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Supreme Court sides with government in immigration case
Employment Law | 2020/04/26 20:19
The Supreme Court is making it harder for noncitizens who are authorized to live permanently in the United States to argue they should be allowed to stay in the country if they've committed crimes.

The decision Thursday split the court 5-4 along ideological lines. The decision came in the case of Andre Barton, a Jamaican national and green card holder. In 1996, when he was a teenager, he was present when a friend fired a gun at the home of Barton's ex-girlfriend in Georgia. And in 2007 and 2008, he was convicted of drug possession in the state.

His crimes made him eligible to be deported, and the government sought to remove him from the country in 2016. Barton argued he should be eligible to stay. Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted in his opinion for the court's conservatives that it was important that Barton's 1996 crime took place in the first seven years he was admitted to the country.

Kavanaugh wrote that “when a lawful permanent resident has amassed a criminal record of this kind,” immigration law makes them ineligible to ask to be allowed to stay in the country.


Supreme Court won't disturb ruling against anti-homeless law
Employment Law | 2019/12/16 19:14
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left a lower court ruling in place that struck down a law making it a crime to sleep in public places when homeless shelter space is unavailable.

A federal appeals court had ruled that the anti-camping ordinance in Boise, Idaho, was cruel and unusual punishment, violating the Constitution's Eighth Amendment. "A state may not criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of being homeless," the appeals court said.

The Supreme Court denied Boise's appeal Monday without comment, as is its normal practice when declining to grant reviews.

Lawyers for the city argued that Boise wanted to enforce the ordinance "in the parks, foothills, and other public areas not just to keep them safe and sanitary but also to allow users to utilize the public spaces as they were intended to be used." Supporters of the law said people sleeping on the streets are unsafe and make residents feel less safe.



The Latest: Ex-addict says Dallas cop helped her get sober
Employment Law | 2019/10/02 02:43
LaWanda Clark told jurors Wednesday during Guyger's murder trial that she struggled with a crack cocaine addiction and that Guyger wrote her a ticket on the day of the drug bust. She says Guyger told her that the ticket could be the impetus to turn her life around.

While Clark was speaking, attorneys showed jurors a photo of Guyger attending Clark's graduation from a community drug treatment program.

Clark said Guyger treated her as a person, not as "an addict," and said she is now sober.

Guyger faces up to life in prison for the September 2018 shooting death of Botham Jean. She says she mistook Jean's apartment for her own, which was one floor below.

A high school friend who played in an all-female mariachi band with Amber Guyger says the former Dallas police officer feels "immense remorse" for fatally shooting a neighbor in his own apartment.

Maribel Chavez testified Wednesday that she met Guyger in ninth grade during orchestra practice. They later went on to play in a mariachi band, with Guyger playing violin and trumpet.

Chavez said Guyger is typically bubbly and extroverted, but that since she killed her neighbor, Botham Jean, in September 2018, "It's like you shut her light off."

She described her friend as selfless, caring and a protector of those around her.


Texas man accused in fatal I-70 pileup appears in court
Employment Law | 2019/04/26 04:55
Court documents say that a speeding semitruck passed a runaway truck ramp before plowing into other vehicles on a crowded highway near Denver, killing four people and injuring at least six others.

The truck driver, 23-year-old Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, of Houston, made his first court appearance Saturday after being arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide.

State District Judge Chris Zenisek set $400,000 bond. Aguilera-Mederos, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, didn't speak during the hearing. He was represented by Denver attorney Robert Corry, who couldn't be reached for comment afterward.

His next court hearing is set for May 3 when prosecutors are expected to file charges against Aguilera-Mederos, who remains in the Jefferson County jail.

The crash happened Thursday on Interstate 70 where the highway descends from the Rocky Mountains.



Texas’ high court keeps execution drug supplier secret
Employment Law | 2019/04/12 23:47
A supplier of Texas’ execution drugs can remain secret under a court ruling Friday that upheld risks of “physical harm” to the pharmacy, ending what state officials called a threat to the entire U.S. death penalty system.

The decision by the Texas Supreme Court, where Republicans hold every seat on the bench, doesn’t change operations at the nation’s busiest death chamber because state lawmakers banned the disclosure of drug suppliers for executions starting in 2015.

A lawsuit filed a year earlier by condemned Texas inmates argued that the supplier’s identity was needed to verify the quality of the drugs and spare them from unconstitutional pain and suffering. Lower courts went on to reject Texas’ claims that releasing the name would physically endanger pharmacy employees at the hands of death-penalty opponents.

Now, however, the state’s highest court has found the risks valid and ordered the identity of the supplier to stay under wraps.

“The voters of Texas have expressed their judgment that the death penalty is necessary, and this decision preserves Texas’ ability to carry out executions mandated by state law,” Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

The court deciding that a “substantial” risk of harm exists appeared to largely hinge on an email sent to an Oklahoma pharmacy in which the sender suggested they enhance security and referenced the bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.

“I’m speechless with the absurdity of them relying on that singular fact to close, to keep in secret how Texas essentially carries out its execution,” said Maurie Levin, a defense attorney who helped bring the original lawsuit.

The availability of execution drugs has become an issue in many death penalty states after traditional pharmaceutical makers refused to sell their products to prison agencies for execution use. Similar lawsuits about drug provider identities have been argued in other capital punishment states.


Smollett team: Court cameras would show state's flimsy case
Employment Law | 2019/03/16 06:15
A lawyer for Jussie Smollett said Tuesday that she would welcome cameras in the courtroom during the “Empire” actor’s trial on charges accusing him of lying to the police, saying there has been a lot of leaked misinformation and cameras would allow the public to “see the evidence and the lack thereof.”

Attorney Tina Glandian made the comments during a brief hearing Tuesday in Cook County criminal court during which both sides agreed that cameras would be allowed at the next hearing in the case, which is scheduled for Thursday. During that hearing, the case will be assigned to a trial judge who will then likely ask Smollett to enter a plea.

During the hearing, which was held after local news organizations requested that cameras be allowed in the courtroom, Judge LeRoy Martin, Jr. said that the new judge will decide whether or not to allow cameras in the courtroom during subsequent hearings and the trial.

After the hearing, Glandian told reporters that evidence has been presented against Smollett that is “demonstrably false.”

“We welcome cameras in the courtroom so that the public and the media can see the actual evidence and what we believe is the lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett and we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out,” she said.

Smollett was charged last month with one count of misconduct —the felony in Illinois that people are charged with when accused of lying to police — because he allegedly lied to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two masked men in downtown Chicago on Jan. 29. Last week, a grand jury indicted him on 16 counts of the same crime.

Prosecutors allege that Smollett, who is black and gay, enlisted the help of two other black men and staged the Jan. 29 attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career. Those men have admitted to police that they took part in the staged attack for Smollett, who paid them $3,500.

Smollett’s attorneys have called 16 counts “prosecutorial overkill.” The actor, who is free on bond, maintains his innocence.


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