A Legislation that Would Control Guns in the USA

The National Rifle Association did the unexpected last week when it agreed to embrace new restrictions towards a new device that would prevent converting riffles into automatic weapons. While this might sound like an unfamiliar territory, it seemed like it was a calculated move as the association through its leaders said that it would draw a line on how far they would go to making these restrictions into law. While talking to CBS’s Face the Nation, the chief executive and executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said that if it was possible to legislate morality, it’s something that the United States would have done years ago. He referred to the issue as interpretive. He further said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives, and Firearms should take up the challenge and look into the issues at hand. This is a device that few people knew before the Las Vegas Shootings. This is a device that the shooter, Stephen Paddock fitted to the 23 guns that he used to shoot people on Sunday last week. With this device in his semiautomatic weapon, he was able to fire automatically from the 32nd window of his hotel room. At the end of the ordeal, he had killed 58 people.

This has led to the emergence of a rare interest from both parties where the legislators want to pass a law that would make the sale of the bump stock illegal. The NRA decided to wait until the issue had cooled down before they issued an official statement. Since the Obama administration decided that the device was legal, some people in Congress and some members of the NRA have this belief that they can settle the issue without making legislation. At the moment, Democratic Senator from California Dianne Feinstein has said that no one has agreed to co-sponsor her bill that is aimed at making it illegal to sell the bump stocks. This will include other materials that make the gun fire like an automatic weapon. The California Democrat said that the regulation was not going to work this time. The only way to address the issue was through law. Senator Chris Murphy has also been vocal about gun regulations in America. He has taken this stand since the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre in 2012. He tried a clean bill but failed in garnering enough support. He, however, spoke on Sunday saying that he would support any legislation seeking to control guns.

High-Powered Attorney Lisa Bloom Steps Down from Harvey Weinstein’s Legal Team

Attorney Lisa Bloom announced at a scheduled press conference this past Saturday that she will no longer be serving as a defense attorney to Harvey Weinstein in his current legal battle surrounding sexual harassment charges. Weinstein is best known for his Oscar-winning films and is highly regarded in the film industry as one of the most talented and sought after producers. He has catapulted numerous Hollywood stars to almost instant fame and is considered one of the wealthiest and most connected producers in the business.

Several actresses have spoken publicly about their encounters with Weinstein and have accused him of acting inappropriately. Many of his accusers have said that they did not feel empowered to come forward until now because Weisntein carries so much clout in the film industry. They feared for their careers, reputation and credibility in going after such a prominent producer with these types of accusations.

Although Bloom has previously stood by Weinstein and has even worked with him on several projects, she announced that she is no longer able to go forward with representing him. Other members of Weinstein’s team as well as members of the board of Weinstein’s production company have been highly critical of Bloom because they say she has a conflict of interest in representing Weinstein. Bloom is in the middle of a production deal for her book to be turned into a television series through Weinstein’s and Jay-Z’s production companies.

Bloom was most sharply criticism from Weinstein’s team for her suggestion that Weinsten release pictures to the press of all of his accusers appearing comfortable around him and laughing with him after the alleged harassment incidents took place. Bloom was mocked for her efforts to sway the press and avoid having Weinstein deal with what most observers are commenting is a serious problem. Weinstein has acknowledged publicly that he has a problem and is seeking guidance on how to improve his behavior around women. Bloom has described Weinstein as a dinosaur adjusting to new ways of thinking as a way to explain his unacceptable behavior towards women.

It has also come to light that Weinstein has settled up to eight other sexual harassment cases with female accusers and has worked to bury the outcomes of the settlements for years. Many analysts say that female artists and writers are set to back away from deals with Weinstein as a result of this scandal.

A Constitutional View of Impeachment: Is Donald Trump at Risk of Losing the Presidency?

While the 2016 presidential campaign was one of the most heated in history, the drama didn’t stop when President Trump was sworn into office. In fact, there have been an unprecedented number of controversies since Donald Trump became the Commander in Chief, and it seems that there is a new storm every few weeks.

From the travel ban, to allegations of Russian collusion, to not taking a hard enough stand against the incident in Charlottesville, Trump is getting hit from all directions with serious accusations, and there has even been talk of impeachment. While that can sound quite alarming to the average citizen, impeachment is a legal and constitutional issue, and many people don’t understand how it works and what it may mean for Trump’s presidency.

