News Roundup

Weekly Briefs: Judge adds vaccination to bail conditions; criminal cases affected by 'massive' data loss

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Covid vaccine

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Federal judge orders vaccination as bail condition

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of Manhattan on Tuesday ordered a drug defendant to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of bail. Rakoff said he could order the vaccination as a condition of release under the Bail Reform Act, which allows more onerous restrictions such as drug screenings and mental-health evaluations. (, Rakoff’s Aug. 17 order)

Criminal cases affected by loss of police data in file transfer

Dallas police lost a “massive” amount of investigative files when an employee transferred evidence from a cloud system to a city server. The city initially reported losing 22 terrabytes of data, but much of the data has been recovered. Now only eight terrabytes are believed to be permanently lost. Defense lawyers are expected to file motions to dismiss cases or set aside case outcomes if their clients are affected. Already, one murder defendant has been released from jail because of the lost information, but he may ultimately have to stand trial. (The Dallas Morning News here and here)

Judge sanctioned for Facebook conversations with defendant

The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a stayed six-month suspension for an Ottawa County common pleas judge who engaged in Facebook Messenger conversations with an individual about matters pending before the judge, including matters involving the individual. The judge, Bruce Winters, had admitted misconduct. (Court News Ohio, the Ohio Supreme Court’s Aug. 17 opinion)

Lawyer gets interim suspension after child-abuse charges

A Williamsport, Pennsylvania, lawyer has been placed on an interim suspension after he was accused of physically and emotionally abusing his eight children. Prosecutors allege Matthew J. Zeigler, of Zeigler & Associates, inflicted cruel physical punishments on the children, including forcing them to drink noxious liquids and locking them up in a closet for up to a week without food or water. A judge revoked Zeigler’s bail in June. (Pennsylvania Supreme Court order, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Pennsylvania attorney general press release)

McGirt not retroactive, top Oklahoma court says

A ruling last week by Oklahoma’s top criminal court has limited the reach of a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that held a large part of eastern central Oklahoma is an American Indian reservation. The Supreme Court decision, McGirt v. Oklahoma, prevents tribal members who commit crimes on the Creek Reservation from being prosecuted by the state of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled on Aug. 12 that McGirt did not have retroactive effect. As a result, convictions finalized before the Supreme Court’s July 2020 opinion won’t be disturbed. (The Tulsa World, the Oklahoman via How Appealing)

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