Tag Archives: USA

USA: Christians Are Harassing the Atheist Lawyer Who Won the Pensacola Cross Case

June 21, 2017

LouCobbPost

Earlier this week, a judge in Florida ruled that a giant government-sponsored Christian cross in Pensacola had to come down. It was clearly an establishment of religion, he said, adding, “the law is the law.”

The attorney who successfully argued this case for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center was Monica Miller, who’s been with the AHA for five years. Her bio is incredibly impressive and she’s done a lot of work in the past several years on behalf of atheist plaintiffs, but this recent victory really struck a nerve with Christians who are now harassing her (and the AHA).

This particular post seems to have gotten the most attention on Facebook. It’s been shared more than 7,000 times as of this writing. And it’s by a man named Lou Cobb, whose Facebook profile says he’s retired from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

There’s an unstated threat in there that I find very scary… because he doesn’t specify how people should “make her famous.” He also doesn’t seem to get that she’s an attorney representing clients in Florida and doesn’t live there herself.

That’s bad enough. But the shares and responses to that post are even worse.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/06/21/christians-are-harassing-the-atheist-lawyer-who-won-the-pensacola-cross-case/

https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/26293-judge-orders-cross-removed-as-pc-mania-continues-to-target-christianity

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/06/19/cross-in-pensacola-park-must-come-down-violates-constitution-federal-judge-rules.html

http://www.pnj.com/story/news/2017/06/21/bayview-park-cross-ruling-sparks-strong-reaction/413401001/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2017/06/christians-bully-american-humanist-lawyer-pensacola-cross-case/

Turkey/USA/AI: Amnesty International Calls On US’s Tillerson To Push For Release Of Its Turkey Chair

June 21, 2017

Amnesty International’s (AI) board of directors has written a letter to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking him to call for the immediate release of the organization’s Turkey chair, Taner Kılıç, who has been under detention since June 6, according to an online press release from the AI on Wednesday.

The letter notes the US State Department’s strong press statement on Kılıç’s case and calls on Tillerson to issue his own statement “calling for his immediate unconditional release and the dismissal of all charges against him. ”

In a statement on June 7, the US State Department issued a statement regarding Kılıç’s detention in which it expressed its concerns and said Kılıç’s detention is the latest in a series of detentions of respected human rights defenders, journalists, academics and activists in Turkey.

“These detentions, often with little evidence or transparency, are an alarming trend. We are closely following these cases, and underscore the importance of respect for due process and individual rights, as enshrined in the Turkish Constitution and consistent with Turkey’s own international commitments. As we have expressed to the Turkish government on numerous occasions, persistent curbs on free speech and other freedoms erode the foundations of democratic society,” said the US State Department’s statement.

http://stockholmcf.org/amnesty-international-calls-on-uss-tillerson-to-push-for-release-of-its-turkey-chair/

https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/06/22/report-turkey-resumes-illegal-abductions-enforced-disappearances/

http://www.eldiario.es/internacional/Unidos-Podemos-Turquia-Amnistia-Internacional_0_656184713.html (ESPANOL)

USA: Lawyer defending brother in murder case held in contempt for claims about judge

June 1, 2017

A former federal prosecutor has been found in criminal contempt of court after accusing a longtime Cook County judge of racism and unethical collusion with a high-ranking county prosecutor.

The action against George Jackson III came in a case in which he has been defending his brother, Anthony, against murder charges.

On Thursday, Anthony Jackson became angry at Judge James Linn — the target of his attorney brother’s barbs — on learning his hearing was canceled when his newly appointed assistant public defender failed to show. The two talked over each other until Jackson, restrained in shackles, was removed from the courtroom at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

“So you’re forcing me out of the courthouse?” Jackson yelled as he was led away to a back room, where he could be heard screaming.

George Jackson was held in contempt of court last month by Judge Dennis Porter, who found the veteran attorney had “intentionally embarrassed and hindered the court in the orderly administration of justice” with his accusations against Linn.

In the order signed May 24, Porter wrote that Jackson “demonstrates an alarming lack of civility before the court.”