What is Impeachment?

The process of impeachment is widely misunderstood. In layperson’s terms, impeachment is a specific power given to Congress to try government officials for certain crimes and potentially remove them from a federal office. It is much like a court trial, except that it is political and the trial and verdict are all carried out in the hallowed halls of the United States Congress. Any member can put forth Articles of Impeachment which are much like an indictment in the criminal court system. The House of Representatives then views the evidence and hears witnesses about the specific charges made. If the House agrees that the government official has committed sufficiently serious crimes, it can decide to impeach this person.

A trial, however, is needed in the Senate to determine whether the impeached party should be removed from their office. These are two separate questions, and both are long and drawn out processes. In very few instances is the official removed even when the impeachment itself is successful.

Are the Charges Against Trump Serious Enough?

The House of Representatives can impeach the president if he has committed bribery or treason, and these are relatively straightforward charges if there is sufficient proof. There is, however, a more gray area known as high crimes and misdemeanors, and these categories are open to quite wide interpretation. When it comes down to it, what is considered an impeachable offense is really up to a particular House of Representatives at the time of the proceedings. In the case of Trump, the current makeup of both the House and Senate are largely conservative, so the deck is stacked in his favor when the rubber hits the road on this issue. While Donald Trump’s more liberal colleagues may be throwing everything they can at him, successfully impeaching a president is difficult.

In fact, only three presidents in the history of the United States Constitution have been faced with Articles of Impeachment and, of those, none were formally removed from office. President Andrew Johnson was narrowly acquitted in 1868, while the Watergate scandal of 1972 led President Richard Nixon to resign rather than face impeachment hearings. In late 1998, the only successful presidential impeachment occurred when former President Bill Clinton was tried for lying under oath about his relationship with his intern Monica Lewinsky. He was not, however, ultimately removed from office by the Senate.

The Court of Public Opinion vs. the Numbers Game

If impeachment is unlikely, then why does it seem to be so talked about with each new accusation made against President Trump? Politics is based on polling and perception, and anything that implies that President Trump is in legal hot water has the potential to make his approval rating tank. Liberals understand the numbers game and knows that getting enough conservatives to jump ship all the way to impeachment is unlikely. However, they may plant seeds of doubt in Trump’s constituency base, leaving liberals with a better political position at the end of the day. Even if nothing sticks, enough much mud in the water could sully Donald Trump in the eyes of American citizens.

Read More by Sujit Choudhry
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What if Impeachment Happens?

While it is not clear at this point whether Trump has committed any impeachable offenses, it is always possible that he will find himself subjected to Articles of Impeachment for a current or future incident. However, even if impeachment does happen, President Trump will have plenty of options to decide how he wants the situation to play out. Even if impeachment looked likely, Trump could emulate Richard Nixon and resign rather than allow the proceedings to continue to his ultimate removal from office.

Due to the heavily Republican Congress, the odds of there being enough support for an impeachment process, let alone a removal from office, are not high unless there is a significant change in the balance of power in Washington. President Trump continues to enjoy considerable support from Republican voters. Regardless of whether Trump’s Republican colleagues support him, partisan calculations still matter in D.C. and will probably shape this debate in the end.

As a constitutional law expert, Sujit Choudhry provides a broad range of legal opinions about current events and politics both in America and abroad. He operates the Center for Constitutional Transitions, an organization that provides research and education in support of constitutional transitions worldwide. 

Follow Sujit Choudhry on TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook for more information, or visit his website at www.constitutionaltransitions.org.

 

Georgia Sheriff Charged for School Lockdown

One Georgia sheriff is getting a taste of his own medicine. He’s defending himself against allegations that he falsely imprisoned and wrongfully searched hundreds of high school students. Sheriff Jeff Hobby of the Worth County Sheriff’s Department faces multiple charges because of the allegations.

Students at Worth County High School arrived at school for what they expected to be a normal school day. But Hobby had other plans. He and his entire department arrived at the school and locked the doors. They ordered students up against the walls in the hallway. Then, they started touching.

The officers say they were looking for drugs. They say they suspected drug use from as many as 12 students at the school. However, they searched approximately 900. The search took half the school day. Only three of the suspected drug users came to school that day. The search yielded no drugs and no arrests.

