UPDATE: CEO Eli Gershkovitch Uses Law Degree to Drive Steamworks Brewing Company

***UPDATE***

Eli Gershkovitch and Steamworks Brewing Company plan on attending Vancouver’s North Shores Craft Beer Week. The beer festival will have specialty craft beer samples and more!  Save your calendars for October 6 – 13th 2017.

 

The 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship just wrapped up in July, and the results proved that the event is no longer strictly an American affair. The judges hailed from the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, and craft beers were submitted from countries across the world. Though American breweries took home the majority of awards, there were a number of surprising wins by nations such as Belize (Bronze for Best Foreign Stout), Italy (Silver for Best Herb and Spice Beer), and Vietnam (Bronze for Best Chocolate/Cocoa Beer).

Eli Gershkovitch beer

Perhaps the most impressive victory, however, was Canada. Not only did Canadian breweries make an impressive showing at the event, but they took home a total of 24 awards, including 10 gold medals. Canadian breweries took the top spots for categories including American-Style Fruit Beer, Vegetable Beer, and Berliner-Style Weisse, and one Ontario brewery even made the top 10 breweries of 2017. Aside from Canada, no non-U.S. brewery has ever taken home this number of awards at the U.S. Open Beer Championship.

 

Many people still don’t think of Canada when they think of craft beer, but that’s slowly changing thanks to the country’s growing influence in the international beer community. Talented brewmasters are gradually putting the Great White North on the map by reinventing how beer gets made and developing exciting new ales, pilsners, and lagers that can’t be found anywhere else.

 

One such pioneer is Eli Gershkovitch, founder, and CEO of Steamworks Group of Companies. Recognized as a top contender at the recent Open Beer Championship, Gershkovitch put Canadian craft beer on the map. He’s been cooking up original brews in the historic Gastown neighborhood since 1995, back when craft beer was the furthest thing from most people’s minds. While today’s taverns are filled with young, hip millennials forever in search of the newest independent brew, this wasn’t the case in the mid-’90s. At that time, mega-breweries like Coors and Budweiser still owned the day, and casual imbibers seldom sampled anything more exotic than Guinness.

 

Still, craft beer was gradually taking shape elsewhere in the world, and Eli Gershkovitch took notice (http://inspirery.com/eli-gershkovitch/). Several years prior, he had traveled through Europe and observed the shifting landscape as it pertained to drinking. In Heidelberg, Germany, he visited his first microbrewery and sampled concoctions that were a far cry from the familiar flavors typically found on draft in Canada. Though he didn’t immediately abandon his legal aspirations in favor of brewing, he never forgot about his experiences in Europe. Those experiences would later influence his rise as one of Canada’s most influential and pioneering brewmasters.

 

When Eli Gershkovitch finally opened his first brewpub in Gastown in 1995, it was Canada’s first and only establishment that incorporated steam-powered brewing. The lack of Canadian steam brewing may have been partly due to the fact that steam brewing hadn’t yet taken off in the region, but it was likely also due to the legal complexities of establishing such a business in Canada. As an attorney, Eli Gershkovitch was able to navigate those complexities and also patent his original brews.

 

Once the public took notice, the Steamworks Brew Pub quickly became a central Vancouver hotspot for locals and visitors alike. The pub was so successful, in fact, that it enabled Gershkovitch to expand his enterprise with several other local businesses, all of which offer Steamworks beverages. First he established the Transcontinental Restaurant, which later became the Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar. His flagship brewpub has gradually expanded from 184 seats to 754 seats, and in 2013, it expanded into a full-fledged brewery.

 

Today, visitors can enjoy a wide range of Steamworks concoctions including Lion’s Gate Lager, Steamworks Pale Ale, and the company’s new Flagship IPA. Steamworks brews are now sold throughout Canada and in 14 U.S. states, and they have received numerous awards and accolades. For instance, the company’s extremely popular pilsner was awarded Best BC Craft Beer by BC Craft Beer Awards two years in a row, and the company’s pumpkin ale received a gold medal at the 2013 Canadian Brewing Awards.

 

All of the attention and success is well-deserved, as Eli Gershkovitch spends years perfecting each brew before presenting it to the public. Take the Flagship IPA, for instance. This steam-brewed favorite was in production for four years before finally making its debut at the Steamworks Brew Pub and Brewery, and many discriminating connoisseurs agree that it was worth the wait. This unfiltered IPA combines three Southern-Hemisphere hops—Citra, Galaxy, and Mosaic—and has a uniquely tropical flavor that starts off sweet and gives way to just the right amount of bitterness.

