Tad Cummins Challenges Police Confession

The teacher who is in jail for kidnapping and brainwashing a student wants the court to throw out the confession he made to the police. He says the police coerced the confession. Cummins awaits trial on charges related to taking the student out of state and hiding her from her family and police.

Cummins claims that the police improperly worked with his now-estranged wife to get Cummins to admit that he had sex with his student. He says it was unfair for law enforcement to work with his wife. Cummins also claims that law enforcement said if he didn’t confess, they’d make sure he received a harsher sentence.

The attorney representing Cummins says that the police violated his constitutional rights. He says it’s among the worst cases of police misconduct that he’s ever witnessed in thirty years of criminal law practice. The attorney calls the case “one of the most aggravated cases of the trampling of constitutional rights” that he’s ever reviewed.

The U.S. Constitution says that the police can’t force people to testify or otherwise incriminate themselves. When the police violate a person’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, the statements that the person makes aren’t admissible against them in court. A person can lawfully refuse to answer questions from the police. If a person is in custody, the police can’t interrogate them without reading them their Miranda Rights. If the person asks for a lawyer, law enforcement must stop the interrogation.

Cummins’ victim was only 15 years old. Cummins told his wife that he was leaving for a while, but he did not tell his wife that he was leaving with the teen. The kidnapping prompted a nationwide search. Police found the pair in a remote cabin in California after more than five weeks on the run.

Cummins faces federal charges because he allegedly transported a minor across state lines. Federal officials say that he transported the minor with the intent to engage in illegal sexual conduct with the minor child. Cummins faces a long prison sentence if he’s convicted.

Cummins’ wife worked with the police to talk with Cummins. She says the police helped her arrange the conversations. Police say working with friends and family is a common law enforcement tactic.

If the police threatened Cummins with rape charges if he didn’t admit to consensual sex, Cummins’ statements may be considered involuntary. It’s okay for police to use trickery, but promises and threats violate the constitutional rights of the accused. Future court dates are pending in the case.

Federal Government to Enforce Marijuana Laws

As states across the country move to legalize recreational marijuana, the federal government is doing just the opposite. Under the direction of President Donald Trump, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ending long-standing federal policy of looking the other way at marijuana grow operations in the United States. Barack Obama and his administration refused to enforce federal marijuana offenses in the United States. Sessions is walking back that policy.

Sessions isn’t directing U.S. attorneys throughout the nation to aggressively go after marijuana growers. Instead, he’s leaving it up to each local U.S. attorney to make the judgment call. If the local U.S. attorney believes that it’s best to bring the charges, they’re able to bring the marijuana charges in federal court.

Obama’s representatives said that state marijuana regulations are “strong and effective.” They didn’t think it was necessary to put additional resources from the federal government into marijuana enforcement. Obama’s administration directed federal attorneys not to prioritize marijuana violations. Instead, they focused on violence, drug use and organized crime. Sessions and his supporters say that rooting marijuana out at the source will address problems of violence, drug use and organized crime too.

Some U.S. attorneys say that they’re hesitant to prosecute marijuana offenses if state law makes marijuana legal. Even though federal laws overrule state law, some say that it’s hard to enforce federal marijuana laws when the public perception is that marijuana use is legal. There’s nothing that a state or local government can do to override a federal law. However, defendants have a right to a jury trial in federal court, and prosecutors may encounter a practical problem of little support on the jury.

The marijuana debate is shaping up to be another point of controversy for the already controversial Sessions. California’s new year brought with it the state legalization of recreational marijuana use. Michigan also has new laws for commercialized production of marijuana. Now, federal attorneys are free to pursue prosecution of these establishments. The industry is up in limbo. Sessions’ supporters say that’s a good thing for public safety. Opponents say that it’s not good for the tax revenue that legalized marijuana is expected to generate.

Another question is the effect that the policy shift will have on medical marijuana production and distribution. There’s a federal law that prohibits U.S. officials from pursuing and prosecuting medical marijuana production. Some wonder if the policy shift will have a cooling effect on medical marijuana production in the United States.

