Republican calls for Kavanaugh accuser, lawyer to face criminal investigation – ABC News

The battle over the handling of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing isn’t over as Sen. Chuck Grassley is calling on the Justice Department to criminally investigate one of the justice’s accusers and her attorney.

Grassley, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the Justice Department calling for Julie Swetnick and her attorney Michael Avenatti to be subject to a criminal investigation.

The probe will focus on what Grassley’s office calls “a potential conspiracy to provide materially false statements to Congress and obstruct a congressional committee investigation.”

Grassley questioned the veracity of Swetnick’s claims of allegedly being aware of sexual assaults that Kavanaugh may have participated in during his time in high school. Kavanaugh denied all of the claims.

“When a well-meaning citizen comes forward with information relevant to the committee’s work, I take it seriously. It takes courage to come forward, especially with allegations of sexual misconduct or personal trauma. I’m grateful for those who find that courage,” Grassley said in a statement.

“But in the heat of partisan moments, some do try to knowingly mislead the committee. That’s unfair to my colleagues, the nominees and others providing information who are seeking the truth,” Grassley said.

“It stifles our ability to work on legitimate lines of inquiry. It also wastes time and resources for destructive reasons. Thankfully, the law prohibits such false statements to Congress and obstruction of congressional committee investigations. For the law to work, we can’t just brush aside potential violations. I don’t take lightly making a referral of this nature, but ignoring this behavior will just invite more of it in the future,” Grassley said.

Avenatti, who first came to national attention for representing adult film star Stormy Daniels, tweeted his response to Grassley’s call for an investigation.

“It is ironic that Senator Grassley now is interested in investigations. He didn’t care when it came to putting a man on the SCOTUS for life. We welcome the investigation as now we can finally get to the bottom of Judge Kavanaugh’s lies and conduct. Let the truth be known,” Avenatti wrote on Twitter.

Swetnick was the third woman to publicly accuse Kavanaugh of alleged sexual misconduct during his confirmation hearings in September.

The other two women who accused Kavanaugh were Christine Blasey Ford, who publicly testified before the Judiciary Committee about her alleged assault by the judge, and Deborah Ramirez, who accused him of sexual misconduct when they were both students at Yale University.

Kavanaugh denied all of the claims.

Swetnick shared her allegations after releasing a sworn declaration that Avenatti provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Swetnick claimed she observed Kavanaugh at more than 10 house parties in the early 1980s. She said at numerous parties Kavanaugh was drunk and engaging in what she called “highly inappropriate conduct,” including “fondling and grabbing of girls without their consent.”

“I observed Brett Kavanaugh drink excessively at many of these parties and engage in abusive and highly physically aggressive behavior toward girls,” Swetnick wrote in the declaration, “including pressing girls against him without their consent, ‘grinding’ against girls, and attempting to remove or shift girls’ clothing to expose private body parts.”

In a statement at the time, Kavanaugh called the allegations by Swetnick “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone.”

“I don’t know who this is and this never happened,” Kavanaugh said in a statement.

After a contentious confirmation, Kavanaugh was ultimately sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice earlier this month.

ABC News’ James Hill contributed to this report.

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David N. Savitt, former trial lawyer, Pa. state legislator, and Common Pleas Court judge –

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David N. Savitt, former trial lawyer, Pa. state legislator, and Common Pleas Court judge
"He was a terrific guy, a good lawyer," she said. "It was two opposing lawyers, fighting for their position. He put up a spirited defense. He was well-prepared. He was respectful to the tribunal and respectful to me. He just wanted to represent his

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Sally Yates gave her sharpest criticism yet against Trump: 'Is all of this a momentary detour? Or has our country lost its way?'

Sally Yates

  • Former deputy attorney general Sally Yates criticized the Trump administration and urged people to vote during the midterm elections.
  • “Regardless of one’s prior involvement in the political world, one thing is very clear now,” Yates said at a Democratic National Committee event in Los Angeles on Tuesday. “This is not a time for any of us to sit on the sidelines. There is just too much at stake.”
  • Yates described the Trump White House as callous and discriminatory, and sided with critics who claim President Donald Trump is capitalizing on nationalist sentiment and habitually peddling falsehoods.
  • The former official has typically avoided the political spotlight after she was fired for refusing to enforce the first version of Trump’s controversial travel ban in January 2017.

LOS ANGELES — Former deputy attorney general Sally Yates in a speech delivered her sharpest criticism of the Trump administration yet, and urged people to vote in the midterm elections.

“Regardless of one’s prior involvement in the political world, one thing is very clear now,” Yates said at a Democratic National Committee event in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “This is not a time for any of us to sit on the sidelines. There is just too much at stake.”

