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Judge In Kim Dotcom Extradition Case Steps Down

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the pesky-ethics-standards dept.

The Courts 132

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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132 comments

threatened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40684769)

seems like a weak reason

Re:threatened? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#40684803)

no doubt... when in the U.S. we've got high level judges that have received millions of dollars from one of the parties in the case an refuse to step down it does indeed seem weak.

They may, however, just have more integrity in that system left. I doubt it, though.

Re:threatened? (5, Insightful)

drinkydoh (2658743) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:threatened? (5, Insightful)

krept (697623) | about a year ago | (#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:threatened? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685469)

The other side doesn't let ethics get in the way. I think this speaks volumes as to what types of people are on which side of IP law.

Ethics (4, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#40685683)

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:Ethics (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#40686507)

Let me ask you a question. Do you think that judges who declare that copyright is a good idea should be recused? To be honest, I do. Whilst I believe that some limited copyright might be a social good, I think that current copyright laws are unconstitutional, against human rights laws and an interference with freedom of speech. Juges who support those laws cannot fairly judge the constitutional issues. There is no chance that a judge who said that "we must find better ways to defend Intellectual Property" would then recuse himself from a filesharing case, even if he was currently involved in it. As long as that's true, Judge Harvey's comments, whilst mildly inappropriate in the situation, are nowhere close to the boundary to justify recusal. Judges who have, in previous work, been working for or cooperating with copyright bodies regularly fail to recuse themselves. If doubles standards like this are allowed to apply where is the chance that people who have been attacked by media interests can get a fair trial?

They can have any opinion they want (4, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#40686589)

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:Ethics (2)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#40687107)

"Let me ask you a question. Do you think that judges who declare that copyright is a good idea should be recused?"

No, only those who ever sang 'Happy Birthday" in a restaurant, showed a DVD to the neighbors' kids during a party, made a mixed CD for their girlfriend or photocopied some law articles without the authorization of the author.

Re:Ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40687311)

Might be worth considering the possibility that if he was getting "back-channel" pressure to recuse himself, the "inappropriate" comment might have been intended to provide him with a plausible excuse.

Re:threatened? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40686319)

Actual honorable judges with an interest in justice will recuse themselves in situations like this. Biased, special-interest-beholden, evil judges with an agenda will never recuse themselves in situations like this, because these situations are exactly how they further their agenda.

Of course, those who recuse themselves are exactly the kinds of judge that should be hearing these cases, as evidenced by the fact that they are honorable and clear-minded enough to see and admit to their biases. Those who do not recuse themselves are the worst possible options, and really shouldn't even be judged, because they legislate against the people from the bench.

Re:threatened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40686563)

You mean like politicians, too, right? Anyone who wants to be President (fill in your own puppet master of choice in your own country) should never be allowed to be President. (Sorry for not giving credit)

Re:threatened? (2)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about a year ago | (#40686517)

But isn't it likely that he will just be replaced by a judge with less of a sense of ethics and possibly a bias in the other direction? Would that be better? Hardly.

Translation: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Translation: (5, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#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.

And the difference is? (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year ago | (#40684859)

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:And the difference is? (2)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#40685041)

Yeah, but they only offer those discounts to lobbies they know are already powerful. Go in there with a few kilobucks as a nobody and their prices skyrocket.

Re:And the difference is? (1)

pjabardo (977600) | about a year ago | (#40685889)

There are lots of non competing interests. They can sell out 1000 times. 10 thousand X 1000 = 10 million.

Re:And the difference is? (3, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#40685995)

There are lots of non competing interests. They can sell out 1000 times. 10 thousand X 1000 = 10 million.

I remember reading about a British MP who took money to promote a local business. One of his pleas for mitigation was that part of his job was to promote local businesses, and would have done so if simply asked to anyway!

Re:And the difference is? (2)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#40686315)

Parent is correct, unfortunately.

Bribery scandals in the western world regularily astonish people in the 3rd world - not for the fact that the west is corrupt, too, but because you can buy a senator or other high-ranking officials for sums that anyone of any importance in, say, Africa, would laugh about.