Whether the school consented to the events is a matter of contention. Sheriff’s officials say that the school worked with them to plan a date for the search. School officials say that they were told, not asked, about what was going to happen. When the sheriff’s deputies locked the doors, teachers weren’t even in on what was about to unfold.

The disagreement matters as several students have filed lawsuits about the events of the day. Many of the students say that they were sexually assaulted by deputies performing searches. They describe being touched in their private areas, in some cases multiple times. Students said that they knew the behavior wasn’t right, but they were powerless to stop it.

On his part, Hobby says that he’s not guilty of the charges. He says that he personally didn’t take part in the search. He also says that the deputies went beyond what he asked them to do. However, in an interview with a media outlet, Hobby said that he believed the actions of the day were valid, because school administrators were there during the searches. He says that he was just responding to citizens who wanted him to do something about drug use at the school.

Local prosecutors say that they want to see Hobby removed from his duties. To do that, they need cooperation from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council has already revoked Hobby’s law enforcement certification. They’ve also taken certifications from some of the deputies involved in the actions of that fateful day.

DACA Recipients and Immigrant Groups File a Lawsuit Against the Trump Administration

Immigrant groups on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for its efforts to terminate a program that protects the youth who come into the U.S. illegally. According to a report by abajournal.com, CASA de Maryland, flanked by eight other groups and over a dozen individuals presented their claim to a Maryland federal court. The main targets of the lawsuit were President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and four government agencies- the agencies involved with immigration, citizenship, customs, and homeland security.

The Issues Presented in the Lawsuit

The lawsuit against the Trump administration argues that terminating the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program was against the legally stipulated procedures and an act of discrimination against Central Americans and Mexicans. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that the Trump administration has offered no guarantees that it will not use private information contained in DACA applications for enforcement purposes. This is tantamount to a violation of the equal protection and due process clauses enshrined in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. constitution.

Rescinding the DACA program will cause about 800,000 immigrants to lose their work permits and protection. The suit continues to say that the decision to withdraw the program is a double cross. It is unjustified, arbitrary, capricious, and offensive to the law and basic values of the U.S.

Termination of the DACA Program

The DACA program affects thousands of youth across the country. These young people have commonly been referred to as “Dreamers”. Many of these dreamers came to the U.S. unlawfully as young children while others came legally but remained even after their visas had expired. On Sept 5, the U.S. Attorney General announced the termination of the DACA program. However, the Trump administration promised to continue renewing existing 2 year work permits for six months. This additional time has been created to allow Congress to pass a replacement program.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include states where DACA participants range from hundreds to several thousands. These include Hawaii, New York, Washington, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. Besides CASA de Maryland, this latest suit also includes lawyers from the Howard University law school, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Willke Farr & Gallagher, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

The world will be watching the Trump administration keenly to see how they react to this lawsuit. Will they back down to pressure or will they add more time for the dreamers? It will also be interesting to see the initiative that Congress will introduce as a replacement of the DACA program.

A Lawsuit against Monarch Airlines

A report released to news outlets in Britain by British trade union Unite says that the union is drafting a lawsuit on behalf of the Monarch employees who lost their jobs when the firm was declared bankrupt. According to the report by the Union, close to 1,800 workers have been affected by the process. This means that the employees are redundant. The firm sank to administration on Monday and attributed its trouble to the weakening of the pound, competition from established airlines and rising insurgency and terrorist attacks in its key markets. 90 percent of the company’s workforce is currently without a job. As a result, the union through its lawyers say that they are seeking a legal remedy in the form of employment tribunal proceeding. On its part, the organization feels that the company failed in consulting the employees about the redundancy issues. At the same time, the union and its lawyers say that the employees had not been served with the necessary legal notice. Also, most of these employees have not received the statutory pay. The union later released a statement where it said that it was doing all it can to assist former employs to acquire new jobs.

Its national officer Oliver Richardson said that they were also offering free legal advice to the affected workers. Also, they were involved with a number of employees as they try to seek compensation that was due. Experts say that there is a claim in regards to the way that the airline went into administration. This is further strengthened by the inactivity of the British government. Entering administration means that the company ceased to operate. This case is similar to another one in Germany where the government had to bail in and rescue Air Berlin. The Germany Company fell into administration and opened an opportunity for the company to find new investors. However, before the British Monarch collapsed, it has been revealed by the British Department of Transport that it did not ask for a bailout. The spokesman for the department said that the company went into administration talks directly. A spokeswoman for the company said that the company was in the process of selling most of its major assets. This includes equipment and its plant, prepaid fuel and even slots that the airline had in airports. At the same time, the Civil Aviation Authority said that it had sorted a quarter of the 110,000 customers affected by flight cancellations.

