The Legal Aspect Of Separating Children From Their Parents At The Border Is Condoned By The Bible According To Jeff Session

People might think a Methodist Sunday school teacher would know how to interpret some of the information in the Bible. But Attorney Jeff Sessions proved that he was not one of those Sunday school teachers. Mr. Sessions claims the bible confirms the Trump’s administration’s plan to separate kids from their parents when parents illegally cross the border into the United States with their kids. The Bible says a lot of things about children. But there is never any mention of putting children through the kind of child abuse that Sessions and Trump, as well as the Trump administration, are instigating. Taking children away from their parents because they cross the border illegally is not a reason to separate families, according to legal experts and people who can read between the lines.

The real reason Trump is pulling this inexcusable trick out of his bag of unsavory tricks is to get his “Wall built.” He wants to force Congress to make a move on the immigration issue. He is blaming the Democrats for keeping kids in cages while he does his typical pass the buck act in front of the public. Trump says court rulings are the reason children are taken away from their parents, but that’s not true.

The Department of Justice can’t prosecute children for coming into the United States illegally. So Trump’s new zero-tolerance rule is separating more than 2,000 children from their parents. And the really bad news is those parents don’t know where Homeland Security will take them once all the phony paperwork is in order.

According to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the Trump administration doesn’t have a separation policy in motion, but that’s another Trumpian lie. Nielsen, in her best rendition of a dictatorial lemming, said the Trump administration is within the law in this situation. But once again, her definition and Trump’s definition of the law is more subjective than objective. In other words, they want to create this kind of legal turmoil to get what they want from Congress.

Lawsuits follow Donald Trump like a doe follows her mother. He thinks he is above the law as well as a legal expert who is willing to challenge the laws he thinks are useless. And that is the definition of a dangerous leader. The border debacle is sure to create a plethora of lawsuits and Trump welcomes them. He wants to milk his position for all its worth before his nose stops growing, and he ends up back at Trump Tower with a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his front door.

Justice Department Tells Federal Court That ACA is Unconstitutional

Last year, President Trump made the decision in the new tax bill that individuals who decided not to have health insurance coverage would not have to pay a tax penalty starting in 2019. Technically, the tax penalty was eliminated and not the individual mandate.

Several attorneys general have sued in federal court stating that the entire individual mandate must now be ruled unconstitutional since the tax penalty has been eliminated. When the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, it based its ruling in part on the fact that the Congress has the power to tax. The attorneys general contend that since the tax is off the table, the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The Justice Department has told the federal court hearing the case that they will not be arguing in favor of keeping the individual mandate in tact. The Justice Department is agreeing that the mandate is unconstitutional, reports The New York Times. The Justice Department, the Trump administration and many Republicans believe that if the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional, the entire Affordable Care Act will be finished.

What many people may not realize is that that the individual mandate is linked with insurance companies having to accept everyone regardless of whether or not they have a pre-existing condition. Under the current low, insurers must accept all people, and they are not allowed to charge an additional premium for those who have certain medical conditions.

The Trump administration has made the case in recent months that some plans should be allowed to be sold that would allow insurers to bar people with pre-existing conditions. Those with pre-existing conditions would also be able to be charged more for insurance.

It will be many months before this case makes its way through the federal courts. The issue may end up back with the Supreme Court. Critics believe that if the courts eventually side with the Justice Department, the ACA will be finished, and many people will lose their healthcare coverage as a result.

All Eyes on Ottawa as Canada Becomes the First G7 Nation to Legalize Marijuana

When the first cannabis factory was opened by Canopy Growth four years ago near an old chocolate plant in the Canadian capital, everyone thought of a bright future in the industry. Medical marijuana was by then legal in Canada, and the company expected that the next move by the government was to pass legislation for recreational use of the product. However, the company had not predicted the sudden influx of visitors from a foreign land. Law enforcement agencies and politicians from Australia, Greece, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and Jamaica have all visited the country. Medical practitioners and other healthcare professionals from Chile, Brazil, and New Zealand have also paid a visit to Canada.

