The One Reid Relationship That Criminal Minds Fans Argue About – Nicki Swift

As much as some folks want more between Dr. Spencer Reid and the killer Cat Adams, not all Criminal Minds fans feel the same. Redditer wakatoshikun asked why people ship the two characters, stating they felt “there wasn’t any tension” between them and that “it just felt forced.” Responses to the query were varied. There’s certainly no question that the relationship between them is “complicated” — though sadistic, torturous, and destructive may be a better description.

And yet, of the responding comments, only one user seemed to have a problem with that. “How could anyone ship them,” Jmoney112233 asked. “She literally killed a bunch of people, kidnapped his mother, framed him, and put him in prison… like what?”

But most commenters found the relationship intriguing because the actors have such great chemistry. Matthew Gray Gubler and Aubrey Plaza are friends in real life, and their sparkling rapport instantly showed on screen. As Superb_Lime_1734 said on Reddit, “the hype comes from the actors … people ship them and in turn ship Cat and Spencer.”

However, chemistry alone wasn’t enough for some fans. One user felt Cat would have been more effective as a one-off unsub rather than appearing in multiple episodes, while others didn’t like the storyline at all. Doesntmattertomee found it “forced and boring,” calling it their “least favourite plot in the show.” And some users simply want Reid to be happy, believing that he deserves better than a sadistic killer bringing toxicity into his life. Don’t we all.

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Eric Nelson isn't working alone to defend Derek Chauvin: A police legal fund is backing him up with a dozen lawyers and $1 million – USA TODAY

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Derek Chauvin trial begins with opening statements

Opening statements began in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged in George Floyd’s death.

Associated Press, USA TODAY

Derek Chauvin’s trial in the death of George Floyd appears to be a match of a lone defense attorney battling a stacked prosecution by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office with seemingly limitless resources.

Attorney Eric Nelson stands with Chauvin and Amy Voss – whom Nelson describes as his “assistant” but is a licensed attorney – on one side of the courtroom of Judge Peter Cahill. Several feet away, there’s a rotating crew of four state prosecutors, including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Despite appearances, Nelson is hardly working solo. Nelson, a private attorney with the firm Halberg Criminal Defense, has plenty of help from the Minneapolis Police and Peace Officers Association‘s legal defense fund.

The group, Minnesota’s largest federation of officers and unions, is paying for up to a dozen other attorneys working the case behind the scenes, according to MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters. Nelson has assistance and lots of cash to spend on a trial that is likely to run at least a month, Peters said.

Follow coverage of the Chauvin trial: We offer updates, analysis via SMS. Sign up here

“You know the matchup,” Peters said. “The 12 attorneys on our side work very well together, so it’s not like Eric is doing this case alone.”

The legal fund carries the financial weight, including attorneys’ salaries, despite Chauvin being fired from the Minneapolis Police Department the day after Floyd’s death May 25. The firing came hours after the police chief saw a viral video of Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

In response to Floyd’s death, protests and fiery riots broke out in Minneapolis and across the country over police violence against Black civilians. 

Derek Chauvin’s attorney says the murder trial ‘is not about race’: His own line of questioning suggests otherwise.

Facing charges of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, Chauvin could spend 10 to 15 years in prison if convicted as a first-time offender – though a maximum sentence on the most serious charge carries a 40-year term.

“When you’re staring down the barrel of a long prison sentence and you are fighting for your freedom, you know you’re going to take help wherever it’s available,” said Thomas Needham, a Chicago lawyer who has defended police officers accused of misconduct. “Our system says he’s entitled to a defense, and he’s entitled to the best defense that he can afford.”

For some, including Peters, Chauvin is due such a robust defense – particularly from the MPPOA’s legal fund, which Chauvin paid into as a member during his 19-year policing career.

The American Civil Liberties Union agrees, to a degree. But it worries that the appearance of a police organization paying to defend a fired officer – something Peters said Chauvin is entitled to since he was on the job when Floyd died – sends the wrong message.

“Chauvin is certainly entitled to a rigorous defense,” said Somil Trivedi, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. But “I don’t think the union can simultaneously bring credibility to discussions about meaningful reform and then push … defending Derek Chauvin’s conduct.

“Police unions have have shown their cards, and so I hope that people can see things like what they’re doing in Derek Chauvin’s case and take their opinions on reform with a grain of salt.”

Needham argued that is an unfair take. 

“The idea that he is fired and why are they still defending him – that’s all wrong because labor and management are two different sides,” Needham said. “So management decided that he should be fired. But the unions don’t give up and sign on to the management’s decision. In a case like (Chauvin’s), they have to make their own decision about what they do with their resources.”

It’s ‘David against Goliath. Or is it?

