option.  So I enjoy winter sports  in my somewhat inept way.  You already know that I curl.  I also cross-country ski.  I'm incredibly fortunate to live within a 20 minute drive of Gatineau Park, which has over 200 km of ski trails that wind up and down hills, past beautiful frozen lakes, rocky cliffs and through mature forest.

Today there was fresh snow, the temperature was -13C, and the skies were blue.  Fantastic!

So I didn't do much sewing....

*  Or working as a lawyer.  Now that would make for a boring blog post!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Peru Fails to Stop Spain in Odyssey Marine Case

Outside the US Supreme Court
The case of Republic of Peru v. Kingdom of Spain et al. (11A795)--related to Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. v. Kingdom of Spain, et al.--saw a last minute emergency appeal quashed Thursday. Peru made the final effort to stop coins, believed to be from the galleon called Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, from returning to Spain. Spain has insisted that the so-called Black Swan treasure was taken unlawfully by salvor Odyssey Marine because the company impermissibly removed the items from a ship flying the Spanish flag.

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas denied Peru’s appeal on February 23, just two days after that country filed its application to stay. Peru made claims in federal court that the coins were minted in that country.  Justice Thomas also denied Odyssey Marine's application for a stay on February 9.

The high court's decision clears the way for the 17 ton load of coins to be transferred to Spain.  Odyssey Marine's stock fell nearly 4% on Friday.

CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com

Give-away winner

I thought I'd generate a bit of interest, but was surprised by the number of people who have been pining for a Dritz Bound Buttonhole Maker.  Then I looked to see what prices these things command and goodness me!  Some folks have paid more than $40.  Not me, I can assure you!

I wish I had more of them to give away, but my random choice is ... (drummroll) ...


Please get in touch with me at KayJYoung at gmail dot com, and tell me where to send this holy grail of gizmos.

To the rest of you, I promise to be on the lookout for more of these or other interesting tidbits.  Maybe I'll have another blog giveaway before another 27 months have passed.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Old Number One or New Number One?

I have been published in this week's New Law Journal, vol 162, 24 February 2012, p302, on the case of the vintage Bentley.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

List of Stolen Objects from Olympia Museum in Greece

David Gill has posted a useful blog entry listing the objects looted from the Archaeological Museum of Olympia in Greece.  For background on last week's theft, see the video below.

CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One more thing

I almost forgot!  This weekend at a church sale, I came across two of these:

I am pretty sure I can only ever use one, so in honour of my blog's existence since November, 2009, I thought I'd have a blog give-away.  Leave me a comment, if you are interested, and if more than one of you applies, I'll try to figure out how to generate a random number, or something.  Extra chances to get this lovely if you leave me a particularly amusing comment!  I'll send it anywhere on the planet.

(Disclaimer:  as you can see, this is in its original packaging so I assume it's complete.  I've never used one but there are instructions on the package.)

Miscellaneous Creating

Sewing first.  I have muslins!  The dress is basically fine.  Well, it will be once I remove 1cm in length from the bodice (where marked).  It looks OK on my form, but definitely feels too low on my body.

I briefly considered removing the pleats from the right front skirt and replacing them with a princess seam, but changed my mind when I couldn't immediately see how to reshape the piece.  I want this to be a relatively quick project!

This is a pattern I would never have considered until recently, but I feel I can wear this slim-skirted style after losing 5cm (2") of circumference from my hips/thighs due to an aggressive exercise regime (Spartacus workout, if anyone is interested; it's brutal but I can attest to its effectiveness).

 Here is the jacket.  I needed to make more changes to this pattern.  Maybe I've also gained inches through my rib cage but this jacket is way too snug above the waist for a lined jacket in my fabric, a fairly substantial wool bouclé.  At the same time as the rib/waist is too tight, the hem is too flared and the back bodice darts add too much shaping.  I got rid of some of the excess shaping and added width by reducing the dart take-up in the back, and smoothing out the curves in the seams of the lower part of the jacket.

As usual I had to shorten the sleeves, but by more than usual - a total of 5cm.  I do have short arms but is it only me that thinks Burda are designing for Ms. Gorilla?

The other feature of this jacket which left  me cold is that the back is about 3cm shorter than the front.  Maybe you can see this in the picture with sleeve raised.  I levelled the hem.

The jacket is cut out.  Single layer to match the plaid.  Here is a quick snap of my fabric combination.  Colourful, no?

And I've also been knitting.  My new project is this top, from the spring/summer 2009 edition of Vogue Knitting.  Vogue makes their older patterns available for download for $6 through Ravelry.  I fell for this in a big way and purchased yarn for it when I was in Toronto last week.  I got to visit Americo Original and Romni Wools.  All I can say is "Oh my!"  Between the two stores I think one could purchase yarn in any combination of natural fibre.

I'm making the Leaf Yoke Top from Americo "Baby Suri" (80% suri, 20% wool).  I know what you're thinking.  But she was apparently named after the silkiest, smoothest kind of Alpaca there is.

Baby Suri is sport weight which gives the wrong gauge so I'm knitting the large size.  The calculator says it should work.  My fingers are crossed.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Same-sex marriage again

For Halsbury's Law Exchange

Last year the Scottish government began a consultation process asking if marriage in Scotland should be allowed for gay people through a civil or religious ceremony. The strength of opposing feelings on the issue is hinted at by the fact that on Valentine’s Day more than 1,000 people marched through Edinburgh in favour of the idea, whereas last year a pressure group calling itself “Scotland For Marriage” held a rally outside the Scottish Parliament to protest against it.

The issue has also been debated recently in Australia. Meanwhile the Nigerian government has not simply banned same-sex marriage, it has actually made the idea a criminal offence, with a penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment for any person who enters into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union. Apparently even that law was thought insufficient, and a separate offence was therefore passed which made “witness[ing], abet[ting] or aid[ing] the solemnization of same-sex-marriage” punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

It remains the case in the United Kingdom under s 11(c) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 that a marriage can be entered into only by a male and a female, but there have been significant developments over the past decade or so.

The first was the passage of the Human Rights Act 1998. Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides:

Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.

Article 12 does not settle the issue because the European Court of Human Rights has decided (in Schalk and Kopf v. Austria) that it is a matter for national authorities to decide whether to allow same-sex marriage. The court’s reasoning was based in part on the fact that there was no consensus across member states on the issue (some, such as Spain, already allow same-sex marriages, but others do not).

More significant in the UK was the passing of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which allowed same-sex couples to enter into a union conferring the same legal rights as marriage in the area of wills, tax and so on. Interestingly, the right to enter into civil unions was restricted to same-sex couples, even though the form of partnership – legal rights with no religious implications – might equally appeal to some heterosexual couples.

The next step was the lifting the restriction on conducting civil partnerships on religious premises by an amendment to the Equality Act 2010 – though (at least at present) no religious institution can be compelled to conduct them.

The remaining question is of course the most emotive of all: whether same-sex marriage will be recognised in law, and if so, whether that step will be taken (and supported) by Parliament or by the courts.

It is next to impossible to imagine that the courts will find a right to same-sex marriage in any existing domestic statute, and given that the European Court of Human Rights explicitly refused to find such a right in the Convention, that option will not be taken by the domestic courts either. Even if the courts did take the step themselves, if Parliament disagreed it could either refuse to recognise the court’s ruling (if it came from Europe) or legislate to overrule it (if it came from a domestic court).

Realistically therefore the only way a change will come about will be by an amendment by Parliament to the 1973 Act. One would expect the robust debate in Scotland to be mirrored in the rest of the country before any such step is taken.

In previous articles on the subject I have suggested a possible solution along the lines of France, to separate church and state completely with regard to marriage. The legal contract of marriage should be signed in a registry office only. Thereafter, at any time(s) and place(s) of their choosing, couples could perform any ceremony they wish at any religious or non religious venue.

The well known American lawyer Alan Dershowitz advanced a similar view a few years ago, going one step further by arguing that the state should only confer civil partnerships, and leave the dispensing of the word “marriage” to the free market.

Either solution would mean that religious groups would not consider marriage to be valid, other than as a legal nicety, unless their own blessing had been bestowed in accordance with their own tenets. Non-religious people would be happy as they would have the legal right to the word “marriage” without any religious connotation.

No doubt many will disagree, but in response I would simply say that removing state control of the issue would leave it to the marketplace of ideas.

We've been Bringing Up Baby

We've been a little preoccupied the past weeks. Something to do with babies....


Yes, and sometimes it feels like I'm the mother in Terms of Endearment nudging her sleeping baby just to see that he is still breathing...

I would like to link to a nice movie where breastfeeding is an integral part of the story, but cannot remember if there is a film like that. Probably not, but there definitely should be. Here's a nice family pic anyway...and even though they are real people, they kind of have a fictive cinematic life and everything (even having a baby) looks elegant and cool with these two.

And since I'm way too emotional to watch anything too challenging or harsh at the moment (and have no time to watch anything actually), here's what I dream of watching right now:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

ACCG Makes Allegations in Baltimore Coin Case Reply Brief

CBP agents are pictured in this file photo
discussing strategies before airport
passengers arrive.  Source: CBP
The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) today filed its reply case in the case of ACCG v. US Customs and Border Protection et al.  The reply is a response to the brief by federal attorneys last month. The court case first started when the ACCG imported ancient Chinese and Cypriot coins through Baltimore, Maryland without a permit in an effort to challenge import protections put in place by the Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA).  The case is now on appeal in the Fourth Circuit after the ACCG lost in the lower federal district court.

