Judges could be given new powers to bring contempt proceedings against defendants under proposed redrafting of civil procedure rules.Consultation was opened yesterday by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee on possible amendments to Part 81, concerning the practices and procedures on contempt of court.The current rules have come under greater scrutiny, most notably during committal proceedings against former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson in A-G v Yaxley-Lennon. Committee chair Lord Justice Coulson said a number of senior judges have commented on the unsatisfactory wording of Part 81 – including in the Yaxley-Lennon case – and the current provisions now appear unsatisfactory. Source: ShutterstockRobinson arrives for sentencing for contempt of court at the Old Bailey in LondonCoulson said the existing Part 81 is ‘not easy to operate’ and the committee proposes a uniform procedural code for use in all contempt proceedings.The most eye-catching change could be to allow the court to initiate its own contempt proceedings without any need for an application from a third party. Judges could be able to issue a summons to the defendant, requiring them to attend court for directions. The summons would indicate to the defendant whether the proceedings will be tried by the judge issuing it; judges would have a template to fill in and could instruct staff to help with drafting.The consultation notes: ‘While some may object that judges are already hard pressed enough, in many cases if the judge does not take the lead, serious contempts will go unpunished.’Power to commit individuals for contempt could also be extended to circuit judges, although the committee does not express a view on whether this extension might also include district judges and/or masters. Procedural rules currently limit the jurisdiction of those who are not salaried High Court judges.The consultation says guarantees of procedural fairness must be the ‘cornerstone’ of the new draft Part 81. This includes defendants having the right to be legally represented, being entitled to apply for legal aid and being given reasonable time to prepare and produce witness evidence. Punishment should be reduced if the defendant admits the contempt and wishes to apologise to the court.Other proposed rule changes include changing ‘applicant and respondent’ to ‘claimant and defendant’, listing and hearing all contempt hearings in public unless the court directs otherwise, advocates and the judge appearing robed in all contempt proceedings, and judgments being transcribed on the judiciary website.Coulson said the committee is agreed that current rules cause ‘frequent difficulties’ and must be simplified, shortened and strengthened. The consultation closes on 1 May.
Mississippi State University head baseball coach John Cohen talks to the media prior to the Bulldogs’ game against USM at Trustmark Park in Pearl on March 24, 2015. Photo by Keith WarrenMississippi State began fall baseball earlier this month. It marked the first appearance on campus for the third-ranked recruiting class according to Collegiate Baseball, the publication announced Tuesday.The ranking was the third-highest in program history. It was also the first time MSU signed three-straight top 10 classes. Mississippi State ranked No. 2 in 2013 and No. 6 last fall.“I appreciate the hardworking people inside our industry who have recognized the tireless work of two of the finest recruiters in America, Nick Mingione and Butch Thompson,” head coach John Cohen said. “We feel this class has the potential to be special.”The class features three selections from the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft as well as three players who were named player of the year in their respective states.Left-handed pitcher Jared Padgett and infielder Delvin Zinn were both drafted by the Cubs in June’s MLB Draft. Catcher Elih Marrero was selected by the Reds. The trio elected to put their professional aspirations on hold.Padgrett and Kale Breaux highlight the pitchers who arrived in Starkville this summer. Padgett was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 26th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Breaux was named the 2014-15 Gatorade Louisiana Baseball Player of the Year. Breaux was also a member of USA Baseball’s 18U National Team which brought home the gold medal at the 2014 COPABE Pan American Championships.Marrero joined Breaux on Team USA squad.Rounding out the draftees, Zinn, a Pontotoc native, earned Perfect Game All-America honors this past spring as an infielder.Hunter Stovall hit .461 with 10 home runs and 28 stolen bases this past spring at Pelham High School in Alabama. He was named the 2014-15 Gatorade Alabama Baseball Player of the Year for his efforts. The middle infielder was also named a 2015 Louisville Slugger, MaxPreps and Perfect Game All-American.Junior college Nathaniel Lowe transferred to MSU after being named a NJCAA First-Team All-American. The 2015 Florida Junior College Player of the Year ranked second in the National Junior College Athletic Association in walks (54) and 12th in home runs (17), while hitting .372 with 53 RBIs in 56 games.Mississippi State holds open scrimmages this week on Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.Collegiate Baseball’s Top-10 Recruiting Classes For 2014-151. Florida2. South Carolina3. Mississippi State4. Georgia Tech5. Vanderbilt6. UCLA7. LSU8. Oregon9. South Florida10. AuburnContact Michael Bonner at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MikeBBonner on Twitter.
