Friday News: Indictments coming?

trumporange.jpg

MUELLER EMPANELS GRAND JURY TO ASSIST IN TRUMP/RUSSIA PROBE: Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in his probe into whether President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, according to the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Grand juries can be the first step in a criminal trial and are generally reserved for serious felonies, but the impaneling of a grand jury does not mean someone is being charged with a crime. Grand juries do have subpoena power for witnesses and records before they have chosen whether to indict the involved party. Trump has denied his campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, referring to Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article165294112.html

Add judges to that list of GOP cuts to legal professionals

gavelbanging.jpg

Our entire system of justice is being put at risk:

According to the latest lists released by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), there are now only 10 active emergency superior court judges and 25 emergency district court judges. Prior to the July 1 effective date of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, there were 42 emergency superior court judges and 72 emergency district court judges. The new list reflects an overall reduction of 69.2%.

According to emails obtained by NC Policy Watch, the cuts were causing concerns in the court system even days after the budget was passed.

I'm sure they were. In any given month, NC's Superior and District Courts handle over 15,000 cases. And they've been doing so under an ever-shrinking budget since Republicans took over the General Assembly. Understand, these are both civil and criminal cases, and some of the latter deal with violent criminals. When you refuse to fund the system properly, the number of violent criminals who plea bargain their case down increases, and the number of victims who never get their day in court increases also. Making this a public safety issue, put in the irresponsible hands of unqualified politicians and their lackeys:

Thursday News: Not-so-special session

bluenccup-1[1].jpg

GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONVENES TODAY, BUT NO VETO OVERRIDE VOTES SCHEDULED: North Carolina lawmakers are returning to Raleigh for a "veto override" session, but it doesn't sound like they're going to give Gov. Roy Cooper's objections much attention now. The General Assembly is scheduled to convene Thursday, probably only for one day. It's supposed to consider the four vetoes Cooper issued from over 100 bills lawmakers left him when their annual work session ended June 30. A key House lawmaker says so many legislators are expected to be absent that action on the vetoed bills will wait until a session in September. The Republican-controlled legislature could take up some other pieces of legislation Thursday. Many legislators will stay through Friday to attend a redistricting committee whose work is intensifying after new General Assembly maps were ordered by Sept. 1.
http://www.wral.com/veto-session-likely-to-omit-override-votes-until-september/16856874/

The NC GOP's war on the poor continues with more cuts to legal aid

And the yoyo (you're on your own) keeps spinning:

For years, the three leading legal aid groups have received state funds to represent people in civil matters in part through budget earmarks and a small portion of the fees from court filings and criminal cases. Legal aid funds already had been cut by more than half since 2008 to $2.7 million during the last fiscal year. This year the reduction looks deeper and permanent, and the reasons for the cuts remain unclear.

Although the legal aid groups also get funds from other sources, their leaders said in interviews the new state cuts could mean nearly 35 attorneys and staff ultimately will be laid off, resulting in several thousand potential clients unable to get help each year.

Beginning to see a trend here, which may go a long way in answering that "reasons for the cuts" question. With a backdrop of Republican court losses over the last few years, we suddenly see Josh Stein losing dozens of lawyers, the UNC Center for Civil Rights being hamstrung with "no litigation" rules, and now three dozen legal aid lawyers losing their jobs. Not a coincidence, and not just an effort to clear the way for the GOP's business pals. This is pure spite, plain and simple, directed at the legal profession in general. I shouldn't have to do this, but here are some excerpts from the Preamble to the NC Bar's Rules of Professional Conduct:

Liar-in-Chief implicated in Seth Rich conspiracy theory

Methinks he doth protest against fake news too much:

An investigator who worked on the Seth Rich case claims Fox News fabricated quotes implicating the murdered Democratic National Committee staffer in the WikiLeaks scandal and that President Donald Trump pressured Fox to publish the story. The investigator, Rod Wheeler, sued Fox for defamation on Tuesday.

Wheeler, a Fox contributor who looked into Rich’s July 2016 murder for the family, said Fox made up quotes attributed to him saying there was contact between Rich and WikiLeaks, and that someone — possibly Democrats or Hillary Clinton’s campaign — was blocking the murder investigation. Rich was killed in what Washington police believe was a botched robbery. The lawsuit said Trump pushed to get the story out. There was no immediate response from Fox or the White House.

Like any good conspiracy theory, you have to have a compelling motive upon which to build your fiction. In this case, it was fabricating a connection between Seth Rich and Wikileaks. Couldn't go forward without that. And make no mistake, Trump needed that false narrative badly, after telling Hillary Clinton (on national television, no less) that he was going to put her in jail. It's absurdity on top of absurdity with this administration, and we are at risk of arriving at a new norm where the truth has been so eclipsed by fiction we might not recognize the truth on the rare occasion it surfaces. But you know what? We asked for it. We watched as a candidate continuously lied during the campaign, and instead of escorting him off the stage, we put him in the White House. You're upset I'm using the pronoun "we" instead of "they"? Good. Stay upset.

Wednesday News: Reverse-reverse discrimination?

trumpeter.jpg

TRUMP DIRECTS DOJ TO SUE COLLEGES WHO DON'T SELECT ENOUGH WHITE APPLICANTS: The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times. The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” The announcement suggests that the project will be run out of the division’s front office, where the Trump administration’s political appointees work, rather than its Educational Opportunities Section, which is run by career civil servants and normally handles work involving schools and universities.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/article164888547.html

Tuesday News: Cutting the puppet strings

ELECTIONS BOARD MULLS TOUGHER RULES FOR VOTER CHALLENGES: Republicans and voting-rights advocates went head-to-head over a proposal that would have people make fact-based claims when they allege voters have committed fraud. The State Board of Elections has proposed a stiffer standard for elections protests that would have people describe facts, say whether a lawyer helped them make their claims, and say whether they have any witnesses. The McCrory campaign and his Republican allies used protest forms to “make outrageous claims of voter fraud,” Hall said. As a result, voters were unfairly maligned and targeted on social media. “They used charges of voter fraud for personal gain,” he said. Democracy NC found that lawyers with a Virginia firm helped prepare nearly all the protests.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article164517322.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Now the clock is really ticking:

No special elections are called for though, but the 2018 election could be a game-changer.

Defending the UNC Center for Civil Rights

Trying to clip the wings of the legal eagles:

Ahead of a vote this week that she says would effectively close the UNC Law School’s Center of Civil Rights, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt has sent a letter requesting the UNC Board of Governors not adopt a proposed policy change. In a July 28 letter, Folt says the move by the BOG would lead to a closure of the center and harm the school’s reputation. The five page letter is Folt’s strongest statement yet on the fate of the center.

“. . . if the committee moves forward with the new proposed policy, we risk significant damage to the reputation of the University and the Law School, as well as the uncertainty as to whether we can create a new clinic for civil rights with no resources.”

Follow the link and read Carol Folt's letter, and once again hat-tip to Kirk Ross for his diligence. This answered a question that's been in the back of my mind: "Why don't Republicans just cut off the funding for the Center if they don't like it?" It's because there is no state funding, taxpayers aren't spending a dime for this critical service. So the GOP is forced to take other measures, which will not only undermine the important work being done, it goes against the wishes of the charitable donors who have supported the Center. If you want to know the "why" behind this move, look at some of the cases litigated:

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed