Tag Archives: USA

USA: Judge rules against NC man who says lynching ‘threat’ to Muslim candidate is ‘free speech’

September 17, 2019

A federal appeals court ruled this week that a North Carolina man must face trial after he allegedly threatened a Muslim candidate with lynching.

Attorneys for Joseph Cecil Vandevere, 52, argued that charges against their client should be dropped on the grounds of freedom of speech, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

Vandevere is charged with interstate communication of a threat to injure a person. He allegedly used anonymous social media accounts to communicate lynching threats.

In one tweet, Vandevere is said to have sent a picture of a lynching to Virginia state Senate candidate Qasim Rashid, who is Muslim. The tweet included the words “VIEW YOUR DESTINY.”

Vandevere is also accused of posting a threat on the Facebook page of a Florida synagogue. The comment called for the “public arrests and executions” of “dual citizen Jews.”

Lawyers for Vandevere said that the remarks are not a “true threat” because of free speech protections in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The AP reported that U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. ruled against the motion to dismiss the case, saying that he could not find that Vandevere’s remarks are “political hyperbole.”

Judge rules against NC man who says lynching ‘threat’ to Muslim candidate is ‘free speech’

https://www.dailyinterlake.com/article/20190916/AP/309169871

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qasim_Rashid

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Sweden/USA: ASAP Rocky’s Swedish lawyer injured in Stockholm shooting

September 7, 2019

Henrik Olsson Lilja

A prominent Swedish lawyer who represented US rapper ASAP Rocky in a recent assault case has reportedly been shot multiples times in Stockholm.

Police were called to a shooting in Kungsholmen at around 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Friday.

Paramedics took one person, a man in his 50s, to hospital with gunshot wounds, police said.

The Swedish Bar Association has confirmed the victim is Henrik Olsson Lilja, CBS News reported.

Mr Lilja is reported to be in a serious but stable condition and one suspect has been arrested.

The lawyer represented ASAP Rocky after the rapper’s arrest in Stockholm over an assault during a street brawl on 30 June.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49616941

https://www.youredm.com/2019/09/07/asap-rockys-lawyer-shot/

https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/1nwkRM/henrik-olsson-lilja-tack-for-allt-stod (SVENSK)

https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2019/09/06/un-ex-avocat-daap-rocky-blesse-par-balle-a-stockholm (FRANCAIS)

Sweden/USA: ASAP Rocky’s Swedish lawyer injured in Stockholm shooting

September 7, 2019

Henrik Olsson Lilja

A prominent Swedish lawyer who represented US rapper ASAP Rocky in a recent assault case has reportedly been shot multiples times in Stockholm.

Police were called to a shooting in Kungsholmen at around 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Friday.

Paramedics took one person, a man in his 50s, to hospital with gunshot wounds, police said.

The Swedish Bar Association has confirmed the victim is Henrik Olsson Lilja, CBS News reported.

Mr Lilja is reported to be in a serious but stable condition and one suspect has been arrested.

The lawyer represented ASAP Rocky after the rapper’s arrest in Stockholm over an assault during a street brawl on 30 June.

On its website, Stockholm Police described the shooting as “an isolated incident with no known connection to recent violent crimes”.

What happened?

Mr Lilja was shot in the head and chest at his block of flats and then called the police himself with a neighbour’s phone, according to Swedish newspaper Expressen.

A witness told the paper Mr Lilja was shot while wrestling with a man on the ground.

The gunman, who fled the scene in a black SUV, is still at large, the paper reported.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49616941

USA: Safety is every lawyer’s issue

August 30, 2019

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

Trust your instincts.

That’s the advice of two Minnesota criminal defense attorneys who have endured the emotional pain caused by their client’s acts of violence—a courthouse shooting in Grand Marais in 2011 and a homicide in a St. Paul law office in 2016.

Lawyers must hone their intuition to be alert for dangerous clients and should not be afraid to act on their fears, say John Lillie and Daniel Adkins.  And if the worst happens lawyers must take care of themselves and each other, they say, speaking to colleagues at the Minnesota State Bar Association convention in June. Lillie told the group, “You’re not shortchanging your clients by taking care of yourself.”

“We hate that we’re experts on this and we hate to talk about it, but we do it every time we’re asked because you deserve it,” Adkins told the group. “You don’t know what you can lose. There is no bottom to the pain you can experience.”

A traumatic or tragic event can happen to any lawyer, Adkins said. “Your practice, your life is affected by what happened to me,” he said. “It’s prosecutors, it’s defenders, its family lawyers, its people doing civil transactions. You write a will and something goes awry, you’re wrong.”

Adkins recalled that in 2003 on the 17th floor of the A level in the Hennepin County Government Center, Susan Berkovitz, involved in a contested probate, murdered her cousin and tried to murder her cousin’s lawyer, Richard Hendrickson. The dispute was over her father’s estate, of which the victim was the conservator.  Hendrickson recovered and went on to assist other attorneys through Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.

But the shooting taught us nothing, Adkins said. “Nothing’s changed.”

Learn how to be safe

Adkins refers to his law clerk, Chase Passauer, who was killed by client Ryan Petersen, as his hero. Adkins was in trial in Washington County when he got a text from his client, Petersen, who said he needed help right away. Actually, he got about 60 texts although he told Petersen he was in court and would get back to him. Turns out Petersen was under the influence of heroin, cocaine, human growth hormones and steroids, and in possession of a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun. He went to Adkins’ office apparently intending to shoot him, but Adkins wasn’t there. Passauer was, and Petersen shot him eight times in the chest. Petersen was sentenced to life in prison without parole, leaving Passauer’s family and friends to grieve.