“I’m not referring to any particular policies, or issues. I’m not talking about healthcare or taxes, or even immigration policy,” Yates added. “Those are important, but I think that there’s something much more fundamental on the line. Because I think our country is at a crossroads.”

Yates repeatedly urged voters to head to the polls for the November midterm election and beyond, a message that was echoed by Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez in the event.

“Right now, we have the fight of our lives ahead of us,” Yates said. “Because right now, the fight that we’re facing is really about nothing less than the soul of our country.”

“We have to decide if we’re going to be a country that is governed by rule of law — or are we going to allow the cornerstone of our democracy to literally crumble under the weight of a president who uses the Department of Justice as a sword to go after his enemies, or a shield to protect himself and his friends.”

Sally Yates

Yates referenced the Trump administration’s controversial zero-tolerance immigration policy — which she called callous and discriminatory — and sided with critics who claim Trump is capitalizing on nationalist sentiment and peddling falsehoods.

“Are we going to weaponize the differences and use them to stoke fear and division, or are we going to be a country grounded in just basic human decency and compassion,” Yates asked. “Or are we going to rip children from parents and put them in cages?”

Yates continued: “Are we going to be a country that vigorously debates the issues, but debates that are grounded in common facts in truth? Or are we going to apathetically slip into the world where our leaders just flat make it all up every day — with no accountability to the point where there are no common facts and there is no such thing as objective truth anymore?”

Yates, who served as deputy attorney general during the Obama administration and most recently as the acting attorney general, has avoided the political spotlight after she was fired for refusing to enforce the first version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban in January 2017.

“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” Yates said in a letter in 2017, prior to her dismissal.

donald trump jeff sessions

Democrats have since rallied around Yates.

As a Democrat from Georgia, she was once viewed as a potential candidate to represent the 6th Congressional District, a seat that was held by former Republican Rep. Tom Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services who resigned in September 2017.

Despite the backing from fellow Democrats, Yates has not shown any indication she may run for public office. She is currently a partner at the King and Spalding law firm.

In her closing remarks Tuesday night, Yates recounted an improvised speech from President Barack Obama during a Justice Department ceremony for new US attorneys — a speech she claimed stood “in stark contrast” to the Trump administration.

“He looked at us and he said, ‘I appointed you, but you don’t represent me. You represent the people of the United States,” Yates recounted. “‘As long are you remember that, and act on that, I’m going to be proud of everything you do.'”

“Can you imagine that happening today?” Yates said.

SEE ALSO: Trump is already swimming in cash for his 2020 reelection campaign

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'Criminal Minds' Digs Into 'Ritualistic' Murder Case on Wednesday … –

Criminal Minds is investigating the person responsible for ritualistic killings in a sneak peek for the latest episode.

As the Behavioral Analysis Unit works to capture a prime suspect for a vicious ritualistic murder in Tallahassee, a second person is found dead under similar circumstances, who happens to be related to the victim.

In a sneak peek for the tense episode, Prentiss (Paget Brewster) briefs the team on the victim and the peculiar way in which the Unsub murdered her.

“Our victim is Melissa Wallace, 39, a wife and mother who lived in Tallahassee, Fl. Local law enforcement referred the case to us due to the ritualistic nature of the kill,” he said.

“Her body was discovered in a wooded area, not far from where she lived,” Alvez (Adam Rodriguez) adds. “She was found barefoot, wearing a night shirt and bound to a tree. Cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.”

“No signs of sexual assault,” Tara (Aisha Tyler) says.

“The backdoor was wide open, otherwise there were no signs of forced entry,” Simmons (Daniel Henney) added.

Rossi (Joe Mantegna) says: “Looks like she was lured or abducted from her home.”

Prentiss adds that her children, 10 and 13 respectively, were both asleep in the house when the murder occurred and did not see what happened.

“Threatening to hurt them could be how the Unsub got her out of the house,” JJ (A.J. Cook). When Spencer (Matthew Gray Gubler) wonders why the killer didn’t just kill her at her home. JJ speculates maybe the killer wanted to spare the children from seeing the macabre image.

“Is Tallahassee sure they need our help?” Alvez asks, noting that it seems that their case against the husband might be close to being solved.

“Except the husband, Danny Wallace, has an alibi,” Prentiss says as the clip comes to an end. “He was in Tampa on business.”

The episode will also see Prentiss reaching out to Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangness), who she notices has been acting strange since she and Reid were abducted by a serial killing cult at the end of season 13.


Garcia managed to get away just in time to help the BAU connect the cult to a former case, and finding their location just in time to save Reid from being sacrificed. The traumatic event surely must have taken its toll on the team members so fans will have to wait and see how Garcia reacts to Prentiss’ intervention.