Canopy Growth has also hosted groups of corporate bankers and investors. The number of corporate visitors has been so high that the company has sometimes been forced to split up the group members according to their months of birth. Jordan Sinclair, who serves as the company spokesperson, said that the company had predicted that it would give a lot of tours and explain to the world exactly what they did. Sinclair added that they put windows in all the doors to be able to accommodate everyone. Canada is now in the spotlight at the international stage due to its decision to have legal recreational marijuana. This is especially after the Senate vote on Thursday.

The Guardian says this will make Canada the first nation in the G-20 to have passed legislation to legalize recreational cannabis. One of the experts of substance use in the most prominent psychiatric hospital in Toronto, Benedikt Fischer, said that the move to legalize pot would give Canadian citizens an experience that feels like a little bit of science fiction. Fischer added that the experience would be one of a kind in the globe. He said that Canada would be the first wealthy nation to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. Fischer also noted that the Canadian experience would be far much more different to what is happening in the United States.

In the US, recreational pot is only legal in some states and illegal in others. However, under US federal law, cannabis possession and sale remains a felony. Recreational cannabis is also legal in Uruguay. However, the world seems to ignore the country since it does not have a significant influence in global affairs. Therefore, the world will have eyes on Ottawa and see how legalization works for them.

Trump’s Lawyers Say A President Is Above The Law. Legal Scholars Disagree.

There’s a legal storm brewing and Donald Trump is ready to face it head-on. The undercurrent of the Mueller investigation is turning Trump’s legal team into a backbiting group of legal attack dogs, reports The Washington Post. But Mueller and his team of ethical dirt digging investigators are not slowing down by the assumption that Trump is above the law. According to super-legal eagle Rudy Giuliani, Trump cannot be prosecuted. Rudy claims Mr. Trump has absolute control over the Mueller investigation.

According to Mr. Giuliani, Trump’s office protects him, and he can terminate the investigation at any time because he is the country’s chief law enforcement officer. Several legal analysts say Mr. Trump could fire senior officials or he could order them to stop the investigation because he is head of the executive branch. But in order to implement that kind of power, Trump’s intentions and motives must be corruption free. And at this point, Trump has a cloud of allegedly corrupt actions hanging over his head. Firing Comey and allowing his campaign team to meet with Russian operatives are acts that have the flavor of deceit, anger, and foul play written all over them, according to some legal scholars.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers sent Mueller an eye-opening, 20-page letter in January 2018. In that letter, lawyers John Dowd and Jay Sekulow claim the president can’t obstruct justice. But the real reason for the letter, according to legal scholars, is to let Mueller know a court battle is brewing, and the Trump’s legal team is ready to fight Mueller’s findings. Trump and his lawyers will take their case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The Supreme Court has a month left before this year’s session is over. There are 12 cases still pending, and those cases could have a dramatic impact on the country. Trump’s lawyers know a Supreme Court battle will prolong the legal fight for years. A lengthy court battle may work in Trump’s favor. But Giuliani said Trump may pardon himself instead of starting a legal war that may not end well for the president.

The perceived fight between legal experts is in high gear. There is a lot of mud in the legal water when it comes to what a president can do when he is facing obstruction of justice charges. Trump is doing what he does best by keeping everyone guessing, but eventually he will have to face Mueller and all the charges that may ensue in one way or another.

Trump’s Attorney Says That the Missile Strikes in Syria were Completely Legal

The US Justice Department has released a new opinion on the missile strikes that were orchestrated by the American military in Syria. Attorneys from the department have argued that the hostilities in the Syrian republic did not rise to the levels of an international conflict in a constitutional sense. The memo that is 22-pages long from the Office of Legal Counsel, has stated that President Donald Trump acted within the constraints of his legal authority as the commander-in-chief. The memo continues to say that the president acted in protection of US national interest abroad.

These interests include the prevention of a humanitarian catastrophe in the Middle East and to stop the manufacture, distribution and use of biological and chemical weapons. However, the critics of the Trump administration said that the acts by President were alarming and ludicrous. Some of the members of Congress from the Democratic Party have said that it’s funny how Donald Trump redefined war to get around the halls of Washington. Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia said that the president’s acts were uncalled for and ill-advised. Kaine argued that any act by a foreign nation firing missiles and bombs on American soil would certainly be taken as an act of war. 105 missiles were fired by French, British and American forces on three chemical weapon facilities in Syria.

