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Hometown: Atlanta
Home country: US
Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 12:19 AM
Number of posts: 3,785

Journal Archives

President Trump signs bill making animal cruelty a federal felony

Source: ABC News

Animal cruelty has officially become a federal felony after President Donald Trump signed the bill into law on Monday afternoon.

The bipartisan bill, Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, criminalizes certain acts of animal cruelty. The bill was passed in the Senate by unanimous decision on Nov. 5 after being approved in the House in late October.

"Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer," Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said earlier this month when the bill, which Toomey sponsored along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., passed in the Senate. "Evidence shows that the deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people. It is appropriate that the federal government have strong animal cruelty laws and penalties."

The bill, introduced in the House by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., is an expansion on the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation and distribution of "animal crushing" videos illegal

Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-trump-sign-animal-cruelty-bill-law-making/story?id=67295654

At least something decent crossed this man’s desk.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized

Source: New York Times

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Friday night after experiencing chills and fever earlier in the day, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said on Saturday.

Justice Ginsburg was initially evaluated at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington before being transferred to Johns Hopkins for further evaluation and treatment of any possible infection, the spokeswoman, Kathleen Arberg, said in a statement.

Justice Ginsburg’s symptoms abated after treatment with intravenous antibiotics and fluids, Ms. Arberg said, adding the justice expected to be released from the hospital as early as Sunday morning.

Justice Ginsburg, 86, has had a series of health scares lately, including surgery for lung cancer and radiation treatment for pancreatic cancer in the last year. Over the years, Justice Ginsburg has also had surgery for early-stage pancreatic cancer in 2009 and treatment for colon cancer in 1999.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/23/us/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-hospitalized.html

These Are the Judges Who Will Decide Whether House Dems Should Get Unredacted Mueller Report

Source: Law & Crime

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will hear oral arguments next week on an effort by House Democrats to obtain the full and unredacted report by former special counsel Robert Mueller–including still secret, closely-guarded grand jury materials.

Those discussions won’t take place in front of the entire D.C. Court of Appeals, but will instead be overseen by a three-judge panel.

The panel system operates by way of the chief judge’s discretion. Here, that means Merrick Garland chose Neomi Rao, Thomas Griffith and Judith Rogers to deliberate and decide the next stage of the lawsuit aimed at forcing the release of Mueller’s entire report.


Rao was appointed by President Donald Trump in order to replace now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh earlier this year. A decided member of the conservative movement, Rao enraged judicial reform and women’s rights advocates just by virtue of her nomination as Trump’s hand-picked Kavanaugh successor.

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/these-are-the-judges-who-will-decide-whether-democrats-get-the-unredacted-mueller-report/

In Rare Appeal, Federal Judge Begs Senators To Fill Vacancies On His Court

Source: Huffington Post

It’s not often that a federal judge pleads with the White House and senators to fill vacancies on his or her court. But in the case of U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill, his court’s workload has become so unmanageable that it’s come to begging for help.

“I write this letter out of concern for some 8.5 million people who live in the Eastern District of California, with my intention to prevent an impending, acute, and judicial catastrophe,” O’Neill wrote in a letter Friday to White House counsel Pat Cipollone and California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. “The statement sounds serious and ominous. It is both. It may also sound like an exaggeration. It is not.”


O’Neill is one of the two judges retiring in the coming months. He is taking senior status on Feb. 2, 2020, along with Judge Morrison England Jr., who is taking senior status on Dec. 17, 2019. Senior status is when a judge has worked long enough to take a reduced caseload or retire completely while still receiving a full salary. Neither O’Neill nor England plan to continue working. Both gave more than a year’s notice of their retirement.

The White House, which routinely announces its intent to nominate people to various federal court seats, has not indicated plans to nominate anyone to this court. Typically, the White House works with both of a state’s U.S. senators to pick judicial nominees. President Donald Trump has ignored that tradition with appeals court nominees but mostly stuck to it with district court picks.

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/federal-court-vacancies-california-district-judge-lawrence-oneill_n_5daddccae4b0422422c9b149

Federal Judge Declares GOP 'Poll Tax' Unconstitutional, Says State Can't Restrict Right to Vote Base

Source: Law & Crime

A federal court in Florida has ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny individuals with prior felony convictions the right to vote based on their inability to pay fees and fines. Friday’s decision restores the right to vote for plaintiffs who otherwise would be eligible to vote in Florida but who simply cannot afford to pay off their outstanding fines, fees and restitution.

The 55-page opinion by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle is a victory for voting rights advocates and Civil Rights advocates who argued that Florida Republicans had essentially re-instituted a poll tax on the right to vote in the Sunshine State.

