Cockfighting is a culture that takes place in the shadows of vacant buildings and warehouses. It’s commonly known as a blood sport. Roosters that are bred and raised for the sole purpose of aggression and fighting are outfitted with nail-like daggers and blades. Then, they’re placed into a small open ring to fight to the death. Cockfighting is more than 6,000 years old, and in the United States, it’s usually accompanied by the illegal sale of alcohol and drugs. Of course, betting is involved too.
Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Several law enforcement agencies and dozens of officers recently participated in a raid on a cockfight venue on March 17, 2018. It was located in De Queen, AR. Authorities allege that it was an organized operation, and the Associated Press reports that the fights changed locations every week. The investigation reportedly lasted for 18 months. Arrests included both felony and misdemeanor cockfighting violations. Some of those who were arrested were fighting cock owners, and others were spectators. About 200 cocks were taken into custody too. They’re in the same jail as some of the offenders and being cared for by some of the inmates at the Sevier County Jail.
Sheriff Robert Gentry said that the care taking inmates haven’t been charged with any cock fighting offenses. The humans that were charged were from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and as far away as New Jersey. The fighting cocks will be held in Sheriff Gentry’s custody until such time as a judge decides what to do with them.
Workers at neighboring business establishments said that the roosters were noisy. Sevier County Jail inmates are complaining about 4:00 a.m. wake up calls being earlier than usual. None of the fighting cocks are in the general jail population for fear of retaliation. Regardless of the fact that people bet on them, the fighting cocks remain unpaid. Not a single one out of the 200 has been able to post bail.
President Trump announced that he is deploying the National Guard along the border of Mexico. To make this happen, he has directed the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to work with state governors.
In the aftermath of the president taking office, the numbers of immigrants illegally crossing the Mexican border fell. Many believe that this was because they were afraid of the actions of the new administration. But now, with the amount of crossings beginning to rise once more, the president believes that deploying the National Guard is necessary.
Kirstjen Nielsen, who is the Director of Homeland Security, said that her department has witnessed coming across the border a high level of gang and other criminal activity, as well as illegal drugs and illegal immigration. She further said that all this activity threatens American cities and families. She also believes that it threatens the rule of law.
Many experts believe that the rise in illegal crossings can be attributed mostly to single mothers with small children, and children traveling by themselves, who are coming to this country from Central America to escape dangerous gangs. These gangs have taken over entire neighborhoods in places such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The president wants the National Guard placed along the border to deter these people and make it harder for them to cross the border. He also wants to make it more difficult for immigrants to request asylum.
In spite of the recent increases of immigrants crossing the Mexican border, crossings right now are believed to be at the lowest level in almost 50 years. The ACLU responded to the deployment by saying that the president is trying to make a crisis out of something that actually does not exist.
This is not the first time in recent years that an American president has deployed the National Guard along the Mexican border to curb illegal immigration. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama did the same when they were president.
A person who usually supervises CPS cases could use some supervision herself after she pleaded guilty to drunk driving and to resisting a police officer. Paula Lipinski is a CPS supervisor in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. She has worked in the position for several years.
However, she went with friends to a drinking establishment downtown Traverse City. When she went to leave, a bar employee thought that she was intoxicated. The employee allegedly went and stood behind her car to prevent her from leaving. The employee said that she drove about a foot anyways. She then left on foot.
When bar employees summoned law enforcement, the Traverse City Police responded to the scene. They say that Lipinski refused to cooperate with police. They released a short dash cam video that shows her lying on the ground in police custody. Some say that her actions mean that she is unfit to continue to work as a CPS supervisor.
Others say that the matter is more complicated. They say that it doesn’t make sense that bar employees followed Lipinski to her vehicle because she was with a group of friends. They say that bar employees wouldn’t have known that Lipinski planned to drive. Critics also say that it doesn’t make sense that bar employees stood behind the vehicle of a person that they believed to be intoxicated. They say that it doesn’t make sense that bar employees would put themselves in such danger when they could simply call the police.
