Crimes and Their Punishments – Through the Ages

Punishments for Crimes through the ages – from the bizarre to outrageous, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We don’t know how lucky we are!

Many of us are apt to complain about sentences handed out by our Courts for crimes these days – too harsh, too lenient. But a quick look at some punishments for crimes through the ages, including in some countries today, we should really consider how much we really have to complain about.

Not only have punishments been truly shocking (and in some instances still are), but even some of the crimes are truly unbelievable.

Many Sydney criminal lawyers would have had their work cut out for them if some of these historical crimes were still on the statute books! Lucky for us that our complaints about the justice systems these days are limited to whether an offender should be given a jail sentence or community service, or whether a 2 year sentence is sufficient or whether 5 would have been better, and so on.

Thank goodness we don’t have to contend with crimes for which the penalty is being tortured to death by some truly unimaginable means. Criminal lawyers in Australia, as in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and others, these days don’t have to plead for the type of mercy that offenders of times gone by had to. And of course, some of these barbaric practices do still exist today in other parts of the globe, as you can see below.

Some Crimes and Some Punishments You Won’t Believe

Take a look …

Crimes and Their Punishments

Report: In Kansas, Kids Who Face Criminal Charges Aren't Getting The Defense They Need – HPPR

Most of Wichita attorney Trent Wetta’s clients fall between the ages of 14 and 17, but they can be as young as 10. They typically face misdemeanor charges, such as possession of marijuana or theft, or minor felony charges, like burglary.

It can prove tricky guiding a child through a criminal justice system made by adults with law degrees.

Because their brains are still developing, Wetta’s clients are more susceptible to peer pressure and risky behaviors. He said they often don’t understand how a court case can affect them later in life. Some don’t know the difference between pleading guilty, not guilty and no contest.

“There are many times where it is difficult to get a child to understand, really, what’s going on,” Wetta said. “Kids are not good at evaluating consequences of actions.”

A new report from the National Juvenile Defender Center, an organization that studies justice systems and educates attorneys, found that Kansas is one of only four states without a statewide agency that coordinates juvenile public defenders.

Instead, the report says, Kansas relies on a patchwork system where counties assign juvenile defense attorneys who are poorly compensated and rarely get enough cases to build expertise in the subject, and where children don’t get to see a lawyer until after they’ve already been interrogated by the police.

“By and large, what we saw across the state is not what you would want if it were your child in the court system,” said Mary Ann Scali, executive director of the National Juvenile Defender Center.

The report studied 11 counties across Kansas. Researchers attended court proceedings and interviewed defense attorneys, judges, prosecutors, probation officers and other staff involved in the juvenile justice system. The center declined to name the counties it visited, but report authors said they chose the locations based on their geographic and demographic diversity.

The biggest problem, the report contends, is the absence of a statewide authority to educate attorneys in juvenile defense, assign them earlier in a child’s case and enforce fair, consistent standards for the treatment of children when they’re prosecuted.

“The complete lack of state standards and oversight led to largely low-quality representation,” report author Amy Borror said in an interview.

Kansas requires either a parent or an attorney to be present while a child is being interrogated by the police. But there is no system for assigning an attorney to a child at that point in the criminal process. And parents who are present for a police interrogation may encourage children to make incriminating statements, Scali said.

Sometimes, a family may have the resources to find and hire a private defense attorney for an interrogation. But often, defenders are assigned when the child makes his or her first appearance in court. By then, the child and family may already be confused or misinformed about the legal process.

The report found that some Kansas counties may even charge families fees to use an assigned defender, even if the family can’t afford it.

“One county … passed the entire thing, their hourly bill, over to the family and just waited to see if the family complained about it,” said the center’s special counsel, Tim Curry, who worked on the report. “Even though all these families had already been found not to be able to afford lawyers.” The report recommended that Kansas address racial inequalities in the juvenile justice system — Black, Native American and Latino children are more likely to be put in jail than white children in the state. The report also calls for the elimination of shackling children in courtrooms. Unlike several other states, Kansas has no statewide laws banning this practice, and report contributors observed it frequently in courtrooms.