Justice Department Seeks Expansion of Firearms Purchase Tracing

With the events of Las Vegas still fresh in legislators’ minds, the question of how best to legally approach the issue of firearms has grown to an increasingly relevant topic of national discourse. It is typical for the conversation to center around blanket legal bans of firearm types, limiting quantities of ammunition to prevent stockpiling, and other measures targeted at the purchaser. While these steps have the power to control arms distribution at the transaction level, the government’s approach hopes to expand well beyond that and, after a recent announcement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it appears the Justice Department will be taking a larger and more complex role in tracking and cataloging firearms after purchase.

Under the new measures, which are essentially an updated and more robust version of 2001’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, Attorney General Sessions plans to involve attorneys more deeply in the process of tracing firearms and tracking crime statistics. Attorneys will not only be vested with more responsibility but, according to Sessions, they will be under more scrutiny to produce measurable results.

The backbone of these new gun safety measures, as far as the investigative process is concerned, is the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, a system which enables law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels to link firearms used in crimes to their purchase history. Previously, requests for this information took about six business days to process. With this new push for result, law enforcement can expect to receive information regarding the weapon’s retail purchase history in as little as 24 hours.

As far as legal professionals are concerned, Sessions will invest a group of 40 new or present prosecutors across a total of 20 U.S. Attorney offices to focus on reducing violent crime through the reinvigorated Project Safe Neighborhoods, though it’s unclear which jurisdictions will be receiving this increased level of focus. Likewise, Sessions has not yet elaborated upon what metrics will be used to measure success or across what time frame they hope to achieve them.

That said, the Department of Justice (DOJ) did state that once assigned, the attorneys and their associated departments would be expected to provide more accurate statistics regarding violent crime. Likewise, the DOJ hopes that adding attorneys to the mix will offer a sort of midway point for local and federal law enforcement authorities to communicate and coordinate their efforts. Crimes of this nature often result in difficult questions of jurisdictional authority, but the more robust justice offices could provide an effective middle ground.

Lawsuits Filed Against the Trump Administration

Lawsuits have been filed in federal courts in Maryland and New York to challenge the revised travel ban by President Trump last month. The lawsuits have been filed by a group of Muslim and Iranian –American advocates. The new travel ban restricts citizens of eight nations from entering the United States including Iran. According to the ban, citizens from Yemen, Syria, Somalia, North Korea, Libya, Iran, and Chad would not be allowed to enter the United States. While the ban goes into effect on 18th this month, it also restricts government officials from Venezuela from accessing the United States. This applies even to their children and relatives. One of the lawsuits has been filed on behalf of the Iranian Alliance Across Borders. The lawsuit also represents other individuals and says that banning citizens on religious grounds goes against the constitution. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Maryland on Monday evening. The lawsuit also argues that Iranians and people from Muslim nations have to familiarize with the changing laws from month to month. They claim that the obsessive behavior by the president to harass Muslims should stop. A legal counsel representing the National Iranian American Council known as Shayan Modarres says that this erosion of fundamental values in America needs to stop.

The other lawsuit had been filed earlier on behalf of the Brenna Center for Justice at New York University. This lawsuit, however, was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. This is a lawsuit that is targeting the State Department. The lawsuit wants the defendant to submit to the Freedom of Information Act. As a result, the department should submit the documents that were produced by the Department of Homeland Security to the White House. These are documents that explain how the decision to ban citizens from these nations was arrived at. According to political experts and close aids to the president, the new ban was arrived after a lengthy process that involved a detailed analysis of the security situation of every country. The process was also based on whether these nations were willing to share intelligence with the United States. This ban is the third by the Trump administration from preventing immigrants from accessing the US through its airports. The first lawsuit argues that adding two more non-Muslim nations to the list is a ploy to make people forget that these bans are targeting Muslims only.

Lawyer for OJ Simpson Loses Case for Attorney Reinstatement

F. Lee Bailey may have played a key part in helping OJ Simpson secure his acquittal for the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, but that’s not enough to convince officials for the State Bar of Maine to approve his bid to practice law in the state. Despite his high-profile and notable legal career, the State Bar of Maine says that Bailey isn’t fit to practice law in the state. Bailey played a key part in the defense of O.J. Simpson including cross-examination of key witnesses.

