Another Texas Execution this Week

A San Antonio man who had just turned 38 was executed earlier this week in Texas in connection with the murder of a 29-year-old Lubbock woman who had been stuffed naked into a new suitcase that had been purchased at a local Walmart. CBS News reports that both surveillance videos and an investigation into the debit card used to purchase the suitcase were traced back to the convicted murderer. Rosendo Rodriguez, III purchased the suitcase, and a barcode label that was sewn into the suitcase traced the purchase back to him. Workers at a Lubbock landfill found the suitcase and the victim’s body parts stuffed inside. She may have been jammed into the suitcase when she was still alive. At the time, Rodriguez had been in Lubbock for training as a Marine reservist. The victim was 10 weeks pregnant.

Rodriguez also confessed to the sexual assault and murder of a 16-year-old girl. Her mummified remains were found in another suitcase in the same Lubbock landfill about a year earlier. Rodriguez was subsequently labeled the “suitcase killer.” He was described by the Lubbock County District Attorney as “very cold-blooded and very calculated.” Rodriguez was the fourth convict in Texas to be executed in 2018. He was the seventh in the United States. A spokesman for the Office of the Texas Attorney General remarked that the final appeal of Rodriguez was a “last ditch effort.” Rodriguez purported that he killed his last victim in self-defense after having consensual sex in a hotel room where she pulled a knife on him. Regardless of the fact that the evidence in the case showed about 50 blunt force trauma wounds to the victim, Rodriguez persisted in his defense.

In the penalty phase of the case, five women testified as to Rodriguez raping them, and jurors also heard about his confession to murdering the 16-year-old who he encountered in an online chat room. Rodriguez died defiantly with his last words consisting of a seven minute statement proclaiming his innocence. He was pronounced dead 22 minutes after being administered a powerful sedative known as pentobarbital. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal shortly before he was executed.

 

Stormy Daniels Files Suit Against Trump Over Confidentiality Agreement

Pornstar Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, filed a lawsuit against United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday declaring that a prior confidentiality agreement between the two has no merit because it is not signed by Trump.

Daniels is referred to as Peggy Peterson, while the president’s moniker is David Dennison in the agreement. Trump chose not to sign the agreement in order to provide the opportunity to deny knowledge of the agreement if ever needed.

Daniels accepted $130,000 from Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen who says she used his own money to pay Daniels. The revelation by Cohen is said by Daniels’ lawyers to mean that there is no binding agreement between the two parties.

Lawyers for Daniels argue that even if their client was obligated contractually by the agreement the terms were breached when Cohen commented publicly on the matter.

Cohen, while speaking to the New York Times on February 13, said that neither the Trump Organization or members of the Trump administration had paid back the money to him that he had given Daniels. Cohen did not say whether Trump or anyone else had repaid him however and has been on record with complaints that he had not been reimbursed.

The suit points out that Cohen made no denials of a sexual relationship that took place between Trump and Daniels because to do so would have been to make false statements.

Attorneys for Daniels point to what they term as a “bogus arbitration proceeding” that was held at the end of February without Daniels’ knowledge as evidence of an ongoing attempt by Cohen to gain her silence by intimidation. The result of the hearing was Cohen obtaining a restraining order against Daniels that prohibits the adult film star from providing details of her relationship with the president or filing a lawsuit over the matter.

Michael Avenatti, a lawyer that has recently taken up the cause of Daniels, says that he does not the order that was granted at the February 27th hearing to be a valid one.

The suit includes a copy of the original contract that was signed by Daniels and Michael Cohen, who signed as a representative of Essential Consultants, the company established by Cohen to facilitate the money transfer to Daniels.

George Cohen, a professor specializing in legal contracts, says that the legal issue is whether or not the contract was to be made valid only through a signature from both parties. And if so, did the signing of the agreement by Essential Consultants happen while the company acted as an agent of President Trump.