Jackson had sought to have his brother’s murder case moved to a different judge, accusing Linn of bias against the defense. His motion indicated that Linn, however, had granted his brother a retrial.

Jackson’s brother had earlier been convicted of murder in the beating death of Sanchez Mixon on a CTA platform in March 2013. The brother claimed self-defense.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-attorney-contempt-case-met-20170601-story.html

Vietnam/USA: Don’t Roll Out the Red Carpet for Vietnam’s Autocratic Leader

May 30, 2017

Don’t Roll Out the Red Carpet for Vietnam’s Autocratic Leader PHOTO

Vietnam’s prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is visiting Washington on May 31 and meeting with President Trump, the latest of a growing list of autocrats Trump has hosted, visited, or praised on the telephone.

After Trump’s glowing endorsement of Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, his praise of Egypt’s strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, his warm words for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and cozy visit with the Saudi royal family, one might be tempted to think that the idea of the US promoting human rights in Vietnam is absurd. For decades, even as the United States has steadily strengthened its ties, it has pressured Hanoi on political prisoners, religious liberty, and labor rights. But how can those efforts possibly continue in a Trump administration? Even if the administration cared about human rights, it now lacks credibility.

There are plenty of cases for Vietnam to address. There is the detention of dissident blogger Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, who is serving a 16-year prison sentence for his internet writings and attempts to form a group to promote democracy. The cases of religious activists Ngo Hao and Nguyen Cong Chinh, who are serving 15- and 11-year prison sentences respectively for their advocacy on religious freedom. There is lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, bloggers Nguyen Huu Vinh, Nguyen Dinh Ngoc, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (“Mother Mushroom”) and Ho Van Hai, and the longtime human rights advocates Tran Anh Kim and Le Thanh Tung.

When US leaders raise names publicly, it can often lead to those prisoners being treated better in prison—and released sooner. That is reason enough to mention them by name.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/05/30/dont-roll-out-red-carpet-vietnams-autocratic-leader

http://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/detained-vietnamese-human-rights-attorney-to-receive-award-for-his-work-04042017151910.html/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nguy%E1%BB%85n_V%C4%83n_%C4%90%C3%A0i

 

USA: DOJ is trying to bully lawyers who help immigrants. First, they’ll have to overcome the First Amendment.

May 30, 2017

Seattle Airport

The lawyers at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project recently found themselves in the crosshairs of the Department of Justice for doing something they’ve done for more than 30 years: helping immigrants who can’t afford a lawyer.

In a letter to NWIRP, the DOJ attempted to require the group to either agree to provide full representation in deportation proceedings to an immigrant seeking help or forgo helping that person entirely. Groups like NWIRP do not have the resources to fully represent every immigrant who needs help, and in immigration proceedings the government does not provide lawyers to people who cannot afford them. The DOJ’s demand would severely limit the number of immigrants who receive legal assistance in Washington.

It also happens to be unconstitutional.

NWIRP challenged the DOJ’s in court, and the ACLU of Washington filed an amicus brief in support of the challenge. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones granted NWIRP’s request for a temporary restraining order, finding that the government’s demand violated the nonprofit’s free-speech right to share information with others.

Since the 1960s, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly and consistently recognized that the right of people to receive information from lawyers, and the right of lawyers to give information to people in need of it is free speech protected by the First Amendment.

https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/doj-trying-bully-lawyers-who-help-immigrants-first-theyll-have-overcome-first

http://www.dailyuw.com/opinion/article_8b629c70-44e1-11e7-848d-1bb1ddf7f6ec.html

http://abovethelaw.com/2017/06/immigration-rights-group-fighting-back-against-doj-threats/

USA: DOJ Threatens Immigration Rights Lawyers, Demands They Drop Their Clients

May 19, 2017

If you can’t beat ’em, bully them with cease and desist letters and trumped up disciplinary accusations. That’s apparently the new motto down at the DOJ, where the government is lashing out at the immigration rights attorneys who stymied the administration’s efforts to implement their travel ban. And it’s not just non-profit groups — though those are the first lawyers getting hit — the clever, if diabolical, argument Justice has cooked up could be launched to shut down Biglaw attorneys working pro bono matters next. They may have stumbled out of the gate, but this Justice Department came to play hardball, folks.