The missile attacks were carried out on April 14. These missile attacks represented the second time that the West has carried out such strikes on Syria since President Trump took the reins of power. The Justice Department had advised the White House that such attacks would be legal long before President Trump gave the go ahead. The formal opinion by the DOJ was released on Friday and explained the legality of the air strikes by US forces in Syria. The US constitution is very clear that only the US Congress has the power to declare war against another country.

However, the memo by the Justice Department stipulated that the airstrikes were not an act of war against Syria. One of the considerations that have been explained in the memo is that no manned aircraft or ground troops were ordered into Syrian soil or airspace. The opinion also argued that the strikes were not a case where the US military personnel served an open-ended goal. The opinion was authored by Steven Engel who is the US Assistant Attorney General. Engel says that the airstrikes were orchestrated to minimize the number of casualties.

Supreme Court Will Hear Case Regarding Uranium Mining

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to accept a case on appeal that challenges the right of the Commonwealth of Virginia to enact a ban on uranium mining. The case centers around the limits of the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.

In 1954, Congress passed the Atomic Energy Act. Part of that act gave authority to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to set standards on uranium and its use as a potential fuel source. The Atomic Energy Act does not state anything specifically about how mining of uranium would be regulated if the mining was being conducted on land that does not belong to the federal government.

In 1982, the Commonwealth of Virginia enacted a law that prohibits the mining of any radioactive metals within the state. The state cited the need to protect the health of the general public when the legislation was passed.

A company called Virginia Energy Resources owns a vast amount of land that contains large uranium deposits. The value of these deposits is estimated to be in the area of $6 billion. In order to be able to mine their land, Virginia Energy Resources petitioned Virginia lawmakers to overturn the state’s ban on uranium mining. The state refused to do this, so the company took the state to court.

The case made its way to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. At that court, the justices ruled in favor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia Energy Resources asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal, and the hearing was granted.

The Trump administration is filing briefs with with Supreme Court in favor of Virginia Energy Resources. They contend that if a company is not able to mine uranium, it will impede the federal government from providing for defense purposes.

The Supreme Court will hear the case in October. After the arguments are made in court, the justices will assess the evidence, and a ruling is likely sometime in the summer of 2019.

 

Mueller Files Extent of Investigation Memo With the Court

Robert Mueller was given the task of investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. When Mueller was given this assignment by the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein provided Mueller with a written memo that outlined what Mueller was supposed to investigate and the limits of that investigation.

During the course of his investigation, Mueller filed a series of indictments against Paul Manafort who was an official in the Trump campaign for a period of time. These indictments stem in part from Manafort’s association with elements of the Ukrainian government.

As part of his defense against the charges filed by Robert Mueller, the Manafort legal team is challenging Mueller’s jurisdiction to bring charges. The Manafort legal team is claiming that Mueller is exceeding the scope of the investigation that he was authorized to perform by the Justice Department.

In court approximately two weeks ago, federal judge T.S. Ellis seemed to side in part with Manafort’s legal team. He stated that Mueller should not have “unfettered power”. As part of his decision making process as to whether or not he should drop the charges against Manafort, the judge has asked Mueller to provide a copy of the memo that outlined the scope of his investigation.

On Thursday, the Mueller team turned over a copy of the memo to the judge as requested. Legal experts are not sure how the ruling will go, but it seems clear from his statements that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein provided wide latitude for Mueller to conduct his investigation.

Rosenstein has stated that Mueller is able to investigate Russian collusion and, “any matters that arose or may arise directly from that investigation.” Rosenstein also directly authorized Mueller to investigate Manafort’s involvement with the Ukrainian government.

Even if the judge in Virginia dismisses the case, the charges have also been filed in a court in Washington, DC. The judge in Washington, DC has already ruled against Manafort in this same manner, and the charges filed by Mueller will proceed in that case regardless of what should happen in the Virginia courtroom of judge Ellis.

So far, the Mueller investigation has handed down a number of indictments. Many are calling for the investigation to wrap up quickly, but the investigation does not yet seem to be in the wrapping up stages.

