Matt Lauer Seeks $30 Million Payout After Firing

Sources close to NBC’s Today Show say that Matt Lauer wants a $30 million payout for the remainder of his contract. He says that under New York contract law, NBC owes him the money. The request comes less than a week after Today Show brass fired Lauer for inappropriate conduct at work. Lauer was the highest paid personality ahead of Megyn Kelly. Lauer was spotted a few days after the firing meeting with his attorney and exchanging paperwork. New York police say that despite the complaints, there are no criminal investigations involving Lauer.

Lauer’s firing ended his twenty-year run on the hit morning show. He interviewed U.S. Presidents, foreign leaders of state and other newsmakers. He traveled the world and led broadcasting for the Olympics.

It may have been Lauer’s Olympic broadcasting that was his undoing. A victim came forward to say that Lauer summoned her to his hotel room late at night while they were in Sochi to broadcast from the Olympic Winter Games. The victim says that the behavior continued after they returned to New York. NBC officials agreed that Lauer abused his position of power in order to engage in a relationship with the woman. NBC officials also said that the behavior may not have been an isolated incident.

Officials wonder what’s next for the network. The Today Show has been in a long race with ABC’s Good Morning America for top morning show ratings. While the Today Show has largely stayed on top, management ousted Ann Curry shortly after bringing her in as a host, arguably at Lauer’s request.

Lauer’s departure has brought increased attention to his on-air behavior over his tenure at the Today Show. Critics point to an interview of Anne Hathaway where Lauer made a reference to an incident where a photographer took a photo up Hathaway’s skirt. There’s also a video circulating of Lauer commenting to a coworker that he enjoyed looking down her sweater.

Insiders say that NBC officials knew about Lauer’s behavior long before his sudden firing. Although officials denied knowing about Lauer’s conduct before a victim came forward the day before his firing, sources say that Lauer’s behavior was well known among Today Show employees. They claim that officials didn’t want to address the allegations because the Today Show is a cash cow for advertising revenue. Some wonder if Lauer’s firing doesn’t have more to do with third-party media sources that were about to break the story about Lauer’s behavior.

 

Larry Nassar Pleads Guilty

Larry Nassar entered a plea of guilty to sexual assault in a Michigan courtroom. Looking frail and thin, Nassar admitted to seven counts of first-degree sexual assault. In exchange for his guilty plea, Michigan prosecutors dismissed several other counts against him. Nassar will be sentenced next month.

Nassar’s plea comes after he already pleaded guilty to charges of child pornography in a federal court. He’ll be sentenced on those charges soon. In addition to the child pornography charges, federal attorneys also say that Nassar hid evidence in the case.

The plea comes as even more gymnasts have come out to accuse Nassar of abuse. Olympians Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney all say that Nassar abused them too. Raisman says that USA gymnastics told her not to offer information about the case.

Raisman said that the abuse first began when she was 15 years old and competing in Australia. She says that USA Gymnastics allowed Nassar to enter her hotel room alone under the guise of offering treatment. She says that USA Gymnastics officials encouraged her to seek out Nassar’s treatment. Nassar gained her trust by being sympathetic to the rigors of elite gymnastics training. He also offered her treats and gifts.

In addition to the criminal cases, Nassar faces a barrage of civil lawsuits. Victims have also brought suits against USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. USA Gymnastics backed out of a deal with famed gymnastics coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi to buy a portion of their property for a training facility in part because victims say that the Karolyis didn’t do enough to prevent the abuse.

Because of the allegations, the U.S. Olympic Committee threatened to withdraw their funding from USA Gymnastics. President Steve Penny resigned. USA Gymnastics officials conducted an internal investigation and initiated a program called Safe Sport which is designed to better help report abusers.

Victims say these efforts aren’t enough. They want the entire board to resign. They say that the entire USA Gymnastics leadership encouraged a culture that prevented women from speaking out. They say they were afraid to speak out because they were afraid of losing their spots on the highly competitive, elite gymnastics team that won gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Raisman said that women in the elite program faced scrutiny for things like eating a piece of pizza after a competition.

Nassar will likely spend years in prison. Dozens of victims will have the opportunity to speak at sentencing. Nassar will also have the opportunity to speak.

