Tag Archives: USA

USA: Global Persecution of Lawyers Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New York City Bar

This panel focuses on governmental crackdowns on lawyers and judges across different regions. This type of crackdown can include harassment, disbarment, dismissal from official posts, threats to friends, family, and the lawyers themselves, close supervision and other threats to independence, inability to maintain lawyer-client confidentiality, and in extreme cases, targeted imprisonment or the killing of lawyers for representing their clients and judges for faithfully discharging their duties. The threat to the rule of law becomes substantial as governments move to take away the personal and professional rights of the lawyer and the judge as well as deprive individuals of their right to counsel and ability to assert their legal rights.

Melissa Hooper, Director of Human Rights and Civil Society, Human Rights First
Nate Schenkkan, Project Director for Nations in Transit, Freedom House
Liu Wei, Coordinator & Co-Founder, Public Interest Collaborative for Women Lawyers in China
Javier El-Hage, Chief Legal Officer, Human Rights Foundation
Ochoro Ottuno, Principal & General Counsel, LCN Capital LLC


USA: President Trump plans to scrap US civil legal aid funding

Proposed cuts to US civil legal aid would be major blow to US justice

In his first draft budget since taking office, US President Donald Trump plans to scrap funding for civil legal aid. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) would see its current funding of $375m cut to zero.

Speaking exclusively to the IBA, the LSC’s current chair John Levi and former chair Frank Strickland condemn the proposed move. They argue that it would deal a major blow to low-income Americans who rely on the free legal assistance provided through the LSC.

Levi, appointed LSC chair by President Obama, and Strickland, who served under George W. Bush, stress the importance of meeting the unmet civil legal needs of Americans and fair justice for all.


USA: Draft of first Trump budget would cut legal aid for millions of poor Americans

February 21, 2017

Legal Services Corporation handles cases involving disability benefits, disaster relief, elder abuse and much more.

Cuts in Donald Trump’s first draft budget to funding for legal aid for millions of Americans could strip much-needed protections from victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, families facing foreclosure and veterans in need, justice equality advocates warned Tuesday.

A Trump draft budget circulated over the weekend called for the elimination of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), which has a $375m annual budget and provides free legal assistance to low-income people and others in need of help, with cases involving disability benefits, disaster relief, elder abuse, fair pay, wheelchair access, low-income tax credits, unlawful eviction, child support, consumer scams, school lunch, predatory lending and much more.

The legal aid program, which represents a miniscule portion of the government’s projected $4tn budget, is one of many small but mighty programs flagged for elimination in Trump’s draft budget. Others include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Americorps and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. Critics of the cuts point out that they won’t budge the deficit but would erode quality of life and threaten the most vulnerable.



February 2, 2017

In her job as an immigration attorney, Farah Al-khersan has worked to reunite families and fight deportation hearings. On Friday night, she found herself in a similar position to some of her clients, when she and her husband were detained at the U.S. border hours after President Donald Trump signed a far-reaching immigration executive order.

Al-khersan, 26, is an American-Iraqi citizen. Her husband, Osama Fadel, 28, is a legal permanent resident of the U.S. and a dual Canadian-Iraqi citizen. On Friday night, the couple drove to Canada from their West Bloomfield, Michigan, to visit Fadel’s family, who live in Sarnia, minutes beyond the U.S.-Canada border. They planned to stay the night, but Al-khersan kept getting messages and alerts from other attorneys and organizations she’d worked with about the executive order.

“I knew the order had come out, but I didn’t think that my husband would be affected by it,” says Al-khersan. Both Al-khersan and Fadel were born in Iraq, but left with their families in the early 1990s. Fadel’s family bounced from Libya to Canada, while Al-khersan’s family first went to New Zealand before settling in the U.S.

They left for the U.S. at 11 p.m. on Friday in order to beat the inevitable crowds that would have amassed by the morning. Half an hour later, they were stopped at the Port Huron crossing at the U.S.-Canada border and held for the next four hours, just 70 miles from home.