Even with great beer, though, it takes a unique talent to build a successful empire. Eli Gershkovitch has succeeded in this respect because he loves to take risks and explore uncharted terrain. This passion extends to every area of his life, as evidenced by his love of aviation. Gershkovitch owns two planes—in addition to an impressive collection of classic cars—and, in 2009, completed a round-trip flight from Vancouver to Europe in his single-engine Cessna 182. As both an entrepreneur and adventurer, he might be compared in some ways to Virgin founder Richard Branson, albeit with a much tastier enterprise.

 

When he’s not expanding his flagship brewpub or pursuing new business expansions, you’ll find Eli Gershkovitch sponsoring local events in the Gastown area (Westender). Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest downtown district and one of its most unique historic neighborhoods, and Gershkovitch has played a major part in its recent resurgence as a social hub. As a longtime resident and lover of this bustling and picturesque neighborhood, Gershkovitch is passionate about bringing the community together.

 

Whether he’s taking to the skies in a single-engine plane or experimenting with the latest combination of bitters, Eli Gershkovitch is constantly on the move. He lives by the motto, “You grow to meet demand, or demand will shrink to meet you,” and it’s easy to see how that drive has helped him to become one of Canada’s most successful and innovative brewers.

More about Eli Gershkovitch at https://www.crunchbase.com/person/eli-gershkovitch#/entity

Michigan Debates New Law Governing Short-Term Rentals

Michigan legislators are in the process of making big decisions when it comes to regulating the short-term rental industry. Michigan House Bill 4503 addresses zoning in residential areas. Specifically, the bill says that short-term rentals such as Airbnb count as a residential use of the property. As a residential use, that means there’s nothing local governments could do in order to restrict or prohibit the rentals. If the bill passes, it means that homeowners could do whatever they wanted to rent their properties without local restrictions. Instead, homeowners would be free to rent their homes on Airbnb as long as they comply with other state laws.

There’s vocal support for the bill as well as significant opposition. Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis says that the City of Grand Haven opposes the bill, because it removes local control from the residents in the community where they live. They say that each local jurisdiction should be able to decide what to do with regulations for short-term rentals in their location. McGinnis says that a Grand Haven resident shouldn’t have to approach state legislators in Lansing in order to address a local housing concern.

Supporters of the bill say that the changes are good for commerce, and that reducing regulations allows each homeowner to use their property in a reasonable way. They say that tourists want to be able to find places to stay when they travel. They say that short-term rentals like Airbnb give travelers more choices in order to find a unique experience when they’re away from home. Supporters also see the bill as a way to increase tax revenue for the State of Michigan. Michigan imposes an occupancy tax, and supporters of the bill say that the new legislation stands to increase revenue and make it easier to collect taxes on existing rentals.

In addition to the bill that’s currently pending in the Michigan House of Representatives, there’s a similar bill that’s pending in the Michigan Senate. For now, the bills sit in their respective committees. Legislators plan to debate the issue before it heads to a vote in the fall legislative session. Some legislators have set up meetings and town hall opportunities, so that residents and government organizations can voice their opinion.

Lebanon Overturns Its Marry-Your-Rapist Law

Lebanon on Wednesday made headlines after repealing a piece of legislation that gave rapists a way to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Lebanon has joined a number of countries in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East that have reversed such provisions following pressure by Arab women’s movements.

How Serious Is the Marry-Your-Rapist Law?

Several countries, including some from the Arab region and some from the Catholic countries such as the Philippines, have permitted men charged with rape to be excused if they accept to marry their accusers. Women’s movements have for years launched a massive campaign against these laws, claiming that they aggravate the suffering of victimized survivors.

The law was repealed after all the members of parliament voted against it. According to the women’s rights groups, parliament is their first step towards changing the sentiments in patriarchal communities. In these communities, a family’s honor is closely associated with a woman’s chastity.

Abaad’s Fight against the Marry Your Rapist Law

Ghida Anani, the founder of Abaad; which is a women’s rights movement in Lebanon, remarked that repealing the legislation was the first step towards transforming the traditions and mindset of the Lebanese. She reassured the world that this was just the beginning and that a behavioral and awareness campaign would follow. The aim of these campaigns is to make women aware that rapists can no longer escape punishment.

