Much of the most high-profile online trending legal news for the week ending January 21 involved criminal justice, particularly the arrests of dozens of figures in New York's organized crime scene. However, there was also a good amount of activity regarding national legal issues.
The New York Times reports that on Thursday, January 20, nearly 125 individuals were arrested in the New York area in a sweeping federal operation. The arrests allegedly brought in figures from seven prominent mob families on charges that included homicide, racketeering, loan-sharking and gambling. Officials are calling the arrests the "largest mob roundup in FBI history." The press has covered the event extensively, with Google News showing more than 3,500 results for "New York mob".
Elsewhere in the world of crime, a grand jury report that was released on Wednesday, January 19, revealed gruesome details about a Philadelphia abortion clinic run by Dr. Kermit Gosnell. The Philadelphia District Attorney said that 69-year-old Gosnell regularly delivered live babies and murdered them by "sticking scissors into the back of the baby's neck and cutting the spinal cord." Gosnell is being charged with the murder of a patient and seven newborn babies, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gosnell's abortion clinic was reportedly in operation for 32 years. Google Trends reveals that the public has been intrigued by the grisly nature of the alleged crimes, with searches for "Kermit Gosnell" hitting their peak on Wednesday.
Shifting to the intersection of the legal and sports worlds, a court hearing will take place today in the federal government's attempt to prosecute home run king Barry Bonds for perjury, reports ESPN. During the hearing, Bonds' legal team will reportedly ask U.S. District Court Judge Susan Ilston to bar prosecutors from using drug calendars, ledgers, test results and other materials that were seized during raids of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) as evidence during the trial, which is slated to begin in March. These items allegedly link Bonds to steroid use. Internet searches for "Barry Bonds" hit a high this week on Wednesday, according to Google Trends.
Another major legal story that recently emerged is the addition of six states to Florida's lawsuit challenging the national healthcare reform legislation passed last year. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Maine will join the lawsuit, which now includes 26 states.
Looking ahead to next week there may be some serious intrigue surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court and President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 25. Last year, Obama rebuked the high court during his speech, which was considered a rare occurrence. Chief Justice John Roberts has publicly questioned whether the justices would attend the speech this year.
That's the online trending legal news for the week ending January 21.