Allegedly Drunk Horse Rider Taken Into Custody

In yet another drunk driving on a horse case, a 29-year-old Placentia man who was celebrating his birthday was arrested earlier this week for drunk driving after riding his horse down a freeway in Long Beach. California Highway Patrol officers were summoned to eastbound Highway 91 by motorists, but the horseman exited the highway at Downey. He was apprehended on Bellflower on his white Arabian. The cowboy agreed to field sobriety testing at the scene of the stop. After two tests with a portable testing device, the man’s blood alcohol content was determined to be somewhere between .19 and .21. Both are more than twice the legal limit. As reported by USA Today and the Associated Press that the horse named Guera was released to the man’s mother who arrived at the scene shortly after his arrest.

The rider was booked, charged with drunken driving on a horse and jailed with a bail of $10,000. The California Motor Vehicle Code section 21050 provides that while riding an animal on a highway, the rider is subject to the same legal duties and obligations as the driver of a motor vehicle. The rider must maintain control of the animal at all times. If the animal becomes spooked, and it runs out into traffic, the rider can be held liable for any resulting accidents or injuries. Riding a horse on a roadway while intoxicated or impaired by drugs poses an unreasonable risk of harm to everybody around.

In 2017, a Florida woman who was riding a horse on a public roadway was taken into custody for drunk driving. The law on whether a person can be arrested for driving drunk on a roadway while riding a horse varies from state to state. Had the facts of either the California or Florida case arisen in Montana, the rider might not have been taken into custody. That’s because Montana requires a person to be operating or otherwise in physical control of a motor vehicle. Devices that are moved by animal power are specifically excluded. Any defenses asserted in the California case will certainly be interesting.

Major Law Firm Facing Discrimination Suit

Above the Law recently reported that a top 100 law firm is being sued by female shareholders for discrimination. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart has been sued for $300 million in damages based on claims that male shareholders of the firm make at least $110,000 in profits per partner more than the female shareholders. Other stunning allegations in the complaint include that even though women make up more than half of the associates at the law firm, women only make up 32 percent of the shareholders.

Dawn Knepper, a nonequity shareholder at the firm, initiated the purported class action suit against the firm and is represented by Sanford Heisler Sharp. This firm has taken a stand lately against large law firms that are accused of discriminating against women. Ogletree is represented by Nancy Abell of Paul Hastings. Ogletree maintains that the suit is meritless and that it will be able to defend against all of the claims lodged by Knepper and other potential class members. This suit is garnering even more headlines lately because Ogletree was recently recognized as having a thriving labor and employment practice across its many offices. The nature of this discrimination suit could have a negative effect on how Ogletree is perceived among its peers and potential clients.

Many of the other allegations in the complaint relate to a claimed pattern and practice of overlooking or undervaluing women in terms of promotion potential or pay increases. The lawsuit claims that the male shareholders at Ogletree consistently ignore the contributions that women shareholders and associates make to the firm through excellent lawyer skills and commitment to professional development. The complaint also states that women are not recognized at Ogletree for the business and clients that they bring to the firm at the same level that men are compensated and acknowledged.

In the wake of more public outcry against sexual harassment, it remains to be seen whether more gender discrimination suits against employers will start popping up in the months to come. It is likely that many firms are testing out the waters in this new climate of hostility toward gender discrimination and harassment.

Cooley Law School Loses Bid to Hide Criticism

Senior U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow denied Cooley Law School’s recent request for a gag order preventing the American Bar Association (ABA) from criticising the law school. Cooley representatives asked the federal court for an order preventing the ABA from claiming that Cooley’s admissions policies fall below ABA standards. Judge Tarnow said that not only did the ABA not break any rules by publishing the opinion, but they have to publish the opinion in order to comply with Department of Education rules.

The ABA says that they’re happy with the judge’s decision. They say that their opinion is important so that students can have the information they need in order to make the best decisions about their education. They also say that most students are going to make the same decision about their education whether or not they read the ABA’s opinion.

Cooley Law School has undergone significant changes in the past decade. They recently joined up with Western Michian University to call themselves the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. They expanded to locations in Grand Rapids and Auburn Hills. On their website, they say that it’s their goal to give students the tools that they need to succeed.

