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Afternoon Briefs: Judge allows DNA collected from suspect via fake survey; judge resigns amid probe of texts

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Judge allows DNA collected in fake police survey

A judge in Wisconsin has ruled that prosecutors can use DNA collected from a licked envelope in the prosecution of Raymand Vannieuwenhoven for a 1976 double murder. Judge James Morrison of Marinette County, Wisconsin, said the DNA could be used, even though it was collected through a phony police survey. Police focused on Vannieuwenhoven after DNA collected from a coffee cup and trash excluded his brothers. (The Associated Press, Fox 11 News, Morrison’s March 19 opinion)

Town court judge resigns amid probe of texts

Mark A. DiVietro of Owasco, New York, a town court justice, has resigned amid an investigation into texts that he sent to a then-girlfriend that allegedly contained threats about an ex-girlfriend. According to a press release, “It was alleged that many of the text messages were vulgar, crude, demeaning and/or featured extreme gender-based slurs and profanity.” DiVietro was also under investigation for alleged ex parte communications with a defendant. DiVietro is not an attorney. (Law360, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct’s March 19 press release)

Judge orders nonlawyer’s arrest for ‘assistance of counsel’ bid

A Michigan judge has ordered the arrest of Rick Martin, the founder of the Texas-based Constitutional Law Group, for trying to represent a defendant as “assistance of counsel.” Martin does not have a license to practice law, although he says online that he has spent “over 30K hours studying true law, history and the constitution.” Martin sought to represent a restaurant accused of disobeying COVID-19 requirements. Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie E. Aquilina told Martin that she was ordering his arrest for contempt of court. (Law & Crime,, YouTube video)

US News will name most diverse law schools

When U.S. News & World Report reveals its law school rankings March 30, they will include stand-alone rankings on the most diverse law schools. The data reported to U.S. News & World Report can also be used to compare graduate indebtedness. One report claims that indebtedness will even be factored into the rankings. (U.S. News & World Report, Above the Law, Spivey Consulting)

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