Staffing and funding for both sides came up in a tense exchange during jury selection when Cahill – angered that a $27 million civil settlement for the Floyd family had come up again – interrupted prosecutor Steve Schleicher mid-sentence. 

“How many lawyers are … working for the state in this case, Mr. Schleicher?” Cahill asked. “Is it 10, 12?”

Schleicher responded: “I don’t have that number, your honor, but I do know that the police federation, the union, is funding the defendant’s defense.”

Cahill suggested the number of attorneys on the state’s side makes it easier for the state to handle ancillary matters – such as dealing with the news conferences surrounding security for the trial and settlement issues and filing affidavits or motions about those issues.

“The fact (is) that the state has a lot of lawyers on this case, who can sit outside this courtroom and start grinding out things,” Cahill said. “Mr. Nelson does not … have the same level of support.”

Actually, Nelson does.

A dozen lawyers help with the case, investigation and trial prep. Peters said the MPPOA expects to spend $1 million-plus on Chauvin’s case from the legal fund, which is paid into by officers throughout the state who belong to unions.

The legal defense fund can also be tapped by the three officers charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin in Floyd’s death: Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao,who face trial together in August.

“Whenever you’re dealing as a defense lawyer with the state or the federal government, in every criminal case, it’s David against Goliath,” said Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray. “They (the government) have all the power, they have all the money, they have all the investigators. … So in any criminal defense case, there’s that aspect of being the underdog.”

Who’s working for the state?

Chauvin was initially charged by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office before Gov. Tim Walz ordered Ellison to take over the case. Not all bills are in, according to the attorney general’s office, but as of Thursday,  the attorney general’s payout was more than $112,572, not counting salaries. Some private attorneys, many high-profile, work pro bono for the prosecution.

Among them are Schleicher, who has presented much of the state’s side during jury selection. Formerly an assistant U.S. attorney, he is a trial and appellate lawyer and a partner at Maslon

Lead prosecutor Matthew Frank, head of the attorney general’s criminal division, has been with the office for 21 years. He worked as an assistant county attorney and as a public defender – so he knows both sides of the legal equation.

‘It’s like reliving history again’: Derek Chauvin trial in George Floyd death compared to Rodney King case

Others include Jerry Blackwell, founding partner of Blackwell Burke. In addition to criminal work, he has litigated complex product liability, tort and commercial disputes; Neal Katyal, partner at the international law firm Hogan Lovells and former acting solicitor general and former principal deputy solicitor general of the United States; and Lola Velázquez-Aguilu, litigation and investigation counsel for Medtronic, as well as a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota.

Who’s defending Derek Chauvin?

Chauvin’s case was originally assigned to Tom Kelly, who successfully defended  another Minnesota police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, in the death of Philando Castile.

Castile, 32, was fatally shot in 2016 while in the driver’s seat of a car near the state Capitol. The shooting was caught on video and reached millions of viewers on social media. Yanez was acquitted in 2017, and the Castile family reached a $3 million settlement with the city of St. Anthony, which employed Yanez.

Kelly‘s number was called in the rotation at the MPPOA for Chauvin, but he was expected to retire soon, so the case, according to Peters, went to Nelson.

The other attorneys, who hold full-time jobs but are available to Nelson, are members of the MPPOA’s legal fund.

When news broke that Nelson was taking over the case, some focused on his experience defending people facing charges of driving under the influence. Peters was quick to denounce that definition of Nelson.

You don’t get on this panel for defending DWI cases. He’s experienced in several murder trials,” Peters said. “And to say that he’s working alone on this is incorrect. He’s got a lot of support behind the scenes; you just may not see it in court every day.”

Eric Ferkenhoff is the Midwest criminal justice reporter for the USA TODAY Network.

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New York excluded prisons from their COVID-19 vaccine rollout. A judge ruled they had to immediately vaccinate inmates.

Rikers island NYC prison

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A New York judge ruled that the state’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout policies that excluded prisons unfairly denied prisoners access to the vaccine and ordered the state to immediately begin vaccinating inmates. 

Bronx Supreme Court Justice Alison Y. Tuitt called leaving out inmates “unfair and unjust” and an “abuse of discretion,” in a ruling Tuesday. 

The state has allowed corrections staff to get vaccinated as well as other groups in close congregate living settings like nursing homes, but inmates who are also high risk were excluded. 

Tuitt said the protocol “irrationally distinguished between incarcerated people and people living in every other type of adult congregate facility, at great risk to incarcerated people’s lives during this pandemic.”

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed last month from two Rikers Island inmates. 

As of Tuesday, A total of 6,314 incarcerated people have tested positive for COVID-19 with 35 deaths, according to state data. Additionally, 4,951 staff have contracted the virus, with eight deaths. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office did not reply to Insider’s request for comment but told ABC News that as of Tuesday 822 of 1,066 inmates 65 years or older were vaccinated, more than a month after the state allowed elderly inmates to be vaccinated.