The ABA disagrees. They say that Cooley doesn’t admit students that have a reasonable chance of passing the bar. Cooley graduates are quick to point out that sometimes, students with low GPAs and standardized test scores make great lawyers. Authorities say that’s not enough. They say that for every student who beats the odds, there are other students that leave with a mounting pile of debt and no diploma in hand. They also say that graduates of Cooley Law fail to find employment in the legal field at a high enough rate to justify Cooley’s high tuition costs.

At this point, the ABA hasn’t taken any formal action against Cooley Law. They have the option to revoke Cooley’s status as an ABA-approved school. The opinion might be the first step in that direction. Critics say that the revocation would be a welcome first step to ensuring that aspiring lawyers with poor credentials aren’t taken advantage of for tuition dollars.

On the other hand, many Cooley grads say they’re fortunate that Cooley was willing to admit them when other law schools wouldn’t. They say the school provides minority access to a legal education and helps expand the reach of legal services to the poor and underprivileged. Judge Tarnow says that his decision is final.

Aerial Fireworks Are Now Legal in Pennsylvania

Legislation that was passed by the state of Pennsylvania now allows its citizens to have aerial fireworks just like in other states. The law will enable residents in Pennsylvania to purchase and make use of fireworks made from high octane. This was a privilege that was previously reserved for out of state residents. Before the enactment of the legislation, residents of Pennsylvania were only allowed to buy commodities that would be referred to as sane and safe.

They include fountains, novelties, and sparklers. However, they can now throw fireworks in the air at their backyards after the bill was signed into law. Rosemary Brown, the state representative, said that the fact that the law in Pennsylvania only allowed residents to buy some kinds of firework was frustrating as they could not enjoy the festive season or special events in style.

The new legislation now allows residents who are 18 years and over to buy fireworks that belong to class C. This class of fireworks were previously available for purchase by out of state residents only. A license must be issued to stores that supply fireworks so that certificates to sell the product to state residents can be issued. One of the fireworks store owners, Ken Schuchman, said that his three stores had received the necessary licenses on Friday and that residents are buying the commodities in bulk ahead of the festive season. Schuchman said that the permits are only issued after a thorough inspection to ascertain that the necessary store requirements have been met.

The legislation was enacted to generate revenue to fill the huge budget gaps and reduce budgetary deficits for the state of Pennsylvania. On top of the sales tax for the state of Pennsylvania that stands at 6%, fireworks sales will have an additional 12% tax for every purchase. The extra money will be set aside for a first responder’s fund. Certified firework stores are also required by the new law to operate with a stipulated distance from each other. The legislation has offered a big boost to fireworks stores as they will record higher sales in the coming Christmas and New Year season.

Among the beneficiaries is Delaware Water Gap’s Phantom Fireworks. The store is strategically located on the 80 west interstate highway which is one of the primary entries into the state. According to the general manager, Gregg Marino, the store has applied for licensing and certification, and the store inspection is scheduled in a week’s time.

Corruption Uncovered in Manhattan’s DA Office: Steven Canady’s Wrongful Prosecution

Imagine running your own company and you’re going about your day conducting business as usual and then you get the news that you’re being arrested for crimes that you yourself are a victim of and had reported to authorities several years earlier. While this seems extreme, wrongful convictions happen more often than you think – here’s Steven Canady’s terrifying story.

The District Attorney of Manhattan, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., is no stranger to recent news coverage. His decisions not to prosecute Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges nor members of President Trump’s family on fraud charges has sparked concern.

On the surface, it appears that Vance is influenced by campaign donations. Why? Take the baffling case of Steven Canady of Alliance Warburg Capital.