Low pay, little support

Wetta, the defense attorney in Wichita, says Sedgwick County pays juvenile defenders a flat rate of $210 for most cases, with the intent of covering three hours of work. For more serious charges or cases that end up in a trial, lawyers get $70 per hour, with a cap at $1,400 for 20 hours.

That’s not even close to what most private lawyers would charge as an hourly rate in Sedgwick County, Wetta said. He also works as a probate attorney, handling wills and estates for between $200 and $250 an hour. Private defense attorneys, he said, often charge $10,000 retainers for cases that go to trial.

Wetta doesn’t track the hours he spends on each juvenile defense case. Even the simplest of cases take about six hours to complete. Cases with video footage and higher-level crimes can take much longer.

“Things can get much more complicated very quickly,” he said. “That’s just dealing with a plea. We’re not even talking about preparing for trial.”

It’s common for attorneys who practice juvenile defense to do it part time, and to perform other legal work or defend adults on the side. That means attorneys defending children might not know the juvenile criminal laws as well as they do the adult criminal code, said Melanie DeRousse, an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Law and the director of the school’s legal clinic.

“There is no standardization or structure supporting our work,” she said. “Most attorneys are kind of learning it as they go.”

Other types of legal specialities, like guardian working with foster children, require regular training, DeRousse said. But for juvenile defense, there are no statewide training requirements. There are also no conferences for juvenile defenders in Kansas.

Working with children can present unique challenges, said DeRousse, who teaches law students how to defend juveniles in the clinic. She has represented young defendants who don’t understand the difference between the defense and the prosecution. Many kids have also been assigned other lawyers and advocates due to involvement in the foster care system, and are often confused about the role of a defense attorney.

Parental involvement can also complicate things. Some have been involved in the justice system and don’t trust lawyers. Others want to be involved in their child’s defense to the point where it violates attorney-client privilege.

“We have a responsibility to make sure that our communications with our clients are confidential,” DeRousse said. “We need to make sure that our kids independently understand what’s going on and are making their own choices without pressure from their parents.”

Nomin Ujiyediin reports on criminal justice and social welfare for the Kansas News Service. You can email her at nomin (at) kcur (dot) org and follow her on Twitter @NominUJ.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.

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Nasdaq needs SEC signoff for its game-changing rule on board diversity. Here's a look at how it could play out.

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A game-changing proposal from Nasdaq aimed at boosting board diversity for listed companies is now in the hands of the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

On Tuesday, Nasdaq asked the SEC for permission to implement a new rule, under which most of the more than 3,400 companies listed on the exchange must have at least one woman board member and another from an underrepresented minority, such as a nonwhite or LGBTQ director.

According to the proposal, companies will have to publicly disclose their board diversity information within a year from the SEC’s approval. Some companies, like special purpose acquisition companies, are exempted, but most issuers that don’t meet the requirements will have to explain why.

The proposal comes at a time when companies — from law firms to investment banks — are facing mounting calls to increase diversity in the workplace, and especially among leadership. This would be the first time a major stock exchange mandates more disclosure than is required by federal law, per the New York Times.

Business Insider spoke with six regulatory lawyers about how they think the SEC will view Nasdaq’s proposal, and what this means for the financial markets writ large.

Nasdaq’s board-diversity rule will likely be approved, though it may be deferred to the new administration

Experts agree that the stock exchange’s proposed board-diversity rule is likely to be approved by the SEC, though it may be modified somewhat in the process, and deferred to the new administration. 

“The SEC’s standard for approval under Section 19 is essentially: Does it benefit the functioning of public markets?” explained Trace Schmeltz, co-chair of Barnes & Thornburg’s financial and regulatory litigation group. Under Section 19 of the Securities and Exchange Act, a self-regulatory organization like Nasdaq proposes rule changes to the SEC for consideration.

Since diversification of leadership is widely accepted as beneficial to businesses — as laid out in Nasdaq’s 271-page proposal — and public companies are disincentivized to publicly express disagreement with such initiatives, Schmeltz thinks the SEC will approve the rule change.

With SEC Chairman Jay Clayton set to leave the commission at the end of the year and the period for public comment on the proposal likely to extend into 2021, Joe Biden’s pick for the commission’s next leader could play a decisive role in the rule’s fate.