Abaad had campaigned vigorously against this legislation. The group had mounted billboards all over Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, depicting a woman wearing a bloodied and torn up bridal gown. A caption next to the image read in Arabic, “Wearing a white dress does not conceal rape”.

A group of government ministers had expressed their intention to have the law repealed. The main hurdle was the parliamentary vote, and the parliamentarians unanimously agreed to revise Section 522 of the legal provision.

Lebanon’s move came after other countries in the region had taken a similar stance. Jordan’s parliament recently voted to revoke this law. Tunisia is another country that followed the same path in July. Morocco repealed their marry-your-rapist law three years ago after a teenager committed suicide after being required to marry the man who had raped her.

Lawyer Fired for Fake Match Profile

One Illinois lawyer has met his match, but not in the way that he was intending. The lawyer created a fake Match.com profile for another lawyer. The fake online profile was filled with insults and falsehoods. The lawyer now finds himself the subject of a disciplinary inquiry. He’s also out of a job.

Drew Quitschau used to be a partner at Thomson & Weintraub in Bloomington. He used his office computer to make the fake profile. He listed the other attorney as a smoker that was separated from her husband. The profile said her children lived with her some of the time. It said that she liked buffets and the grocery store and does not exercise. Quitschau used a picture of the lawyer for the profile.

Quitschau didn’t stop there. He signed the victim up for emails about obesity. He even arranged to have a lap band kit sent to her office. He also signed her up for emails about pork and diabetes.

In addition to Match.com, Quitschau created a fake profile to leave online reviews of the victim. He gave her low ratings for professional ability. He left the reviews on multiple websites.

The angst dates back to when Quitschau and his victim were opposing counsel in multiple legal matters in Illinois courts. He initially denied making the profile but later admitted it when bar officials confronted him with the evidence. The victim had to file a court action to get Match.com to give her the IP address that the profile came from. Comcast was the internet provider involved, and they agreed to hand over the information. The trail led back to Quitschau and his office computer.

Bar officials say that Quitschau’s conduct involves dishonesty and deceit. That makes the conduct a violation of the bar’s code of ethics for attorneys. If he’s found responsible, he faces a range of possible discipline from the Illinois bar. The woman says that the statements Quitschau made are not true. She says that she’s happy with her marriage and wouldn’t make a Match.com profile.

The man’s former employers say that they’re disappointed in his conduct. They say that they fired him immediately when the allegations came to light. The victim sought and received a personal protection order against Quitschau. She later agreed to drop the order. The exact motive is unknown, other than speculation that Quitschau was unhappy with his interactions with the victim.

 

Department Of Justice Gets Its Guilty Plea In Prosecution Of Attempted Hate Crime

A federal investigation led to the arrest of a Florida man, who allegedly planned to bomb an area Jewish synagogue. Appearing on court for that arrest on Wednesday, the individual pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and to violating federal hate crime laws.
Although the guilty plea entered by James Gonzalo Medina seems to come on the heels of the recent violence in Charlottesville, North Carolina, this case was a long time in the making. Federal investigators had begun looking into Medina’s actions early in 2016, after attention had been drawn to the defendant’s anti-Semitic views. Concern was raised, when James discussed his plans to attack Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center with associates.
Mr. Medina had been “scoping out” the southern Florida synagogue in search of vulnerabilities, say authorities. Additionally, James had told one unnamed associate that he thought a Jewish holiday would be the optimal time to launch his attack and proceeded with that plan by purchasing a bomb.
In reality, the explosive device was only a facsimile provided by investigators and the seller of the device was an undercover agent.
Prosecutors have asked Medina how he would have felt, if the bomb had exploded, or if he felt remorse in connection to causing many deaths.
“Whatever happens,” Mr. Medina responded.
James Gonzalo Medina Faces A Long Prison Term
Pleading guilty, 41-year-old Medina faces a 25 year prison term for his hate crime and for attempting to damage religious property. Initially, James was reluctant to confess to his crimes, saying that he felt the undercover agent “manipulated” him into putting his plan into action.
Eventually, Medina told U.S. District Judge Robert Scola that he was guilty of plotting the bombing with the intention of killing innocent Jewish synagogue members. James added that he planned to carry out the violence and give credit to ISIS. The confession helped James avoid a life sentence and a lengthy criminal trial.
Instead, the plea agreement agreed upon by public defenders Hector Dopico and Eric Cohen and federal prosecutors Marc Anton and Michael Thakur sentences Medina to 25 years in prison.
Part of the agreement allows Mr. Medina to spend a portion of that term in a prison with a mental health facility. While there, he can be treated for schizophrenia and a bipolar condition, before returning to another maximum security prison to finish out his term.
The official sentencing hearing for James Gonzalo Medina is set for November 17.

