He wants to take his case before a jury. The district court denied this motion because of the overwhelming evidence against Lee, ruling that his conviction at trial was so certain that his counsel’s bad advice didn’t actually harm him, particularly given the much longer prison sentence he would receive if convicted after trial.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reasoned that that the only chance Lee had was acquittal by “jury nullification,” which is the doctrine that says a jury can return a “not guilty” verdict even after it has concluded that the person on trial violated the law. Why order a new trial based upon an idea so irrational and antiquated, the Court reasoned.
In addition to the jail time, Haglin also will have to serve a special sentence of parole for 10 years and be placed on the sex offender registry for 10 years due to the nature of the offense.
CEDAR RAPIDS — Trish Mehaffey reports: A judge on Friday sentenced former Washington
High substitute teacher Mary Beth Haglin to 90 days in jail for having a sexual relationship — that started in 2015 and continued into last year — with a 17-year-old Washington High
Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever said he didn’t think a deferred judgment and probation, as recommended by defense, and 180 days in jail, as recommended by prosecutor, were appropriate.
McKeever said he had considered all the facts of the case and both recommendations, but he believed the appropriate sentence was 360 days in jail. He did, however, suspend 270 days, which requires Haglin to serve 90 days in jail. He also placed her on supervised probation for two years.
McKeever also warned her that because this is a sexual offense she would be subject to an enhanced penalty — more prison time — for any future conviction.
Haglin, during the sentencing, apologized to the victim and the court. She never went into teaching for this to happen, she said.
“I’m more complex than this one snapshot in time,” Haglin told the judge.
Assistant Linn County Attorney Heidi Carmer said during the hearing these kinds of cases are particularly difficult because the best outcome for both the victim and the community have to be considered. But the facts in this case “can’t be overlooked.” There was an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and a student, she argued.
Carmer said 180 days in jail would hold her accountable, protect the victim and community and discourage others from this kind of crime.
Katie Frank, Haglin’s lawyer, asked the judge to consider a deferred judgment or a suspended sentence and probation. Frank argued that Haglin had no previous criminal history, and she believed it was the intent of the law, that because this wasn’t a forcible felony, she would be eligible for a deferred or suspended judgment. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON — In a recent stump speech for Hillary Clinton, President Obama once again took credit for increased domestic energy production and low gasoline prices:
“Remember when we were all concerned about our dependence on foreign oil? Well, let me tell you — we’ve cut the amount of oil we buy from other countries in half. Remember when the other team was promising they were going to get gas prices down in like 10 years? We did it…”
Today, the Institute for Energy Research released an updated analysis explaining how the increase in energy production has happened despite the president’s policies, not because of them. Using a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, IER’s analysis highlights the stark contrast between booming oil and natural gas production on private and state lands and the anemic production on federal lands. IER’s findings include:
In fiscal year 2015, oil production on federal lands was 0.8 percent more than its high reached in fiscal year 2010, while production on private and state lands was 113 percent higher.
Natural gas production on federal lands has not regained the high reached in fiscal year 2007. For example, it was 27 percent less in fiscal year 2015 than in fiscal year 2010, while production on private and state lands in 2015 was up by 55 percent since 2010.
Under the Obama administration, it takes an average of 237 days for the BLM to process a federal drilling permit.
In contrast, some states approve permits within 10 business days.
The average number of leases issued by Obama’s BLM is almost 60 percent less than the average issued by the Clinton Administration and over 45 percent less than those issued by the Bush 43 Administration.
In recent years, oil and natural gas production on private and state lands has skyrocketed, while production on federal lands is largely in decline and has been throughout most of President Obama’s time in office. Read the rest of this entry »
Richard A. Serrano, Richard Winton, Sarah Parvini and James Queally report: An examination of digital equipment recovered from the home of the couple who killed 14 people in San Bernardino last week has led FBI investigators to believe the shooters were planning an even larger assault, according to federal government sources.
FBI agents will probably spend days searching Seccombe Lake and canvassing the neighborhood for clues after receiving a tip that the couple may have visited the area on the day of the attack, according to David Bowdich, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
Farook and Malik were in the final planning stages of an assault on a location or building that housed a lot more people than the Inland Regional Center, possibly a nearby school or college, according to federal sources familiar with the widening investigation.
