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Good Law Project sets up independent firm

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The Good Law Project, the legal campaign group which has brought several high-profile cases against the government, today announced it is setting up its own independent law firm.

Good Law Practice, which plans to open for business from next month, will help run litigation brought by the Good Law Project and its partners and will be headed up by Jamie Potter, currently joint head of Bindmans’ public law and human rights team.

The firm will be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and funded by the Good Law Project, which said the practice ‘will make its services available to Good Law Project, and its partners, on terms they can afford’. Any profits it makes will be returned to the Good Law Project.

The group’s founder and director Jo Maugham QC said: ‘We want to foster legal structures that help people respond to the world around them. The engagement that follows is, we believe, how we make a better world and fulfil the desire we all share to leave a better world than we found. Delivering on this is my mission.

‘The practice will help us become even more responsive to the needs of the communities that we serve, in a world and a political system that is growing ever more dynamic.’

Potter added: ‘This is an exciting opportunity to build a law firm that can support and facilitate the exceptional work being done by Good Law Project to scrutinise public decision-making through the law, and to empower under-represented groups to participate in a legal system that can often feel impenetrable to the uninitiated.

‘We want Good Law Practice to be a training ground for the public law and social welfare lawyers of the future. Such expertise is invaluable as trust in our political system is eroded, wealth is distributed increasingly unequally and legal aid is constantly narrowed.’

Good Law Practice will start with four qualified lawyers and a number of paralegals and support staff but plans to double in size by the end of this year and has opened a recruitment exercise for lawyers and paralegals, particularly those with knowledge of housing, civil rights and protest law.

On Camera, Lawyer Kicked, Slapped On Road In Karnataka. No One Helped

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A woman was repeatedly slapped and kicked in a brutal assault near Vinayak Nagar in Bagalkote district of Karnataka on Saturday afternoon. The accused has been arrested, said the police.

Lawyer Sangeetha was attacked by her neighbour Mahantesh.

The incident was captured on video and showed Manthesh attacking the woman with great rage and force. The intensity of the slaps forces the woman back, she is also kicked in the stomach, it showed. As the woman picks up a plastic chair to defend herself, the man kicks her again and lands more slaps, the video showed.

Even though there are people around, but none came forward to help the woman, who is thrashed around mercilessly.

Manthesh had attacked the woman due to personal enmity regarding a civil dispute case, said the police. He claimed that the lawyer allegedly tortured and harassed him.

The two have reportedly fought several times in the past.

Lawyer charged with lying to FBI in Russia probe faces trial

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A jury was picked Monday in the trial of a lawyer who worked with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and is accused of lying to the FBI as it investigated potential ties between Donald Trump and Russia in 2016.

Jurors in the politically charged federal trial of Michael Sussmann were asked questions that included whether they voted in the 2016 election or volunteered for any presidential campaigns and whether they’ve “read or heard anything” about Clinton, Trump or other people or entities that will figure in the case, including the FBI and the CIA.

Opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday, and the trial is expected to last two weeks.

Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who represented the Clinton campaign in 2016, is charged with making a false statement to the U.S. government.

In the indictment, special counsel John Durham alleges that Sussmann misled then-FBI general counsel James Baker at a Sept. 19, 2016, meeting at which Sussmann was passing on information about allegations of secret communications between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“During the meeting, Sussmann lied about the capacity in which he was providing the allegations to the FBI. Specifically, Sussmann stated falsely that he was not doing his work on the aforementioned allegations ‘for any client,’” the indictment says, when, in reality, “Sussmann acted on behalf of specific clients, namely a U.S. Technology Industry Executive, a U.S. Internet Company and the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign.”

The FBI later determined that Sussmann’s concerns — that obscure internet data showing the possibility of a secret communications channel between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and Russia’s largest commercial financial institution, Alfa Bank — were unfounded.

Prosecutors said the alleged lie was important because it misled the FBI “about the political nature of his work

Majority of Ghanaians are yet to adequately understand the complexity of corruption – GII

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The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has revealed that the majority of Ghanaians are yet to adequately understand the dynamics and complexity of corruption.

Mr. Michael Boadi, Funds Manager of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, the local chapter of Transparency International said even though Ghana was always among the first five countries to ratify international conventions on issues such as corruption, the country was unable to domesticate them to achieve the needed aims.He described actively reporting corruption-related acts as witnesses or victims as a major weapon available to the citizens to help curb the canker during the 12th monthly stakeholder engagement seminar organized by the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office which is a platform rolled out for state and non-state actors to address national issues, monitored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema

Speaking on the topic: “Is the fight against corruption a mirage or reality? Mr. Boadi urged citizens to also play their role as key stakeholders in fighting corruption adding that they should stop being naïve.He said Ghana could only fight against corruption if citizens are mobilized to fully get involved either by reporting acts of corruption or stop giving bribes. Corruption is a major problem the nation and Africa as a whole were facing.He identified some factors eroding the gains in the fight against corruption in Ghana, such as excessive partisan politics and a lack of sustained and effective measures to support the fight.