President of the ABA Denounces Events in Charlottesville

The President of the American Bar Association (ABA), Linda Klein, has recently denounced the heinous events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her reasoning is that, although the United States’ Constitution protects free speech and the right to assemble, violence against other peoples is never protected by the United States’ Constitution.

In the official statement made by the entire American Bar Association about the Virginia tragedy that took place over the weekend President Klein makes it clear that it’s mourning but ever vigilant. The ABA is keeping track of the legal details to make sure that the Department of Justice investigates all possible civil rights’ violations that may have taken place in Virginia over the weekend. Ill intent and premeditation might not be as difficult to prove in this case as in others.

The rights of freedom of expression and freedom of speech are enshrined in the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean that rallies can even boil over into overt violence without legal ramifications. In its official statement the ABA blamed an overall political environment that has become “so divisive and driven by differences and hatred” for spurring on the horrible events that took place in Virginia.

The American Bar Association called for all peoples to come together and stoke a communal need protect the rights of all citizens. After all, the right to free speech and freedom of expression are predicated on the notion that we all must share a tolerance for the beliefs of others. The rights of all 320 million Americans are protected under the United States’ Constitution and our communities ought to reflect that mutual respect, according to ABA President Klein.

This clarion call for tolerance might be catching on in the community at large since a new movement under the hashtag banner of “#unitetheright” has taken off, according to a recent Washington Post article. President Klein muses that perhaps Americans have become so fixated on the issues that divide this great nation that Americans have lost sight of the common values that make it great.

Justice, in the end, might yet prevail. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating possible civil rights’ violations and allegations of hate crimes swirling around the rallies that took place in Virginia over the weekend. President Klein and the rest of the ABA hope that these investigations proceed unimpeded by politics and that communities mourn and mend along commonly shared values.

Related: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/will-the-church-reckon-with-charlottesville/536718/

Former Stockbroker’s Huge Fine Reviewed by SEC After Criminal Case Collapses

A man that formerly worked as a stockbroker who had a guilty plea to criminal charges involving insider trading thrown out is also looking to exonerate himself in a civil matter related to his case.

According to Bloomberg, an attorney for Thomas Conradt argued on Tuesday (August 15th) that Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York was supposed to overturn Conradt’s nearly $1 million-dollar civil settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission after the government’s criminal case collapsed.

Conradt and his legal representative additionally claimed that Judge Rakoff’s fine of nearly one million dollars was “massive and disproportionate.” Rakoff slapped the fine on Conradt after ruling that the former stockbroker did not follow the guidelines of the settlement agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The government’s case against Conradt came apart due to the end result of United States v. Newman. In this case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit made it much for difficult to hold “downstream tippees” (such as Conradt) financially liable in these kinds of cases.

In the case of United States v. Newman, the appellate court dismissed criminal convictions of insider trading, which were leveled against two executives who worked in the hedge fund industry. The federal court of appeals determined that whoever received the insider trading information did not personally benefit from it.

If the U.S. government would have been able to prove such an occurrence, the convictions in the United States v. Newman case would have able to stand.

“This is a very important opportunity for the Second Circuit to clarify the ‘knowledge’ standard for tippee liability with respect to matters such as ‘conscious avoidance,’ and to address the differences in standard of proof in civil as opposed to criminal cases,” Donald Langevoort told Bloomberg.

Langevoort is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center. He has thoroughly studied insider trading and many of the landmark cases surrounding it. John Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School also spoke with Bloomberg about his knowledge of case law involving insider trading as well.

However, Coffee said in his Bloomberg interview that Conradt’s case provided limited guidance as it pertains to United States v. Newman. “This case may largely duck the insider trading issues and go off on procedural issues about the plea agreement,” Coffee told Bloomberg.

Attempts by Bloomberg to interview a spokesperson for the Securities and Exchange commission were unsuccessful.