Vance elected to prosecute Canady over a simple civil dispute which arose between Canady and a disgruntled fashion designer. After Canady advised the designer in January 2014 to withdraw from the Mercedes Benz “Winter Fashion Week” to focus on closing a complicated round of financing for the fashion designer’s operations, the fashion designer called Canady a “dumb ni**er”. Next, one of Vance’s campaign donors close to the fashion designer approached Mr. Vance requesting Canady be “taught a lesson.” Three days after the racially charged incident, the Manhattan DA’s office launched an investigation against Canady, which lasted for one year.

Despite the lack of any criminal activity found by the DA’s office on Canady during the investigation, Steven Canady was arrested on grand larceny indictment charges in January 2015.

This is where the abuse of power gets really perplexing.

In a hard-to-believe twist of events, Vance charged Canady with taking millions of dollars that Canady himself reported as stolen to Vance’s DA office years earlier.

In August 2010  Canady reported to Vance’s office that $2.4 million was stolen from his firm, Alliance Warburg. Canady claimed it was stolen by a company engaged to provide financing for its client base and some of its targeted acquisitions while waiting for its financial commitments from institutional investors to materialize. Although Canady clearly demonstrated that the firm had been defrauded – he provided Vance’s DA office with over 1,000 pages of evidence, which included the wire transfer confirmation of funds to the third party and a written demand for the return of the monies – Vance’s office chose not to prosecute for reasons that the matter was a “civil dispute between two parties.”

Vance’s decision not to prosecute the party reported by Canady may have been tied to Canady’s failure to make a campaign donation to Vance. The decision “not to prosecute” by the Manhattan DA’s office resulted in the evaporation of over $100 Billion USD in “irrevocable commitments” from institutional investors that Alliance Warburg had secured prior to the incident and ultimately led to Mr. Canady being investigated in Georgia on a related matter, which involved the company that defrauded Alliance Warburg.

Canady eventually entered an Alford Plea in that matter, which did not result in a criminal conviction. This was done in part at the advice of Canady’s legal counsel from Patton Boggs due to the law firm becoming insolvent during that period, and as a consequence, could not adequately represent him if he went to trial.

Now, it should be noted that the disposition of the Georgia matter allowed Steven Canady to continue with his career in the financial industry as there was no wrongdoing found on his part. In fact, Canady was steering the firm in its quest to acquire a major global investment bank and asset management firm for $52 Billion and a sale of one of its technology portfolio companies for $25 Billion.

At least he was; until New York City’s top prosecutor ordered his arrest on the indictment charges.

Seven months after Steven Canady’s initial arrest, Cyrus Vance Jr. ordered his re-arrest allowing the fashion designer to be included in the indictment through a “back door” process over advisory services that had been successfully rendered by Alliance Warburg.

Additionally, despite posting bail for a second time, Canady was never released from custody.

While building a case against him, prosecutors threatened his clients with indictments if they did not agree to testify alleging to be victims. When clients insisted they were satisfied with the performance of Mr. Canady and the firm, law enforcement agents were deployed to their homes by Mr. Vance’s troops as a form of intimidation to convince the clients to capitulate.

Possibly the most horrifying detail though, is the violence. Prosecutors purportedly coerced an inmate to cause bodily harm to Canady in the form of a head injury in exchange for a reduction of the inmate’s sentence. This deliberate violent act was carried out in December 2016.

During the pendency of Steven Canady’s trial this year – which lasted for almost two months – Vance’s prosecutors were involved in corruption. The team altered emails and bank records and forged documents. This was done as a sign of their commitment to winning at all costs, even if that meant breaking the law they themselves once swore to uphold. The prosecutors routinely encouraged witnesses to deviate from the truth, committing perjury. Unfortunately, though, this went uncontested because of Vance’s strategic move to keep Canady’s testimony and any evidence exonerating him far away from the courtroom and out of the presence of the jury. This was achieved by violating his constitutional rights by not allowing him to testify or present any evidence or to call any witness on his behalf.

The one witness that was permitted to testify, who was one of Mr. Canady’s former attorneys, was contacted by Mr. Vance’s office and threatened that “her life would be ruined” if she testified on his behalf. The threat met its objective and the witness did not appear in court to testify.