Cooley Law School Disputes Accreditation Dispute

The American Bar Association says that Cooley Law School admits unqualified law students. Cooley Law School officials disagree. They’ve filed a lawsuit to stop the ABA from publishing a statement that the school is out of compliance with education standards. The ABA has filed actions against several underperforming law schools including Florida Coastal School of Law, John Marshall Law School and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

The ABA wanted to publish a statement saying that the law school is out of compliance. Cooley didn’t want the ABA’s opinion becoming public. School officials filed a lawsuit to ask a court for an injunction that prevents the ABA from publishing the letter.

Cooley officials say that it’s unfair to hurt the school’s reputation over what’s essentially an opinion. They say that the ABA hasn’t taken any adverse action against the school. They say that a new crop of law school applicants are about to decide where to attend law school. Prospective students who would otherwise consider Cooley might make a different choice if they see the ABA notice, officials say.

School officials go on to say that the ABA doesn’t have the authority to publish opinion statements. They say the ABA can only accredit law schools and that the ABA doesn’t have the authority to simply state they believe that a school is out of compliance. They say that’s unfair when they have a school to run.

The ABA has a different opinion. They say that Cooley’s bar passage rates are too low compared to other schools. They claim that Cooley admits students that aren’t likely to graduate from law school and pass the bar. The ABA says that prospective law students deserve transparency when they’re deciding whether to go to law school and where to attend.

The average Cooley student has a 2.90 undergraduate GPA. The median LSAT score is a 141 out of a possible 180. By comparison, neighboring Michigan State University’s average LSAT scores range from 151 to 157 for the middle 50th percentiles. Only 61 percent of Cooley graduates pass the bar on the first try.

Even if Cooley ultimately loses it’s accreditation, it may not matter for Cooley graduates. The State Bar of Michigan doesn’t require a person to graduate from an accredited school in order to take the bar exam. Michigan bar officials can decide whether to allow graduates of unaccredited law schools to sit for the bar exam.

Why Are Billionaires Begging Capitol Hill Not to Approve Tax Cut Laws for the Wealthy?

The house of representatives passed what could be termed as the most significant tax overhaul in three decades. The tax bill which garnered 227 votes against 205 votes is aimed at a $1.5 trillion reduction in taxes. The Senate, to which the showdown is headed is expected to vote on its bill in the week after Thanksgiving.

Both bills would give the green light to the creation of a plan with loopholes and new deductions whose impact is that the big corporations and wealthy people in America will pay lower taxes. In the meantime, the poorer Americans, as well as those in the middle class, would feel the pinch even more since their taxes will go up.

The plan passed by the house will see the extinction of the estate tax which is charged on every wealthy individual who leaves assets of more than $5.49 million in worth to their heirs. The Senate plan, on the other hand, does not do away with the estate tax. Instead, it seeks to double the threshold of taxable estates from the current $5.5 million to $11 million. The effect of this plan is the reduction in the number of people who will pay the tax and not all the wealthy 1% is on board. In fact, many billionaires such as George Soros have come out with harsh criticisms against the bill.

Most Americans are against the plans

While there are several polls conducted in the past that show how unpopular it is to keep the estate tax, according to polling, most of the Americans still think that the wealthy do not deserve such steep tax cuts.

The latest poll conducted on the GOP tax plans clearly indicates the disapproval of many Americans. They are not happy with the middle class paying more taxes than the wealthier Americans. But perhaps somewhat surprisingly, they are not alone; the millionaires share the same line of thought. It will not be the first time that millionaires are coming out to condemn the tax plan.

Since 2010, the Patriotic Millionaires, a group made of millionaires has fought to see the streamlining of the taxation systems by identifying workarounds and loopholes that allow people in the wealthy status to find a way of evading the tax burden only to land it on the working families. They have always wanted to have the wealthier population to pay more taxes than the low-income earners.

In an interview, Morris Pearl, who is the chair of the board of Patriotic Millionaires and the previous managing director of BlackRock, gives his views on why there is an evident income disparity in the United States and how the two tax bills would only add salt to the wound.

