News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Texas university leader leaves without blame for law school scandal; judge sides with immigrants

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Texas Southern University president leaves school with no blame for alleged law school misconduct

Texas Southern University is parting ways with its president without any claims of wrongdoing, which is a change from earlier this month, when the school’s board of regents voted to fire him based on allegations that he failed to promptly report allegations of fraudulent and dishonest conduct by an assistant law dean. Austin Lane has denied all the accusations, which stem from an unnamed assistant law dean taking $14,000 in exchange for facilitating fraudulent admission and a scholarship for a law student. Terms of Lane’s deal were not disclosed, but the Houston Chronicle reported that he is getting a buyout. (The Houston Chronicle)

Judge rules immigrant detention conditions are unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled that conditions in immigrant holding cells at the Arizona border are unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge David Bury ruled Wednesday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can’t hold the immigrants in the cells for more than 48 hours unless it can provide a bed with a blanket, a shower, food that meets acceptable dietary standards, potable water, and a professional medical assessment. Bury noted that some detainees were forced to sleep in the toilet area and said the situation “offends the notions of common decency.” The suit was filed by the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and Morrison & Foerster. (ACLU of Arizona press release, USA Today, Courthouse News Service, the Associated Press, Bury’s opinion)

Former judge is suspended for failing to file state taxes

A former Arkansas judge has been suspended for nine months for failing to file state tax returns over a period of several years, including some of his years on the bench. Bobby McCallister had pointed out that he overpaid taxes most years and didn’t benefit from failing to file. He resigned from the bench in Saline County in 2017 and pleaded no contest to failing to file a tax return. He was sentenced to probation in the case. (Bloomberg Law, the Arkansas Times, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Arkansas Supreme Court opinion)

Lack of diversity still a problem for many top state courts

Twenty-three states currently have an all-white state supreme court, while one has an all-male high court, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. The all-male court is in Florida, where the court currently has two vacancies. People of color make up nearly 40% of the population, but only 15.5% of state supreme court seats are held by minorities. Women hold 37% of state supreme court seats. (The Brennan Center for Justice here and here)

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3B to settle fake-account claims

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $3 billion to settle charges stemming from customer abuses that included opening accounts without customers’ knowledge. The U.S. Department of Justice claims that Wells Fargo was aware of the employee misbehavior, spurred by unrealistic sales goals. The deal resolves criminal and securities-law charges. (The Washington Post, the New York Times)

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