Report: ’Fake dates’ from ICE plague immigration courts

 Photo credit: Dianne Solis/Staff of The Dallas Morning News as reported on 9/16/18: "Raymundo Olmedo, a former Load Trail factory worker, stands outside the Dallas federal courthouse after he reported to immigration court on Sept. 13. Olmedo's name didn't appear on the Sept. 13 court docket, so he was sent away. More than a dozen immigrants caught in the Load Trail raid faced the same situation at the immigration courts."


Photo credit: Dianne Solis/Staff of The Dallas Morning News as reported on 9/16/18: “Raymundo Olmedo, a former Load Trail factory worker, stands outside the Dallas federal courthouse after he reported to immigration court on Sept. 13. Olmedo’s name didn’t appear on the Sept. 13 court docket, so he was sent away. More than a dozen immigrants caught in the Load Trail raid faced the same situation at the immigration courts.”

A lack of coordination between federal immigration officials and the courts is leading to instances where immigrants appear for hearings only to be turned away, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Immigrants ordered to be in court by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.arrived for hearings, only for court staff to deem their scheduled times “fake dates,” the news site reports.

“The orders to appear are not fake, but ICE apparently never coordinated or cleared the dates with the immigration courts,” The Dallas Morning News reports. “It’s a phenomenon that appears to be popping up around the nation, with reports of ‘fake dates’ or ‘dummy dates’ in Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami.”

The situation is only creating more backlogs in an already overburdened immigration court system, the news site reports.

California shields public sector unions from Supreme Court ruling

Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin Associated Press file photo, 2016, as reported by the Fresno Bee.

Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin Associated Press file photo, 2016, as reported by the Fresno Bee.

California has found itself in a legal standoff against the federal government and Trump administration over a variety of issues, but one could affect union workers who want to decline union membership.

“California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law that aims to give public employee unions legal cover from potentially expensive lawsuits demanding that they repay certain fees to workers that the Supreme Court in June determined were unconstitutional,” reports The Fresno Bee.

“The law, which takes effect immediately, says unions and public agencies cannot be held liable for fees that unions collected before the Supreme Court ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME on June 27 of this year.”

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision ended a 41-year precedent that allowed public sector unions to collect “fair share” fees from workers who declined to join a labor organization but were still represented, according to the newspaper.

Iowa high court raises due process concerns over traffic cams

Photo Credit: By Ctjf83, CC BY-SA 3.0  or GFDL, from Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: By Ctjf83, CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, from Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa Supreme Court has raised concerns about the way cities administer traffic cams, noting that tickets represent municipal fines which require court proceedings, not simply administrative action.

“The point is that the ticket is not just a ticket against your car in the traffic cam picture, it’s a ticket against the driver, as a person. And people, unlike cars, are entitled to due process and a chance to be heard,” notes a FindLaw.com blog.

The blog, which cites a Des Moines Register article, points out judicial concerns over due process.

“The court did not make any rulings on whether traffic cams are legal or not,” notes the blog. “But rather, the court said the city’s current traffic cam ticket process is unjust. The notices that car owners receive advise the drivers of their right to appeal the traffic cam ticket, but then use language describing the ticket as a ‘judgment’ and a ‘final administrative decision’ that can result in collection efforts and legal action, even though the case has not gone through the due process of the court system.”

Courts Monitor Publisher Believes Kavanaugh Accuser

Sara Corcoran is correspondent, contributing editor, and founding publisher of the National Courts Monitor & California Courts Monitor.

Sara Corcoran is correspondent, contributing editor, and founding publisher of the National Courts Monitor & California Courts Monitor.

Based in part on the fact they attended the same Washington, D.C. area high school, Courts Monitor Publisher Sara Corcoran explains why she believes the woman accusing the U.S. Supreme Court nominee of a sexual attack. She posted her story at the Daily Caller website which you can find here.

American Bar Association jumps into immigrant-family fray

ABA President Hilarie Bass posted a short video asking America’s lawyers to help reunite immigrant families at the border reported the ABA Journal earlier this summer.

ABA President Hilarie Bass posted a short video asking America’s lawyers to help reunite immigrant families at the border reported the ABA Journal earlier this summer.

The American Bar Association Journal is promoting a web page that helps lawyers to volunteer, donate or advocate for detained and separated immigrant families.

The web page,  http://ambar.org/immigrationjustice, was promoted by ABA President Hilarie Bass, who posted a video “asking America’s lawyers to help reunite immigrant families at the border,” the ABA Journal reported this summer.

In the video, Bass talks about what she saw during her late June trip to south Texas, where she met with immigrant mothers detained at the Port Isabel Detention Center near Harlingen. Some of those women hadn’t seen their children in six weeks, Bass said; some had talked to their children on the phone, but knew the children were far away,” the ABA Journal reported.

“But what really disturbed Bass, she said, was that all of them would give up their asylum claims and return to the violence they’re fleeing if it meant their children would be returned.”

Same-sex partner wins legal standing after girl’s death

A same-sex partner won legal standing to sue for legal distress despite the lack of a state-recognized relationship.

“A woman whose same-sex partner’s biological daughter was killed in a traffic accident can seek damages for emotional distress even though she and the other woman weren’t married or in a civil union at the time, an appeals court ruled,” according to an Associated Press report published in U.S. News and World Report.

In the Aug. 17 ruling, Valerie Benning was given legal standing, reversing the findings of a lower court that found she wasn’t familiar enough with the girl.

