The SCOW docket: Court rules, 4-3, that judge's remarks about guns were not improper
Note: We are crunching Supreme Court of Wisconsin decisions down to size. The rule for this is that no justice gets more than 10 paragraphs as written in the actual decision. The "upshot" and "background" sections do not count as part of the 10 paragraphs because of their summary and very necessary nature. We've also removed citations from the opinion for ease of reading, but have linked to important cases cited or information about them. Italics indicate WJI insertions except for case names, which also are italicized.
The case: State v. Octavia W. Dodson
Majority: Justice Jill J. Karofsky (10 pages), joined by Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca F. Dallet, and Brian Hagedorn.
Concurrence: Hagedorn (3 pages).
Dissent: Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley (29 pages), joined by Justices Patience D. Roggensack and Annette K. Ziegler.
Octavia W. Dodson seeks resentencing for his second-degree intentional homicide conviction, alleging that the Milwaukee County Circuit Court relied on an improper sentencing factor in mentioning his lawful gun ownership and conceal-carry (CCW) permit. He contends such reliance contravenes his rights under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The circuit court denied Dodson's postconviction motion for resentencing, and the court of appeals affirmed that denial. We likewise affirm. Dodson fails to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the circuit court actually relied on an improper factor.
Roughly four minutes before the homicide, Dodson was involved in a minor car accident during which an unidentified driver – in what Dodson believed to be a Buick – collided with the rear of Dodson's car. Dodson exited his vehicle and as he walked toward the back of his car, the other driver reversed the Buick several car-lengths and sped off. Meanwhile, Dodson unholstered his pistol, which he lawfully owned and for which he had a valid CCW permit.
Dodson returned to his car and attempted to follow the Buick but lost sight of it. While searching for the Buick, Dodson swapped out his pistol's 10-round magazine for an extended 17-round magazine. Soon thereafter Dodson spotted a second Buick driven by the victim, Deshun Freeman. Believing it to be the car that rear-ended him, Dodson pursued Freeman's vehicle. When Freeman pulled over to the side of the road, Dodson parked his car about two car-lengths behind.
According to Dodson, Freeman began "fumbling around" by his driver-side door before starting to walk toward Dodson. At that point, Dodson exited his vehicle and stood between the open driver-side door and his car. Dodson told officers that Freeman, with his hands either in his pockets or underneath his sweatshirt, began running toward Dodson, and shouted an obscenity at him. Dodson responded by firing six rounds from his pistol, three of which hit and killed Freeman. After witnessing Freeman's body fall to the ground, Dodson fled the scene. Hours later, Dodson surrendered himself to the police. The investigation revealed that Freeman had not been armed and that Freeman's vehicle did not match Dodson's description of the Buick from the earlier collision.
Dodson pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional homicide, citing unnecessary defensive force as the mitigating circumstance and then-Circuit Judge M. Joseph Donald sentenced him to 14 years in prison followed by six years of extended supervision.
Donald, noting Dodson's lack of a criminal record, made the following comments:
"In reviewing this case, I have to say I am completely baffled as to why this happened. And I don't think that there is any rational way of trying to explain it. I can tell you this, Mr. Dodson, that in my experience as a judge, I have seen over time how individuals when they are possessing a firearm, how that in some way changes them. It changes how they view the world. It changes how they react and respond to people. I know that this is only speculation on my part, but I do strongly feel that the day that you applied for that concealed carry permit and went out and purchased that firearm, and that extended magazine, whether your rational beliefs for possessing it, whether you felt the need to somehow arm yourself and protect yourself from essentially the crime that is going on in this community I think on that day set in motion this circumstance. It is clear to me, Mr. Dodson, that for whatever reason, and it appears that it is a distorted, misguided belief of the world that somehow Mr. Freeman was a threat that required you, in essence, to terminate his life. Makes no sense.
". . . [I]t is clear to me that you were operating under some misguided belief, some distorted view of the world that somehow [Deshun] Freeman was a threat to you when in reality it was nothing further from the truth."
In a postconviction motion, Dodson argued that the circuit court's statements demonstrated an improper reliance on his gun ownership and CCW permit, in contravention of his Second Amendment rights. The postconviction court denied the motion, concluding that the challenged statements, in context, were not improper. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the sentencing court's statements demonstrated that Dodson was being punished not for exercising his Second Amendment rights but rather his "distorted, misguided belief" that he could unlawfully and lethally use his gun against the unarmed Freeman.