The judiciary possesses the authority to review implementation of import controls over listed Chinese and Cypriot ancient coins coming into the United States. That is what the ACCG contends in its legal brief.  The organization summarizes its position in the argument title: "The District Court Possessed Ample Authority to Review the Government's Decision to Impose Import Restrictions on Collectors' Coins."

The group casts the controversy as a contest between "collectors' coins," which are of interest to the organization's small numismatic businesses and hobbyists, versus "serious substantive and procedural irregularities" on the government's part.  It complains that "[t]he Government … insists that its efforts to suppress the long-standing trade in common collectors' coins is either a foreign policy matter or one fully committed to agency discretion, leaving the Guild and the small businesses and collectors it represents without recourse." The group challenges authorities who believe they are "empowered to seize any undocumented coin that 'likely' was found in either Cyprus or China, notwithstanding explicit statutory language [in the Cultural Property Implementation Act] to the contrary."

The ACCG's brief levels "serious allegations," claiming that US State Department staff "worked behind-the-scenes with members of the archaeological lobby to orchestrate a change in existing precedent exempting coins from import restrictions ...." and that "staff added coins to the Chinese import restrictions without a formal request from Chinese officials."  The ACCG also alleges that an undersecretary of state "ordered [Cypriot] import restrictions … as a 'thank you' to Greek and Cypriot-American advocacy groups which had given him an award" and that an assistant secretary of state "did not recuse herself from approving the 2007 extension of the Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Cyprus after she had accepted a new position with an international financial institution that likely has business interests with Cyprus …."  The group additionally claims that the "State [Department] then misled Congress and the public about CPAC's true recommendations against import restrictions on coins."  CPAC is the Cultural Property Advisory Committee that advises the president about adopting import controls over cultural property in jeopardy from pillage.

The ACCG's brief further "alleges that the Government: (1) confused 'cultural significance' with 'archaeological significance' when it comes to objects that exist in multiples, like coins; (2) ignored evidence that Cypriot and Chinese coins circulated widely beyond their place of manufacture such that the 'first discovery requiremen'’ could not be met; (3) ignored or misapplied the CPIA’s requirements that less drastic measures like treasure trove laws or regulation of metal detectors be instituted before imposing restrictions; (4) ignored or misapplied the CPIA's 'concerted international response requirement;' and (5) wrongfully imposed import restrictions on coins without regard to their find spots."

The group argues that "the court has an obligation to ascertain whether coins were properly designated for restriction." That is, in part, because "CBP [Customs and Border Protection] acted in an arbitrary, capricious, or illegal manner under the APA [Administrative Procedures Act] when it allowed [the] State [Department] to assume authority over the preparation of the designated [import control] List."

The ACCG contends that it took action in court, not because it did not follow the rules as federal lawyers assert, but because the federal government failed to file a forfeiture action. The organizations says in its brief that the "Government’s claim that a forfeiture action provided an adequate remedy for the Guild borders on the Kafkaesque."

Note: Citations of authorities contained in the original ACCG brief are omitted from the quotes above.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Free speech and street preaching

Published on Halsbury's Law Exchange here

The limits of free speech and freedom of religion are presently on trial once again with the reported prosecution of a Christian street preacher, Michael Overd, in the Magistrates’ Court. The case arises out of threatening remarks Mr Overd allegedly made in public to a homosexual couple.

The trial brings to mind a similar prosecution from earlier this century, of the street preacher Harry Hammond. I wrote about the trial for Criminal Law & Justice Weekly (vol 175, September 10 2011, p 527), and this blog is substantially based on that article.

I am insufficiently familiar with the facts of the Overd case to comment on its merits, and to do so would be inappropriate before the conclusion of the trial in any event. My comments are therefore in relation to Hammond’s case only (which was on related but not identical issues), and are not to be taken as agitating for a verdict either way with Overd’s.

Hammond was an Evangelical Christian who had been a street preacher for 20 years. The Justices described him as “a sincere man with deeply held religious beliefs and a desire to convert others to his way of thinking.” During the summer of 2001 he had a large double sided sign made bearing the words: ‘Stop Immorality’, ‘Stop Homosexuality’ and ‘Stop Lesbianism’ on each side and attached to a pole.

Prior to 13 October 2001, Hammond had on at least one previous occasion preached whilst displaying the sign and had received a hostile reaction from members of the public, some of whom attempted to deface the sign and leading to one person trying to set it on fire.

During the afternoon of Saturday 13 October 2001, Hammond travelled by bus to Bournemouth to preach with the sign. During the bus journey he covered the sign with a black plastic bin liner as he believed the sign might cause a fracas if displayed inside the bus, because of the reaction he had previously received.

On arriving at Bournemouth town centre, he positioned himself in a pedestrianised area and began preaching, holding the sign upright so that it was clearly visible to passers-by.

A group of 30 to 40 people gathered around him, arguing and shouting; some people in the crowd were angry, others were aggressive or distressed; some threw soil at him and one person was hit over the head with the placard.