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Harvey Weinstein Criminal Lawyer Talks Defense Strategy and "Non … – Hollywood Reporter

Harvey Weinstein criminal lawyer Ben Brafman offered a candid and detailed preview Thursday of his defense strategy, accusing law enforcement of grave misconduct during the investigation and arguing the former mogul charged with sexual assault has become a scapegoat for an entertainment industry “defined by sex.”

Speaking on a panel behind closed doors in front of a small group of New York lawyers, Brafman railed against what he called the excesses of the #MeToo movement, telling attendees that it could be “very dangerous in a democracy” to “criminalize stuff that isn’t criminal” and that the “movement has a danger of… undoing some of the progress” made by women in the struggle against workplace harassment and discrimination. He touched on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings — which he labeled a “circus” — and drew parallels to what he deemed to be the rush to judge Weinstein in the media. He also lashed out at actress accusers Gwyneth Paltrow and Rose McGowan as “quintessential non-victims.”

“It’s kind of amazing to me that an industry that is defined by sex is now taking the position that it’s one man’s fault that all of this nonsense went on for 30 or 40 years,” Brafman said. “Is he part of the problem? Yes. Is the problem going to go away if the case against Harvey Weinstein ends in a conviction or an acquittal? No.”

Brafman, sounding like he was speaking to a jury rather than a collection of about 30 Manhattan attorneys gathered to hear about the legal fallout of #MeToo, struck an alarmist tone about the stakes in the Weinstein case. His comments suggest the Weinstein trial could become a highly politicized referendum on the proliferation of misconduct allegations against powerful men in media and elsewhere.

“We have lumped together decades of inappropriate behavior with allegations of intentional criminal conduct that could expose you to life in prison,” he told the panel, which featured attorneys on all sides of the #MeToo issue and was moderated by The Hollywood Reporter legal expert Eriq Gardner. “And we don’t send people to prison because they are offensive in how they interact with coworkers. We don’t do that. If we did that, then nobody would be walking around.” Brafman added: “Once we give up on the integrity of the process, none of the people in this room are safe and it becomes a much more dangerous world for all of us.”

Weinstein is charged in New York with several counts of sexual assault against production assistant Mimi Haleyi and an unnamed second accuser. Earlier this month, Brafman succeeded in knocking out a criminal charge related to the alleged rape of a third woman, Lucia Evans, after prosecutors acknowledged that the lead detective in the case had failed to disclose exculpatory evidence. A friend of Evans had told investigators that Evans had given a different account of the incident in question.

Although several other women (including McGowan) have accused Weinstein of rape, and dozens of others (including Paltrow) have alleged harassment, those acts aren’t the subjects of the criminal charges. Nevertheless, an open question in the case is whether these other accusers will be allowed to testify against Weinstein. If so, as happened in the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby, they could bolster the credibility of Haleyi, who says Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006 inside his SoHo home, and the other woman, whose relationship with Weinstein the defense team has argued was long-lasting and consensual.

Brafman, a former prosecutor turned high-profile criminal defense lawyer, zeroed in on what he called the weaknesses of the prosecution’s case.

“It’s stunning to me,” he said, again sounding like he was arguing the case in court. “The kind of stuff that’s unfolding in the Weinstein case never happens, or rarely if ever happens, where witness after witness tells the story of being pushed by detectives to perhaps lie or color her testimony or keep exculpatory information from the prosecutor.”

The comment came hours after it was revealed that prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon sent Brafman a two-page letter revealing that a detective had advised one of the accusers to delete personal information from a cell phone before handing over her device.

In his talk, Brafman also targeted Paltrow and McGowan, resulting in a seething eye roll from one panelist, Kalpana Kotagal, the attorney who co-authored the “Inclusion Rider” that several Hollywood companies have adopted. (Other panelists at the event, sponsored by the New York State Bar Association’s Entertainment Arts & Sports section and held at the offices of the Arent Fox law firm, included sports specialist Jennifer O’Sullivan and employment litigator Greg Chiarello, who would later take the mic from Brafman to express concerns about what Brafman had said.)

“Rose McGowan, who credits herself with starting the #MeToo movement, there isn’t a prosecutor in the world who would use her as a witness,” Brafman said. “She has completely self-destructed because she has, in my opinion and the opinion of almost every law enforcement person who came in contact with her, lied repeatedly, most recently in the drug case in Virginia where she’s charged with possession of drugs that were in her wallet that was found under her seat on an airplane. And her defense was that ‘Harvey Weinstein planted the drugs in my wallet.’”

