We have been discussing the notable reliance on federal as opposed to state charges to prosecute crimes during the recent protests. The shifting of these cases into the federal system is being done with the support of local police. The result can be enhanced sentencing as well as political cover. The latest example is Jacob D. Little, 24, who allegedly stole a high-powered rifle from a patrol car during a riot in Seattle.
In the criminal justice system, most of us have seen the use of “spit hoods” when a suspect or defendant spits at officers or others. During the pandemic, such behavior is viewed as particularly dangerous. However, for years, the hoods have been associated with breathing and medical issues. The death of Daniel Prude in Rochester is spotlighting this controversy after a shocking video of a group of officers laughing as Prude, who was running nude in the area, complained about his breathing. He died on March 30 after being taken off life support.
Below is my column on the Steven Bannon case that ran in the Washington Times. Notably, one of the defendants indicted with Bannon is a Andrew Badolato, a person who has repeatedly assisted the government in prior cases. While Badolato has pleaded not guilty and has a long association with Bannon, his history could raise a serious threat for defense counsel that he might cut a deal with prosecutors. In a case of this kind, a cooperating witness confirming an intent to hide transactions would be devastating to the defense. A May 24, 2021 trial date has been set though U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres called that date “optimistic.” (Note: postings this week may be limited due to my duties in a criminal defense case).
Here is the column:
There is a controversy brewing at Skidmore College where students have demanded the “immediate firing” of three faculty members who were spotted at a “Back The Blue” pro-police rally. It is the latest expression of intolerance for opposing views in higher education.
Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the rising concern over compelled speech on our campuses and our streets.
Here is the column:
We have previously discussed how some media organizations told their journalists not to call violence after the death of George Floyd “riots,” including the recently much mocked headline of CNN calling the looting and violence in Kenosha “fiery but mostly peaceful.” Now, Chris Cillizza, an editor-at-large for CNN, is under fire for criticizing President Donald Trump for labeling the violence in places like Kenoska as “riots.” Critics have noted that the picture posted by Cillizza with his tweet shows a building engulfed in flames. Lawyers notoriously parse terms in ways that often deny their obvious meaning but this effort by some in the media would make a Philadelphia lawyer blush.
We have previously discussed the practice on some airlines to ask women move to accommodate ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who refuse to sit next to women. Now, Melanie Wolfson, 38, a British-Israeli woman, is suing EasyJet after she was asked her to change seats on a flight from Tel Aviv to London. Continue reading “Woman Sues EasyJet After Being Told To Switch Seats To Accommodate Ultra-Orthodox Men”
Yesterday, we discussed the personal attacks against speakers at the Republican National Convention by CNN analysts, including a false attack on former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. The concern is the increasingly personal attacks against anyone who seems to counter a narrative in the media. That adherence of a story line was evident in a much ridiculed graphic from last night where CNN national correspondent’s Omar Jimenez was reporting live from Kenosha, Wis. with a raging fire in the background over a chyron reading, “FIERY BUT MOSTLY PEACEFUL PROTESTS AFTER POLICE SHOOTING.” Not to get “all mavericky,” but claiming these protests are “fiery [but] peaceful” seems a tad oxymoronic.
President Donald Trump has always demonstrated an almost mocking disregard for the Hatch Act, the 1939 law barring officials from using their official powers or positions to engage in partisan political activities. It is a core protection of good government but it has been primarily honored in its breach in this Administration, including violations by top White House staff that were barely acknowledged, let along addressed, by the President. The White House now faces a series of alleged violations over events and speeches used at the Republican National Convention. Mark Meadows, President Trump’s chief of staff responded that, while no one should violate federal law, ”Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares.” No statement better captures the culture at the White House in erasing the line of separation between official and political work by executive branch officials.
We have been following the dubious work of Rev. Jim Bakker after his release from prison, including pitching “cures” for the corona virus. There is now an interesting twist. While Bakker is being pursued by the government for possible fraud for selling fake cures for Covit-19, the government just gave him a loan to help him continue his work during the Covit-19 pandemic. Ironically, Bakker begged supporters for money to help him fight off the government. The government appears to have responded.
We have previously discussed courts in the United States seeking to punish lawyers for making critical comments about judges or legal commissions on social media. We have also followed such actions taken against lawyers in other countries like Saudi Arabia. As will come as no surprise on a blog emphasizing free speech, I have long been critical of such actions. However, India is facing a far more serious controversy after the Supreme Court demanded an apology from one of India’s most prominent lawyers for, among other things, blaming the Supreme Court for its role in undermining democracy in India. The justices proceeded to make his point by threatening him with jail unless he offered an unconditional and public apology. Continue reading “Prominent Indian Lawyer Accuses Supreme Court Of Destroying Democracies . . . Supreme Court Threatens Imprisonment”
We have previously discussed rising cases of politically motivated violence, including attacks on people wearing MAGA hats. In Delaware, two women reached a particular low point by stealing the hat of a 7-year-old and then screaming profanities, ripping up signs, and one assaulting an individual in a parking lot near the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. The Delaware police hit Olivia Winslow, 21, and Camryn Amy, 21, with an array of well-earned charges, though one charge remains unclear in terms of the relevant conduct. What is remarkable about the videotape is the sense of utter entitlement to attack those with opposing views.
There is an interesting ruling in the ongoing saga over Stormy Daniels and the Trump Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). A California court ordered President Donald Trump to pay $44,100 to Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, to cover her legal fees regarding her nondisclosure agreement. The amount is trivial but the symbolism could not be greater. The decision is based on the view that not only was Daniels the prevailing party in the dispute but that President Trump cannot claim that he was a non-party to the NDA or by extension the controversy. Continue reading “Court Orders President Trump To Pay Stormy Daniels’ Attorneys Fees”