At one point someone tried to pull the placard away from Hammond, during which he fell backwards to the ground. He got up again and continued with his preaching displaying the sign, whereupon a member of the public poured water over his head.

The police arrived and asked him to take the sign down and leave the area. He refused. Despite the fact that he seems to have been more on the receiving end of the violence, Hammond was arrested and charged with an offence under s 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. He was convicted, and then appealed by way of case stated to the Divisional Court. Sadly he died before the appeal could be heard, but the court went ahead in any event.

The court ruled that it was necessary for the prosecution to prove that the sign which Hammond was displaying was threatening, abusive or insulting and that it was within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby. It was a defence for Hammond to prove that, nevertheless, his conduct was reasonable.

The court concluded, not without hesitation, that the conviction should stand. It held that (i) the words on the sign were capable of being held to be insulting, not least because they appeared to relate homosexuality and lesbianism to immorality; and (ii), notwithstanding familiar free speech arguments advanced on Hammond’s behalf, it had been open to the Justices to find his conduct unreasonable.

Harry Hammond’s life and death therefore stand as part of the matrix of religion and the law, and freedom of expression generally.

Two things have been common to many cases in that matrix, including Hammond’s. First, they concern people expressing genuine and deeply held beliefs that until very recently represented mainstream opinion in this country.

Secondly, for those involving homosexuality at least, they involve the expression or manifestation of opinions that would never be tolerated if they concerned other minority traits such as race.

Thus arises the key question at the heart of liberal philosophy: how to tolerate intolerance. In the context of free speech I have long endorsed the analogy advanced by Judge Richard Posner with America’s cold war strategy. America’s front line against the USSR, he observed, was not the Potomac but the Elbe. It was hoped that any conflict would be safely away from American soil, meaning ground could be ceded here and there without threatening their core interests.

Similarly, advocates of free speech argue for a wider protection than that strictly necessary to preserve values such as open and free political discussion, artistic freedom and personal fulfillment. They spend their time defending often offensive, sadistic, sordid or nonsensical manifestations of speech. By doing so they calculate that speech that is merely offensive, or indeed simply not finding favour with the political agenda of the government of the day, is never threatened.

Peter Tatchell, the inveterate homosexual rights campaigner, advanced a similar view when commenting on Hammond’s case at the time of the original conviction:

“Criminalising prejudiced opinions is a step too far. Where do you draw the line between legitimate robust criticism and illegitimate rank prejudice? The only circumstance where there is a clearly valid case for limiting freedom of speech is when it involves inciting violence”

No-one would have known better than Mr Tatchell that only a few years before it would have been gay rights campaigners like himself who were getting assaulted in town squares by angry crowds.

He would also have known that it was hardly likely, to put it mildly, that any passer-by would suddenly undergo a radical and irreversible change in their beliefs simply after seeing and hearing the sermons of Mr Hammond. I have seen many a street preacher but never an audience for one.

As much as I deplore homophobia, I remain uneasy with Harry Hammond being made a criminal, for two reasons. First, he was expressing a political or religious or moral viewpoint, and freedom of speech, if it is to mean anything, has to include freedom to make offensive speech on such issues (no-one is likely to complain about inoffensive speech, which accordingly is unlikely to have its freedom curtailed). The proper response for anyone who disagreed was more speech, pointing out the flaws in his arguments.

Secondly, Mr Hammond by all accounts was otherwise a law abiding citizen, who simply outlived the mores of his time. I doubt all of us will be wholly immune from the same fate.


Two of them.  They are on my feet.  Yummy wool.

And now:  back to making muslins.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ivory Smuggling Case Moves Forward

Carved African ivory seized by US Fish and Wildlife in the case against Victor Gordon..
Source: USFWS
Plea negotiations continue in the case of United States v. Victor Gordon, according to a recent letter filed in court by Gordon's attorney. The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York has scheduled a status conference in the matter for March 15, 2012.

A federal grand jury indicted Philadelphia art dealer Victor Gordon in July 2011 for unlawfully importing and selling illegal African elephant ivory. Gordon is charged with conspiracy to smuggle elephant ivory, four counts of smuggling, and five Lacey Act violations.  Agents arrested him in July.  A person indicted is presumed innocent unless prosecutors prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  

The Lacey Act 16 USC 3371 et seq. protects wildlife and other natural resources. Under the law, it is illegal to import, transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase specified wildlife taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any law, treaty or regulation of the United States.

The indictment also cites the Endangered Species Act 16 USC 1531 et seq., which makes it illegal to possess or trade illegal African ivory under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Legal import into the United States only occurs when a person obtains an import permit plus a foreign export permit issued by the country of origin or a foreign re-export permit issued by the country of re-export.