Paltrow, according to Brafman, simply complained of “an inappropriate pass that Mr. Weinstein made 25 years ago” and continued to work closely with him. “After that, she made a dozen movies with Harvey Weinstein. Made hundreds of millions of dollars with Harvey Weinstein. Invited him to speak at her events as her mentor, as her uncle, as her close friend and ended up winning a couple of Oscars.” (Paltrow has won only one Oscar, for acting in the Weinstein-produced Shakespeare in Love.)

Paltrow’s and McGowan’s claims are not on trial in New York, but Brafman said they are indicative of what he’s up against: “Now that I’m in the mix and I’m drilling down on the allegations, I’m beginning to say ‘OMG, you know, I think this woman may have lied. I think this woman may have taken advantage of an opportunity to come out now.’ It’s easy to take a shot at him and move offensive verbal behavior into the criminal arena where it doesn’t belong.”

The audience of attorneys at the panel was respectful but seemed highly skeptical of Brafman’s claims.

Chiarello discussed how a benefit of the #MeToo movement was that it allowed other women to identify with accusers and come forward with their own stories. He defended Paltrow as not seeking anything but merely sharing something that she saw as consistent with other accounts of Weinstein's behavior. He said Brafman was missing the point and said there needed to be accountability for inappropriate behavior. "To focus on what is criminal is counterproductive to the #metoo movement and creates a standard that if it doesn't rise to criminal, we shouldn't care about it," he added.

Brafman stayed firm.

“I was at a Knicks game last night and now that I’m Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer and I’m on television more than I ever have been, I’m recognized,” he said.

“Strange women come up to me and wish me death,” he continued. “They say ‘I hope you die.’ I say ‘That’s very sweet. I hope the rest of your family is nicer than you are.’ But there are a lot of women who come up to me and say that ‘it’s very important that you have the guts to do the work you do’ and it’s important not just for Mr. Weinstein but it’s important for the women who are watching this case that the case be handled well and that it not turn into the circus that unfortunately the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings [of Justice Brett Kavanaugh] turned into. Nobody benefitted from those hearings. It was an embarrassment to watch them.”

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Criminal Minds Season 14 Episode 4 "Innocence" Sneak Peek: A … – TV Guide

Ritualistic murders are the MO on this week’s Criminal Minds, and it seems as if a church is in the center of it. As seen in TV Guide’s exclusive clip of Wednesday’s new episode “Innocence,” Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Lewis (Aisha Tyler) are looking for answers about their latest victim at a church. Let’s just say the pastor doesn’t come off as the “God is love” type.

The victim was reportedly last seen at the church, but the church is denying she was there, saying that she stopped coming a month ago. Things get even more aggressive when the pastor alleges she “gave up God’s protection” when she decided to stop coming to church. Whoa, bro! Seriously?

It’s clear that Reid and Lewis think there’s something up with the church and their weirdly aggressive attitude. But being a bit extra and participating in ritualistic murders are two separate things. Nevertheless, this guy is at the top of our suspect list.

Discover your new favorite show: Watch This Now!

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)

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Argument preview: Can a criminal defense lawyer refuse to file an appeal from a guilty plea because of an appeal … – SCOTUSblog (blog)

Posted Tue, October 23rd, 2018 2:53 pm by Evan Lee

The last few decades have seen a sharp rise in the number of plea bargains. The Supreme Court itself has estimated that 97 percent of federal prosecutions and 94 percent of state prosecutions end in plea bargains. This increase in negotiated guilty pleas has accelerated a seeming anomaly — appeals from guilty pleas. In turn, prosecutors now commonly insist on the inclusion of appeal waivers in plea agreements.

This chain of developments, roughly speaking, has led the U.S. Supreme Court to Garza v. Idaho, which it will hear on October 30. When a defendant’s trial lawyer fails to file an appeal as the client has instructed on the ground that the plea agreement included an appeal waiver, must the defendant demonstrate “prejudice” in order to make out a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel? Since the Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in Roe v. Flores-Ortega, prejudice has been presumed when a lawyer has failed to file an appeal as directed by the client. But Flores-Ortega, now almost two decades old, did not involve an appeal waiver. Garza gives the court an opportunity to address this situation.

In early 2015, Gilberto Garza Jr. pleaded guilty in Idaho district court to possession of a controlled substance and no contest to aggravated assault. Each plea agreement contained a provision stating that Garza “waives his right to an appeal.” Yet there had already been a sign that Garza perhaps harbored doubts about waiving his appeal rights. The Guilty Plea Advisory Form that Garza was required to complete before entering a plea asked, “Have you waived your right to appeal your judgment of conviction and sentence as part of your plea agreement?” Garza answered “No.” At the hearing, the district judge noted that Garza’s plea agreements contained appeal waivers, yet stated: “You, Gilberto Garza, Jr., are hereby notified that you have the right to appeal this order to the Idaho Supreme Court.”