It goes without saying that Baltimore isn’t quite yet embracing this 2012 version of Baltimore Orioles pennant fever. No matter how dramatic the victories or how unlikely this late August run for postseason glory seems, nothing about The Birds has moved the sports fans of Maryland.Even into the great beyond via the long reach of MASN – not to mention the reach into your pockets every month like a public utility – for whatever reason people aren’t coming back in droves to give King Peter Angelos their money to watch the likes of Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and even boy wonder Manny Machado, who has been worth the price of admission alone this week.Oh, I know I’m being “Negative Nestor” by even writing this blog when the Orioles are winning baseball games and on the verge of a sweep of the hated Boston Red Sox. But every time the TV cameras pan the more than half-empty stadium, I can’t help but thinking the same thing you’re thinking: “I wonder why people aren’t going to Camden Yards to support this winning team?”Yeah, we all thought Camden Yards would be packed once the Orioles started winning. And as the team closes a 10-game homestand tonight in full control of a wild card berth and still within striking distance of the New York Yankees, a true “pennant fever” atmosphere has yet to emerge in Baltimore.It seems that a few months of prosperity hasn’t wiped out 14 years of bad vibes, bad baseball, steroid needles, lies from the owner and the emergence of the Washington Nationals as the regional team with marketing legs and, dare we say, “Natitude.”And here’s where we’ll piss off both side of the Baltimore fence.I have one question for you: “Are you excited about the Baltimore Ravens’ upcoming season?”My gut is that you just yelled, “YES!”My gut also says that your neighbor is excited, your cousins, your co-workers, the folks in your social group – wherever your friends and loved ones reside — they’re ready to don purple and are counting down the minutes until the 7 p.m. kickoff on Monday, Sept. 10 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.I’m not sure when it became sort of fashionable to only support one of the two teams in Baltimore and perhaps for the younger generation there has never been a good time to embrace the Orioles. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m ready for Ravens’ season and that my love for the purple guys has superseded my spirit and energy for the Orioles. But I do love them both. And I will support them both equally for what it means for Baltimore to have a winning sports team and a chance to hang red, white and blue bunting here in October.And, somehow during this emergence of the purple birds of Baltimore since 1996, this weird kind of divide has occurred here in the Charm City where some folks only have enough “love” – if not dollars and time and energy – for one of the two teams.Do you know people who love the Orioles and have no use for football or the Ravens? Almost to the point where they root against the purple birds in football season?I do.And, conversely, from what I can tell there are a myriad of people everywhere around town who are fervent Baltimore Ravens fans and have long-since given up following the Orioles on a nightly basis, even now that the team on the field is representative of the community’s desire for hard work, overachieving and beating the Yankees and Red Sox.I know many, many people who have purple “Man Caves” – an entire kingdom and closets dedicated to all things Baltimore Ravens. There are whole stores like The Raven Zone dedicated to selling merchandise year-round.I don’t know anyone who has a basement that is an homage to the Orioles these days, despite the fact that you get 162 chances to enjoy games vs. just 16 that count.I also admit that the amount of hours necessary to follow the Orioles is extraordinary. It’s a lifestyle commitment to watch four hours of baseball six nights a week for six months. It’s almost like a full-time job if you’re going to vest into MLB fandom.And certainly this isn’t a new phenomenon for sports teams anywhere in America. It seems that there’s plenty of love for all four sports teams in places like Boston, Philadelphia, etc. where the seasons and the reasons all seem to blur together into a full calendar of activity and passion.But it might be time to ask, “Where’s the emotional investment for Baltimore fans?”Is it possible that you only have room in your heart — or wallet — for one successful local team?
Wayne Rooney scored his first goal since March as Manchester United cruised to victory to remain two points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.Rooney converted a 33rd-minute penalty to end a 13-game drought after Jonathan Spector fouled Ryan Giggs.Nani’s cool finish from Rooney’s neat pass made it 2-0 while Kieron Dyer hit the post for winless West Ham.Dimitar Berbatov capped a fine performance by volleying past Robert Green from Nani’s chipped cross.West Ham’s defeat left them rooted to the foot of the table and without a point while Manchester United remain third, level with Arsenal.The Hammers’ task was always going to be difficult, with Avram Grant’s side without an away win in the league since the first game of last season. But Manchester United, who had won 11 of their previous 12 league games at Old Trafford, started sluggishly with Rooney in particular struggling for form.However, as the half wore on, United’s veteran midfield duo of Paul Scholes and Giggs started to impose themselves on the game with Nani – who replaced Antonio Valencia in the starting line-up – also finding space on the right.The Portuguese winger came closest to breaking the deadlock early on when his fierce 25-yard shot was palmed onto the crossbar by Green.At the other end Dyer proved a useful outlet for the Hammers, while striker Carlton Cole was only denied a shot on goal by a last-ditch tackle from the superb Nemanja Vidic.Dyer found the side-netting for the Hammers but Manchester United continued to press for an opening goal and just after the half-hour it came – albeit from the penalty spot.Scholes found Giggs on the left with trademark vision, and after turning Spector inside out, the Welshman was eventually brought down by the Hammers defender. It gave Rooney an opportunity to score for the first time since 30 March and the England striker made no mistake, finding the bottom of the net with a low penalty that sent Green the wrong way and brought to an end the longest barren spell of his career.Soon after, Darren Fletcher saw his curling 25-yard drive superbly tipped round the post by Green as the Red Devils continued to press.The hosts should have gone into the break 2-0 up but Nani wasted a glorious opportunity on the stroke of half-time, lifting the ball over Green but also over the bar from close range after a stunning clipped pass from Giggs.However, Nani made amends for his miss just after the break, lashing the ball home left-footed from the edge of the area after cutting inside his marker following Rooney’s weighted pass.Rooney himself was denied by a last-ditch Danny Gabbidon tackle before a fine passing move from West Ham saw Dyer crash a fierce shot against the outside of the post. Scholes then tested Green from the edge of the area after good link-up play from Berbatov as the game started to turn into a procession for the hosts.United soon increased their lead and having turned provider for Scholes, it was Berbatov’s turn to be on the receiving end with Nani’s clipped pass to the back post acrobatically volleyed home by the Bulgarian.Cole and Vidic continued their personal duel with the Serbian defender again coming out on top as another last-ditch tackle denied the England striker a clear sight on goal.Hammers striker Fredric Piquionne tested keeper Edwin van der Sar late on but the Dutchman was equal to the effort as Manchester United held on to keep their second clean sheet of the season.Credit: BBC