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Hometown: Atlanta
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Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 12:19 AM
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Journal Archives

Supreme Court to consider whether Beltway sniper Lee Boyd Malvo deserves new sentencing

Source: Washington Post

The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider whether Lee Boyd Malvo, the teenage half of the Beltway snipers who terrorized the Washington region 16 years ago, may challenge his sentence of life in prison without parole.

Malvo, 34, was a 17-year-old when he and John Allen Muhammad committed what Virginia officials called “one of the most notorious strings of terrorist acts in modern American history.” Between Sept. 5 and Oct. 22, 2002, Muhammad and Malvo killed 10 people and wounded others in sniper attacks in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Muhammad was executed in 2009, but Malvo received sentences of life without parole in Virginia and Maryland.

The Supreme Court’s actions announced Monday involve the Virginia sentences and will be heard in the term that starts in October. After a 2003 trial in which Malvo was convicted of shooting FBI analyst Linda Franklin outside a Fairfax County Home Depot store, a jury decided against the death penalty. Instead, it recommended life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Since then, the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on juvenile murderers has changed. It said the death penalty was off-limits for juveniles, and in 2012 said that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole were unconstitutional for those under 18.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-to-consider-whether-beltway-sniper-lee-boyd-malvo-deserves-new-sentencing/2019/03/18/b69cfc1e-0f9c-11e9-84fc-d58c33d6c8c7_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.040308b60669

French protesters riot in Paris, accuse Macron of "hot air"

Source: Associated Press

French yellow vest protesters set life-threatening fires, smashed up luxury stores in Paris and clashed with police Saturday in the 18th straight weekend of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron. Large plumes of smoke rose above the rioting on Paris’ landmark Champs-Elysees avenue, and a mother and her child were just barely saved from a building blaze.

Protest organizers had hoped to make a splash Saturday, which marks the 4-month anniversary of the yellow vest movement, which started Nov. 17, and the end of the “Great Debate” that the French president organized to respond to protesters’ concerns about sinking living standards, stagnant wages and high unemployment.

They claimed Macron failed in that aim.

“It was hot air. It was useless and it didn’t achieve anything. We’re here to show Macron that empty words are not enough,” said yellow vest demonstrator Frank Leblanc, 62, from Nantes.

“We’re marking the end of the great debate ... Macron has given us no great solutions,” said protester Francine Sevigny from Lyon.

Read more: https://www.apnews.com/73e7376d4ada4675bd31ea3ae4034c8d

Neil deGrasse Tyson Will Return to TV After Misconduct Investigation

Source: New York Times

The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will return to television after the broadcasters of his shows announced Friday that they had completed their investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him.

“The investigation is complete, and we are moving forward with both ‘StarTalk’ and ‘Cosmos,’” Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic said of his two shows. “‘StarTalk’ will return to the air with the remaining 13 episodes in April on National Geographic, and both Fox and National Geographic are committed to finding an air date for ‘Cosmos.’ There will be no further comment.”

The statement did not say what investigators concluded about the complaints. Dr. Tyson was accused in December of behaving inappropriately with two women, in an article published by the website Patheos.

One accusation came from Ashley Watson, his assistant on “Cosmos,” who said that during a visit to his apartment, which she took to be a work visit, he made her feel uncomfortable by holding her hands and looking into her eyes in what he called a Native American handshake. As she was leaving, she said, he told her, “I want you to know that I want to hug you so bad right now, but I know that if I do I’ll just want more.” She quit the show.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/15/arts/neil-degrasse-tyson-sexual-misconduct.html

Jussie Smollett Case: Grand Jury Returns 16 Counts Against 'Empire' Actor

Source: CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — Jussie Smollett is now facing deeper legal troubles after a grand jury returned 16 felony counts against the actor for falsely reporting a hate crime attack against him in January.

The grand jury returned the disorderly conduct charges on Thursday. He is scheduled to be arraigned on March 14. The specific allegations–“false report of offense”– are Class 4 felonies.

“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” according to the indictment.

The indictment expands the case against the actor. The counts focus on allegedly false statements he made to two different Chicago Police officers. Each count covers various alleged acts that Smollett falsely described to the officers–including that he was hit by two men, that they yelled racial and homophobic slurs and poured a chemical on him.

Read more: https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/03/08/jussie-smollett-grand-jury-indictment/

Georgia puppy mill operator arrested after 700 dogs are rescued

Source: NBC News

A Georgia man has been arrested after more than 700 dogs were found at a puppy mill in conditions that police described as “out of control and inhumane.”

Reason Craig Gray, 58, of Nashville, was facing charges of animal cruelty and obstruction, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement late Thursday.''

Gray ran a licensed pet-breeding business known as Georgia Puppies. It sold sold miniature breeds including teacup Yorkies and toy poodles for up to $600 per dog.

Releash Atlanta, an organization caring for eight of the rescued animals, said they "flinch at the feeling of grass under their feet" and were used to sleeping standing up.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/crime-courts/georgia-puppy-mill-operator-arrested-after-700-dogs-are-rescued-n980851

Senate Confirms 37-Year-Old To Lifetime Seat On U.S. Circuit Court

Source: Huffington Post

WASHINGTON ― The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Allison Jones Rushing, 37, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, making her the youngest federal judge in the country.