Cannabis Legalization in New York would create a $3.1 billion Market

Scott Stringer, the Comptroller for New York City, said that the legalization of pot in the state of New York would lead to the creation of a $3.1 billion market. The state of New York would gain an annual tax revenue of $435.7 from the legalization of Cannabis. Out of the entire revenue for the state, the city of New York would be getting the largest share of $336 million. Stringer was speaking during a power lunch where he indicated that the passing of pot legalization legislation by the state legislature would lead to the creation of a new stream of revenue. He added that such a move would add the revenue allocation to the sectors that affected the residents of New York such as health care and education.

The US minority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said that the Democratic Party had drafted a plan to have marijuana decriminalized by federal law. As of today, the bill to legalize the use of pot in the state of New York is still pending in Albany. A recent state report that had been prepared by Stringer broke down the revenue stream for the state if marijuana was legalized. It was quite difficult to tally the number of adult pot users in New York City and the state of New York. This is because cannabis is illegal according to the stipulations of the state laws.

Instead, the New York Comptroller referenced the states of Colorado and Washington where both recreational and medical cannabis is legal. Stringer used the data from these states to adjust for population size and determine the number of users in New York. The report compiled by Stringer suggested that out of the 15 million adults who reside in the state of New York, between 8 and 10% of them consumed marijuana. About of the 15.1 million people in the state of New York, 6.7 of them resided in the city.

The statistic suggested that about 1.5 million residents of New York were marijuana users. The report also indicated that 548,000 residents of Big Apple were cannabis consumers. Based on the numbers, the average marijuana user would have the annual spending of $2,080 on pot. Stringer said that all that cash would be filtered back to the New York economy. The New York Comptroller added that pot legalization would also serve to increase tourism in the state in the same way it did for Washington and Colorado.

United States To Join Whistleblower Case Over Kickbacks Against Insys

The Justice Department for the United States has decided to join in on the whistle-blower case that is accusing the company, Insys Therapeutics Inc, for trying to get more profits for their company by paying doctors with kickbacks for them prescribing their patients with very powerful and addictive opioid prescription medications. This new involvement of the government was made public on Monday when it was disclosed in a filing. This will add major firepower for the case as civil litigation probes more into Insys. The case is looking into more about how the company was marketing their spray form of the drug fentanyl. Their product is called Subsys.

There are six states which have joined the civil litigation case against the company. They are North Carolina, Colorado, New York, California and Virginia. The names of these states were released during a filing done at the Los Angeles United States District Court.

According to Reuters.com, this case is beginning during a wave of other medically-criminal cases against many doctors and medical practitioners. The case is also against many sales representatives and executives who were employed by the Insys company. Also included in the cases is the founder of the company, John Kapoor. He is the billionaire founder being included in the civil litigation case against his company and anyone else involved in illegally pushing the medicine on their patients.

During a separate filing, the U.S. Justice Department had asked for the litigation case to be put on hold while the other criminal cases get resolved.

The drug, Subsys, is a spray often prescribed to patients who are suffering from severe pain due to cancer. The patients who were prescribed this drug were typically already getting and tolerating other opioid therapy options. The government is accusing the company of offering doctors lavish meals and incentives in order to get them to give their patients this drug.

The company is also being accused of causing federal health care programs such as Medicare to have to pay for these drugs when they were not actually medically necessary for the patients. The doctors were encouraged by the company to prescribe the opioid medication to their patients when it was not necessary by misrepresenting the diagnoses of their patients to get it approved through their government health care program.

Back in March, the president had called for litigation himself against any companies involved in roles such as these. He feels this is becoming a countrywide epidemic that needs to be addressed.

US Supreme Court’s decision On Legal Sports Betting

The day that has been waited for by gamblers and sports fans for a long time in the United States has come. The US Supreme court annulled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The decision is going to bring the monopoly on sports betting in Las Vegas and Nevada to a screeching halt. The federal legislation prevented other states from making unilateral decisions on issues concerning the legalization of betting on professional sports. Many businesses are set to take advantage of this development. William Hill, who is a sportsbook operator, says that they have the intentions to offer locations in New Jersey with sports betting as soon as possible.