Re:And the difference is? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | about a year ago | (#40687149)

I'll agree that politicians are corrupt, but I don't believe for a second that you can bribe a US senator for "a few thousand".

Senators are, generally speaking, fairly wealthy. There's no way they're going to risk their careers for a few thousand dollars.

Now, if you make a nice donation to their campaign fund, they might listen to you for a few minutes... but even then, a few thousand won't get you far. Look at the prices of a plate at one of their fundraiser dinners. Also, campaign contributions aren't classified as bribes. They basically are, but the way the laws are currently, there's nothing wrong with them.

Re:Translation: (5, Interesting)

blibbler (15793) | about a year ago | (#40684993)

I think you need to get a bit of fresh air. New Zealand consistently ranks at or near the top of the least corrupt countries in the world. http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/results/ [transparency.org] While countries like the US and Iran may have court systems that regularly make decisions for political reasons, that is not the case in most of the developed world. Just because you don't like the decision, doesn't mean it is corruption.

Re:Translation: (1, Flamebait)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year ago | (#40685233)

Exactly. If anything this judge stepping aside confirms that NZ is behind the US when it comes to our respective judicial systems. In the US it is considered customary and just for a judge with a conflict of interest to remain on the bench. If he or she is feeling especially patriotic, the judge in question may go on Fox and Friends to confirm why one side in a particular case deserves to lose "SO HARDCORE". Stepping down to avoid potential impartiality is liberal judicial activism.

Re:Translation: (1)

celticryan (887773) | about a year ago | (#40685291)

You do realize that you linked to a study on the perception of corruption of a given government, not an actual empirical measure of corruption. Those are two very different things. Your final statement, which I agree with, does not rest on the incorrect statement before it.

Re:Translation: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40686669)

http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/in_detail/#myAnchor4

  4. Why is the CPI based only on perceptions?

Corruption generally comprises illegal activities, which mainly come to light only through scandals, investigations or prosecutions. It is thus difficult to assess absolute levels of corruption in countries or territories on the basis of hard empirical data. Possible attempts to do so such as by comparing bribes reported, the number of prosecutions brought or court cases directly linked to corruption cannot be taken as definitive indicators of corruption levels. Rather they show how effective prosecutors, the courts or the media are in investigating and exposing corruption. One reliable method of compiling comparable country data is to capture perceptions of those in a position to offer assessments of public sector corruption in a given country.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685369)

That same website also ranked the US between 8 and 8.9 so clearly something is wrong there because the globalist in the US government are clearly corrupt.

Re:Translation: (3, Informative)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | about a year ago | (#40685385)

You site the CPI, so I assume you think it's 9.5 rating of New Zealand is probative of something. Yet, in the same post, you place Iran (CPI of 2.7) and the U.S. (CPI of 7.1) in the same category of corruption. In fact, the U.S. is within a point of much of the developed world" (all but 13 countries).

Re:Translation: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40686705)

Puh-freaking-lease. If you honestly think that the US' rating in the CPI is in any way reflective of its actual corruption, your naïveté is off the charts. Corruption is endemic throughout your government, at every single fucking level. You are certainly not as corrupt as the lowest of the low but you are a fair sight worse than the average American thinks it is—and that's saying something.

Re:Translation: (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#40686451)

So does Sweden, but when a judge which was part of a music industry lobby group presided over The Pirate Bay trial it was whitewashed as no conflict of interest.

Whilst I agree that thereotically this is the correct outcome in this case, it does irk me somewhat that this sort of thing only turns out the way vested interests would like it to turn out, rather than necessarily how it should turn out if things were done right.

I'm not sure if New Zealand being at the top of the transparency index given the whole MegaUpload debacle tells me that the transparency index is full of crap, or simply that the standard of transparency required to be the most transparent country in the world is a pretty depressingly low bar to reach.

I think it's naive to beleive that simply because New Zealand, Sweden et al. are towards the top of this arbitrary index that there is no corruption involved.