On March 5, the state also allowed inmates with comorbidities to get a vaccine. 

CBS reported that so far, 7,538 prison staff members had received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to 3,374 people who are imprisoned. 

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Can You Name These 17 Killers From The Criminal Minds Intro? – BuzzFeed

Correct! 

Wrong! 

Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer, sex offender, necrophiliac, and cannibal who murdered and dismembered 17 boys and young men. All but the first murder occurred between 1987 and 1991 in Wisconsin. Dahmer would find his victims around gay bars, lure them to his current place, then drug, rape, and murder them. After one victim escaped in 1991, he flagged down police officers and brought them to Dahmer’s house, where officers noticed Polaroids of dismembered bodies. Dahmer was arrested and later confessed. He was sentenced to 16 life terms in prison. In 1994, Dahmer was murdered by another inmate. (Source.)

Criminal Minds intro screen grab with the mug shot of Jeffrey Dahmer circled


Via CBS Media Ventures

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Two defense attorneys vie for open Milwaukee County circuit judge's seat – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

It’s not every spring that an open seat on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court is being contested by two defense lawyers, but that doesn’t mean the April 6 election for Branch 3 presents merely two sides of the same coin.

Rather, it could become a barometer of how much a reform movement, seeded with a number of judicial appointments by Gov. Tony Evers, is taking hold, and of whether the past year’s protest marches will translate to votes.

The candidates — Susan Roth and Katie Kegel — are white women in their 30s, Marquette Law graduates, with roughly the same years of experience. But one is more of an insider and one is more vocal about progressives’ criminal justice agenda.

Kegel, 35, a 2011 Marquette law grad, isn’t well-known around the Milwaukee County courthouse because she’s an assistant public defender in Waukesha County. She lives in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee, is married to Noel Kegel, co-owner of the Wheel & Sprocket bicycle stores, and is involved in several progressive organizations, from Common Ground to the American Constitution Society.

Major labor unions and elected officials like County Executive David Crowley, County Board Chair Marcelia Nicholson, Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson, and state Assembly members Deb Andraca, Evan Goyke and Dora Drake back Kegel.

She’s won the endorsement of a few judges, as well, but from Waukesha County, the more conservative jurisdiction where she practices, only from one court commissioner.

Roth, 38, is a partner at Kohn Smith Roth, where she has practiced criminal defense exclusively since joining the firm after graduation from Marquette Law School in 2007.

Roth stresses her local roots, noting she was born in Cudahy and lives in Bay View, where she moved at age 11. She lists her Catholic grade and high schools she attended before going to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her undergraduate degree.

With less enthusiasm, Roth perhaps gives a subtle nod to reformers. “It’s time we continue to move Milwaukee County’s judicial system forward in a fair, balanced, and impartial manner for everyone who appears before the bench,” her bio page reads.

A switch in races

Kegel announced last spring that she would run against longtime incumbent Judge Clare Fiorenza.  “That is rare,” she said. “It demonstrates my commitment to my values, and to answering the call the community has raised to evolve and better the system.”

Later, Roth decided to run for a different branch when Judge Jeffery Conen retired. After Evers appointed Jon Richards to Conen’s seat, Roth switched races to take on Kegel for Branch 3, where, by then, Fiorenza had also announced she would retire.

Most of the courthouse establishment backs Roth, including more than two dozen current and retired circuit judges, District Attorney John Chisholm, Milwaukee’s municipal judges and the Milwaukee Police Association. More than 200 lawyers endorse Roth.

“They know me, they’ve seen me practice,” Roth said at recent forum.

Kegel grew up in Clintonville and entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but left after a semester and returned home, where she worked in a factory at night and took college classes during the day. 

After marrying her high school sweetheart, who was in the military, she moved to South Carolina and graduated from Charleston Southern University. After graduation, she worked in a crisis center for about a year, then taught elementary school reading.

She separated from her first husband, moved to Virginia and taught middle school math, then decided to attend law school and returned to Wisconsin to do it.  She met Kegel after she was in practice a few years, and the couple is expecting their first child; she’s been campaigning while six months pregnant.

Kegel sees two main differences between her and Roth. “My life experiences outside the legal profession, and the roles we see as a judge. She promotes the traditional emphasis on being unbiased, not taking a position. I think it’s OK to be an advocate for some causes, in non-partisan ways.”

Both candidates, like all judicial candidates, say they will treat everyone with dignity,  look at each case on its own merits and not let any personal views color their decisions.

Kegel also talks about judges being leaders in the community, and that she’s committed to remaining engaged in what people want from the bench, “and ways to achieve those (community) goals without over incarcerating as we historically have done.”

Roth described one problem with the justice system as “the tendency to make assumptions, often because of fatigue of seeing the same charges so often,” and said she would address that by relying on a core principle. 