Dodson appealed to the Supreme Court.
A defendant challenging his or her sentence must prove by clear and convincing evidence that: (1) the challenged factor is irrelevant or improper; and (2) the circuit court actually relied on that factor....A defendant will fall short of proving actual reliance if the transcript lacks clear and convincing evidence that the factor was the sole cause of a harsher sentence. A defendant will also fail to show actual reliance if a reference to a challenged factor bears "a reasonable nexus" to a relevant, proper factor.
Dodson isolates two statements that he contends offer clear and convincing evidence that the circuit court actually relied on an improper factor. First, Dodson contends that the circuit court improperly grafted a negative predisposition against all gun owners onto him when it said that it has seen how "possessing a firearm" "changes how they view the world" and "react and respond to people." Second, Dodson argues that the circuit court improperly relied on his gun ownership and CCW permit when it stated that "the day that you applied for that concealed carry permit and went out and purchased that firearm, and that extended magazine . . . set in motion this circumstance."
We disagree. Dodson's arguments ignore critical context that, when read alongside the challenged statements, demonstrate the circuit court neither exhibited an improper predisposition against all gun owners nor actually relied on Dodson's gun ownership or CCW permit as part of his sentence.
The circuit court's challenged statements arise in the context of its struggle to reconcile Dodson's clean criminal record and the innocuous circumstances leading up to the shooting, with an element of Dodson's second-degree homicide charge: his use of unnecessary defensive force. That is, the circuit court was trying to understand what caused this "model citizen" to harbor the unreasonable belief that either he "was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm" or the lethal "force used was necessary to defend [himself]." This inquiry into how the particular facts establish an element of the offense is a necessary step in assessing the gravity of that offense – a proper sentencing factor.
The circuit court then leaned on its judicial experience to hypothesize about why Dodson used unnecessary defensive force. The circuit court explained that in its "experience as a judge," it observed a recurring pattern wherein "possessing a firearm" changes how some criminal defendants "view the world" and "react and respond to people." From the circuit court's standpoint that pattern was apparent here: Dodson reacted unreasonably to Freeman because Dodson was armed with a gun. That is, absent the gun, Dodson would not have used lethal force. But Dodson did have the gun and a "distorted, misguided belief of the world that somehow Mr. Freeman was a threat," which as Freeman's murder tragically demonstrates, created a danger to the community – another proper sentencing consideration.
Having established the full context in which the circuit court made the challenged statements, we next assess the statements in that context. Dodson first challenges the circuit court's comment about gun possession changing how some criminal defendants both "view the world" and "react and respond to people" as an improper predisposition against all gun owners or CCW permit holders. Dodson is incorrect. The transcript read as a whole shows that the circuit court properly cabined any "general predisposition" about "when a certain type of sentence is appropriate" both to its "criminal sentencing experience" and to the "particular circumstances" of Dodson's criminal conduct. Indeed, nothing in the transcript indicates that this predisposition was "so specific or rigid as to ignore" Dodson's "distorted, misguided" conduct here, which included:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos held in contempt for not releasing records.
Dane County Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn determined the Rochester Republican and the Assembly as a whole adopted "a collective and abject disregard for the court’s order" from four months ago to turn over documents sought by the liberal group American Oversight under the state's open records law.
She ordered Vos and the Assembly to turn over records within 14 days and to each pay $1,000 per day if they fail to do that. They will also have to pay some of American Oversight's legal bills.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee County youth services are strained due to lack of action on Lincoln Hills closure.
The county's Vel Phillips Center is overcrowded, rehabilitation programs have long waiting lists, and — some worry — more youths are going unsupervised, during a time of rising car thefts and reckless driving.
Judges are now sending an increasing number of youths to Lincoln Hills, even as the legality of doing so is unclear.
Some judges have expressed uncertainty about whether the legislation creating a deadline to close Lincoln Hills precludes them from sending kids to the facility — even as the new, smaller facilities meant to house them in their communities do not yet exist.
CNBC: Republican Sen. Susan Collins says she'll vote to approve Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to U.S. Supreme Court.
NBC: President Joe Biden signs Emmett Till Antilynching Act making lynching a federal hate crime.
CNN: Connecticut judge holds Alex Jones in contempt for refusing to be deposed in defamation suit brought against him by families of Sandy Hook shooting victims.