The fact that my own country, the UK is perceived as pretty "clean" is a little worrying given that politicians have been lying to our faces, and we know they've been lying to our faces for sometime says a lot. Between the last government with David Miliband standing up in front of the cameras telling us the UK had nothing to do with torture when we know fucking well it did, a fact which is now proven, and Jeremy Hunt under this government telling us he was innocent of wrong doing when we all know fucking well he wasn't because the evidence is sat there right in front of us proving otherwise I don't know how we can even come close to scoring a 7.8. Christ, the Tory treasurer was filmed saying it would only cost £250,000 to basically dictate to government what you wanted policy on certain issues to be.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40686603)

He who has the gold makes the rules. Please go back and relearn this valuable lesson, citizen.

Re:Translation: (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#40685015)

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.

Enemy is a very strong word to throw around (2)

jmorris42 (1458) | about a year ago | (#40686455)

I would like to think that is why it happened. Either he realized it on his own or some other fellow judges took him aside and 'explained' it to him. You can't throw out words like 'enemy' and still pretend to be impartial.

For example, at present I can only think of a couple of opponents that would rise to the level of 'enemy' for the US. New Zealand most certainly does not. And anyone there who sees the US as an enemy isn't just wrong, they are insane.

At present our enemy list has approximatly two entries:

1. Al Qaeda & the taliban. They are in an active war against us here, in Afganistan and elsewhere. An enemy.

2. North Korea. Since a formal end of the Korean War has yet to be concluded we are all (remember that it was basically the UN vs North Korea) formally 'at war' with the Norks so they qualify as an enemy.

Other than those we have many countries/entities we are in disputes with, some might advance to enemy/war but they might not. Iran comes to mind. China is a rival but we all pray things never deteriorate to the point where words like 'enemy' make sense because that is a future we don't want to see. Russia is one to watch and worry about our relationship with, but since the fall of the Soviet Union we don't have an enemy in that part of the world.

Re:Enemy is a very strong word to throw around (2)

Opyros (1153335) | about a year ago | (#40686857)

It's a strong word if you use it literally. But he wasn't doing so; he was riffing on a famous Pogo quote [wikipedia.org], and I imagine that was the only reason he used the word "enemy" at all.

Re:Translation: (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year ago | (#40686691)

Personal or financial interests make one partial. Being influenced by the facts and coming to a conclusion is just being a judge.

Re:Translation: (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#40686923)

The point is that there's an argument that he's not impartial. He very likely is, but it would waste everyone's time if someone wanted to make the argument, and any other judge is likely to come to much the same decision as he is, assuming he is impartial.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40687207)

But what are the chances that other judges will have hear what he said, if only by proxy? Could be a very smart judge.

Re:Translation: (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#40687613)

He didn't, he quoted someone else and then the whole thing got published without context and blown out of proportion.

Re:Translation: (2)

tommasorepetti (2485820) | about a year ago | (#40685047)

Who did they bribe? The judge himself? If a judge in a criminal case (which this is) for any other crime calls the prosecutor "the enemy" in public speech, he or she will have to step down. To do otherwise would make a mockery of the judicial system they allegedly represent. The judiciary might have encouraged this, but only to avoid embarrassing themselves. It was his call essentially to announce public that he had already made up his mind about the case. The judge often makes this sort of decision publicly, but it tends to be called a verdict.

Re:Translation: (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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: (5, Insightful)

T Murphy (1054674) | about a year ago | (#40685191)

+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:Translation: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685731)

There is a fundamental difference.

Judges biased in a way we don't like (your Pirate Bay trial is a very good example) don't step down.

Judges biased in a way we do like recognise they might be biased (or be perceived as biased) and step down.

IMHO, in the first case there might be some financial (or other personal) motivation; in the second case, I think it's integrity.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685893)

What the judge does is irrelevant. The point was the reaction.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685739)

When's the last time a MafiAA shill judge recused?

They don't. Which means every time a GOOD judge recuses from a case the people get fucked.

Re:Translation: (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year ago | (#40686747)

But the judges biased the other way usually have financial ties to the copyright industry! Unless this guy worked for a file-sharing site there is no parallel.

Re:Translation: (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#40687745)

Judges are not Wikipedia to be completely neutral, in fact their job is exactly to decide between two parties. When a judge has personal or financial ties to one of the participants (like in the Pirate Bay trial), that's a valid reason to demand him to step down. Simply having an opinion isn't.

