Jonathan Turley Profile picture
Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, criminal defense attorney, and legal analyst. Blog:
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4 Dec
As shown by the comments of the White House this week on crime, The pandemic now seems to have reached the mythic levels of gods who once were blamed for everything that went wrong in life. For politicians, it is useful to have a lurking…
...Apparently, pandemic sustenance-gatherers felt compelled to grab $79,000-worth of purses from a Givenchy store in New York...
...Purses certainly do appear to be a COVID necessity across this accessory-deprived nation: When a gang hit Burberry’s on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, they ran past an assortment of clothing to grab high-priced purses, too.
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3 Dec
I have not seen the evidence that would make a compelling case to say that the parents were complicit criminally as opposed to being negligent.… Michigan elected not to pass an child access prevention law...
...There is a risk to improvisational element in charging such a case. The question is whether there is actual knowledge or complicity by the parents as opposed to negligence. Otherwise, charges in this case could present strong grounds for challenge.
...Andy McCarthy has argued that the prosecutors seem to be "making their own law" in these charges. That may be so. Prosecutors will have to make a case that this is not just a workaround the absence of a child access prevention law.
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1 Dec
The oral argument in Dobbs was the fascinating and edifying. It was civil and substantive. The counsel on both sides served their causes and clients well...
...The questions certainly seemed to support the right of states to set the earlier line for such laws. Indeed, the very viability standard seemed to have few supporters on the Court...
...For pro-choice advocates, the oral argument probably will be read as now hoping to minimize any losses. What was striking however is that the pro-choice side did not offer alternatives if the Court were to drop the emphasis on viability. That leaves a steep cliff problem.
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1 Dec
Chief Justice Roberts just hit the state with a tough question. He noted that the case was accepted to consider pre-viability lines but the state then pushed in briefing to overturn Roe. The suggestion is that they exceeded the original question.
...I think that the broader question is implied but it is interesting that Roberts is flagging the question of whether the broader issue is fairly before the Court. Frankly, I think it is hard to discuss the basis of viability without discussing the viability of Roe itself.
...However, the original question from Roberts now takes on a different patina. When he asked about viability it followed questions from Sotomayor and could be viewed as questioning what remained from the Roe...
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1 Dec
Justice Thomas was first out of the gate to question Scott Stewart in the Dobbs hearing.
Stewart went straight for Roe and called for it and Casey to be overturned. Thomas is using his questions to amplify the challenge points.
Many of us are waiting to hear from Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh who pro-choice advocates hope to lure over toward the left of the Court to preserve Roe.
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26 Nov
He who must not be named. It appears the W.H.O. has skipped the next Greek letter after Nu to name the new variant. The next letter is Xi. The concern is that W.H.O. is again avoiding any discomfort for the Chinese government. So they named it Omicron...
...The new variant was expected to be Nu but any additional variant would then be Xi, which happens to be the name of the Chinese leader...
...It is not clear if there is another reason for the decision to skip over Nu and Xi, but W.H.O.'s history with the investigation into the origins of the pandemic has fueled speculation as to a political motive.
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23 Nov
The Arbery jury just told the judge that they want to continue to deliberate and may be close to a verdict. If the defense was hoping for a hung jury, a fast verdict is obviously not a good sign...…
...The jury has only been out six hours on a nine count, three defendant case. While it is very difficult to predict a jury, but I am sure the defense was hoping for a longer deliberation.
...I am particularly interested if there is a compromise verdict for Bryan and Greg McMichaels who did not pull a trigger. That could make the false imprisonment counts as a tempting compromise if there is a division on the jury...
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18 Nov
The seriousness of this incident cannot be overstated. It is not simply because the police suspected MSNBC was trying to take their pictures. If the jurors believed that they were being followed, it could add to their unease about voting in the case.…
MSNBC was the subject of an exceptionally rare ban from the courtroom of a high-profile case but it does not appear to have a headline on the development. Various media figures have reported that the network has not responded to calls for statements.
...NBC just released a statement: “Last night, a freelancer received a traffic citation. While the traffic violation took place near the jury van, the freelancer never contacted or intended to contact the jurors during deliberations, and...
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17 Nov
Over in the Arbery trial, defense counsel has succeeded in a creative framing using alleged shooter Travis McMichael's Coast Guard training. Since he was trained in law enforcement, counsel is allowed to go through his training...
