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The Judge has grown weary of sulking in the shadows and letting the MeJDs and Chinaskis of Judged hog the limelight. Here you will find news about Judged, updates to our law firm rankings and the Judge’s daily ramblings. Want the real scoop? Check it out here.

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The statistics are startling.
  • Every 9 seconds, a woman in the United States is battered
  • Domestic violence is the single major cause of injury to women - more than muggings and car accidents combined
  • Domestic violence is the cause of 30% of permanent physical disabilities in women
  • A full 50% of murdered women in the U.S. are due to a spouse or boyfriend's violence
  • 60% of American marriages are tainted by domestic violence
Meagan's Law put into place a national sex offenders registry. Since then, it has proven an invaluable resource for parents, lawmakers and law enforcement officials around the nation. Until recently, however, there's been little attention paid to the recidivism rates of domestic batterers. Now, though, the nation's first online registry of domestic violence abusers has been established. It too promises to be a powerful weapon for lawmakers and law enforcement agencies. Not only that, but it serves as an additional layer of security in anyone's arsenal who might be considering entering into a relationship.

It's not complete, but there are many states that now give access, via public records, to convictions and other court proceedings.

This new database incorporates resources from several organizations, including the Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund. Because more battered women are now being charged with crimes, due to new policies in police departments around the nation, it's become even more difficult for women to report to law enforcement for fear of being taken to jail along with the abuser. This leaves their children vulnerable and in some cases, results in these women losing their jobs and their only source of income. States are already overwhelmed with the financial burden of social programs and shelters have long since struggled with too little money to operate efficiently.

Clearly, it's a dynamic social problem with no easy answers. Often, it's a series of brick walls with the judicial system and lawyers limited in what they can collectively do for victims. New legislation, along with the new database, together will be the first real step in eradicating domestic abuse in this country. It's a solid first step. Protective orders, while important, are not the cure-all for these women and men.

For more information on the national database, visit DomesticViolenceDatabase.org.




01-27-2011


Vince Neil, once the lead singer for the heavy metal band Motley Crue, learned this week that he will spend more than two weeks in jail and will then spend another two weeks on house arrest. It was part of a plea his lawyer, David Chesnoff of Las Vegas, negotiated for his June 2010 arrest for DUI.

Neil was pulled over by local police after they spotted him driving erratically. He promptly failed three field sobriety tests and was found to have a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit. He had, only moments before, smashed the camera that belonged to one of his fans. He was also charged with doing 60 mph in a 45 mph zone. He will officially plead guilty on January 26th and will then immediately begin serving his jail sentence. In a statement he released earlier this week, Neil says, ''I take full responsibility for my actions and will learn from this experience. I have recognized that you can't drink and drive at all''.

The plea bargain has proved quite controversial. In December 1984, Neil killed a man as he was driving while intoxicated. At that time, he was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence (his level was 0.17). Besides the death of his passenger, then-Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas ''Razzle'' Dingley, the two occupants in the vehicle he hit suffered brain damage. He served less than thirty days in jail and was ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution. In 2007, Neil was arrested once again on suspicion of DUI, but was eventually allowed to plead guilty only to reckless driving charges. In recent years, Neil has said he no longer drank or abused drugs of any kind. In an interview with CBS News, Neil explained, ''There's just a point in your life where you kind of stop, that's what happened with me. There's other things in life than just drugs and alcohol''.


01-22-2011


In 2007, the Federal Bureau of Investigations released a new report, Hate Crime Statistics, that revealed a 25% increase of hate crimes against Latinos in just three short years. Interestingly (or maybe not), this coincided with the new and growing interest of illegal immigration from Mexico in the United States. 

The FBI report goes on to say that in 2006, nearly 63% of crimes motivated by ethnicity or national origin were committed on Hispanic Americans. The Labor Council of Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) released its own statement at that time that read, in part, ''...no effort is being made by pundits or legislators to link the cause and effects of public policies''.

These problems have only worsened since this report was released and reveals not only the difficulties, but inequalities Hispanic Americans face. Many insist the ''root'' of the problem comes from criminalizing immigrants, including some civil rights attorneys in California. The problem is, however, there aren't enough civil rights lawyers, at least in California - and the problem for Hispanic Americans, Mexican-Americans and Latinos is only getting worse as these hate crimes continue to mount.

