Judicial

In military courts, both victim and accused deserve justice

As the U.S. Naval Academy proceeds with sexual assault charges against two midshipmen, the alleged victim has found in one of her purported assailants an unlikely ally in her challenge to the academy superintendent’s fitness to oversee the case. While this latest twist in the ongoing debate around military justice reform may seem improbable at first glance, it ultimately illustrates a point that victim advocates have made all along: the bias inherent in the current system hurts both the accuser and the accused.

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The outdated immigrant detention system

The purpose of the U.S. immigration detention system is simple: to facilitate that an individual in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody appears before immigration court and complies with any final orders. And yet the system itself is anything but; it is a complicated web of jails and jail-like facilities, private prisons, county jails, and federal detention centers, that detains over 400,000 individuals each year.

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Time for law and order in Internet gambling

Internet gambling is here to stay. Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey recently legalized Internet gambling, while at least a dozen additional states are considering joining the action. There are also millions of Americans throughout the country who can and do participate in all forms of Internet gambling every day in an unregulated, uncontrolled environment ruled by offshore operators who ignore U.S. laws. The big question remaining unanswered is whether all forms of Internet gambling are going to be properly regulated at the federal level, or will we end up with a patchwork of inconsistent state laws that fail to protect every American.

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FTC to shine a light on patent troll practices

One hundred years ago when Congress was considering establishing an agency for competition and consumer protection enforcement, one of the key authors of the Federal Trade Commission Act, Louis Brandeis wrote: “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

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Essential role of private lawyers in defending the poor

On September 17, USA Today reported that “[t]he budget crunch took its latest toll on the federal judiciary … when money to pay court-appointed lawyers for indigent defendants ran out.”  This is part of a series of devastating cuts in recent months affecting the two components of the federal public defender program – salaried full-time federal public defenders and private criminal defense lawyers who are appointed to cases for an hourly fee.

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Considering comprehensive federal judgeships legislation

Today, the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Bankruptcy and the Courts will conduct a hearing on Senate Bill 1385.  If passed, the Federal Judgeships Act of 2013 would authorize the establishment of 70 new federal appeals and district court judgeships.

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Time to end the dangerous shell game

Iran heads the list of countries the United States and other nations have targeted for sanctions because of its believed nuclear weapons goal and its support of terrorist groups. There are few governments that elicit more concern among Americans than the one in Tehran.

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Collection attorneys and the credit system

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without credit. Major purchases like a home, car, college education, and vacations would be difficult even for the wealthy and virtually impossible for everyone else.  So many things that make our life comfortable can be attributed to our ability to obtain credit. Consumer spending makes up over 70 percent of the U.S. economy and is driven by the availability of credit.

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Holder’s new sentencing policy means Congress must act

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Monday announcement that the Justice Department will change its approach to punishing federal drug offenders is a pivotal step in criminal justice reform. But unless Congress implements legislation consistent with these policy shifts, they could end the moment he leaves his office for the last time. Holder’s new policy is only discretionary, and could be reversed by a new administration.

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