The U.S. Legal System
and All Things Related Blog

With Enough People, Power, and Persistence,
the System Will Improve



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Ohio Court Says Judge Cannot Add Years to a Prison Sentence Because the Defendant Called Him Names


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You can’t make this stuff up.  This case highlights one aspect of the injustice found in our criminal "justice" system.  Criminal defendants have a right to curse at judges without getting years tacked on to their prison sentences.  That seems like it should go without saying, right?  But somehow the matter went all the way to the Ohio state Supreme Court after an appeals court upheld a trial judge's decision to add six years to a man's sentence for calling the trial judge names.

Department of Justice Launches Investigation into Police Response to Uvalde School Shooting


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It is just another day in America where a mass shooting occurs.  This last mass shooting took place in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24th.  Americans were faced with the grim reality that the local police delayed its response to the gunman.  Inquiry comes amid anger over why officers waited over an hour outside the classroom where the gunman killed twenty-one people.

Corrupt Prosecutor’s Side Hustle


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Ralph Petty worked as an assistant district attorney in Midland County, Texas, for 20 years.  Like any prosecutor, he aggressively advocated for the government.  But he wasn't just any advocate, because he wasn't just a prosecutor.  Each night, Petty took off his proverbial DA hat and re-entered the courthouse as a law clerk for the same judges he was trying to convince to side with him by day.

Supreme Court Scandal: Justice Thomas


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Justice Thomas ruled on election cases.  Should his wife’s texts have precluded him?  The nature of the text messages was enough to require his recusal.  But, the Supreme Court has traditionally left such decisions to the discretion of the justice in question.  Herein lies the problem.  Judges cannot be left to judge themselves—it’s human nature for anyone to deny his or her bias.  This is why we so desperately need all judges—and certainly Supreme Court judges—to be regulated by a neutral third party.  But will it ever happen?  I won’t hold my breath.

How the U.S. Criminal Justice System Failed Olympic Gold Medalists


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In a litany of reports and documents, the four women who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month have for years been referred to by initials or numbers: “Athlete B,” “Gymnast 1”, “Athlete A,” “Gymnast 3.”  This month, the women—elite gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman—gave U.S. senators an emotional and harrowing account of how the Federal Bureau of Investigation, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee failed to investigate or act when they emerged as potential victims of sexual assault by former national team doctor Larry Nassar.

Corruption in the New York Courts Part II


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Back in March of 2018, we wrote a blog about corruption in the New York courts regarding a case titled Knopf v. Esposito.  Earlier this month, on June 17, 2021, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced the indictment of Melissa Ringel, a former director at the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, and her husband, Frank Esposito, a private attorney, for their roles in multimillion-dollar real estate transaction, in which Ringel used her position, without authorization, to advise Esposito’s client’s attorneys on an escrow order unrelated to her official responsibilities.  Their conduct allowed the client to sell the property and pay the $50,000 balance to Esposito’s law firm from the proceeds.  The defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment each with one count of Official Misconduct.

One year after George Floyd’s murder: What is the status of police reform in the United States?


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May 25th marked the one-year date of George Floyd’s murder.  Floyd's death sparked a massive movement for police reform and racial justice.  Though many were relieved that Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder, it is impossible to celebrate the killing of a person who died under the knee of a police officer while three other officers stood guard, ignoring the pleas of several concerned bystanders.  And yet, it took this shocking public display of police violence to get the attention of most Americans.

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