American Couple Sentenced For Five Murders In Panama City

Two U.S. citizens have been sentenced in the murders of five people by a Panama City court, after having been found guilty of crimes related to the deaths. William Dathan Holbert and ex-wife Laura Reese face long prison terms as a result of a guilty verdict recently handed down in the case.
Holbert is facing 47 years in prison for robbing and killing five other American tourists, while in the Caribbean destination spot. Ms. Reese was sentenced to 26 years for the part she played in the crimes.
William Holbert Admitted To A Long-Running Scheme
In speaking with authorities, Holbert acknowledged killing five people between 2007 and 2010 for the purposes of stealing their property in the Bocas del Toro area. The confession came after William and Laura Reese were detained, while trying to cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua in 2010.
Claudia Alvarado, an attorney working on behalf of Holbert, says they will likely appeal the sentencing.
In 2010, an investigation discovered five bodies (four adults and one child) buried on property owned by Mr. Holbert.
Mike Brown, his wife, and young son were the first victims, having been murdered by Holbert in 2007. Upon investigating, police found reason to suspect Brown, himself, had been living under an alias, making it difficult to uncover his true identity or determine where he was from.
In 2010, William Holbert again claimed more lives. He murdered Cheryl Lynn Hughes of St. Louis Missouri, who was living in Panama and operating a small hotel. William also killed Bo Icelar, the former owner of a Santa Fe, New Mexico art gallery.
William Holbert Has A Troubled Past
Even before he killed Mike Brown, Holbert was often in trouble with the law, expressing a propensity for criminal behavior. His problems began when he divorced a previous wife in North Carolina, which led him to filing for bankruptcy and forced him to sell his landscaping business.
While still living in the state, he met and later married Laura Reese. William sold a piece of real estate that he didn’t legally own for $200,000. When the buyers notified police, Holbert and Reese were forced to leave the state. A high-speed chase ensued with authorities pursuing the couple across multiple state lines from North Carolina to Wyoming.
Holbert and Reese had fled to Panama, but a new investigation initiated by Panama police forced the couple to again hit the road. William Holbert and Laura Reese were trying to escape, when they were arrested at the Nicaraguan border.

 

 

 

 

Charlotte School of Law to Close

Aspiring lawyers have one less option for their legal education as Charlotte School of Law has announced plans to shut down immediately. The move comes as school leadership failed to impress government officials with their plans to improve standards. The school operated in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a for-profit institution.

Government officials say that the school was unable to meet deadlines for improvements. They say the mandates for changes started under the Obama administration. Because the school failed to meet certain educational standards, the Obama administration stopped the school from accessing federal student loans. When the school failed to make required changes on time, education officials shut the school down completely.

Alumni association representative R. Lee Robertson Jr. informed alums of the decision by email. He said students could expect an official announcement later in the day. The school has since taken its website down. Communications representative Victoria Taylor didn’t respond to a request for comment. Liz Hill of the Department of Education also failed to respond to a request for comment.

Because of the closure, displaced students can get their federal student loans erased. That means they can have a clean slate as they make other plans. Some 170 students may take advantage of this option. There were 100 students actively enrolled in June, and another 70 on inactive status. As many as 90 percent of Charlotte Law students depended on federal student loans to fund their education. There’s no word yet on just how many millions of dollars the U.S. Department of Education may have to forgive because of the closure.

Even if the students don’t have to pay back the loans, Charlotte School of Law officials aren’t off the hook. U.S. officials might look to the school’s owners to make the payments. Because the school is for-profit, the owners might have to foot the bill for their education venture gone wrong. These investors, a Chicago-based investment firm, also own Arizona Summit and Florida Coastal law schools.

Education officials began the crackdown when they concluded that the school wasn’t being honest with students about accreditation compliance and bar passage rates. The school said that wasn’t true, and they tried to convince U.S. officials to change their minds. They even hired a lobbyist to make their case. Even though officials gave the school the opportunity to demonstrate its financial viability, the efforts ultimately failed, and students will not report for classes in the fall.

Trump Travel Ban Proves Difficult to Defend

A controversial Executive Order signed by United States President Donald Trump is proving to be a very difficult challenge for the legal teams assembled by the White House and the Department of Justice. According to news reports coming from Supreme Court chambers, White House attorneys filed an impassioned, 84-page brief defending the so-called “Muslim ban” in the name of national security.

