News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: DC Circuit doesn't disturb blocked executions; polite bank robber entitled to lower sentence

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DC Circuit declines to stay or vacate injunction stopping federal executions

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has declined to stay or vacate a judge’s injunction delaying the executions of four federal inmates. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan had ruled that the inmates were likely to succeed on their claim that the planned single-drug execution method didn’t comply with federal law. The D.C. Circuit panel included Neomi Rao, an appointee of President Donald Trump. (11th Circuit’s Dec. 2 decision)

Polite bank robber didn’t merit ‘threat of death’ sentencing enhancement, 11th Circuit rules

A polite bank robber who never referred to a weapon shouldn’t have received a sentencing enhancement for a “threat of death,” according to a Nov. 26 decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Atlanta. The convicted robber, Roberto Arturo Perez, used words like “please” and “thank you” in his bank note, and “bargained pleasantly with one teller for $5,000,” the appeals court said. (SDFLA Blog, 11th Circuit’s Nov. 26 opinion via How Appealing)

Ex-FBI lawyer, in the news over anti-Trump messages, is done being quiet

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page says she’s done being quiet after roughly two years of criticism from President Donald Trump. Page was targeted after revelations that she called then-candidate Trump a “douche” and “loathsome human.” Page exchanged the messages with FBI agent Peter Strzok, with whom she was having an affair. Strzok and Page were both involved in the investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election and Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server for emails while she was secretary of state. Page said she decided to speak out after Trump read the texts aloud at a campaign rally. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Page told the Daily Beast. Page said she has a First Amendment right to share her views with another person, and her conduct didn’t violate the Hatch Act, which bars political activity at work. (The Daily Beast, the Washington Post)

Judge orders defendant who spat on immigrant to write 500-word essay

An Oregon judge has ordered a defendant accused of spitting on a Ukrainian immigrant to write a 500-word essay on immigration hardships in exchange for dropped charges. The defendant, Harold Eugene Denson III, spat on the immigrant, told him to go back to his country, and threatened to cut him with a box cutter, prosecutors say. Denson’s actions were spurred by the immigrant’s request that he clean up his trash. Denson has been homeless for a year, his lawyer says. Trash was strewn about because the bag that Denson used to collect cans had broke, the lawyer said. (The New York Times, Multnomah County, Oregon, district attorney press release)

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