At the same time that Jones' attorneys were arguing during a hearing last week that their client was not well enough to sit for a deposition and was under doctor's orders not to leave his home, he was hosting a live show on his Infowars website at a studio away from home, his attorneys confirmed in a court filing.
Reuters: ACLU and NAACP sue South Carolina to end ban on data scraping of electronic court records.
Reuters: Former Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner's mental state an issue in unpaid wages dispute over work done for Posner Center of Justice for Pro Se's.
Courthouse News Service: Seventh Circuit hears case about injured show horse kept alive by insurance company.
Vox: Justice Clarence Thomas' career-long opposition to democracy.
But here’s the thing: Yes, Thomas’s vote in this case, Trump v. Thompson, may have been an underhanded effort to protect his own wife. But his vote in Trump was entirely consistent with his record in cases where his spouse does not have a personal interest.
In more than three decades on the Supreme Court, Thomas has consistently voted to make it harder for many Americans to have their vote count; to erode institutions, like a free press, that are essential to democracy; and to dismantle nearly a century’s worth of democratically enacted laws on spurious constitutional grounds. Thomas’s opposition to democracy is not rooted in nepotism. It appears to be quite principled.
The Virginian-Pilot: North Carolina court declares law banning people with felony records from voting after release is unconstitutional.
The law is unconstitutional for generally violating people’s rights, the judges wrote Monday, but also for being explicitly targeted at Black people. Specifically, they wrote that the law “was enacted with the intent of discriminating against African American people and has a demonstrably disproportionate and discriminatory impact.”
Marijuana Moment: New anti-legalization super PAC targets Republican congresswoman from South Carolina.
La Crosse Tribune: Clerks dealing with legal uncertainty regarding absentee ballots.
Wisconsin Examiner: How inequitable policies affect homicides in Milwaukee.
Dr. Stephen Hargarten, a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin and founding director of the Comprehensive Injury Center, says there may not be one clear explanation for the homicide jump in 2020.
“I think it’s a constellation of things that are bubbling up with people’s economic situation, relationship situations, interpersonal relationships,” Hargarten told Wisconsin Examiner. In 2020 the pandemic produced anxiety, workforce shutdowns and the related economic strain. Then came protests and unrest in response to the shootings of Black people by police. All of those helped set the stage for a spike in homicides, Hargarten says. And understanding homicide as a public health problem, he adds, is “critically important.”
Wisconsin Examiner: Wisconsin high court allows Sen. Ron Johnson to file brief in drop-box case.
NPR: Judge over records dispute says Donald Trump likely committed a crime.
"It's enormously significant," said Jonathan Shaub, an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law. "This is a thorough judicial analysis that, I think, it's difficult to sort of just brush aside, and it will give the committee's statements that there have been crimes some credibility."
Shaub noted that the charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, which the judge found Trump "likely" committed, has been brought against many Jan. 6 riot defendants.
The Hill: House of Representatives this week may pass bill to legalize marijuana.
“This Congress represents a sea change,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.
“What we have seen is that the majority of people now realize that the war on drugs failed,” Blumenauer told The Hill. “Drugs are more accessible and cheaper and more potent and dangerous. Nobody won this war, except people who were involved with the drug dealers themselves.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development charges East Side landlord with discrimination.
The complaint alleged (the property manager) engaged in a number of harassing and/or unlawful acts prior to the tenant moving out, including:
NBC: U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of Wisconsin's maps signals trouble for Voting Rights Act.
(Experts) say Wednesday's Supreme Court order — unsigned and decided on an emergency request without oral arguments — was a shot across the bow for Section 2 of the voting rights law that prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color or membership in certain minority language groups.
“All of the signs point toward Section 2 being yet another death by a thousand cuts victim at the Supreme Court,” said Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine.
Politico: U.S. Supreme Court sides with President Biden regarding consideration of Navy SEALs' unvaccinated status in assignments.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that there was a “simple overarching reason” that he agreed with the court’s decision. The Constitution makes the president, “not any federal judge,” the commander in chief of the armed forces, he wrote, noting that courts have been traditionally “reluctant to intrude upon the authority of the Executive in military and national security affairs.”
Three conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — noted that they disagreed with their colleagues’ decision and would have sided with the group of SEALs.
Alito wrote that his colleagues were “rubberstamping the Government’s request.” “These individuals appear to have been treated shabbily by the Navy, and the Court brushes all that aside,” Alito wrote.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Opinion on the Supreme Court's legitimacy crisis and Ginni Thomas' texts.
