FCC To Rule On Capping Telephone Fees Charged By Outside Vendors To Inmates

By Darren Smith

PrisonCellOne matter that has been for years a hot button issue is how telephone service vendors have entered into contract with prisons and jails in the various states. County jails and state prisons were enticed on the promise of lowering costs to the government agency in exchange for having the liberty to place the burden of the cost onto inmates and those electing to make calls.

Over the years several vendors have clearly taken advantage of the system, and callers who have no other choices if they wish to speak with their attorney, family, or friends.

Now, the FCC is positioned to place restrictions on the tolls charged. A vote is scheduled for October 22nd.

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Nassau District Attorney Bans Prosecutors From Owning Handguns Without Her Approval [Updated]

DocumentThere is an interesting controversy out of New York county where Acting District Attorney, Madeline Singas in Nassau County has prohibited prosecutors from owning a handgun. This is a curious way for an “acting” district attorney to start if she wants to be an actual district attorney since I believe that rule is unconstitutional. Prosecutors like other citizens have a second amendment right to own a gun. [Update: Singas has withdrawn her clearly unconstitutional condition on prosecutors]

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State Department Contradicts Clinton’s Long-Standing Account On E-Mails

170px-Msc2011_dett-clinton_0298StateDepartmentThe Clinton email scandal continues to get worse by the day with State Department officials directly contradicting the long-standing account given by Hillary Clinton. Clinton has long maintained that she turned over a portion of her emails (those not deleted as “personal”) after receiving a letter that went to her and three of her predecessors: Madeline Albright, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice as a routine inquiry. The gist is that there was nothing alarming about her exclusive use of a server under her control rather than the secured State Department system. State Department officials now confirm that the request was specifically related to the discovery that Clinton was using a personal email system as her exclusive means of communication. This revelation occurs the same week that the FBI has announced that it has already retrieved some of the emails and that the Clinton staffers who “wiped” the system did a poor job that left the material easily accessible — deepening the earlier concerns over the presence of what is now confirmed to be classified material on Clinton’s unsecured server. The FBI sources described Clinton’s IT person as “not very good.”

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New Jersey Judge Faces Judicial Complaint Over Crude and Personal Comments

108669155Passaic County Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Portelli (New Jersey) is facing formal judicial conduct charges over what was allegedly “poor judgment and a lack of dignity and respect for his office.” What is interesting is the range of comments, including some that would not have been previously considered a basis for discipline but now raise serious judicial conduct questions. The charges could raise an interesting hearing as subject to different interpretations with Portelli claiming that he is merely salty or familiar in his language while others would call it sexist or intrusive.
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Lawyer and Intern Charged With Robbery and Murder After Celebration At Bar

Screen-Shot-2015-09-15-at-5.42.09-PMThere is a tragic but interesting criminal case set for trial in San Francisco involving a tenants rights attorney and a claim of self-defense during a robbery. Eviction Defense Collaborative staff attorney Carlos Argueta, 31, and former intern (and Swiss native who lives in London) Pascal Krummenacher, 21, are charged with murder after they alleged were robbed outside a bar where they were celebrating the end of Krummenacher’s internship. Argueta is accused of stabbing to death James Thomas, 61. There is a videotape in the case reviewed by the Examiner.

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The Dereliction of Duty: Texas Prosecutor Found To Have Intentionally Withheld Critical Evidence In Latest Of Long-Line of Ethical Violations

J_DutyThere is a curious case out of Georgetown, Texas, where Williamson County District Judge Rick Kennon has ruled that Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty intentionally withheld evidence in the murder trial of Crispin Harmel. However, Kennon refused a defense motion to bar a second trial under the double jeopardy clause. There is no indication of any punishment for Ms. Duty for this case. She continues to serve as a lawyer and a prosecutor in Texas. She has however racked up an impressive number of allegations of misconduct and was sent to jail in August for contempt. However, it is odd not to see a direct referral by the court. I can understand the ruling, though the Texas Court of Appeals recently extended double jeopardy protections to a case where prosecutors intentionally forced a mistrial to avoid an acquittal. However, at a minimum, one would expect a court to deal separately with the violation of her core obligations to the court and the bar.

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