The mood among pro-democracy advocates was jubilant just after the 2018 midterm elections when Florida’s electorate overwhelmingly chose to allow formerly incarcerated individuals their right to vote. Some 65 percent of Floridians voted in favor of re-extending the franchise. The passage of Amendment 4 would have allowed 1.5 million previously disenfranchised Floridians the right to vote.

In sum, the popular measure affected roughly seven percent of Florida’s entire population–but disproportionately impacted the state’s African-American community for the better. Under the prior, 150-year-old system of disenfranchisement, nearly 20 percent of Florida’s black population was denied the right to vote.

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/civil-rights/federal-judge-declares-gop-poll-tax-unconstitutional-says-state-cant-restrict-right-to-vote-based-on-ability-to-pay/

Phipps Confirmed to Third Circuit Over Concerns on Lack of Experience

Source: Law.com

The Senate confirmed Peter Phipps to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Tuesday, deepening the number of Republican appointees on that bench.

Phipps’ nomination was approved 56-40, and follows the March confirmation of Paul Matey, which flipped the court to a 7-6 majority of Republican appointees.

Phipps‘ appeals court confirmation came on the heels of his October 2018 confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, which had sparked concerns Phipps was inexperienced for his new post. Before he became a judge, Phipps spent 15 years with the Civil Division at U.S. Department of Justice. He also spent three years as an associate at Jones Day in Columbus, Ohio, focusing on civil litigation.

While at the Justice Department, Phipps argued before the Third Circuit in National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Christie, which concerned a 2014 New Jersey law repealing certain prohibitions on sports gambling. Arguing on behalf of the DOJ, Phipps advocated for enforcing the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which bans states from authorizing sports betting. The appellate court eventually agreed with Phipps and struck down New Jersey’s law, finding that it violated PASPA.

Read more: https://www.law.com/njlawjournal/2019/07/16/phipps-confirmed-to-third-circuit-over-concerns-on-lack-of-experience/?slreturn=20190616210323

Senate confirms Trump's appointment to Ninth Circuit appeals court

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

President Trump’s nomination of Washington, D.C., attorney Daniel Bress to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday on a party-line vote, giving Trump seven appointees to a court he has regularly denounced.

On the losing side of the 53-45 vote were California’s Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, who noted that the seat had been held by a Californian — Alex Kozinski, who retired last December after allegations of sexual misconduct by at least 15 female staffers — and would ordinarily be filled by a Californian. Bress, 40, was born in Hollister and grew up in Gilroy but has practiced law in Washington since 2008, mainly representing businesses.

“Bress is not a part of California’s legal community,” Feinstein and Harris said in a statement. Both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, they criticized Republican leaders for discarding the “blue slip” tradition that committee chairmen from both parties had previously used to block confirmation hearings on judicial nominees if either home-state senator objected.

Another opponent, Kristine Lucius of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said Bress was part of a strategy by Trump and Senate Republicans “to mold the Ninth Circuit into a panel of young conservative ideologues.”

Read more: https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Senate-confirms-Trump-s-appointment-to-Ninth-14083876.php

New North Carolina law allows prosecutors to charge drug dealers with murder

Source: The Hill

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Monday signed into law a bill that allows prosecutors to charge drug dealers with second-degree murder in the case of an overdose death.


The new law allows prosecutors to pursue felony charges after an illegal sale results in an overdose. Officials will have to prove malice, a high standard that would possibly make convictions hard to obtain, the The Associated Press noted.

Those convicted could face up to 40 years in prison.

Doctors and pharmacists who prescribe opioids for legitimate medical purposes are exempt from prosecution under a “Good Samaritan” clause written into the bill, WTVD reported.

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/452192-new-north-carolina-law-allows-prosecutors-to-charge-drug-dealers-with

Darwin shooting: Four killed in northern Australia

Source: BBC

A gunman shot dead four people and injured another at five different locations in the northern Australian city of Darwin, officials said.

The 45-year-old suspect, who was known to the police, was arrested an hour after the first shots were reported at about 18:00 local time (08:30 GMT).

Police said they believed the man had acted alone. The crime scenes reportedly included a motel and a bar.


The alleged gunman, who had been on parole since January, was wearing an electronic tag, Northern Territory Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said.

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-48510881

8-year-old boy accidentally shoots mother at baseball game, gun owner charged

Source: NBC News

A Tennessee mother was hospitalized in critical condition after her 8-year-old son accidentally shot her at a college baseball game, police said.

The gun's owner, Charles McFarland Jr., was arrested and faces charges of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon.

The mother and son were at the annual Babe Howard Classic game Tuesday night at the U.S.A Baseball Stadium in Millington, about 30 minutes north of Memphis, when the boy found a loaded gun while playing inside an antique World War II jeep belonging to McFarland, authorities said.

The jeep had been on display as part of a celebration the stadium holds for veterans, the Millington Police Department said in a press release.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/8-year-old-boy-accidentally-shoots-mother-baseball-game-gun-n1005876
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