“Every decision affects somebody’s life,” Roth said. “You have to be contemplative, keeping in mind the big picture, and then own it,” while keeping a “commitment to seeking justice.”

Neither candidate has much experience beyond criminal defense. Roth said she has represented victims of sex trafficking, domestic violence and has done some work in children in need of protective services cases. Kegel said she interned at Children’s Court with the public defender’s office and clerked at a family law firm.

A recording of a virtual candidates forum held by the Milwaukee Bar Association on March 11 is available at the organization’s website, www.mkebar.org.

Contact Bruce Vielmetti at (414) 224-2187 or bvielmetti@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ProofHearsay.

Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.

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Ketanji Brown Jackson is primed to fill Merrick Garland's old DC Circuit seat — and legal insiders are buzzing that the Supreme Court is her next stop

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

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The legal world is abuzz over Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and her potential for soon becoming the first Black woman on the US Supreme Court. 

President Joe Biden on Tuesday named Jackson as his pick to replace Attorney General Merrick Garland on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, a powerful appeals court that’s long been a launch pad to the Supreme Court. 

That’s a big deal by itself. But the expected nomination also has legal insiders wagering that Biden’s team is situating Jackson to become the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court — possibly as early as this year. 

Biden promised to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court. 

“She’s the odds-on favorite,” to be Biden’s first nominee to the nation’s highest court, Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University and a former clerk at the DC Circuit, told Insider earlier this month. 

Jackson has proven she can appeal to progressives and conservatives alike — she’s on the shortlist of Supreme Court prospects compiled by the liberal group Demand Justice; she was also confirmed unanimously by Senate Republicans in 2013 for her current job as a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia. 

While there are no Supreme Court vacancies, some Democrats are hoping to change that. Still reeling from the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just two months before the 2020 presidential election, they’re openly calling for Justice Stephen Breyer — a Bill Clinton nominee and the oldest justice on the court at age 82 — to retire while Democrats have the majority in the Senate. 

United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The Breyer factor

Supreme Court justices often announce their retirements in June, at the end of the court’s term, but Breyer’s been coy. He told Slate in December: “Eventually I’ll retire, sure I will. And it’s hard to know exactly when.”

Biden and his staff are hoping to affect the judiciary like any presidential administration. And insiders suspect they may be looking for ways to nudge Breyer toward retirement. 

Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, was involved in Breyer’s confirmation when Klain worked for the Clinton White House, and he’s certain to be a key player in any possible Biden Supreme Court nomination. Biden’s team will want to be cautious about how they approach Breyer; the Obama administration’s attempts to nudge Ginsburg into retirement famously flopped. 

If Breyer does step down, Jackson will be seen as an immediate frontrunner for his job. 

Notably, Jackson is a former Breyer clerk. Biden appointing her to Breyer’s seat would allow the White House to pay homage to Breyer’s legacy. Supreme Court justices often remain close to their former clerks and take pride in their ascent. 

“A lot of judges and justices really feel like their clerks are extended family,” Adler said.  Suggesting that the White House would replace Breyer with his former clerk Jackson could be “a very powerful incentive” for him to step down, Adler added. 

When Justice Anthony Kennedy decided to retire, he telegraphed to then-President Donald Trump that he favored Brett Kavanaugh — a former Kennedy clerk who was then a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals — as his successor. Kavanaugh joined the Supreme Court in 2018.

Paul Ryan

‘Hire her’

Breyer is a Jackson fan. During Jackson’s 2012 confirmation hearing for her current job, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, DC, relayed how Breyer had lauded Jackson during the vetting process.  

“The first words out of his mouth when he picked up the phone were, ‘Hire her,'” Norton told senators. Breyer added, “She is great, she is brilliant. She is a mix of common sense, thoughtfulness. She is decent. She is very smart and has the mix of skills and experience we need on the bench.” 

High-profile Republicans have also praised Jackson. Former GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan endorsed her as well during that 2012 confirmation hearing. 

Jackson and Ryan are practically family. Jackson’s husband and Ryan’s brother-in-law are twins.

“Now, our politics may differ, but my praise for Ketanji’s intellect, for her character, for her integrity, it is unequivocal. She is an amazing person, and I favorably recommend your consideration,” Ryan told lawmakers. 

Senators confirmed Jackson for the job by voice vote in 2013 — meaning no senators objected. The Senate had similarly confirmed Jackson by voice vote in 2010 after President Barack Obama nominated her to serve on the US Sentencing Commission. 

Jackson is a Harvard Law School graduate who has clerked for three federal judges, including Breyer. She worked in private practice at the firm Morrison & Foerster LLP, and was a public defender in Washington, DC. 

Jackson was vetted by the Obama White House back in 2016 for the Supreme Court vacancy created when Justice Antonin Scalia died. Obama ultimately nominated Garland for that slot, but Republicans in the Senate blocked his confirmation — a situation Democrats don’t want to again experience were they to lose control of the Senate to Republicans at some point during Biden’s term. 

Democrats would need only a simple majority to confirm Jackson to either the DC Circuit or the Supreme Court. Vice President Kamala Harris could break a tie vote if all 50 Republicans oppose a Biden judicial nominee. 

Frank Ravitch, a law professor at Michigan State University, said Jackson is a great choice to be the next Supreme Court nominee. 

“She also got a really amazing grasp of federal procedure, which can be really important on the Supreme Court,” he told Insider. “When you read her opinions on the federal district court, you just see that her mind is able to see things, both at the level of a trial court judge who’s doing their job but also really understanding the law at a much deeper level.”

And Daniel L Goldberg, legal director of the progressive Alliance For Justice, told Insider that nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court is crucial for the Biden administration to showcase its commitment to putting more “demographically and professionally diverse individuals with a demonstrated commitment to equal justice” on the bench.

“For generations, African American women have been on the forefront of advancing the cause of justice,” he said. “And in the over 230-year history of the Supreme Court, there has never been an African American woman nominated as a justice.”

WASHINGTON DC - MARCH 19: The Supreme Court of the United States is seen March 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

GOP could seize on ‘resistance’ opinions

Even though she’s cleared the Senate with GOP support for her previous jobs, Jackson can expect a partisan battle if she does get picked as a Supreme Court nominee, given how polarized those nominations and Washington politics have become. 

“Unfortunately, insofar as she’s viewed as a Supreme Court contender, that will cause people to forget whatever warm feelings they had about her in prior confirmations,” Adler said. “Many Republicans are going to be looking for excuses to vote against people who are potential Supreme Court nominees.” 

A preview of Republicans’ grievances could come during Jackson’s confirmation to the DC Circuit now that Biden has named her as his nominee. 

One issue Republicans might seize on to oppose Jackson’s confirmation is the role she played during the impeachment proceedings against Trump. 

Jackson was central to the legal battle between US House Democrats and the Trump White House during Trump’s first impeachment. She ruled in late 2019 that former White House counsel Donald McGahn must comply with a subpoena to testify before House impeachment investigators. The DC Circuit later overturned her ruling. 

In her 120-page ruling against Trump, Jackson wrote that “presidents are not kings … This means that they do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control. Rather, in this land of liberty, it is indisputable that current and former employees of the White House work for the People of the United States, and that they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. 

“She wrote a couple of opinions relating to Trump stuff that at least some people characterized as kind of ‘resistance’ opinions,” Adler said. “Assuming she is nominated, I will be very curious how those opinions are characterized and the extent to which Republicans seize upon them as partisanship, lack of judicial temperament, and so on.” 

The appeals court confirmation process could also afford the Biden White House a trial run for a Supreme Court confirmation fight. 

In addition to Garland’s seat, Biden has the opportunity to replace Judge David Tatel, who said last month that he was taking senior status, a form of judicial semi-retirement.

Leondra Kruger, California Supreme Court justice

Another top SCOTUS contender

Jackson isn’t the only high-profile contender to be Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee. 

Another frontrunner, according to legal insiders, is California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger. 

Kruger twice turned down the Biden administration’s offer to serve as solicitor general, according to two people familiar with her decision-making. She was reluctant to leave her judgeship for a role that could complicate her hopes of joining the US Supreme Court, the people said.

The National Law Journal previously reported that Kruger had rejected offers to serve in the Biden administration as the Justice Department’s top appellate advocate.

Ravitch told Insider that Kruger might face little resistance from Republicans because of her time serving under the George W. Bush administration. 

“She’s a very good choice based on her performance as a state supreme court justice,” Ravitch said. “She’s very methodical and she’s able to give really solid analysis of the legal issues she’s dealing with.”

If Breyer does indeed announce his retirement this spring, and Jackson is Biden’s pick, she could potentially face two grueling confirmation hearings in the span of just a few months. 

The hope for Democrats would be that winning the Senate’s approval once would make it easier to do the second time around. “Hopefully you win people over so that they’re going to support you again,” Adler said. 

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George Floyd Family Lawyer Warns Ex-Cop’s Defense Will Focus On Drug Use, Try To ‘Assassinate His Character’ – Forbes

Topline

The lawyer representing the family of George Floyd said Monday morning he expects the defense team representing the former Minneapolis police officer on trial for his murder to “try to assassinate his character” during opening arguments later in the day. 

Key Facts

Benjamin Crump, a famed civil rights attorney who began representing Floyd’s family soon after his May death, sought to warn of the defense tactic during multiple news interviews Monday morning. 

