Court Tells Feds To Lay Off Medical Pot Providers

A federal judge seems to have settled an issue between federal law enforcement and local marijuana operations in states with laws allowing legal pot. At issue was an amendment to a federal spending bill saying that law enforcement cannot use federal funds to go after marijuana operations or users in states that have laws governing such things. As Washington Post blogger Christopher Ingraham explains, “… when the legislation was passed, advocates and lawmakers on both sides of the issue agreed that the bill basically prevented the DEA from going after medical marijuana dispensaries, provided that such dispensaries were acting in compliance with state law. The DEA, however, didn’t see it that way. In a leaked memo, the Justice Department contended that the amendment only prevents actions against actual states — not against the individuals or businesses that actually carry out marijuana laws”
The judge did not find that argument at all amusing. Read the results here: Federal court tells the DEA to stop harassing medical marijuana providers

Rolling Stone Blows Lid Off Financial Scandal

It did not take long for Matt Taibbi to return Rolling Stone to the top of your must-read list. His story on the financial coverup behind those huge civil lawsuit settlements is making the rounds. He reports, among many things, that “… six years after the crisis that cratered the global economy, it’s not exactly news that the country’s biggest banks stole on a grand scale. That’s why the more important part of Fleischmann’s story is in the pains Chase and the Justice Department took to silence her… she was blocked at every turn: by asleep-on-the-job regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, by a court system that allowed Chase to use its billions to bury her evidence, and, finally, by officials like outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the chief architect of the crazily elaborate government policy of surrender, secrecy and cover-up…”
The report focuses on a whistle-blower attorney, he calls her the $9 billion witness, with insider knowledge. It notes that the woman this year “… watched as Holder’s Justice Department struck a series of historic settlement deals with Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America. The root bargain in these deals was cash for secrecy. The banks paid big fines, without trials or even judges – only secret negotiations that typically ended with the public shown nothing but vague, quasi-official papers called ‘statements of facts,’ which were conveniently devoid of anything like actual facts.”

A.G. Holder Exiting Amid ‘Unfinished’ Work With Immigration Courts

While praising his actions to bring the first Justice Department action against states over immigration laws, a leading immigration activist says U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder – or his replacement – has work to do on the nation’s immigration courts. The civil immigration system is operated by Holder’s Justice Department, and the judges are Justice Department employees.
The ongoing immigration court crisis, with its 400,000-case backlog and fast-tracking of suddenly high-profile Central American children seeking entry to the United States, is not gaining widespread coverage as news organizations ponder the Holder legacy. But Marielena Hincapié, director of the National Immigration Law Center, noted the issue after first praising the A.G. for “helping to establish immigration as an important area of civil rights.”
She told The Washington Post that “… we really saw an attorney general and a department of justice that was willing to lead on these issues and to take risky moves.” But, the Post added, “… yet she added that Holder (or his successor) still has some important unfinished business with regard to the country’s immigration courts, which are overseen by the Justice Department and are overwhelmed with cases.”

Immigration ‘Rocket Docket’ Raises Ire In S.F.

Local officials in San Francisco are raising issues with the Department of Justice “rocket docket” for unaccompanied Central American minors who were caught or surrendered to authorities at the U.S. border. The San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper is reporting that courts are now “… cramming through as many as 50 cases daily.”
“This new docket is dramatically accelerating the pace for the cases of newly arrived, traumatized children and families from Central America,” Robin Goldfaden of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Bay Area wrote in an email to the Bay Guardian. “For many, a wrong decision can mean being sent back to unspeakable harm – brutal beatings, rapes, even death. … But nonprofit legal services providers, already stretched beyond capacity, simply do not have the number of attorneys and other staff required to meet the ever-rising level of need.” 
At the Sept. 2 Board of Supervisor’s meeting, one county official proposed a budgetary supplemental to allocate $1.2 million for legal representation for unaccompanied youth being processed in immigration court in the Bay Area. “Under international law, many of these kids would actually qualify as refugees,” said the official. “And many of them have cases that would allow them to be protected by immigration law in the US…”

S.F. Stepping Up In Border-Child Crisis

Citing its tradition of being a “Sanctuary City” for immigration, documented or not, San Francisco has become the first California city to provide funding for attorneys representing immigrants facing deportation. The money will go through the nonprofit Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights. It’s an important move, in part, because government funding including most federal programs cannot pay for representing immigrants in deportation situations.
Terry Collins of the Associated Press reported that “.. since January, nearly 200 children in San Francisco who entered the country unaccompanied by an adult now have adult sponsors and cases pending in immigration court, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department reported… advocates believe there are hundreds more children who have sought refuge in the city without a sponsor, officials added.”
The AP report also noted that “… the U.S. Justice Department has ordered immigration courts to make cases involving unaccompanied minors entering the country a priority. California has the largest backlog of immigration court cases, followed by Texas and New York, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. While San Francisco is the first Golden State city to offer attorney-focused assistance, the city of New York has a similar program and the state of California is spending several million dollars on the issue.

 Read more here: San Francisco to help fund immigration attorneys