Had the jurors been made aware that;

  • Canady reported the matter that he was being prosecuted for to the Manhattan DA’s office in August 2010;
  • during the period of the alleged crime the firm secured over $100 Billion in “irrevocable” financial commitments from institutional investors including Rock Financial owned by Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers;
  • Canady was a part of a team based in Geneva, Switzerland that managed one of the world’s largest private portfolio of assets after selling his biotechnology company that 
created implantable closed-loop artificial intelligent drug delivery systems;
  • Canady was cleared by the Secret Service and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission four year and seven year investigations respectively for this very matter;
  • Canady negotiated with the former Chairman and CEO of a major global bank who was close to President Obama to spearhead the firm’s acquisition of the global investment bank for $52 Billion USD;the outcome of this trial may have been different. But the jurors did not have an opportunity to hear these justice-changing details. Unfortunately, and unfairly, Steven Canady was not permitted to testify or present any evidence.

What weighs heavily in this odd case is the question: what if? What if Canady made a campaign contribution to Mr. Vance? Could this whole trial have been avoidable altogether?

Instead, Canady sits in a maximum security New York State prison serving an indeterminate sentence of 6 to 18 years pending appeal. To put this in perspective, Samuel Hiller received a sentence of 1 to 3 years after pleading guilty to embezzling $12 Million from special needs students ages 3 to 5 years old.

To add insult to injury, the day after Mr. Canady was sentenced, his attorney, Daniel DeMaria was forced by Cyrus Vance Jr. to submit an unauthorized letter to the court stating that Mr. Canady did not oppose paying for restitution in the case.

The day following the submission of this letter, Vance Jr. had DeMaria’s license to practice law in the state of New York revoked for up to one year as a strategy to delay Mr. Canady’s appeal efforts.

Cyrus Vance Jr.’s actions throughout this case and his calculated efforts to impede a fair trial for Steven Canady again poses the question, “what if Canady had simply made a campaign donation?”

Ongoing Support Efforts for Steven Canady

To show your support to Steven Canady, please visit his Facebook page to call for justice.

If you would like to contribute a donation, please visit the following site:https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/a-wrongful-conviction-justice-for-steven-canady

 

Legal Aid Cuts Cost Taxpayer Money

Legal aid cuts are causing taxpayers to have to spend more money. The reason legal aid cuts are costing people more money is because cases are taking a longer time to resolve. If people get legal advice early, then the case is often able to be resolved earlier. In many cases, problems can be resolved without even going to court.

State legal funding is designed to help people who are unable to afford an attorney. However, the legal aid cuts have taken away almost all of the assistance for civil and family cases. Lawyers and campaigners are calling for the government to increase legal funding for people who cannot afford it.

Studies have shown that 25 percent of people who get early legal advice are able to resolve their case within three or four months. Twenty-five percent of people who do not receive early legal advice spend over nine months trying to resolve their case. However, 20 percent of people who do not get early legal help are unable to resolve their problem at all.

Richard Miller is the head of justice at the Law Society. He stated that problems can often be nipped in the bud with early legal advice. Problems need to be solved before they become worse. A small problem can quickly become a big one and take over one’s life.

The government has admitted that cutting legal funding has had the opposite effect. For example, they believed that cutting funding would encourage divorcing couples to work out their problems out of the court. However, fewer people are getting mediation, which is why cases are taking longer to resolve.

Richard Burgon is the shadow justice secretary. He stated that when people do not get the early legal advice that they need, they end up with more serious problems. This costs the taxpayers more money.

Mandalay Bay Shooting Lawsuits Being Filed

Lawsuits are now being filed against MGM and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino alleging that they should be held liable for the shooting deaths of 58 people and injuries to hundreds more that were caused by Stephen Paddock. The plaintiffs are alleging that the attack might have been thwarted had MGM and Mandalay Bay spotted warning signs about Paddock. The shooter is alleged to have taken at least 10 suitcase filled with guns and ammunition to his room in the resort. He is said to have also set up a security system both inside and outside of his room to warn him if security or law enforcement personnel were coming to his room.