The indictment alleges that between 2006 and 2009 Gordon paid a person to travel to Africa on multiple occasions to "purchase raw elephant ivory and have it carved to Gordon's specifications. In advance of each trip, Gordon provided [the person] with photographs or other depictions of ivory carvings to serve as templates. Gordon also directed [the person] to stain or dye the elephant ivory specimens so that the specimens would appear to be old."  The ivory was brought through JFK International Airport in New York inside luggage before being sold by Gordon at his store in Philadelphia.

Federal prosecutors seek criminal forfeiture of the items seized. Specifically, they seek cash and objects that include nearly 500 ivory tusks and carvings seized between 2009 and 2010 in Pennsylvania, New York, Missouri, Kansas, Florida, and California.

If convicted, Gordon could face up to 20 years in prison.


Friday, February 10, 2012

State Department Gives Seizure Immunity to Cultural Objects from Kazakhstan

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has granted cultural objects from Kazakhstan immunity from judicial seizure.  The protected pieces will be part of a 2012 exhibition called “Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan.”

The exhibit is to be held at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University from March 6, 2012, to June 3, 2012.  The exhibition catalog describes a presentation of cultural objects from the sixth to the first century BC, including saddles, objects from the Berel valley, and gold mortuary ornaments from Shilikty and Kargali.

Under the federal statute known as Immunity from Seizure Under Judicial Process of Cultural Objects Imported for Temporary Exhibition or Display (22 USC § 2459), foreign lenders are encouraged by Congress to lend cultural objects to museums without risk that those objects will become targets of litigation while on American soil.  The statute protects imported objects determined to be (1) of cultural significance, (2) intended for temporary, nonprofit exhibition, and (3) in the national interest.

Museums importing objects for temporary display must apply for this legal protection.  The notice of immunity is then published in the Federal Register.

US Supreme Court Rules Against Odyssey Marine's Request for Stay

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas
 The US Supreme Court has denied Odyssey Marine Exploration's application for a stay pending the filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari (i.e. a request to have the court review the case). Justice Clarence Thomas ruled on the matter today, docketed at 11A745.

Days ago the eleventh circuit court of appeals ruled in the case of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. v. Kingdom of Spain, et al. that Odyssey could not postpone the return of the so-called Black Swan treasure to Spain while the commercial salvor appealed the case to the nation's highest court. Odyssey took the items from a Spanish galleon--the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes--that sank in 1804 and was discovered in 2007.  Spain has contended that the galleon is a Spanish warship subject to protection from salvage.

On February 3, attorneys for Odyssey Marine filed their application to stay the court of appeals' decision.  The supreme court's denial followed on February 9.

CONTACT: http://www.culturalheritagelawyer.com/

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Barry Landau Pleads Guilty to Theft of Historical Documents

Barry Landau yesterday pleaded guilty to conspiracy and theft charges related to stealing historical documents from several institutions along the east coast.  In December 2011, Landau’s attorney filed a motion to suppress evidence of the crime found by federal agents.  But yesterday Landau entered a plea agreement with the Maryland United States Attorney’s Office.  Sentencing will be held on May 7, 2012 [UPDATE: Rescheduled to June 1, 2012].

Landau admitted in his plea in federal district court to taking historical documents from museums in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut and selling some for financial gain.  His accomplice, Jason Savedoff pleaded guilty to the same charges in October 2011.

Documents by Alexander Hamilton
were stolen by Landau and Savedoff.
Library of Congress image.
Institutions targeted by the pair included the Maryland Historical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Connecticut Historical Society, the University of Vermont, the New York Historical Society, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.  They pretended to be researchers and walked away with important papers by hiding them in clothing.  According to the US Attorney’s Office, “Landau and Savedoff often took the card catalogue entries and other ‘finding aids,’ making it difficult for the museum to discover that an item was missing. Documents that had been copied on microfilm were often avoided because of the increased possibility the theft would be discovered by the library or repository.”

Items taken included papers by prominent figures in American history, including John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln.   The documents’ historical value is priceless.  On the open market, some of the papers fetched high sums.  For example, four reading copies of speeches by Franklin Roosevelt sold for $35,000.

Both Landau and Savedoff face sentences of up to five years in prison for conspiracy and 10 years for theft.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Egyptian Red List Now Available From ICOM

Th Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk is now available.  You may view it here.  Published by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the Red List illustrates various types of cultural objects that are vulnerable to archaeological site looting and theft.

CONTACT: http://www.culturalheritagelawyer.com/

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tracing fiend

That's what The Sewing Lawyer was, this weekend.  Not only is the Burda jacket from a year ago (mentioned in my last post) traced, so is the about-to-be-famous colour blocked dress from the February 2012 issue and a pants pattern that could easily be overlooked from the same issue.  And I'm half way through tracing another dress from this very month's Burda Magazine!  Three items traced from the latest edition, within 3 days of purchase.  It's a new world record chez The Sewing Lawyer!

