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Connecticut Senate OKs bill that protects abortion providers
Lawyer Blog News | 2022/05/02 21:30
The Connecticut Senate gave final legislative approval shortly before midnight Friday to a bill abortion rights advocates contend is needed to protect in-state medical providers from legal action stemming from out-of-state laws, as well as the patients who travel to Connecticut to terminate a pregnancy and those who help them.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said lawmakers in Connecticut, a state with a long history of supporting abortion rights, needed to pass the legislation “in defense of our own values and our own legal system.” It comes after Texas enacted a law that authorizes lawsuits against clinics, doctors and others who perform or facilitate a banned abortion, even in another state.

The bill, which already cleared the House of Representatives earlier this month, passed in the Senate on a 25-9 vote. It now moves to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk. The Democrat has said he will sign it.

Supporters voiced concern about the spate of new abortion restrictions being enacted in a growing number of conservative states and the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.


Arizona court won’t halt sex suits naming Boy Scouts, others
Lawyer Blog News | 2022/04/13 05:41
Arizona victims of long-ago child sex abuse can proceed with lawsuits against groups like the Boy Scouts of America after the state Supreme Court rejected claims that a state law extending victims’ right to sue was unconstitutional.

Arizona is among many states that have reacted to child sex abuse in recent years by allowing victims of even decades-old abuse to sue groups that didn’t protect them from predators. That has led to lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church, Scouts and others.

The high court last week rejected appeals by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and its affiliates in central and southern Arizona of lower court rulings that found a 2019 law extending the statute of limitations was constitutional.

The rulings appear to be the first to directly address whether the Arizona law is legal, according to Phoenix attorney Robert Pastor, who represents victims in the two cases the high court considered.

Those lawsuits allege that the group that connects youth called “Littles” with adult mentors known as “Bigs” did not properly oversee the Bigs. The cases involved two men who abused boys, one in 1983 and one in the 1970s, court filings show. The men are not defendants.



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.


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.


Democrats sue to overturn new Kansas congressional districts
Lawyer Blog News | 2022/02/14 14:04
Democrats sued Kansas officials on Monday over a Republican redistricting law that costs the state’s only Democrat in Congress some of the territory in her Kansas City-area district that she carries by wide margins in elections.

A team of attorneys led by Democratic attorney Marc Elias’ firm filed the lawsuit in Wyandotte County District Court in the Kansas City area. Elias has been involved in lawsuits in multiple states, including Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio, and he promised that the new Kansas map would be challenged when the GOP-controlled Legislature on Wednesday overrode Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of it.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five voters and a Kansas voting-rights group, Loud Light. The defendants are the elections commissioner for Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, the state’s top elections official.

Kansas is part of a broader national battle over redrawing congressional districts. Republicans hope to recapture a U.S. House majority in this year’s elections, and both parties are watching states’ redistricting efforts because they could help either pick up or defend individual seats.

The Kansas redistricting law removes the northern part of Kansas City, Kansas, from the 3rd District that U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids represents and puts it in the neighboring 2nd District, which includes the state capital of Topeka but also rural communities across eastern Kansas. Kansas City is among Republican-leaning Kansas’ few Democratic strongholds.

Elias has said the GOP map for Kansas is “blatantly unconstitutional.” Democrats argued that it amounts to partisan gerrymandering aimed at costing Davids’ her seat, while diluting the clout of Black and Hispanic voters by cutting their numbers in her district. They also have argued that the map is unacceptable because it fails to keep the core of the state’s side of the Kansas City area in a single district.


Temple prof seeks reinstatement of damage claims against FBI
Lawyer Blog News | 2022/02/10 10:32
A Temple University physics professor who was charged with sharing scientific technology with China only for the case to collapse before trial and be dismissed by the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court on Monday to reinstate his clams for damages against the U.S. government.

Lawyers for Xiaoxing Xi and his wife say in a brief filed Monday with a Philadelphia-based appeals court that a judge erred last year when he dismissed most of the claims in their federal lawsuit. They assert that the FBI agent who led the investigation “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly” made false statements and misrepresented evidence so that prosecutors could get an indictment.

“When law enforcement agents abuse the legal process by obtaining indictments and search warrants based on misrepresentations or by fabricating evidence, it undermines the legitimacy of the courts,” Xi’s legal team, which includes lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in the brief.


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