New Law Will Affect Pet Ownership In Divorces

A new law in Illinois will affect the way that pet ownership will be handled in divorce cases. Pets will be treated the same way that children are treated. People could get joint or partial custody after a divorce.

Jennifer Behme is an attorney who practices in Belleville, Illinois. She stated that states will have the ability to award sole or joint custody to pet owners. She also stated that the only pets that will be affected are the ones that were adopted during the marriage. If a spouse had an animal before they got married, then they will be able to keep it.

Jennifer stated that there are a lot of things that the judge will consider before awarding custody. Who is taking care of the pet, who takes the animal to the veterinarian, and the agreement that the party made before the divorce are some of the things that will be taken into consideration. A judge will award joint custody if it is the best interest of the dog. This law will not affect service animals.

Jeffrey Knipmeyer is an attorney who practices in Chicago. He stated that most couples do not have a hard time determining custody arrangements. He has been in practice for 21 years, and this has never been an issue. There has been a 30 percent decrease in pet custody cases going to court over the past three years.

However, if a pet custody case does reach the court, then this law can be beneficial. Pet custody cases are more common among two-income couples who do not have any children. This law allows the judge to decide what is best for the pet instead of what the people want. Many people only think of a pet as property. Others see their pets as members of the family.

 

California Makes Big Changes to Employment Laws

California isn’t just making big changes to its marijuana laws in the New Year. There are big changes to employment laws, too. These new laws aim to protect fairness in the hiring process and aim to prevent sexual harassment.

Limitations on Questions About Criminal History

The new employment laws prohibit hiring coordinators from asking questions about an applicant’s criminal history. Before, it was common to ask applicants to check the box if they’ve been convicted of a crime. Many times, that meant an automatic rejection of their application for employment without any follow-up questions.

Now, it’s illegal for a potential employer to ask job applicants if they’ve been convicted of a crime. It’s only after the employer has already made a conditional offer for the person’s employment that they can conduct a background check and ask the question. They’re allowed to ask, but only after they’ve conditionally offered the applicant the job.

Supporters of the bill say that it’s fair to applicants who have changed their lives after a brush with the law. They say that employers should evaluate applicants based on their current skills and character rather than on what may have happened in the distant past. They say that a person’s criminal history shouldn’t be a non-negotiable when it comes to employment decisions. They say that an applicant should have the opportunity to explain the circumstances of any criminal convictions.

However, opponents say that a criminal conviction is evidence of character. They say that for jobs where there’s money involved, finding out if an applicant has a history of theft or embezzlement is a basic question. They say the measure could hurt small businesses who are victimized by their employees.

Salary history

Potential employers can’t ask about an applicant’s salary history, either. Lawmakers don’t want employers basing pay decisions on a person’s past. They say that it’s a measure of equality and helping talented applicants get ahead. The applicant can volunteer the information, but the employer can’t directly ask for it.

Mandatory harassment training

In the wake of the #metoo movement, California’s new employment laws also aim to crack down on harassment in the workplace. Training for identifying, preventing and responding to harassment is now mandatory for all supervisors in California. When a supervisor stays on the job for more than two years, they must repeat the training. Some say the law doesn’t go far enough, but supporters say that it’s a start to creating safer workplaces in the state.

Teenager Murders Family On New Year’s Eve

One New Jersey teenager didn’t think that there was anything to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. Instead of watching Ryan Seacrest and Mariah Carey’s New Year’s do-over, the 16-year-old instead decided to brutally murder his entire family shortly before midnight. He mercilessly killed his sister, both of his parents and a friend of the family. Only his brother and grandfather fled and escaped the brutal killing.

The crime occurred in Long Branch, New Jersey. Police received a call at approximately 11:43 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Police arrested the teenage shooter. Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni says the incident is “tragic” and “isolated.” He said that it’s a domestic incident, and they don’t believe that the public is in danger.

The victims range in age from 18 to 70. The surviving brother and grandfather were home when the shooting occurred, but they ran. Officers say the assailant used a semi-automatic assault rifle, and that a family member owned and registered the weapon.