Vera: Solitary confinement is torture, not COVID care.
People have reported being locked in freezing solitary confinement cells while infected with COVID-19, with little to no medical care. In Connecticut, incarcerated people who had COVID-19 were held in isolated cells in a maximum security prison and denied the opportunity to shower. Many incarcerated people have experienced extended periods of precautionary lockdown—being kept in small cells for nearly 24 hours a day with little meaningful activity or contact—with devastating consequences to their physical and mental health.
Above the Law: Donald Trump sues Hillary Clinton in Florida.
Trump is also suing “JOHN DOES 1 THROUGH 10 (said names being fictious [sic] and unknown persons), and ABC CORPORATIONS 1 THROUGH 10 (said names being fictitious and unknown entities).” What fictitious (or “fictious”) characters and corporations will he be suing? Maybe it’s Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, because frankly a civil suit alleging a conspiracy of Oompa-Loompas would be more credible than this piece of drek.
WXYZ: Scooter rider sues Detroit for $10 million alleging injuries caused by pothole.
Evers' judges: Kristela L. Cervera
"Evers' judges" is our effort to present information about Gov. Tony Evers' appointees to the bench. The information is taken from the appointees' own judgeship applications.
Italics indicate direct quotes from the application.
Name: Kristela L. Cervera
Appointed to: Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Appointment date: Oct. 29, 2021 (on ballot for April 5, 2022, election)
Law School – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Undergraduate – University of Wisconsin-Madison
High School – Rufus King High, Milwaukee
Recent legal employment:
March 2019-present – Assistant Family Court commissioner, Milwaukee County Family Court Commission
March 2005-March 2019 – Legal counsel I, Milwaukee County Department of Child Support Services
August 2003-March 2005 – Legal department managing attorney, Esperanza Unida, Milwaukee
January 2002-August 2003 – Assistant district attorney, Kenosha County District Attorney’s office
Bar and Administrative Memberships:
General character of practice:
I am a judicial officer appointed by the Milwaukee County Circuit Court to preside over hearings in family court pertaining to paternity, divorce, contempt, and actions to compel support. The hearings involve represented and pro se litigants, and Guardians ad Litem representing the best interests of children. In addition, I conduct evidentiary hearings for domestic violence and harassment injunctions.
Prior to this role, I represented the State of Wisconsin's interests in the establishment of paternity for children, and established and enforced child support orders using procedures mandated by federal regulation, state statutes, case law, administrative rules, and local policies. In this capacity, I participated in an annual Fatherhood Summit in collaboration with local organizations since its inception in 2006, and provided bilingual information to individuals at the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic from 2005 to 2014.
Describe typical clients:
Throughout my career, I have routinely engaged with pro se individuals from the community of diverse racial, socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, in Spanish if preferred. Additionally, I represented low income individuals and undocumented immigrants who were primarily Spanish-speaking in worker's compensation and unemployment insurance claims as an attorney for Esperanza Unida, Inc., an organization dedicated to improving the employability of workers in Milwaukee.
Number of cases tried to verdict: 10 jury trials and several bench trials
List up to three significant trials, appeals, or other legal matters in which you participated as a judge or lawyer in the past seven years:
In re the Paternity of T. J. D. C., 310 Wis. 2d 786, 750 N.W.2d 957, published decision dated and filed March 18, 2008:
I represented the State of Wisconsin as petitioner-respondent in its response to the appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. It was part of my role as legal counsel for the Milwaukee County Department of Child Support Services.
Brief statement of the issue: The parties in this case married subsequent to the birth of their child (T. J. D. C.) and disputed the State-filed paternity action to establish the respondent-appellant husband as the father of T. J. D. C. The parents failed to take administrative steps to establish paternity and disputed the state-filed paternity case because they had intermarried and believed that the paternity case was no longer valid.
The final disposition of the case was in favor of the State of Wisconsin. My participation in the circuit court case followed by this appeal was from 2006 to 2008.
Hendrick v. Hendrick, 2009 WI App 33, 316 Wis.2d 479, 765 N.W.2d 865, published decision dated and filed February 10, 2009:
I represented the State of Wisconsin as petitioner-respondent in its response to the appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. It was part of my role as legal counsel for the Milwaukee County Department of Child Support Services.
Brief statement of the issue: A putative father disputed the court's decision to overcome a marital presumption of paternity pertaining to his biological child's stepfather.
