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The Courts

Judge In Kim Dotcom Extradition Case Steps Down 132

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the pesky-ethics-standards dept.
First time accepted submitter Kalriath writes "After calling the United States 'the enemy' at the NetHui conference last week (reported on Slashdot), Judge David Harvey has stepped down from the Dotcom case citing beliefs that the comments could reflect on his impartiality. From the New Zealand Herald: 'An Internet law expert, Judge Harvey had been considered the perfect choice to hear arguments on whether Dotcom and his Megaupload colleagues should be extradited by the United States to face charges of criminal copyright violation. The district court's chief judge Jan-Marie Doogue said Judge Harvey had made the decision to step down from hearing the case. "He recognizes that remarks made in the context of a paper he delivered on copyright law at a recent Internet conference could reflect on his impartiality and that the appropriate response is for him to step down from the case."'"
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Judge In Kim Dotcom Extradition Case Steps Down

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  • Translation: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:53AM (#40684781)

    The US bribed someone to get him out of the way so they can get a more acquiescent judge who won't give a damn about what the law says and about all the laws the FBI violated in either country.

  • In other words (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:54AM (#40684785)

    In other words, he's not the right guy, because he's not sympathetic enough to the US cause, and so he ewas given a choice he couldn't refuse.

  • Re:Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:55AM (#40684805)

    The US bribed someone to get him out of the way so they can get a more acquiescent judge who won't give a damn about what the law says and about all the laws the FBI violated in either country.

    Probably the music industry bribed someone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:56AM (#40684813)

    How much do you want to bet a judge who just "happens" to have a history of going harder on extradition cases, and just "happens" to have little to no experience, professionally or personally, using any technology developed after 1985?

  • The perfect guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:57AM (#40684823)

    His gesture of stepping down marks him exactly as the perfect one to judge the case as he is showing his ability to be self conscious of his own bias and manage it properly

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:59AM (#40684859) Journal

    And the difference between the two is?

    The surprising thing about US politicians is not that they can be bought, but how cheaply this can be done. The movies have suitcases full, the average senator goes for a few thousand.

  • Re:The perfect guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:06AM (#40684917) Journal

    Except that he's not biased. His statement that the US is the enemy when it comes to copyright law is completely accurate. Anyone who thinks the US isn't the enemy is biased in favor of the US and the copyright maximalists who run it.

  • Re:The perfect guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:12AM (#40684963)
    He absolutely is, which is why he should have shut the fuck up about her personal opinions.

    To the folk saying someone was "bought" to get this guy out; Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.
  • Re:Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:19AM (#40685015) Journal
    Or maybe he stepped down because he believed that given his comments, one might reasonably question his impartiality in this case.

    Personally, while I agreed with him, I was amazed to read he actually said that.
  • by Jesrad (716567) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:21AM (#40685033) Journal

    remarks made in the context of a paper he delivered on copyright law at a recent Internet conference could reflect on his impartiality

    Does that really make him impartial, or does that show he is knowledgeable enough about the subject at hand to properly motivate any decision of his ? A clueless judge would only be a better option only for the prosecution alone. Having an informed opinion about copyright law and its potential international abuses is a sign of someone who knows what is going on and what matters.

  • Re:The perfect guy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:23AM (#40685061)

    The perfect copyright law is a matter of opinion. You and I happen to share the same opinion, but that doesn't make it any less subjective. If you hold an opinion so strongly that you refer to people who don't share your opinion as "the enemy," then that's a strong indicator of bias: an unwillingness (or even inability) to fairly consider contrary opinions. Fairly considering contrary opinions is a prerequisite for being a judge.

    I suspect that when he described the US as "the enemy" he was just engaging in a bit of harmless rhetoric. He probably could have been as impartial as anyone else. As the parent said, he probably could have done better than most others. But, unfortunately, we can't measure impartiality objectively, so we tend to err on the side of caution and strive to avoid even the appearance of bias.

  • Re:threatened? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkydoh (2658743) * on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:27AM (#40685089)
    Well, he made the right decision right? I don't get why so many people on slashdot is saying it's the wrong decision. If this was judge who commented against dotcom in similar way Slashdot would be outraged if he didn't step down.
  • by Triv (181010) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:30AM (#40685133) Journal
    The judge recused himself. He didn't step down. It might be a difference in international terminology, but I saw the headline and assumed the judge had left his position as a judge.
  • Re:Translation: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:31AM (#40685153)

    Probably not. He seems like the kind of guy who knows the truth and does the right thing, but by doing so leaves the decisions to others, who are less honorable.

    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

  • Re:Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by T Murphy (1054674) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:35AM (#40685191) Journal
    +5 Insightful for a conspiracy theory that doesn't even make sense? Seriously?

    I guess when a judge is biased in a way we don't like (i.e. the Pirate Bay trial) he's terrible and should be removed from the case, but when he's biased in a favorable way he's the best one for the case? Also, if this judge is so awesome, why can he be bribed? If he can be bribed, why doesn't the US just have him rule in their favor, rather than make him step down so another judge can be bribed for the ruling?

    The simple answer is he's as good of a judge as we hoped, but as any good judge would do, he recognizes his bias. Maybe he has enough faith in the other judges that he feels that the case would go better with someone else, as opposed to him staying on the case and giving the US a strong case for a successful appeal.
  • Re:threatened? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by krept (697623) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:36AM (#40685207)
    Not quite sure why you lost mod points here. For once we read about a judge doing the ethical thing, just very unfortunate that it is our loss. We can't win huh.
  • Re:The perfect guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo (549451) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @08:38AM (#40685221) Journal

    That is a nice saying but in the real world, when it comes to rotten situations it might just as well be that it's either stupidity or malice, neither or even both.

    Never discount any possibility without ample reason.

  • Ethics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Picass0 (147474) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:17AM (#40685683) Homepage Journal

    Judge Harvey's ethical breach was in commenting on subject matter closely related to a pending case. How did he think giving an interview was even remotely proper?

  • Re:Translation: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:25AM (#40685773)

    The US bribed someone to get him out of the way so they can get a more acquiescent judge who won't give a damn about what the law says and about all the laws the FBI violated in either country.

    Hyperbole and speculation much?

    The Judge said something moronic in public, which he knew could jeopardise the case for Kim Dotcom, and stepped aside. Nobody was bought, nobody had the thumb screws applied, a smart man did a stupid thing and is minimising the damage.

    Your tinfoil hat is stopping all of the sensible thoughts getting out. Take it off once in a while.

  • by Picass0 (147474) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:34AM (#40686589) Homepage Journal

    They're human and they have a right to free speech and expression - outside the court. The problem here is discussion of issues relating to a case that will be heard in Judge Harvey's courtroom. These aren't comments he made years ago and just now he's being reminded. Harvey saw he was having his fifteen minutes and couldn't keep his mouth shut. He either had to recuse himself or he laid the groundwork for an eventual appeals process.

  • Re:threatened? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scragglykat (1185337) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @12:56PM (#40688321)
    The problem being, a good judge will step down for something like this, but a bad judge will most likely take his/her place.

Power corrupts. And atomic power corrupts atomically.

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