The Grand Traverse County Prosecutor, Bob Cooney, charged Lipinski with drunk driving and with resisting and obstructing a police officer. Lipinski pleaded no contest to two lesser offenses. The plea of no contest has the same effect as a guilty plea. Lipinski must return for sentencing in April.
Cooney, who is running for judge of the local 86th District Court, told the news that he treats all people the same whether they are a government employee or not. Critics say that isn’t true, because Cooney refused to penalize the sheriff for issuing unlawful ticket incentives for his officers a few years ago. Cooney has won his elections for prosecutor unopposed. He faces challengers for the 86th District judge seat being vacated by retiring judge Thomas Phillips.
Lipinski faces up to one year in jail, fines and probation. She will lose her driver’s license for at least 30 days. There’s no word on whether Lipinski will keep her job as a CPS supervisor.
Donald Trump isn’t afraid of lawsuits. According to some reports, Trump is a lawsuit junky. He has more than 4,000 lawsuits under his belt. One of the latest suits is all about Trump blocking people from seeing his Twitter feed. Evidently, some of Trump’s non-supporters gave Trump a dose of his own Tweeting medicine, and the president didn’t like it. Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University’s lawyer Katherine Fallow told the Judge Naomi Buchwald Trump’s Twitter account is an official government account that acts like a government forum. Department of Justice lawyer Michael Baer wants the judge to drop the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds. Baer said blocking Twitter followers does not violate the First Amendment. Mr. Baer said Trump is not regulating access to Twitter’s public forum.
U.S. District Judge Buchwald suggested both parties agree to Trump muting followers instead of blocking them. Fallow thought the judge’s idea wasn’t a perfect solution, but it might work for her client. Baer also thought muting is a better solution than waiting for the judge to rule on the case. The judge told both lawyers if they don’t settle the case, they might not like her verdict.
Trump’s Twitter account has more than 50 million followers, but only seven of those followers filed a suit against Trump. It’s safe to say Trump blocked more than seven followers, but no one is saying how many people Trump doesn’t want to hear from on Twitter.
The list of Trump lawsuits is a long one. Trump has real estate suits, tax suits, employment suits and numerous other suits in his lawsuit resume. The latest lawsuit that could make Trump cry uncle is the lawsuit filed in California by an alleged lover. The alleged lover, Stormy Daniels, claims her agreement to stay quiet about her affair with the president before he was president is null and void because Trump didn’t sign the agreement. Trump’s lawyer signed on Trump’s behalf. Trump claims he never had an affair with Daniels even though Trump’s attorney paid her $130,000 right before the 2016 election. That payment may be grounds for more legal action because election rules prohibit that kind of secret transaction.
Lawsuits are an everyday fact of life for Donald Trump. Some people say Trump lives to fight court battles. He has the money, so he can go the distance in these lawsuits, but in many cases, he just settles the suits, and he calls it a win.
Is it okay for lawyers to mislead the public with fake bar associations and made up awards? Attorney Richard Breen is stirring the pot with the question as he has started a referral service from a bar association that doesn’t exist. Members of the public believe that they’re getting a reputable referral from a credible source while attorneys pay a subscription service, and they pay directly for each referral. Lawyers who want referrals pay $200 to sign up, and they pay $75 for each case that comes their way.
Credibility has long been a question mark of attorney marketing. Flashy lawyer awards are as much about advertising as they are about actually giving an award. Lawyers often pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege of receiving an award. They receive a plaque to hang in their office and an image to use on their website. They can boast about their award online or in the local newspaper.
Advocacy watchdogs say that it’s false advertising. They say that members of the public don’t know that the awards come with a price. They say the awards might prevent people who need legal representation from finding the lawyer that’s best for them. Watchdogs say that the pay-per-play awards and referral systems amount to fake news.
The organizations that hand out the awards say that’s not the case. They say that they offer the awards to only a limited number of lawyers in their profession. They boast of a thorough vetting process that can sometimes include a phone conversation and ethical checks. Without these safeguards, they say, word would get out that their awards don’t mean anything.
