Category: Criminal law

Federal Court Strikes Down Another Provision of New York’s New Gun Control Law

I have previously written about how New York has proven time and time again as the gift that keeps on giving for the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun-rights groups. New York Democrats continue to pass laws that are virtually guaranteed to be struck down and further reinforce Second Amendment rights. The latest provision involves the possible criminal prosecution for possessing a gun on private property if the owner has not approved such possession on the premises.

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The Lords of War: The Perils Facing Trump, Garland, and Smith in Washington’s Legal Arms Race

Below is my column in The Hill on the appointment of a special counsel to investigate former President Donald Trump. All of the three main players — Trump, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Special Counsel Jack Smith — will face immediate challenges in the legal arms race unfolding in Washington.

Here is the column: Continue reading “The Lords of War: The Perils Facing Trump, Garland, and Smith in Washington’s Legal Arms Race”

Missouri Man Robs Bank Using Back of Birth Certificate While Wearing Ankle Monitor

We have come a long way since the heady days of Professor James Moriarty.

In Missouri, Michael Conley Loyd, 30, pleaded guilty last week to bank robbery.  That is not particularly notable, but Loyd wrote his demand note to the teller on the back of his birth certificate and robbed the bank while wearing an ankle monitor. It only got more bizarre from there.

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“Lost…in the Emotion of the Night”: Attorney Who Firebombed Police Vehicle Given 15 Month Sentence

We previously discussed the case of two New York attorneys (Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman) who joined in violent protests in New York, including firebombing a police vehicle. The Biden Justice Department later gave the two lawyers an astonishingly generous plea deal that avoided long prison sentences. Now Rahman has been sentenced to 15 months after asking for no jail time for throwing the Molotov cocktail.

Continue reading ““Lost…in the Emotion of the Night”: Attorney Who Firebombed Police Vehicle Given 15 Month Sentence”

The Cuties and the “Younger” Doctrine: Netflix Prevails in Key Federal Ruling Over Controversial Movie

previously wrote a column opposing calls by GOP members for a federal investigation of Netflix and the movie “Cuties” (or Mignonnes). Now, federal Judge Michael Truncale (left) has issued a preliminary injunction in the Eastern District of Texas to stop the prosecution of the company. The move is relatively rare since the Younger abstention doctrine ordinarily shields state prosecutions from such interventions of federal courts. However, the court highlighted deep flaws in the prosecutorial case. Continue reading “The Cuties and the “Younger” Doctrine: Netflix Prevails in Key Federal Ruling Over Controversial Movie”

Erin Go Britain? Ireland Considers Enacting a Bill Criminalizing the Possession of Hateful Material

We recently discussed a troubling conviction in Great Britain of a man for his “toxic ideology.” Now Ireland appears ready to replicate that case a thousand fold. The proposed Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022 would criminalize the possession of material deemed hateful. It is a full frontal assault on speech and associational rights. The law would allow for sweeping authoritarian measures in defining opposing viewpoints hateful. Ireland appears to be picking up the cudgel of speech criminalization from Britain, an abusive power once used against the Irish.

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“Letting Your Wildest Dreams Come True”: California Man Dressed as Fireball Whiskey Arrested for Disorderly Conduct

 

Dominic Salazar, 31, had a Halloween to remember (or not) after he was arrested for drunken disorderly conduct, domestic battery, and other charges. That was unfortunately not particularly notable given the common crimes and torts that marks All Hallow’s Eve. It was Salazar’s outfit that could make this a particularly challenging defense case.

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Sen. Bob Menendez is Reportedly Under Investigation for Corruption . . . Again

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., is under federal criminal investigation … again. The voters of New Jersey reelected Menendez despite his accepting lavish gifts from a businessman who was later convicted of fraud. Menendez was also charged but the case was dismissed after a jury hung on the verdict. As I noted at the time of the trial, Menendez was a “juror” in a trial that I handled in the Senate and he maintained a position completely at odds with his own later defense. Continue reading “Sen. Bob Menendez is Reportedly Under Investigation for Corruption . . . Again”