“The 2-year-old girl was killed in 2009 when a firetruck and a pickup truck collided while she was waiting with her family to cross a street in Trenton to see a ‘Disney on Ice’ show at the facility now known as CURE Insurance Arena,” U.S. News notes.

Benning had been romantically involved with the girl’s mother for more than a year before the accident, according to the report.

Court rejects Department of Defense policy banning transgenders in military

In this March 27, 2018, file photo, plaintiffs Cathrine Schmid, second left, and Conner Callahan, second right, listen with supporters during a news conference in front of a federal courthouse following a hearing in Seattle.  Photo credit: Elaine Thompson/AP as reported in the Military Times on 8/24/18.

In this March 27, 2018, file photo, plaintiffs Cathrine Schmid, second left, and Conner Callahan, second right, listen with supporters during a news conference in front of a federal courthouse following a hearing in Seattle. Photo credit: Elaine Thompson/AP as reported in the Military Times on 8/24/18.

In Doe v. Trump, a federal court has ruled that the government “failed to show what deliberative process it undertook to decide some transgender personnel should not be allowed to serve,” according to Military Times.

“In the lawsuit, Doe v. Trump, transgender service members and recruits are challenging the Pentagon’s new policy on transgender service members, which forbids any recruit or service member experiencing ‘gender dysphoria’ from serving, and implements additional restrictions on those transgender personnel already serving,” the publication reported.

“Since last fall, attorneys have filed four federal cases challenging the ban: Doe v. Trump in Washington, D.C.; Karnoski v. Trump in Washington State; Stockman v. Trump in California and Stone V. Trump in Maryland,” Military Times reported.

According to the New York Times, the Obama administration announced in 2016 its plan for the armed services to begin accepting transgender recruits at the start of this year. President Trump “abruptly reversed course, announcing on Twitter in July 2017 that the military would ‘no longer accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity. …”

L.A. jury awards $417 million in Johnson & Johnson talc powder case

Photo credit: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press as reported by The New York Times on 7/12/18.

Photo credit: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press as reported by The New York Times on 7/12/18.

Johnson & Johnson has sustained another major judicial loss in its defense of its talcum powder product.

On Aug. 22, the New York Times reported, “In what may be the largest award so far in a lawsuit tying ovarian cancer to talcum powder, a Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in damages to a medical receptionist who developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s trademark Johnson’s Baby Powder on her perineum for decades.”

Eva Echeverria, 63, of East Los Angeles, was the plaintiff in the case, “one of thousands of women who have sued the consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson claiming baby powder caused their disease, pointing to studies linking talc to cancer that date to 1971, when scientists in Wales discovered particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors.”

National Courts Monitor has charted the lawsuits across the United States against the company. In July, a jury in Missouri awarded $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in compensatory damages to women “who had accused the company of failing to warn them about cancer risks associated with its baby and body powders.”

The Aug. 20 award in California prompted a vow to appeal.

“A spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson, Carol Goodrich, said the company would appeal the verdict handed up by a jury in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County and was preparing for additional trials,” according to the New York Times.

‘Dreamers’ could see fate resolved by Supremes

Photo Credit: Julián Aguilar/The Texas Tribune as reported in The Texas Tribune on 7/31/18.

Photo Credit: Julián Aguilar/The Texas Tribune as reported in The Texas Tribune on 7/31/18.

The future of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, will become clearer as federal courts wrestle with the Obama-era initiative to shield young immigrants from deportation. And the U.S. Supreme Court may end the controversy once and for all.

The Washington Post reports that on Friday, Aug. 17, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled that the Trump administration must continue processing renewals but that the administration can halt new applications for “Dreamers” while DACA is under appeal.

“Bates is one of the federal judges presiding over four different lawsuits aimed at maintaining or eliminating DACA, which was created by executive order by President Barack Obama and then ended by President Trump,” the Post reports.

The Texas Tribune notes that on Aug. 8, federal District Judge Andrew Hanen was scheduled to hear the state’s request for a halt to the program preliminarily “while the issue meanders its way through the federal court system.”

The fate of DACA could ”end up in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court,” the Texas Tribune reports. “In June, the Department of Justice asked Hanen to delay a possible injunction ‘so the United States can seek stays of all the DACA injunctions in the respective courts of appeals and the Supreme Court,’” the Tribune notes.

West Virginia Supreme Court justices impeached over spending

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis announced her resignation on 8/14/18. Photo credit: CRAIG HUDSON/CHARLESTON GAZETTE-MAIL/ASSOCIATED PRESS, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, 8/14/18.

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis announced her resignation on 8/14/18. Photo credit: CRAIG HUDSON/CHARLESTON GAZETTE-MAIL/ASSOCIATED PRESS, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, 8/14/18.

West Virginia lawmakers have impeached all of the state’s Supreme Court justices over spending issues.

The Associated Press reports, “West Virginia lawmakers completed the extraordinary action of impeaching all four justices on the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals for spending issues, including a suspended justice facing a 23-count federal indictment.”

According to The New York Times, “Most of the articles involved the chief justice, Allen Loughry, a Republican, who has been suspended since June and is facing a 23-count federal indictment on charges of fraud and false statements. He is accused of using state property for personal use and of deceiving lawmakers, in addition to the charge of ‘unnecessary and lavish spending,’ most emblematically on a $32,000 office sofa.”

The New York Times also notes that a Republican governor will appoint replacements: “Democrats have described the whole process as a partisan power grab; the Legislature and the governor’s office are in Republican control, while a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court of Appeals, as the state’s highest court is officially known, were elected as Democrats.”