Police aren’t giving information about a possible motive. They say they didn’t have prior calls to the home for domestic incidents. They said the killings appear to be a one-time event. Police also aren’t giving information about the mental health or disability of the killer.

Friends describe the victim’s family as “caring” and “loving.” They say the parents enjoyed spending time with their children. They also describe the victim as a “good kid.” Family members say that the assailant had learning challenges, but that he still knew how to behave appropriately. Friends say that they didn’t believe anyone in the family used drugs or alcohol.

They said they believe the killer was home-schooled because of his special needs. They say the child appeared to improve academically and emotionally with homeschooling. They describe the killer as outgoing and even funny.

The teenage victim was in her first year at Stockton University. She was majoring in health sciences. A university spokesperson says that they’re shocked by the victim’s death. They plan to offer counseling for distraught students.

The killer’s older brother said that the family wasn’t financially well off, but that the parents were committed to doing the best they could for their kids. He described his slain sister as “beautiful and smart.” Friends say that the shooter needed extra care from family members because of his challenges. The Long Branch Police Department continues to investigate. A fundraiser has raised approximately $20,000 for funeral expenses.

New Laws Taking Effect In 2018

The stroke of midnight on December 31st, 2017 meant the start of a brand new year. At the same time, it meant that many different laws all across the country were set to take effect as well. Different states pass different laws with different starting times, but many are set to start on January 1st of 2018. The following are just a few of the laws that have now going into full effect according to CNN.com.

New Employment Laws

California is putting in some new laws that make it illegal for a potential employer to ask you about your previous salary during the interview process. You are allowed as the applicant to volunteer that information if you choose, but it is not something that can be demanded of you. At the same time, applicants may now ask to see a pay scale of the position for which they are applying. This is supposed to help reduce the pay gap between men and women in some ways.

Nevada is now granting employees up to 160 hours worth of leave per year if they are the victim of domestic abuse or if someone in their family is.

Education Changes

Tennessee has a new law in place now that requires that bus drivers be at least twenty-five years old to drive a bus. This is after a deadly bus accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee by a young bus driver that caused the deaths of numerous people.

Illinois has a law on the books now that requires that schools provide feminine hygiene products to students free of charge.

Marijuana

It is a big deal for many people in California now that recreational pot is legalized there. That being said, it is probably hard to come by any right now as businesses must apply for a license to sell it. That being said, once that process kicks into high gear, anyone over the age of twenty-one in the state can purchase a set amount of the substance for recreational use.

Special Holiday

One final law going into effect in Illinois is to make August 4th “Barack Obama Day”. Of course, this is just a commemorative holiday, so it is not going to have any impact on the functioning of government or the private sector in that state. It is more of just a nod to the home state of the first African-American President.

Accidentally Killing Migratory Birds No Longer a Crime

Reversing a rule initiated in President Obama’s final weeks, the Trump administration posted a legal memo that stated that it will not seek charges against companies that accidentally kill migratory birds.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which is almost a hundred years old, protects birds by requiring businesses to guard against hazards that could harm them. In recent years, BP paid $100 million in fines for violating the act, and Duke Energy was found to be in criminal violation of the act. In one of its last rulings before leaving office, the Obama administration announced that the government could under the law prosecute companies for killing birds even if they do so accidentally. Though the new Trump administration suspended the application of the ruling almost immediately after taking office. Now they say that the law only applies to purposely killing migratory birds.

Under the MBTA, the government could seek 6 months in prison and a 15,000 fine for each bird killed or wounded by the actions of a company, but the Trump administration believes that this places way too much burden on businesses. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in excess of 30 million birds accidentally die every year in collisions with structures such as towers and electrical lines, and many more die in turbines and pits.

Conservation groups took exception to the new ruling. The National Audubon Society, which believes the MBTA is one of the most important conservation laws on the books, thinks that the new interpretation not only violates the intent of the treaty but it also ignores decades of long-standing legal precedent. David O’Neill, who is the chief conservation officer of the society, says that the ruling disincentivizes business from working with them to come up with solutions to the problem.

