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    Republicans who control the Minnesota Senate have focused heavily this year on “tough on crime” legislation, aiming to respond to a wave of violent crime and the defund-the-police movement in the Twin Cities. So one might think a small proposal from the state attorney general to bolster a team helping county attorneys prosecute complex criminal cases might be of interest. But so far the Senate GOP has opposed a $1.82 million plan from Democratic AG Keith Ellison to hire seven prosecutors that will primarily help counties in Greater Minnesota. Ellison is taking the omission personally. He believes it has little to do with the team of prosecutors or their stated goal, but rather is “98 percent” a GOP effort to stick it to a progressive AG, who they have been reluctant to fund — and who is expected to face a tough re-election campaign this fall. “Because it’s completely irrational and unconnected to any rational policy goal,” Ellison said when asked why he believes the lack of support is because of his politics. “When you strip away any rational policy...
    (CNN)Fourteen years after she was sent to Texas' death row, Melissa's Lucio will finally get the chance to have new evidence of her innocence claims examined in state court. Lucio, 53, was set to be executed Wednesday for capital murder in the 2007 death of her 2-year-old daughter. But two days before that, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted her a stay of execution, delaying her death so Lucio's trial court can explore whether she should receive a new trial. Texas court grants stay of execution for death row inmate Melissa Lucio The mother of 14, her family and attorneys say she was wrongfully convicted in her toddler Mariah's death. While prosecutors argued at trial that Lucio was an abusive mother who caused the injuries that led to the girl's death, Lucio's attorneys say those injuries were the result of a fall down stairs two days earlier outside the family's apartment. To help decide whether Lucio will get a new trial, the appeals court ordered Lucio's trial court to review four of the nine claims she raised in her...
    Share this: Judges on New York’s high court peppered attorneys with sharp questions Tuesday as they considered whether to throw out new congressional district maps that Republicans charge are unconstitutionally gerrymandered. Court of Appeals judges heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by a group of Republican voters challenging the legality of the new district maps, which critics say were drawn to favor Democrats. The court’s decision — which could come in days — could play a crucial role in the battle for control of the U.S. House, where Democrats now enjoy a thin majority. Judges repeatedly asked Democratic attorneys about what should happen next if the high court decides to strike down the maps. But they also seemed wary about overstepping their authority.
    As statewide tenant protections extend through June, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Thursday he has warned nearly 100 law firms against filing false claims in eviction cases. The attorney general’s housing strike force sent letters to 91 law firms in recent days, alerting attorneys not to file evictions against tenants who have applied for state emergency rental assistance. The state bans evictions for nonpayment if a tenant has applied to the state’s relief program, Housing is Key. More than 100,000 California tenants have pending relief applications. The program was set to close at midnight March 31. “We have reason to believe that some landlords and their attorneys may be filing false declarations to push hardworking Californians out of their homes,” Bonta said. “This is unacceptable, and more importantly, absolutely illegal. California families were already struggling with the high cost of housing before the pandemic, and these past two years have only made things worse.” Attorneys for landlords said the attacks were unfair, and blamed the state for delays in reporting details about aid applications and complex new rules to...
    Attorney General Jason Miyares is the honorary chairman of the new PAC Protecting Americans Action Fund (PAAF), which is focused on supporting conservative prosecutors in races across the U.S. The new PAC is operated by GOPAC. “As we thought about how we continue to have an impact and what at our core is making sure Americans have personal and economic security, because that’s the basis of American success, Americans having personal and economic security, there was a big area missing,” GOPAC Chairman David Avella said in a Thursday press conference. “That was making sure that we had prosecuting attorneys who are willing to enforce the law.” Avella and Miyares spoke at the press conference at GOPAC headquarters in Arlington, an area represented by Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Deghani-Tafti who is one of several progressive northern Virginia prosecutors elected with the help of major spending from Democratic donors. “You’ve seen the progressive get way out in front of conservatives and Republicans on electing prosecuting attorneys,” Avella said. Miyares has been critical of progressive prosecutors, but he’s been stymied by the legislature in...
    ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Students from Quist Middle School will have their art on display at the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Staff members from the DA’s office worked with 8th grade students to create the display. (credit: 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office) The project started last October and resulted in more than 80 oil pastels and 60 butterflies that represent the students’ take on the wonders of the Earth. (credit: 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office) Eventually the display will move to the Adams County Government Center. (credit: 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office)
    HOUSTON (AP) — Issues related to media publicity and a gag order as well as a concern over a lack diversity among attorneys representing those killed or injured during last year’s deadly Astroworld music festival were discussed during a court hearing on Tuesday. The hearing was the first time lawyers handling the nearly 500 lawsuits filed after 10 people died and hundreds of others were injured during a massive crowd surge at the Nov. 5 concert headlined by rapper Travis Scott had met in court after the cases were consolidated before one judge. After being appointed last month by a judicial panel overseen by the Texas Supreme Court to handle all pretrial matters in the lawsuits, state District Judge Kristen Hawkins issued a gag order in the case. During Tuesday’s hearing, Hawkins clarified her order, saying lawyers could tell the media about factual issues that happen in court, but she didn’t want attorneys to make their cases in the court of public opinion and possibly influence the jury pool. “This case should be tried in the...
    A woman who helped convict Scott Peterson - and whose participation on his jury is at the center of a retrial request - says she never lied on the jury questionnaire about being the victim of domestic abuse.   Richelle Nice, dubbed 'Strawberry Shortcake' because of her dyed red hair, was once granted a restraining order against a boyfriend convicted of assaulting her. She failed to disclose that information during the 2004 juror selection process for Peterson's high-profile trial, and it's now among the reasons his defense team is seeking a retrial. While grilled on the stand Friday by Peterson's lawyer Pat Harris, Nice claimed that although her boyfriend was convicted of assaulting her, he never actually did. She said her then-boyfriend Eddie Whiteside called the cops on her in November 2001 after she assaulted him in their bedroom during a fight. When police arrived, she said they noticed a cut on her lip that was caused by her braces and they arrested him for assault. 'Eddie never hit me,' she told court on Friday. 'Now, or any time. Eddie never hit...
    (AP) – The counselor of a 15-year-old boy charged with killing four students at his Michigan high school says he told the teen’s parents the morning of the shootings that he believed their son was a threat to himself and needed mental health support. PONTIAC, MICHIGAN – FEBRUARY 22: Ethan Crumbley is led away from the courtroom after a placement hearing at Oakland County Circuit Court on February 22, 2022 in Pontiac, Michigan. Crumbley, 15, is charged with the fatal shooting of four fellow students and the wounding of seven others, including a teacher at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021. (Photo by David Guralnick-Pool/Getty Images) READ MORE: Macomb County Nursing Home Worker Pleads Guilty In Attempted Election Fraud Case“I said as soon as possible, today if possible,” Shawn Hopkins testified Thursday in the preliminary examination for Jennifer and James Crumbley. But, he testified, Jennifer Crumbley told him, “today was not an option because they had to return to work.” “I didn’t want Ethan to be alone at home,” Hopkins added. Ethan Crumbley is charged as an...
    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man who has insisted for more than 20 years that he was wrongly convicted as a teenager of killing his mother has been granted parole. Attorneys for 37-year-old Michael Politte confirmed Tuesday that he had been given parole, the Kansas City Star reported. He is set to be released April 23 from the Jefferson City Correctional Center. Politte was 14 years old in 1998 when, according to his lawyers, he found the burning body of his mother, Rita Politte, on the floor of their home in the eastern Missouri town of Hopewell as he and a friend, who said they awoke to smoke, scrambled to escape. Investigators said the fire was started with gasoline and determined that Rita Politte had also suffered blunt force head trauma. The investigation focused on her teenage son as the main suspect and four years later, he was convicted as an adult of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. The Midwest Innocence Project and the MacArthur Justice Center, which both work to overturn wrongful convictions, have...
