December 2021 Archives

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When the BBC decided to book some instant analysis of a major criminal verdict, it opened its contact list of willing experts on criminal law and dialed up a Harvard Law professor with decades of high-profile criminal defense representation. On paper this is a slam dunk of an interview! How could this go wrong?

It went very wrong.

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Top 5 legal technology news stories of 2021--ABA Journal

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BY NICOLE BLACK

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In other words, if nothing else, 2021 was an eventful year. Identifying the top five legal technology news stories of the year wasn't easy, but the common thread of remote work and its effects filtered through the newsworthy items that made the list.

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Why this personal injury firm set up shop in the metaverse--ABA JOURNAL

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BY LYLE MORAN

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Dating back to his time watching The Jetsons as a child, New Jersey lawyer Richard Grungo Jr. has been fascinated by depictions of the role that new technologies may play in the way that we live our future lives.

In more recent years, his imagination has been captured by the possibilities offered by virtual reality, including the virtual universe featured in the 2018 film Ready Player One.

Richard Grungo Jr.

And with the continued growth of digital worlds featuring attributes of the real world, including 3D virtual spaces located in the so-called metaverse, Grungo thinks that the future is "really here now."

As a result, Grungo Colarulo, based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and with offices also in Philadelphia; Medford, New Jersey; and Hamilton Square, New Jersey, recently launched an office in an online metaverse world known as Decentraland.


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By Katie Bo Lillis, CNN

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Washington (CNN)The Biden administration has released a tranche of secret documents that some historians -- and conspiracy theorists -- hope might shed light on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

You can read the documents here.
The release of almost 1,500 documents still leaves more than 10,000 either partially redacted or withheld entirely. It is expected to prolong the bitter debate between the federal government and JFK researchers, who have argued that the CIA, the FBI and other national security agencies have continually stonewalled a congressionally mandated release.
    Longtime JFK researchers say the release likely does not include a smoking gun that would substantively change the public understanding of the circumstances surrounding Kennedy's death -- nor, historians argue, does one likely exist elsewhere.
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    Supreme Court declines to block NY health worker vaccine mandate | TheHill

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    BY JOHN KRUZEL

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    The challengers' emergency request to the justices came after losing at the New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Their application was filed to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who referred the matter to the rest of the court.

    The court's move Monday follows a similar ruling in October in which a divided court left intact a vaccine requirement for Maine health care workers over a religious objection. That ruling also drew opposition from Gorsuch, Alito and Thomas.


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    Today's Edition: A shift in the constitutional firmament.

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    My prior analysis of the Supreme Court's decision in Texas v. Whole Woman's Health fell short. I should have opened my analysis with the following statement: On Friday, the Supreme Court effectively overruled Marbury v. Madison.  It is a truly breathtaking development with staggering implications. Let me explain.

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    By BRETT BACHMAN


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    Both the Guardian and The New York Times report that a different, 36-page version of the PowerPoint circulating online is similar to the one received by the committee. Both include plans to declare a national emergency in order to delay the certification of the 2020 election and the outlines of a wild conspiracy that the country of Venezuela had taken over voting machines in a large number of important states, among other debunked and unverifiable allegations.

    Though it remains unknown who first created the document, the Times notes it bears striking similarities to the theories of Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, which the paper describes as a "Texas entrepreneur and self-described inventor."

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    "A solemn mockery" - by Robert B. Hubbell

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    by Robert B. Hubbell

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    The reactionary majority of the Supreme Court today ruled that the Texas law prohibiting abortion can remain in effect during the pendency of challenges in lower courts. See Whole Woman's Health v. Jackson. The Texas law was drafted for the express purpose of evading Supreme Court precedent that recognized a fundamental constitutional right.  The decision is nothing less than an affront to the authority of the Court and the supremacy of the Constitution. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his opinion dissenting from the ruling,

              The clear purpose and actual effect of S. B. 8 has been to nullify this Court's rulings. It is, however, a basic principle that the Constitution is the "fundamental and paramount law of the nation," and "[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is." Marbury v. Madison, (1803). Indeed, "[i]f the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the Constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery." United States v. Peters, 1809. The nature of the federal right infringed does not matter; it is the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system that is at stake.

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    New York's COVID surge is back -- and so is its indoor mask mandate | AP News

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    By KAREN MATTHEWS and MARINA VILLENEUVE

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    NEW YORK (AP) -- Facing a winter surge in COVID-19 infections, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday that masks will be required in all indoor public places unless the businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement. 

    Hochul said the decision to reinstitute a mask mandate was based on the rising number of cases and hospitalizations, which have been especially pronounced in parts of upstate New York. 

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    The state recorded more than 68,000 positive tests for the virus in the seven-day period that ended Wednesday. That's the most in any seven-day stretch since the start of February. The surge is especially pronounced in some areas of upstate New York, which has accounted for nearly three-fourths of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in hospitals since August. Thirty-two upstate hospitals had to suspend performing nonessential elective surgeries starting Thursday because of capacity issues.

    "We are heading upward in a direction that I no longer find sustainable," Hochul said.


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    U.K. Court Rules Julian Assange Can Be Extradited to U.S. - The New York Times

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    Megan Specia and 

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    LONDON -- A British court ruled on Friday that Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States to face charges that could result in decades of jail time, reversing a lower-court decision in the long-running case against the embattled WikiLeaks founder.

    The ruling was a victory, at least for now, for the Biden administration, which has pursued an effort to prosecute Mr. Assange begun under the Trump administration. But Mr. Assange will seek to appeal the decision to Britain's Supreme Court, according to his legal team.

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    BY LYLE MORAN

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    The two women announced they were seeking a $150,000 investment in exchange for a 10% stake in the company they co-founded called HelloPrenup. The digital platform helps couples create prenuptial agreements by filling out in-depth questionnaires and comprehensive financial disclosures instead of having to go to a lawyer.

    "Young couples are getting prenups more and more. But the traditional process of getting a prenup is expensive, time-consuming and a bit taboo," Jaffe said on the Shark Tank episode that aired Nov. 12. "But with HelloPrenup, the process is as easy as 1,2,3."

    She also shared that a prenup on helloprenup.com costs $599, while the average cost when attorneys are involved is typically $5,000. Rodgers added that the addressable prenup market is valued at more than $500 million.

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    Apple can continue charging in-app fees for now • The Register

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    Katyanna Quach


    Previous injunction that ordered company to allow non-Apple payments systems is suspended


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    It means Apple will no longer have to allow external purchasing systems in apps; it can continue charging developers sales fees for now. The motion of stay stalls Roger's previous injunction, but doesn't overturn it completely. All is not lost for Epic yet.


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    By  and 

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    The mandate is being imposed through a commissioner's order from city Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi. The mayor and the city's top lawyer said they were confident it would withstand any legal challenge. 

    "The health commissioner has an obligation and a responsibility to protect the public health. Here, he is issuing an order that is intended to do just that in a public health emergency," said Corporation Counsel Georgia Pestana, adding that it would hold up legally because it is applied across the board rather than singling out any industry.

    The city has already mandated the vaccine for its own workforce, some 380,000 people.

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    Mariah Lopez v. New York City Department of Homeless Services was a case concerning the failure of the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to serve transgender people in safe shelters, meet standards for accessibility to residents with disabilities, and provide residents shelter free from harassment and abuse by staff, security, and other personnel. The lawsuit was brought against DHS in 2017 as a pro se case (without lawyers) by Ms. Lopez, an Afro-Latina transgender woman with disabilities and the executive director for STARR (Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform), after DHS denied her shelter placement. Following important wins in the individual case, the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel joined in order to provide support to Ms. Lopez in settlement negotiations.

    Under the agreement, the City will establish shelter units that serve and affirm trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan; provide shelter staff (including contractors) training on the rights of TGNC people; require that shelter staff (including contractors) follow a non-discrimination policy; and strengthen the complaint investigation process when shelter residents allege anti-trans discrimination or harassment.


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    The legal landscape of the past weeks and months has prompted questions of which people and entities are legitimate interpreters and enforcers of the law and what happens when you take the law into your own hands. Mississippi and other states took the recent changes in personnel on the Supreme Court as an invitation to defy the Court's constitutional rulings on abortion, and those states now seem likely to prevail.
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    Meet the Lawyers Trying to Set Ghislaine Maxwell Free | Vanity Fair

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    Ghislaine Maxwell's trial started with a gasp. "Ever since Eve was tempting Adam with the apple, women have been blamed for the bad behavior of men, and women are often villainized and punished more than the men ever are," Bobbi Sternheim, one of Maxwell's lawyers, said to begin her opening statement. To the reporters gathered in the viewing room inside the Thurgood Marshall federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan, the biblical comparison played like a bit of epic trolling. But it turned out to be the opening salvo in a through-the-looking-glass strategy that aims to position Maxwell as a feminist "scapegoat" of the patriarchy. It was surely no accident that Maxwell wore a white sweater, heavy with suffragette symbolism, for day one of the trial.  

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