Here are the line drawings, for ease of reference:

About-to-be-famous colour blocked dress #117
This dress is the reason I called my local purveyor of magazines on Friday.  The February Burda had already come in!  I was out of the door like a shot.

I'm not first to have at this one.  I am pretty sure that Audrey has that distinction, and Melissa is second.  Their dresses are fabulous!  There will be MANY more of these, I predict.

In my drive to use fabric from stash, I located some burgundy wool double knit.  My only hesitation in using this fabric is that it is quite firm, and based on flat pattern measurements, this dress is designed with negative ease.

I am hedging my bets with extra-wide seam allowances at the side seams and CB.

I'll need a working zipper.  I have no intention of having a shiny strip down my backside, so my non-colour blocked and non-exposed zipper dress will be a good deal less zoomy than Burda intended.  However, I think it'll be a great dress anyway.

Knit pants - #120
These pants are designed for knit fabric and I have some beefy black RPL ponte knit in stash.  It's the same stuff I made my curling pants from.   And my bike shorts.

This pattern could be a favorite due to its high waist, slim profile, interesting back yoke, and the strip of fabric that runs vertically between the front and back pieces.  I made a jeans pattern with the latter feature from the June, 2004 issue so many times I lost count.  The strip smooths out one's hip curve very nicely.

I have high hopes for these.

Sleeveless dress #110
Last but not least, I love this dress!  It has lots of seams for fitting possibilities, and an interesting off-centre faux-closure detail (in fact there's a zipper inserted in the side seam.

I have some amazing turquoise wool crepe which will look great with the chunky bouclé I have earmarked for the jacket.

February could be a sewing marathon!

Motion to Dismiss Filed in Kortlander Case - US Court of Federal Claims Issues Show Cause Order for Party's Failure to Appear

Little Bighorn River.  Courtesy NPS.
Federal lawyers recently filed a motion to dismiss Christopher Kortlander's multimillion dollar claim against the government, while Kortlander's attorney reportedly failed to appear for a January 26 court status conference.  The United States Court of Federal Claims therefore issued an order for a show cause hearing, stating: "The court reached defendant’s counsel and agency counsel, but was unable to reach plaintiffs' counsel at the appointed time, although the court attempted to reach plaintiffs' counsel twice. Therefore, on or before Monday, February 13, 2012, plaintiffs' counsel, in writing, in the electronic filing system, shall show cause why this case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute and comply with the rules of this court ...."

Kortlander, owner of the Custer Battlefield Museum in Montana, was once under federal investigation after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received complaints that he was selling artifacts on eBay that were claimed to have been recovered from the Little Big Horn battlefield.  The battlefield is a protected national memorial dedicated to the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry and the Sioux and Cheyenne.  It is the site of George Custer's famous "last stand."  The investigation of Kortlander led to the execution of search warrants by authorities in 2005 and 2008. But the prosecution in 2009 declined to prosecute.

Since then Kortlander has engaged in litigation, including filing an action against the government in the court of federal claims on September 19, 2011 for $188,500,000 in damages .  That action was filed days after a federal district court in Montana dismissed Kortlander's lawsuit against a BLM agent.

Attorneys for the United States filed a motion to dismiss Kortlander's tort, criminal, and constitutional law claims on January 17, 2012.  They contend in their pleading that Kortlander's case lacks jurisdiction, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, fails to meet the statute of limitations, and fails to meet certain pleading standards.  Some of the arguments the government puts forward in the motion are the following (legal citations in the original have been omitted):

"Plaintiff [Kortlander] appears to allege that Federal agents violated his Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.... He also alleges throughout his complaint that the search warrants justifying the 2005 and 2008 searches of his property in Garryowen [Montana] were not supported by probable cause.... However, the law is well established in the Court of Federal Claims that the 'Fourth Amendment provides no right to money damages for its breach.'"

"The Court also lacks jurisdiction over plaintiff's allegations that Federal agents violated his Fifth Amendment due process rights, because the Due Process Clause is not a 'money-mandating provision.'"

"The tort claims of slander and defamation fall outside the jurisdiction of the Court."

"Any effort by plaintiff [Kortlander] to allege a claim of tortious interference with business relationships by the Federal agents does not fall within the Court’s jurisdiction, for the same reasons."

"Further, any efforts by plaintiff to allege tortious invasion of privacy, or tortious harassment and intimidation by another person, fall outside the Court’s jurisdiction."

"Mr. Kortlander has failed to state any claims upon which relief may be granted. The majority of his claims are barred by the six-year statute of limitations."

CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Does one sock count as a finished object?

I guess not.  However, it's a milestone since it's the first one ever off needles wielded by me.

One side has no hole at the top of the gusset.  Wish I could say the same of the other side.  More importantly, I wish I could remember what I did so that I could repeat whatever gave this result.