Bailey’s storied legal career began in 1961 when he represented a man charged with murder. Bailey had less than one year of practice experience at the time, but he successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court just a few years later. Ultimately, the man was never convicted for the crime.

Unfortunately for Bailey, trouble came soon after. Florida officials revoked his license to practice law, and Massachusetts soon followed suit. Maine is the latest state to deny Bailey a bar card. He’s 81 years old but says he wishes he could practice law.

Bailey says that he thinks the judiciary resents him for his success in the O.J. Simpson case. He says he was just doing his job. The bar examiners of Maine say that Bailey blames others for his own misconduct and refuses to show remorse. They say that’s a problem when it comes to getting a bar license. They say what really happened is that Bailey refused to transfer stock that the government took from a client as part of a plea agreement. Bailey was found in contempt of court and spent 44 days in jail.

The State of Florida says that Bailey’s actions were enough to warrant disbarment for at least five years. They also say that he commingled client funds with his own assets and that he did things that amounted to a conflict of interest. They also say he wasn’t forthcoming when they asked for complete information.

Bailey passed the Maine bar exam in 2012. He asked for a license to practice. In a split decision, the board of law examiners said that they aren’t sure he has the necessary character and fitness to practice law. They don’t deny that Bailey has many supporters. They even admit that he has great legal advocacy skills. However, they think that Bailey’s past misdeeds are too much. Bailey won’t be practicing law in the Pine Tree State any time soon.

USA Supreme Court’s Attempt to Fix American Politics

The supreme court of the United States is the highest federal court in the United States of America. It was established under the Judiciary Act of 1789 in the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court building is located at One First Street, NE in Washington DC. The building was completed in 1935. The court is usually functional on weekdays. It is closed during public holidays and weekends. The Supreme Court mainly comprises of nine justices. They include one chief justice and eight associate justices. It is historically known for having one hundred and one associate justices.

The Supreme Court has no powers stipulated in the constitution. The federal judiciary divided the country into thirteen districts that were later organized into the Eastern, Middle, and Southern circuits. The USA Supreme Court is the highest judicial tribunal in the United States of America. The president usually appoints members of the USA Supreme Court. This is subject to the Senate’s approval. The Supreme Court judges are governed by the code of conduct stipulated in the constitution that aims at establishing and maintaining an independent judiciary.

Some rules and guides govern the Supreme Court. The court is open to all members of the public during oral arguments. Seating is limited and offered on a first come first seat basis. The court sessions are structured in two lines form on the plaza. One of them is for people attending an entire argument and another for individuals who wish to observe briefly. Infants and children are restricted from entering the courtroom. The court officials are required to act in fairness and justice when dealing with all matters of a political nature.

There are numerous reports about the American political system being rigged. The reports state that politicians should redraw geographical boundaries for their legislative seats in the states. They mainly do this to lure the citizens inhabiting a particular geographical area to vote for them, yet the political system solely lies at the heart of democracy. This act has posed a threat of corroding the relationship between the members of the judiciary in the supreme court of the United States of America. The Supreme Court has responded to the issue by setting up a court hearing session in an attempt to restore the American political landscape back to its original state by eradicating what is termed as a political gerrymander. Most citizens of the United States of America greatly support the Supreme Court’s decision because they do not condone this hilarious political behavior by some of their politicians.

 

Disney Worker Leaves Child in Hot Car: Police Make Arrest

One Disney World worker will have to answer to a jury of her peers after she left her toddler in a hot car. The worker left the 2 year old girl in her vehicle while she went to find her boss. She wanted to talk to the boss about taking vacation time. The woman is a housekeeper at Walt Disney World.

The incident took place at Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. A coworker found the child inside the hot car. When the coworker found the child, she was trapped inside the locked vehicle. They found her at 1:05 p.m.

Even though the child was conscious, she was still sweating and crying. Law enforcement officers removed the child. The windows were cracked, but authorities found that the temperature inside the girl’s car seat was a sweltering 113.5 degrees. The 2 year old was strapped into her safety seat when authorities found her.

