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Weekly Briefs: Cardozo Law will fight junk science with $15M; sheriff convicted for restraint-chair misuse

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Cardozo Law will use $15M gift to fight junk science convictions

Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law plans to use a $15 million donation to create a justice clinic that will fight wrongful convictions based on the misuse of scientific evidence. The money will also be used to create a continuing legal education curriculum in scientific evidence for practicing lawyers. The school received the money from Isaac and Laura Perlmutter and the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Foundation. Isaac Perlmutter is the chairman of Marvel Entertainment. Laura Perlmutter is involved in litigation claiming that she was falsely implicated in a hate-mail campaign against a Florida neighbor because of contaminated DNA results. The new executive director of the Perlmutter Center for Legal Justice at Cardozo Law had helped the Perlmutters in the litigation. (Reuters,, Cardozo Law press release)

Sheriff convicted on civil rights charges for restraint-chair misuse

Clayton County, Georgia, Sheriff Victor Hill was convicted Wednesday for violating the civil rights of inmates who were forced to sit handcuffed in restraint chairs for hours. One inmate was kept in the chair for 10 hours, while others urinated on themselves while restrained, prosecutors said. Federal jurors in Atlanta convicted Hill on six of seven counts, representing six detainees. Prosecutors said Hill placed the detainees in chairs for insulting him or for allegedly committing crimes that angered him. Hill said his use of the chairs was needed to maintain order. An appeal is planned. (Law360, the New York Times)

Alleged Chinese spies sought prosecution information, complaint says

Two Chinese intelligence officers have been charged with trying to bribe a federal government employee to obtain files about the prosecution of a China-based telecommunications company. Federal prosecutors didn’t name the company, but it is thought to be Huawei. The defendants are Dong He, also known as Guochun He and Jacky He, and Zheng Wang, also known as Zen Wang. Prosecutors say they paid $41,000 in bitcoin to the government official, who was a double agent working on behalf of the FBI. The defendants are among 13 people charged in three cases for their activities in the United States on behalf of the Chinese government, the Department of Justice announced earlier this week. (Department of Justice press release, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s remarks,

9th Circuit criticizes ‘abusive ADA litigation’

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at San Francisco criticized “abusive ADA litigation” Monday while upholding a judge’s decision to cut attorney fees in a lawsuit alleging a lack of accessible parking. The Americans with Disabilities Act helped protect people with disabilities, the 9th Circuit said in an opinion by Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. But the ability to recover attorney fees “has given rise to a wave of ‘get-money quick’ lawsuits brought by a small number of professional, serial plaintiffs,” Smith wrote. (Law360, the opinion, Shayler v. 1310 PCH)

Judge is suspended for abusing contempt power

A judge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been suspended for 180 days without pay and ordered to pay a $6,260 fine for abusing her contempt power. Judge Charlene Charet Day was accused of issuing an improper bench warrant that led to the arrest of a teacher at the elementary school where she worked. The teacher was the stepmother of a child in a visitation case. She was not a party and was not subpoenaed before Day issued a verbal order for her to appear. Day was previously admonished for holding two separate litigants in direct contempt and ordering them jailed without first giving them a chance to speak. (The Associated Press, the Advocate, the Oct. 21 decision)

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