The pointy toe seems weird to me, but it feels perfectly comfortable.  Out of the 3 pictures posted, this one shows the colours best.  (BTW the safety pins mark every 10th row and hopefully will help me duplicate this sock.)

I'm still thinking about sewing, and I have mostly finished tracing this jacket pattern from the February, 2011 issue of Burda Magazine.  Except I won't be using braid around the edges.

I've got some luscious predominantly green/aqua tweedy bouclé on deck for it.  First up will be a muslin.

But in the meantime I'm working on sock #2.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

State Department Grants Seizure Immunity to Mexican Artifacts

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs last week granted immunity from judicial seizure to artifacts on loan from Mexico.  The pieces will be part of a 2012 exhibition called "Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico," which will take place at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California and at the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas.

Under the federal statute known as Immunity from Seizure Under Judicial Process of Cultural Objects Imported for Temporary Exhibition or Display (22 USC § 2459), foreign lenders are encouraged by Congress to lend cultural objects to museums without risk that those objects will become targets of litigation while on American soil.  The statute protects imported objects determined to be (1) of cultural significance, (2) intended for temporary, nonprofit exhibition, and (3) in the national interest.

Museums importing objects for temporary display must apply for this legal protection.  The notice of immunity is then published in the Federal Register.

Xochicalco temple of the plumed serpent. Photo: Giovani V; CC.

CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hilton Hotels announces return to Panama

Hilton Hotels Corporation announces return to Panama with four properties
May 18, 09 1:54 am
Hilton Hotels Corporation announces its return to Panama with the signing of four multi-year agreements in Panama City, Panama: two management agreements for a brand-new Hilton and new build Embassy Suites by Hilton hotel, one franchise agreement for a Doubletree by HiltonTM conversion and one franchise agreement for a newly built Hilton Garden Inn. Each hotel will represent the first in the country for each brand.
"We are truly excited about these developments in Panama City and being back in such a great city," commented Daniel Hughes, senior vice president of operations, Caribbean, Mexico, and Latin America, for Hilton Hotels Corporation. "These newest additions reinforce our commitment to add a number of properties to our Central America portfolio and to have a presence in one of the region's fastest growing destinations. We're looking forward to being part of a thriving city that continues to offer some of the best tourist attractions in the region."
The 351-room Hilton Panama will be a first class property developed by Star Bay Group, Inc., and Hilton Hotels Corporation will operate the hotel under the terms of a multi-year management agreement. Led by F&F Properties and its president Saul Faskha, construction of the Hilton Panama has begun and completion is scheduled for 2011. Located in Panama City's financial district, the hotel marks the Hilton brand's return to the capital. Just 13 miles from Tocumen International Airport and five miles from the Panama Canal, the Hilton Panama will boast an array of recreational facilities including an 8,200 square-foot fitness center, a 10,750 square-foot world-class spa, outdoor terrace swimming pool, and a Las Vegas-style casino. The property will have more than 22,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 7,500 square-foot ballroom. Dining options will include an upscale specialty restaurant, a three-meal restaurant with outdoor terrace and ocean views, and lobby bar. The 27-floor hotel will form part of a 68-floor mixed-use complex with 650,000 square feet of office space.
The Embassy Suites by Hilton Panama City will be developed by Sabadell Investment Inc. and Hilton Hotels Corporation will operate the hotel under the terms of a multi-year management agreement. Construction of the 306-room upscale, all-suite full service Embassy Suites by Hilton Panama City is scheduled to begin in 2009 with an estimated completion date of October 2011. Located in the prime financial district of Panama City, the hotel is approximately 12 miles from Tocumen International Airport and will feature a number of recreational facilities including fitness center, spa, outdoor swimming pool, gift shops, and casino. The property will offer a business center and more than 15,500 square feet of meeting space, including a 12,750 square-foot ballroom. Dining options will include a signature restaurant, a lounge bar, complimentary breakfast and evening reception area, and Flying Spoons outlet. The 21-floor hotel will be part of 71-story building with premier office space.
The Doubletree by Hilton Panama City will be developed and operated by Blue Star Hospitality, S.A., under a franchise agreement with Hilton Hotels Corporation. The 213-room property is undergoing an extensive renovation to re-brand as a Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Spring 2010. The eight-story hotel is strategically located at one of the city's most important intersections in the business district - Via España and Avenida Federico Boyd - across from the architecturally striking Iglesia del Carmen. The Doubletree by Hilton Panama City will offer a rooftop fitness center, pool and spa, retail outlets, 2,000 square feet of meetings space, and a full-service restaurant.
Developed by Metropolitan Hotels SA, the Hilton Garden Inn Panama will feature 163 spacious guestrooms and seven suites offering the Garden Sleep System® bed; ergonomic Mirra® chair by Herman Miller; complimentary wired and Wi-Fi high speed Internet access; high definition flat screen television; MP3 capable clock radio. The hotel also features a complimentary 24-hour business center; a comfortable lounge area to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or unwind at the end of the day with a refreshing beverage; and a total of 160 square meters of flexible meeting space -- ideal for business meetings, social events and wedding receptions. For dining options, the hotel will feature the Great American Grill® restaurant offering freshly prepared breakfast and dinner; evening room service and the 24-hour Pavilion Pantry® convenience mart with a selection of beverages, snacks, and sundries. Recreational facilities at the hotel will include an outdoor rooftop heated whirlpool; complimentary fitness center featuring Precor® cardio and strength equipment; and Stay Fit Kits® that can be checked out from the hotel front desk and enable guests to do yoga, Pilates and core workouts in the privacy of their guestroom or in the workout facility.
All properties will participate in Hilton HHonors®, the only guest rewards program that allows members to earn Points & Miles® for the same stay and redeem points for free nights with No Blackout Dates.
Ted Middleton, senior vice president, development, the Americas, for Hilton Hotels Corporation commented, "Hilton's expansion in Panama City is part of our overall plan to grow our portfolio of properties in the Caribbean and Latin America. Owners and developers understand the value of our brands and we are very optimistic about our growth opportunities in the region."
Panama City is the political and cultural center of Panama, and the financial center of Central America. Located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, the city is well known as the home of some of the tallest skyscrapers in Latin America. Tourists can explore a variety of attractions including the famous Bridge of the Americas spanning over the Panama Canal, tropical forests, and the city's old quarter featuring a waterfront promenade, theaters, museums, restaurants, and the presidential palace.
Full text in http://ehotelier.com/hospitality-news/item.php?id=A16245_0_11_0_M

