Attorney General Sessions Decreases Power Of Immigraton Judges

Jeff Sessions, United States Attorney General, ordered on Thursday that judges overseeing immigration hearings cease the practice of suspending cases on their docket without issuing a judgment.

 

Advocates for the rights of immigrants are upset with the move on the part of Sessions as they view it as a way to unjustly influence immigration courts which are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice. Advocates say the desired result is to expedite the deportation of more immigrants.

 

The practice that has been used by immigration judges is known as “administrative closures.” Judges would often close the cases of immigrants who are awaiting visas or green cards, a process that can sometimes take years, in order to avoid any deportation before their resident status can be upgraded.

 

Critics of the practice point out that in many cases immigrants have been allowed to remain in the U.S. longer than they legally should have.

 

Attorney General Sessions has been an ardent critic of administrative closures and even took the unprecedented step in January of having a case being heard by the Board of Immigration Appeals to be diverted to himself. The case involved a citizen of Guatemala who resided in America and had failed to show up for five immigration hearings. An immigration judge provided the respondent with an administrative closure ruling that attempts to deliver notice of hearings were inadequate.

 

In his Thursday order, Sessions acknowledged that the courts could not properly deal with the volume of cases that would need adjudication if prior administrative closures were to be reopened and ordered them to remain closed.

 

NAIJ President Ashley Tabaddor, says that Sessions’ decision effectively undermined years of efficient and effective operations and that there has been no evidence of any type of immigration abuse that would warrant the action that was taken.

 

The number of administrative closures greatly increased during the presidency of Barack Obama and reached 200,000 closures. The backlog for immigration hearings is presently well over 600,000 cases.

Group Seeks Legal Aid For Incarcerated Teens

Teenage young men being detained at a correctional facility in Southern Illinois will soon be afforded legal representation from private parties after concerns have been raised regarding their access to attorneys.

Lawyers are being recruited by the James B. Moran Center to provide adequate legal representation for youth accused of assaulting staff members at the youth center in Harrisburg, Illinois. The Moran center is an advocacy group that provides low-income youth in the Evanston, Illinois area with social and legal services, will also have lawyers carefully review the cases of a number of youth who have been previously convicted of crimes and are serving sentences as adults.

A published report by the Problica Illinois released in October showed that youth being held at the Harrisburg facility were being sentenced to significant times in prison for minor assaults on staff. These incidents had previously been handled by in-house disciplinary measures.

The staff at Harrisburg was found to have filed more criminal complaints against youth being held at the facility than the staff at the four other youth correctional facilities combined for the years 2016 and 2017. A large number of these cases were adjudicated in the juvenile court system but for offenders who reached their 18th birthday while still residents of the Harrisburg facility were charged as adults.

Moran Center Executive Director Patrick Keenan-Devlin is critical of the facility saying that not only is Harrisburg not providing these children with the rehabilitation necessary to reroute their lives but they are taking actions that further ensnare these youths into an already “broken system.”

The Moran Center received a $10,000 grant to hire attorneys that are willing to represent these youthful offenders. Keenan-Devlin says that the center will also talk to lawyers working for larger firms to dedicate their time and legal expertise in a volunteer capacity.

Saline County, where Harrisburg is located, is a town of 25,000 that does not have its own public defender’s office. Instead, the county enters into contract agreement with local attorneys to provide these services.

Government Official Resigns Over Fight Regarding Protection Status For Immigrants

The administration of United States President Donald Trump refused to heed the advice of experts when it forced officials with the Department of Homeland Security to revoke the Temporary Protected Status that had been enjoyed by Honduran nationals.

 

Temporary Protected Status is enacted to provide relief for individuals who cannot return to their country of origin due to prevailing dangers there often as a result of natural disaster or war. It has been normal procedure over the years for this status to be periodically renewed upon advice from United States diplomats working in the countries in question.

