Author: jonathanturley

University of Pittsburgh Students Disrupt Pro-Life Conference

We have been discussing how faculty and students are increasingly shutting down speakers or destroying opposing memorialsin the name of free speech. The latest such example is at University of Pittsburgh where abortion activists disrupted a conference on fetal tissue research held by a pro-life group. The university is investigating but apparently no students were stopped or identified at the event by campus security despite their forcing the suspension of the event. Continue reading “University of Pittsburgh Students Disrupt Pro-Life Conference”

Antifa Member Who Took Axe to Senate Office Given Probation and his Axe Back

 

We have been discussing the continued incarceration of many individuals for their participation in the Jan. 6th riot.  Despite claims that the riot was an insurrection, the vast majority of defendants have been given relatively minor charges. Nevertheless, the Justice Department has insisted on holding many without bail and some have received longer sentences, like Jacob Chansley (aka “QAnon Shaman”) who was given a 41-month sentence for “obstructing a federal proceeding.”

Thomas “Tas” Alexander Starks, 31, of Lisbon, N.D., faced a strikingly different approach by the Justice Department. The self-avowed Antifa member took an axe to the office of Sen. John Hoeven’s in Fargo on Dec. 21, 2020. Federal sentencing guidelines suggested 10–16 months in prison but he was only sentenced to probation and fined $2,784 for restitution . . . he then reportedly mocked the FBI for returning his axe.  Others declared him a hero and Democratic politicians pitched in for his legal defense. Continue reading “Antifa Member Who Took Axe to Senate Office Given Probation and his Axe Back”

Georgia Defendants Convicted in the Ahmaud Arbery Case

With their conviction in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, three defendants (Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr.) are now looking at life in prison. The trial was a testament to two key elements in the criminal justice system: the integrity of the American jury and the power of videotape evidence . Continue reading “Georgia Defendants Convicted in the Ahmaud Arbery Case”

What Elephant? The Media Again Buries A Hunter Biden Scandal on Foreign Deals During the Biden Vice Presidency

I previously wrote a column on the one year anniversary of the Hunter Biden laptop story that marveled at the success of the Biden family in making the scandal vanish before that 2020 election. It was analogized to Houdini making his 10,000-pound elephant Jennie disappear in his act. The Biden trick however occurred live before an audience of millions. Now, in an encore, a new major story on Biden’s Chinese dealings has surfaced. Once again, poof!

The media has made the story disappear except for a couple of the usual outlets. Even with the New York Times reporting on the story, the disclosure of Biden’s role in securing one of the world’s largest cobalt mines for China (a key component to electric battery production) has been ignored by the major networks and many other print outlets. Once again, ABC. NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and other media just cannot see the elephant.

Continue reading “What Elephant? The Media Again Buries A Hunter Biden Scandal on Foreign Deals During the Biden Vice Presidency”

Now That Rittenhouse is Acquitted, Can Officer Kelly Have His Job Back?

Norfolk Police Department

The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse produced a number of immediate changes beyond the custodial status of the 18-year-old himself. GoFundMe lifted its ban on people contributing to his defense . . . after his defense was over and the verdict was in. Some media outlets finally reported on evidence that supported his self-defense claims and one critic called for “revisiting” the clearly biased reporting in the case. However, there is one person whose status has not changed: Norfolk Police Officer William Kelly who was fired for simply donating to the Rittenhouse defense fund and writing a supportive note as a private citizen. He made the comment and donation anonymously. The only thing more shocking than Kelly’s loss of his job is that Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer and Police Chief Larry Boone have retained theirs. Continue reading “Now That Rittenhouse is Acquitted, Can Officer Kelly Have His Job Back?”

Yale Law Students Sue Over Alleged “Blackballing” For Supporting Law Professor

We have often discussed how dissenting faculty and students are increasingly subjected to retaliation for the exercise of free speech or free association on campuses.  In many cases, such treatment involves shunning or blackballing by school administrators to prevent professors or students from participating in programs. That is the complaint by two law students (identified only as John Doe and Jane Doe) who allege that they were blackballed for supporting Professor Amy Chua, who was previously discussed as embroiled in a controversy at the school after she defended Justice Brett Kavanaugh.  The students make some shocking allegations against the Yale Dean and other administration officials.