It’s up to each state to create the rules for attorney advertising. Because lawyers are seen as having a great deal of power in society, how attorneys can approach potential clients has long been a matter of discussion and debate. State bar associations want to make sure that the public is protected from feeling harassed, threatened or misled.
One group criticizing paid attorney advertising is the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Attorney Advertising. They say that an attorney may not ethically be able to advertise themselves as the best or greatest even if they’ve won an award that says so. An attorney wanting to hold themselves out to the public as the greatest or the best should be able to point to verifiable data that backs up the claim. For now, it’s up to consumers to evaluate what they see and decide what attorney to hire.
The City of New York has agreed to pay a total of $180,000 to three Muslim females who were required to remove their hijabs for mug shots after being arrested. All of the women filed cases in Brooklyn federal court. The three lawsuits have now prompted implementation of NYPD policies on taking mug shots of arrestees who are wearing religious head coverings. Prior to 2015, there were no uniform NYPD policies on mug shot arrests of people wearing religious coverings over their heads. The initial 2015 policies were updated in 2017.
One of the women was a high school student in 2012 when she was arrested, but the criminal case against her was later dismissed. At the police station, she was told to take off her hijab for her mug shot, and she refused. She was then taken to a private room where her photo was taken by a female police officer. It was the mug shot issue that brought her civil rights lawsuit.
When the same woman was transferred to central booking, police wanted another mug shot. She was told that no female officers were available for that purpose, and it couldn’t be taken elsewhere. A male officer took her photo on a stationary booking room camera. The woman claimed that she felt “exposed, violated and distraught” without her hijab in the presence of male officers and arrestees.
According to the New York Times, another woman was asked to remove her hijab at central booking, but she refused as she purportedly was only allowed to do so in the presence of men who are family members. The third woman asked for a female officer to take her mug shot in private, but her lawsuit alleges that police refused.
The two other hijab cases were filed in 2015 and 2016. All three of the women settled their cases at $60,000 apiece. The three cases operate as examples of how law enforcement agencies and airport security personnel have been required to change policies in order to satisfy religious requirements.
As students cowered behind desks as an active shooter killed 17 teachers and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there was one more person cowering for safety. Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy spent the entire six-minutes of the attack cowering outside behind a building. Despite being a trained deputy with a firearm and assigned to the school in order to protect students, Scot Peterson hid outside and listened to the sounds of gunfire as students waited helplessly for police protection that never came.
Peterson has since resigned. The local sheriff’s department is protecting Peterson’s house for his own safety, even though Peterson made no attempt to protect the students at the school while they were murdered by an armed gunman. Peterson is still eligible to collect his retirement benefits.
The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has reignited nationwide debates about guns, mental health and police protection in schools. Some say that Peterson’s failure to act is a reminder that police protection alone may not be enough to stop a school shooter. Others say that Peterson merely ran away when he should have run in to do his duty.
It’s unclear if Peterson may face criminal charges for his failure to act. In Florida, it’s a crime for a police officer to fail to perform a required duty. Any police officer who doesn’t perform a required duty is guilty of a misdemeanor in the second degree. However, in Florida, a misdemeanor in the second degree is only punishable by up to 60 days in jail. For many, that hardly seems adequate given the number of people that Peterson may have saved if he had gone into the building to engage the shooter.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that police officers have no duty to protect someone or respond to an emergency. Gun owners say that’s exactly why they don’t want lawmakers to restrict gun ownership in the wake of the Florida tragedy. Others say that addressing gun ownership will prevent gun violence.
There’s no word if Peterson will face charges of dereliction of duty for failing to go inside the school. Peterson was present and outside of the school building for four of the six minutes during which the school shooting took place. U.S. President Donald Trump says that he’s open to raising the minimum age for gun ownership. He also wants to allow teachers to carry weapons.
If federal prosecutors have their way, Jared Fogle isn’t going to be eating Subway sandwiches anytime soon. The disgraced former Subway Spokesperson is serving a 16-year prison sentence. He says that the sentence is unfair because the judge had a bias at his sentencing. Fogle says that his sentence is invalid and the court should let him out of prison.