The company’s CEO said that the board was looking to start offering sports betting in a few weeks’ time. Jim Murren, who serves as the chief executive for MGM Resorts International, said on Monday that the company was making plans to start offering sports betting in the entire United States as quickly as possible. Murren added that his company had already established the necessary architecture for the deployment of sports betting as soon as the state gives the green light to do so. He noted that the company already had the required software and had developed a mobile application known as PlayMGM. Murren added that the mobile application was already in use in Nevada.

Las Vegas in Nevada is regarded by many as the party capital of the world. The stocks for many casinos in the United States increased in value after the Supreme Court ruling. Some of the companies that came out of the stock market laughing include MGM and the owners of a dominant sports teams such as Mark Cuban. Cuban is an internet billionaire who owns Dallas Mavericks. Mark Cuban said that the decision would see the increase in the value of most sports teams by as much as 100%. However, the ruling was not taken positively by professional sports leagues. These leagues still have many questions regarding the legalization of sports gambling by the United States federal government.

National leagues such as the Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association had initially pushed for an integrity fee of 1%. However, the amount they will receive after legislation is passed will be less than 1% and could differ from one state to the other. The state of New York has already proposed an integrity fee of 0.25% as part of the sports betting legalization law. Other states like West Virginia have come out categorically to say that they will not be paying any fees to the leagues.

For more details, visit https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2018/05/14/sports-gambling-status-every-state-after-supreme-court-ruling/607334002/.

Professor Sujit Choudhry is Signatory on Amicus Brief that Opposes Texas’ Anti-Abortion Law

Professor Sujit Choudhry of the Center for Constitutional Transitions is one of several academics in the field of international and comparative law who are signatories on an amicus curiae brief concerning the improper view of international perspectives on abortion law. The brief, led by Aziza Ahmed, professor at Northeastern University School of Law, supports the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood as co-counsel representing abortion clinics and doctors in a case examining a challenge to a Texas law that bans dilation and evacuation, an otherwise commonly used and safe second trimester abortion procedure. More narrowly, the law seeks to ban the safest, most common method of second-trimester abortions after approximately 15 weeks, and as such Texas is in direct contradiction to the norms recognized in international law. The law was preliminary enjoined by a federal district court as it finds it to be likely unconstitutional. The state of Texas has appealed.

 

States are required by international human rights law to enable access to safe and legal abortion services. In line with this international norm, the global consensus is such that individual nations with legal traditions similar to those of the U.S. lean towards liberalization of abortion access. This reflects an expanding understanding of the close links between abortion access, gender equality and women’s health. Rather than acknowledging this international consensus, Texas presents a misleading and erroneous analysis of foreign law in the support of the state’s aim to pass a law that restricts access to safe abortion care.

 

The brief first elaborates international law as a counterpoint to the comparative analysis on which Texas exclusively relies. It then highlights the flawed methodology as well as the irrelevancy of the points mentioned by the expert witness who introduced comparative law evidence in support of Texas as they do not speak to moral or ethical consensus. Professor Choudhry is among the amici who, as international and comparative law scholars, has an interest in correcting this improper view of international law and Texas’s deeply flawed comparative law analysis.

 

 

Professor Choudhry is internationally recognized as an expert on comparative constitutional law and politics. He has also been a constitutional advisor for over two decades, and his expertise encompasses facilitating public dialogue sessions with civil society groups and other stakeholders, leading stakeholder consultations, performing detailed advisory work with technical experts, training civil servants and bureaucrats, engaging party leaders and parliamentarians, and drafting technical reports and memoranda in the field. Professor Choudhry globally advises on the process of constitution building in a number of countries. He is currently a member of the United Nations Mediation Roster and consultant to the World Bank Institute at the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program.

 

Choudhry is the founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions that assembles and leads international networks of experts and partners with a global network of multilateral organizations, think tanks, NGOs and universities in order to conduct thematic research projects that offer evidence-based policy options to practitioners. This is part of the Center’s effort to both create as well as mobilize knowledge in support of constitution building.  To date, the Center for Constitutional Transitions has worked with over 50 experts from more than 25 countries. The Center is partnered with with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, whereby Choudhry co-leads three global collaborative research projects. These include Dealing with Territorial Cleavages in Constitutional Transitions, Security Sector Reform and Constitutional Transitions in Emerging Democracies, and Security Sector Oversight: Protecting Democratic Consolidation from Authoritarian Backsliding and Partisan Abuse.