The need to reduce the inequality

His first point was on why he thinks that the millionaires should pay their fair share of the taxes if not more. He notes that such a distinct disparity between the top people and the rest of the population can lead to civil unrests. The last thing he wants is to live in a country where the “wealthy have to live behind guarded walls and move in armored cars”. According to him the current trend of the middle class thinning over the years and most of them sliding back into the poor bottom is worrying. The gap between them and the wealthy is only but widening.

On the effect, the two bills of the House and the Senate will have on the disparity, and how that will happen, Pearl expressed his concern about the estate tax in particular. He pointed out that it is the only tax that most millionaires ever pay as many of them inherit their wealth. So, with the elimination of this tax, or the reduction of the number of people that will be eligible to pay, there will be a group of extremely wealthy individuals who don’t pay taxes on capital gains or estates. He does not think it is a good idea to have it scrapped.

How does income taxation work?

When asked to comment on the reality of what people like him have and don’t have to pay, Pearl explained how taxation works. He said that tax is only paid by someone who has an income. However, even if you are wealthy but do not have any income, you will not be expected to pay any income tax. For instance, if one inherits property but does not have any income, that is, they don’t sell any of the inherited stuff at a profit, such a person will never incur any tax expenses.

On the other hand, the working population will have to pay their taxes as usual, and the rates charged are high. The proposed plans will see the inequality rise even more since the taxes on investment income will be less than that charged on income, meaning that the individuals who have to work for a living will be paying more. That is an indication that they think that those who invest are better than those who work which is wrong.

They have support

Morris went ahead to say that most of the billionaires and millionaires in the country are with them including George Soros and Warren Buffet. The only thing that makes most of them afraid of stepping forward is that they may be seen as anti-capitalists or communists, or something of the sort.

In fact, most of those that are on Morris’ side are those who built their wealth after the American consumers bought stuff. At Capitol Hill, almost all Democrats share the same idea as the Patriotic Millionaires.

The 1954 Law to be Rolled Back

A group of religious rights has for many years opposed the 1954 law that prohibits churches and nonprofit organizations from engaging in any political activities. The once impossible demands are almost becoming a reality for the group after the Republican representatives began to prepare themselves to rewrite the path of the United States tax code in line with the $1.5 trillion tax package that will move to the Congress. Various amendments were made and passed through the House, among them the provision to scrap off the 1954 ban. Many religious rights support this move, while many of the religious and nonprofit leaders oppose it citing that it will clear the boundary that has existed between politics and charity. The nonpartisan Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation believes that the proposed change will turn the religious houses into fully funded political forces.

About $1.7 billion that comes from the traditional political committee will end up being diverted to the churches. It will also give churches and nonprofit organizations the legal right to practice partisan politics. The Senate vote is scheduled for early midweek. There is a definite variation of the tax rewrite in the Senate from that of the House. For starters, the ban has been left out. The Senate bill has not received sufficient support from the Republicans so that it can pass along party lines. Some Republican senators are concerned about the cost of the law as well as its approach. They are categorically worried about how small enterprises are treated and the scrapping off of the Affordable Care Act requirement that Americans rely on.

In the event that the bill passes in the Senate, the lawmakers will be required to resolve the variation between the House bill and that of the Senate. They will be required to agree on the mode of tax cuts for individuals, whether it will be permanent like it is done in the House or temporally like it is done in the Senate. Those who critics of the repeal of the 1954 Act popularized as the Johnson Amendment say that the change will create untraceable political spending and the creation of churches aimed at taking advantage of the political spending. Religious leaders and denominations say that that the rollback of the Johnson Amendment will be a threat to achieving the mission of their organizations. They also claim that the rollback will bring division in the churches along political affiliation.

Legal Aid Cuts Cost Taxpayer Money

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elephants Should Be Legally Recognized As People

The law acknowledges numerous things as people. Humans are people, municipalities, state, and federal offices are regarded as people, corporations are people, and now more recently they are claims that elephants should be legally recognized as people.

Steve Wise, the founder of the “Nonhuman Rights Project” has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three elephants. Wise has made history by filing the first lawsuit that claims elephant’s have a right not to be imprisoned and a right to be treated as a person.