The Justice Department is playing all available cards as it prepares for Supreme Court hearings that will take place in a couple of months. The Supreme Court allowed the Executive Order to be enacted before heading into recess and returning to hear the case; some legal analysts considered this temporary authorization a Solomonic decision by the highest court in the U.S. since it bolstered the spirits of an embattled President while promising to take time to consider legal options.

By the time the Supreme Court reconvenes, the travel ban will have been in effect long enough to appease Trump. The first attempt at implementing the travel ban ended up in a nationwide kerfuffle at international airports and legal challenges that effectively halted the ban based upon rulings issued by federal and appellate courts.

One of the most significant problems faced by the U.S. Justice Department is that President Trump ran a political campaign that focused on discrimination of immigrants and foreigners; the federal and appellate judges who have thus far sided with plaintiffs truly believe that the first and second versions of the travel ban are in fact “Muslim bans,” and thus can be easily considered to be unconstitutional.

Checks and Balances

Lawyers representing the U.S. government have quite the herculean effort ahead of them if they hope to convince the Supreme Court that President Trump is not the same person he was as a presidential candidate; nonetheless, that is precisely what the brief filed ahead of the hearings aims to convey.

Some legal analysts have already spotted weaknesses in the brief, which claims that appellate courts should not question decisions made by a sitting President with regard to national security. The problem with this specific claim is that this is precisely the way that American democracy is supposed to work insofar as separation of powers and checks and balances. In other words, the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches should look after each other and make sure that they uphold the Constitution, particularly when the American people bring matters to court as plaintiffs.

Ref: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39044403

Oregon Set To Ban Cigarette Sales To People Who Are Under The Age Of 21

Kate Brown, who is the governor of Oregon, recently signed a bill that will make it illegal for people who are under the age of 21 to buy cigarettes. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2018. California, Hawaii and New Jersey have the same law. Maine will also raise the smoking age to 21 in 2018.

The bill was approved by the House in March. In July, the bill was approved by the Senate. Kate Brown, who is a Democrat, was pleased to sign the bill.

Kate stated that she hopes that they will be able to reduce the number of young people who smoke. She also hopes that the number of people who smoke will drastically decrease. People who are for this law have stated that addiction rate among Oregons can be reduced. Additionally, they believe that the number of people who suffer from health-related issues due to cigarette smoking can also be decreased.

Diseases that are caused by smoking are among the leading causes of death in Oregon. According to the Oregon Health Authority, 7,000 deaths per year are caused by cigarette smoking. The earlier one starts smoking, the more likely they are to develop health problems due to it. People believe that raising the smoking age can prevent people from becoming addicts.

There are also some people who are against the law. They believe that people who are underage will still continue to buy cigarettes after the smoking age is raised. Some people have also compared this law to the alcohol prohibition, which took place from 1920 to 1933. Many people still brought alcohol during this time. Furthermore, there are some people who believe that this new law will violate personal freedom. They believe that if an 18-year-old can join the military, then they should be able to buy cigarettes.

Sanctuary in the Lone Star State

The issue of the existence of sanctuary cities has been a long-standing issue since the first few days of President Donald Trump’s administration. Since the beginning of the year, cities across the United States have been divided on what actions to take when it comes to sanctuary cities. Some states, like California, have begun the process of passing bills that, according to Jurist “will strengthen protections for undocumented immigrant students in public schools from kindergarten through college by preventing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from entering a school site without a valid judicial warrant.” Others, like Mississippi and Alabama, have enacted policies that prohibit sanctuary immigration policies and stop funding for sanctuary universities. The state of Texas is no different in this regard, and has become one of many states to face this issue.

The Texas senate approved a bill in February that targets sanctuary cities. The bill requires these cities to comply with federal immigration law. In addition, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that bans sanctuary cities in Texas.

Because of these actions, a case was filed against Senate Bill 4, which is the bill that requires law enforcement to “cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and prohibit local agencies from enforcing policies that bar officers from inquiring as to an individual’s immigration status.” The concern was the state of Texas trying to have Senate Bill 4 declared constitutional before it was scheduled to take effect. The case was promptly dismissed, as the court found that “there was no “justiciable injury” to Texas as there was not yet a challenge to the bill’s constitutionality.” Since there was no injury to be had, the case was rendered as moot and thus dismissed. Time will tell whether this issue will further spread to other states.