 

The Trump administration has operated quite differently from past administrations regarding the matter and already Temporary Protected Status has been taken away from Salvadorians, Haitians, and now Hondurans. The groups are now provided with 18 months to gain the legal right to reside in the country or before to leave the United States.

 

Despite warnings by the State Department that returning high volumes of immigrants to already troubled nations at once can work to destabilize these regions, it the position of the Trump administration that no threat remains in these immigrants’ countries of origin and it is safe for them to return.

 

Rex Tillerson, former Secretary of State, along with others, applied the pressure to former Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke to end TPS for Hondurans. The decision was under the sole jurisdiction of Duke and despite her individual protests, she would eventually succumb to the pressure. Elaine Duke recently stepped down from the position.

 

Democratic Senators penned letters to the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the United States Immigration Services on May 7. The letters were requests to the agencies to investigate discrepancies between internal documents that encouraged the renewal of TPS for Haitians and the actions taken on the part of the Trump Administration. An additional request was made by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey to the United States Government Accountability Office to begin an independent investigation.

 

A recent report suggests that the move to withdraw TPS for certain groups along with the cancellation of the DACA program could affect the lives of as many as 1 million immigrants now in the country.

Lawsuit Filed By Apprentice Contestant Against Trump Will Remain Active

A state appeals court in New York has decided not to honor a bid by the United States President Donald Trump to put an end to a lawsuit for defamation by a contestant that once appeared on his hit TV reality show, The Apprentice. The contestant, who is female, has accused Trump of making unwanted sexual advances toward her.

The appellate division in Manhattan gave no explanation of its decision not to stop Summer Zervos’ lawsuit but the California restauranteur will indeed be allowed by the court to go forward with the action.

Trump has made the argument that he is legally exempted from private conduct lawsuits that predate his becoming president. State Supreme Court Judge, Jennifer Schecter, ruled against the Trump argument and this is the issue behind the president’s appeal.

Zervos appeared on the television show with Trump in 2005 and has reported being kissed without her permission at a location in New York during a 2007 meeting and groped her while alone in a hotel in Beverly Hills.

Zervos came forward with her story in October 2016, following the release of an audio recording of the president appearing to boast about inappropriate sexual misconduct being perpetrated against women.

President Trump has apologized for the vulgar comments but has called the women that have come forward after the recording was made available to the public “liars.” The president also used Twitter to republish a post by another user that characterized Zervos’ claim as a hoax.

The basis of the Zervos lawsuit is the assertion that by Trump calling her a liar he has defamed her character. Zervos also says that she has been damaged by the loss of business to her restaurant as a result of this defamation.

The latest of a group of women who have said that President Trump has either behaved inappropriately or had an affair with them is adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Daniels received $130,000 as part of a past agreement to remain silent about sexual encounters with the president but is now looking to have the agreement ended.

Backlash For Manhattan Lawyer Giving Racist Rant On Video Now Extended To His Employer

 

The response from the public came quickly as the man who has been surrounded by controversy since a tape of him going on a racist rant aimed toward Spanish-speaking employees of a local New York restaurant. The man, who has been identified as attorney Aaron Schlossberg, could be heard on the video threatening to call immigration officials on the workers in order to have them “kicked out of my country.”

 

The firm that employs Schlossberg, has been bombarded with negative reviews on Yelp as a result of the incident. Yelp has since removed the reviews and issued a statement saying that its policy is to remover all reviews, whether positive or negative, that are more motivated by current events in the news instead of the service provided by the company in question.

 

The obviously angered man while making his admonishment on video at a restaurant in mid-town Manhattan complained that workers were addressing customers in Spanish when “they should be speaking English.” Schlossberg was also sure to remind the workers that they now resided in America. He then made the accusation that the workers did not have the legal right to be in the country.

 

Columnist Shaun King, via The Intercept, an online news site issued a requested to his nearly 1 million followers on Twitter that they help with the identification of the individual in the video. King reports that the identification was made and confirmed with the help of seven former classmates of Schlossberg at John Hopkins University where he did his undergraduate studies, and George Washington University, where he obtained his law degree.