“They’re going to say that because he had a trace amount of drugs in his system that that’s what killed him and not what we saw in that video where he was tortured to death for 8 minutes and 46 seconds,” Crump said, arguing the murder case “is not hard”: “You just look at that torture video of George Floyd.” 

Crump argued that the defense’s expected focus on the fentanyl found in Floyd’s system will be used as an attempt to “distract us from what we saw in that video.” 

He pointed to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s autopsy, which deemed Floyd’s death a homicide due to “law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.” 

Crucial Quote 

“His cause of death was an overdose of excessive force,” Crump said. “Everything and anything that happens today is just going to be an attempt to assassinate his character now that they unjustly killed this Black man.” 

Key Background 

The defense of Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, does appear poised to focus—at least in part—on Floyd’s drug use and underlying conditions. After some back-and-forth with Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the case, the defense was granted its request to show a video of a 2019 encounter between Minneapolis police and Floyd. In the video, captured on body camera footage, the defense alleges Floyd is exhibiting similar behavior as during his 2020 arrest, including drug use. The prosecution, meanwhile, is likely to rely on the video footage of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, as other incidents in which Chauvin restrained people by their necks. 

What To Watch For 

Opening arguments in the trial—which is projected to stretch through April—are slated to begin Monday morning. Chauvin, 45, faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, to which he has pleaded “not guilty.” 

Further Reading

“George Floyd Murder Trial: What To Expect From The Jury, Prosecution, And Derek Chauvin’s Defense” (Forbes)

“ Derek Chauvin murder trial opens today in Minneapolis with opening statements, evidence” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

“Who Is The Floyd Family’s Lawyer?” (The New Yorker)

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Merrick Garland is the nation's new top cop. Meet 15 members of the attorney general's inner circle.

merrick garland

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Matt Klapper, chief of staff

A longtime aide to Sen. Cory Booker, Klapper joined the Biden transition team and was assigned to be the so-called “navigator” for the attorney general nominee through the Senate confirmation process, based in part on his experience with the  Judiciary Committee.

Garland faced questions there about how he’d restore the Justice Department’s independence, address domestic terrorism, and handle politically sensitive investigations including a probe into the financial dealings of the president’s son, Hunter Biden.

As an advisor to Booker and while attending Yale Law School, Klapper doubled as a firefighter in New Jersey. Last year, he moonlighted as a volunteer EMS worker after the New Jersey governor issued a call for retired or inactive health care professionals to aid in the pandemic response.

John Carlin, acting deputy attorney general

John Carlin led the Justice Department’s national security division under the Obama administration and has been serving as the department’s acting second-in-charge since January.

Under the Trump administration, Carlin was a top partner at the Washington law firm Morrison & Foerster, where he was a sought-out expert on cybersecurity.

Earlier in his career, Carlin was a career prosecutor in Washington and a top aide to Robert Mueller III during his tenure as FBI director. Carlin is slated to become the top aide to Biden’s nominee for deputy attorney general, Lisa Monaco, upon her expected confirmation by the Senate.

Kate Heinzelman, chief counsel

Heinzelman clerked for Garland from 2009-10 on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Like many of Garland’s clerks during his nearly quarter-century on the bench, Heinzelman then rose to the Supreme Court, where she worked with Chief Justice John Roberts.

She went on to work as a White House lawyer and deputy general counsel at the Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama administration. Heinzelman later worked at the prominent law firm Sidley Austin, where her legal practice focused on privacy and cybersecurity issues.

Brian Fletcher, counsel

Another former Garland clerk, Fletcher joined the attorney general’s office from Stanford Law School, where he was a professor and codirector of the school’s Supreme Court clinic.

Before joining the Stanford faculty, Fletcher had worked at the law firm Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr and served in the solicitor general’s office, the division of the Justice Department that handles Supreme Court arguments and oversees litigation in the appeals courts.

After his clerkship with Garland, Fletcher clerked for then-Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Maggie Goodlander, counsel

Goodlander clerked for Garland from 2016-2017 after working as an aide to former Sens. Joseph Lieberman and John McCain. She later clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer, now the oldest sitting member of the Supreme Court.

In the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump, Goodlander served as a Democratic counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. 

Pam Karlan, acting assistant attorney general for civil rights

Karlan joined the Biden administration from Stanford Law School to serve as the acting leader of the Justice Department’s civil rights division. She’s in the position while Kristen Clarke awaits confirmation to hold the role in a permanent capacity.

A veteran Supreme Court advocate and leading progressive voice, Karlan testified in the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump on the constitutional grounds for removing him from office.

“Contrary to what President Trump has said, Article 2 [of the Constitution] does not give him the power to do anything he wants,” she testified in late 2019. “The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”

John Demers, Trump-appointed head of the national security division

Demers was appointed early in the Trump administration to lead the Justice Department’s national security division and has remained in that role in the early months of the Biden presidency.