Re:Translation: (4, Interesting)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year ago | (#40685383)

Or maybe the judge just didn't like the case much - maybe because Kim Schmitz is a crook but has to be acquitted anyway - so the judge used this loophole intentionally to remove himself from the case.

Re:Translation: (2, Informative)

caitsith01 (606117) | about a year ago | (#40685413)

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.

I know it's not something you're used to, assuming you're a US citizen, but it's actually just that NZ is a country where the rule of law operates, and this is an example of the system properly and impartially dealing with the issue. Judges in NZ (and Australia... and Britain) aren't elected and, by US standards, are not beholden to party politics. Furthermore, except in exceptional circumstances, no bureaucrat has the power to prevent a judge from hearing a matter.

Had he not recused himself, there would have been a risk of a successful appeal on the basis of bias.

Of course if the same judge had made a speech talking about how the US is New Zealand's best friend when it comes to intellectual property issues, you'd be squealing about his bias.

Re:Translation: (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#40686037)

Judges in NZ (and Australia... and Britain) aren't elected and, by US standards, are not beholden to party politics. Furthermore, except in exceptional circumstances, no bureaucrat has the power to prevent a judge from hearing a matter.

This is generally true in the USA for Federal Judges as well.

Except for the last sentence. In the USA, there are no "exceptional circumstances" that permit a bureaucrat to prevent a judge from hearing a matter.

Had he not recused himself, there would have been a risk of a successful appeal on the basis of bias.

Same here. If he'd not recused himself over here, the lawyers would have been preparing the appeal paperwork in parallel with the trial briefs, since they'd know in advance what the grounds for appeal were going to be....

And they'd win their appeal, too....

Re:Translation: (1)

qbast (1265706) | about a year ago | (#40686525)

Judges in NZ (and Australia... and Britain) aren't elected and, by US standards, are not beholden to party politics. Furthermore, except in exceptional circumstances, no bureaucrat has the power to prevent a judge from hearing a matter.

This is generally true in the USA for Federal Judges as well.

Except for the last sentence. In the USA, there are no "exceptional circumstances" that permit a bureaucrat to prevent a judge from hearing a matter.

Said bureaucrat just needs to invoke "state secrets privilege" and case is instantly dismissed.

Re:Translation: (0)

JosKarith (757063) | about a year ago | (#40685485)

The US threatened 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.
TFTFY...

Re:Translation: (1, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year ago | (#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.

Simply have to agree with that on balance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685879)

The judge will not be a complete idiot, presumably.
He must have known when he made the comment that he would then have to leave the case.
I can only speculate that he refused to be bought as a Judge, since the penalty for him would be high.
But being bought to leave the case which would also be difficult to prove , probably carries the risk of a grand slap from the Judicial standards body or whoever.

Alternatively, he is a complete idiot..... oh well.. another brandy over here my good man.

Re:Translation: (1, Troll)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#40686285)

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.

[supporting evidence needed]

Really. Or maybe aliens abducted him and this is a cover story so what they did to his nose does not make national headlines because it would unravel the inner earth conspiracy that the aliens are protecting in their alliance with the secret nazi government that is pulling the strings of the UN.

Oh dear, I fear this will show up on Google and some poor idiot actually believes it.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40687513)

And your evidence for that ranting accusation is...?

In other words (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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:In other words (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685575)

In other words, he's not the right guy, because he's not sympathetic enough to the US cause

I like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but if YOUR judge called you "the enemy" during the lawsuit, you may want him to step down. Judges are supposed to remain impartial, and the honest ones follow ethic rules.

And in his place.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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

Re:The perfect guy (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#40684917)

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 (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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:The perfect guy (3)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#40685665)

Fairly considering contrary opinions is a prerequisite for being a judge.

Yes, and when the contrary opinion has been fairly considered and found to be harmful, one can say so without impugning their impartiality. You have the same wishy-washy notion of impartiality that has infected journalism. Sometimes one side is right, and it's not wrong to say so.

If you want competence from your judges you have to understand that they bring experience to the table. That experience is valuable. Anyone who hasn't concluded that the US is the enemy of good copyright policy is frankly too ignorant to conduct a fair trial.