Sujit Choudhry’s Address at the Semi-Presidentialism Round-table in Ukraine

On 10th July 2017, top researchers and constitutional experts converged at Kiev, Ukraine to discuss the constitutional challenges that Ukraine is experiencing. The event was hosted by the major think tanks in Ukraine, a global intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), and the Center for Policy and Legal Reform. Sujit Choudhry adequately utilized the opportunity to speak at the semi-presidentialism roundtable and his remarks are to be implemented soon. The main agenda was on how to improve the governance system considering the semi-presidential system used in Ukraine.

 

Sujit Choudhry recognized the fact that it was privilege reasoning together with the top researchers and constitutional experts from Ukraine. He also pointed out that there has been instability in the governance of Ukraine for the past two decades and it’s mainly attributed to the executive powers and electoral system for the legislature. Other factors that Sujit Choudhry noted were the existence of separation of powers within the dual executive between the Prime minister and the President, weak political parties and the concentration of powers on the presidency. Also contributing to this instability is a poor electoral system for the legislature. He gave recommendations that could be applied for better governance of Ukraine.

Other notable persons who shared the forum with Sujit Choudhry included Thomas Sidelius of Dalarna University and Sumit Bisarya who represented International IDEA. There were other persons who shared the roundtable with Choudhry such as the UN representative of human rights council in Ukraine, Vladimir Vasilenko. The constitutional commission of Ukraine was represented by Sergyi Holovatyi while Viktor Musiaka represented the president in the supreme council of 1996. Also present was Ihor Koliushko who is a former MP and served as an advisor to the President of Ukraine from 2005 to 2006. The list of attendance is endless.

Having lectured in more than 24 countries globally, Sujit Choudhry is popularly known for being a constitutional advisor and he recently released a collection of notable academic contributions and case studies. Besides, classical articles on topics regarding constitutional law are also a part of his release. This book basically recounts examples of constitutional making decision and their outcomes. He also points out stable democracies like Chile are demanding for new constitutions untainted by their difficult and unpromising past. Each modern nation-state finds constitution as a central feature that is vital to its prosperity. It is important to note that a constitution is a backbone of democracy in all the countries and royalties all over the world.

More about constitutional transitions

The constitutional transitions is responsible for the generation and mobilization of knowledge in support of the constitutional building. This is done by assembling and leading international experts who are senior policy practitioners and scholars. The experts also boast of a vast field experience and are sourced from more than 25 countries. The constitutional transition is responsible for the generation of Journal Articles, Opinions, Policy Manual and working reports.

Choudhry had an opportunity to elaborate on changes in constitutional decisions put in place by transitional democracies. He further notes that it becomes a major challenge for leaders elected constitutionally to come up with evidence based policies in to back up the overall constitutional reform process.

 

Who is Sujit Choudhry?

Sujit Choudhry is a Professor of law at the Berkeley School of Law, University of California. He has also served as the dean at this institution. Sujit is an internationally acknowledged authority with an undoubted expertise in comparative constitutional law. Choudhry has an exhaustive experience in the constitution development process. He has been a part of constitution building process in many countries all over the world. Some of the democracies that have been beneficiaries of Choudhry’s expertise are Egypt, Jordan, Nepal, Libya, Sri Lanka Ukraine and Tunisia. He has also conducted several lectures in more than 24 countries. As part of the United Nations Mediator, a service based in United Nation Department of Political Affairs, he has ensured the success of a variety mediation processes in most of the UN member states. Sujit Choudhry also provides consultancy services to the UN Development Program and other the World Bank programs.

 

As the Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions, he is a part of a great team that supports constitutional building by bringing together and leading interactions consortium of experts. The policy options have proven prudent to decision makers in several sectors such as NGOs, multilateral organizations and global networks all over the world. Currently, Choudhry is working with three global collaborative research projects in the constitutional building process. These projects will produce a series of research outputs and policies that are to be published this year. The projects are,

· Security sector oversight that will ensure the protection of Democratic Consolidation from Partisan abuse and Authoritarian Backsliding.

· Dealing with Territorial Cleavages that exist in Constitutional Transitions.

· Constitutional Transitions and security sector reforms in Emerging democracies.

In addition to the professional competence already highlighted, Professor Choudhry has published more than 90 articles, working papers, reports and book chapters. He has contributed extensively to the Canadian constitutional law. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Institute of Integrated Transitions and the Indian Constitutional Law Review. Choudhry’s research addresses many issues regarding comparative constitutional laws and politics. Constitutional design which forms part of his research also ensure smooth transition from a chaotic conflict to tranquil politics. This constitutional design is characterized into minor categories such as, language policy, bills of rights and proportionality amongst others. All these are encompassed in Sujit’s research documents.

