Tag: Judge

Leftist Judge Rules That Texas Can’t Outlaw Harboring Illegal Aliens

Federal Judge Says Texas Can’t Outlaw Harboring Illegal Aliens – Breitbart

.

.
A federal district judge in San Antonio has issued an order stopping a Texas law criminalizing the harboring of illegal aliens, at least for now. The judge issued the preliminary injunction in MALDEF’s (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) lawsuit challenging Texas House Bill 11, a law which open border advocates are fighting because they say it improperly targets illegal alien shelters and those who rent to illegal aliens.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are David Cruz of San Antonio and Valentin Reyes of Farmers Branch, Texas, and Jonathan Ryan. Cruz and Reyes are both landlords who do not check whether their tenants are legally in the country. Jonathan Ryan is the Executive Director of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).

The federal complaint states that “In his role as Executive Director of RAICES, Plaintiff Ryan provides shelter to immigrant women and children who are not authorized to be present in the U.S. and lack lawful immigration status. Many of the immigrant women and children sheltered by Plaintiff Ryan are asylum-seekers from East Africa and Central America who entered the U.S. without authorization and are in federal removal proceedings.”

The plaintiffs brought the lawsuit on January 24 and sued Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety Steven C. McCraw, and members of the Texas Public Safety Commission.

The bi-partisan bill, signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on June 9, 2015, gives power to the Texas Department of Public Safety, relates to military and law enforcement training, and the investigation, prosecution, punishment, and prevention of these offenses, it increases a criminal penalty, and authorizes fees.

The harboring provisions are part of a $800 million border security effort by the Texas Governor and the Texas legislature.

Breitbart Texas attended the ceremony when Abbott signed into law the toughest and most comprehensive border security plan of any state in the United States of America. The Governor noted that the Texas-Mexico border can be a gateway to crimes committed in other parts of the U.S.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, the legislative package provided historic levels of funding to secure the border, established a child sex trafficking prevention unit, strengthened penalties for human traffickers, increased funding for the border protection unit, and seeks reimbursement from the federal government for Texas funds spent on border issues. The Governor declared the plan a legislative priority, and one of his emergency legislative items during his State of the State address.

“We are doing this because border security has turned out to be a real challenge for the people of this state, not just on the border region but across communities across the entire state of Texas,” the Texas governor said at the ceremony. Because of the magnitude of the challenge, Abbott declared securing the border an emergency issue. He said Texas must respond to do what the federal government refused to do.

The bill became effective on September 1, 2015. The plaintiffs say the pertinent sections of the bill are unconstitutional because they violate the Supremacy Clause and attempt to regulate matters exclusively reserved to the federal government. They argue only the U.S. Congress has authority over these areas and the state law conflicts and interferes with the implementation and enforcement of federal laws and regulations.

The plaintiffs also claim that the law deprives the plaintiffs of liberty and property interests without due process of law and are “void for vagueness” in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Finally, they argue that the law deprives them of the equal protection of the laws in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The plaintiffs ask for attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing the lawsuit.

Texas officials assert that House Bill 11 was aimed at those who traffic humans and smuggle them into the country illegally for money. The law criminalizes harboring or shielding an illegal alien with the intent to obtain a pecuniary benefit, and harboring illegal aliens that are members of a street gang.

The penalty for a harboring violation is a third degree felony and carries a possible sentence from 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the harbored illegal alien is under the age of eighteen, or the harboring creates a substantial likelihood that the illegal alien will suffer serious bodily injury or death, the offense is a second degree felony that carries a possible prison sentence of life, or 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the person becomes a sexual assault victim, or suffers other serious bodily injury or death, it is a first degree felony and the possible penalty is 5-99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Governor Abbott responded to the news of the preliminary injunction by stating, “This is absurd.” The governor of the Lone Star State said he would appeal the federal judge’s order blocking the Texas law that criminalizes concealing illegal immigrants.

.

.

Leftist Judge Says Sandy Hook Lawsuit Against Gun Manufacturer Can Go Forward

Connecticut Judge: Sandy Hook Lawsuit Against Gun Manufacturer Can Go Forward – The Blaze

.

.
A Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that a lawsuit against the maker of a rifle used in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings can go forward.

Under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, gun manufacturers are generally not able to be held liable for crimes committed with their products.

However, Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that the PLCAA does not prevent lawyers for the families of Sandy Hook victims from arguing that the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle is a military weapon and should not have been sold to civilians.