Continue reading “Yale Law Students Sue Over Alleged “Blackballing” For Supporting Law Professor”

Unrequited Rage: The Demand for Mob Justice in the Rittenhouse Trial

Below is my column in The Hill on the aftermath of Rittenhouse verdict and how the jury functioned as design to rule on the evidence and the law rather than public passions. Many have called for self-defense laws to be curtailed in light of the verdict. We can certainly have that debate. However, this jury was tasked with applying these facts to existing law. They did not have the luxury of reframing the legal standard to achieve their own concept of justice.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Unrequited Rage: The Demand for Mob Justice in the Rittenhouse Trial”

Verdict First, Funds Second: GoFundMe’s Red Queen Policy on Rittenhouse

GoFundMe appears to have lifted its ban on fundraising for Kyle Rittenhouse . . . after he was acquitted.  Of course, those funds were most needed to put on a defense and many demanded that the site cut off access to fundraising. The site yielded to the pressure and refused to allow people who believed Rittenhouse to be innocent from donating on its site. GoFundMe has been repeatedly criticized for political bias and conservative sites have objected that the site continued to allow fundraising for Black Lives Matter protesters accused of rioting. The company appears to have embraced a Red Queen policy from Alice in Wonderland: This “sentence first — verdict afterwards.”

Continue reading “Verdict First, Funds Second: GoFundMe’s Red Queen Policy on Rittenhouse”

Rittenhouse Revisited: How Media Misinformation Can Fuel Social Unrest

Below is my column in USA Today on the Rittenhouse trial and the role of media coverage in fueling anger in such cases by misrepresenting or ignoring key evidence. After the verdict, a riot was declared in Portland and protests erupted around the country.  Fortunately, there was not the type of arson and destruction seen in Kenosha last year. While the media often denounces “misinformation” or “disinformation” (and even supports censorship in some cases), it rarely acknowledges its own distortions from the Russian collusion scandal to the Hunter Biden laptop controversy to the Lafayette Park incident. Indeed, after the verdict, many of these same figures doubled down in denouncing the decision without acknowledging the evidence supporting the reasonable doubt of these jurors.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Rittenhouse Revisited: How Media Misinformation Can Fuel Social Unrest”

Fordham University Sued By Both A Professor and Student In Bizarre Zoom Class Incident

Fordham University is the subject of two separate lawsuits stemming from a bizarre incident in a Zoom class. Professor Howard Robinson, 69, was accused by a student of masturbating during a virtual class in an academic version of the Jeffrey Toobin controversy. Robinson, however, insists that he not only did not commit the act but could not have done so physically. In the meantime, the student who recorded the incident, Andrea Morin, is suing after flunking the class under a substitute professor. She alleged retaliation. Continue reading “Fordham University Sued By Both A Professor and Student In Bizarre Zoom Class Incident”

Too Clever By Half: Why Public Nuisance is Again at the Heart of a Public Health Debate

Below is my column in the Wall Street Journal on the ongoing opioid litigation and an important ruling out of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The product has become the latest battleground over the use of public nuisance to curtail products from paint to pills to guns.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Too Clever By Half: Why Public Nuisance is Again at the Heart of a Public Health Debate”

Arbery Trial Judge Delivers Massive Blow to the Defense on the Eve of Closing Statements

In the Georgia trial over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Judge Timothy Walmsley delivered a haymaker to the defense on the very eve of closing statements.  The court ruled that Georgia’s prior citizen’s arrest law is only applicable if a person sees a felony committed and acts without delay. The ruling could be “outcome determinative” in the case by stripping away the core defense that these men were chasing a person suspected of a series of crimes over the last year. Travis McMichael, his father, Greg McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan are likely to make this ruling the heart of any appeal if they are convicted. Continue reading “Arbery Trial Judge Delivers Massive Blow to the Defense on the Eve of Closing Statements”

Rittenhouse 2.0: Threats of New Litigation Fly in the Aftermath of Rittenhouse Verdict

In the aftermath of the Rittenhouse verdict, figures on both sides of the case threatened new filings and investigations. It seems likely that the case will move into a new stage of litigation, particularly civil litigation. However, advocates on both sides may be overstating the basis for a Rittenhouse 2.0.  These lawsuits can come with risks and considerable costs. That is why Voltaire once lamented “I was never ruined but twice: once when I lost a lawsuit, and once when I won one.” Continue reading “Rittenhouse 2.0: Threats of New Litigation Fly in the Aftermath of Rittenhouse Verdict”

“Jump Kick Man” Identified In Rittenhouse Case . . . After Closing Arguments

Throughout the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, one of the alleged “victims” was known only as “jump kick man” and identified only by his action and his pants. It now turns out that the prosecutors knew not only who he was but where he was before the trial. The question is whether the defense was informed that “jump kick man” was actually Maurice Freeland, 39. Continue reading ““Jump Kick Man” Identified In Rittenhouse Case . . . After Closing Arguments”

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks