News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: DA wants to vacate 90 drug convictions; BigLaw firm targeted by law student climate group

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90 convictions could be vacated after detective is charged

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in New York says his office has lost confidence in 27 felony and 63 misdemeanor convictions in which an essential witness was a detective who’s now facing perjury charges. Gonzalez’s Conviction Review Unit is asking a court to vacate the convictions after the detective, Joseph Franco, was accused of framing people in drug cases. (The New York Times, NBC New York, the New York Daily News, Brooklyn district attorney’s press release)

BigLaw firm is targeted by Law Students for Climate Accountability

Law Students for Climate Accountability is targeting Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher for its representation of the fossil fuel industry. In a letter to the law firm, the student group says Gibson Dunn has represented the Dakota Access Pipeline, “despite significant environmental impacts and its incursion on sacred Sioux land.” The group also says the law firm “has aggressively litigated to ensure Chevron evades liability for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste in Ecuador.” The letter says Gibson Dunn’s “pattern of representation suggests that there is no ethical standard guiding its work.” (Bloomberg Law, Law.com, the Law Students for Climate Accountability letter)

State attorney seeks free legal help from retired lawyers

A state attorney’s office in Florida is seeking volunteer retired lawyers to help deal with a case backlog following court closures. The State Attorney’s Office for the Fifth Judicial Circuit said volunteer activities could include “evidence review, discovery exchange, courtroom observation or administrative tasks.” (Fox 51 WOGX)

Federal criminal cases dropped by more than 15% in 2020

The number of federal criminal cases dropped by 15.6% in fiscal year 2020, compared to the prior year, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The number of sentence modifications increased by 14%, largely because of compassionate release orders stemming from concerns about COVID-19 in federal prisons. (Law360)

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