There is some precedent for the inadequate security allegations. According to  NPR.org, as recently as last month, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that MGM could be found liable in connection with an assault at one of its properties in 2010. Those victims were able to show that there were other violent attacks at the hotel that made the attacks on them foreseeable.

In the law of personal injury, claiming that an event wasn’t foreseeable is a viable defense. The MGM and Mandalay Bay lawyers are likely to raise the foreseeability issue, but the fact that mass shootings have taken place at other entertainment venues in the recent past might make the Mandalay Bay within the realm of foreseeability.

There is no uniform standard of care for security in the hotel industry, and the general rule is that a hotel isn’t a guarantor of a person’s safety when they’re injured or killed off of the hotel premises by a third party. A duty might arise for a hotel to be accountable for the behavior of its own guests though. Given the damages caused by Stephen Paddock in the Mandalay Bay case, it’s expected that no matter how the trial court rules, appeals will be taken. Ultimately, these cases could set a new general rule on the issue of adequacy of hotel security. Lawsuits are also being filed against the shooter’s estate.

 

NYT Reporter Has Been Reported

Glenn Thrush works for the New York Times, and he is stationed in Washington, D.C. When Glenn Thrush began with the times, he was an office worker in New York City. He worked his way up to the White House. Glenn Thrush has worked with the former President of The United States and the current President of The United States. Glenn Thrush loves his job, and many people have considered him one of the best reporters in Washington, D.C.

Glenn Thrush is not in Washington, D.C. today because the New York Times has suspended him. Several female journalists have made allegations that Glenn Thrush sexually assaulted them between 2015 and 2017. These female journalists are making claims of Glenn Thrush kissing and touching them when they did not consent to it. These female journalists are also accusing Glenn Thrush of getting them drunk and then trying to engage in sexual activity with them.

What made matters worse was when the White House spoke out on behalf of the female journalists. A White House representative stated that Glenn Thrush had acted foolishly around women. In fact, the White House was thinking of reporting him to the New York Times, but they never went through with the process.

The New York Times put out a statement today declaring that their organization and its affiliates have high standards. They also stated that they do not condone a single act of sexual misconduct, and they desire to hear from the female journalists personally. The New York Times went on to say that they are going to investigate this situation thoroughly. Though Glenn Thrush is suspended, it is possible that he may lose his job if these allegations are found to be true. Further details are expected to be given later in the week.

The people of America have heard from Glenn Thrush himself today. Glenn Thrush gave a personal statement to the press where he apologized to the female journalists and any other woman that felt uncomfortable in his presence. Glenn also stated that he has not consumed a drop of alcohol in over a year, and he is currently in counseling to deal with his issues.

Pennsylvania Doctors Approved For Medical Marijuana

It has been approximately 12 months since the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill was signed by Governor Tom Wolf. Since that time, hundreds of regions in Pennsylvania have been planning for this bill to take full effect. Many abandoned buildings were purchased, and these buildings are going to become dispensaries for medical marijuana. Additionally, there have been several different job fairs as the Medical Marijuana Bill becomes real.

The bill, allowing Pennsylvania residents with certain conditions to partake in medical marijuana, just became more serious. Over 100 doctors were recently permitted to give out prescriptions for medical marijuana. This comes out to one to two doctors in each county with permission to write a prescription. The good news is that people needing medical marijuana do not have to see one of these doctors on a family basis. All they have to do is get a letter from their current doctor and take that letter to a doctor authorized to give a prescription for medical marijuana.

Before a patient gets a prescription for medical marijuana, they have to apply for a medical marijuana card. The state has a special website for people to visit. There is a small application fee involved in the process. Once the application is submitted, the state will ask for medical proof that the applicant suffers from one of the sicknesses listed in the Medical Marijuana Bill. Once all this is done, the medical marijuana card will be mailed out in less than 7 business days.