    CHICAGO (CBS) — The City Council’s Finance Committee on Monday voted down a proposal to settle an excessive force lawsuit filed by the mother of a mentally ill man who was shot and killed by police in 2013, after several aldermen argued the shooting was clearly justified. Lenora Bonds had called police in October 2013 for help with her son, Terrance Harris, who was diagnosed with bipolar disease. READ MORE: Man, Woman Found Shot Dead In Car In East Side NeighborhoodWhen officers arrived, Harris was armed with two butcher knives, and stabbed his mother and an officer before retreating to the basement and barricading himself in the furnace room. After his mother left the house, three other officers followed Harris into the basement, where he lunged at them, and officers shot him a total of 29 times. Deputy Corporation Counsel Victoria Benson told aldermen two of the shots were to the back of Harris’ head. The three officers who fired their weapons were later cleared by the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), a city agency tasked with investigating police shootings,...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — For the 30-year-old Honduran woman, the worst seemed to be over. She’s been reunited with her son who, as a 6-year-old, was separated from her under the Trump administration. She’s working construction in North Carolina. And attorneys were negotiating a payment for families like hers that endured separations. But reports about those negotiations have created a new worry: extortion attempts stemming from the mistaken belief that she received a huge payout. Her family has already received demands for $5,000 a month. “Apparently, I am a millionaire now,” said the woman, who, like others interviewed by The Associated Press, spoke on condition of anonymity due to fears for her family’s safety. “I don’t have the money to pay for something like that and I don’t know what to do. I am desperate, really.” While specific reports are isolated, widespread extortion in Central America explains why many seek asylum in the United States in the first place. Some advocates fear prospects of large payments will fuel many more threats. An attorney for the woman and other families has asked...
    A South Carolina judge said Monday that she would decide at a later date whether to reduce a $7 million bond for Alex Murdaugh, the disgraced attorney accused of stealing $6.2 million from several former clients, including a highway patrolman, a quadriplegic man, and the sons of his late housekeeper.  Dick Harpootlian, one of Murdaugh's attorneys, argued that his client is not a flight risk and is no longer a danger to anyone because the "tools that he allegedly used to steal money from these folks are no longer available to him." One of Murdaugh's alleged victims, South Carolina Highway Patrolman Thomas Moore, said that Murdaugh was "always very nice" to him after he suffered a devastating neck injury while in the line of duty, but claims the attorney conned him out of $125,000 in settlement funds.  "Here's the problem. He treated me that nice and he stole every dime I had from the injury that occurred," Moore told the judge on Monday.  Alex Murdaugh awaits the beginning of his bond hearing in the Richland Judicial Center in Columbia,...
    As Nicki Minaj continues to battle Jennifer Hough’s witness intimidation suit in court, it appears a media strategy is taking shape—and Hough’s attorneys are hitting back against what they claim is misleading reporting. On Thursday TMZ reported that in “filed legal docs,” Minaj’s attorneys had refuted Hough’s account of being harassed by Minaj and her husband Kenneth Petty, the latter of whom sexually assaulted Hough when she was a teenager. The legal argument hinges on supposed inconsistencies between Hough’s interview with The Daily Beast and the account she provided the court. Hough’s attorneys, however, point out that the motion for sanction was never filed—because, they say, it’s too frivolous to do so. In a statement provided to The Daily Beast Thursday, Hough’s attorneys Tyrone Blackburn, Steven Gordon, and their co-counsels at McGivney, Kluger, Clark & Intoccia pointed out that Hough had actually just scored a legal victory against the music artist: The Court has ordered that Hough can move forward in pursuing a default judgment against Minaj—which means Minaj must defend herself both in motions and at a...
    Hennepin County JailKimberly A. PotterJury selection was underway in the trial of Kimberly Potter, who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center. As of midday Tuesday, three jurors had been chosen. During jury selection, Potter attorney Paul Engh said the former officer would testify during the trial. The New York Times’ Mark Leibovich has a piece on Minnesotan Jake Sullivan’s tenure as National Security Advisor, and the word “schadenfreude” is in the headline. St. Paul Public Schools is starting winter break two days early, on December 20th. After being closed in 2020, the concourses in U.S. Bank Stadium will be open in December and January for inline skaters and runners. The Foo Fighters canceled a 2022 concert at Huntington Bank (née TCF) Stadium “due to Huntington Bank Stadium’s refusal to agree to the band’s COVID policies.” Article continues after advertisement A woman posted a TikTok video claiming a group of people tried to abduct her from the Gay 90’s bar in downtown Minneapolis. The bar disputes the claim. Maple Grove is getting a Shake Shack...