Arizona's new tough anti-immigration laws have certainly added fuel to the fire. According to R. Sebastian Gibson, an Orange County, California Civil Rights attorney, there have been more than five thousand migrant deaths along the American/Mexican border in the past decade alone. This too is not only disturbing, but a trend many say will continue to grow as the problems continue to mount for those in this country.

Gibson, along with many other California lawyers, say the need for those in their state who can specialize in civil rights is at an all time high. Part of the problem, say some in the legal profession, is that civil law is not as lucrative as other specialties.

This week, New Mexico's newly elected Governor Susana Martinez announced she intends to revoke drivers licenses issued to illegal immigrants in her state. ''We cannot just have a path to citizenship created when there are people in line already doing the proper things''. Currently, New Mexico does not require proof of citizenship to obtain drivers licenses. This latest development is sure to spark new controversy and concerns.



01-17-2011


A Las Vegas judge might be enjoying her extended holiday vacation, but closer to her courtroom there are rumors of disciplinary action against Judge Valerie Vega.  Following a six week murder trial for Victor Fakoya, Vega insisted the jury begin deliberations at 3:00 a.m.

When one lawyer for Fakoya objected to the brutal hours everyone involved had faced in recent days, Vega accused both sides of wasting time and forcing a trial that should have been wrapped up within four weeks into a six week burden.  Part of Vega’s incredulous words, “It’s been very challenging for the court to juggle and give you two additional weeks and you still didn’t get it done…I told counsel this case had to be done by Thursday because I am packing up and leaving town and going on vacation for two weeks”.  This came days before Christmas.

The jury had already spent thirteen hours in the jury box on the day of closing arguments, only to be directed into deliberations right away.  One juror said, “I had to fight my way not to fall asleep…we shouldn’t have been there that long”.  Even requests by both the defense and prosecution to poll the jury regarding their level of alertness fell on deaf ears.

Unfortunately, and here’s where it gets a bit sticky when it comes to Vega, a quick look at the judge’s calendar shows she routinely spent less than five hours a day and some days less than four hours hearing the case.  Often, she adjourned before 2 p.m. so that she could see her daughter’s soccer games.  Another juror, once he found out why they were forced to deliberate at 3 a.m., said, “I think that’s inappropriate…the jurors have family obligations too and they stuck it out”.

This isn’t the first time folks have questioned the judge.  In the now infamous motorcycle gang battle in the middle of a popular Las Vegas bar, two defense attorneys said her trial date conflicted with other court appearances they had previously scheduled in other cases.  Her reply was that she “needed to schedule it”.  She also refused to order a source hearing regarding at least a few of the members of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.  The district attorney wanted to know where they were getting funds for bail when they claimed they had no money for an attorney.  

Vega’s vacation should be wrapping up soon and odds are that she’s not going to like what she comes back to.


12-29-2010


As news broke earlier this week that Julian Assange would indeed be released on bail, he was busy getting fitted for an ankle monitor and signing legal documents that spelled out the conditions of his release.  Twenty four hours later, however, his face is plastered across more than a few American networks, complete with the arrogant statements that he’s become so well known for. 

He appeared confused with the American legal system and demanded to know why no evidence had been presented to him.  Further, he stated the attacks on him and WikiLeaks were nothing more than “decapitation attacks” and bragged his publication rate “actually increased during the time I was in solitary confinement”.  In the background, a spectacular mansion sprawled across 600 acres can be seen.  He traded that time spent in solitary confinement for far more luxurious conditions. 

His days of entitlement could be numbered, however.  He is still wanted in Sweden where he is accused of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force on at least two occasions.  It’s unfortunate, but if he is convicted on all charges, he will only face a total of two years in prison.

As Assange mentioned in his interviews, there very well could be a secret grand jury that’s been assembled to investigate possible charges here in the states, though this won’t be known until after a decision has been made, which is the purpose of a secret grand jury.

For now, he’s limited to the unnamed supporter’s mansion just outside London.  Part of the conditions he must adhere to include a physical report to a local police department each day, wearing an ankle monitor and paying just over $310,000 US dollars for bail.  He’s not expected back in a UK court until January 11.  It’s unclear what the next move for Sweden will be.

For the short term, Assange vows to continue forward with his cable leaks and referred to a UK Telegraph article that he felt justified his actions.



12-18-2010


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