He said there was also poor coordination among state institutions responsible for the fight against corruption, a lackadaisical approach by the government, and the failure to foster local ownership to ensure that the public actively participates in the formulation and implementation of the laws.

Mr. Boadi called for a collective anti-corruption campaign, stressing that “the media could use the various social media platforms available to help in the sensitization and educating individuals to help fight corruption”.He elaborated that policy discourse on corruption could be filed in press releases, submission of memorandums, and policy reliefs to aid in stopping corruption.Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager noted that Ghana needs active citizens’ involvement in the fight against corrupt practices, “we need active anti-corruption crusaders, not passive actors fight from the front roll during the day yet fuel it from the back doors to benefit from it.

“Corruption is destroying the foundation of the nation, citizens are losing hope in the political class who are perceived to be the main actors in the corruption business, and people are losing faith in the ability of anti-corruption state agencies ability to protect the public funds.“Gradually we are eroding the public confidence in state and non-state machinery, and we must drastically work out to stop the growing desire of the youth to either join the corruption bandwagon to get rich quickly,” Mr. Ameyibor stated.

Mr. Ameyibor said the government and other organizations were making several interventions to curb the canker, stressing that the role of the media was critical in promoting good governance and controlling corruption.He said the fight against corruption will bear little fruit without the media raising the awareness of public officials and the general public about the dangers of corruption and the duty of every citizen to combat corruption.The monthly engagement also serves as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters towards national development in general and the growth and promotion of the Tema GNA as the industrial news hub.

Court Manual For Journalists

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“… I was motivated to set down some of my thoughts and opinions all geared towards safeguarding the profession by contributing what I consider to be my widow’s mite for them to be cautious…” – KOFI ACQUAH DADZIE, Ex Magistrate (Agona Swedru, Sogakope): Law lecturer, Maiduguri University: Senior Magistrate, Botswana

KOFI ACQUAH DADZIE authored the book “Court Manual for Journalists.” Justice S.A. Brobbey (ex. Chief Justice of the Republic of the Gambia, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana and a Senior Lecturer in the Ghana School of Law notes in the “Forward”: “Law is a wide topic which even trained lawyers struggle with. A compact material like that produced by Mr. Acquah-Dadzie can easily serve purposes similar to what the voluminous books do for lawyers.”

Indeed, the “compact material” will be found very useful for all citizens, especially those in the media world who are identified as the “Fourth Estate” of the realm, a term which is now applied to all branches of the media, though in the 19th century, it was limited to the press. Edmund Burke, at the opening up of press reporting of the House of Commons, first used it in 1787. Henry Fielding described the “mob” as constituting the Fourth Estate, and Oscar Wilde later wrote: “The press has become the only estate that has eaten up the other estates (Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary).”

Since the 1960’s, people have been advocating for a “Fifth Estate” as another component of society that influences policy making: the non-traditional media (the internet, websites including Wiki leaks, Facebook, Twitter, the bloggers).

In a 167-page book, Kofi Acquah-Dadzie, gives a guide to journalists who report from the courts. Chapter One highlights the Functions of the Courts of Ghana, and it includes : Sources of the Law, the Judicial Oath, General Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, Qualifications, District, Circuit, High Courts, Juvenile Courts, Judicial Committee of the Traditional Councils/House of Chiefs, State Attorneys.

Chapter Two: The Justices, Court Offices Registry, Bailiffs, Service of Documents, Substituted Service, Proof of Service.

Chapter Three: The Bench, Bar and Parties in Court – the protocol in entering and leaving the court room, wigs and gowns, Lawyers as Counsel, (the word ‘counsel’ has no plural), Arguments (“… the lawyers are bound by legal ethics to respect their seniors and themselves to give a true meaning to the word ‘fraternity’… a member of the public present in the courtroom may expect them to be enemies over the case, but they diffuse (BETTER: defuse) this by smiling…”; the Dock; the Witness Box; Hostile Witnesses.

Chapter Four: How the Courts Operate: the Honourable Chief Justice; Behaviour in the Court Room; Civil and Criminal Cases; The Sentencing Procedure: Attorneys for Parties in Civil Cases and Accused in Criminal Cases; Distribution of Case Files; Bail; Police.

Chapter Five: Criticism of the Court’s Decisions: The right to criticise the court; the Journalist on Duty in Court: to ensure that all the terminologies used in court are correctly reported or given their correct interpretations. If he is not familiar with any of the legal jargons, for instance, he has every right to approach the court clerk for clarification.