During past lame-duck sessions, the SEC has slowed down rulemaking, explained Thomas Ko, partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. As a result, he thinks that it’s likely that the SEC will ask for more time and defer the decision “out of respect” to the incoming commissioner.

While some lawyers believe that Nasdaq’s proposal will pass regardless of the political environment, others think that it will have an easier time passing with the new administration. 

“The Nasdaq proposal would have faced major uphill sledding at a Trump-led SEC, but with the incoming Biden administration, and a new chair at the SEC, the reception should be positive,” said Robert Litan, a partner at Korein Tillery who previously oversaw the early stages of the Justice Department’s investigation into Nasdaq for fixing dealer spreads in 1994.

“There’s an expectation that the Biden administration will be more ESG-focused, which we’ve seen evidence of with his selection of cabinet members,” said Valerie Dahiya, partner at Perkins Coie who formerly served as SEC branch chief and currently sits on Nasdaq’s Exchange Review Council. “The proposal seems to be coming right on time.”

John Kerry, President-elect Biden’s pick for climate envoy, exemplifies the administration’s bent toward environmental, social, and corporate governance. On top of this, women and people of color make up the majority of Biden’s transition team, while his communications team is all female.

Two Democratic SEC commissioners, Allison Herren Lee and Caroline Crenshaw, have called for more corporate disclosure of diversity metrics, and Nasdaq invoked their past statements in its proposed rule.

The proposed rule comes as public companies have come under increasing pressure from big investors, governments, and plaintiffs’ lawyers to diversify their ranks. Earlier this year, California’s governor signed a law requiring that boards have one, two, or three directors from underrepresented communities, depending on their size.

Rich Fields, a lawyer at King & Spalding who helps companies with stakeholder engagement, said the diversity proposal may be something that a Biden nominee to lead the SEC would face questions about at his or her senate confirmation hearings.

One influential business group has already come out in favor of the rule. Tom Quaadman, a top official at the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a Tuesday statement that the proposal help accelerate the existing movement toward greater diversity at businesses.

“We appreciate the leadership of NASDAQ in developing a business-led solution to resolving diversity issues on corporate boards,” the statement said.

The new rule, while the first step to implementing meaningful change for diversity, may raise questions that the SEC must resolve

If approved by the SEC, the new board-diversity rule would be a “meaningful” and “great catalyst for change,” Schmeltz said. But equally important is that boards are receptive to new viewpoints. 

“It’s one thing to fill board seats with diverse members, it’s another to ensure that the way the board actually governs itself is one in which everyone’s views are valued and explored,” he said.

That said, there are some questions that could be raised, which may lead to modifications to the original proposal prior to approval.

“The real test will be the comment period,” the 30 days during which the public, including issuers, can raise questions and critique the proposal, said Dahiya, the former SEC branch chief.

For example, some companies might contend the new rule places an undue burden on them by requiring them to find a woman and person of color with the requisite expertise or experience.

“I think that there will be people who will make arguments that we’ve heard all along as a pretext to protect privilege,” Dahiya said.

Another potential issue regulatory lawyers see companies raising is with the timing. 

“Companies might want more time to get into compliance with the requirements,” said Cynthia Krus, a partner at Eversheds Sutherland. “But while particular provisions of the proposal may be modified, the SEC will likely move forward with it.”

Nasdaq does lay out different phases according to the size of the company — for example, larger companies are given four years to find two diverse board members, and smaller companies get five.

“It seems like a well-thought-out proposal,” Schmeltz said.

Stroock’s Ko said that while the disclosure elements of the proposal likely won’t generate much controversy, companies may have questions about its specific details.

“No one is debating the necessity for transparency and diversity in general. Rather, a question that may be asked is: Is it the right mechanism to have two required seats — one seat based on gender, and the other on either racial identity or sexual orientation?” Ko said.

Ko added that, theoretically, a company could expand its board to dilute the say of its two diverse members, raising the possibility of increasing the required number of minority individuals.

One feature of the rule that could help deflect criticism is its “comply or explain” nature, said two lawyers who advise corporate boards. 

Companies that don’t meet the diversity threshold set out in the rule won’t actually be booted from the Nasdaq exchange, but the rule says noncompliant companies will have to “explain why the company does not have at least two directors on its board” who meet its diversity criteria.

Fields, the King & Spalding lawyer, said corporate leaders have been dealing with pressure to diversify their boards for years, both from major shareholders and from states like California that have set board-diversity standards for companies based there.

SEE ALSO: Here’s what lawyers and former regulators say Biden’s pick to lead the transition for bank regulation means for Wall Street.

SEE ALSO: Nasdaq’s CEO says the cloud is the ‘future of the industry’ and the tech could be used to conduct actual trading within the next decade

SEE ALSO: How Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf, who’s under fire for his ‘limited’ Black talent remark, filled the bank’s top ranks with white men from his JPMorgan days

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Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud – The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared Tuesday the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.

Barr’s comments, in an interview with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month’s voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.

Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president’s most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.

More to Trump’s liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn’t said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn’t comment Tuesday.

Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was coordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.

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Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.

Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.

Trump didn’t directly comment on the attorney general’s remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, “with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president’s complaints.

Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump’s allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it’s not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.

Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”

Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.

That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.

The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.

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But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.

Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.

The issues they’ve have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.

But they’ve gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.

Barr didn’t name Powell specifically but said: “There’s been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”

In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”

“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.

However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.

“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all,” he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.

“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. … And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on.”

___

Associated Press Writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

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Electric-vehicle startup Faraday Future called its former top lawyer who's suing over $6 million in pay a useless 'potted plant'

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A lawyer who says he wasn’t paid over $6 million in compensation owed to him for serving as the top lawyer at electric-car company Faraday Future oversold his credentials and sat around like a “potted plant” during his year with the company, the company said.

In legal papers filed on Thursday, Faraday, which has struggled since its 2015 launch and told Reuters last month that it plans to go public by merging with a SPAC, said Hong Liu was an ineffective leader who barely lifted a finger to help the company through disputes with a major investor called Evergrande as well as EVelozcity, another electric-vehicle company.

The company issued a broad denial of Liu’s allegations that it violated its contracts and securities laws and said Liu was barely conversant about corporate finance topics that he should have understood. It said he wasn’t able to work his supposed connections to Goldman Sachs or Blackstone to assist with financing efforts and said he “systematically removed himself from positions of responsibility” over the course of his time at the company.

“It took Liu eleven months into his employment, until January 2019, to provide his first work plan: a useless mishmash of philosophical ramblings devoid of any concrete or measurable steps, tasks, or efforts to meet the vague goals and strategies described therein,” the company said in the court papers.

Liu has said his efforts to assist the company stay within the law were frustrated by its founder and former CEO Yueting Jia, who filed for personal bankruptcy last year. In his complaint, Liu said he was terminated after trying to stop sexual misconduct and immigration law violations at the company, only to be ignored by Jia and his lieutenants.

Read more: Meet 16 bankers, lawyers, and capital providers helping engineer a $40 billion blank-check craze that’s fast-tracking companies to public markets

Liu says he was promised millions in cash compensation and equity that could have been worth up to $100 million for his service to the company. A good compensation package was the only way he could have been counted on to leave his lucrative role as a partner at Mayer Brown behind, he says.

But Faraday Future said even the $1.8 million Liu was paid was too much. It asked a judge to make him return his compensation.

Faraday has been described as a competitor to Tesla and has been working for years to bring to market an electric SUV called the FF91. Disputes with funders and Yueting’s own bankruptcy have raised eyebrows among some investors, however. The company is now led by Carstein Breitfield, a BMW veteran who took the reins a year ago.

The company is represented in Liu’s lawsuit by the law firm Troutman Pepper.

Amiad Kushner, a lawyer at Seiden Law Group who represents Liu, called the company’s counterclaims “a desperate attempt” to distract from its own lawbreaking.

“Mr. Liu’s complaint speaks for itself, laying bare how the Faraday defendants engaged in securities fraud, breached the unambiguous terms of Mr. Liu’s employment agreement, and retaliated and terminated Mr. Liu in violation of California law,” he said in an email. “Mr. Liu looks forward to revealing the powerful and scathing evidence of defendants’ wrongdoing and prosecuting his claims in a court of law.”