Shortly after entering his pleas, Garza informed his attorney that he wished to appeal. When he received no response, he followed up with phone calls and letters. His attorney never filed an appeal, reasoning that an appeal would be “problematic” in light of the appeal waiver. After all, if the guilty plea were undone, Garza would have lost the benefit of what the attorney viewed as a good deal.

Garza then filed a petition for postconviction relief in the Idaho district court. He claimed that the attorney’s refusal to file an appeal constituted ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC). Under 1984’s Strickland v. Washington, in order to prevail on an IAC claim, a petitioner must demonstrate that the lawyer’s deficient performance was “objectively unreasonable” and that the petitioner suffered prejudice as a result. The state district court noted that eight federal circuits presume prejudice under the circumstances in Garza’s case, but it was more persuaded by the reasoning of the two federal circuits that require proof of prejudice in the individual case. By that standard, Garza’s petition was denied.

The Idaho Supreme Court agreed. It found the presence of the appeal waivers decisive. Had Garza not waived his right to appeal, his attorney’s failure to appeal would have been presumptively prejudicial. But “[o]nce a defendant has waived his right to appeal in a valid plea agreement, he no longer has a right to such an appeal.”

In the U.S. Supreme Court, the petitioner often wants the court to reach a broad issue, while the respondent wants it to stick to a narrow one. This case may present the opposite situation. The state’s own merits brief frames the question presented narrowly: “Does the ‘presumption of prejudice’ recognized in Roe v. Flores-Ortega (2000) apply where a criminal defendant instructs his trial counsel to file a notice of appeal but trial counsel decides not to do so because the defendant’s plea agreement included an appeal waiver?” Garza’s merits brief sticks closely to the prejudice issue. Yet the state’s merits brief is mainly devoted to a logically prior question: When a lawyer refuses to file an appeal because of a waiver, is that deficient performance under the first prong of Strickland?

The state flatly asserts that such attorney conduct does not constitute deficient behavior. The decision of whether to honor a plea agreement is not merely ministerial, argues the state, but strategic. The attorney acts in his or her client’s interests when refusing to breach a plea agreement whose underlying bargain benefited the client. Although the initial decision of whether to appeal belonged to Garza, once he accepted the appeal waiver, it was no longer his choice. “Counsel simply held Garza to that choice,” argues the state.

It would not be surprising if the more liberal justices viewed this line of argumentation as an overreach. Is it a defense lawyer’s job to act as an arm of the state in enforcing a contract against his client? Shouldn’t a defense lawyer at least notify his client before the deadline expires that he will not be filing an appeal, as instructed? Is the deficient-performance prong of Strickland even properly before the court in this case?

One could hardly fault the state for wanting to raise the deficient-performance issue. The big policy question that underlies this case is to what degree the courts will enforce appeal waivers. A pronouncement in favor of the broad, if not absolute, enforceability of such waivers would promote the smooth functioning of plea bargaining as the principal method of keeping criminal caseloads under control. On the other hand, every Supreme Court decision allowing a defendant to appeal despite an apparent waiver throws an element of doubt into the plea bargaining “market,” as it were. Prosecutors aren’t sure exactly what they are getting in exchange for lighter sentences.

Not everybody wants the plea-bargaining market to function smoothly, though. In its amicus brief, the libertarian Cato Institute warns that the mushrooming institution of plea bargaining threatens defendants’ effective rights to trial under the Sixth Amendment. It argues that allowing attorneys to ignore client instructions to appeal undermines client autonomy as enshrined in the criminal procedure portions of the Bill of Rights.

In support of its underlying objective of promoting the broad enforceability of appeal waivers, the state strongly implies that this case is governed by a simple syllogism. Ineffective assistance of counsel presumes the existence of a right to counsel. The right to counsel has to be attached to some underlying procedural right, such as the right to trial or the right to appeal. Here, however, Garza waived his right to appeal. Thus, his attorney could not possibly have rendered ineffective assistance with respect to any appeal.

The conservative justices might well press Garza’s counsel to explain why this syllogism doesn’t decide the case. Judging from the petitioner’s brief, the response will be that Garza didn’t waive his entire right to appeal. Under Idaho law, as elsewhere, the right to challenge the voluntariness of a plea or appeal waiver is not itself waivable. Therefore, Garza, like every defendant who agrees to an appeal waiver, retained a limited right to appeal based on involuntariness. As to this limited right to appeal, Garza’s lawyer rendered ineffective assistance by allowing the deadline to pass.