The Senate voted 53-44 to put Rushing into the lifetime court seat. Every Republican present voted for her. Every Democrat present opposed her.

Democrats raised a number of concerns with Rushing, who is a partner at the D.C.-based law firm Williams & Connolly. She worked for Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian organization that has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. She has argued that there were “moral and practical” reasons for banning same-sex marriage. And some lawmakers said she simply lacks the experience or legal ability to be a federal judge.


Trump is dramatically reshaping the nation’s federal courts. With Rushing’s confirmation, he has now gotten 32 circuit judges, 53 district judges and two Supreme Court justices confirmed. That’s so many circuit judges ― more than any other president confirmed by this point in his first term ― that 1 in 6 seats on U.S. circuit courts is now filled by a judge nominated by Trump.

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/allison-jones-rushing-trump-judge_n_5c7ee103e4b0e62f69e74912

Accused Russian Troll Farm Literally Tells Mueller They Don't Know What 'Improper Foreign Influence'

Source: Law & Crime

Accused Russian Troll Farm Literally Tells Mueller They Don’t Know What ‘Improper Foreign Influence’ Means

Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, the Russian company accused of being involved in a complex election interference operation in 2016, wants to know exactly what Special Counsel Robert Mueller thinks they did. In a Monday court filing, the firm asked the court to order the Special Counsel’s Office to file a bill of particulars that specifies exactly what they think Concord did, who they believe did it, and explain key words and phrases in the indictment.

“While providing no details about what the Concord corporate entity actually did, the Indictment simply states over and over again that the ‘Defendants and their co-conspirators’ engaged in various acts, making it impossible to determine when and where the term ‘Defendants’ includes Concord and who the co-conspirators are,” Concord stated.


Concord also claims that Mueller’s office was too vague with their language, and wants to know the meaning of key phrases like “political activities,” “interfere with elections and political processes,” and “improper foreign influence.”

“These terms have no legal meaning, and by virtue of their inclusion in the Indictment, they force Concord to speculate what their meaning might be,” the filing says.

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/accused-russian-troll-farm-literally-tells-mueller-they-dont-know-what-improper-foreign-influence-means/

Rod Rosenstein says Justice Department should not release info on uncharged suspects

Source: Chicago Tribune

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Monday he believes the Justice Department should not reveal information about people it does not charge with crimes - an ominous sign for those hoping the department will soon disclose the closely held details of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of President Donald Trump and his campaign.

Speaking at an event about the rule of law at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Rosenstein said, "The guidance I always gave my prosecutors and the agents that I worked with during my tenure on the front lines of law enforcement were if we aren't prepared to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt in court, then we have no business making allegations against American citizens."

Though he asserted his comments were not about any particular case, he noted the issue was one "that we'll be discussing nationally."

For days, lawmakers and pundits in Washington have debated what should become public about Mueller's probe once it ends. On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Democrats plan to subpoena Mueller's report and will go to court if necessary.

Read more: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-rod-rosenstein-mueller-report-20190225-story.html

Should drug dealers be charged with murder? States ponder

Source: AP

Having lost his 29-year-old son to a fentanyl overdose, Dean Palozej believes dealers who peddle drugs that kill should be locked up for a very long time — for the rest of their life, in some cases.

A state representative who heard the story felt the same way. With a piece of legislation introduced this year, he joined lawmakers around the country who have been pushing for murder or manslaughter charges in a get-tough campaign against people who supply drugs that cause fatal overdoses, in efforts to curb the opioid overdose crisis.


Lawmakers in Connecticut, Hawaii, Mississippi and Virginia have proposed murder and manslaughter charges for overdoses this year. Several states passed such laws over the past two years, while others have taken to charging drug deaths under murder and manslaughter statutes that don’t specifically mention overdoses.

Twenty states now have so-called “drug-induced homicide” laws that carry the same sentences as murder and manslaughter, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit drug policy organization based in New York.

Read more: https://www.apnews.com/a5deb83c79974ff3a40188043e5a6931

Microsoft workers again upset about US military work

Source: Axios

A group of Microsoft workers is once again calling on the company to pull out of a U.S. military contract, saying they never signed up to build tools for war-making.

The letter is signed simply "Microsoft workers." A representative of the group behind it says more than 50 employees are behind the effort, but all are choosing to remain anonymous at this point.

Letter writers: "We are a global coalition of Microsoft workers, and we refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression. We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the U.S. Military, helping one country's government "increase lethality" using tools we built. We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used."

Microsoft: "We’re committed to providing our technology to the U.S. Department of Defense, which includes the U.S. Army under this contract," a representative said in a statement. "As we’ve also said, we’ll remain engaged as an active corporate citizen in addressing the important ethical and public policy issues relating to AI and the military.”

Read more: https://www.axios.com/microsoft-workers-again-upset-about-us-military-work-1550872713-f7332f7d-e59d-42bb-b18e-21e277e78494.html
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