Category: Constitutional Law

Innocent Plaintiff Receives $100k Settlement After Brady Violation By Police And Incarceration

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

A citizen of Washington who was falsely accused and incarcerated for an alleged arson received a one hundred thousand dollar settlement in exchange for dismissal of her Section 1983 case against the investigating officer who withheld exculpable evidence from her defense, including information identifying a possible suspect.

The sixty-six-year-old Plaintiff was held in jail for a month and subjected to eight months of house arrest after being charged with Arson in the First Degree after a fire at a Dollar Tree Store in Kent.

Apparently to the investigating officer it was a righteous case that a sixty-six year old disabled woman with no criminal history was an arsonist but that information from another investigator who received a tip the day of the fire that a gang-banger and convicted arsonist with multiple prior convictions had bragged that he torched the store as a diversion to cover his shoplifting was not worthwhile enough to provide the prosecutor’s office or her defense.

Had it not been for the efforts of her criminal defense attorney, her potential legal jeopardy could have become much worse.

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“Sorry About That”: How The Lynching Controversy Offers A Preview For An Impeachment Trial

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent controversy over President Donald Trump’s use of “lynching” and what it portends for any Senate impeachment trial.

Here is the column:

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Giuliani Associate Raises Executive Privilege In His Criminal Case

Lev Parnas, a Soviet-born business associate of Rudy Giuliani, has told a court that he may raise executive privilege in the criminal case against him. His counsel, Ed MacMahon, said that his client was told to invoke executive privilege in a letter that was submitted on Parnas’ behalf by John Dowd to a congressional committee conducting the impeachment inquiry. Dowd previously represented the President. Parnas is shown here (left) with his associate Igor Fruman (who also worked with Giuliani and was arrested with Parnas at the airport).

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Trump Counsel Argues That Trump Could Commit Murder In Public But Not Be Charged Or Prosecuted During His Presidency

President Donald Trump famously bragged that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” Now, the judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit have pressed his counsel if that is true from a legal perspective. Trump counsel William Consovoy astonished the court by answering in the affirmative. Trump could commit murder and could not be even charged until after he left office. It is an extreme and in my view unsupportable claim based on a misreading of the Constitution.

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Are The Democrats Preparing Bolton For A Comey-Like Makeover?

The Ukraine scandal racketed up further with the testimony of Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor who testified that President Donald Trump held up military aid until the Ukrainians agreed to investigate election interference and Hunter Biden’s business dealings. While Taylor was the headliner this week, another figure appears to be emerging as the matinee star: John Bolton. When the Ukraine story broke, I stated that the likely key for Congress would be Bolton who had only recently been fired. Taylor reaffirmed earlier reports that Bolton spotted the serious danger of the Ukraine call and worked to prevent it as a “disaster” in the making.

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Dhvani Runs Ads Showing Model Assaulting Trump

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There has been legitimate criticism (including on this blog) of President Donald Trump retweeting images of his killing or beating media figures. However, there is often less coverage of such violent images from the left. One shocking example appeared this week in advertisements in New York for the athletic apparel company Dhvani showing a model assaulting Trump. The company did not back down from its violent display, though Planned Parenthood denounced the ads after Dhvani named it as a collaborating partner in the campaign design. The campaign titled #StandForSomething seems to mean stand for something tasteless and brutal.

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Report: Trump Tax Documents Show “Major Inconsistencies”

President Donald Trump has steadfastly refused to release his tax documents and is continuing litigation in both D.C. and New York despite rulings against him to bar the disclosures of prosecutors or congressional committees. Now, ProPublica has reported that it was able to review tax and loan documents for New York properties that show disturbing major discrepancies in reported expenses and profits.

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Pelosi Again Refuses To Hold Impeachment Vote

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Cal.), has again refused to hold a House floor vote to formally start an impeachment investigation. I have previously said that the allegation of self-dealing in the Ukrainian call could be an impeachable offense if a quid pro quo is established. However, Pelosi has undermined the position of the House by refusing to allow a vote that preceded the investigations in the Nixon and Clinton impeachments. As I stated in a recent column, this is a mistake if House Democrats are serious about pursuing an impeachment. Recently, in the case concerning Trump tax records, one of the three judges dissented on the basis that there has been no vote to establish the start of an impeachment investigation. Pelosi seems to believe that she can hold a press conference and expect courts to accept that a formal impeachment process has begun. Some judges are likely to be uncomfortable with such an immaculate impeachment.

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“Does This Sound Like A Good, Or Even Great Lawsuit?”: No, Mr. President, It Does Not.

President Donald Trump responded to the release of tapes from CNN this weekend showing a strong anti-Trump bias and agenda at CNN. The tapes were no surprise to many of us who have criticized CNN for its open advocacy against Trump and slanted coverage of political and legal issues. However, Trump again returned to his continuing call for lawsuits against the media over the issue: “Does this sound like a good, or even great, lawsuit?” The answer is no, Mr. President, it does not.

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O’Rourke Pledges To Strip Religious Organizations Of Tax Exemption If They Do Not Support Same-Sex Marriage

Roughly 15 years ago, I wrote about the collision between anti-discrimination laws and the free exercise of religion. I have been critical of the premise of the use of the tax code to effectively punish organizations that do not comport with the IRS’s view of good public policy. Now, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has fulfilled the prediction in the piece by promising to strip religious organizations of the tax exemption if they do not recognize same-sex marriage.

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Tax Man Cometh: Trump Loses Appeal On Tax Records

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has rejected the appeal of President Donald Trump to block a House subpoena for his tax documents. The ruling follows another loss in New York where a federal judge rejected Trump’s claim that he cannot be subject to criminal process of any kind while in office. That case has been appealed. Trump can appeal this latest ruling to the full court or to the Supreme Court or both.

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Will June Medical Deliver A Fatal Dose Of Reality For Precedent?

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the late addition of the Louisiana abortion case to an already impactful Supreme Court docket. The most interesting aspect of June Medical however may be what it will ultimately say about the doctrine of Stare Decisis and the respect for precedent.

Here is the column:

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Fox: Over Half Of Voters Want Trump Impeached and Removed

Polls are showing significant increases in citizens, including Republicans, who want to see President Donald Trump impeached. One of the most unsettling polls must be the one in Fox News which has generally tracked more favorably for Trump. The most recent Fox News Poll shows a new high of 51 percent in favor of both impeachment and removal.

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White House Issues Defiant Letter Refusing To Cooperate In Impeachment Proceedings

The White House continued along its ill-considered strategy of refusing to cooperate in an impeachment inquiry. I have previously written that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made a fundamental error in not securing a vote of the House to commence an impeachment investigation. However, the letter issued by the White House counsel further undermines the case for executive privilege arguments and could reinforce obstruction allegations in any final articles of impeachment.

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Trump Tweet Undermines Privilege Claims For Barring Testimony

Today, President Trump tweeted on the decision to bar EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland from testifying since it would be in front of a “a totally compromised kangaroo court.” The problem is that any fight would be on the basis for executive privilege, not the disagreement with the Committee agenda or fairness. Executive privilege is based on protecting confidential communications and diplomatic relations. Trump seems to be saying is that he simply does not trust the Committee, which is not a ground for refusal if a subpoena is now issued.

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