The final disposition was in favor of the State of Wisconsin. My participation in the circuit court case followed by this appeal was from 2007 to 2009.
Experience in adversary proceedings before administrative bodies:
As the Managing Attorney for Esperanza Unida, Inc., I represented individuals in worker's compensation and unemployment insurance hearings.
Describe your non-litigation experience (e.g., arbitration, mediation).
I have completed 40 hours of coursework in divorce mediation skills at the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies in Chicago, IL.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Michael Gableman's attorney admits that overturning the 2020 presidential election is impossible.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Options for the Wisconsin Supreme Court after U.S. Supreme Court tosses redistricting maps.
Slate: Ketanji Brown Jackson hearings show targets on marriage equality precedent.
For several decades, Republicans used Supreme Court nomination hearings to sharpen their knives against Roe v. Wade. They have long seized the opportunity to make their case against Roe, railing against the decision as a paragon of judicial activism and overreach. During Ketanji Brown Jackson’s hearings this week, GOP senators have, predictably, condemned Roe—but not as much as might be expected. Instead, many senators have turned their attention to a different precedent that’s likely next on their hit list once Roe likely falls this summer: Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision recognizing same-sex couples’ constitutional right to marry.
Reuters: Supreme Court nominee's hearings highlight lack of value shown for public defenders.
In 1976, Georgia prosecutors described a bill for statewide funding of indigent defense as “the greatest threat to the proper enforcement of the criminal laws of this state ever presented.” In 1995, the South Carolina attorney general criticized public defenders as “lobbyists whose only goal is to stop executions at any cost.” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued in a 2018 ruling that the "expansive rights" granted in Gideon don't square with the original meaning of the Sixth Amendment.
Empirical research over the years has also shown substantial support among Americans for “tough-on-crime” policies -- and a connection between those sentiments and racial bias, according to a 2020 law review article by Michael O'Hear, a law professor at Marquette University Law School, and Darren Wheelock, a Marquette University criminology professor.
“One theory is people become punitive because they're afraid of being victimized and believe harsh punishment equals protection, but the research – ours and others’ – doesn’t bear that out,” O'Hear told me. “Punitiveness is embraced more as an expressive value, tied to political ideology, which is in turn connected to racial resentment.”
The Appeal: COVID funding being used to build jails and expand police.
In Eau Claire County, Wisconsin, Sheriff Ron Cramer announced a plan in the fall of 2021 to use $6.2 million in ARPA funds to expand the local jail, arguing that the expansion was needed to manage COVID-19 risks. David Carlson, co-founder of C.C. We Adapt, a local agency that provides peer support and mentorship, said the plan reeks of opportunism.
“There was no concern about COVID-19 for months into the pandemic, [and] now Sheriff Cramer is using social distancing as his reason for building out the jail,” Carlson said.
“It’s a money grab,” he added.
Detroit Free Press: Michigan municipalities to split more than $42 million from recreational marijuana tax revenue.
As its March Salon, Wisconsin Justice Initiative held a virtual candidate forum regarding the race for a seat on the Court of Appeals District II. Incumbent Judge Lori Kornblum discussed her background and answered questions from attendees. Here's the video from the event.
Wisconsin's courts of appeals have only 16 judges total, divided into four districts. District II is headquartered in Waukesha. Citizens in the following 12 counties choose its judges: Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago. Voters statewide should care about this race, however, as the court's decisions have statewide impact.
WJI is a nonpartisan nonprofit that takes no position regarding candidates in this or any election. WJI held the Salon and publishes this video for voter education purposes. Kornblum's opponent, Waukesha Circuit Court Judge Maria Lazar, was invited to participate in this event but did not attend.
Election day is Tuesday, April 5.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: U.S. Supreme Court tosses Wisconsin's legislative maps.
Wednesday's ruling leaves uncertain what maps will be used for the fall elections for the state Senate and Assembly. The Wisconsin high court will now have to revisit the case to decide where to put the lines.
Slate: The U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Wisconsin's maps deals astonishing blow to Voting Rights Act.
As Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained in a dissent joined by Justice Elena Kagan, this decision is “unprecedented,” “extraordinary,” and “unnecessary.” One fundamental problem is that, until now, no party raised an equal protection challenge to the legislative map. So Hagedorn had no opportunity to conduct a full constitutional analysis. Instead, in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Republicans agreed that the VRA required multiple majority-Black districts in Milwaukee. They then ambushed the courts with last-minute complaints about an alleged racial gerrymander. SCOTUS rewarded their behavior, accusing Hagedorn of failing to undertake an analysis that no party asked him to undertake. There is “no precedent,” Sotomayor wrote, requiring a court “to embark on an independent inquiry into matters that the parties have conceded or not contested.”