Investigators have based that conclusion on evidence left behind on Farook and Malik’s computers and digital devices, not all of which the couple were able to destroy before they were killed in a firefight with police, the sources said.
Images of San Bernardino-area schools were found on a cellphone belonging to Farook, according to a law enforcement source. But the source cautioned that Farook may have had a legitimate reason to have the images because his work as a county health inspector involved checking on school dining facilities.
On Thursday, one of the federal government sources told The Times that Farook asked his friend and neighbor, Enrique Marquez, to buy two military-style rifles used in the attacks because he feared he “wouldn’t pass a background check” if he attempted to acquire the weapons on his own. The rifles were bought at a local gun store, the source said.
The timing of the rifle purchases is significant to FBI investigators. Another federal government source previously told The Times that Farook may have been considering a separate terror plot in 2011 or 2012.
Farook was self-radicalizing around that time, FBI Director James Comey said, and met Malik soon after, eventually escorting her to the United States. Farook was a practicing Muslim. Marquez converted to Islam around the time he purchased the weapons, sources have told The Times.
The lawsuit accuses Al Saud, 29, of being drunk and on drugs — and of making crude sexual advances on men and women alike.
The prince is accused of getting on top of one woman and grinding on her in a “sexual and aggressive manner.” He also allegedly threatened the life of another woman after she refused to “party” with him, the report said. Read the rest of this entry »
But in reality, according to a criminal complaint, she and her soon-to-be husband had a far more sinister trip in mind: flying from Mississippi to Europe, then traveling to Syria and joining ISIS.
Now 20-year-old Jaelyn Delshaun Young and 22-year-old Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla are facing federal charges after authorities arrested them at Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Columbus, Mississippi, over the weekend. They’re accused of conspiring and attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS…(read more)
Under the proposed settlement, ZeoBIT, creators of MacKeeper that later sold the software to German firm Kromtech, will put up to $2 million in a fund to cover attorney fees, refunds and administrative costs, reports MacWorld. One-third is earmarked for lawyers, with a large chunk of the remainder to be meted out equally among claimants who purchased MacKeeper prior to July 8. Read the rest of this entry »
Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court also demanded Clinton, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin provide assurances byWednesday that they would not delete any federal records in their possession.
Sarah Westwood reports: A federal judge ordered Hillary Clinton and two of her top aides not to delete any potentially work-related emails after Clinton’s former chief of staff vowed to discard all electronic copies of her records by Monday.
“The destruction of federal documents in the face of a court order is par for the course for a Clinton-related scandal….If not for the swift action of Judicial Watch’s legal team and an alert federal judge, there is no telling what important public information would have been lost forever.”
The suit claims that in September 2013, 30 employees were targeted for dismissal, mostly older and minority employees. They were replaced ‘in virtually every case by a white employee under the age of 40,’ the suit claims.
Keith J. Kelly reports: The New York Times Co. and its chief revenue officer are being sued by a former ad executive with nine years of service for “age, gender and race” discrimination after she got a new boss.
Tracy Quitasol, a 51-year-old Asian-American woman, was let go in January 2014 by Meredith Levien, who was a high-profile hire from Forbes two years ago and is now the chief revenue officer of the NYT Co.
Quitasol had been heading the Idea Lab, designed to come up with new digital ad programs, and was the executive director of product marketing and ad platform innovation.
The most explosive claim in the suit is the allegation that Levien, in a downsizing that took place in September 2013, let go predominantly older and minority employees.
A Times spokeswoman pointed out the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has passed on taking action on Quitasol’s complaints and said, “We plan to mount a vigorous defense against this suit.”
On the personal front, Quitasol claims in the Manhattan federal court suit that her problems began when Levien — then the executive vice president of advertising — along with the company’s human resources department failed to curb a junior-level staffer who refused to follow her instructions.
Quitasol claims it was a case of “gender discrimination” by the male employee — who, the suit claims, would only respond to instructions from male superiors. She brought the problem to the attention of Levien and HR who, the suit alleges, failed to take action. Read the rest of this entry »
The magazine commissioned an analysis of the article by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and its report in April cited failures at every stage of the reporting process. After the report was made public, Rolling Stone retracted the article.
