News roundup

Weekly briefings: ABA will “work quickly” to assess SCOTUS candidate; parents of accused school shooter will face trial

ABA President promises to be quick but thanks to SCOTUS candidate assessment

The ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary “will work expeditiously” to evaluate U.S. Supreme Court nominee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson “thoroughly and fairly,” the ABA chairman said, Reginald Turner, in a statement released Friday afternoon. Turner said it was important to fill any Supreme Court vacancies in a timely manner, but cautioned the Senate should not rush the process “due to partisan considerations.” The standing committee has been evaluating candidates for the federal court, at all levels, since 1953. Non-partisan evaluations take into account candidates’ professional competence, integrity and judicial temperament. The standing committee gave Jackson a well-qualified rating in April 2021 when it evaluated her for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He gave her a qualified rating in 2013 when he evaluated her for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (Turner statement of February 25)

Parents of accused school shooter will face trial for manslaughter

The Michigan parents of accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley are to stand trial for manslaughter, Rochester Hills, Michigan Judge Julie Nicholson said Thursday. Nicholson said the evidence showed the parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, bought a gun for their son, even though he was “a troubled young man”. The 15-year-old is accused of shooting dead four students. He wrote in his diary 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, Detroit Free Press, CNN)

Women soccer players settle equal pay lawsuit

The United States Soccer Federation has agreed to pay $24 million to settle an equal pay lawsuit brought by members of the United States women’s national team. The agreement announced on Tuesday also promises to equalize wages between the men’s and women’s national teams. The settlement cannot be finalized until a new collective bargaining agreement is ratified that would force male players to forfeit potential World Cup money. (Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post)

Ahmaud Arbery’s killers found guilty of hate crimes

The three white men convicted of murdering black jogger Ahmaud Arbery by a Georgia state court were convicted of hate crimes in federal court on Tuesday. Federal jurors in Brunswick, Georgia, found the three men—Travis McMichael; Gregory McMichael, her 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 convicted of attempted kidnapping. Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said after the verdict that Arbery “will continue to rest in peace, but he will now begin to rest in office.” (Reuters, Department of Justice press release)

3 former officers sentenced for not helping George Floyd

Three former Minneapolis police officers were convicted Thursday of federal civil rights violations in the May 2020 death of George Floyd. The former officers – Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane – were at the scene when a fellow officer, Derek Chauvin, killed Floyd by kneeling on his neck. All three officers were found guilty of 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 arrest Chauvin, Garland said. Chauvin was convicted of second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in April 2021. (DoJ press release)

Ex-lawyer who fled to Costa Rica faces jail sentence

Disbarred attorney Philip James Layfield was sentenced to 12 years in prison last week for stealing around $5.5million in settlement money from multiple clients. Layfield, also known as Philip Samuel Pesin, ran law firms in California, Utah and Arizona. He fled to Costa Rica in June 2017. He was convicted in August 2021 of 19 counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, one count of tax evasion, one count of 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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