    Attempts at criminal bail reform that put violent offenders like Waukesha suspect Darrell Brooks Jr. out on the street at low or no cost is endangering communities around the country, according to experts on criminal justice and law enforcement. Police in cities including Milwaukee, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are facing understaffing and low morale – in part due to such policies, according to Betsy Brantner Smith, a retired police sergeant and spokesperson for the National Police Association. "These extremely liberal prosecutors who want to talk about restorative justice, and what that means is is that we are putting the public in danger by trying to give these people too many opportunities to re-offend," she said. "It's incredibly frustrating for law enforcement, and it's just absolutely dangerous for our communities." Waukesha parade suspect Darrell Brooks arrives in court for his arraignment. WAUKESHA PARADE SUSPECT DARRELL BROOKS FACING 5 COUNTS OF 1ST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE, HELD ON $5M BAIL She pointed to Milwaukee prosecutors’ decision earlier this month to request just $1,000 bail for Darrell Brooks Jr., who had...
    By RUSS BYNUM BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery testified Wednesday that he feared the 25-year-old Black man was armed with a gun when he encountered Arbery “creeping” outside an unfinished house in his Georgia neighborhood 12 days before the shooting. Travis McMichael’s testimony came as defense attorneys in the murder trial for the three white men charged with chasing and killing Arbery opened their case by building on arguments that their clients were lawfully trying to stop burglaries in their neighborhood. “I want to give my side of the story,” McMichael, 35, said. He said he first ran into Arbery at the house under construction on Feb. 11, 2020. McMichael said he was driving when he saw a man “lurking” and “creeping” outside the home. He turned his vehicle to point his headlights on Arbery, he said, and the man tried to hide behind a portable toilet at the construction site. “He comes out and pulls up his shirt, and goes to reach in his pocket or waistband area,” McMichael said. “It freaked me...
    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A young South Florida man was convicted Friday of fatally stabbing a 13-year-old boy during a sleepover. A Palm Beach County jury found Corey Johnson, 21, guilty of first-degree murder, along with two counts of attempted murder, the Palm Beach Post reported. Johnson was 17 at the time of the slaying but later was indicted on adult charges. He faces a possible life sentence at a hearing scheduled for Jan. 4. Johnson killed Jovanni Sierra during the March 2018 sleepover after the younger boy made a remark Johnson considered offensive to his Muslim faith, prosecutors said. Johnson also attacked 13-year-old Dane Bancroft and his mother, Elaine Simon, during the sleepover at their Palm Beach Gardens home, they said. Defense attorneys didn’t deny that Johnson carried out the attacks but argued that he was insane at the time. The attorneys said during the trial that Johnson suffered from severe depression and became psychotic and delusional. They said he was manipulated by extremist content, including violent propaganda videos from the Islamic State terrorist group. A psychologist...
    Alec Baldwin was told never to point his gun at anyone, regardless of whether it was loaded or not, according to a lawyer for the 24-year-old armorer on the set of his film Rust. Baldwin, 63, shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on set in New Mexico on October 21. He was handed a gun by the first assistant director, Dave Halls, who told him it was a 'cold' gun - not loaded with live ammunition. The guns were the responsibility of Hannah Gutierrez Reed, in only her second job as armorer. Yet on Thursday, a lawyer for Gutierrez Reed - whose father, Thell Reed, is a veteran armorer - insisted that she had taken her role extremely seriously and had briefed all the actors, including Baldwin, that they should never point even unloaded guns at people. Hannah Gutierrez Reed, 24, the armorer on the set of Rust, has hired a legal team and is insisting that she took her job incredibly seriously with safety as the priority Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot with a prop gun fired by actor...
    President Joe Biden used an event marking the 10-year anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. to ridicule Republicans who polls show have concluded he is not their legitimate president. 'As the Catholics say, oh my God!' he said to an assembled crowd at the event.  Biden spoke at the memorial on the tenth anniversary of its dedication to demand voting rights legislation and accuse Republicans of pushing '21st Century Jim Crow', after the Senate GOP blocked a Democratic proposal this week.  Standing in the shadow of a 30-foot King statue, Biden called out efforts by GOP legislators for what he called an 'assault' on the right to vote.  Biden bemoaned the 'something like 20 per cent of Republicans, half the Republicans' who think 'I'm I am not your President. Donald Trump is still your president,' amid polling that shows large swaths of Republicans believe Trump's repeated claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent. 'As the Catholics say, oh my God!' he said, earning laughs. The one-off line came during a week when the House select committee is set to vote...