The Netherlands/USA: Former Miss Jamaica turned lawyer claims Dutch police ‘roughed her up in racially-motivated attack’ as she cycled to work at UN court

January 27, 2017

Chaka Laguerre, who works as a lawyer at the International Court of Justice has claimed she was the victim of a racially-motivated attack by police in the Netherlands

A former Miss Jamaica USA who now works as a lawyer at the International Court of Justice has claimed she was the victim of a racially-motivated attack by police in the Netherlands.

Chaka Laguerre, who is from the United States, is currently carrying out a 10-month clerkship at the UN court in The Hague after previously studying at Cambridge University.

The 30-year-old was arrested earlier this week for a traffic offence in the city after being accused of walking her bike across the street on a red light.

However, she later took to Facebook and posted a picture of her in a hospital bed, which has since been deleted.

She claimed that she had been ‘roughed up’ by the officers before being attacked after she was unable to provide her ID and added that it would ‘continue to be the experience of people of colour in The Hague’.

However, Dutch police have hit out and vehemently denied her allegations and say they will complain to the president of the ICJ.



Cuba/US: Cubans arrest U.S. human rights lawyer in Havana, activists say

December 16, 2016

Human rights lawyer Kimberley Motley was arrested in Havana, Cuba on Friday, according to the Human Rights Foundation.

Motley, a mother of three, was in Havana advocating for artist Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado, 33, who was arrested Nov. 26, according to his mother and his fiancée Alexandra Martinez.

When Motley was arrested, police officers also arrested punk rock artist Gorki Aguila and Luis Alberto Mariño, a political activist from the group Cuba Decides, according to the Human Rights Foundation.

Motley, a former Milwaukee public defender, started her career as an international litigator when she joined a U.S. Justice Department program to train lawyers in Afghanistan.

The former beauty queen, whose dad is an African-American U.S. airman and mom is Korean, has been described as feisty.





http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2016/12/17/actualidad/1482015496_872441.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.martinoticias.com/a/liberado-gorki-aguila-abogada-eeuu-no-iba-ejercer-kimberley-motley-cuba-eeuu/135627.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.14ymedio.com/nacional/Kimberley-Motley-abogada-lucha-atropellos_0_2128587125.html (ESPANOL)



(UPDATE: she has been released. From Kimberley Motley (December 17, 2016) on Facebook: “Thanks for all and support it was greatly appreciated & overwhelming. I am now safely back in the U.S. after being illegally arrested and detained twice for … I still don’t know why.”)




http://www.leparisien.fr/international/cuba-post-castro-des-dizaines-d-opposants-arretes-par-la-police-18-12-2016-6471417.php (FRANCAIS)

http://www.elnuevoherald.com/noticias/mundo/america-latina/cuba-es/article121408323.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.cibercuba.com/noticias/2016-12-18-u73624-liberan-abogada-estadounidense-sexto-apresada-viernes-cuba (ESPANOL)

http://www.diariolasamericas.com/america-latina/abogada-estadounidense-detenida-cuba-es-liberada-y-regresa-eeuu-n4110343 (ESPANOL)

USA/Mexico: Man gets life in prison for role in cartel lawyer slaying in Southlake

December 2, 2016

Officers from several cities and counties work the May 2013 shooting at Southlake Town Square.

A 60-year-old man has been sentenced to two life sentences in federal prison for his part in the brazen 2013 murder of a Mexican cartel lawyer at a Southlake shopping center.

Jose Luis Cepeda-Cortes, a Mexican citizen, had been convicted in May on single counts of interstate stalking, conspiracy to commit murder for hire and tampering with documents or proceedings.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means sentenced Cepeda-Cortes to two life sentences as well as a 20-year sentence to run concurrently.

The man’s 60-year-old cousin, Jesus “Chuy” Gerardo Ledezma-Cepeda, is expected to be sentenced Tuesday.

Ledezma-Cepeda was also convicted in May on single counts of interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder for hire. He faces up to a life sentence and a $250,000 fine on each count.

Ledezma-Cepeda’s son, 33-year-old Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Campano, had pleaded guilty in March to one count of interstate stalking. He was sentenced in August to 20 years in prison.