There may be questions from the bench about the factual particulars surrounding the precise scope of the appeal waiver. The state’s brief rejects Garza’s argument regarding the limited right to appeal by asserting that Garza never intended to claim involuntariness, and that he only wanted to challenge the sentence itself. As to an appeal of the sentence itself, Garza did waive his right, and that is all that matters, according to the state. It is irrelevant that he retained a right to appeal based on involuntariness because he never intended to appeal on that basis. But the spartan text of the appeal waivers themselves leaves room for argument on this point, and, as the petitioner’s reply brief points out, all types of arguments on appeal will generally be handled in a single proceeding.

Those wishing to follow the oral argument ought to familiarize themselves with Roe v. Flores-Ortega, on which Garza heavily relies. There, a defense lawyer failed to file an appeal of a second-degree murder conviction as instructed by the client. The conviction resulted from a guilty plea. Writing for a four-justice plurality, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor applied a presumption of prejudice. The lawyer’s failure to file an appeal had worked a forfeiture of the entire appeal, and she had failed to consult with the client about whether to take an appeal, a decision belonging to the client. And, given that Flores-Ortega was operating “pro se,” representing himself instead of having an attorney, it would be unfair to require him to assemble the evidence demonstrating that the failure to appeal was prejudicial.

Garza’s counsel confidently asserts that the presumption of prejudice applied in Flores-Ortega applies in his case, for exactly the same reasons. But Flores-Ortega, now nearly two decades old, did not involve an appeal waiver. For the state, as for the Idaho Supreme Court, that changes everything.

The passage of nearly two decades has not only changed the underlying practice of plea bargaining, it has changed the membership of the court. Only three justices remain from the Flores-Ortega court – Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Of the three, only one (Ginsburg) joined the portion of the opinion applying a presumption of prejudice.

If Ginsburg or Breyer appear skeptical about whether Flores-Ortega applies here, Garza could be in trouble. If any of the usually conservative justices question whether the deficient-performance issue is properly before the court, the state could be in trouble.

Posted in Garza v. Idaho, Featured, Merits Cases

Recommended Citation:
Evan Lee,
Argument preview: Can a criminal defense lawyer refuse to file an appeal from a guilty plea because of an appeal waiver?,
SCOTUSblog (Oct. 23, 2018, 2:53 PM),

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ICE officials met with Amazon this summer to discuss using its controversial facial recognition surveillance technology (AMZN)

Immigration activists march outside of the Department of Justice in DC last month.

  • Amazon met with ICE officials in June to discuss the potential use of its real-time facial recognition surveillance technology known as “Rekognition,” according to a report by The Daily Beast. 
  • The meeting was held at a McKinsey & Company office in Redwood City, California, as ICE and the consulting firm had a contract that ended this summer. 
  • The report suggests concerns that the technology could be used by ICE to target immigrants near “sensitive locations” like medical facilities and houses of worship. 
  • ICE does not have any public contracts with Amazon today for Rekognition. 

Amazon met with officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this summer to discuss the potential use of its real-time facial recognition surveillance technology known as “Rekognition,” according to a report by The Daily Beast and documents obtained by the Project on Government Oversight. 

The Daily Beast report raises concerns that the technology could be used by ICE to target immigrants near “sensitive locations” like medical facilities and houses of worship, which is discouraged by official policy but has been carried out under the current administration. 

The report also cites multiple studies, including one from the ACLU, that shows Amazon’s Rekognition — which attempts in real-time to identify people by scanning faces in a video feed — often misidentifies individuals and does so at a disproportionate rate for people of color.

The meeting between ICE and Amazon Web Service took place at the McKinsey & Company offices in Redwood City, California this June, according to the report. ICE and McKinsey had a management contract that ended this summer, and it had been previously unreported that the consulting firm had suggested ICE adopt the cutting edge facial recognition technologies, The Daily Beast said.

One former ICE official quoted in the report voiced concerned that immigration officers could abuse the technology, relying on Rekogition to make arrests rather than what Amazon claims its intended purpose of being “the first step in identifying an individual.” 

Amazon did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment. ICE told The Daily Beast it does not have any public contracts with Amazon today for the facial recognition technology. 

In an anonymous Medium post last week, one Amazon employee warned that the company’s facial recognition tech should not be used to police, especially given that it is more likely to misidentify people with darker skin. 

Amazon has publicly refuted the ACLU’s research and just last week in an interview with Wired, CEO Jeff Bezos defended his company working with government agencies, like the Department of Defence. Bezos did, however, try to distance himself from the ICE discussion by saying, “I’d let them in if it was me, I like ‘em, I want all of them in.”