Fogle says that the judge couldn’t have been fair and impartial in her decision. He says that the judge couldn’t have decided the case fairly because she has teenage daughters. However, the judge had only one daughter who is over the age of adult majority.
Fogle spends his days in a federal prison in Colorado. He began serving his 16-year sentence in 2015. He pleaded guilty to possessing or distributing child pornography. He also faced charges of traveling to another state in order to accost a minor for sexual purposes in exchange for a fee. In exchange for Fogle’s guilty plea, the federal prosecutor agreed with Fogle and his defense team on a recommended sentence. The judge exceeded that recommendation.
Today, Fogle doesn’t have any expensive lawyers or a deal as a Subway spokesperson. He represents himself. He says that because his case involved teenage girls, a judge with teenage girls couldn’t possibly have been fair and impartial. Fogle says that the judge should have recused herself from the proceedings. However, the judge had only one daughter and the daughter was an adult when the judge heard Fogle’s case.
The most recent filing isn’t the first time that Fogle has tried to appeal his case. In 2016, he tried an appeal with the help of an attorney. His attorney at the time said that Fogle only thought about wanting to commit a crime and that he didn’t actually commit any conspiracy to commit a crime.
U.S. prosecutors say that’s untrue. They say that Fogle repeatedly sought out teenage girls for immoral purposes and sexual assault. However, Fogle’s legal team for the appeal said that Fogle was unfairly punished for things he wanted to do or thought about doing instead of just the things that he actually did. If the conviction stands, Fogle can’t see the light of day until he serves 85 percent of his sentence or more. When he gets out, he’ll be more than 50 years old. There’s no word if Fogle is eating fresh in federal prison.
The student also had a specific message for the president himself. She said that even if he came up and gave her sympathy in person for the shooting, she would accept but still ask him to answer for how much money he has received from the National Rifle Association. According to a report out of the Center for Responsive Politics, there is no other politician who benefited from the 2016 election spending from the NRA as Trump did. They had spent more than $30 million to support his candidacy. This was more than all other combined spending for other presidential candidates in both the 2008 and 2012 campaign elections. These conclusions also included the 145 House races and the 45 Senate races during this time period.
This week, President Trump is going to host a teacher and student listening session. According to representatives from the White House, there is no official list yet about which teachers or students will be attending this session. It was also recently announced that President Trump will be meeting with local and state officials about school safety later in the week.
While all of the gun tragedies in schools are unfathomable, they may have a positive outcome in the end for future students. They are all starting to highlight the passion, intellect and drive for changes by groups of motivated and informed high school students, especially those affected by and attending Stoneman Douglas High School.
The students from the high school are organizing a march next month. In a recent interview with some of the students, they are hoping to use political action and protests to make the mass shooting at their school a turning point for discussion in the national debate going on currently about gun control. Many people feel that now is not the time to be discussing gun control while families are grieving. They respect that and will be hoping that schools and students across the nation will be marching together next month in hopes of protesting for their lives and changes.
Immigration arrests have increased faster in Florida over the past year than any other state in the country. On that basis, more than 12 immigration advocacy activist groups have advised travelers to Florida to think carefully about trips to the state. They have been told to be ready to be questioned by immigration authorities at Florida travel hubs.
The Chilling Florida Effect
The Associated Press reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has teamed up with the sheriffs of 17 Florida counties in preparation for the spring break season that begins in March when millions of travelers will be arriving in the state. As per ICE, arrests increased from about 3,500 to about 6,200 in Florida during the agency’s last fiscal year. That’s a 76 percent increase. Advocacy groups say that the teaming of federal and county law enforcement agencies coupled with the spike in arrests of undocumented individuals have chilled the desire of undocumented immigrants to travel to Florida.