More from the Hartford Courant:
.

The lawsuit accuses the Remington Arms Co. and other defendants of negligently selling to civilians a weapon the plaintiffs claim is suitable only for the military and law enforcement. At a hearing in February, Bridgeport lawyer Josh Koskoff argued against dismissing the case, saying the lawsuit’s claim of “negligent entrustment” is an exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

.
Bellis agreed with the plaintiffs that she has the jurisdiction to continue with the case, but she did not rule whether or not the PLCAA actually blocks the plaintiffs and their attorneys from pursing their lawsuit.

“At this juncture, the court need not and will not consider the merits of the plaintiffs’ negligent entrustment theory,” Bellis wrote.

Koskoff, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, was happy with the decision.

“We are thrilled that the gun companies’ motion to dismiss was denied,” he said in a statement, according to Newsweek. “The families look forward to continuing their fight in court.”

Fortunately for Koskoff, they won’t have to wait long. The two sides are due back in court Tuesday.

.

.

Federal Judge: Hitlery’s Email Stories “Constantly Shifting” – Obama Regime Showed “Bad Faith” Providing Records

Hillary Clinton Email Stories ‘Constantly Shifting,’ Judge Says – Washington Times

.

.
Former Secretary Hillary Clinton and her State Department colleagues have given “constantly shifting” stories about her secret email account, a federal judge said Tuesday, finding there’s evidence the Obama administration showed “bad faith” in how it followed open-records laws.

Judge Royce C. Lamberth said it remains to be seen whether the government did try to obfuscate matters, but said there’s at least enough smoke that Judicial Watch, the conservative interest group suing to get a look at all of Mrs. Clinton’s records, should be allowed to press for more details about how the State Department made its decisions.

“Plaintiff is relying on constantly shifting admissions by the government and the former government officials,” Judge Lamberth said.

Mrs. Clinton declined to use a State.gov email account during her term as secretary, instead using an email account tied to a server she kept at her home in New York.

All of her messages that concerned official business were supposed to be archived by the State Department, but she kept them, only returning them in December 2014, nearly two years after leaving office and only at the prompting of the House committee probing the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.

That meant that during her four years in office and nearly two years afterward, the State Department was not searching those documents in response to open-records requests from Congress or the public.

Last month, the State Department finally finished processing more than 30,000 pages of Mrs. Clinton’s emails and made them public on the department’s Freedom of Information Act web page – a mammoth undertaking that has put a treasure trove of information in the public’s eye.

Judicial Watch and others argue that some 30,000 other messages Mrs. Clinton sent from her secret address during her time in office, but which she has deemed private business, should also be reviewed by the government.

The State Department told Judge Lamberth it never misled the public because it never said it was searching Mrs. Clinton’s emails in the first place. The department said that meant it wasn’t acting in bad faith when it responded to open-records requests.

Judge Lamberth, though, said more evidence is needed before those conclusions can be reached.

“The government argues that this does not show a lack of good faith, but that is what remains to be seen, and the factual record must be developed appropriately in order for this court to make that determination,” he said in a brief ruling.

The Justice Department declined to comment on Judge Lamberth’s ruling, which marks the third legal black eye for the Obama administration in recent weeks.

Last week, a federal appeals court said the Justice Department was turning the law on its head to protect the IRS from taxpayers, rather than to protect taxpayers from the IRS.

And another judge issued a “show cause” order demanding to know why the government appeared to conceal documents in an open-records case brought against a top Obama climate adviser. Judge Amit Mehta, who serves on the district court in Washington, D.C., along with Judge Lamberth, raised the possibility of punishing the administration for its actions.

Judge Lamberth’s decision Tuesday joins that of Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, also in the district court in Washington, who earlier this year granted discovery in another case brought by Judicial Watch against the State Department.

Judge Sullivan even said he was inclined to order the State Department to demand all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails – including the 30,000 or so messages she said were private business, not public records, that she sent from her secret account during her time in office.

Judge Lamberth said he’ll wait to see what Judge Sullivan decides before moving ahead with discovery in his own case.

.

.

Manhattan Judge To Harlem Thug: ‘Black Lives Don’t Matter To Black People With Guns’

Judge Rips Thug: ‘Black Lives Don’t Matter To Black People With Guns’ – New York Post

.

.
A Manhattan judge on Tuesday lashed into a Harlem man convicted of attempted murder – telling him that “black lives don’t matter to black people with guns” before tossing him in prison for 24 to 26 years.