SEE ALSO: This first-time CEO has a 100% approval rating on Glassdoor and her company just made its first acquisition

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Scoop: Coming Up on a New Episode of CRIMINAL MINDS on CBS – Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – Broadway World

Scoop: Coming Up on a New Episode of CRIMINAL MINDS on CBS - Wednesday, November 7, 2018

“Luke” – The BAU heads to Bethesda, Md., to investigate four murders in the span of three days along the eastern seaboard. The crimes become personal for Alvez, when the team discovers there are ties to his time spent five years ago working alongside the DEA and the Mexican police force in pursuit of the most notorious hitman in Mexico. Also, Alvez and his girlfriend, Lisa (guest star Daniella Alonso), decide to move in together, on CRIMINAL MINDS, Wednesday, Nov. 7 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Series star Joe Mantegna directed the episode.

CRIMINAL MINDS revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country’s most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again. The Behavioral Analysis Unit’s most experienced agent is David Rossi, founding member of the BAU, who is essential in helping the team solve new cases. Other members include Special Agent Emily Prentiss, the daughter of high-powered diplomats who returns to the team after being the head profiler at Interpol; Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid, a classically misunderstood genius whose social IQ is as low as his intellectual IQ is high; Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau, the team’s former unit liaison turned profiler, who juggles motherhood and marriage with the same skill as she solves cases; Penelope Garcia, the team’s indispensable computer wizard who helps research the cases with her unique charm; Dr. Tara Lewis, a forensic psychologist whose expertise is studying and interviewing serial killers after they’ve been captured to determine if they are able to stand trial; Luke Alvez, a former Army ranger and excellent tracker recruited to the BAU from the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force; and Special Agent Simmons who joins his colleagues in the BAU after consulting them when he was a member of the International Response Team. Simmons is an ex-Delta soldier with deft profiling skills and military special-ops expertise. As the team evolves together, the BAU continues its dedication to using their expertise to pinpoint predators’ motivations and identify their emotional triggers in the attempt to stop them.

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Bill Cosby, Appealing Conviction, Hires 12th Firm and 20th Lawyer – New York Times

Bill Cosby, Appealing Conviction, Hires 12th Firm and 20th Lawyer

Bill Cosby employed a large number of lawyers in a three-year effort to avoid prison on sexual assault charges. From left top, Angela C. Agrusa, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., Christopher Tayback, Sam Silver, Monique Pressley, Joseph Green, Kathleen Bliss, Brian J. McMonagle, Lane L. Vines.CreditCreditTop row, from left, Kena Betancur/AFP-Getty Images; Tracie Van Auken/EPA, via Shutterstock; Pool Photo by Clem Murray; second row, from left, Matt Rourke/Associated Press; Mark Makela/Reuters; Brendan Smialowski/AFP-Getty Images; bottom row, from left, pool photo by Mark Makela; Matt Rourke/Associated Press; Matt Slocum/Associated Press
  • Oct. 22, 2018

The Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer who helped Bill Cosby secure a mistrial in 2017.


The West Coast lawyer who helped on that case. Gone.

The famous Los Angeles lawyer who replaced them. Gone.

The eight other law firms who at some point in the last three years worked unsuccessfully to keep Mr. Cosby out of prison. Gone. Gone. All gone.

Earlier this month, the two lawyers hired to handle Mr. Cosby’s sentencing and appeal left the team.

How many were pushed out? Did some just quit?

The 17 lawyers from 11 firms will not discuss their departures in any detail, so it’s unclear. The firm of one lawyer, Sam Silver, who withdrew before Mr. Cosby’s second criminal trial, has sued Mr. Cosby for nonpayment.

While there are good reasons someone might decide to change lawyers like shirts, it’s certainly unusual and often indicative of rifts, like a dispute over tactics, experts said. And it most often happens in cases with high-profile clients who have lots of money and expectations, especially if it’s a case laden with emotion.

Patricia Duff, a multimillionaire Democratic fund-raiser, went through 21 law firms in the 1990s while locked into a divorce and child custody battle with her ex-husband, the billionaire Revlon chairman Ronald O. Perelman.

“The personality of the client tends to be very demanding and sometimes difficult so they may be hard to please,” said Dan Kornstein, the chairman of the legal history committee of the New York City Bar Association, speaking generally. “They may be just used to getting their way all the time.”

In recent days, Mr. Cosby, who is serving a three-to-10 year sentence for sexual assault, has decided to use three new lawyers — Brian W. Perry, Barbara A. Zemlock and Kristen L. Weisenberger — from the same Harrisburg, Pa., firm. They will pursue his appeal.

Mr. Perry, a former deputy district attorney, is chairman of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s criminal procedural rules committee. He has also been asked by Mr. Cosby’s wife, Camille, to bring what she characterizes as the ethical lapses of the trial judge, Steven T. O’Neill, to the attention of Pennsylvania’s Judicial Conduct Board, an unusual dual role.