The magazine has since been the target of lawsuits from an assistant dean at the university and by three members of the fraternity at the center of the article, who filed a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday.
“I think of a man, and I take away reason, and accountability.”
PORTLAND, Ore. – An Oregon resident who transitioned to a woman more than three decades ago continued collecting Social Security disability checks under her male identity, fraudulently raking in $250,000.
Congressional investigators say Social Security has made more than $1 billion in improper disability payments to people who had jobs when they were supposed to be unable to work. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Court records show Richelle McDonald was born Richard McDonald in 1945. In 1974, Richard claimed disability because he was unable to work after suffering a serious arm injury when hit by a San Francisco bus. Read the rest of this entry »
Morgan Rousseau reports: Police arrested a man who drove an SUV past the barricades of a Boston court before removing what appeared to be a large knife or cleaver from under his rear license plate.
A Metro photographer at the scene said police wrangled the bearded man to the ground before arresting him. No one was hurt. The incident happened around 12:50 p.m. outside of the Moakley Federal Court entrance.
Liberals and even some conservatives embrace the ‘heckler’s veto’ threat to the First Amendment
Barry A. Fisher writes: An essential freedom-of-speech paradigm was established in 1949 by the Supreme Court in Terminiello v. Chicago. In that case a vitriolic, racist speaker spoke to an auditorium packed with supporters. Outside the auditorium was what was described as “ ‘a surging, howling mob hurling epithets’ at those who would enter and ‘tried to tear their clothes off.’ ” The police blamed the mob’s action on the speaker, Arthur Terminiello, a Catholic priest under suspension by his bishop. He was convicted of disturbing the peace and fined.
“University of Chicago law professor Harry Kalven Jr. would later coin the term “heckler’s veto” to describe what would have happened had the court decided otherwise. First Amendment rights could be “vetoed” by others who create a public disturbance that forces the silencing of the speaker.”
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, reversed the conviction and ruled that Terminiello’s speech was protected by the First Amendment. The court said that the police, instead of taking action against the speaker, should have protected him and controlled the crowd, including making arrests if necessary. University of Chicago law professor Harry Kalven Jr. would later coin the term “heckler’s veto” to describe what would have happened had the court decided otherwise. First Amendment rights could be “vetoed” by others who create a public disturbance that forces the silencing of the speaker.
Sony ’s recent crisis over the film “The Interview”—along with the domestic political correctness and anti-hate speech movements, various international agreements and globalization itself—is leading the country precisely toward a heckler’s veto.
There is growing support, including among academics and racial and religious advocacy groups, that what they define as hate speech…Law professors have concocted influential concepts like ‘outsider jurisprudence,’ ‘critical race theory,’ ‘critical feminist theory’, and ‘storytelling’ theory to define some kinds of politically incorrect speech as not speech at all, but ‘mechanisms of subordination.'”
Protesters have silenced speakers on several occasions this year, sometimes with the law’s support. In February a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a California high school’s decision to prohibit students from wearing American-flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo “to avert violence.” In August a panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ejection of an anti-Islam Christian group from an Arab festival in Dearborn, Mich., on the theory that the group’s speech would incite festivalgoers to violence. (In October the full court agreed to reconsider the decision.)
In December protesters against the non-indictment of a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., stormed into an auditorium at the University of California, Berkeley, and shut down a speech by Internet entrepreneur Peter Thiel . And during the past academic year, protesters caused the cancellation of commencement addresses by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Rutgers University, and International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde at Smith College. Read the rest of this entry »
“I wonder how the Republican establishment will take this: A federal court has the gumption to declare the obvious — namely, that Obama’s immigration policy is unconstitutional, just as Republican candidates argued while seeking votes during the recent midterm election campaign — only three days after 20 Republican senators astonishingly joined with the Democrats to endorse Obama’s policy as constitutionally valid.”
Earlier Tuesday, a federal court in Pennsylvania declared aspects of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration policy unconstitutional.
According to the opinion by Judge Arthur Schwab, the president’s policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in that it provides a relatively rigid framework for considering applications for deferred action, thus obviating any meaningful case-by-case determination as prosecutorial discretion requires, and provides substantive rights to applicable individuals. As a consequence, Schwab concluded, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.