Related Texas Legislation
Federal legislators are requiring an examination of detentions and arrests within 100 miles of United States borders and coastlines. In the last week, immigration activist groups have held demonstrations at Florida bus stations where a minimum of two arrests were caught on camera. In Texas, where new legislation banned sanctuary cities, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) cautioned travelers of the new law. Texas law enforcement officers are now authorized by statute to inquire into an individual’s immigration status during routine detentions.
In January of 2018, Florida released information on what it labeled a nationwide model that allows law enforcement agencies to detain undocumented immigrants who have been arrested for unrelated offenses. This policy was objected to by both the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. A representative of the Florida Immigration Coalition remarked that with Florida and ICE teaming together, immigrant communities are not safe in the state.
Nearly a decade after Dennis Mikko lost his bar license and his job as a Michigan court referee, he wants the Michigan State Bar to reinstate him as a practicing attorney. Bar officials denied the request. After a panel review by licensed attorneys, the State Bar of Michigan said that Mikko hasn’t proven that he’s fit to resume practicing law. Mikko appealed the panel’s decision, but officials say the decision is fair.
Mikko was a sitting court referee in Grand Traverse County’s 13th Circuit Court. Officials found inappropriate photos of teenage girls in his office. Mikko said that the images didn’t influence his work. State officials didn’t buy that argument, and they suspended Mikko’s license to practice law. They said the behavior definitely constituted misuse of his position as a court official.
He also fought criminal charges. A judge threw out the charges because he said the photos weren’t criminally offensive. Still, the photos cost Mikko his career.
Mikko used photos of local teenagers along with other lewd photos of teenagers to make a book. He compiled it all into a strange, homemade fiction book of his own making. He also looked at pornography on his work computer and had sexual conversations with a dozen people using his work computer.
After losing his law license, Mikko continued to coach youth soccer. He served a brief suspension, but then local soccer officials reinstated him to referee local games. Mikko says the public shouldn’t worry. Local parents expressed concern that he was working as a referee for youth soccer games, but said they felt powerless to stop it.
Mikko is far from the first Grand Traverse County court official to run into trouble. Judge David Stowe left the bench shortly after his wife’s run-ins with the law. The court declined to remove another sitting family law referee after law enforcement found child pornography on her husband’s computer and marijuana in her home. She continued to make decisions regarding children in Grand Traverse County for years before finally stepping down from her post.
Just in case you thought the 13th Circuit Court has the market cornered on judge misconduct in Grand Traverse County, 86th District Court Judge Thomas Gilbert received a suspension from the bench after getting caught smoking marijuana at a concert. Even so, the District Court isn’t shy about accepting tens of thousands of dollars in grant money with the supposed goal of helping addicts. Citizens charged with a crime in Grand Traverse County can expect to answer to officials in the 86th District and 13th Circuit Courts.
End Citizens United released a poll, and the group found that their candidate Beto O’Rourke is only trailing Senator Ted Cruz by 45-37 percent. According to the Cruz campaign’s polling, Senator Cruz is ahead by 52-34 percent.
End Citizens United’s goal is to end the stranglehold that “Big Money” has on Washington, D.C., and candidate Beto O’Rourke is someone whom the group can support because he refuses to take money that corporate political action committees offer him. People behind End Citizens United have made it their mission to support candidates in this year’s congressional races who repudiate large donations from large corporations.
End Citizens United was created on March 1, 2015 because of the disastrous Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case. That decision declared that “corporations are people” and allowed special interest groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on America’s elections without the need for transparency. This made it possible for large donors to have an unreasonable amount of influence on our elections.
O’Rourke is currently a congressman from El Paso, and he is the first person that End Citizens United is endorsing this year. He could have also received an endorsement from the AFL-CIO, but he chose not to attend the group’s convention this year, so he lost the endorsement.
This year, Republicans hold 51 of 100 seats in the Senate. Ordinarily, the party that is not in power gains more seats in mid-term elections than the party in power, but it doesn’t look like this will be the case for the Democrat Party this year.
There are 34 elections scheduled for 2018, and the Democrats must defend 24 of them. This includes the two independent seats that caucus with the Democrats, and they are located in states President Donald Trump won in 2016. Republicans need to defend eight of these seats, and one of them is located in Texas, a state that voted for Trump by nine percentage points.
