Getting Deported Back to Haiti Almost Killed Me

Illustration Credit: Paul Moreno

Illustration Credit: Paul Moreno

The ongoing debates over United States immigration and refugee policy is bringing many personal stories into the spotlight, mostly featuring immediate concerns. But VICE is offering a compelling story of a South Florida man who was deported back to Haiti at the age of 22. The story is counter-intuitive in many ways – he prefers Reagan to Clinton as American presidents go and offers mixed feelings about how Florida would have worked out.

Now Jean Pierre Marseille is described as a “journalist, fixer, translator, salesman” and “jack of all trades.” His story offers a lesson in how policy translates into personal history, and you can find it here:

Getting Deported Back to Haiti Almost Killed Me

D.C. Among Those Talking ‘Civil Gideon’ for Evictions

At some D.C. apartments, where tenants are overwhelmingly poor and recipients of housing vouchers, any violation of the lease — even walking your dog without a collar — becomes grounds for a suit for eviction. But far more common is suing over nonpayment of rent. Shown is Brookland Manor, a low-income housing complex that is undergoing redevelopment. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

At some D.C. apartments, where tenants are overwhelmingly poor and recipients of housing vouchers, any violation of the lease — even walking your dog without a collar — becomes grounds for a suit for eviction. But far more common is suing over nonpayment of rent. Shown is Brookland Manor, a low-income housing complex that is undergoing redevelopment. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

A trio of Washington, D.C., council members are making the case for a limited “civil Gideon” provision for District residents facing evictions. In a Washington Post op/ed, the three Democrats admit that their city might one considered already “tenant friendly” but that the legal policy is needed.

“Many tenants are pressured by lawyers representing their landlords to settle their case in the hallways outside of the courtrooms,” they write. “If you don’t understand the legalese, it’s hard to know what’s happening to you and it’s almost impossible to know what your options are. All the while, you just want to avoid becoming homeless.

The offer these stats: Of the 33,000 eviction cases filed annually in the District, fewer than 10 percent of tenants have legal representation during an eviction hearing; more than 90 percent of landlords are represented.

For background, they note a national movement: “… this is a small part of a larger national trend called ‘civil Gideon,’ a nod to the case that established the right to counsel for criminal defendants and is now a growing movement to create a right to counsel in civil cases.

See the piece here: Opinion | Low-income tenants in D.C. may soon get legal help

Chicago Trib Deep-Dives Into Immigration Court Delays

Dario Castaneda, an immigration attorney who is representing detained immigrant, Francisco Casas, outside of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office (West Congress Pkwy.) in Chicago on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

Dario Castaneda, an immigration attorney who is representing detained immigrant, Francisco Casas, outside of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office (West Congress Pkwy.) in Chicago on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

The Chicago Tribune is taking a deep dive into the Windy City’s immigration court backlog, including how a DUI sent a man to jail for seven months to await his day in court and other big-picture information. For example, the newspaper reports that “… as recently as 2010, the immigration court in Chicago had fewer than 13,000 pending cases on its docket. By the end of March, that figure had risen to 24,844, according to statistics provided by the federal Executive Office for Immigration Review, which is part of the Department of Justice.

The paper also notes that “… the crunch is partly the result of policy changes under the Obama administration, which made a priority of quickly handling cases that involved children and recent border crossers, particularly in the face of an influx of immigrants coming into the U.S. illegally from Central American countries around 2014. But the Trump administration has contributed to the crunch as well, emphasizing the deportation of detainees who have had contact with the criminal justice system, though even those without records have been caught up in the efforts.”

It’s a solid report and you can find it here: Cases flood Chicago Immigration Court as system reckons with new landscape

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Emory University School of Law are calling for an investigation

AJC File

AJC File

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Emory University School of Law are calling for an investigation into the federal immigration court practices in Atlanta, alleging discrimination and noting outcomes that differ from the rest of the country’s immigration courts. Those “courts” are actually not part of the federal judicial system but are administrative functions of the U.S. Department of Justice – the judges work for the DOJ.

The SPLC, in a letter to federal authorities, said that the Atlanta-based court “… denies asylum at the highest rate of any immigration court – 98 percent. The average bond set by its judges is typically 41 percent higher than the national average ($8,200 versus $11,637).”

Read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report here:
Your Daily Jolt: Emory law school wants probe of immigration court | Political Insider blog

CM Publisher Updates AG Probe Into Asbestos Trusts

Sara Cocoran Warner, Founding Publisher of the California Courts Monitor

Sara Cocoran Warner, Founding Publisher of the California Courts Monitor

Posting at The Huffington Post, Courts Monitor Publisher Sara Warner updates an investigation by 13 state attorneys general into what they are calling potential abuse and mismanagement in four of the nation’s largest asbestos bankruptcy trusts. Billions of dollars are held by dozens of trusts and a key issue is is required re-payments to Medicare and Medicaid programs may have been missed.

See the HuffPo blog here:

Link to post: Asbestos Trusts Strike Back, Calling AGs Medicaid Fraud Probe ‘Overreach’

Legal Battle Resumes Over Nevada Nuke Waste Facility

The portal of a five-mile-long tunnel into Yucca Mountain in Nevada, where the Energy Department wants to bury 70,000 metric tons of radioactive waste. Photo credit: Los Angeles Times report, 3/29/17

The portal of a five-mile-long tunnel into Yucca Mountain in Nevada, where the Energy Department wants to bury 70,000 metric tons of radioactive waste. Photo credit: Los Angeles Times report, 3/29/17

The decades-old legal battle over Yucca Mountain, the proposed nuclear waste facility in Nevada, has resumed, the Los Angeles Times reports. The paper says that “… Nevada has filed some 300 legal ‘contentions’ against the Energy Department’s license, each of which must be examined by a special board. The state is swinging into action to file even more contentions if the license action is resumed, said Robert Halstead, chief of the state’s nuclear office.”