“It is always advisable to obtain the correct information than (x) to rush out of court and misreport or misinterpret (BETTER: misinterpret) any part of the courts (BETTER: court’s) proceedings.” The Court of Law (an edifice) and the Court of Public Opinions (no structure); Publication of Comments in the Print Media: “The law does not permit criticism or comments when the case is ‘sub judice’, under judicial consideration.” It is accepted that there is a constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and expression but it is not absolute.

Chapter Six: Contempt of Court and Defamation: making noise in court is contempt in ‘facie curiae’ (in the face of the court), disobeying a court order is ‘ex facie curiae’ (out of the face of the court), punishable by a fine or jail term. Contempt on the Radio and Television: Defamation in different forms (verbal or written) “…section 3 of the code of Ethics of Ghana Journalists Association states: ‘A journalist should guard against defamation: libel, slander and obscenity’.”

Chapter Seven: Entry into the Court Room for Business: “The reporter must, of course, visibly wear the badge, introduce himself to the clerk of the court, (for) members of the public are disallowed from writing or reading while the court is in session”; Dressing to the Court: “Any dress, neat and appealing to the sight will suffice, nothing must distract the attention or concentration of the court during the proceedings.”

Adjournment: “A plea of alibi would mean that (the accused) was elsewhere, and therefore he was not at the scene of the crime leveled against him.” Ruling and Judgment: In a civil case, the defendant may be found ‘liable’, in a criminal case the accused may be found ‘guilty’: “If the court frees an accused after a trial, the expression used is he is acquitted and discharged not the other way round.”

Chapter Eight: Common Criminal Offences often reported: murder; manslaughter (offender did not intend to cause death); rape; defilement (girl below the age of 16); incest (sexual intercourse between persons who are related by blood); robbery; corruption; stealing; burglary; when sentences can run side by side (concurrent sentences); two sentences – one to follow the other (consecutive sentences).

Chapter Nine: Foreign Words and Phrases Commonly Used in Court: actus reus (wrongful deed), mens rea (criminal intent), amicus curiae (friend of the court), audi alteram partem (listen to the other party), ex parte (by one party only), nolle prosequi (unwilling to prosecute), subpoena (under punishment), viva voce (by word of mouth).

Tips for Radio Stations, Newsreaders/ Newscasters (p104 – 126) could have been given a separate chapter. Early morning greetings and chatting: “The time which could be spent profitably, discussing some matters of national interest may be used for less purposeful items, funerals, weddings, but of cause (Better: course) before news time.” Comments and criticisms with political colours: “The strongest political parties look at each crime with political lenses.” Motor accidents; Comments on sports; a Review of the local newspapers;

Chapter 10: English Idioms for Everyday Use (call a person names; leave in a lurch; throw dust in the eyes); an Explanation of Legal Terms (accomplice, affidavit, bestiality, burden of proof, child abuse, committal proceedings, custodial sentence, exhibits, hearsay evidence, natural justice, notarial deed, perjury, plea in mitigation, statute law, unsworn statement, warrant, writ of execution).

There are appendices. Appendix A gives Few Lessons in the English Language – he is an alumni (BETTER: alumnus) of the University: Aside this problem (BETTER Aside from this problem). The delegation comprises of (BETTER: The delegation comprises).

Appendix B is the Ghana Journalists Association Code of Ethics. The year is not given. It could be the 1994 one or the Revised 2017 one, but the admonition is salutary: “The code is meant to ensure that members of the Ghana Journalists Association adhere to the highest ethical standards, professional competence and good behaviour in carrying out their duties.”

‘It was disturbing’: Attorneys question Liberty County deputies’ search of Delaware State bus

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Prominent Georgia attorneys question the actions of sheriff’s deputies in Liberty County, Georgia, some even speculating that they violated the civil rights of student-athletes from a Delaware HBCU when they searched the lacrosse players’ motorcoach. who pulled over and searched a bus filled with student-athletes from Delaware State University traveling home from a match in Florida, has already brought calls for legal consequences. The Delaware Attorney General has called for a federal civil rights investigation and several Georgia attorneys also questioned the deputies’ behavior.

“It was disturbing,” said Melissa Redmon, clinical assistant professor and prosecutorial justice program director at the University of Georgia School of Law. “I know how intrusive those stops may be, even if they’re legal.”

California Bar Risks Lawyer Suits After Data Breach Notices

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The State Bar of California’s plan to notify attorneys whose names were exposed in a data breach of disciplinary records may spur litigation from lawyers who feel their reputations have been tarnished.The California bar said it will send notices to complainants, witnesses, and respondents whose names appeared in the over 320,000 confidential records that were posted on a third-party site and available from October 2021 to February 2022. It said it wasn’t legally required to provide the notifications, but would do so regardless.

We are taking these steps because we believe it’s the right thing to do,” said Leah Wilson, the executive director of the California bar, in a statement. “The State Bar is committed to transparency, and maintaining the public’s trust in our agency is paramount.”