Re:The perfect guy (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#40686123)

Judges know that they can't have even the appearance of bias. He made a professional mistake and he's not taking the case due to it. The continued use of the courts is the perception, no matter how flawed, that the court will rule based on the law and not make its own laws up because it doesn't like them. Even when it is ruling a law unconstitutional, it is merely a statement that the overturned law is not valid against the "higher" law.

Judges don't get to "fairly consider" opinions. That is the job of the legislature. If the law required the defendant to sacrifice kittens to Baal or be locked up, as a judge I'd have to consider that offense as if I didn't think it was a horrible law. My choices would be to either step down from the bench or hear the case and sentence him to jail if he was guilty of not killing kittens. Any other option is me not doing my job as a judge.

Re:The perfect guy (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#40687017)

Judges know that they can't have even the appearance of bias.

This judge does not appear to be biased based on his statements. Any impartial observer would make the same statements.

Re:The perfect guy (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#40685063)

Which, by US standards is bias... 'if you are not unquestioningly for us, you are bias!'... which I suspect they 'communicated' to either the judge or people above him, who then quietly took him aside and explained what staying on the case might do to his career....

Re:The perfect guy (1, Troll)

tommasorepetti (2485820) | about a year ago | (#40685187)

If by "enemy" you mean that the U.S. entertainment industry produces the vast majority of all the content that Kim Dotcom pilfered for his own pecuniary gain, then yes, the U.S. is the enemy when it comes to copyright laws. Most movies are not released under a GPL-style, if you would like some that are, I can direct you to an awesome CGI movie about a bunny. Alternatively, I could suggest that those who take issue with current media distribution methods try to create something worthwhile themselves to share under such a license, or that they propose an alternative distribution method that respects the rights of those who generate content. Free as in free software and free media are about the rights of the end user... they are not about "free"-loaders.

Re:The perfect guy (1)

BryanL (93656) | about a year ago | (#40685993)

Everyone has a bias. The problem is, his bias against the US in terms of copyright is part of the public record. If it wasn't part of the public record I am sure he would still be on the case. Since his bias is public, it could be used to overturn the case (or at least call it into question).

Re:The perfect guy (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year ago | (#40686831)

Judges often have harsh words against murderers and child rapists entered into the record too . Are they too biased to hear those types of cases?

Re:The perfect guy (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year ago | (#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:The perfect guy (4, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | about a year ago | (#40685221)

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.

Re:The perfect guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40686195)

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.

While you are correct, the cliche` implies the part about "All things being equal" and is based on the same premise as that of Occam's Razor. All things being equal, the most probable explanation is stupidity.

Re:The perfect guy (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#40686197)

And what, the music industry paid him to make those comments? If a judge in the US made comments like that, he or she would be called on to step down as well. There's no other need to bribe or buy anyone off, he did all their work for them. There's no need to pay an assassin to kill you if you jump off a building all by yourself.
The fact that it is very a convenient development for you doesn't mean you did it.

Re:The perfect guy (2)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#40686267)

He absolutely is, which is why he should have shut the fuck up about her personal opinions.

You can't seriously ask experts on a topic to shut up about it, it would be a loss for all of us.

In the greater picture, the interview might be many times more influential and important than the one case that will now be judged by someone else.

Re:The perfect guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685515)

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

Uh, no, he demonstrated that he's impartial and interested in one party and the whole point of recusal (and, really, the reason for a legal system) is that you can't "manage" your bias.

And, really, he's only recusing because he ran his mouth and got called out on it. He was perfectly happy to try the case before.

Re:The perfect guy (1)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#40686229)

Yes, but catch-22 - by recusing, he demonstrated his integrity and should stay, but if he stays, then he lacks the show of integrity.

No, by recusing himself, he has demonstrated that he will be the perfect one to judge other cases of similar nature. This one should be judged by someone who has not made a public statement that could be interpreted as having a personal interest in the outcome.

Judge Harvey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40684839)

You embody the spirit of legal process. Kudos.

Re:Judge Harvey (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year ago | (#40684881)

Yes, it has been good reading this story. Maybe there should be more news about good Judges.