Under Trump, Demers played a leading role in ramping up scrutiny on China’s intelligence efforts in the US, overseeing prosecutions against academics accused of misrepresenting or concealing their ties to Beijing. He also presided over the Justice Department’s stepped up efforts to crack down on covert foreign influence with cases brought under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a decades-old law requiring the disclosure of lobbying and other political work for overseas powers.

The Biden administration has yet to nominate someone to replace Demers as head of the Justice Department’s national security division. The division’s leader is expected to play a leading role in the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into the January 6 riot at the Capitol and efforts to address domestic terrorism.

Demers previously worked as a top in-house lawyer at Boeing and was a law school classmate of Carlin, the acting No. 2 at the Justice Department.

Brian Boynton, acting head of the civil division

Boynton stepped down in January as a partner at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr to lead the Justice Department’s civil division.

As the acting head of the Justice Department’s largest litigating component, Boynton has a top role in not only defending the Biden administration’s policies in court but also considering the abandonment of positions and cases taken in court under the Trump administration.

Under the Obama administration, Boynton served as a top aide to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and helped coordinate the civil division’s defense of the Affordable Care Act. At Wilmer Hale, his corporate clients included Morgan Stanley and Verizon, according to a search of court records.

Last year, while still a partner at the firm, he represented the Democratic National Committee when it got involved in an election lawsuit the Trump campaign filed in Michigan seeking to stop ballot counting in the Detroit area. The case was one of Trump’s many failed efforts to dispute the results of his 2020 electoral loss to Biden.

Elizabeth Prelogar, acting solicitor general

Prelogar joined the Biden administration in January as the Justice Department’s top appellate advocate. As the acting solicitor general, she has played a leading role in shaping arguments the Justice Department has brought before the Supreme Court under the Biden administration—and, in some cases, reversed positions taken under the Trump presidency.

In February, the Justice Department abandoned a Trump era position in backing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the landmark healthcare legislation passed under the Obama administration. More recently under Prelogar’s leadership, the Justice Department sided with college athletes in a legal challenge to the NCAA’s limits on their compensation. 

Prelogar is set to figure prominently in deliberations over how the Justice Department under Biden will approach the death penalty. The Supreme Court said this month that it would consider whether the death sentence should be reinstated for Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who was convicted on charges connected to the Boston Marathon bombing.

Before joining the Biden administration, Prelogar was a top partner at the law firm Cooley. She was previously a legal advisor to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Kevin Chambers, associate attorney general

Chambers is back for another stint at DOJ. He joins Carlin — and, if confirmed, Monaco — among the former career federal prosecutors in Washington who are serving at the top of the Justice Department.

Before taking on the role for the Biden administration, Chambers was a top partner at Latham & Watkins, where his practice focused on white-collar defense. He was also chair of the firm’s diversity committee. 

At the end of his tenure as a line prosecutor, Chambers prosecuted the R&B star Chris Brown on charges he punched a man in the face outside a hotel in downtown Washington. Brown pleaded guilty in 2014 to a misdemeanor assault charge.

Emily Loeb, associate attorney general

Loeb is a former Obama White House lawyer and top aide in the Justice Department’s civil rights division who returned to the department earlier this year to serve under Monaco in the deputy attorney general’s office.

During the Trump administration, she founded Protect Democracy, a government accountability group that condemned former Attorney General William Barr over his leadership of the Justice Department and called for his resignation. 

Her group also took on Trump in court, bringing challenges against the then-president’s aggressive wielding of his clemency powers. In a separate case, the group defeated Trump’s claims that he was immune during his time in the White House from civil lawsuits brought in state court.

In her previous day job, Loeb worked as a partner at Jenner & Block, where she led the firm’s government controversies and public policy litigation group alongside Tom Perrelli, a former third-ranking Justice Department official under the Obama administration.

She and Perrelli prepared Apple CEO Tim Cook ahead of a congressional hearing last year where he testified with other top Big Tech executives, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Matt Axelrod, counselor

After serving on the Biden transition team, Axelrod arrived at the Justice Department as part of the beachhead team for the new administration.

A former federal prosecutor in Miami, Axelrod rose through the Justice Department ranks under the Obama administration. He came to Washington first as a senior counsel to the head of the criminal division and then served as a top aide to then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. 

Axelrod joined DOJ after working as a top partner at the law firm Linklaters during the Trump administration.

Tamarra Matthews-Johnson

Matthews-Johnson joined the attorney general’s front office from the US attorney’s office in northern Alabama, where she was a career prosecutor specializing in fraud and civil rights cases.

In 2016, she prosecuted a former administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration on charges he stole records from the agency and engaged in sexual activity with a Social Security beneficiary whose case he was handling. The former administrative law judge pleaded guilty and was later sentenced to a year in prison.

