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Kansas AG asking judge to dismiss redistricting lawsuits
Lawyer Blog News | 2022/03/09 17:57
Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking a Wyandotte County judge to dismiss two lawsuits filed over new Kansas congressional district lines enacted by Republican lawmakers.

Schmidt’s request Monday came three days after the Kansas Supreme Court refused to dismiss the lawsuits and another in Douglas County at the Republican attorney general’s request.

Democrats and the voting-rights group Loud Light argue that the congressional redistricting law enacted over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto represents partisan and racial gerrymandering. They say it violates the Kansas Constitution. They’re suing Secretary of State Scott Schwab and county election officials because they would administer the new law.

The map makes it harder for the only Kansas Democrat in Congress, Rep. Sharice Davids, to get reelected in her Kansas City-area district.

Schmidt and fellow Republicans argue that the new map isn’t gerrymandering and even if it were, state courts have no power under the Kansas Constitution to rule on congressional districts.


Not guilty plea entered in alleged drug deal slaying
Law Firm Press | 2022/03/07 18:51
A defendant accused of fatally shooting a man because he didn’t want to pay him for a drug deal pleaded not guilty in Brown County Circuit Court Monday.

Pedro Santiago-Marquez is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and being party to mutilating a corpse in connection with the Sept. 27 murder of Jason Mendez-Ramos.

Prosecutors say Mendez-Ramos was angry that he had not been paid $80,000 for a cocaine deal. A criminal complaint says rather than pay for the cocaine, Santiago-Marquez shot him in the head with a pistol. The victim’s burned body was found at the edge of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus, WLUK-TV reported.

Security videos, cell phone tracking information, and DNA tie Rodriguez-Garcia to that scene, according to the criminal complaint.

Another man, 47-year-old Alexander Burgos-Mojica, is charged with harboring or aiding a felon in connection with the case. He returns to court March 18 for a balance of initial appearance. Rodriguez-Garcia returns to court March 21 for a status conference on the charge of mutilating a corpse.


Israel high court suspends Palestinians’ evictions for now
Attorney Blogs | 2022/03/02 21:04
Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a group of families slated for eviction from a flashpoint east Jerusalem neighborhood can remain in their homes for the time being.

The ruling could work to ease tensions in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which helped ignite the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last year.

The court ruled that the families can stay in their homes for now until Israel carries out a land arrangement, a process that could take years or may not be carried out at all, according to Ir Amim, an advocacy group that was not involved in the court case.

For the time being, the four families residing in the homes will be recognized as protected tenants. Each will deposit a largely symbolic rent amounting to $62 a month to a trust, until the property’s ownership is settled.

Sami Arsheid, a lawyer representing the families’ case before the court, said the decision was “something huge” that ran counter to the previous 63 rulings by Israeli courts on the issue of Palestinian properties in Sheikh Jarrah.


Man convicted of fraudulently seeking $13M in COVID-19 loans
Law Firm News | 2022/02/28 18:26
A Massachusetts businessman has been convicted of fraudulently seeking more than $13 million in federal coronavirus pandemic relief loans, federal prosecutors said.

Elijah Majak Buoi, 40, of Winchester, was convicted Thursday of four counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution following a three-day trial in Boston federal court, according to U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins’ office.

Prosecutors said Buoi submitted six loan applications through the Paycheck Protection Program but misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses for his startup company, Sosuda Tech. He also submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms to support his applications, they said.

The loan program was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act that allowed qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive forgivable loans to cover payroll, mortgages, rent and utilities.

Buoi was able to obtain a $2 million loan before he was arrested in June 2020. Rollins’ office said the government has recovered nearly all of the money.


Gangs control who eats at Mississippi jail, monitor says
Lawyer Blog News | 2022/02/23 23:03
Gangs inside a Mississippi jail often determine whether other inmates receive meals, a court-appointed monitor testified in a federal court hearing.

Elizabeth Simpson testified Tuesday that staffing shortages are so severe at Hinds County’s Raymond Detention Center that gangs and “inmate committees” control certain aspects of life, including whether some inmates get to eat, WLBT-TV reported.

A former administrator of the jail, Maj. Kathryn Bryan, learned staff would put food on carts to take to the jail’s housing units and would let the inmates distribute it, Simpson said. In two cases this January, detainees in a mental health unit were suffering severe weight loss as a result, Simpson said.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a civil contempt order Feb. 4, saying officials in Mississippi’s largest county have failed to fix problems at the jail. He started holding hearings last week to determine whether to order a receivership in which the federal government would take over operation of the jail, with Hinds County paying the tab.

Simpson testified Tuesday that inmate committees determined whether certain detainees could remain in housing units known as pods.


Maryland governor appoints 2 to state’s highest court
Court Feed News | 2022/02/18 21:13
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the appointments of two judges to the state’s highest court on Thursday.

Harford County Circuit Court Judge Angela Eaves has been appointed to the Maryland Court of Appeals. Eaves, who is the first Hispanic judge appointed to the court, has been nominated to succeed Judge Robert McDonald upon his mandatory retirement later this month.

Hogan also announced the appointment of Judge Matthew Fader, of Howard County, to the Court of Appeals. Fader is currently the chief judge of the Court of Special Appeals, Maryland’s intermediate-appellate court. He has been appointed to succeed Judge Joseph Getty upon his mandatory retirement in April.

The Republican governor also announced that Court of Special Appeals Judge E. Gregory Wells will serve as the new chief judge of that court.

In addition, Hogan appointed Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Anne Albright to fill the seat that will open on the Court of Special Appeals with Fader’s departure.


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