This is the first judicial opinion to address Obama’s decision to expand deferred action for some individuals unlawfully present in the United States. [I’ve now posted the opinion here.]
Sharyl Attkisson writes: The unexpected resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder follows a series of court rulings against his Department of Justice over its failure to produce documents related to the government’s “Fast and Furious” firearms operation.
Holder also has come under increasing congressional criticism for a tepid investigation of evidence that IRS officials deliberately targeted tea party and other conservative groups for greater scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.
Calling the government’s arguments for “even more time … unconvincing,” a federal judge this week refused to grant Holder’s Justice Department the additional time it requested to turn over a list of Operation Fast and Furious documents withheld under executive privilege exerted by President Obama.
The list is referred to as a “Vaughn index” and requires the Justice Department to justify document-by-document the reasons it hasn’t released the materials. This exercise alone often prompts the release of documents.
The Justice Department sought to delay the Vaughn index until one day before the Nov. 4 midterm elections. But the court ordered the index produced by Oct. 22 instead. The order comes in a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. Read the rest of this entry »
An Ohio federal judge landed a blow for free-speech advocates on Thursday, striking down a law that gave the state government the right to regulate political speech it deemed false.
Under the law, it was illegal to “post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.” According to U.S. District Court judgeTimothy Black’s decision: “We do not want the government (i.e., the Ohio Elections Commission) deciding what is political truth – for fear that the government might persecute those who criticize it. Instead, in a democracy, the voters should decide.”
I noted [above] U.S. District Court judge Timothy Black’s ruling yesterday striking down an Ohio law that allowed the state election commission to censor “false” political speech.
The judge’s decision is a good one, but the best reading in the case is an amicus curiae brief filed on behalf of the plaintiff — by none other than right-wing humorist P.J. O’Rourke. “The case concerns amici,” he writes, “because the law at issue undermines the First Amendment’s protection of the serious business of making politics funny.” Read the rest of this entry »
During a 40-minute hearing, U.S. District Court JudgeRichard Leon repeatedly ripped into the government and DOJ trial counsel David Glass for resisting requests from both sides in the case for government files and e-mails that might be of use in the litigation. At one point, the judge snapped at Glass, ordering him to “sit right down.”
Sherrod was forced to resign as a state rural development director for USDA in 2010 after Breitbart posted video clips online from a speech she gave earlier in the year at an NAACP event. The videos appeared to suggest that Sherrod was a racist. Within a matter of hours, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack dismissed her, acting in consultation with the White House.
Chuck Ross reports: A federal district court judge in Houston ruled Friday in favor of two Baptist universities seeking relief from the Obamacare contraception mandate.
“The religious organization plaintiffs have shown a sincerely held religious belief that the court cannot second-guess,” reads the decision handed down in favor of East Texas Baptist University and Houston Baptist University by Lee H. Rosenthal.
“The plaintiffs have also shown that if they do not comply with a certain requirement that they believe offends that belief, they will face onerous fines.”
Obamacare initially required all large employers to provide for the coverage of contraceptives and other similar products in all non-grandfathered health insurance plans. The health law required that all plans provide coverage for any FDA-approved “contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”
The judge says the government learned from its mistakes on 9/11. | AP Photo
NEW YORK — A federal judge on Friday found that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ telephone records is legal and a valuable part of the nation’s arsenal to counter the threat of terrorism and “only works because it collects everything.”
U.S. District JudgeWilliam Pauley said in a written opinion that the program “represents the government’s counter-punch” to eliminate al-Qaida’s terror network by connecting fragmented and fleeting communications.
“This blunt tool only works because it collects everything,” Pauley said. “The collection is broad, but the scope of counterterrorism investigations is unprecedented.”
He said the mass collection of phone data “significantly increases the NSA’s capability to detect the faintest patterns left behind by individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations. Armed with all the metadata, NSA can draw connections it might otherwise never be able to find.”
He added that such a program, if unchecked, “imperils the civil liberties of every citizen” and he noted the lively debate about the subject across the nation, in Congress and at the White House.
“The question for this court is whether the government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This court finds it is. But the question of whether that program should be conducted is for the other two coordinate branches of government to decide,” he said.