Matthews-Johnson also prosecuted a woman accused of fraudulently claiming nearly $170,000 in Social Security widow’s benefits after killing her husband. 

Before joining the federal prosecutor’s office, Matthews-Johnson was an associate at the law firm Latham & Watkins. A graduate of Yale Law School, she clerked for Judge Judith Rogers on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and later for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court.

Tim Visser

Visser, a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s civil rights division, has been detailed to the attorney general’s office.

Last year, he participated in the prosecution of Michael Hari, who was convicted following a five-week trial on charges he bombed the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, in 2017. 

Visser graduated from Harvard Law School, where he led the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, the nation’s oldest student-run legal services office. After clerking for a federal judge, he worked for two years as an associate at the law firm Covington & Burling.

Nicholas McQuaid, acting head of the Justice Department’s criminal division

McQuaid, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan and Obama White House lawyer, has served since the start of the Biden administration as the acting head of the Justice Department’s criminal division.

In that role, McQuaid has overseen the Justice Department’s continued crackdown on coronavirus-related fraud.

After leaving the Obama White House, McQuaid became a partner at Latham & Watkins, where he co-led the firm’s litigation and trial department in New York. McQuaid at one point defended the Democratic National Committee against a lawsuit brought by former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Biden has yet to name his nominee to lead the Justice Department’s criminal division, but three former federal prosecutors — Neil MacBride, Kenneth Polite, and Willy Ferrer — are seen as top contenders. MacBride, a former aide to Biden during his Senate tenure, served as the top federal prosecutor in eastern Virginia under the Obama administration.

Polite and Ferrer led the US attorneys’ offices in New Orleans and Miami, respectively, under the Obama administration.

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Men in 2 cities were charged with hate crimes for targeting people for their race as protests against anti-Asian violence ramp up across the country

anti-asian protests

Summary List Placement

Prosecutors in two major cities brought forth hate crime charges against two men in separate racially driven anti-Asian incidents. 

In San Francisco, the District Attorney’s Office elevated what were initially misdemeanor charges against 53-year-old Victor Brown to felony assault and hate crime charges, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

Earlier this month, Brown allegedly attacked and hurled racist slurs at an Asian American man. 

In Seattle, King County prosecutors charged 51-year-old Christopher Hamner with a hate crime for allegedly throwing items at cars and screaming profanities at Asian women and children, the Seattle Times reported. 

Hamner, who is being held on a $75,000 bond, allegedly yelled profanities and threw things at one woman who was stopped at a red light with her two young children on March 16. A few days later, he allegedly cut off another Asian woman’s car and threw a water bottle at it. 

The hate crime charges come as people across the country protest the rise in anti-Asian-American attacks. 

There has been a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans since the coronavirus pandemic started. Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting center that has been tracking cases from March to December of last year, said they received “over 2,808 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate” crimes. 

There were rallies in over a dozen cities held on Saturday alone, ABC reported. 

“We’re out here to say that we’re not going to tolerate racism towards Asian American communities,” Satya Vatti, an organizer with the Answer (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, told ABC affiliate WSB in Atlanta.

In Los Angeles, hundreds marched for a mile through Koreatown carrying signs and demanding an end to discriminatory acts towards Asians, CBSLA reported. 

The rallies come after a 21-year-old man was accused of killing four people at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Georgia, before heading to Gold Spa and the Aromatherapy Spa in Atlanta, where another four people were killed earlier this month. 

Six of the eight victims in the Georgia attacks were women of Asian descent. Police said the crimes may have not been racially motivated and that the perpetrator, Robert Aaron Long, told police he had a sex addiction. 

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The Transformation Of AJ Cook From Childhood To Criminal Minds – Looper

A.J. Cook had her entrée into the world of crime-solving procedurals with Tru Calling. The Fox show starred Eliza Dushku as Tru Davies, a city morgue intern who has the ability to relive the last days of bodies in her custody and uses this mystical do-over button to save people from their grisly fates. Genre-wise, it was a more uplifting version of Cook’s previous work in Final Destination 2. Cook played Tru’s best friend, Lindsey, who doesn’t know about her BFF’s new superpower. Tru Calling also starred Zach Galifianakis as Tru’s boss, Davis, and Matt Bomer as Tru’s boyfriend, Luc. Both Bomer and Cook left the show after season 1, and Tru Calling was canceled after a six-episode season 2 in 2005.

By Tru Calling’s cancellation, Cook was already on Criminal Minds. Despite the constant cast changes, Criminal Minds became a CBS mainstay. While working with the BAU, JJ foiled many a serial killer, got married, and even briefly helped hunt down Osama Bin Laden. That’s a pretty big glow-up from being just another kid in a McDonald’s commercial.

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