Overall the success of a nation relies on proper constitutional policies and good governance systems. The contribution of professionals like Sujit Choudhry in the success of a state like Ukraine cannot be underrated. A country also needs experienced policy makers to see it through every transitions. In fact, it is such policy makers and advisors to governments that lead to economic prosperity in a sovereign nation. The recommendations by Choudhry and the team of experts will be a great solution to problems facing Ukraine once implemented.

Further reading:

Constitutional Law Expert Sujit Choudhry Presents an Analysis of Freedom of Speech

Sujit Choudhry: A Proponent for Peace Through Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law Authority Sujit Choudhry Attends Workshop in Ukraine

 

Tiger Woods Begins First-Offender Program After Convicted DUI

On May 29th, Tiger Woods was arrested in Florida for a suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Wood’s arraignment charge was scheduled for Wednesday, August 9, 2017 but was then moved to October 25, 2017. Woods was not present at the courthouse and no plea was entered by him. When a defendant enters the first-offender program, the state will drop the DUI charge and the defendant must plead guilty to a lesser charge such as reckless driving. Once Woods enters the program, he must complete DUI school, probation, and there will be a ban on alcohol and drug consumption. The first-offender program does not expunge the defendants record, rather it shows up with no guilty conviction. If the defendant fails to complete the program, he will have a second-degree misdemeanor charge on his record. On May 29th, Woods was found sleeping in his 2015 Mercedes Benz on the side of the road. The vehicle was running and the turn signal was left on. Police reported a tail light not working as well as damage to the rear bumper. There were no signs of an accident or any property damage. When police approached Woods, he was unconscious and not wearing a seatbelt. Police woke the defendant up and stated that he was slurring his words. The defendant was cooperative and completed a field sobriety test. When asked if he had been drinking, he said no. Woods claims that he had a reaction to the medication that he has been taking for his back pain. Police performed a breathalyzer test and Woods registered a 0.000, and he also completed a urine test. Woods made a statement on social media stating that he was receiving professional help to manage his medication for back pain as well as his sleep disorder. Woods also announced that he completed an out-of-state private intensive program.

Lawyering: TV Techniques Don’t Work in Real Life

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has affirmed a decision from the trial court that convicted Matthew King, the Breaking Bad replicator, of two counts of money laundering and one count of attempted money laundering. King sought appellate review of the trial court decision based on two arguments: that the Confrontation Clause was violated and that the trial court improperly admitted evidence of his prior conviction.

According to the trial record, King had approached a gentleman, Marcus Terry, at a strip club. Terry had held himself out to be a drug dealer with substantial funds needing laundering. Terry explained that he had drugs shipped in from Mexico, and had others sell the product at the street level. King then proposed two methods to “clean” the money for Terry. First, he would create a sham entertainment corporation, an idea he stole from a Breaking Bad episode. Second, he would funnel money through his legal IOLTA account for Terry. Ultimately, they decided on the IOLTA approach. Putting words into action, Terry brought $20,000 to King, who deposited it into his IOLTA account. King then promised to return it a few thousand dollars at a time. King then made two $2,000 payments to Terry in February and March 2014. Based on that, King was charged with two counts of money laundering and one count of attempted money laundering. He was convicted on all three counts.

In addressing the Confrontation Clause argument, King argued that the trial court improperly admitted recorded conversations between himself and Terry, in that it violated his right to confront the witnesses against him. The Court first looked at whether the statements were offered for the truth of the matter asserted. The Court held that they were not offered for their truth, but rather as a representation of what had been presented and ultimately believed by King. Although it eventually helped establish an element of the offense, it didn’t equate to being offered for the truth of the matter.

In addressing the prior conviction, King argued that the trial court improperly allowed the prosecutor to question him about his prior arrest for cocaine possession. Although, the Court agreed that the information was improperly admitted, the Court held that it was a harmless error. The Court reasoned that the arrest evidence was consistent with King’s own testimony about his history of substance abuse, and that King was not convicted based on his prior cocaine arrest. The Court felt there was sufficient basis in the record to support the conviction, despite this harmless error.

Original Article: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/6th_circuit_upholds_money_laundering_conviction_of_lawyer_who_suggested_bre