Another conservation group, the National Wildlife Foundation, lamented how the law went from being too broadly interpreted under the Obama administration to being too narrowly interpreted under the current administration.

Industry groups, though, applauded the ruling. The National Ocean Industries Association believes that the previsous interpretation created lots of uncertainty and that the current one meant the businesses would not have worry about being threatned with prosecuation over what they believe are essentially legal activities.

New Year, New Marijuana Laws

As the new year begins, new laws go into effect across the country. One of the most controversial laws is California’s new law legalizing recreational use of marijuana. If you’re at least 21, when you’re in California, you can walk into a pot shop and walk out with the marijuana of your choice. Marijuana is big business, and now the world’s biggest marijuana sales market is the Golden State.

Marijuana enthusiasts eagerly lined up as early as 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day to begin making purchases. California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control oversees licensing and regulation of marijuana shops. They expect marijuana sales to boom throughout the state.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom welcomes the changes. He says law enforcement officials can focus their efforts on “real crime.” Legalizing marijuana is a matter of economy, he says, because law-enforcement officials can now spend their time on more important matters. He says it’s best to move marijuana out of the black market.

California has always been at the forefront of the marijuana movement. Voters legalized medical marijuana 20 years ago. Voters approved the move to fully-legalized marijuana in 2016. Analysts say that the marijuana economy is worth as much as $7 billion. They say sales will bring approximately $1 billion into tax coffers each year.

Sellers see the legalization of marijuana sales as an opportunity. They expect busy sales. Only eight states allow marijuana use without a medical need.

The world is watching. If all goes well, it could pave the way for more states to fully legalize marijuana. If there are problems, it could be a warning sign to other states.

Analysts expect the industry to thrive in California because of the booming tourism industry. Millions of people visit California each year. Economists expect many tourists to make marijuana a part of their travel plans. Proponents of the legalization of marijuana say it’s a great opportunity to show all tourists that legalized marijuana can work.

Good or bad, California’s marijuana economy is about to take the spotlight. Adults can have as much as an ounce of marijuana. It’s also okay to grow six marijuana plants at home. Just like it’s illegal to smoke a cigarette in public, it’s illegal to use marijuana in public. In addition to these changes, people with marijuana convictions from years past can petition the court to have the convictions removed from the public record. However, some say it’s unfair to remove a record of a person breaking a law even if marijuana is now legal.

Reviewing President Trump’s Inaugural Year from a Legal Perspective

Millions of Trump voters cast their vote for the president out of hopes that he would appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court. In that sense, conservative voters got what they bargained for in that President Trump nominated – and the Senate later confirmed – Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Trump’s Supreme Court Appointment

Surprisingly, this game-changer of a shakeup on the Supreme Court may have been overshadowed by Trump’s travel ban and the ongoing dispute of whether Trump’s divestments from his business violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause or not. In other words, lawyers and legal experts had their hands full throughout 2017 trying to parse exactly how the Trump administration’s actions fit into an historical and legal context.

The most remarkable aspect of Trump’s Supreme Court appointment may not have had anything to do with Trump per se. Before the 2017 appointment of Neil Gorsuch, there were two dozen individual instances in which a Supreme Court vacancy sprang up in the president’s final term of office. In 21 of those 24 instances (over 85%), the U.S. Senate rushed to confirm the nominee.

Obama experienced something rather unprecedented in the sense that his nomination of Merrick Garland, an erstwhile darling of the Republicans, was blocked around every turning. There were no hearings for Merrick Garland, let along a Senate vote for the nominee. Democrats, though, may have the last laugh in 2018 if they win back one or both houses in the mid-term elections.

Cooper Vs. Harris Case

The Supreme Court voted 5-3 to preclude the use of race in drawing election districts.

Trump’s Ongoing Interaction with the Supreme Court

President Trump has been one of the more vociferous critics of Supreme Court decisions in recent history. The Gloucester County School Board Vs. G.G. case that questioned whether civil rights laws ushered in under President Johnson applied to discrimination against transgender students seemed to inspire a wealth of opinions from President Trump.