“Black lives matter,” Justice Edward McLaughlin told defendant Tareek Arnold, 24, as he sentenced him in Manhattan Supreme Court.

“I have heard it, I know it, but the sad fact is in this courtroom, so often what happens is manifestations of the fact that black lives don’t matter to black people with guns.”

Arnold, who is black, shot rival Jamal McCaskill, also black, four times at close range in the summer of 2015. He also has a prior gun possession conviction.

Prosecutor Meghan Hast asked for the maximum, arguing that “but for extreme luck, this would have been a homicide.”

Bizarrely, McCaskill, 39, testified for the defense and insisted that Arnold wasn’t the culprit even though the Harlem shooting was caught on surveillance video.

That spurred McLaughlin to also lash into the victim, who was in court Tuesday sitting with Arnold’s family.

“The video shows that Mr. McCaskill is an abject liar,” said the judge, who has presided over hundreds of gun cases and often rails against the city’s endemic gang violence.

After cops nabbed Arnold for the shooting, he escaped with his hands cuffed behind his back, using his shoulder to shove an officer to the ground. He was on the lam for almost a month. The jury also convicted him of escape, gun possession and assault.

Defense lawyer Mark Jankowitz requested the minimum sentence of 10 years, arguing that Arnold’s 1-year-old son would be without a father.

McLaughlin demurred: “Do not ask a judge in this room, in this building, or in this system to somehow make amends for the people who commit violent acts and who by their violent acts wind up leaving people orphaned, abandoned, fatherless, etc.”

The judge then handed down the stiff sentence.

.

.

Judge Orders IRS To Turn Over Secret List Of Conservative Groups It Targeted – Accuses Government Of Acting In Bad Faith

Court Rebukes IRS For Tea Party Targeting, Orders Release Of Secret List – Washington Times

.

.
A federal appeals court spanked the IRS Tuesday, saying it has taken laws designed to protect taxpayers from the government and turned them on their head, using them to try to protect the tax agency from the very tea party groups it targeted.

The judges ordered the IRS to quickly turn over the full list of groups it targeted so that a class-action lawsuit, filed by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, can proceed. The judges also accused the Justice Department lawyers, who are representing the IRS in the case, of acting in bad faith – compounding the initial targeting – by fighting the disclosure.

“The lawyers in the Department of Justice have a long and storied tradition of defending the nation’s interests and enforcing its laws – all of them, not just selective ones – in a manner worthy of the Department’s name. The conduct of the IRS’s attorneys in the district court falls outside that tradition,” Judge Raymond Kethledge wrote in a unanimous opinion for a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “We expect that the IRS will do better going forward.”

Justice Department officials declined to comment on the judicial drubbing, and the IRS didn’t respond to a request for comment on the unusually strong language Judge Kethledge used.

The case stems from the IRS‘ decision in 2010 to begin subjecting tea party and conservative groups to intrusive scrutiny when they applied for nonprofit status.

An inspector general found several hundred groups were asked inappropriate questions about their members’ activities, their fundraising and their political leanings.

The IRS has since apologized for its behavior, but insisted the targeting was a mistake born of overzealous employees confused by the law rather than a politically motivated attempt to stifle conservatives.

Tea party groups have been trying for years to get a full list of nonprofit groups that were targeted by the IRS, but the IRS had refused, saying that even the names of those who applied or were approved are considered secret taxpayer information. The IRS said section 6103 of the tax code prevented it from releasing that information.

Judge Kethledge, however, said that turned the law on its head.

“Section 6103 was enacted to protect taxpayers from the IRS, not the IRS from taxpayers,” he wrote.

Edward Greim, a lawyer at Graves Garrett who is representing NorCal Patriots, said they should be able to get a better idea of the IRS‘ decision-making once they see the list of groups that was targeted.

“What we’ll be able to see is how, starting in the spring of 2010, with the first one or two groups the IRS targeted, we’ll be able to see that number grow, and we’ll even be able to see at the tail end their possible covering up that conduct,” he said.

He said they suspect the IRS, aware that the inspector general was looking into the tax agency’s behavior, began adding in other groups to try to muddle the perception that only conservatives were being targeted.

Tuesday’s ruling is the second victory this year for NorCal Patriots.

In January U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott certified their case as a class-action lawsuit, signaling that she agreed with NorCal Patriots that the IRS did systematically target hundreds of groups for special scrutiny.

