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Weekly Briefs: ABA will 'work expeditiously' to rate SCOTUS nominee; parents of accused school shooter will stand trial

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ABA president vows expeditious but through evaluation of SCOTUS nominee

The ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary will “work expeditiously” to evaluate U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson “in a thorough and fair manner,” said ABA President Reginald Turner in a statement issued Friday afternoon. Turner said it is important to fill any Supreme Court vacancy in a timely manner, but he warned that the Senate should not rush the process “due to partisan considerations.” The standing committee has been evaluating federal court nominees, at all levels, since 1953. The nonpartisan evaluations consider nominees’ professional competence, integrity and judicial temperament. The standing committee gave Jackson a well-qualified rating in April 2021 when it evaluated her for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. It gave her a qualified rating in 2013 when it evaluated her for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. (Turner’s Feb. 25 statement)

Accused school shooter’s parents to be tried for involuntary manslaughter

The Michigan parents of accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley must stand trial for involuntary manslaughter, Judge Julie Nicholson of Rochester Hills, Michigan, ruled Thursday. Nicholson said evidence showed that the parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, purchased a gun for their son, even though he was “a troubled young man.” The 15-year-old youth is accused of fatally shooting four students. He had written in his journal that he had fought his “dark side” for years, but his parents “won’t listen to me about help or a therapist.” (The Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, CNN)

Women’s soccer players settle equal pay suit

The U.S. Soccer Federation has agreed to pay $24 million to settle an equal pay suit by members of the U.S. women’s national team. The deal announced Tuesday also promises to equalize pay between the men’s and women’s national teams. The settlement can’t be finalized until ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement that would require male players to give up potential World Cup money. (The Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post)

Ahmaud Arbery’s killers convicted of hate crimes

The three white men convicted of killing Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia state court were convicted for hate crimes in federal court Tuesday. Federal jurors in Brunswick, Georgia, found that the three men—Travis McMichael; Gregory McMichael, his father; and William “Roddie” Bryan—were guilty of using force to intimidate Arbery and interfere with his right to use a public street because of his race. They were also found guilty of attempted kidnapping. Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said after the verdict Arbery “will continue to rest in peace, but he will now begin to rest in power.” (Reuters, Department of Justice press release)

3 former officers convicted for failing to aid George Floyd

Three former Minneapolis police officers were found guilty Thursday of federal civil rights offenses in the May 2020 death of George Floyd. The former officers—Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane—were on the scene when a fellow officer, Derek Chauvin, killed Floyd by kneeling on his neck. The three officers were convicted for failing to provide aid to Floyd in time to prevent his death, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. Thao and Kueng were also convicted for failing to intervene to stop Chauvin, Garland said. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in April 2021. (Department of Justice press release)

Ex-lawyer who fled to Costa Rica gets prison time

Disbarred personal injury lawyer Philip James Layfield was sentenced to 12 years in prison last week for stealing about $5.5 million in settlement money from multiple clients. Layfield, also known as Philip Samuel Pesin, operated law firms in California, Utah and Arizona. He fled to Costa Rica in June 2017. He was convicted in August 2021 on 19 counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, one count of tax evasion, one count of failure to collect and pay payroll taxes, and one misdemeanor charge of failure to file a tax return. (Reuters, Department of Justice press release)

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