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Weekly Briefs: 'State takeover' of city policing challenged; lawyers sentenced in trip-and-fall scheme

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NAACP sues over ‘state takeover’ of city policing, courts

The NAACP has filed a lawsuit challenging two state laws that “represent a state takeover of Jackson,” Mississippi, a predominantly Black city, according to a press release. One law expands the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Capitol police to act as a primary police force in an expanded district within Jackson, Mississippi, and as a police force with concurrent jurisdiction throughout the entire city. The second law creates a new court within the expanded district to hear misdemeanors and preliminary criminal matters. The judge will be appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court. (NAACP press release, USA Today, the April 21 lawsuit)

2 lawyers sentenced in trip-and-fall scam

Two lawyers have been sentenced to prison time for filing fraudulent lawsuits in a staged slip-and-fall accident scheme in which the “victims” underwent unnecessary surgeries to increase the value of their claims. Lawyer George Constantine, 60, of Plainview, New York, was sentenced to 8½ years in prison after his December 2022 conviction on mail and wire fraud charges. He will also have to forfeit more than $4.7 million. Lawyer Marc Elefant, 50, of Woodmere, New York, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud in October 2022. He will have to forfeit more than $955,000. (Department of Justice press release, Law360 stories here and here)

Stop Judge Shopping Act introduced by Hawaii senator

Democratic U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii has introduced a bill called the Stop Judge Shopping Act. The bill would give the federal court in Washington, D.C., exclusive jurisdiction over cases that could affect national laws and policies. (Hirono press release, Reuters)

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