Tag Archives: USA

USA: Legal Aid Lawyers Stage Walkout After Yet Another ICE Court Arrest

November 28, 2017

ICE vs Legal Aid arrest showdown

Chaos erupted at Brooklyn Criminal Court Tuesday morning after agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement snatched a defendant in the hallway, prompting a walkout by public defenders and accusations from court officers that Legal Aid attorneys had physically attacked them.

Genaro Rojas Hernandez, thirty, was in court to face charges of violating a restraining order. Just after 11 a.m., after a judge asked him and his court-appointed attorney to step into the hallway with a Spanish interpreter, Hernandez was arrested by ICE agents, according to his lawyer, Rebecca Kavanagh. After the arrest, attorneys with the Legal Aid Society stormed out of the courthouse on Schermerhorn Street and held a noisy picket line outside the building, calling on immigration officials to stay out of the courthouse.

The arrest makes Hernandez the fortieth individual taken into custody by immigration enforcement agents inside a New York City courthouse, according to official statistics maintained by the state Office of Court Administration, which operates the courts. That estimate is conservative: The Immigrant Defense Project, an immigrant rights and legal assistance group, keeps its own tally that includes arrests made just outside courthouses. This count puts the number at seventy, with Hernandez the first arrest since two weeks ago when the Voice coveredallegations that court officers were unfairly aiding ICE agents.

Immigration arrests in courthouses have skyrocketed since the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January. ICE’s internal policies tightly regulate agent behavior in certain locations designated as “sensitive,” such as schools and hospitals, but the agency has so far refused to place courthouses into this category. OCA guidelines permit immigration enforcement agents to conduct operations in courthouses’ public areas so long as they identify themselves upon entry and stay out of courtrooms.

https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/11/28/legal-aid-lawyers-stage-walkout-after-yet-another-ice-court-arrest/

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/defense-attorneys-protest-client-ice-arrest-brooklyn-article-1.3663018

https://nypost.com/2017/11/28/ice-agents-pounced-on-immigrant-in-brooklyn-courthouse-attorney/

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USA: Lawyer shot to death on front porch after walking kids to school

October 27, 2017

Kansas City lawyer Tom Pickert was shot dead in his front yard moments after he walked his children to school, authorities said. (FPE Law)

A prominent Kansas City lawyer was shot dead on his front porch moments after he walked his children to school, authorities said.

Police identified the man as 39-year-old Thomas Pickert, a personal injury lawyer.  On Wednesday, Pickert’s wife reportedly heard a gunshot and found her husband dead outside their home.

KCTV reports that a white van seen speeding away from the shooting scene was registered to David Jungerman, a local businessman who had recently been ordered to pay Pickert’s client more than $5 million.  Police found the unoccupied van in a nearby town hours after the shooting.

Detectives interviewed Jungerman and said Thursday that he is neither a suspect nor person of interest in Pickert’s death.

Pickert was a medical malpractice attorney with his own law firm. This summer, Pickert represented Jeffrey Harris, a homeless man who sued Jungerman over a shooting that caused the man to have part of his leg amputated.

Harris’ legal team said Jungerman grabbed an AK-47 and handgun and headed to his property without calling police. Then, without warning, shot Harris in the back of the leg.

http://www.wsmv.com/story/36698494/lawyer-shot-to-death-on-front-porch-after-walking-kids-to-school

http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article181343671.html

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/10/27/slain-kansas-city-attorneys-wife-says-children-afraid-to-go-outside.html

http://www.ibtimes.com/who-tom-pickert-kansas-lawyer-shot-dead-his-front-porch-2607012

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5018577/Attorney-shot-dead-sitting-Kansas-City-porch.html

http://www.idhae.org/observatoire-fr-wews171025.htm (FRANCAIS)

Venezuela/USA: Persecuted Venezuelan Judges Flee to US to Serve as Supreme Court in Exile

October 11, 2017

magistrados - tsj exilio

The five Venezuelan judges living under the protection of the Chilean embassy in Caracas escaped to the United States through Colombia, Chilean officials announced.