 

The next day while leaving his Manhattan apartment, Schlossberg found the New York Daily News waiting for him. Schlossberg made no comment to reporters but telephoned the police to report that he was being both harassed and defamed.

 

A second video has been released of Schlossberg, berating a man and using words that were blatantly racist. It is unclear when exactly the second video was recorded but it turns out the man was an American born citizen.

Louisiana and the Stand Your Ground Law

On Thursday, May 3, Aaron Neames was convicted of attempted manslaughter by a jury in the state of Louisiana. Mr. Neames and his defense team were attempting to justify his actions in the case based on Louisiana’s Stand Your Ground law.

The Stand Your Ground Law states that a person has the right to defend himself with force if he is in a place that he is allowed to be. If another person approaches with forceful intent, a person may repulse the attack. This includes the use of deadly force if the person who is where he has the right to be believes that his life is in possible danger. The law also gives a person the right to use deadly force if that person believes that an attacker is going to inflict harm upon another person.

In the Neames case, the jury did not believe that the facts of the case met the requirements of the Stand Your Ground Law. Here is what happened.

In 2015, Benjamin Jarreau broke into the home of Mr. Neames in an attempt to get money. Jarreau stated that he had made a drug purchase at the Neames’ residence previously, so he believed that there would be plenty of cash on hand.

When Mr. Neames arrived at this house, he found Jarreau inside. Neames wrestled the gun away from Jarreau, and Jarreau ran to his vehicle to escape. While Jarreau was fleeing, Neames fired multiple shots into the vehicle striking but not killing Jarreau.

The conviction of Aaron Neames is seen as a tightening of the Stand Your Ground Law that exists in Louisiana and several other states. Prosecutors in this case wanted to emphasize the point that Stand Your Ground Law does not give members of the general public the right to take the law into their own hands.

Did The Seizure Of Documents From Michael Cohen’s Office Open Up A Can Of Worms In Attorney-Client Privilege?

The Daily Report put out by Law.com came out with a piece about the story that’s dominated most of the current news cycle; the raid of FBI agents on President Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen and the seizure of several documents. The biggest conundrum about this story is if the laws about attorney-client privilege are still alive today, or if a whole new can of worms have been opened. While many are upset about the way in which this raid was conducted, the question is whether or not the documents that those agents seized actually do fall under the attorney-client privilege statutes.

As Law.com author John Gross clarifies in the article, attorney-client privilege has to follow certain characteristics. It basically falls that direct communication between an attorney and client is confidential, but the subject of that communication or even an item unrelated that’s attached to that communication is not privileged. Also, the content of the attorney-client communication must be specifically legal advice or be related to it. Another point Gross makes is that it can only be directly between the attorney and client themselves, and if any other third parties are involved, or the communication is being conducted through another medium such as a public work server, it could lose privileged status. The privilege is also waived if it violates the “crime-fraud exception” clause.

It’s unclear whether or not the documents that were taken consisted of any direct legal advice between Trump and Cohen. But it seems what the agents were after were documents related to the hush money Cohen paid to actress Stormy Daniels, and while there are still questions whether or not the president knew this was going on, it’s likely any documents relating to those payments had direct communications with Trump and Cohen. But did any payments made by Cohen violate campaign finance and therefore the “crime-fraud exception” clause? That still remains a mystery, but there still are tremendous legal practice ramifications waiting to be sorted out when this mess is through.

Recent Giuliani Statements Could Hurt Legal Position Of President Trump

Rudy Giuliani, a recent add-on to the legal advisory team of United States President Donald Trump, drew the ire of other members of the team recently with comments he made while speaking to analyst Sean Hannity on Fox News. Many on the team believe that comments Giuliani made regarding payments President Trump made to attorney Michael Cohen as reimbursement for hush money the lawyer paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to be a serious deviation from established strategy agreed upon by the legal team.