Habeas Elephantidae

Wise does not expect the religious of pachyderms to be acknowledged. In fact, Wise is not seeking to afford elephants the same rights as U.S. citizens. According to Wise, the one thing that he is after is for the right of bodily liberty as provided by habeas corpus. Wise’s efforts are aimed at freeing three elephants, Minnie, Beulah and Karen, held at R.W. Commerford and Sons Traveling Petting Zoo, Connecticut. The elephants have been detained in this home owned facility for decades.

Wise wants the elephants moved to a sanctuary claiming that it should be illegal to detain an autonomous being by force without due process.

The Nonhuman Rights Project’s Similar Lawsuits

The Nonhuman Rights Project has filed a similar lawsuit in the past. In 2014, the group sought to bestow civil rights on a chimp. The 26-year-old chimp going by the name “Tommy” was the subject of the lawsuit as the group attempted to secure custody from his New York owners.

The argument by the Nonhuman Rights Project would not see the light of day since legally, a person was considered to be any one who was able to take on legal duties and be held accountable for their actions. Chimpanzees can neither take on legal duties nor be held responsible for their actions. It was; therefore, deemed inappropriate to afford them legal personhood.

The current case on elephants is likely to result in the same outcome since elephants also have no understanding of the law and cannot be deemed responsible for their actions. If anything, the owners are the ones to be held liable for the actions of the elephants. However, if the court was to grant a writ, it would allow the elephants to challenge the legal grounds of their detention and recognize their personhood. This would result in significant changes in the legal status of animals, which are legally regarded as animals. It will be interesting to see how the court will rule in this case.

A Federal Judge in Texas Blocks a New Abortion Law

A federal judge in the state of Texas has issued a ruling stating that the state’s new abortion law is unconstitutional. The law in question involved the right of women to carry out the second-trimester abortion which is very common in America. He said that the current law adds on women an undue burden. The decision was referred to as a complete victory by a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. However, officials in the state issued a statement saying that they would not hesitate in filing an appeal. Should this happen, it means that the case is likely to appear before the Justices of the United States Supreme Court. The law has been referred to as the Senate eight bill, and it was passed at the beginning of spring.

According to the details of the bill, state doctors were required to ensure that the heart of the fetus is stopped before they can carry out the dilation-and-evacuation abortion. The only exception would be a medical emergency. For starters, these abortions are commonly abbreviated as D&E abortions. The doctor begins by dilating the cervix of the patient. This is then followed by removing the fetus, which in most cases comes out in pieces. Medical professions argue that this is the safest form of abortion in this state. However, critics often argue that the abortion is barbaric. The SB8 law was permanently blocked by Judge Lee Yeakel. He had earlier issued a temporary injunction preventing the law from going into effect during its trial period. The judge said that he followed the precedent of the Supreme Court in making the decision. He said that the Supreme Court had earlier stated that there is no way that a state can add a medical procedure to this type of abortion.

The procedure can only be added if it’s necessary. He said that if the state implements the law, it will be interfering with the rights of the woman. The plaintiffs were represented by Alex Lawrence. Some of the plaintiffs were Planned Parenthood and Whole Woman’s Health. However, the victory didn’t last an hour before the attorney general’s office in Texas issued a statement saying that it would go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to try and overturn the verdict. Ken Paxton is Texas attorney general. He said that they had demonstrated to the court using expert witness testimony as well as extraordinary evidence that the new bill was lawful.

Ratko Mladic Convicted Over Massive Killing

Early Wednesday, the war tribunal constituted by the United Nations found the former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic guilty of having perpetrated genocide, war crimes as well as crimes against humanity. He is accused of executing the killing of Bosnian Muslims in the Yugoslavia breakup. The tribunal found out that Mr. Mladic was the one organizing for the campaigns to take out Croats, Muslims as well as all other people who were not Serbs out of their land between the year 1992 and 1995. By driving off the individuals, he would have managed to split the area for the Bosnia Serbs. Like the Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic who was also found guilty of the same charges, Mr. Mladic is said to have called for a campaign that was popularized as ethnic cleansing that resulted in massive deaths in the nation that has a population of 4.5 million people only.