The judges, persecuted by the regime of dictator Nicolás Maduro, reportedly decided to leave the safety of the embassy in order to form a Supreme Court of Justice in exile.

“The Chilean government reports that on October 9 of this year, the Venezuelan citizens to whom our country granted political asylum, left the residence of the Ambassador of our country in Caracas,” the Chilean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Sources close to the judges said they escaped to Colombia by crossing the border city of Cúcuta and from there traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of the Organization of American States (OAS) and other Venezuelan exiles.

https://panampost.com/sabrina-martin/2017/10/11/persecuted-venezuelan-judges-flee-to-us-to-serve-as-supreme-court-in-exile/

https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13438

https://www.voanews.com/a/venezuelan-opposition-courts-attention-with-event-at-oas/4069064.html

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/column_article/venezuelan-government-in-exile-sets-up-shop-in-d-c

China/Hong Kong/USA: Human Rights in China Worsen as Beijing Extends Reach to Hong Kong: Report

October 6, 2017

US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (standing, center-R), chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, tells journalists that the commission will nominate jailed Hong Kong activists and the 2014 'Umbrella Movement' for the Nobel Peace Prize, in Washington, Oct. 5, 2017.

Freedoms of speech and religion, the rule of law, and individual rights and freedoms have worsened during the past year under the ruling Chinese Communist Party, an annual congressional-executive report has found, calling on the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to do more to halt the decline in basic freedoms.

“As President Trump heads to China next month, he must press China to uphold international human rights norms, respect the rule of law, and adhere to universal standards,” Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) chairman Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) told journalists on Thursday as the report was published.

The report found that the Chinese Communist Party continues to “use the law as an instrument of repression to expand control over Chinese society,” and that “the criminalization of China’s human rights lawyers and advocates is ongoing, including credible reports of torture in detention.”

Meanwhile, in the former British colony of Hong Kong, “the long-term viability of the ‘one country, two systems’ model … is increasingly uncertain given central government interference,” it said.

Wang Yanfang, wife of jailed rights lawyer Tang Jingling, called on Trump to raise the issue of political prisoners on his forthcoming visit to China.

“I hope that Trump will raise the issue of Tang Jingling and many other prisoners of conscience,” Wang said. “They are in a dire situation.”

http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/human-rights-in-china-worsen-as-beijing-extends-reach-to-hong-kong-report-10062017121023.html

https://www.theepochtimes.com/commission-seeks-to-shine-spotlight-on-deteriorating-human-rights-in-china_2329275.html

USA: Republican Congressman Warns Black Attorney She ‘May Go Missing’ if She Tries Removing a Confederate Statue

August 30, 2017

Republican member of the Georgia House of Representatives issued a veiled threat of lynching to a black former colleague who expressed anti-Confederate memorial sentiments on his Facebook.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia State Rep. Jason Spencer (R) did exactly that on a Facebook post when former state representative LaDawn Jones expressed a distaste for a photo he took with a Confederate monument.

“This is Georgia’s history,” Spencer wrote on a post accompanied by a selfie he took with a South Georgia monument to Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

Jones, who formerly served in the state legislature until last year, questioned whether state tax dollars help pay for the upkeep of the memorial, which includes the house Davis fled to after the Civil War ended. A few comments in, Spencer began making threatening allusions.

“Continue your quixotic journey into South Georgia and it will not be pleasant,” Spencer replied. “The truth. Not a warning. Those folks won’t put up with it like they do in Atlanta.”

“I can guarantee you won’t be met with torches but something a lot more definitive,” he continued, responding to Jones’ comment about the store-bought tiki torches used by the white supremacists at the Charlottesville rally earlier this month.

http://www.alternet.org/republican-congressman-warns-black-attorney-she-may-go-missing-if-she-attempts-remove-confederate

https://theintercept.com/2017/08/29/georgia-gop-rep-tells-former-colleague-she-may-go-missing-over-criticism-of-confederate-monuments/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ladawn-jones-jason-spencer-race_us_59a6e0dee4b00795c2a33a51

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/08/30/white-lawmaker-warns-black-attorney-she-may-go-missing-if-confederate-statues-are-threatened/

Georgia lawmaker: Talk of ditching Confederate statues could cause Democrat to ‘go missing’

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/republican-black-woman-georgia-threat-confederate-statues-monuments-jason-spencer-ladawn-jones-a7920751.html

http://www.newsweek.com/republican-says-black-democrat-will-go-missing-over-georgia-civil-war-statue-656984

http://www.11alive.com/news/politics/civil-rights-leaders-call-on-south-georgia-lawmaker-to-apologize-or-resign/469638840

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/republican-legislator-missouri-vandal-lynched

Black lawmakers ask GBI to investigate Georgia Republican’s ‘go missing’ comment

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/group-says-lawmaker-made-threatening-comments-in-debate-about-confederate-mounments/602328820

USA: Gagging Attorneys: A Critical Look at the ABA “Anti-Discrimination” Rule

July 31, 2017

FranklinSpeech

The new ABA Model Rule 8.4(g) prohibits attorneys from engaging in “harmful,” “derogatory,” or “demeaning” speech in any activity “related to the practice of law,” including “bar association, business or social activities.”

Proponents of the rule have advanced several arguments in its favor and raised several defenses in answer to its critics. But these arguments and defenses are unconvincing because they’re based on factual misrepresentations or on mischaracterizations of the rule.

Proponents of the rule summarily dismiss the many claims that it is unconstitutional

Many legal authorities point out that the new rule is unconstitutional. Proponents of the rule simply ignore this ever-increasing chorus of constitutional criticism.

The Texas and South Carolina attorneys general – the only attorneys general to have thus far opined on the rule – have both issued official opinions that it would likely violate the free speech, free association, and free exercise rights of attorneys. Indeed, the South Carolina Supreme Court recently rejected the rule after the South Carolina attorney general issued his opinion against it.

The ABA’s own Standing Committee on Attorney Discipline, as well as the Professional Responsibility Committee of the ABA Business Law Section, warned the ABA that the new Rule may violate attorneys’ First Amendment speech rights.

And prominent legal scholars – such as UCLA constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh, Chapman University constitutional law and legal ethics professor Ronald Rotunda [By Subscription], and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, III – have all opined that the new rule is constitutionally infirm.

http://www.jurist.org/forum/2017/07/bradley-abramson-aba-rule.php

USA: Chief Justice Roberts says criticism won’t stop judges

July 29, 2017

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, once dubbed “disgraceful” by President Donald Trump, said on Thursday that criticism from politicians won’t dissuade judges from doing their jobs.

In a question-and-answer session at the University of Melbourne’s law school, Roberts was asked about political criticism of the courts — a particularly relevant question for the justice, given that he was the target of a withering critique from Trump during the presidential campaign.

“We’re certainly not above criticism — it’s a free country,” Roberts replied. “It certainly doesn’t affect how we go about our job.”

In 2015, then-candidate Trump said in a speech to supporters that Roberts was “disgraceful” and a “disappointment” to conservatives, largely because the justice had voted to uphold key provisions of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law.

Roberts has not commented on Trump’s criticisms of him, or on the president’s disparaging remarks about other judges whose decisions have irked him. In February, Trump called US District Judge James Robart a “so-called judge” after Robart imposed a temporary halt on Trump’s executive order barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from coming to the United States.

Asked later to elaborate on the reasons behind the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obama’s health care law, Roberts demurred, saying that the court’s written opinions are intended to speak for themselves.

http://www.philstar.com/world/2017/07/29/1722671/chief-justice-roberts-says-criticism-wont-stop-judges