Another Supreme Court case was heard vis-a-vis the National Labor Relations Act and its safeguarding of employee arbitration agreements. Trump took a position contrary to Obama’s and essentially sided with management over labor. The resulting division had the National Labor Relations Board on the side of labor and the solicitor general on the side of management. Similar splits are expected in 2018.

U.S. Economy Loses $500 Billion in Economic Output Due to Opioid Crisis

Over the past several years, the opioid epidemic has devastated many parts of the country. According to Reuters, the crisis cost the U.S. economy approximately $504 billion in 2015. The statistics were made public by economists working in the White House. A report from the White House Council of Economic Advisors shows that 2.6 percent of country’s gross domestic product came from costs related to the opioid crisis.

In October, Donald Trump called the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. However, Democrats called Trump’s statements “meaningless” if there is no additional money added to help fight the epidemic. Republicans believe Trump’s statement is important in the fight against the epidemic.

The Trump White House could use the report from the council to request more funds to help fight the problem. The argument to persuade Republicans for more government spending is the economic impact the opioid crisis is having is far greater than additional spending. Republicans have historically been hesitant to increase spending by the federal government.

In 2015, there were 33,000 deaths related to the opioid epidemic, according to the Council of Economic Advisors. Those deaths led to lost economic output, which is estimated between $221 billion and $440 billion. Additionally, there were an estimated 2.4 million Americans addicted to opioids in 2015, which cost the United States another $72 billion in economic output.

The costs include medical treatment, expenses in the criminal justice system and a drop in economic productivity. The loss in productivity is a result of Americans struggling with addiction not being able to find or hold meaningful jobs.

The majority of drug overdoses and non-fatal drug addiction is mostly from prescription painkillers. People who are addicted to painkillers often turn to street-grade heroin if their doctors no longer give them prescriptions. According to Reuters Legal, almost 100 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses.

Always Make Sure You Have Your Marijuana Tax Stamp When Driving Through Nebraska

Christmas has long been associated with extended holiday traveling for many people across the nation. As a matter of fact, sometimes folks attempt driving completely across the nation to get to spend some high quality time with friends and family. And for some, the term “high” is truly the operative word. However, sometimes the best laid plan can still go awry. And this is especially true in Nebraska, which is a state that has just exposed the fact that at least one state still has antique laws.

Sheriff deputies in York County, Nebraska conducted a traffic stop shortly before Christmas that involved an 80 year-old man and his 83 year-old wife who stated they were on their way to visit family in New England. According to their identification, Northern California is their home. The reason for the stop as recorded by the investigating officers is that the operator of the truck was swerving across the lane divider and failed to give a signal when turning. What appeared as a routine traffic stop was about to turn into a full blown drug investigation.

During the traffic stop one of the officers smelled the distinct aroma of raw marijuana, and having a K-9 unit in the police car with them, they decided to let the dog do his magic. What the dog produced was astounding when considering that the suspects who were stopped at first appeared as apparently harmless law-abiding citizens. What the K-9 officer found was 60 lbs of marijuana, along with a significant stash of THC oil extract. According top the elderly couple, the stash was intended as Christmas presents for their friends and family.

Of course, being caught red-handed and admitting to having possession of the contraband, the couple was arrested and received two citations from the officers. The first citation was for possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver for resale. However, the second charge revealed the true state of legislation in Nebraska. The couple was cited for not having a state of Nebraska marijuana tax stamp. Uh, say what?

The issue of marijuana legality has been a confusing and potentially outdated federal statue that has also seen overlapping legislation from the states. While it is federally illegal to even possess any amount of marijuana, several states have also enacted a marijuana stamp tax law. That way, even if you are caught with marijuana and somehow manage to have it returned by the state after excellent aggressive legal counsel can get you acquitted of charges, you still owe the state of Nebraska their claim to taxation for the prospective sale.