1992 went down in history as the deadliest campaign year where over 45,000 people died. Bodies were found on the streets, in their homes or even in camps. Some other people were killed in a siege in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo that lasted for more than four years. A mass execution was organized for Muslim men and boys. More than 8,000 people were killed. By the end of the war, over 2.6 million people were internally displaced. Many of those who survived refer to Mr. Mladic as the Butcher of Bosnia. While defending his client, Mr. Mladic’s lawyer claimed that his client was only following the orders he received from his political seniors. The prosecutors asked Mr. Mladic to be sentenced for life, a plea that was accepted by Alphonso Orie, the presiding judge.

Mr. Mladic surprised many people when he appeared in court on Wednesday dressed in dark suit and a red tie, as the ruling was put down. He remained sitting for over 45 minutes after the address by the judge. His lawyer asked to be given a five minutes break which was granted. Mladic did not come back for about an hour. The public gallery of The Hague was filled with survivors, mostly widows. The verdict did not come as a surprise to many, given that lots of evidence had been presented in the trial that began in the year 2012. Some sessions were postponed citing the poor health of Mr. Mladic. The suit was extended after more graves mass graves were discovered.

Mandalay Bay Shooting Lawsuits Being Filed

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

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

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

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

 

Justice Department Goes to Court over Anti-trust Issues

The Justice Department has made it clear that it will not allow Time Warner to be bought by AT&T for $85.4 billion. As a result, the department of justice has filed a lawsuit to block the acquisition. This has proven to be among the first big acquisition to face the current administration. At the same time, this is a move that shows that the justice department is willing to cut the corporate power especially when it comes to the media industry which is fast changing. This means that the decision to oppose the acquisition is quite different compared to the path taken by the past administration. For instance, six years ago, the justice department had its say in a deal that involved NBCUniversal and Comcast. While the deal went through, it had to meet many conditions that had been imposed by the Justice Department. The department is perhaps worried by the creation of a telecommunication as well as a media giant. AT&T has managed to develop through such acquisitions. At the moment, the company provides telephone and internet services, and it’s one of the biggest companies in the US. In the past, it has acquired companies such as DirecTV in its quest for dominance. As a matter of fact, the company became a mammoth in TV distribution when the deal involving DirecTV was concluded.

The Justice Department is worried that the deal would create an unrivaled empire. This is because Time Warner already owns big businesses such as HBO. At the moment, HBO is very popular for producing Games of Thrones. Warner Bros is also a part of Time Warner. Warner Bros is currently producing the hit Wonder Woman. It’s also the entity that has successfully adopted the Harry Potter. Finally, Turner Broadcasting is another part of Time Warner. This is the part that includes the likes of TNT network and CNN. The lead antitrust regulator with the justice department Makan Delrahim told the court that the merger would not be good for customers. The merger would play a huge role in weakening competition according to Mr. Delrahim. As for AT&T, it didn’t hide its frustration and said that it would challenge the decision in court. At the moment, AT&T says that the two are not in the same niche meaning they don’t compete directly. The Justice Department, on the other hand, said in an interview that it was willing to listen to an offer between the two companies.

NYT Reporter Has Been Reported

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

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

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

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

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

Allegedly Drunk Florida Man Arrested on Riding Lawn Mower

A 56-year-old Florida man was taken into custody on a charge of driving under the influence by Port Saint Lucie Police after driving his Snapper riding lawn mower erratically down U.S. Highway 1 two weeks ago. Riding on the lawn mower with him was a case of Budweiser beer. The arresting officer noted that he clearly smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the man. Upon submitting to breath testing at the station, police confirmed the man’s intoxication. In fact, his blood alcohol content was at least three times more than the amount of Florida’s .08 legal limit.

The Florida man wasn’t the first person who was arrested for driving a lawn mower while intoxicated. In 2015, a 25-year-old Pennsylvania man with three prior drunk driving convictions in the last 10 years was arrested for driving his Cub Cadet riding lawn mower down a highway. He was transporting a case of beer on his lawn mower too. Before that, a 51-year-old Maine man was arrested after making an unsuccessful beer run on a riding mower, the make and model of which was unspecified. A liquor store employee turned the obviously intoxicated man away and called police. He was stopped shortly after that.