Ted Cruz isn’t being taken seriously by anybody, and Democrats now have hope because a Democrat won the Alabama election in December against a Republican candidate who was plagued by scandal.
In the End Citizens United poll, 38 percent of voters were in favor of Cruz, but 49 were not. Unfortunately, 61 percent of those polled had never heard O’Rourke’s name before. Only 20 percent of the voters were in favor of him, and 19 percent were not.
When asked whether they would support a candidate who vowed never to take large donations from corporate entities, 63 percent of respondents said that they would support the candidate. After respondents heard that O’Rourke stated that he would never accept money from corporate entities, he tied with Cruz at 43-41 percent.
Beto O’Rourke has said that he wants most of his donations to come from the state of Texas. He doesn’t particularly want Super Political Action Committees to contribute to his campaign.
End Citizens United is a political action committee that wants to encourage campaign finance reform, and it wants to do this by helping candidates get elected who propose to support legislation that will change the way that campaigns are financed. ECU obtains a majority of its donations from small donors. In fact, the average donation is just $14.
Last election cycle, the group raised $25 million for the candidates it supported, but this year, it planned to raise $35 million to support challengers in the “Big Money 20” races this year. The Big Money 20 is senators and representatives who accept money from large corporate donors and special interest groups. In Texas, the group received donations from 157,000 people. Most of Ted Cruz’s donors are also from Texas, and these supporters donated $5.7 million to his campaign. In contrast, O’Rourke only received $2.9 million.
In 2009, a Public Policy Polling survey showed that U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison had 56 percent of the vote and that Governor Rick Perry only had 31 percent. A report by Rasmussen showed very different results. In the Rasmussen poll, Perry had 56 percent of the vote while Hutchison had 36 percent, and he went on to win the contest. Public Policy Polling has done another poll, and experts are taking the results with a grain of salt. The poll has O’Rourke behind Cruz by eight points, but these results are similar to the results obtained by other surveys.
ECU paid for the poll, and the questions were worded in such a way so that Beto O’Rourke would be favored, but he only beat Cruz by two points. None of the other polls are indicating that O’Rourke has a chance of beating Cruz. However, Cruz is not seen favorably by the voters, and it is believed that he could lose because of his prior loss during the 2016 primary race for President of the United States.
Harvey Weinstein is an American Oscar-winning film producer best known for movies like Shakespeare in Love, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Gangs of New York. In late October 2017, multiple women began coming forward accusing Weinstein of sexual abuse. The allegations have gotten so extensive that there are now over 90 women claiming Weinstein has sexually abused or harassed them in some manner. As a result, Weinstein is facing several lawsuits (Pumphrey, 2018).
On January 25th 2018, Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant, Sandeep Rehal, filed her own sexual harassment lawsuit against him. Her lawsuit claims that she was forced to work for over 2 years “…in a pervasive and severe sexually hostile work environment…” that was “…defined by endless offensive, degrading, and sexually harassing actions, statements, and touching at the hands of her boss, Harvey Weinstein,” (Rehal vs Weinstein et. al, 2018).
The claims in the lawsuit are extended through not only Weinstein, but also through to his company, his company’s head of human resources and his brother. Rehal claims that Weinstein’s inappropriate sexual behavior towards her and other women was common knowledge throughout the company including management. She also claims that his brother, Robert Weinstein, aided and abetted Harvey Weinstein’s creation of a sexually hostile work environment (Rehal vs Weinstein et. al, 2018). The lawsuit goes on to claim that Rehal was required in her job duties to prep for and clean up after Weinstein’s sexual encounters, take weekly dictation of emails from him while he was nude, and endure a myriad of inappropriate touching instances where he would rub her thighs and butt or press himself against her. She was also instructed to maintain his supply of Caverject injections for his erectile dysfunction.
As a result of enduring this sexually hostile work environment, Rehal claims that she has suffered and is still suffering from severe emotional distress, depression, anxiety, humiliation and loss of self-esteem (Rolling Stone, 2018).