There was no information provided with respect to whether or not the couple was carrying a Santa Claus suit as well, but suffice to say someone did not have such a merry Christmas.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/22/572844666/elderly-couple-stopped-in-nebraska-with-60-pounds-of-weed-for-christmas-presents

Supreme Court Mulls Over Same-Sex Cake Decision

Is it unconstitutional to refuse to make a wedding cake if you disapprove of the marriage? That’s the question the U.S. Supreme Court is debating right now. After hearing oral arguments on the matter, the Supreme Court justices are debating the issues and preparing a decision. Supreme Court watchers say that the case may come down to Justice Anthony Kennedy. They say that he’s a moderate justice whose vote could make the difference in the case.

It all started when a Colorado bakery declined to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding. They refused to make the cake on religious grounds, saying that they believe marriage should be between only a man and a woman. Lawyers for the bakery say that they should have the right to practice religion on their own terms. They also say that requiring them to make the cake violates their right to free speech which includes artistic expression.

Justices like Elena Kagan wondered out loud where to draw the line. Kagan pointed out that any business owner could violate the rights of others citing religious grounds. Kennedy worried that voting in favor of the bakery might lead to outright harassment of same-sex couples.

On the other hand, Kennedy also expressed agreement with the bakery owner’s right to practice his own religion. He seemed to agree with the bakery’s lawyer that individuals in a free society must tolerate beliefs that they don’t agree with. If this decision hinges on Kennedy, it’s ironic, because he’s the same judge who wrote the opinion that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. However, experts say that Justice Kennedy is known for taking free speech rights seriously.

Public accommodation laws require places like hotels and restaurants to provide services without discrimination. A hotel can’t turn away an interracial couple, for example. The bakery says this is different because their religion isn’t racism. They say that they don’t make cakes for Halloween, either.

When the bakery refused to make the cake, same-sex marriage wasn’t yet legal in Colorado. The men said that their marriage was in another state. When the baker offered to make other goods for them, he said that the men “stormed out.” They made a complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission which ruled against the baker. From there, the baker took the case to the Colorado Court of Appeals. For their part, the couple says that the case is about more than just a wedding cake. They say that it’s about equality for everyone.

 

 

Attorney General Rescinds Warning Not to Extort Poor Defendants

Former U.S. President Barack Obama sent a letter to courts across the United States. The letter came from Obama’s Justice Department officials. The letter warned local judges not to assess costs and fees to low-income defendants just to pay the court’s bills and employee salaries. The letter said that court budgets aren’t a legitimate purpose of assessing the fees. Current Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the letter.

Sessions believes that it’s inappropriate for the federal executive branch to give this advice. Sessions calls it executive overreaching. Sessions rescinded Obama’s advice as part of a larger effort to undo some of Obama’s policies and guideline statements on legal matters.

Sessions is taking a closer look at a number of Obama’s guidelines. Some are about the courts. Others are about broader issues like Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms guidelines or even guidelines for individuals with disabilities.

Sessions defends his actions by saying that the statements were unenforceable guidelines. He says that it’s inappropriate for the executive branch to try to assert authority that it doesn’t have. Sessions says that government regulations need to go through the proper channels.

When you pay fines for a criminal conviction or even pay a traffic ticket, you might be surprised to learn where your fees actually go. Some of your fines and costs likely go to operating the court. Fines may even go to things like the pension fund for court employees including for the judge who ordered you to pay the fine in the first place.

Some say that when judges indirectly benefit from the fees that they collect, it creates an inappropriate conflict of interest. Others say that collecting fines to meet operating costs is a necessary evil of conducting court. For now, courts continue to profit from the people they convict.

Rescinding the policy isn’t the only thing that Sessions is doing in public office. Sessions is encouraging prosecutors to file the most serious charges possible. He’s encouraging prosecutors to bring harsh charges without regard for mandatory minimum sentences and without taking into account that prosecutors have charging discretion. Critics say that Sessions is issuing the same opinion directives that Obama’s administration issued only on different topics.

Obama’s letter went to chief judges and administrations throughout the United States in 2016. Obama’s administration said that the purpose of the letter was to make sure that courts protect the rights of citizens. They say that the police and the courts often conduct business with the goal of generating revenue rather than honestly determining guilt and innocence under the law.