Certifying the class allows any of the more than 200 groups that were subjected to the criteria to join the lawsuit. But until the IRS complies with the appeals court’s ruling this week, the list of those groups is secret.

Now that the class has been certified, the case moves to the discovery stage, where the tea party groups’ lawyers will ask for all of the agency’s documents related to the targeting and will depose IRS employees about their actions.

The lawyers hope they’ll be able to learn details Congress was unable to shake free in its own investigations.

The Justice Department has concluded its own criminal investigation into the IRS and said the targeting was the result of bad management. But investigators said they found no criminal behavior, and specifically cleared former IRS head Lois G. Lerner, saying her fellow employees said she tried to correct the problems when she learned of them.

Republicans dismissed that investigation as a whitewash by the Obama administration.

.

.

Obama Regime Crime Spree Update: IRS Erases Hard Drive Against Judge’s Orders

Chaffetz, Jordan Erupt After IRS Erases Another Hard Drive – Daily Caller

.

.
Leading members of Congress are ripping IRS officials for erasing a computer hard drive after a federal judge ordered it to be preserved.

“The destruction of evidence subject to preservation orders and subpoenas has been an ongoing problem under your leadership at the IRS,” Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Rep. Jim Jordan , wrote in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen late Thursday.

“It is stunning to see that the IRS does not take reasonable care to preserve documents that it is legally required to protect,” Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, and Jordan, an Ohio Republican, said in the letter to Koskinen.

The IRS recently admitted in court to erasing the hard drive even though a federal judge had issued a preservation related to a Microsoft Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the federal tax agency last year, according to court documents. Microsoft accuses the IRS of inappropriately hiring an outside law firm to audit it and of failing to hand over related documents requested under the FOIA.

Chaffetz and other members of the oversight panel began calling for Koskinen’s impeachment in October. Chaffetz and Jordan in their letter point out that the IRS in March 2014 also destroyed 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 emails sent or received by Lois Lerner, former director of IRS’ Exempt Organizations Division.

Lerner was the central figure in the scandal sparked by the tax agency’s illegal targeting and harassment of conservative and Tea Party non-profit applicants during the 2010 and 2012 election campaigns.

Samuel Maruca, owner of the hard drive in question and a former senior IRS executive, participated in the IRS hiring of the outside law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP allegedly to investigate Microsoft. Maruca left the IRS in August 2014, according to court documents.

Chaffetz and Jordan told Koskinen to hand over all documents on IRS preservation policies and all documents related to the destruction of Lerner and Maruca’s hard drives.

.

.

Federal Judge Blocks President Asshat’s Fracking Regulations

Judge Blocks Obama Administration’s Fracking Regulations – Washington Free Beacon

.

.
A federal judge Wednesday blocked the Obama administration from implementing new regulations on hydraulic fracturing, saying that the administration does not appear to have the statutory authority to do so.

The rule, finalized in March by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is the federal government’s first major attempt to regulate the innovative oil and gas extraction technique commonly known as fracking.

Fracking is generally regulated at the state level. BLM sought to impose additional restrictions on the practice for oil and gas wells on federal land.

Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming said that the agency appears to lack the statutory authority to do so and issued a preliminary injunction blocking BLM from implementing the rule.

“At this point, the Court does not believe Congress has granted or delegated to the BLM authority to regulate fracking,” Skavdahl wrote in his opinion.

In fact, BLM “previously disavowed authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing,” the judge noted.

The Environmental Protection Agency previously had the authority to regulate the fracking-related practices that the rule targets, but the 2005 Energy Policy Act stripped the agency of that authority.

“It is hard to analytically conclude or infer that, having expressly removed the regulatory authority from the EPA, Congress intended to vest it in the BLM, particularly where the BLM had not previously been regulating the practice,” Skavdahl wrote.

The ruling marks a major setback for Obama administration efforts to crack down on fracking, which has spurred unprecedented increases in U.S. oil and gas production since 2009.

The ruling does not scuttle the regulations, but rather prevents their implementation while a lawsuit brought by Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, Utah, and the Ute Indian tribe makes its way though the federal courts.

Two industry groups, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance, have also sued to block the rule.

“Today’s decision essentially shows BLM’s efforts are not needed and that states are – and have for 60 years been – in the best position to safely regulate hydraulic fracturing,” said IPAA spokesman Jeff Eshelman on the ruling.

.

.