The marijuana card will be similar to a state identification card, and it will even be able to be used as a state-issued identification card. A person’s picture will be on this card, and he/she will have to sign the back of the card, similar to a credit card.

The entire Medical Marijuana Bill is expected to be fully active by February 2018. Once this happens, medical marijuana will be offered in pill, drink, and vape form. Pennsylvania residents are so happy this bill was passed, especially since Pennsylvania has the most cancer patients and patients suffering from severe depression.

Over the next several months, the Pennsylvania medical marijuana committee is expected to meet with several medical marijuana specialists and law specialists. The state of Pennsylvania wants to make it possible for medical marijuana patients to obtain a prescription from their local family doctor. However, there are many politicians and even doctors fighting this.

Source: https://www.marijuanadoctors.com/medical-marijuana-doctors/PA

The Civil Rights Act does not protect transgender People

The justice department received an order from the Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructing it to take a position that the transgender people are not protected by any civil right against discrimination regarding their gender, in case a lawsuit is brought to them. This is indeed the most recent move for the President Donald Trump’s administration to contradict the civil right enforcement that were put in place by the Obama administration. In the year 2014, the then attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. told the Justice Department to look at sex as gender identity that includes protection to the transgender people. The directive was however halted by Mr. Session in a memo that was only two pages, stating that the word sex means biologically male or female. Mr. Sessions went on to say that the Department of Justice will take up this position in all the matters that it will be presented with be they pending or future. The only exception will be in cases that are dictated otherwise by the lower-court.

The change in policy comes in as the Justice Department is faced with a discriminatory employment suit in Oklahoma. A transgender plaintiff filed the case. A previous ruling by a judge who had been appointed by President George W. Bush stated that the Civil Rights Act provided cover to gender identity, therefore agreeing with the interpretation of the department during President Barack Obama’s incumbency. The federal appeals courts have had different views regarding the ban of sexual discrimination to gender identity by the Civil Rights Act.

The instructions of Attorney General Jeff Sessions means that at no particular time will the justice Department side with the transgender plaintiffs in lawsuits about discrimination at the workplace, imploring the Civil Right Act. The department is expected to either remain on the sideline or tell courts that the law ought not to be interpreted as banning discrimination on accounts of gender. The position taken by the Attorney General does reverse not only the point of view of the Obama’s incumbency but also puts the Justice Department between a rock and a hard place with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. About three months prior Mr. Sessions move, the Justice Department had taken the position that the Civil Rights Act’s ban does not provide for sexual orientation. The Supreme Court is yet to resolve the burning question on what sex denotes, be it gender identity or sexual orientation

Johnny Depp Sues His Attorneys For Malpractice

Early this year, Johnny Depp, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, made headlines when he took his former management company to court. Depp held that the employees of this company were mismanaging his finances and failing to provide most of the basic services. This week, Depp went to court again suing his former legal counsel for engaging in self dealing and pursuing interests that would only benefit them. Depp wants at least 30 million in damages from Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman. This recent lawsuit comes to show that Depp has been dealing with professionals who are slowly bleeding him dry.

Misleading Advice Cost Mr Depp Millions

Like many movie stars who rely on the advice of professionals, Depp claims that he depended on his attorneys to deal with his legal affairs ethically and competently. However, instead of protecting the interests of their client, the lawyers violated the basic tenets of attorney-client privilege and engaged in misconduct all to the financial detriment of Mr. Depp.

The lawsuit refers to a loan that is cutting into the actor’s income from six films and providing his lawyer and business manager with millions of dollars in contingency fees. The loan was secured even before Mr. Depp started making money.

According to Depp, TMG and Bloom’s law firm are to blame for the mismanagement of his fortune. The U.S. Department of Justice, SEC, and IRS are looking into possible money laundering, mismanagement, and fraud at TMG.

TMG’s Response to The Law Suit

According to TMZ, Depp disregarded warnings about his lavish $2 million per month lifestyle and his over the top purchases which include several islands in the Bahamas, a 150 foot luxury yacht, 70 collectible guitars, and art works by Gustav Klimt and Andy Warhol. TMG claims that Depp is partly liable for his financial woes.

