Patterico's Pontifications


Federal Government to resume Executions

Filed under: Crime,General,Law — DRJ @ 10:25 am

[Headline from DRJ]

Trump Justice Department to resume federal executions:

Attorney General William Barr has directed that executions for five death-row inmates be scheduled. If carried out, they will be the first federal executions since 2003.

Only three federal executions have taken place since 1988, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. All five of the death-row inmates named in Thursday’s release were convicted for the murders of children.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has adopted a regulation that will require federal authorities to use a single drug, pentobarbital, in federal executions, according to the DOJ release. That drug is used by several states for lethal injections.

The names of the five inmates are in the DOJ Press Release, and I think this is a list of federal inmates on death row.



In Support of Section 230 of 1996’s Communications Decency Act

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 1:27 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Tech critics on both sides have it wrong: Section 230 is not a special privilege:

Recently, both Republicans and Democrats have publicly questioned the future of one of the most important laws underpinning the explosion of the internet: Section 230 of 1996’s Communications Decency Act. Policymakers including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) have both called the law, which protects internet providers and platforms from liability for the content their users generate, an unfair and special privilege for tech companies.

But in a new Mercatus Center at George Mason University working paper, we discuss why Section 230 is about accelerating sound legal precedent and free speech protection, not special privilege. It emerged as the codification of a pro-speech legal principle that had been developing since the 1930s: Media distributors should very rarely be liable for the content they transmit.

Starting with earlier technologies like newswire services and radio, courts began to recognize that free speech norms and a need for pragmatic rules should outweigh arguments for holding what are essentially conduits of information liable for that information. One early case found that a radio station should not be subject to strict liability for a host remarking that a certain establishment was a “rotten hotel.” As information technology expanded, so did this norm to include new mediums and address concerns such as newsstands and libraries

The rest is at the link.



13-year-old Iowa Boy on Trial for Attempted Murder

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 7:48 am

[Headline from DRJ]

Did Iowa 12-year-old pull the trigger to get attention or to kill his teacher?

A jury of seven men and five women will decide if Luke Andrews, 13, intended to kill his teacher in a North Scott Junior High School classroom last August.

In their closing arguments, prosecutor Julie Walton and defense attorney Melanie Thwing agreed on Tuesday that Andrews, then 12, pointed a loaded Smith & Wesson .22-caliber in the face of his seventh-grade social studies teacher, Dawn Spring, and pulled the trigger the morning of Aug. 31, the fifth day of the school year.

They disagree about whether he intended to kill her.

‘I accepted the fact that I was going to die': Teachers recall boy pointing gun in class:

Friday morning, [teacher Dawn] Spring took the witness stand. She testified that once MacDonald got her attention in the classroom, Andrews was holding the gun in the direction of other students.

Spring said she walked toward Andrews, “in hopes to distract him from the students,” and said, “something to the effect of, ‘Oh man, it looks like you’re having a really bad day.'”

Andrews walked toward Spring, and they faced each other near the front of the class, about 3 or 4 feet apart, Spring said.

“As he approaches me and we come face to face, he says nothing. I say nothing. He puts the gun up at face level and pulls the trigger,” Spring said. “I thought I heard an audible click from the gun, and then he turned the gun and kind of looked at it funny, like, ‘that’s weird,’ kind of a look at it, then he put it up in my face a second time.”

The verdict:

Jurors convicted Luke Andrews of assault while displaying a dangerous weapon, carrying weapons on school grounds, and assault with intent to inflict serious injury. They declined to convict him of attempted murder, instead selecting the second assault charge from a list of lesser, included offenses available to them, along with acquittal.


Follow Up: Hush Money Prosecution

Filed under: Law,Politics — DRJ @ 7:11 am

[Headline from DRJ]

Prosecutors weighed DOJ policy blocking indictment of a sitting president in closing Trump hush-money probe.

He did it. He can’t be prosecuted because he is President. “The investigation is over.”



DOJ Ends Hush Money Probe of Trump

Filed under: Law,Politics — DRJ @ 9:30 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

Justice Department ends probe of hush-money payments in final months of Donald Trump’s campaign, judge says:

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in New York have concluded their investigation of hush-money payments President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer orchestrated to quiet potential sex scandals in the final months of his campaign, a judge said Wednesday.

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, said he engineered payments to two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump to silence them before the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors said those payments violated federal campaign finance laws, and both they and Cohen have said publicly that Cohen arranged them at Trump’s direction.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley revealed the end of the probe in a brief order on Wednesday, in which he instructed the government to make public some of the search warrants it used when investigating Cohen.