Relatives of the girl’s family say that the woman only wanted to leave the girl in the vehicle for no more than five minutes. She wanted to run inside and have a quick conversation with her boss about time off to care for the child. The girl was actually in the car for approximately 45 minutes.

The woman arrested isn’t the child’s mother. Instead, she’s a family friend. The child’s mother was in labor and needed childcare for the day. The woman went to her employer at the Disney resort in order to ask for the day off in order to care for the 2 year old.

The woman said that she didn’t mean for the child to be in any danger. She insists that she loves the child very much. The child went to Florida Hospital Celebration Health for medical care, and she is in stable condition. The woman was arrested and booked at the Orange County Jail. She posted a $1,000 bond to secure her release. For now, she’s on leave from her job at Walt Disney World.

There are a number of things that the arrested woman may face. She may face criminal charges under Florida law for child abuse or neglect. These charges can bring time in jail, fines and other penalties. In addition, the Florida Department of Child and Family Services can bring an investigation into the circumstances and assess the risks of future abuse and neglect to the child.

EEOC Sues Estee Lauder Over Parental Leave Policy

In August of this year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued the company, Estee Lauder, regarding its parental leave policy. The lawsuit was initiated in a Pennsylvania federal court. The basis of the suit alleges that the company’s current leave policy constitutes gender discrimination by distinguishing between fathers and mothers. The policy creates primary and secondary caregiver categories that allocate different time limits on leave. EEOC is arguing that the practices behind the seemingly gender-neutral categories actually result in additional leave time for mothers.

More on EEOC’s Case

EEOC points out that Estee Lauder’s parental leave policy benefits mothers more than fathers even at the secondary caregiver level. It is said that biological mothers qualify for a separate maternity leave policy that offers additional time off and a flexible work schedule following the leave. It is also alleged that fathers were explicitly told that they did not qualify for the additional maternity leave benefits. According to EEOC, fathers are currently limited to two weeks of paid leave, while mothers receive up to six weeks and a subsequent flexible schedule.

EEOC claims that these practices are in violation of federal laws regulating gender bias at places of employment. Federal law requires that both genders be paid or compensated at an equal rate.

Estee’s Lauder’s current leave policy was created in 2013. This case stems from a 2015 complaint from a stock room employee who requested six weeks leave and was offered two. Up until now, the company has not issued an official statement on the matter.

The Future of the Case

Some legal experts expect the case to fall in Estee Lauder’s favor. Many employers use the primary/secondary distinctions in their leave policies. If there is proof that the policy is being enforced on a consistent basis it will be difficult for EEOC to prove that a bias exists. Since litigation is a lengthy matter it wlil be a while until the court renders its own decision on the case.

Read More: http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/633246/Discrimination+Disability+Sexual+Harassment/What+Does+the+EEOCs+Lawsuit+Against+Estee+Lauder+Mean+for+Parental+Leave+Policies

In New Delhi, Sometimes No Really Does Mean Yes

Here in the United States, society is still struggling to eliminate rape culture, but women in India now have it even worse. A New Delhi judge ruled that “a feeble ‘no'” isn’t necessarily the end of a sexual encounter. In this recent trial, the judge stated that a weak protest doesn’t always mean the victim wants the encounter to stop and that supposition led to an acquittal in a highly publicized trial.
Defense Suggests A Rape Never Took Place
India is facing a new legal quagmire in relation to the issue of sexual consent, following the decision handed down in the case of Bollywood filmmaker Mahmood Farooqui. The director, best known for Peepli Live, had previously been sentenced to seven years in prison for the rape of a female Columbia University student. The verdict came into question recently, as Farooqui’s lawyer pursued an appeal in the case.
The attorney argued there is a lack of evidence to support the conviction in a New Delhi court. Mahmood was alone with the victim in his home on the evening the alleged rape took place, argued the lawyer. He added that, if a sexual encounter did take place, it was only with the victim’s consent.
Mahmood Farooqui Deserves “The Benefit Of The Doubt”
The appeal process went well for the defense, as High Court Judge Ashutosh Kumar overturned the conviction and suggested Mahmood may not have acted inappropriately. The high court justice said the prosecution never truly proved that events happened as the victim stated and added that Farooqui had “no idea at all” that consent wasn’t given.During Kumar’s decision, he explained that, while one party in a sexual encounter may not be entirely willing or may feel hesitant about seeing it through, that’s not the same as withdrawing consent. He said where there is “assumed consent,” feelings of uncertainty cannot be considered a refusal.
“Such feeble hesitation can never be understood as a positive negation of any advances by the other partner.”
Further, Judge Kumar added that, especially in cases where the two parties kniw each other well, “a feeble ‘no’ may mean yes”. He said in his ruling that a more insistent refusal was needed to either refuse or withdraw consent.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for the victim, responding to the ruling, said she verbally protested and continuously pushed away his advances. She previously stated in court that he pulled away her lingerie, even as she struggled to stay dressed. Ultimately, Farooqui overpowered her.
“Under those circumstances, it is therefore startling to hear this series of events recorded as a ‘feeble no,'” commented U.S. Supreme Court lawyer, Karuna Nundy.
Ms. Nundy helped reform India’s rape laws.

