Writer Calls Out U.S. Policy On Border-Children Crisis

The writer Ruben Navarrette is citing MLK and Democratic governors in a new CNN piece that also says the Obama Administration is misleading the public about what is actually happening to unaccompanied Central American children seeking refuge in the United States.
 
Navarette, who is also a Daily Beast online columnist and syndicated nationally via the Washington Post Writers Group, begins by citing the civil rights icon: “In his epic ‘Letter from the Birmingham Jail,’ the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. observed that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’ But now that the Obama administration is fast-tracking the deportation of thousands of undocumented minors, perhaps hoping to get rid of them before the November elections, it’s clear that expedited justice is just as bad.”
 
The writer adds that, “… despite the President’s claim that there is no rush in returning the children and due process would be preserved, the reality is much different. Kids are given court dates they can’t possibly be expected to make — often in another state. Many don’t have lawyers. Deportation cases are being rushed through the pipeline.”
 
He also suggests that the crisis might become a 2016 presidential election issue, noting that “… Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a possible contender for the Democratic nomination in 2016, warned that the administration was giving the migrant children death sentences. O’Malley told a gathering of the National Governors Association in Nashville, Tennessee: ‘We are not a country that should turn children away and send them back to certain death.’”
 
It is one of the strongest indictments yet of how the U.S. is handling the crisis, and you can read it at CNN here: Fast-tracking children to possible death

Immigration Court Scrutiny Brings Cries For Chance

Those tens of thousands of border children seeking asylum in the United States have shed light on the nation’s immigration courts, and it’s hard to like what we’re seeing. Now, the leaders of the National Association of Immigration Judges are calling on Congress to crate what many of us though we had all along – an independent immigration court system. It turns out that the “court” is actually part of law enforcement, in effect a division of the Department of Justice.
 
That means, for example, that immigration judges cannot hold federal prosecutors from the Department of Homeland Security in contempt of court because judges are considered to be lawyers working for the Justice Department. Erin Kelly, of the Gannett Washington Bureau, writing in USA Today, has a great report that quotes Judge Dana Leigh Marks, a San Francisco-based immigration judge and president of the National Association of Immigration Judges: “We need an independent immigration court system which stands on its own. Enforcement should not be allowed to control courts.”
 

Top 10 Lawyer-Themed Movies

What are your favorite legal-themed movies? We lure a legendary film critic out of semi-retirement to comment on ten of his favorites. See the results in our print edition here.

Tales From a Jury Duty Scofflaw

 Ever wonder what goes through the mind of a jury-duty scofflaw? Writer Dan Dunn goes there in our print edition.

New CCM Issue Available

The latest dead-tree edition of the California Courts Monitor is out, and available in more than 100 Los Angeles locations. And also, via PDF, here.

A lawyer makes the case for Civil Gideon

A big part of the border crisis involving unaccompanied minors from Central America is legal representation. If the refugees have legal representation, they tend to remain in the United States. Without legal representation, most are sent back. But if they should have representation in what remains a civil action, who else should?

A lawyer makes the case for a “civil Gideon” on page 3 in our print edition. Read it here!

CCM Publisher Tackles ‘Lawsuit Loans’ in Latest HuffPost Blog

Courts Monitor publisher Sara Corcoran Warner connects the dots between the practice of “payday loans” and the growing “lawsuit loan” industry.

See her analysis at The Huffington Post here.

L.A. Moves To Disassemble Part Of ‘School-To-Prison Pipeline’

As the nation watches racially heated events in Ferguson, Missouri unfold, the city of Los Angeles is going about disassembling what critics have called its “schools-to-prison” pipeline, ending policies that turned school issues into police issues. But the move is also a consequence of reduced juvenile court capacity, according to an official quoted in a New York Times article.
 
According to the NYT: “Michael Nash, the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Courts, who was involved in creating the new policies, said that the juvenile justice system was overtaxed, and that the changes would ensure that the courts were dealing only with youngsters who ‘really pose the greatest risk to the community.’”
 
The NYT also reported that “… students 14 years old and under received more than 45 percent of the district’s 1,360 citations in 2013, according to the [Labor/Community] Strategy Center [a civil rights group] African-American students, who account for about 10 percent of the total population, received 39 percent of “disturbing the peace” citations, typically given for fights.” At one time, police in the program were issuing arrest citations for showing up late to school, a practice terminated in 2012.
 

Rich Sue, Poor Don’t In Downsized Courts

Under the downsized and more expensive California court systems, officials are reporting that some types of cases like probate, mental health, dependency, personal injury, property damage, and wrongful death claims continue increasing. But public-access civil cases like small claims, where there’s no attorney involved, are decreasing.
 
In a solid story from The Reporter newspaper in Vacaville, a Sacramento-area community in Solano County, we learn that “… in a statement issued along with a summary of the report, Justice Douglas Miller, chair of the Judicial Council’s Executive and Planning Committee, called the trend in court filings worrisome [saying] “… it coincides with two other trends that have occurred as result of budget cuts to the judicial branch: the increase in court filing fees to offset General Fund budget cuts and closure of courthouses and/or the reduction of hours at our courthouses. It’s something that we in the judicial branch are very concerned about,” Miller said in a statement.
 
One concern is that, with diminished hours, increased costs and the challenge of traveling to farther-away court houses, that people who would have normally turned to courts would simply give up. The report can certainly be read to support that claim.
 

AGs Sue Firms Over Fake Lawsuits

Attorneys general from Connecticut and Florida are suing five law firms in Federal Court on claims that the lawyers took millions of dollars in fees for “mass-joinder” lawsuits that they did little or nothing to advance, according to published accounts including The Courthouse News legal website, which explains that … “attorneys general say in the 39-page lawsuit that the U.S. foreclosure crisis led to a drastic rise in predatory practices by firms like the defendants, who ‘made money by charging distressed homeowners upfront fees on the promise that they could obtain mortgage modifications for these homeowners, often providing little or no actual assistance.’”
 
How the AGs say it worked: Homeowners are led to believe that they will be represented by real law firms and that joining a mass-joinder lawsuit will help them avoid foreclosure, reduce their interest rates and loan balances, and entitle them to monetary compensation.
 
Read details at TCN here: Courthouse News Service