“It’s really risky,” said Daniel M. Filler, dean of the Kline School of Law at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Even if Mr. Perry never has to argue in front of Judge O’Neill, appellate judges might frown on any judicial complaint that is not substantive, Mr. Filler said.

Mr. Perry disagreed. “Many of the issues that we intend to raise on appeal are similar to the issues and concerns that she raises,” he said.

Mr. Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, said there was no particular reason the law firms that worked in large teams for the first and second trials were not kept on.

“We just decided to go a different route,” he said. He said that the number of lawyers seemed large in part because some of the firms assigned multiple people to the case even though only the lead attorneys took active roles.

Among the lawyers who departed was Brian J. McMonagle, a respected criminal defense attorney from Philadelphia. He was at the helm when Mr. Cosby’s first trial for assaulting Andrea Constand ended with a hung jury. Mr. McMonagle, assisted by Angela C. Agrusa of Los Angeles and two of her associates, argued at trial that Mr. Cosby was a flawed man who had strayed from his marriage, but had engaged in a consensual act, not a crime.

He was replaced for the second trial by Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., of Los Angeles, who had successfully defended Michael Jackson against child molestation charges. Mr. Mesereau and the rest of the Cosby legal team largely took the same tack at the second trial. But in that proceeding the judge allowed testimony from five additional accusers who said Mr. Cosby had assaulted them. In the first, Judge O’Neill had only allowed one additional accuser to testify.

Ms. Bliss and Mr. Mesereau with Mr. Cosby, after he was found guilty in his sexual assault trial earlier this year.CreditDominick Reuter/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The second legal team was more aggressive, depicting Ms. Constand as a calculating “con artist” and the other accusers as money-driven.

But the jury found Mr. Cosby guilty. Mr. Mesereau has argued that the judge’s addition of the other women was unfair, legally in error and placed Mr. Cosby in a vulnerable position given the emotions stirred up by the Me Too movement.

“That was a sign that the judge wanted a conviction,” Mr. Mesereau said. “It was also a sign he was not going to stand up to the Me Too movement.”

Mr. Mesereau said Mr. Cosby had been “a delightful client,” and that his decision to hire new lawyers was reasonable. “Sometimes if clients don’t get the results they wanted,” he said, “they want someone to look with fresh eyes.”

As well as the 20 who have worked on the criminal case, there are several other lawyers representing Mr. Cosby in civil cases filed against him by other women.

“One downside to any change of counsel,” said Brian Jacobs, a former federal prosecutor, “is that the new lawyer needs to spend time getting up to speed on both the facts and the prior strategic decisions, and in complex cases, that can be a real challenge.”

But in Mr. Cosby’s case that often played out as a plus. After his conviction in April, Mr. Cosby’s sentencing was pushed back to September so his then-new lawyer, Joseph P. Green, would have time to research and review the evidence and prior proceedings. Mr. Cosby spent those months at home on bail.

Now that Mr. Cosby is inmate NN7687 in a maximum-security prison outside Philadelphia, the benefits of delay have gone.

Most people can’t afford to keep switching lawyers, said Michelle Madden Dempsey, a law professor at Villanova University. “Most people are usually stuck with the one they’ve got,” she said.

One of Mr. Cosby’s legal changes was completely routine. People convicted at trial will often bring in a separate appeals lawyer to draft the sort of highly specialized legal briefs that could get the verdict overturned.

But Mr. Cosby already had an appeals attorney, Peter Goldberger, a respected Pennsylvania appeals lawyer, who sat by his side during the sentencing hearing and seemed ready to represent him through the appeals process. Indeed, he filed the first motion in that regard earlier this month, along with Mr. Green.

But last week, he abruptly withdrew as well. Mr. Wyatt said Mr. Cosby wanted a single firm to handle the appeal and the complaint against Judge O’Neill.

“Great attorneys,” Mr. Wyatt said. “But we needed to consolidate.”

Mr. Goldberger declined to comment. Mr. Green said: “I was hired for a limited purpose and my work here is done.”

Prosecutors last week urged Judge O’Neill to dismiss the effort to appeal, asserting that it was without merit and that some of the issues had already been argued and rejected. “This is a timeworn case,” the Montgomery County District Attorney, Kevin R. Steele, said Friday, “and the defendant has had his many days, months and years in this court.”

For the defense lawyers involved, representing a client like Mr. Cosby can mean publicity, though it’s not all positive if you lose. And for the Pennsylvania lawyers, something can be lost by being associated with a client whose team has questioned the integrity of the district attorney and the judge.

“Lawyers have to protect their reputations,” Dean Filler of Drexel said. “They are repeat players in the justice system. They don’t want to be tainted by a radioactive client.”

Jon Hurdle contributed reporting.

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