SEE ALSO: A woman who worked at an investment bank that advised on electric-truck company Hyliion’s SPAC deal says she was fired after complaining about sexual misconduct

SEE ALSO: 11 industries where top in-house lawyers earn $2 million a year or more

SEE ALSO: How 2 general counsels made the leap from Big Law firms Ropes & Gray and Sullivan & Cromwell to the world of fast-growing fintechs

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Enjoy Criminal Minds and SVU? Check Out These Shows | Game Rant – GameRant

There has been a reemerging interest in “true crime” documentaries and dramatizations in the last few years. That comes as no surprise when shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Minds have been dominating American television since the early 2000s. 

The beginning of this year marked the end of Criminal Minds, a procedural crime drama that followed a group of tight-knit criminal profilers who work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Since 2005, the show enticed audiences as the profilers sought out dangerous and disturbed criminals, many of whom were based on true stories. Beyond that, the show dived into the fictional character’s personal lives. It was impossible to not fall in love with them, whether it was the fan-favorite flirting between the buff and beautiful profiler Derek Morgan and the nerdy-but-edgy technical analyst Penelope Garia, or the quirky philosophicalness of agent Spencer Reid, a child genius turned young profiler. 

RELATED: Watch These Other Daniel Craig Films While Waiting For The Next James Bond

Before Criminal Minds was Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU), a show held in high regard since 1999. This crime show stars Mariska Hargitay as the lead character Olivia Benson, a New York Police Department Captain. It also introduced hip-hop artist Ice-T as a leading detective named Odafin Tutuola in season two, a role he has been occupying since 2000. While both shows follow dark crimes and criminals, Criminal Minds tends to focus more on the criminal’s behaviors and psychology while Law & Order: SVU is more about prosecution and other law processes. 

These shows are both well acclaimed for their writing, acting, and thrilling pace. Both are notorious and have made sweeps at award shows. Unlike Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU isn’t planning on going anywhere anytime soon, as it has already been renewed for two more seasons.

There are many shows like these, many of which have hopeful futures. Here are six crime shows to watch that are equally as interesting and entertaining as the aforementioned two. 

Mindhunter

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Beware, although highly successful and praised, Mindhunter has ceased production after its second season. Available for streaming on Netflix, this show follows two hyper-masculine federal agents and a closeted lesbian psychologist (played by Fringe’s Anna Torv) working in the newfound field of criminal profiling. The show is similar to Criminal Minds, in the sense that the show focuses on behavioral science, however, Mindhunter takes place in the late-70s and early-80s, rather than contemporary times. The show also hones in on one killer, rather than sporadically mixing it up throughout the season. 

This crime drama tackles misogyny and toxic masculinity, as well as period-typical homophobia and racism. 

Mindhunter is available for streaming on Netflix.

Lucifer

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Although the show got off to a rough start, having been canceled on its original network after three seasons and then picked up by Netflix, Lucifer has developed a large fan following. The show is more fictional than the previously mentioned ones, it is more of a fantasy drama. However, it still falls in the crime genre as it casts the recently-retired Devil as a consultant to the Los Angeles Police Department. 

Lucifer captures a fascinating love story amongst its many crime scenes and it features a constant battle between the fantasy characters. Interestingly enough, the title character has been tied into the D.C. extended universe, making a cameo in the crossover television event Crisis in the Infinite Universe

Lucifer is available for streaming on Netflix.

Fargo

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Fargo is an ongoing black comedy crime drama based on a movie by the same name with the original creators being named as executive producers. It is an anthology series, each season takes place at a different time and location. So far, each of the four seasons have featured highly-populated casts with actors such as; Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, and Chris Rock, among many other notable names. 

Each episode grasps the audience’s attention from the opening scenes. The episodes start with the dramatized statement, “This is a true story. The events depicted took place in [season’s location’ in [season’s year]. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.” Fargo is everything dark, quirky, and invigorating as it showcases the actions and lives of both the criminals and the investigators. 

Fargo is available for streaming on Hulu.

Veronica Mars

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Veronica Mars started as a teen crime drama as it followed the titular character (played by Kristen Bell) who, at the time, was a high school student and the daughter of a respected private investigator. Although each episode follows crimes of varying degrees, from cult-like child abuse to the unconsented spread of salacious images, there is an overarching mystery that overarches each season. The first season was occupied with the investigation of the murder of Mars’ best friend. 