“You’ve got to learn how to be safe,” Adkins said. He has a lock on his door and a camera recording the scene, and said he does not meet with “drop in” clients. Originally he wanted an “open door” to his practice, but “that’s a luxury you simply can’t afford.”

Safety is every lawyer’s issue

The Philippines/USA: Letter to President Duterte Concerning Attacks on Legal Professionals

August 28, 2019

New York City Bar

Re:  Continuing Attacks on Judges, Prosecutors, Lawyers, and Other Legal Professionals

Dear Mr. President:

The New York City Bar Association writes to express its profound and ongoing concern in the wake of violent attacks on judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and other legal professionals in the Philippines.

The Association is a 148-year-old organization of more than 24,000 members in New York City, throughout the United States, and in more than fifty countries around the globe. Our members include judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, government lawyers, and public interest/non-governmental organization practitioners, as well as legal academics and attorneys representing nearly every major law firm and corporation in the United States. The Association has a long and distinguished history of promoting the rule of law and human rights (including the rights of legal professionals to fulfill their professional obligations), chiefly through the Association’s Committee on International Human Rights, together with its Committee on Asian Affairs (and its other regional committees), as well as its Task Force on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges.

Under the Duterte Administration, legal professionals—which include judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and paralegals—have been harassed, assaulted, and assassinated in connection with your war on drugs (known as Oplan Tokhang).[1] As discussed further in this letter, attacks on Philippine lawyers often correlate with, among others, their representation of clients who are charged with being members of dangerous drug cartels, attorneys’ accusations of corruption against the police and army, and for promoting due process rights.  Similarly, prosecutors and judges are attacked in connection to their decisions involving prosecutorial discretion and the exercise of due process rights, among other issues.

Your Administration’s tacit (often explicit) support for these attacks, your failure to condemn the attacks, and your failure to properly investigate the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice have fostered a culture of impunity throughout the Philippines.[2] In short, as outlined in greater detail below, your Administration is waging not only a war on drugs, but also a war on legal professionals and human rights defenders, and a war on the justice system and the Rule of Law itself.

https://www.nycbar.org/member-and-career-services/committees/reports-listing/reports/detail/letter-to-president-duterte-concerning-attacks-on-legal-professionals

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/3015255/philippine-drug-war-deaths-pile-duterte-admits-losing

https://www.philstar.com/nation/2019/08/30/1947502/pnp-probe-vigilantes-tagged-negros-killings

https://www.nycbar.org/

Thailand: The Attorney General ruled not to prosecute Lawyer June for not allowing police to search her car, due to her lack of intention to comply with the order

August 30, 2019

On 27 August 2019, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, known as Lawyer June, went to meet the inquiry officer who was responsible for her case at Chanasongkram Police Station, Bangkok, to hear the Attorney General’s order not to prosecute her on an allegation of concealing evidence.  The order was due to the fact that there was no intention to hide any evidence since she only complied to the recommendation from military court officers to keep the belongings of the alleged fellow activists by her side. Furthermore, the police made the request to search her car during the night and without providing any reasonable legal grounds.

For the other charge of not complying with an official order without reasonable grounds or explanation, the responsible prosecutor issued an order to dismiss the case due to be barred by prescription.  As a result, the criminal proceedings against lawyer Ms. Sirikan for two such allegations have been terminated.

Today the representatives from the embassies of Canada, Sweden, Germany, the United States, the European Union, and officials from human rights organizations including Amnesty International (Regional Office) came to observe the proceedings.

Detailed accounts of the final non-prosecution order and the termination of legal proceedings

On 26 July 2019, the office of the Special Prosecutor issued notification document No. 0013.3/1076 to Chanasongkram Police Station giving a final order not to prosecute and to terminate the proceedings against lawyer Sirikan.  In summary, the document provided the following details:

https://www.tlhr2014.com/?p=13569&fbclid=IwAR2axLGo0dJ6hVoAKljha8PXyM4dPEaDt6hge-6MF5rfK9pHF3a8XtcK4ao&lang=en

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/judicial-harassment-against-sirikan-charoensiri

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirikan_Charoensiri

https://www.facebook.com/tlhr2014/

https://www.tlhr2014.com/?p=13465 (THAI)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirikan_Charoensiri (FRANCAIS)

USA: Military Lawyer Denied Promotion While Defending Qaeda Suspect

August 22, 2019

Lt. Alaric A. Piette was tough enough to serve nearly seven years as a Navy SEAL. He was smart enough to go on to Georgetown University’s law school, dedicated enough to rejoin the Navy as a lawyer and principled enough to break with military tradition by asking Congress to look into the sexual harassment of a female sailor he was representing.

But none of it, he said, has been as consequential as his current job representing a man in a death penalty terrorism case that has put a spotlight on some of the most dysfunctional aspects of the military tribunal system.

After standing up to that system for two years, Lieutenant Piette was recently informed that he had been passed over for promotion, a potentially career-ending decision that his allies saw as retribution for his tenacious work defending his client.

And it may not have helped his career that the man he defends, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is accused of directing Al Qaeda’s suicide bombing of the United States Navy destroyer Cole off Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12, 2000. Seventeen American sailors were killed in the attack, men and women Lieutenant Piette calls shipmates.