“They think because Reid is gone, this will be a cakewalk. Wrong,” Halstead told the LAT. “I see them going through a licensing procedure that will cost $1.5 billion and take five years, with a 50% chance of success.” The delays have resulted in staggering costs. The government promised nuclear utilities decades ago that it would take the spent fuel by 1998. Customers have paid a fraction of a penny on every kilowatt-hour of electricity into a fund for waste storage, which now contains about $36 billion.

The facility has long been considered for storing the nation’s nuclear waste and gathered political traction during the George W. Bush administration. Then Harry Reid became Senate leader and more or less nixed the proposal. But with President Trump in charge, the new energy secretary, former Texas governor Rick Perry, has already visited the site.

Read the Times’ story here: Decades-old war over Yucca Mountain nuclear dump resumes under Trump budget plan

Forbes: State AGs Probe Asbestos Trusts Over Medicaid Payments

Asbestos wallboard on a job site: Who pays when workers get sick? (Shutterstock)

Asbestos wallboard on a job site: Who pays when workers get sick? (Shutterstock)

Daniel Fisher at Forbes is reporting that attorneys general from 13 “Republican-leaning states” are involved in a lawsuit against several big national asbestos bankruptcy trust funds, seeking “… information on whether they are squandering money and failing to reimburse states for Medicare and Medicaid expenditures.”

Fisher’s report says that the lawsuit follows “… demand letters to the Armstrong World Industries, Babcock & Wilcox, DII and Owens Corning/Fibreboard bankruptcy trusts on Dec. 12. So far none have responded, Utah says in the complaint filed March 7 in state court in Salt Lake City.”

The report also notes that “… The AGs cite the Medicare Secondary Payer law, a little used federal statute that carries stiff penalties for insurers and others who arrange for lawsuit settlements to be paid directly to claimants without making sure they first settle outstanding bills for Medicare coverage. Penalties can include double damages and even plaintiff attorneys can be liable, said Frank Qesada, an attorney with MSP Recovery, a Miami law firm that has filed numerous national class actions on behalf of private Medicare providers.”

Asbestos lawsuits represent the nation’s longest-running personal injury civil litigation and has been ongoing for about 40 years. Read the Forbes story here: State AGs Probe Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts To Recover Medicare Payments

NCM Taking Part In New Asbestos ‘Double-Victims’ Group

Sara Cocoran Warner, Founding Publisher of the California Courts Monitor

Sara Cocoran Warner, Founding Publisher of the California Courts Monitor

The National Courts Monitor is helping organize a new workgroup to look into how the asbestos litigation system treats cancer victims and other families impacted by the substance. In particular, the group hopes to help discover if the practices of some special bankruptcy trust funds, and the attorneys who work with them, leaves families vulnerable to charges they have shortchanged insurance companies or other health-care providers like Medicaid.

NCM Publisher Sara Warner explains that the group is organizing as civil racketeering lawsuits are popping up around the country, based largely on the revelations from the “Garlock” case in North Carolina where a federal judge found “evidence suppression” as he looked into 15 different asbestos cases.

The issue is especially important for our nation’s veterans because more of them are at risk from asbestos disease.

As the Military.com website put into context:
“While veterans represent 8% of the nation’s population, they comprise an astonishing 30% of all known mesothelioma deaths that have occurred in this country… virtually every ship commissioned by the United States Navy between 1930 and about 1970 contained several tons of asbestos insulation in the engine room, along the miles of pipe aboard ship and in the walls and doors that required fireproofing…”

You can read more about Sara’s views here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-asbestos-victims-group-exploring-litigation-scandals_us_58aee259e4b0ea6ee3d03622

And the group’s website: http://www.asbestosdoublevictims.org/

And more about the veterans’ issue here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sara-warner/a-sad-truth-for-veterans_b_9417622.html

The Los Angeles Times has a good deep-dive report into the Trump administration’s “expedited deportation” policy

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. (Jose Mendez / European Pressphoto Agency)

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. (Jose Mendez / European Pressphoto Agency)

The Los Angeles Times has a good deep-dive report into the Trump administration’s “expedited deportation” policy, noting that legal challenges are being planned. The report notes that “… [the] administration’s efforts to step up immigration enforcement and streamline deportation — outlined in memos from Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly — could affect far more people, including potentially most of the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.”
And it adds that “… one part of that effort — the expanded use of what the law refers to as expedited removal — is almost certain to face a constitutional challenge in the courts.”
The Times backgrounds that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly said that immigrants, even those who are here illegally, are protected by the Constitution’s guarantee of due process of law. The justices cite the 5th Amendment, which says, “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.” Because the language refers to “no person,” not to “no citizen,” its protections cover “even one whose presence in this country is unlawful, involuntary or transitory,” the court said unanimously in 1976.
But how much process is due for immigrants who entered illegally or overstayed their visas remains “a gray area,” said UCLA law professor Hiroshi Motomura.
Read the very fine not-fake-news report here:
Trump’s fast-track deportations face a legal hurdle: Do unauthorized immigrants have a right to a hearing before a judge?

Texas Judge Keeps Secret Asbestos Deposition Private

A Texas judge has ruled against a journalist’s motion to un-seal a 19-year-old deposition involving one of the nation’s premier tort lawyers. The Southeastern Texas Record says the decision was based on a jurisdictional issue, as opposed to a decision on merits. The decision was being closely watched in the asbestos litigation world because some feel the deposition might provide insights on a controversial “witness coaching” memo.

 

See the story here:

Judge refuses to unseal Russell Budd deposition, testimony linked to Baron & Budd asbestos memo