Brookings: How to fix a partisan Supreme Court.
There is a better way—advocates should feature an item further down their list of possible court reforms—strengthening judicial ethics, conflict of interest, and good practice and procedure standards. Spotlighting these issues, and proposing to update and tighten existing requirements, would be more constructive, more likely to attract broad congressional support, and to resonate more broadly with the public. If judicial ethics reform measures meet stiff Republican resistance, ensuing battles could be framed to alert constituencies whose pocket-book, health, safety, and environmental interests are threatened by the judicial right’s “wrecking ball” project.
Marijuana Moment: Federal drug officials says adolescent marijuana use has not increased in legalized states.
U.S. News & World Report: Georgia DAs warn that cash bail will cause clogged jails.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Voters with disabilities impacted by Wisconsin Supreme Court's ruling on personal delivery of absentee ballots.
Voting in person is extremely difficult for (Timothy) Carey because he has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He would need to bring a portable ventilator and a "boatload of gear" with him to go to the polls, he said. Voting in person would increase the chances he would get COVID, which could easily kill him because of his disability, he said.
He has voted absentee for more than 30 years, but he doesn't see how he can do that in April because he doesn't have the ability to put a ballot in a mailbox himself.
Slate: At confirmation hearings Ketanji Brown Jackson shows she's a great judge, not a politician.
There is no better proof that Jackson is in fact a judge’s judge than the ways in which she described—in painstaking detail—how she approached sentencing in sex offender cases. Jackson laid out her methods, multiple times, in response to a widely debunked smear avoided by most of the GOP senators but seized upon by Sens. Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Marsha Blackburn. Jackson was careful to explain the kinds of evidence she must review in those cases, the crime’s impact on victims, and the standards necessary for imposing a statutory sentence. When she described how she did her job, she was spectacular. When distracted by hand-waving about politics that bears no relation to her job, she was apt to get rattled. . . .
It’s quite refreshing to hear a judicial nominee decline the invitation to expound about catchy constitutional philosophy, when that philosophy can get in the way of actually doing law. At the same time, it’s quite depressing to watch that nominee being persistently lectured about her failure to espouse a catchy constitutional philosophy. It suggests, in yet another way, that even a nominee who does precisely what she is tasked with, brilliantly and fairly, isn’t deemed quite qualified unless she does it with all the abundant and ineffable self-confidence and tissue-thin claims to “philosophy” of a mediocre white man.
Courthouse News Service: Three states win injunction blocking rule that focused deportation on the most-dangerous individuals.
"The states have shown that their criminal justice expenditures increase when DHS's detention and removal of noncitizens decrease," (U.S. District Judge Michael) Newman said.
The federal government argued prioritization of removal of the most dangerous illegal immigrants is the most efficient and cost-effective use of its limited resources, but the judge again disagreed and questioned why that meant the agency had to relax its standards regarding the types of individuals who are deported from the country.
Law.com International: Cruise lines liable for violating laws on visits to Cuba.
A Miami federal judge has ruled that four major cruise lines—Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises—violated a ban on tourism and engaged in “trafficking” of confiscated property by allowing passengers to disembark at a port terminal in Havana that was confiscated decades ago by the communist government in Cuba following the Cuban Revolution.
The ruling, issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom of the Southern District of Florida, represents a rare win for a claimant brought under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act that aims to compensate individuals whose property was confiscated in Cuba.
Commonwealth Magazine: Legislative commission in Massachusetts calls for limits on use of facial recognition technology by police.
Reuters: Exxon loses argument that lawsuit against it is politically motivated.
A Massachusetts judge on Tuesday barred Exxon Mobil Corp from arguing improper, political motives were behind the state's attorney general suing the oil company for allegedly misleading consumers and investors about its role in climate change.
Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Peter Krupp in Boston struck 12 of the 38 defenses Exxon put forward to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's lawsuit, including that the Democrat was trying to delegitimize its views on climate change.
She sued Exxon in 2019 following a three-year probe, alleging it downplayed the impact its fossil fuel products had on climate change and the risks it posed to its business, in an effort to boost profit and its stock price.
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