This show has a rocky past as it found itself canceled after three seasons, with little warning. Seven years after its cancellation, show creator Rob Thomas and lead actor Kristen Bell launched a fundraiser which led to a movie being crowdfunded by the show’s supportive fans. After the success of the fan-service filled movie, Hulu revived the series, releasing eight episodes featuring a majority of the original cast. 

All episodes of Veronica Mars are available for streaming on Hulu. The movie is available for rent on Amazon Prime and YouTube, or with an HBOMax subscription. 

White Collar

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Back to procedural crime dramas, White Collar follows the character Neal Caffery who is played by Matt Bomer. Caffery is a famed con artist who offers his brilliance to a lead FBI agent, Peter Burke, in exchange for early-release on his prison sentence. Burke and Caffery are polar opposites, often butting heads. Surprisingly enough, they make a fool-proof team in catching white-collar criminals, meaning ones that are involved with nonviolent, financially motivated crimes.

White Collar is witty and fast-paced throughout its six seasons. Excitingly enough, it was announced this summer by the show’s creator that a revival with original cast members is in the works.

White Collar is available for streaming on Hulu.

S.W.A.T

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As given by the title, S.W.A.T follows the leader of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics unit (S.W.A.T) team, Sergeant Daniel Hondo who is played by Criminal Minds favorite Shemar Moore who seamlessly amplifies his charm as Sergeant Hondo. Hondo is deeply invested in his community, as he grew up in the Los Angeles area that his team serves. He uses that to his advantage as members of the community offer him help and he actively works to alleviate the tensions between them and the police department.

The show is packed with crime-fighting action and is currently premiering season four. The newest season began airing earlier this week and judging by the trailer, it begins to tackle the current political climate surrounding police-induced violence.

S.W.A.T is available for streaming on Hulu.

MORE: Canceled Netflix Shows You Should Watch Anyway

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Biden needs attorney general with integrity, proven record on civil rights – USA TODAY


Tap former Clinton, Obama appointee for pick committed to comprehensive sentencing, policing reform and restoration of voting rights.

Ben Crump
 |  Opinion contributor

As this most unusual year draws to a close, I’m reflecting on how exhausting 2020 has been for those of us committed to the fight for civil rights. We’ve known great sorrow and disappointment. And we’ve never wavered in speaking truth to power and shining a bright light on the ugliness of inequality. Now, I’m cautiously optimistic that President-elect Joe Biden and his still-unnamed attorney general will be our partner in the hard work of repairing our criminal justice system.

I’ve dedicated my career to the fight against systemic injustice and racism. The global and national outcry for change is encouraging. The marches and activism, which filled the streets with hundreds of thousands saying their names, “Breonna, George and Ahmaud,” now demand action. Even in the midst of a pandemic and rising economic turmoil, we turned out to say: “Enough!” 

Attorney General William Barr’s repeated attacks on voting rights, policing reforms and the independence of career Department of Justice officials have set a bad precedent. And a president willing to use the attorney general as his personal lawyer to hold on to power has further challenged our beliefs in the DOJ and the rule of law. I’m relieved that a new day is coming.

During his historic presidential campaign, Biden ran on an ambitious criminal justice reform platform. He promised to end federal private prisons, mandatory minimum sentencing and the federal death penalty, and reexamine the cash bail system. Candidate Biden also said that the school-to-prison pipeline should be abolished. He spoke of uniting our great country and fixing a biased and broken criminal justice system that has unfairly impacted a disproportionate share of Black and brown Americans — particularly Black men. 

COLUMN: I’ve seen mental-health calls to police from both sides. More training is needed.

During George Floyd’s funeral in June, Biden delivered a powerful video message, saying, “Now is the time for racial justice. …  When there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America.”