 

The UN Calls On China To Release Human Rights Activists

The United Nations has asked China to set free three human rights activists. The UN further demands that the individuals be paid compensation for wrongful imprisonment among other damages. According to the report which was released to the guardian, the rights of the three activists were violated.

Hu Shigen, a Christian church leader, and lawyers Xie Yang and Zhou Shifeng were incarcerated and tried in a nationwide crackdown on human rights activists and attorneys that started in July 2015. The covert operation saw the detention and questioning of 250 people.

The Findings of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

According to the UN report, China has six months to release the activists and compensate them. The UN rejected claims by the Chinese government that the three men had voluntarily confessed their crimes and affirmed that their detentions were not subject to the international standards of the right to fair trials.

The group that reviewed the case, the UN working group on arbitrary detention, is a panel consisting of five experts who fall under UN’s human rights council. China joined the council after running for the seat on August 2016. During this time, it pledged to cooperate with the working group on arbitrary detention and to make unremitting efforts in favor of individual human rights.

The findings of the group was that the trio were denied a host of rights including denying them access to legal counsel, failing to notify their families about their whereabouts, and holding them incommunicado detention.

The Release of Xie

Xie was released on bail in May but his wife confessed that he never lived like a free man. Security agents were stationed blocks from his hall and 12 guards stood guard outside his building. Police would follow him when he was on the move and despite undergoing this surveillance; Xie was required to prepare reports on what he had done and who he had talked to every four hours.

Response of the Chinese Government

The Chinese government has defended its move to incarcerate the trio stating that they were involved in criminal activities. Critics say that Hu was taken into custody for spear heading an underground church that was working against the government. Hu had been previously incarcerated during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Zhou, a well known human rights lawyer, is the founder of the Fengrui law firm that came to the limelight for the 2015 government “war on law”.

The UN previously demanded the release of Liu Xia, the wife of Lui Xiaobo, Nobel peace prize laureate, who died while in detention. Liu Xia has been subjected to house arrest for almost 7 years.

Michigan Custody Cases Raise Eyebrows

Two Michigan custody cases are creating headlines. In one case, a judge jailed a mother who refused to vaccinate her son despite a court order. In the other, a judge awarded joint custody to a father who raped the child’s mother.

Vaccines and the family court

A Detroit mother served 7 days in jail for refusing to follow a court order that required her to vaccinate her son. The mother says that she doesn’t believe in vaccines. She says that the child’s father didn’t believe in vaccines either until they began fighting in family court.

In addition to the week in jail, the mother lost primary custody of the child. The parents now share custody of the 9-year-old boy. Michigan allows parents to refuse to vaccinate their children. However, the question becomes more complicated when parents in a custody case disagree. In that event, it’s up to the court to decide the best interests of the child. The American Medical Association strongly recommends vaccination for almost all children.

The mother said that she was only protecting her children. The father says the same. The court allowed the father to keep the child while the mother was in jail and until he could arrange for vaccinations. Activists stood outside the Oakland County courthouse to show their support for the mother.

Custody and child support

Meanwhile, in Sanilac County, Michigan, a judge awarded joint custody of a child to a father convicted of criminal sexual conduct against the child’s mother. The judge later reopened the case and said that he didn’t know about the father’s criminal past. Michigan law allows the court to deny a parent access to a child in cases of rape.

The local prosecutor’s office initiated the paternity case on behalf of the mother. Because the mother receives public assistance, Michigan law requires the prosecutor to try and establish paternity and a child support order on behalf of the mother. Usually that means proving paternity and determining the best interests of the child. The father has the option to ask the court for joint custody. The court may consider it.

In the Sanilac County case, the court awarded joint custody. The father had two criminal sexual conduct convictions including one involving the child’s mother. A representative from the Michigan Supreme Court even weighed in to defend the judge. He said that the judge didn’t have complete information when he made the decision. He also said that the father agreed to pay support.