Afternoon Briefs: DUI lawyer arrested for alleged bizarre attack; judge warned for law license lapses
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• A prominent DUI lawyer from Petersburg, Virginia, has been charged with his wife in an alleged attack on their driver that began during a limo ride and ended at the home of the alleged victim. Prosecutors charged lawyer Charles Vanevera Hardenbergh and his wife, Mari, with assault, abduction, trespassing, and breaking and entering. The couple’s lawyer, Jack Randall, said his clients “unequivocally deny any wrongdoing whatsoever,” and they are “hurt by these allegations from a trusted friend they considered family. They and their family and friends care deeply and are praying for her.” (WTVR, the Progress-Index, WWBT)
• A judge in El Paso County, Texas, has received a public warning for allowing her law license to temporarily lapse for failure to pay bar dues. The judge, Yvonne “Bonnie Rangel” Guaderrama, had let her license lapse on five separate occasions since she joined the bench. (Law360, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct)
• Falsely yelling “I’m a U.S. marshal” in a crowded theater also lacks First Amendment protection, according to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago. The court ruled in the case of Michael Bonin, convicted for impersonating a federal officer after flashing a gun and claiming to be a marshal. The court noted the oft-quoted observation by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that a person who falsely shouts “fire” in a crowded theater is not entitled to First Amendment protection. Judge Michael Brennan, nominated by President Donald Trump, wrote the opinion. (7th Circuit opinion via How Appealing)
• The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Atlanta has reinstated a lawsuit seeking to hold Royal Caribbean Cruises responsible for the gang rape of a 15-year-old passenger in 2015. The suit alleged that the attackers gave the teen alcohol in view of crew members who failed to intervene. Chief Judge Ed Carnes wrote the opinion, and he wrote a concurrence arguing that publicly available data on cruise rapes reinforces the notion that Royal Caribbean knew or should have known of the dangers of sexual assault on its ships. (Daily Business Review, Miami Herald, 11th Circuit opinion)
• President Donald Trump has pardoned five people and commuted the sentences of two others. One of the people receiving a commuted sentence, Ted Suhl, had been sentenced to seven years in prison in 2016 for paying bribes to a state official. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee—whose daughter was the White House press secretary—had encouraged Trump to commute Suhl’s sentence. Members of Congress and “many reputable legal scholars” supported the other sentence commutation for Ronen Nahmani, whose wife has terminal cancer. Nahmani had been sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2015 for distributing synthetic marijuana. (CNN, the New York Times, press releases here, here and here)