In Riyadh, the Saudi morality police are again in the news. You may recall that when we last left the medieval mod squad they had secured a sentence to flog a woman who insulted them. Now, the religious police was caught on video beating up a British resident after they paid a bill at a women-only cask desk. The religious police was irate at the violation of the strict Sharia-based separation of the sexists and apparently took what they thought was the morality correct approach in beating the man in front of his wife who was wearing a black abaya cloak.
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Lawrence Winger, a leading labor and employment lawyer in Maine, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with possessing child pornography. Winger, 63, consented to a search of his office where investigators allegedly found dozens of images and videos of prepubescent children engaged in sexual activity. Winger has a blog specializing in labor and employment issues.
It is with a great pleasure this evening that I can announce the final decision of United States District Court Judge Clarke Waddoups on the last remaining count in the Sister Wives case. Previously, Judge Waddoups handed down an historic ruling striking down key portions of the Utah polygamy law as unconstitutional. Only one count remained: the Section 1983 claim that state officials (notably prosecutor Jeffrey R. Buhman) violated the constitutional rights of the Brown family in years of criminal investigation and public accusations. This was a difficult legal question that Judge Waddoups asked for additional briefing and a hearing to address. He has now ruled for the Browns in what is now a clear sweep on all counts. I want to thank my friend and local counsel (and GW Alum) Adam Alba and all of the students who have worked so hard on this case over the years. I also want to thank the Browns for their courage and commitment in this case. It has been a great honor to serve (and continue to serve) as lead counsel in this case for the Brown family. Given the prior announcement that the Attorney General would appeal the case, we are prepared to defend this and the prior ruling in Denver, Colorado before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
There is an interesting case out of Orlando that raises questions about the use of felony murder charges by prosecutors whenever there is a fatality in the commission of a crime. Kody Roach was charged with felony murder even though he never fired a shot and the victim, Maria Fernada Godinez, 22, was actually killed by a police officer.
The latest figures are in on the seemingly bottomless hole that is healthcare.gov, the troubled federal insurance marketplace web site. By any measure, the Obama Administration was grossly negligent in the creation of the system, which ultimately failed on its rollout despite numerous warnings of substandard work, overruns, and major technical problems. It appears that we are not done with bill for the program. A new Inspector General report stated that the Obama Administration issued sixty contracts from 2009 to 2014 to build Healthcare.gov, which had already cost roughly a half a billion dollars by February 2014. However, the Administration has signed new contracts that obligate the taxpayer to cover an addition $300 million, and the estimated value of the sixty contracts totals $1.7 billion. Despite numerous accounts and reports on the mismanagement of this program, there appears to be little real effort to hold anyone accountable as we continue to pour hundreds of millions into this system. The contracts include money to CGI Federal, the well-connected company that was partially response for the disaster in October as well as other controversies in large contracts.
There is an interesting controversy out of Winooski, Vermont over a sign for Sneakers diner. As part of a city program, Sneakers helped beautify its street with flower beds and in return was allowed to put up a sign. The diner featured its favorite dish with a sign that read: “Yield For Sneakers Bacon.” However, a Muslim woman who was also a vegan objected that a sign with the word bacon was offensive to her due to her religion’s ban on eating pork products. The diner responded by immediately taking down the sign and personally apologizing to the woman. That accommodation has led to a backlash from others who feel that the diner is yielding to ultra-sensitive individuals and encouraging such demands from others who may be offended by any number of food references and dishes.