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Crime and Justice News Archive

Welcome to the Crime and Justice News Archive. You can browse through all the recent posts, click on tags, or search the archive for something in particular!

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Crime and Justice News

6 days ago

2 min

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Appeals Court Rules D.C. Residents Can Fairly Judge Jan. 6, 2021 Cases

Washington, D.C.’s left-leaning politics has no bearing on residents’ ability to be fair jurors in trials of those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. Two former President Trump appointees from the U.S. Court of Appeals joined an appointee of former President Obama in a unanimous ruling that rejected arguments from lawyers for ex-New York City Police Officer Thomas Webster that Washington jurors were too biased to sit on cases related to the riot. “The political inclinations of a populace writ large say nothing about an individual’s ability to serve impartially in adjudicating the criminal conduct of an individual,” wrote Obama appointee Patricia Millett, joined by Trump appointees Greg Katsas and Neomi Rao, Politico reports. The ruling is a rejection of Trump and his allies’ longstanding claims that fair trials are impossible in cities with Democratic-leaning populations. Tuesday’s decision is also an endorsement of courtroom processes intended to screen potential jurors for bias before trials begin. It could give a boost to the stalled effort to try Trump on charges that he attempted to subvert the 2020 election and helped foment the riot that Webster joined. Many of the more than 150 Jan. 6 defendants who have gone to trial have argued for a change of venue on the basis of political bias of the jury pool or lingering anger over the events of Jan. 6. Federal judges in Washington have uniformly rejected those challenges, responding that the process for questioning potential jurors was sufficient to weed out potential bias. Trump has repeatedly echoed the claims that a Washington jury would be hopelessly unfair to him because the city voted 92 percent for Biden and only 5 percent for him. That statistic omits the 30 percent of D.C. residents who did not vote but would be included in the jury pool.

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Crime and Justice News

6 days ago

2 min

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Was ATF Killing Of AR Airport Leader A Case of Agent Overreach?

The loud noises outside their bedroom door woke Bryan Malinowski, who looked at his wife, Maer. “Stay back,” she remembers him saying after he reached into a drawer for his gun and loaded it. He crept into a hallway in their home in Little Rock, Ark., and saw figures in the darkness. He started shooting and was met with return fire. The people shooting back at him were agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, executing a search warrant on suspicion that Malinowski, director of the Little Rock airport, had repeatedly sold guns without a license. As the agents fired back, a bullet struck Malinowski, 53, in the head, and two days later, he died. His death has been met with outrage by his family, friends, and gun rights supporters in Arkansas and beyond, who say the March 19 raid was ill-conceived, unnecessary and a shocking case of government overreach, reports the New York Times. Last week, House Judiciary Committee members grilled ATF director Steven Dettelbach about the case, one of the latest tension points in the bitter divide on access to guns. In a heavily armed nation where illegal gun sales are linked with other, often violent crimes, some law enforcement experts defend both the investigation of Malinowski and the need for serving search warrants early in the morning. Shortly after the raid, ATF said it had been investigating Malinowski for months on suspicion that he had been selling a large number of firearms at gun shows without a license, sometimes soon after he bought them. The law at the time was vague, exempting people who occasionally sold guns as a hobby but not spelling out how many sales were too many. The agency said Malinowski was selling so many guns that he should have had a federal firearms dealer license. That would have required him to conduct criminal and mental health background checks on buyers.

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Crime and Justice News

6 days ago

2 min

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As Trump Trial Nears End, Defense Says Cohen Was Lying

Donald Trump's New York City trial is nearing an end as prosecutors and defense lawyers deliver closing arguments to the jury. Defense lawyer Todd Blanche was first telling jurors that the former president is “innocent” and did not break the law, reports the Associated Press. Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass may argue for more than four hours. To convict Trump, prosecutors must convince jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that he not only falsified or caused business records to be entered falsely, but that he did so with intent to commit or conceal another crime. Blanche argued that the key prosecution witness was lying when he said he was working for free as Trump’s personal lawyer once Trump became president. “What the government did for the past five weeks, at the end of the day, is ask you to believe ... Michael Cohen,” Blanche told jurors. “Michael Cohen asked you to ignore the documents, ignore what the email says about sending a retainer agreement ... asked you to believe that he worked for free.” As Trump was getting ready to move to the White House, Cohen testified he was upset that his annual Trump Organization holiday bonus had been slashed from $150,000 to $50,000. Blanche asked, was Cohen really going to work for free? Blanche stressed that Trump was busy during the time when he signed the checks at the heart of the case. He noted Trump assistant Madeleine Westerhout testified Trump would sometimes sign checks while meeting with people or while on the phone, not knowing what they were.

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