Judge Pauley’s Order is here. It orders the release of the Status report and search warrants by July 18, 2019, at 11:00 AM EST.

So this means Trump’s DOJ believes there is insufficient evidence of obstruction campaign/hush money violations to indict Trump, right? Or maybe it means the DOJ Guidelines that it cannot indict a sitting President apply here, too.



John Paul Stevens (1920-2019)

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 7:44 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

John Paul Stevens dies at 99:

John Paul Stevens, a moderate Republican and former antitrust lawyer from Chicago who evolved into a savvy and sometimes passionate leader of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing and became the third-longest-serving justice on the court before he retired in 2010, died July 16 at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 99.

The cause was complications from a stroke he suffered Monday, according to an announcement from the Supreme Court. The only justices who served longer were William O. Douglas, whom Justice Stevens replaced in 1975, and Stephen J. Field, a nominee of President Abraham Lincoln who served for much of the late 19th century.




Administration proposes new Asylum Rules

Filed under: Government,Immigration,Law — DRJ @ 6:29 am

[Headline from DRJ]

Trump to end asylum protections for Central American migrants at US-Mexico border:

The Trump administration is moving to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

According to a new rule published in the Federal Register, asylum seekers who pass through another country before reaching the U.S. will be ineligible for asylum when they reach the southern border.
Under the rule, those who have been the victims of trafficking are granted exceptions. The rule also allows exceptions for migrants passing through countries that have not signed major international refugee treaties and for migrants who have been denied asylum in the countries they traveled through.

ADDED: More at Sara Carter’s blog on today’s Stricter Asylum Rules: Immigrants Must Apply In First Safe Country They Enter, including:

“The rule’s bar on asylum eligibility for aliens who fail to apply for protection in at least one third country through which they transit en route to the United States also aims to further the humanitarian purposes of asylum,” Barr stated in Monday’s decision. “It prioritizes individuals who are unable to obtain protection from persecution elsewhere and individuals who are victims of a “severe form of trafficking in persons” as defined by 8 CFR 214.11, many of whom do not volitionally transit through a third country to reach the United States.”

This makes sense and can be defended in court.



9th Circuit: Trump DOJ can withhold grants to Sanctuary Cities

Filed under: Immigration,Law — DRJ @ 4:00 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Courthouse News:

Justice Department Cleared to Tie Police Grants to ICE Cooperation

Reversing, a divided Ninth Circuit panel ruled Friday the Justice Department acted lawfully when it withheld federal grants from Los Angeles for refusing to comply with the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

And from The Hill:

The ruling, a split 2-1 decision, said the Department of Justice (DOJ) was within its rights to withhold Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants from sanctuary cities and states over their refusal to work with federal immigration enforcement authorities and instead prioritize agencies that focused on unauthorized immigration and agreed to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) access to jail records and immigrants in custody.

The city of Los Angeles first sued the administration after it was denied a $3 million grant on the grounds that it did not receive the money because it did not focus on immigration for its community policing grant application. The decision reversed a district court’s ruling.



Trump Surrenders on Census Change

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 4:40 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

It has been rumored all day but now two media are reporting that Trump caved:

AP News — Trump abandons bid to include citizenship question on census.

Daily Mail: — BREAKING NEWS: Trump SURRENDERS on asking citizenship question in 2020 Census and instead orders massive trawl of federal databases to find non-citizens claiming ‘We will leave no stone unturned’



4th Circuit Dismisses Emoluments Lawsuit against Trump

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 8:02 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

The HillAppeals court dismisses Emoluments Clause lawsuit in win for Trump:

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Maryland and D.C. alleging that President Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, finding that they did not have the standing to sue the president.

A report on oral argument in the case last March indicated a win for Trump:

A federal appeals court panel was indisputably hostile Tuesday to a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating the Constitution by profiting from his business dealings with foreign countries seeking to curry favor with his administration.

The uphill battle the suit faces was evident before the arguments even began Tuesday morning when it was revealed that all three 4th Circuit Court of Appeals judges assigned to the case are GOP appointees, including two of the court’s most conservative jurists.

One of those judges suggested that the suit could be a precursor to attempting to drive the president from office through impeachment. And two of the judges came close to accusing the Maryland-based district court judge handling the suit, Clinton-appointee Peter Messitte, of impropriety for trying to engineer the challenge rather than responding to legal issues presented to him by the officials who brought the suit: the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C.

A NY federal court dismissed another emoluments lawsuit (there are 3 cases), also based on standing. That case is on appeal in the 2nd Circuit. It is curious the courts are using standing but the Emoluments Clause is rarely tested, so it may be difficult to apply.


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