Notices are expected to reach approximately 1,300 people whose names appeared in confidential records that showed evidence of a page view on the third-party site, including people tied to six records that contained a case type signaling mental illness or substance abuse.

Attorneys who receive these notifications and experience negative impacts on their career could bring negligence or emotional distress claims against the California bar, lawyers said.

“Litigation is a real possibility for people if they suffer reputational harm and it affects their ability to practice,” said Lucie Huger, an attorney at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale P.C. in St. Louis. “Those who have experienced the breach are going to say: This should never have happened.”

Attorneys from Cooley LLP, who are advising the California bar, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Lawyers’ Risk Management Newsletter, May 2022

The California Court of Appeal, Fourth District’s recent opinion in Falcon Brands, Inc. v. Mousavi & Lee, LLP, No. G059477, 2022 WL 246851 (Cal. Ct. App. Jan. 27, 2022) addressed this topic. That matter arose out of Amy Mousavi’s client, Nick Honard, being terminated by Falcon Brands, Inc. and Coastal Harvest II, LLC (collectively Falcon), a cannabis distributor. On October 8, 2019, Mousavi e-mailed a letter to Falcon’s counsel that summarized Honard’s employment claims and then itemized eleven allegedly illegal activities engaged in by Falcon, which included violations of California employment laws or Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) regulations, as well as alleging bribery of a deputy district attorney.

Mousavi then offered to settle Honard’s claims for $490,000. She required a response to her demand by the next day or else she would file a complaint and notify Falcon’s planned merger partner, Harvest Health and Recreation, Inc. (Harvest), about the complaint against Falcon, which would matter because Harvest would remain liable as the surviving corporation after any merger.After Falcon’s counsel responded, Mousavi, in an October 9 email and telephone call, again stated that she would be notifying Harvest of Honard’s claims and Falcon’s violation of various cannabis statutes and regulations before filing the complaint.

On Friday, October 11, Mousavi sent another e-mail to Falcon’s counsel: “I have put the attorneys for [Harvest] on notice about Mr. Honard’s claim for wages, without disclosing other issues mentioned in my letter of October 8, 2019. However, Harvest has requested that I forward the demand letters I have sent you. I am planning to e-mail those letters on Tuesday. Please call me if you have any questions. Thanks.”The parties failed to reach a settlement. On January 31, 2020, Mousavi filed Honard’s complaint against Falcon. The complaint alleged that Falcon engaged in specific illegal activities, but he did not affirmatively link those acts to either his wrongful termination or the non-payment of his commissions, salary, or expenses.

Falcon filed a cross-complaint against Mousavi and her law firm, Mousavi & Lee, LLP, for, among other things, civil extortion based on Mousavi threat to report Falcon’s alleged criminal acts to Harvest unless Falcon paid $490,000 to settle Honard’s claims against it. The trial court granted Mousavi’s motion to strike.On appeal, the Fourth District found that the October 8 email, “standing alone” did not cross the line by referencing state law violations within its demand. The Court found that the email was a “close[] call when considered by itself”; it contained an implicit threat by listing Falcon’s crimes but did not link them to her settlement demands.

N.Y.C. Lawyer Fired Over Handling of George Floyd Protesters’ Lawsuits

New York’s Law Department said it dismissed the lawyer after discovering she had made a misrepresentation in court filings.

  • Credit…Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

    Demonstrations in New York after the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer led to a wave of lawsuits accusing the police of using excessive force and other abusive tactics that violated protesters’ rights.

    The litigation has been fought bitterly in federal court, with lawyers for protesters claiming New York had repeatedly failed to turn over key documents and video footage, and the city’s Law Department arguing it was working diligently to keep up with demands being made in the many suits.

    But now, the Law Department has told a Manhattan federal magistrate judge that it has fired a lawyer in the case after she was found to have made a misrepresentation in a court filing and additional ones in communications with the protesters’ lawyers.

    In a letter to the judge on Friday, the Law Department said the lawyer, Dara L. Weiss, had told the court in a recent filing that she had sent an email to lawyers for the protesters to set a date for the parties to discuss a dispute. In fact, the department said, she had only drafted the email but had not sent it.

Trump Lawyers Detail Document Hunt in Contempt Ruling Fight

Donald Trump’s legal team wants to void a contempt ruling and $10,000-per-day fine against the former president over a subpoena for documents related to a New York civil investigation into his business dealings, saying they’ve conducted a detailed search for the relevant files.

A new, 66-page court filing dated Friday describes Trump’s lawyers’ efforts to produce documents sought by New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office, which is probing whether Trump may have misstated the value of assets like skyscrapers and golf courses on financial statements for over a decade.Trump has called the investigation a political witch hunt and recently called James, who is Black, “racist” and said the courts were “biased, unyielding, and totally unfair.”

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