 

Sujit Choudhry is the I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley – School of Law. His previous academic engagements include having been the Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University, and the Scholl Chair at the University of Toronto. In his research, he focuses on several comparative constitutional law and politics issues. These include constitutional design as a tool to manage the transition from violent conflict to peaceful democratic politics; constitutional design in ethnically divided societies; federalism, decentralization and secession; semi-presidentialism; constitutional courts; official language policy, minority and group rights; bills of rights and proportionality; constitutional design in the context of transitions from authoritarian to democratic rule; constitution building; security sector oversight; and basic methodological questions in the study of comparative constitutional law.

 

His publication record includes over ninety articles, books, book chapters, working papers and reports. Choudhry is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Society of Public Law, the International Advisory Council of the Institute for Integrated Transitions, the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Editorial Board of the Constitutional Court Review, the Editorial Advisory Board for the Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law, and is an Honorary Member of the Advisory Council of the Indian Constitutional Law Review.

More information on Sujit Choudhry can be found on his personal website sujitchoudhry.com as well as on LinkedIn, Twitter (@sujit_choudhry), Instagram (@sujitchoudhry) and on Facebook. More information regarding the Center can be found on constitutionaltransitions.com.

Important Senator Wants Supreme Court Justices Considering Retirement to Leave Now

Right now, the Supreme Court of the United States is almost evenly balanced. There are four justices that almost always rule on the more conservative side of issues, and there are four justices whose rulings are usually on the more liberal end of the political spectrum. One justice is seen as a swing vote as Justice Kennedy votes on each side depending on the issue.

Because the Supreme Court is so balanced, anytime that there is a vacancy on the court, the political stakes are high. When President Obama wanted to get his nominee Merrick Garland confirmed for the vacancy left upon the death of Justice Scalia, Senator Charles Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, would not even let the nomination come up for a vote.

According to Reuters, Senator Grassley is causing a political and legal controversy by suggesting that any justice who is thinking about retiring soon do so right now so that the Senate will have time to confirm the appointment before the 2018 mid-term elections.

Observers believe that this is directed straight at Justice Kennedy. If he were to retire right now, President Trump would be able to appoint a conservative and change the balance of the court to one that is overwhelmingly conservative.

At this time, Justice Kennedy has not even hinted that he is thinking about giving up his seat on the court. Most observers do not believe that any other justice is contemplating retirement.

Justice Ginsberg is the oldest member of the court, and she has firmly stated that she has no plans to retire. She would probably not retire unless a more liberal president was in power. Justice Breyer is the next oldest justice, and he has made no announcement that he plans to retire anytime soon either.

If the Republicans were to lose control of the Senate in the mid-term elections, it is possible that Supreme Court justices would not be approved at all. A Democratic Senate is very unlikely to approve anyone nominated to the Supreme Court by President Trump.

Pettifoggery?

Those who are following special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election are aware of the fact that 13 Russian citizens and 3 Russian businesses have been indicted for allegedly interfering with the election. Since all of the individuals and entities that are facing charges are in Russia, nobody really thought that that any of them would appear in court. Now, one entity has appeared by and through the law firm of Reed Smith, LLP out of Pittsburgh. The law firm is representing corporate defendant Concord Management.

Upon filing its appearance on behalf of Concord Management, Reed Smith filed numerous disclosure requests seeking facts and documents that aren’t available to the general public involving sensitive information into the alleged Russian interference probe. Concord Management is to be arraigned shortly, but now, Mueller’s team has asked that the arraignment be put over to another date. The basis of the teams’ motion was that regardless of the fact that Concord Management had generally appeared in the case through its attorneys, the prosecution wanted to be sure that the company had been properly served.

What comes to issue is the fact that a defendant can waive service under the circumstances by generally appearing through its attorneys. The prosecution argued that Concord Management’s attorneys have sought production of “sensitive intelligence gathering, national security and foreign affairs information.” Concord Management’s attorneys argued that the company voluntarily and generally appeared through counsel as opposed to entering a special and limited appearance contesting jurisdiction. Concord Management’s attorneys further advised that the company intends to enter a not guilty plea at the time of arraignment. They went on to say that the special counsel’s motion to continue Concord Management’s arraignment pettifoggery.