The Florida case appears to turn on whether the Snapper riding mower is a motor vehicle under Florida law. That’s an issue for a judge to decide. Florida Statutes section 320.01(1)(a) defines a motor vehicle as an “automobile, motorcycle, truck, trailer, semitrailer, truck tractor, and semitrailer combination, or any other vehicle operated on the roads of this state, used to transport persons or property, and propelled by power other than muscular power.”

About 10 days after the Florida man was arrested, a Florida woman was detained for suspected driving under the influence when riding a horse on a roadway. Whether a horse is a motor vehicle under Florida law might be a question for another judge to decide. With simple dumb luck, the woman might have picked a winner.

Judge Throws Out 15 Convictions In A Single Day

Judges do not typically throw out convictions. It is standard practice to follow the lead of the courts and juries that have heard a case in the past. If that court and that jury believed that the defendant was guilty, then a subsequent judge is likely to uphold that ruling. There are rare cases in which there was some obvious misconduct or obstruction of justice in a case in which a judge will take a longer look at it. In those rare cases, a judge may decide to overturn a conviction. Given the uncommon nature of this action, the headline that a judge in Chicago overturned fifteen convictions in a single day is truly shocking.

The judge in question is Judge Leroy Martin and his ruling comes as what defense lawyers are praising as the first “mass exoneration of innocent defendants” says NPR. The decision comes after consideration of the events that unfolded in the case. Basically, the judge was concerned that these fifteen defendants were framed by Chicago Police Sargent Ronald Watts and those officers that work for him.

Some of the now released defendants in this case say that Watts would demand money and/or drugs from them when he first made contact with them. If they did not provide either of these things, he would arrest them on the spot. This behavior was largely confirmed when the Sargent himself got in trouble for trying to purchase drugs from an individual who turned out to be an FBI informant. Given this, the judge stated that he did not have confident in the testimony given by the police and others who worked for Watts in the trial. He simply could not allow the convictions to stand based on what he deemed to be unreliable testimony.

The defendants had all spent different amounts of time in prison based on their convictions. For the most part, all of these fifteen defendants had spent at least a few years behind bars for crimes they may not even have committed. Given the behavior of the former Police Sargent, it is difficult to tell which cases were legitimate prosecutions, and which were based on false testimony. The judge was careful to release only those he believed did not have enough true evidence pressed against them. Now, there are fifteen freed defendants who probably have quite the story to tell. It is a victory for their defense lawyers, and some say for the justice system as a whole.

More St. Louis Protesters Are Set To Take A Stand

This past week was exceptional for protesters in St. Louis. They believe the court system finally understands why they protest and the rights that go along with it. A judge in St. Louis made a ruling that all protesting is okay unless it becomes violent. This new law means residents of St. Louis can have a peaceful protest in the middle of the street or on government grounds, and it is within the guidelines of the law. A violent protest would mean people fighting with each other, people throwing items, or people protesting with deadly weapons in their hands.

The law put into effect also states that police officers cannot arrest people for protesting unless they are becoming violent. Police will have to give at least four warnings to people before arresting them. In addition to this, police officers will be able to use tear gas or rubber bullets unless it is necessary. Police officers must also give timely notice regarding the disbursement of either tear gas or rubber bullets. The whole idea behind this is not to hurt protesters who are not being violent.

The St. Louis judge who put these laws into effect believes that these laws are going to make St. Louis a safer place to live. In an interview, the judge talked about how people have always protested in every state. It is only now that protests are getting national attention because of arrests, and these demonstrations are usually due to alleged cases of police brutality.

Recently, several individuals from the community spoke up about how happy they are about a judging siding with the people. These individuals explained in detail some of the horrific scenes they’ve witnessed where police officers treated peaceful protesters poorly.

Members of the ACLU St. Louis branch also spoke up regarding this issue, and they are delighted with the results. In fact, it was the ACLU, along with several other St. Louis activists groups, who helped get this proposed law on the judge’s desk. An ACLU representative stated that the ACLU is going to try to do even more for peaceful protesters, especially when it comes to a protest for alleged police brutality. The ACLU is also urging protesters to adhere to the law and not get violent in any way. The ACLU believes this will help protesters continue to fight for their beliefs and change.