Moved by Biden’s promises, Black voters carried him to victory in the presidential election with their overwhelming turnout in the key states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

What we now need from Biden is an attorney general nominee committed to delivering the Constitution’s promises of justice and equality. For our communities, this means promoting comprehensive policing reform, restoring voting rights, ensuring fair housing, bringing an end to redlining and adopting equitable sentencing guidelines. This Cabinet pick will be one of the most important, given the past four years of civil rights wreckage by the Trump administration. To move forward, we need a strong leader at Justice who will manage our nation’s conscience of crisis from our boardrooms to our courtrooms — one who feels and understands our pain.

We need an unimpeachable attorney general who can repair the bonds of trust between the people and the DOJ, who has a proven track record of civil rights, who has worked with the business community yet is committed to applying justice fairly when they overreach, and who knows the pitfalls in the system for people of color. In my view, there is no one more uniquely qualified for this role given this significant moment in history than Tony West, the brother-in-law of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. 

Over his exemplary three-decade career, West has worked in government and in corporate America and has fought for civil rights. He served in the Clinton and Obama administrations. He was twice confirmed by the U.S. Senate, most recently by a vote of 98-1

Under Attorney General Eric Holder, West was the third-highest ranking official and also ran the Civil Division. He led various efforts to reduce racial bias, improve procedural fairness, strengthen the relationship between communities of color and law enforcement, and hold police departments accountable.

As associate attorney general, West secured nearly $37 billion for American consumers and investors harmed by big banks during the 2008 financial crisis. He also oversaw DOJ’s efforts to protect the Affordable Care Act.

As general counsel at PepsiCo Inc., West was a strong advocate for diversity in recruitment and hiring. His reputation for integrity and effectiveness led Uber to hire him as chief legal officer to lead the effort to clean up its culture.

But West has always remained a public servant at heart. With his keen legal mind, strong character and commitment to justice, I can think of no one better to lead the Department at this time.

Biden said when addressing the country on Nov. 7: “And especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African American community stood up again for me. You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours.” 

A meaningful way to honor this promise would be to appoint an attorney general who will be a true partner in the fight for justice for all Americans. 

Ben Crump is a civil rights attorney and founder of the national law firm Ben Crump Law, based in Tallahassee, Florida. 

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A top banking lawyer who just joined Blackstone's board is moving to the powerhouse law firm Kirkland & Ellis

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Reginald Brown, a top financial regulatory lawyer, and three of his partners are leaving WilmerHale for Kirkland & Ellis, his new firm said.

Brown, a partner at WilmerHale who was named in September to a position on Blackstone’s board of directors, has become one of the most prominent lawyers to advise banks and other clients in the regulatory hot seat. It’s the latest big hire by Kirkland & Ellis, a firm known for its high profits and its proximity to the private-equity industry.

He has advised Bank of America on multiple matters over the years, including helping the bank through congressional scrutiny amid the financial crisis and helping it avoid precious-metals spoofing charges, Bloomberg reported earlier this year. He also represented Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign advisor, for a time.

Brown was also vice chair of WilmerHale’s crisis management group. He has reportedly helped numerous executives prepare for testimony before Congress, including Wells Fargo’s new CEO Charlie Scharf and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Daniel Chaudoin, Jeremy Dresner and Daniel Kearney, three other WilmerHale partners, are also making the move, which will take effect on Dec. 1, Kirkland said. All three having experience helping financial institutions, other corporations and senior executives through regulatory matters and disputes, the firm said.

Lauren Drake, a partner at the legal recruiting firm Macrae, said Brown was highly respected and said “countless” law firms have inquired about hiring him over the years. Kirkland has been known to have its top partners reach out directly to desirable candidates, she said, and has a reputation for paying top-dollar for the lawyers it wants.

The hire of Brown, Chaudoin, Dressner and Kearney comes several months after Kirkland’s Washington, D.C. office added another partner, Ivan Schlager, known for helping mergers and investments in sensitive industries get approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US.

Brown is also the latest partner of color to join Kirkland & Ellis. Earlier this year, the firm added Taj Clayton, a Dallas litigator, from Winston & Strawn; Todd Baker, a patent attorney in Washington who was on the management committee at the intellectual property-focused firm Oblon; and Byron Pacheco, who’d been an associate at Boies Schiller Flexner.