Court Orders Odyssey Marine to Return Black Swan Treasure to Spain

A Spanish galleon.
The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Odyssey Marine’s motion to stay a decision ordering the commercial salvor to return coins and objects to Spain.  The so-called treasures of the "Black Swan" (the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes) were taken from the sunken 19th century Spanish galleon, discovered by Odyssey in 2007 “lying at a depth of approximately 1100 meters, beyond the territorial waters or contiguous zone of any sovereign nation approximately 100 miles west of the Straits of Gibraltar,” according to court records.

The case has persisted since April 9, 2007.  That is when Odyssey Marine filed a complaint in federal district court in Tampa, Florida under admiralty and maritime law (known as an admiralty in rem action).  The salvor argued that it should either own the shipwrecked vessel under the law of finds (a type of “finders keepers” claim) or it should be entitled to “a liberal salvage award” from the vessel under the law of salvage.  Odyssey lost the case, and the case now captioned as Odyssey Marine Exploration v. Kingdom of Spain et al. continues.

Last September, the federal circuit court of appeals upheld the lower district court’s decision that ordered Odyssey “to release the recovered res [i.e. the shipwreck materials] to the custody of Spain.”  Odyssey hoped to stay this decision as it appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The company argued in its December 2, 2011 petition to the circuit court that once it delivered materials to Spain the objects would not be returned to Odyssey if the salvor ultimately won the case in the highest court in the land.  That is because it is "Spain's position that it is not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Courts ....," according to the motion.  Odyssey also cited its belief that there are seven legal errors that remain to be challenged in the case.  The appellate court was unpersuaded, writing by hand the word “denied” on its final order issued Tuesday.

At stake for Odyssey is a haul reportedly worth $500 million.  For Spain, “[t]his sentence gives Spaniards back what was already theirs,” according to culture minister José Ignacio Wert who was quoted in The Daily Mail.

Hat tip to Gary Nurkin for forwarding The Daily Mail story.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A SEWING project

At last!  The Sewing Lawyer has again sewn something.  A pair of very nice pleated pants, if I do say so myself.

Burda would undoubtedly call these "Marlene Dietrich trousers", but they're not made from a Burda pattern.

These are made from Simplicity 4044, a 1940s retro re-release that I have had in stash for quite a few years, but it's still on the Simplicity website.  Go and buy it now if you want a simple, high waisted, flowy pair of pants.  I highly recommend this pattern!

There are only four pieces - front, back and facings.  However, my recent infatuation with knitting got in the way of finishing these.  I improved the hang of the pants, which are constructed in a very soft but drapy pure wool fabric, by underlining with Bemberg.  This gives all the advantages of lining, but reduces any chance that pressing would reveal seam allowances, facing edges, etc.

The front pleats and little dip at CF are the subtle details that make these really nice, IMO.

I cut the legs slightly longer than the pattern calls for and made a deeper hem, which also increases the overall weight and therefore the nice drape of these pants.

I also moved the zipper to CB since I hate sewing zippers into a curved seam and would prefer to leave the side seams accessible for fine tuning the fit as needed.  These needed very little.  I predict these will be a great addition to my wardrobe, and that I'll make this pattern again.

In other news, I have most of a sock knitted.  Humor me.  It's my first.