Attorney Suspended for Padding Bills

Barnes and Thornburg attorney John F. Meyers is suspended from the practice of law for two years. That’s because officials say he falsified his hourly billing in order to collect payments for work he didn’t do. The Georgia Supreme Court handed down the suspension.

An official reviewing the case recommended disbarring the attorney completely. However, the discipline panel decided on the two-year suspension. The disbarment is the result of Meyers’ attempts to fool a corporate client into paying bills that they didn’t owe for services that Meyers performed for someone else.

Meyers practiced in the areas of labor and employment law with Barnes and Thornburg. Barnes and Thornburg is a large law firm with more than 600 attorneys. Authorities say the events leading to the suspension happened in 2011.

Authorities say that Meyers helped another attorney use the corporation’s money to fund a new, private law firm. The pair didn’t have the authority to siphon the company’s money for that purpose, officials say. They say the pair billed a large corporation for work that wasn’t done for the corporation’s benefit. The other attorney involved in the scheme agreed to give up his law license. Meyers denied that he knew he was defrauding the corporate client. He said that he was just following instructions from the other attorney involved in the scheme.

When the fraud came to light, the corporation fired the attorney involved. Meyers resigned as in-house counsel. Meyers repaid the money. The disciplinary panel said that because Meyers quickly repaid the money he took fraudulently, a suspension was more appropriate than complete disbarment.

Meyers leaves the practice of law after 34 years in practice. His professional accomplishments include defending NFL quarterback Jameis Winston. Meyers hasn’t had any other discipline charges in his entire career. Meyers had legal representation during the disciplinary proceedings. The state entered the opinion and its order of suspension on December 11, 2017.

Despite ethics rules preventing dishonesty in billing, honesty in billing is often hard to enforce because of a lack of oversight and accountability for attorneys who own their own practices and bill independently. Many attorneys still bill for services by the hour. Some say the business model discourages efficiency. With attorneys under pressure to be profitable for their firms, they might exaggerate their hours in order to meet billable hour requirements or earn bonuses. Some say there aren’t enough checks and balances for clients to catch dishonesty and outright fraud.

A US Court directs that the Travel Ban by Trump Should Not Affect Citizens of Friendly Countries

The United States courts of appeal has said that the ban on immigration by the Trump administration to citizens of six nations that have a Muslim majority should not apply to individuals with close ties to the United States. The 9th US circuit court of appeals based in San Francisco said that the Friday ruling would be put on hold. The court of appeals which has jurisdiction in some west coast states noted that the latest version of Trump administration travel ban that was ruled by the United States Supreme Court would be put on hold.

Since Trump took the reins of power in January, he has struggled with the enactment of a federal ban that qualifies for court muster. A previous decision from a subordinate court was narrowed by a bench made up of three judges from the 9th US circuit of the court of appeals to favor those people who had close ties with America. The court of appeals defined the condition for exclusion as any individual who had bona fide relations that were credible with the United States.

The court of appeals also stated that although the US president had a broad array of powers to restrict immigrants into the US, those powers also had limits. The three-judge bench said that the issuance of the immigration proclamation by President Trump exceeds the scope of his powers of delegation.

The Trump immigration ban has targeted citizens from Iran, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Libya and Chad who want to travel to the United States. President Trump argued that the ban was applied to protect American citizens from the threat of terrorism. The state of Hawaii, however, challenged the travel ban in court and a federal judge in Honolulu ordered that the ban exceeded the powers of the US president under the US laws of immigration.

The travel ban by the Trump administration also includes citizens from Venezuela and North Korea. Lower courts have given an order that allowed the law to be implemented. The travel ban issued by the US president in January to ban citizens of Muslim majority nations from entering the US sparked protests and chaos in immigration offices and airports. After courts of the law blocked the first travel ban, President Trump issued a revised version of the ban in March. The March version would expire in September this year after numerous court battles and be replaced by the current version of the travel ban.