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.
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.
Below is my column on the ABC interview with Hunter Biden. The interview preceded his father’s debate that day, but former Vice President Joe Biden awkwardly declined to address the issue. As I discussed in another column, there remains a media mantra that there is “no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.” That dismisses the long objections by many of us that these lucrative jobs and contracts for spouses and children are part of an unethical and corrupt practice. Most of us view what Hunter did as clearly “wrong” but the media has adopted a narrow focus on whether criminal charges have been brought as opposed to whether the Ukraine deal was a raw and obvious form of influence peddling.
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.
Over the years, I have been highly critical of the performance of Rudolph W. Giuliani as counsel for President Donald Trump. Nevertheless, I was floored by a story in the Washington Post this morning that Giuliani pressed Trump to transfer an elderly Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, to Turkey where he is widely expected to be tortured and killed by the authoritarian Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. If true, the effort by Giuliani would succeed in reaching a new low in the various scandals swirling around the White House. Notably, former national security adviser Michael Flynn was reportedly working on the same effort, which I previously criticized as one of lowest tasks ever undertaken for profit. The story reminds me of the old joke about why scientists have started to use lawyers rather than rats in experiments because there are certain things that even rats won’t do.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D, Mich.) doubled down on her uninformed and controversial statements about facial recognition technology (FRT). We discussed Tlaib’s earlier call for the Detroit Police Chief to hire only African Americans to use FRT. That bizarre call was denounced as racist by Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who is black, and said that he would not adopt a race-based hiring program for FRT. Now, Tlaib has written an oped going further and demanding a ban on the use of FRT. In her op-ed in The Detroit News, Tlaib denounced FRT as “racist technology.”
Academics often struggle with the confining language of grants, particularly federal grants, in purchasing equipment and hiring staff. Former Drexel University professor, Dr. Chikaodinaka D. Nwankpa, has been accused of an alleged departure from any reasonable interpretation. The former head of Drexel’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering allegedly spent nearly $200,000 in federal grant funds on trips to strip clubs and sports bars in Philadelphia. Worse yet for Drexel, the school will now have to pay for the strip club parties. What is fascinating is that Nwankpa has not been criminally charged and he has only been barred from government contracting for six months.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York has rejected the effort of President Donald Trump to block a subpoena of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., for his tax returns. As I noted when the action was filed, the position of the President that he cannot be subject to any criminal process of any kind while in office is extreme and unsupportable in the Constitution. The full opinion is below.
Oregon seems to have a rather generous criminal code. Caley Mason, 22, tried to murder a man by slitting his throat at a Taco Bill. She then fled the scene and left 48-year-old Jason Luczkow to die with an 8-inch gash across his face and throat. He survived with the help of 100 stitches. Her boyfriend was also arrested. Mason however was given just seven years after pleading guilty to second-degree assault. I fail to see the justice in that sentence for the victim.
Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the allegations that Attorney General Bill Barr is now somehow “implicated” in the Ukraine controversy because he spoke with counterparts in England, Italy, and Australia about assisting in the investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham. If those calls were truly about the Durham investigation, it would be entirely proper for Barr to ask for such assistance. I have always maintained that the Congress has a legitimate interest in investigating the Ukraine controversy. However, the chorus of recriminations on the Barr matter reveal the hype triggering much of the hypoxia.
The New York Times is reporting that, based on interviews with more than a dozen White House officials involved with a meeting in March, President Trump suggested shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down. When cabinet members told him that his some of his proposals were illegal, Trump reportedly yelled “You are making me look like an idiot!. I ran on this. It’s my issue.” The paper also alleges that Trump suggest a moat filled with snakes or alligators. The sheer number of sources is illuminating in this story. There has always been a surprising number of leakers in this White House but the numbers appear to be growing.
In a continuing failure to respect the spirit and letter of the whistle-blower law, President Donald Trump said on Monday that he was “trying to find out” the identity of the whistle-blower who accused him of using military aid to pressure a foreign government to investigate his political rival. Once again, there is no need for such a highly inappropriate effort. This is part of an impeachment inquiry, and the witness is likely to appear before Congress. However, the whistle-blower law — and good policy — protects the identity of such staff members. Trump previously had compared the whistle-blower to a spy — an accusation that was clearly threatening and improper.