In a piece posted this morning over at The Nation, Rachel Tiven discusses the plight of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), a non-profit group that offers assistance to people facing deportation hearings. After volunteering their services to fight the Muslim travel ban, NWIRP received a stern cease and desist letter from DOJ directing them to close up their asylum advisory services and drop all their clients. As one might imagine, it’s not something the government can usually order defense attorneys to do, but the government found a loophole to exploit:

It’s a Kafkaesque system: The government won’t provide immigrant defendants with legal representation, and they are allowed to get help for free only if they find a lawyer who will commit up-front to a case that will stretch on for years. Otherwise, they’re not allowed to have any help at all, are required to submit complex legal documents with no assistance, and lawyers who try to help them will be sanctioned.

You’ve got to hand it to them, this is a pretty novel idea. Because too many unscrupulous immigration attorneys robbed their clients blind and then abandoned them, the government imposed regulations to keep the field honest. Unfortunately, those regulations can be twisted to shut out providers of free legal services.

NWIRP took the DOJ to court and won a reprieve on Wednesday, when Judge Richard A. Jones — for the record, yet another George W. Bush appointee who has sided against this administration on its immigration shenanigans — granted the TRO they requested to enjoin the DOJ. But as Tiven’s piece notes, if Sessions manages to ultimately prevail, the non-profits are just the beginning of the crackdown that would ensue:

http://abovethelaw.com/2017/05/doj-threatens-immigration-rights-lawyers-demands-they-drop-their-clients/

https://www.rawstory.com/2017/05/doj-retaliating-against-immigration-lawyers-who-fought-trumps-travel-ban-report/

http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/seattle-judge-rules-justice-department-cant-limit-legal-assistance-to-immigrants-20170518

http://www.jdjournal.com/2017/05/18/organizations-can-continue-helping-immigrants-with-legal-documents/

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/immigrant_rights_group_wins_restraining_order_against_doj_in_dispute

https://www.bustle.com/p/how-the-justice-department-is-reportedly-blocking-immigrants-from-getting-legal-help-59346

China/USA: US Congress to hear cases of detained Chinese rights lawyers, Taiwanese NGO worker

May 16, 2017

wives wife

The wives of three Chinese human rights lawyers and a Taiwanese NGO worker who are detained in mainland China will testify at a US Congress hearing Thursday afternoon.

The four women are: Lee Ching-yu, wife of Taiwanese NGO worker Lee Ming-cheh; Chen Guiqiu, wife of rights lawyer Xie Yang; Jin Bianling, wife of ex-lawyer Jiang Tianyong; and Wang Yanfang, wife of lawyer Tang Jingling.

Their testimonies will be presented before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organisations. The witnesses will be hosted by Christian human rights NGO ChinaAid in Washington DC.

Congressman Ed Royce said the hearing aims to “examine the torture, disappearances, and detention of human rights lawyers and democracy advocates in China,” according to a press release from the NGO.

The three wives of the imprisoned Chinese rights lawyers are already living in the United States. While Jin Bianling relocated long before her husband was arrested last year, Chen Guiqiu was only confirmed to have arrived in Texas last week after escaping through Thailand.

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/05/16/us-congress-hear-cases-detained-chinese-rights-lawyers-taiwanese-ngo-worker/

http://www.chinaaid.org/2017/05/chinaaid-delegation-heads-to-washington.html

https://sentinel.tw/new-type-detention-china/

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/05/18/video-changsha-police-deny-accusations-chinese-activist-jiang-tianyong-tortured/

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2094812/video-chinese-police-released-dispel-claims-rights

https://www.terra.es/noticias/mundo/asia/policia-china-publica-video-de-un-abogado-bajo-detencion-para-negar-torturas,1a68a3532ee77b80e3cb6c6409ff0f90lopu1x90.html (ESPANOL)

http://blog.boxun.com/hero/201511/tengb/2_1.shtml (CHINESE)

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