News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Client convicted in lawyer's attempted murder; attorney liable for bad cannabis advice

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Woman convicted in attempted murder of her bankruptcy lawyer

A Louisiana woman has been convicted of attempted second-degree murder for showing up at her bankruptcy lawyer’s office with a loaded shotgun and raising the weapon when he questioned her. The woman, Patricia Currie, was 75 at the time of the October 2016 incident. The lawyer, Keith Couture, testified Currie was wearing latex gloves and plastic grocery bags on her feet when he saw her in his lobby. When Couture asked why she was there, Currie raised the weapon and announced her plan to kill him. Couture was able to wrestle the weapon away from the woman. She testified she merely intended to scare the lawyer. (The New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Now-disbarred lawyer ordered to pay $370K for bad cannabis advice

A now-disbarred lawyer has been found liable for $370,000 in a malpractice suit filed by former clients who were arrested on drug charges after believing his incorrect assertion that marijuana was legal if it was a medical necessity. A federal judge in Jacksonville, Florida, entered the July 29 judgment against former lawyer Ian Christensen, who did not defend the lawsuit. Christensen had insisted medical marijuana was legal before it was legalized in Florida. For a fee of $799, Christensen sent clients for a medical evaluation and issued an “official legal certification” if a medical necessity was found, according to findings in the disbarment case. He also provided clients with a “grow” sign they could post announcing that marijuana cultivation was underway at their homes. (Fox News, the Florida Times-Union)

Lawyer is accused of using his Learjet to transport drugs

A lawyer living in California has been accused of using his Learjet to transport marijuana and concentrated cannabis oil across the country. Manish Patel, 33, of Granite Bay, was charged after searches turned up about 1,400 pounds of marijuana and $400,000 in cash, according to federal prosecutors in Sacramento. He is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey. (Sacramento Bee, press release)

Acting prisons chief is ousted in wake of Epstein’s death

Attorney General William Barr announced Monday he is replacing Hugh Hurwitz, the acting chief of the federal Bureau of Prisons. Barr’s announcement didn’t mention the Aug. 10 suicide of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein while in federal custody, but Barr previously said he was “appalled” by the situation. Hurwitz will go back to his previous job as assistant director for re-entry programs. Hurwitz’s replacement is Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who was director of prisons from 1992 to 2003. (The Washington Post, the New York Times, CBS News, Justice Department announcement)

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