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Swedish court temporarily frees A$AP Rocky from jail
Law Firm Business | 2019/08/14 16:28
The bodyguard of A$AP Rocky has told a Swedish court that the strange behavior and the "glossy" eyes of the man that the American rapper and his entourage are accused of assaulting in June alerted him that something was not right.

Timothy Leon Williams testified before Stockholm District Court on Friday that he saw 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari, the alleged victim, approaching the rapper's entourage outside a restaurant in Stockholm and trying to talk with them.

Speaking in English, Williams said he didn't understand what language Jafari was speaking. Williams said he knew "something's not right about him. I'm noticing it because I'm a bodyguard. I'm looking at him and saw that his eyes were really glossy, like he's on something."

Trump had sought earlier to personally intervene on the rapper's behalf, a move rebuffed by Sweden's leader. On Friday Trump tweeted, "It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!"

Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, is accused with two others of beating a 19-year-old man in Stockholm on June 30.

A Swedish court has ruled that the three suspects can be freed from detention until the verdict is announced Aug. 14.

Trump tweeted "A$AP Rocky released from prison and on his way home to the United States from Sweden." But it wasn't immediately clear from the decision Friday by Stockholm District Court whether the suspects could leave the country.


Cosby lawyers ask appeals court to toss #MeToo conviction
Law Firm Business | 2019/08/11 23:28
A Pennsylvania appeals court on Monday questioned why actor Bill Cosby never got a supposed non-prosecution agreement in writing as his lawyers asked the panel to overturn his sexual assault conviction.

Cosby, 82, is serving a three- to 10-year prison term for drugging and molesting a woman at his home in what became the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

The three-judge panel asked why Cosby’s top-shelf lawyers didn’t follow the norm and get an immunity agreement in writing, and approved by a judge, when accuser Andrea Constand first came forward in 2005.

“This is not a low-budget operation. ... They had an unlimited budget,” said Superior Court Judge John T. Bender. “Could it be they knew this was something the trial court would never have allowed?”

Cosby’s lawyers have long argued that he relied on the promise before giving testimony in Constand’s 2005 lawsuit that proved incriminating when it was unsealed a decade later.


Judge files order against lawyer with ties to Southern group
Law Firm Business | 2019/08/03 23:21
An attorney who previously led the North Carolina chapter of a group that advocates for Southern secession has been ordered not to handle clients' money.

A Wake County judge filed an order that prohibits Harold Ray Crews of Walkertown from accepting or disbursing client funds. The order signed Monday says the North Carolina State Bar received information that Crews had mishandled money entrusted to him.

It also says that Crews wants to cooperate and won't appeal the order. As recently as 2017, Crews was chairman of the state chapter of the Alabama-based League of the South, which advocates for Southern secession.

After a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Crews sought charges against DeAndre Harris, a black man who was severely beaten during the rally. A judge acquitted Harris.




Democratic governor getting to shape Kansas' top court
Law Firm Business | 2019/07/29 17:25
The Kansas Supreme Court's chief justice plans to retire before the end of the year, allowing first-year Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to leave a bigger mark on the state's highest court than her conservative Republican predecessors.

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss announced Friday that he would step down Dec. 17 after serving on the court since 2002 and as chief justice since 2010. During Nuss' tenure as chief justice, GOP conservatives increasingly criticized the court as too liberal and too activist for the state over rulings on abortion, capital punishment and public school funding.

His announcement came a little more than two weeks after Justice Lee Johnson, another target of criticism on the right, announced plans to retire in September. That means Kelly will have two appointments to the seven-member court since she took office in January when conservative GOP Govs. Sam Brownback and Jeff Colyer had only one appointee between them during the previous eight years.

Both justices voted repeatedly to direct legislators to increase education funding in recent years and were part of the 6-1 majority that declared in April that the state constitution protects access to abortion as a "fundamental" right. They also voted to overturn death sentences in capital murder cases, though Nuss concluded that the death penalty law itself is constitutional.


Meek Mill’s conviction thrown out, granted new trial
Law Firm Business | 2019/07/25 00:30
A Pennsylvania appeals court on Wednesday overturned rapper Meek Mill’s conviction in a drug and gun case that has kept the rapper on probation for a decade and made him a celebrity crusader for criminal justice reform.

The unanimous three-judge panel said that new evidence that undermines the credibility of the officer who testified against the rapper at his trial made it likely he would be acquitted if the case were retried.

City prosecutors have backed the defense bid for a new trial and confirmed they do not trust the officer, who has since left the force and was the only prosecution witness at the 2008 nonjury trial. Still, District Attorney Larry Krasner said Wednesday his office needs time to decide whether to drop the case.

The 32-year-old performer, born Robert Rihmeek Williams, is now free of the court supervision he’s been under most of his adult life. Williams has said he had trouble notifying probation officers about his travels as required because of the erratic nature of the music industry. A little more than a year ago, he spent five months in prison over technical violations of his parole.

“The past 11 years have been mentally and emotionally challenging, but I’m ecstatic that justice prevailed,” Williams said in a statement. “Unfortunately, millions of people are dealing with similar issues in our country and don’t have the resources to fight back like I did. We need to continue supporting them.”

Reginald Graham, the officer who wrote the search warrant in Williams’ case and testified at his trial, left the Philadelphia Police department a few years ago after an internal probe found he had stolen money and then lied about it.

Graham testified at trial that Williams pointed a gun at him during his 2007 arrest outside his southwest Philadelphia home. Williams, who was 19 at the time, has denied pointing a gun at police.



Stevens' colleagues pay respects in Supreme Court ceremony
Law Firm Business | 2019/07/22 01:17
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has been remembered as a "brilliant man" with a "deep devotion to the rule of law" during a ceremony at the court where he served for nearly 35 years.

Stevens died last week in Florida at age 99 after suffering a stroke, and his body is in repose in the court's Great Hall.

At a ceremony Monday morning, Justice Elena Kagan called Stevens modest and humble. Kagan replaced Stevens on the court when he retired in 2010.

Six of Stevens' former colleagues were at the court to pay their respects. Besides Kagan, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor attended the ceremony along with retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Stevens will be buried Tuesday in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.



US court weighs if climate change violates children’s rights
Law Firm Business | 2019/06/05 19:18
In a courtroom packed with environmental activists, federal judges wrestled Tuesday with whether climate change violates the constitutional rights of young people who have sued the U.S. government over the use of fossil fuels.

A Justice Department attorney warned three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowing the case to go to trial would be unprecedented and open the doors to more lawsuits.

“This case would have earth-shattering consequences,” Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark said.

He called the lawsuit “a direct attack on the separation of powers” and said the 21 young people who filed it want the courts to direct U.S. energy policy, instead of government officials.

The young people are pressing the government to stop promoting the use of fossil fuels, saying sources like coal and oil cause climate change and violate their Fifth Amendment rights to life, liberty and property.

The judges seemed to feel the enormity of the case, which the plaintiffs’ lawyer compared in scope to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling that mandated desegregation of schools in the 1950s.

If the case moves forward, the judiciary would be “dealing with different branches of government and telling them what to do,” said Judge Andrew Hurwitz, instead of issuing court orders telling officials to stop doing something deemed unconstitutional.

The dire threat to people, particularly the young, demands such action, said Julia Olson, chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust, which is representing the plaintiffs.


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