Pettifoggery might be defined as quibbling over trifles or trivia. Judge Dabney Friedrich agreed with Concord Management’s attorneys, and the arraignment date stands. Whether special counsel intends on disclosing the information sought by Concord Management’s attorneys remains to be seen. It’s likely that special counsel will object to the scope of the disclosure request due to national security concerns. That will prompt a motion to compel production of the documents sought. Judge Friedrich will then be called upon to rule on any such objection.

Appeals Court Rejects Caps on the Cost of Prison Phone Calls

Prison inmates and their families know that it’s expensive to make calls from prison. One prison inmate reports spending more than $130 per month to make a 20-minute phone call each day. Prisoners say that it’s a way to kick inmates and their families when they’re already down. They say that it’s an easy way to soak families who are desperate to maintain relationships despite incarceration.

However, the Court of Appeals said that the FCC overstepped its bounds when they placed a cap on the costs of phone calls from prison. In the case Global Tel-Link v. FCC, the Court of Appeals said that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to regulate the cost of prison phone calls. In addition, they said that the way the FCC chose to regulate the phone calls doesn’t make any sense.

The telecommunications companies say that their costs are justified. They say that providing phone monitoring is expensive. They say that providing phone service to prison inmates is different than providing phone service to any other entity.

Inmates say that the cost of the technology to make phone calls from prison has decreased dramatically. They say that it just doesn’t cost what it used to for inmates to stay in touch with their loved ones during their period of incarceration. They say that phone calls today are no more expensive than a typical cell phone plan with a recording system attached. They say that it’s no longer the long-distance calling system that it used to be.

Advocates for inmate groups say that the real problem is the commissions paid to law enforcement agencies for the calls. Prison managers choose phone contractors by a competitive bidding system. To secure a bid to provide prison phone service, most of the phone companies pay a commission back to the prison or other law enforcement agency. That is, the prison receives a percentage of what the prison spends on the phone call.

Advocacy groups say that kickbacks are an unfair incentive for prisons to keep prices high. They say that it’s not in the best interests of inmates and their families. They say that evidence shows that inmates who stay in touch with their families do much better after they return to society. They say that the families of incarcerated individuals should not have to choose between putting food on the table and speaking to their loved one. Despite the court’s ruling, the issue of the high costs of prison phone calls continues to be a matter of discussion and debate.

Proposed Colorado Bill Would Restrict Gun Access for Mentally Ill People

A bill currently under consideration in Colorado would enable law enforcement officials to remove the guns of people deemed to present a safety risk. Under the terms of the bill, law enforcement or family members may petition a judge for an order that would force the person to turn over the guns for a period of six months. The person is entitled to a hearing within seven days after the order is granted.
Red Flag laws, like the one Colorado is considering, are already in place in eight states with over a dozen more poised to follow. The Colorado bill sparked intense debate in a state that has endured multiple mass shootings, including the Aurora Theatre shooting, and has one of the highest percentages of gun owners. The gun lobby organization, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, quickly called on its 200,000 Facebook followers to contact the bill’s sponsors and speak against the gun control measure.
One of those sponsors, State Representative Cole Wist, insisted the bill protects the rights of gun owners. Wist, a Republican, highlighted the due process protections included in the bill while pointing out the need to give family and police options for avoiding potentially dangerous situations. This need was echoed by Sheriff Tony Spurlock who held a press conference in support of the bill.
On December 31, 2017, one of Sheriff Spurlock’s deputies, Zackari Parrish, was killed during a confrontation with Matthew Riehl who was also killed in the incident. The 37-year-old Riehl had a history of harassing and threatening people including family members, his professors, and local police officers. While officers were trying to take the mentally ill man into custody using a mental health hold, Riehl opened fire on them injuring four deputies and killing Parrish. Riehl’s mother expressed frustration about the deadly outcome especially since his family repeatedly sought help for him.
State Senator John Cooke sympathizes with both sides of the debate. A former sheriff, he understands the need to prevent a mental health issue from becoming a mass shooting incident. However, the Republican Cooke fears that red flag laws open the door for misuse by the government. The difficulty, he explained, is in crafting a bill that protects the public without taking away the rights of individuals.