Re:Judge Harvey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40684945)

I still like the idea of a Judge having (and voicing) an opinion. If it's presented as a well-reasoned statement that takes the Law into consideration, so much the better. I would suspect any judge capable of recognising his own bias in this case and following through on the decision to step down, I think he might be sincere enough to remove his own opinion/bias and take into consideration the arguments and facts from both sides of the issue, what the Law says on the matter and make a decision based on that. ...Oh, what a nice place to live that would be.

Re:Judge Harvey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685149)

No, this is a judge being lawful stupid.

It is impossible not to have an opinion on a fairly basic issue of our time unless you are a time traveling caveman. Judges should excuse themselves when outside circumstances unduly influence their opinion, not because they have an opinion at all. Else the ideal judge would be someone who has no thoughts about anything.

When truth is out of style... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40684857)

Actually, I think he has done the right thing, Judges should not have personal opinions about a running court case outside OR inside of the courtroom. Even if those opinions may hold true. Impartiality is important when passing judgement, and that judgement should be based on what is presented, not personal opinion.

Re:When truth is out of style... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685671)

Actually, I think he has done the right thing, Judges should not have personal opinions about a running court case outside OR inside of the courtroom. Even if those opinions may hold true. Impartiality is important when passing judgement, and that judgement should be based on what is presented, not personal opinion.

That's a ridiculous notion. You don't think any judges have personal opinions on abortion? Gun control? Affirmative action? Tax-funded healthcare?
You don't think any judges smoke weed? Break the speed limit? Download unpurchased mp3s? Borrow CDs and rip the music to their iTunes library?

The level of impartiality you're demanding is completely impossible within human nature.

What quoting a cartoon will get you. (4, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | about a year ago | (#40684889)

The judge was of course riffing on "We have met the enemy, and he is us." (Pogo, 1970).

It was a fairly good joke, for judge, but I guess more humor than the NZ judicial system could bear.

Re:What quoting a cartoon will get you. (1)

Rakshasa-sensei (533725) | about a year ago | (#40684989)

Worse... He quoted a twitter message where the joke about 'us' being the 'US' was made, in the context of copyright.

Re:What quoting a cartoon will get you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685021)

You mean more humor than the USA allows the NZ judicial system to have right?

You dont need tinfoil hats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40684971)

This one is pretty alarmingly obvious. The big heavy boot of the fucked up americunt political system has leveraged its massive weight once again.

Two Minutes Hate (1, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#40685025)

Everybody, let's do the daily Two Minutes Hate against Emmanuel Goldstein...I mean America. We should whip ourselves into a frenzy of hatred and loathing for the enemy. Everyone spend moderation points on the most outrageous expressions of fear (which is pretty much the same as hate). By directing our hate towards an external enemy, we feel better and satisfy our feelings of angst from leading such meaningless existences.

It's always 11am somewhere. I'll start us off: B-B!...B-B!...B-B!...B-B!

Impartial, or knowledgeable ? (4, Insightful)

Jesrad (716567) | about a year ago | (#40685033)

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:Impartial, or knowledgeable ? (2)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#40686213)

Yes, except when someone whom you spoke out against is party - directly or indirectly - to a court case you are presiding over.

Recusing himself was absolutely the right thing to do, and a good show of integrity.

The case, not the bench (4, Insightful)

Triv (181010) | about a year ago | (#40685133)

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.

Partial? That can't be a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40685697)

I mean the judge in the case against the TBP guys had been a board member of an organisation that advocate stricter copyright laws and that wasn't a problem...

A man of conviction (1)

colin_faber (1083673) | about a year ago | (#40685845)

This is truly an interesting twist and something we rarely see with such high profile cases here in the US. If we had such men (or women) justices here, likely our country would be a very different (and better) place. I admire anyone with this level of mental clarity and conviction to do the right thing.

Not a matter of partiality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40686627)

Should judges that believe murder is wrong be disallowed from presiding over murder cases?

I think it's more likely that this guy received some sort of threat from some US Gov't agency, like the RIAA.

(note to those whose sarcasm detector is broken: I know the RIAA technically isn't a gov't agency, although it effects law like it is (yes, that's "effects" with an "e"). Also yes I realize this is blind speculation without basis.)

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