Giuliani may have done serious damage to the defense of President Trump later in the interview when he alleges that James Cohen was terminated as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation because he wouldn’t give Trump assurance that he was not the focal point of an ongoing investigation. Giuliani furthered the thought by suggesting that Hillary Clinton did, in fact, receive such an insurance when she requested it and that when the same consideration was not issued to Trump he made the decision to fire him so that he could be “free of this guy.”

Other members of the Trump legal team felt that Giuliani blindsided them and believe the statements made by the former New York City Mayor damages the position the team has taken that Comey was in fact fired due to his handling of the investigation regarding her use of a private email server while performing her duties as the Secretary of State.

Barbara McQuade, a law professor at the University of Michigan, agrees with members of the Trump legal team and says that the comments can possibly be quite damaging to the president’s cause. McQuade explains that any demand made to former Director Comey publicly state that President Trump was not the subject of an investigation constituted an obstruction of justice.

Giuliani did not consult with members of the recently assembled legal team before speaking to Hannity but says he did speak to the president both before and after his appearance on Fox network.

Utah Attorney Gets Deadline Extension Due To Grief Over Game Lost By Utah Jazz

A Utah federal judge has given additional time to a Salt Lake City attorney to file a document that he submitted eighteen minutes late due to what he says was the “emotional impact” of the Utah Jazz losing an NBA playoff game. United States District Judge Bruce Jenkins granted the extension in an order that was signed on April 27.

Brian King, the attorney that missed the deadline is also the minority leader for the House of Representatives in the state of Utah. King explained in the motion he filed to receive the extension that he had paused his work on a legal memo to watch the game 5 National Basketball Association game that took place between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The memo was due at 11:59 at the night of April 25.

In his extension request, King said that the Jazz was winning the game by 25 points in the third quarter but “disaster struck.” The play of the Jazz became sloppy and a series of turnovers resulted in the team losing the lead and the game. King also wrote that Oklahoma City Thunder star Russel Westbrook is a “good player” before saying that it was a “painful” fact to admit

King further explained that the game was over at 10:00 P.M. and that the emotional devastation that resulted from watching the Jazz meltdown was dispiriting to the point that it made the once excellent prospect of submitting the memo in question on time extremely difficult. The written product that King submitted was characterized by himself as being two times as long and one-half as solid as it would have been otherwise. Additionally, King explained that the brief was submitted 18 minutes after the designated deadline.

The opposing counsel in the case, who works for Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis, Minnesota had no objection to the motion for extension. King surmises that this was because the opposing counsel is also rooting for the Jazz in the playoff series.

Comey Memo Says Jailing Journalists for Leaks was Considered

Since the Department of Justice’s decision to release memos written by former FBI Director James Comey in regards to his meeting with President Trump, one notable anecdote has been a quick aside in regards to stopping leakers within the Administration. The incident highlights both the Commander-in-Chief’s adversarial relationship with the press at large as well as a pattern within the memos of Director Comey’s attitude of passively acknowledging to a bare minimum the President’s unorthodox behaviors without becoming party to them.

The memo discloses that, at the tail end of a conversation between the FBI Director and the President, the subject turned to the leakers within the Administration and possibly other branches of the government that were frequently disclosing important or embarrassing information to the press. Around the time of the meeting, the President had publicly made it known his frustrations at the White House’s inability to keep information from being leaked to the press. Director Comey intimated a harsh response to leakers, saying he suggested seeing “the value of putting a head on a pike as a message.” The memo does not specify what Director Comey meant in terms of policy by that response

The President responded with the suggestion that journalists who report on the leaked information could be jailed to encourage compliance in identifying sources. “They spend a couple days in jail, make a new friend, and they are ready to talk,” the President specified. The Director reportedly laughed off the idea as he walked out of the office as at-the-time Chief of Staff Reince Priebus held the door. The memo is unclear how serious the President was.

The incident is just one example of the President’s cool regard towards the press. The label of “fake news” has been a mainstay of the President’s reactions to the press in briefings and on Twitter. Particular subjects of the President’s wrath has been CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.