News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Most judges see systemic racism; former Trump lawyer sent back to prison over tell-all book

  • Print.

multiple gavels

Image from

Most judges say systemic racism exists in criminal justice system

Sixty-five percent of 634 judges responding to a survey said they think systemic racism exists in the criminal justice system. More than 200 judges included comments with their answer. The unscientific survey, conducted each month, consists of one question sent to alumni of the National Judicial College. “Most of the judges I know are not overtly racist and sincerely seek to treat all people equally, but I suspect that our implicit biases impact our decision-making more than we realize,” said one responding judge. (Law360, National Judicial College press release)

Michael Cohen was sent back to prison over Trump book, judge says

Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for President Donald Trump, will return to home confinement as a result of a decision Thursday by U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York. The judge agreed with Cohen that the lawyer was sent back to prison as retaliation for plans to publish a tell-all book about Trump. Cohen was serving his sentence at home because of medical conditions that made him more vulnerable to COVID-19. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and other crimes and was sentenced to three years in prison. (The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New York Law Journal)

Judge accused of groping worker at bar after conference

Judge Paul Sushchyk of Massachusetts is facing ethics charges that allege that he groped an office worker at a bar after a work conference. The worker said she was on a bar stool when she felt someone slide a hand under her and “grab upwards.” She turned around and saw Sushchyk. The judge said he momentarily came into contact with the worker’s body when he had to steady himself because of the effects of hip surgery and a long day of work. (The Boston Herald, the ethics complaint)

BigLaw malpractice insurers not worried about diploma privilege grads

Malpractice insurers are not worried about BigLaw associates practicing law under the diploma privilege, according to Bloomberg Law’s interviews with risk experts. Several states responding to the COVID-19 pandemic have adopted some variation of the privilege to allow law grads to begin law practice without taking the bar exam. (Bloomberg Law)

US senator calls for repeal of federal conspiracy laws

Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is calling for the repeal of federal conspiracy laws, arguing that they contribute to unfair sentences and mass incarceration. In an op-ed, Paul said his concerns about “punitive and overzealous sentencing” led to his attempt to amend a federal anti-lynching bill. “My amendment would preserve harsh sentences for the hateful crime of lynching but ensure that conspiracies involving minor altercations and lesser crimes are not categorized as a lynching,” Paul wrote. Paul held up the bill over his concerns, despite support for the legislation by 99 other senators. (Louisville Courier Journal op-ed, the New York Times)

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.