MSNBC Legal Analyst Declares Trump Could Be Charged With Manslaughter

We previously discussed the declaration of Harvard Professor Lawrence Tribe that former president Donald Trump could be charged with the attempted murder of former Vice President Michael Pence. Now, MSNBC legal analyst and Michigan Law Professor Barbara McQuade has gone one better. She told MSNBC viewers that Trump could be charged with manslaughter for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot. Continue reading “MSNBC Legal Analyst Declares Trump Could Be Charged With Manslaughter”

Degrees of Contempt: Pundits Seek to Excuse the Lack of Prior Contempt Prosecutions in the Wake of the Bannon Sentencing

After the sentencing of Trump strategist Steve Bannon to four months behind bars, obvious comparisons were raised with the slew of contempt cases that the Justice Department refused to even submit to grand juries during prior Administrations.  The most cited was the contempt case against former Attorney General Eric Holder. That has led to various pundits insisting that there is no such comparison and nothing to see there. In my opinion, they are right to draw distinctions but wrong to dismiss the concern over selective prosecution of contempt cases. Continue reading “Degrees of Contempt: Pundits Seek to Excuse the Lack of Prior Contempt Prosecutions in the Wake of the Bannon Sentencing”

Massachusetts Woman Charged with Assault with Dangerous . . . Bees

[Hampden County Sheriff]

Rorie Susan Woods, 55, is not the first woman accused of assault with a deadly weapon but she is certainly among the few to use bees as that weapon. That is what police are alleging after Woods allegedly met them (as they came to enforce an eviction order) with a swarm of angry bees. She was at the scene as an anti-eviction protester.

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“Potentially Very Criminal Activity”: Adam Kinzinger is Very Certain There is Very Likely “Something Going On at the Secret Service”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.) went on CNN’s “The Situation Room” to declare he is very certain there is very likely “something going on at the Secret Service” … and it could “potentially [be] very criminal activity.” It is also very very late (as was the subpoena of former President Donald Trump) to be asking about the lack of preparation for Jan. 6th riot. Continue reading ““Potentially Very Criminal Activity”: Adam Kinzinger is Very Certain There is Very Likely “Something Going On at the Secret Service””

Report: Hunter Biden Secured $40 Million in Deal with Russians

Among the many shady deals of Hunter Biden, one of the most intriguing was his arrangement with Yelena Baturina, wife of the former mayor of Moscow (who was previously tossed out for corruption). There is the reported $3.5 million fee Baturina paid Hunter’s real estate enterprise. However, according to the Daily Mail, Hunter also gathered $40 million in the deal for investments and his father may have known about it. It is another glaring disconnect with the new addiction defense being pushed by President Joe Biden. Continue reading “Report: Hunter Biden Secured $40 Million in Deal with Russians”

“He was not Arrested”: CNN and MSNBC Ex-Bosses Struggle to Justify Burying the Hunter Biden Story

YouTube Screenshot

“Denial is not just a river in Africa.” Those sage words from SNL character Stuart Smalley seemed prophetic this week as ex-MSNBC boss Phil Griffin and ex-CNN boss Jeff Zucker were confronted about their burying of the Hunter Biden story. Their tortured and transparent rationalizations caused an immediate response from some of us who have written about the scandal since its inception. That included Griffin’s almost laughable claim that their approach before the election was justified because “he was never arrested.” Continue reading ““He was not Arrested”: CNN and MSNBC Ex-Bosses Struggle to Justify Burying the Hunter Biden Story”

Texas Sheriff Declares Undocumented Migrants “Crime Victims” to Secure Visas

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar made national headlines by opening a criminal investigation into the recent flights arranged by Florida of undocumented migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.  I have previously written about the dubious claims of kidnapping and human trafficking made by figures like Hillary Clinton. Now, however, Salazar is certifying the roughly 50 individuals as “crime victims” despite the lack of any criminal charges in order to qualify them for visas.  While this is clearly not human trafficking, Salazar is working with immigration advocates to use a law designed to protect victims of human trafficking and other crimes, even before any such charge is brought by prosecutors. The move could be denounced as itself an inducement, even a political exploitation, of migrants who must cooperate with an investigation to qualify. Immigration advocates were only able to get three migrants to join the initial challenge.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks