News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: PACER gets a redesign; SCOTUS turns down border wall case

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PACER is redesigned to be easier to use

PACER, the federal judiciary’s website for electronic court filings, has gotten a redesign. The site has new navigational tools, simplified instructions for account registration, and easy-to-use directions for searches. (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts June 26 press release)

Supreme Court turns down border wall case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to waivers that allowed the Trump administration to fast-track border wall construction. Challengers argued that waivers issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security harm wildlife and violate the separation of powers. (CNN, the Associated Press)

Legal assistant pleads guilty in postage meter scam

A legal assistant has pleaded guilty in a postage meter scam that allegedly cost his Wilmington, North Carolina, law firm more than $80,000. Casey Tyler Smith, 27, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was accused of using his firm’s postal meter to generate thousands of dollars in postage. Smith then filed claims with the post office for refunds and pocketed the proceeds, prosecutors say. Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States on claims. (Law360, U.S. Department of Justice June 25 press release)

Judge orders release of migrant children in family detention

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee of Los Angeles on Friday ordered the release of migrant children held more than 20 days in detention with their families. Gee ordered release of the children by July 17, saying the family residential centers “are ‘on fire’” with the threat of COVID-19. Gee said the children could be released to suitable sponsors, with parental consent, or the children and their parents could be removed from detention. (The New York Times, CBS News, Law360)

Top Florida court upholds governor’s shutdown powers

The Florida Supreme Court ruled last week that the COVID-19 pandemic is a “natural emergency” that can be addressed by the governor’s emergency powers. The court ruled against suspended Florida lawyer William S. Abramson, who had challenged Gov. Ron DeSantis’ authority to issue shutdown orders. (WUFT, the court’s June 25 order)

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