Read more: Pay rifts, a partner divide, and a threat at the Ritz Carlton: 50 insiders reveal all on a massive shakeup at elite law firm Boies Schiller

Mark Jungers, another recruiter who focuses on high-level partner placements, said Brown’s addition marks just the latest rainmaker to join Kirkland. Several lateral partners sit on the firm’s management committee, he noted, including Jim Hurst, a former leading lawyer at Winston & Strawn who joined Kirkland in 2014.

“The idea of taking market share, battling for something, and triumphing over a rival … at least since I’ve been doing this, that has been a significant additional motivator for [Kirkland] that I think has served them well,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Here’s what lawyers and former regulators say Biden’s pick to lead the transition for bank regulation means for Wall Street.

SEE ALSO: 10 lawyers who navigated the biggest bankruptcies in history are seeing a boom in business thanks to a restructuring surge

SEE ALSO: Pay rifts, a partner divide, and a threat at the Ritz Carlton: 50 insiders reveal all on a massive shakeup at elite law firm Boies Schiller

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A utilities-focused hedge fund that managed $319 million is shutting down, with its staff moving to Point72

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Blackstart Capital, a $319 million hedge fund focused on investing in utilities and infrastructure stocks, has shut down and its staff have joined Point72 Asset Management.

The fund terminated its registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission effective Oct. 22, according to the SEC’s website. It listed four employees on a filing earlier this year and said it managed $319 million on behalf of four clients, all pooled investment funds.

Jamie Waters, a portfolio manager there, joined Point72, Steve Cohen’s hedge fund firm, on Nov. 1, along with three senior analysts, according to Tiffany Galvin-Cohen, a Point72 spokeswoman. She said they would be investing in the energy sector.

Waters worked earlier in his career as an analyst at Point72 predecessor SAC Capital.

Read more: Stock-picking billionaires like Bill Ackman and Lee Ainslie are soaring while quants like Renaissance and Winton struggle. Here’s a breakdown of how 13 hedge funds are performing.

From 2016 through 2019, thousands of hedge funds closed as investors placed their money with lower-fee asset managers. 2020 has been volatile, with $45.5 billion in net outflows from hedge funds in the first half of the year partly offset by $13 billion in net inflows in the third quarter, according to Hedge Fund Research.

According to its website, Blackstart was a long/short equity manager investing in North American utilities, power and related infrastructure sectors.  Its principals were described as veteran utility and power investment professionals.

Blackstart’s office landlord also sued the fund and its general partner on Monday, claiming a default under its lease and seeking the rent it would have paid through 2023. The firm emptied out its midtown Manhattan offices and turned over the keys on Oct. 1, according to the lawsuit.

SEE ALSO: The head of professional development at Steve Cohen’s Point72 lays out how to climb from fresh college grad to portfolio manager at the $16.3 billion hedge fund firm

SEE ALSO: Stock-picking billionaires like Bill Ackman and Lee Ainslie are soaring while quants like Renaissance and Winton struggle. Here’s a breakdown of how 13 hedge funds are performing.

SEE ALSO: HEDGE FUND COMP: How much engineers, associates, and researchers are paid at AQR, Bridgewater, Citadel, D.E. Shaw, Point72, and Two Sigma

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The Criminal Minds season that's too creepy for fans to watch – Looper

Some of the horrors of season 9 are more psychological in nature. In the episode “The Edge of Winter,” Agent Morgan (Shemar Moore) is interviewing the surviving victim of a pair of sadists who kidnap and detain victims at a farm before killing them and dumping their bodies in public. As Morgan interviews Daria (Aasha Davis), the show flashes back one year to show us the BAU team investigating the murders.

During the investigation, the team finds the kidnappers, but has a hard time determining who committed the murders themselves. In the past, we watch as the evidence points to the disturbing fact that it was Daria who killed their victims after she developed Stockholm syndrome while in captivity. In the present day, Morgan asks her about this, hoping that she has recovered. But Daria is not over it. Not only is she still in love with her captor, but she also confesses that if he asked her to, she would kill for him again.

The revelation is truly a living nightmare. As sabertoothdiego said, “Holy s***, the episode where the woman has such severe stockholm syndrome that even a year later her mind is still broken!”

Those are just a few examples of why season 9 of Criminal Minds is one of the most unsettling eras of the whole series.

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