Larry Nassar, a former doctor for the United States gymnastics team, was sentenced to a prison term of not less than 40 and not more than 175 years in prison resulting from a plea of guilty by Nassar for sexually assaulting seven young girls.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina gave the sentence on Wednesday after allowing over 150 victims of Nassar to make victim impact statements to the court. Aquilina, who was visibly upset, was reported to tell Nassar “I just signed your death warrant” during the proceedings.
Nassar had been accused of molestation by many girls and women including some that were Olympic gymnasts. The sexual misconduct is said to have occurred while Nassar provided medical treatment for members of the USA gymnastics team as well as female athletes at Michigan State University. The sentence imposed on Wednesday was for offenses committed in Ingham County Michigan. Nassar is still facing charges in nearby Eaton County.
In the moments leading up to imposing the sentence on Nassar, Aquilina read portions of a letter written by Nassar. In the letter, Nassar suggested that the allegations against him were due to his accusers seeking attention from the media and monetary gain. Nassar even referred to his accusers as scorned women with a quote that caused audible gasps to collectively come from onlookers in the courtroom.
Nassar also expressed his criticisms in a separate child pornography case in which he was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
The fallout that has resulted from the revelations of Nassar’s misconduct has been drastic and far-reaching. Several board members and the chairman of the United States gymnastics team have been forced to resign. And on Wednesday evening, Lou Anna Simon, president of Michigan State University also announced that she would relinquish her post.
The NCAA is performing an independent investigation of Michigan State’s response to the allegations made against Nassar.
The lawsuits against Nassar, Michigan State University, and USA Gymnastics continue to mount and many of these suits allege that officials were knowledgeable of Nassar’s abuse and did not act to put an end to the misconduct.
The first public accusation against Nassar was Rachael Denhollander who is now a lawyer in the state of Kentucky. Denhollander reached out to the Indianapolis Star after becoming conscious of an investigation regarding sexual abuse within USA Gymnastics. Denhollander also made a report of her allegations the following week to Michigan State University.
With more than one million lawyers in the United States, governing organizations such as the American Bar Association and the respective state bar associations continue to grapple with the question of how to qualify lawyers. A new study calls for law schools to raise their admissions standards. The study says that law schools have lower attrition rates when their students have higher LSAT scores.
University of St. Thomas School of Law professor Jerry Organ completed the study. According to his research, when a law school’s entering class has a median LSAT score of 160, attrition is 0.2-0.3 percent. Organ doesn’t count students who leave school for other reasons. He notes that attrition rates have increased in the past several years before finally declining in the 2016-17 academic year. Organ says that the closure of Charlotte School of Law may have skewed the statistic for the 2016-17 year.
Organ says that the data shows that as LSAT scores fall, attrition rates rise. For schools where LSAT scores range from 155 to 159, the attrition rate rises to two percent. When the LSAT scores fall to 150 to 154, attrition rises to more than four percent.
The most startling data is when LSAT scores are less than 150. With LSAT scores ranging from 145-150, a school can expect academic attrition that ranges between 12.7 and 14.3 percent. When LSAT scores dip below 145, the academic attrition rate is a staggering 25.3 percent. Organ says that the 25.3 percent figure is a sharp increase from an attrition rate of 15.6 percent for the lowest group in years past.
Schools with low LSAT scores are on the rise. In 2010, only one accredited law school claimed the ominous title of having an entering class with a median LSAT score that fell below 145. Fast forward to 2014 and 12 law schools could claim the distinction.
Some say that Organ’s study calls for law schools to raise their admissions standards. They say that low-performing law schools should close. They say that it’s unfair for law schools to collect upwards of $40,000 per year from students they know aren’t likely to graduate or pass the bar.
Others say that law schools with relatively open admissions policies allow people who go on to make good lawyers to find a way into the profession. They say they’re willing to give people a chance. As long as the students are willing to pay for the chance, they say, they’re not doing anything wrong and even performing a public service.