California Lawmakers Now Require Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns

According to a recent law by the state of California, presidential candidates who are looking to appear on the state election ballot must provide their tax returns. The bill was passed earlier in September and officially passed into law. With this new law, anyone that is looking to run for president will be required to furnish any information that proves their income. The state passed this law in an effort to ensure that all presidential candidates are being honest about their financial situation as well as proving that their sources of income are legitimate. This law will go into once it is approved by the state governor. Anybody that is looking to become the next American president will now have to provide their tax returns in order to run in the state beginning in the next election which is scheduled for the year 2020.

On September 15, Senate Bill 149 was passed despite objections based on the constitution according to the sources such as the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg and the San Jose Mercury News. With this new law, anyone that intends to run for president will need to provide five years of tax returns if they wish to appear in any state election ballots. By providing tax returns, presidential candidates in California will have their returns shown online through a redacted version. California Governor Jerry Brown has until October 15 to sign or pass the bill. However, as of right now, it is uncertain what he will actually do about this new proposed law. When Brown ran for Governor, he released his tax returns in his first two campaigns for governor but didn’t when he ran in the 2010 and 2014 elections.

According to the constitution, anyone that is looking to become president of the United States needs to be a natural born citizen and be at least 35 years of age. With this new proposed law in California, a number of legal experts have questioned whether or not it is constitutional to require candidates to release their income information. In 1995, the Supreme Court made a decision under United States Term Limits v Thornton, that allowed states to impose requirements to get on ballots. However, states cannot impose qualifications that are in addition to the ones that are currently on the American constitution. If the new law in California is passed, it is very likely that a number of people and entities will file a lawsuit and otherwise challenge it.

Source: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/california_lawmakers_approve_bill_requiring_presidential_candidates_to_rele

Gotti Underboss Released from Prison

Former mafia underboss Sammy “The Bull” Gravano has been released from prison after being incarcerated for more than 17 years. He confessed to being involved in at least 19 murders, and he was a pivotal prosecution witness in convicting former Gambino family crime boss John Gotti pursuant to a multi-count indictment. Another 39 mobsters went down with Gotti. That’s not what put “The Bull” behind bars for 17 years though. While being under witness protection, Sammy got into the action again.

According to Reuters, with his cooperation, Gravano was the highest ranking mobster to testify against a boss. Before his conviction, Gotti was known as “the Teflon Don.” He’d been able to walk away from previous prosecutions, but as a result of Gravano’s cooperation and testimony, Gotti was convicted of numerous offenses in 1992 that included extortion and murder. “The Teflon Don” died in prison from cancer in 2002. In return for his cooperation, Gravano was only sentenced to five years in prison by pleading guilty to a racketeering charge.

Gravano served his five year sentence and entered the federal witness protection program. He was invisible and living under the name of Jimmy Moran until he became involved in an ecstasy ring that kept 50 people busy and brought in $500,000 a week. In 2001, he entered guilty pleas to both federal and state charges of criminal conspiracy to distribute the drug. He’s under supervised release for the rest of his life. Nobody knows if Gravano will be in the witness protection program again.

“The Bull” is fortunate to even be alive. Gotti’s brother, “One Eye” Peter Gotti, enlisted a team of hit men in retaliation for his brother’s conviction and imprisonment. The hit order was never carried out. Peter Gotti’s arrest for extortion and arranging for Gravano’s murder got in the way.

Gravano had originally been sentenced to 20 years on the drug conviction, but he served only a little more than 17 years of that time. It’s customary for federal prisoners to serve 85 percent of their sentence.