...The result is that McMichael almost sounds like an expert witness in front of the jury on when to properly use force etc. It is a very effective technique by Jason Sheffield.
...I am a little surprised by the laughing in the exchanges. That is never a good idea in a trial of this magnitude. Indeed, the prosecutor could make reference to the fact that the accused was laughing on the stand...
Read 9 tweets
17 Nov
I previously said that we would not likely have a verdict before Wednesday. If there is a deadlock, we could also hear from the jury today since they are likely to have had multiple votes by this point...…
...If there is a deadlock, the jury would send a note to the judge. The judge would ordinarily then send back a note to ask the jury to continue to try to reach a verdict...
There is nothing unusual in the length of deliberations, however. It can be the result of simple due diligence rather than a deadlock.
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16 Nov
With the end of closing arguments, the jury now has the case. I remain confused how the sixth count was ever adopted. Even without the grand jury/indictment process, the prosecutor still had to establish the crime in the preliminary examination (PE)...
...I still fail to see how Binger could represent that a crime was committed under the state governing the sixth count. I also fail to understand how a court could have found probable cause to believe a crime was committed on possession...
...Now the jury will consider five counts that are ridiculed with prosecutorial contradictions. I cannot imagine that the prosecution hold much credibility with the jury at this point.
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15 Nov
The best part of the defense was the video summation. Richards has the type of rough hewn style that can be appealing to a case with highly localized elements. He scored in calling Binger to account for his alleged misrepresentation of evidence...
...He also laid out an easy course for the jury to follow in its deliberation -- a road map that was missing with Binger. However, the greatest impact was likely the final video as he showed Rittenhouse refraining from using force and then responding to attacks...
Binger also set up Richards attack with the social media posting after he built up Grosskreutz as a heroic figure trying to stop an "active shooter."...
Read 4 tweets
15 Nov
Binger's closing argument had some strong points but he, again, took considerable risks with this jury by mocking the damage caused by Rosenbaum and others. ..
...He also referred to Rosenbaum as harmless and "all bark and no bite." That is glaringly disconnected with this conviction as a child molester and the scenes of him rioting...
...The narrative about the protesters were disconnected from the images that the jury was seeing. I am not sure why Binger felt that need to go as far as he did in his descriptive elements...
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15 Nov
Judge Schroeder just dropped the sixth count. It collapsed on the basis previously discussed in the column.…
...That is another blow to the prosecution. While only a misdemeanor, it shows the jury that what was promised as proof of the violation did not materialize at trial. There is a serious credibility crisis for the prosecution and this only magnifies any such doubts.
...The loss of the sixth count also removes a default option for the prosecution if the more serious counts collapse. This leaves (even with lesser counts considered) a high cliff for conviction.
Read 4 tweets
12 Nov
...They are turning to the provocation instruction. The prosecution is arguing that Rittenhouse was not provoking by being at the scene with a gun but that the provocation was raising his weapon. That is an interesting distinction...
...Many in the media have argued that the provocation was appearing at the protests with a gun but the prosecutors just confirmed that they are not arguing that.
...The prosecution is making a strong case that it should be able to argue provocation with an instruction. They are right to note that they have evidence that can be argued as provocation and should be able to argue that interpretation of the evidence.
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12 Nov
The judge in the Rittenhouse case is weighing a critical question of the misdemeanor charge on possessing a dangerous weapon. He is suggesting that the law is vague and may have to be construed strictly...
...He is saying that he has been "wrestling" with the language and cannot say with certainty what is prohibited. He is noting that an "ordinary citizen" would have trouble understanding who is prohibited from possession under the Wisconsin law.
...At this point, the misdemeanor may be the only count that is still alive in the trial after a disastrous trial.…
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11 Nov
...Binger just objected to the court that he was the "target of your ire" yesterday for ignoring a court order. Now he is maintaining the defense is violating the order on scope. It is a different in magnitude. Binger yesterday violated a core constitutional protection.
...This is a debate over just 4 minutes of tape, which the court noted has been the focused already of extensive testimony. The court just delivered the tough question in asking what is the prejudice to the state in allowing the jury to hear the evidence...
...The court appears willing to let it in so the jury will hear evidence under the impression that the prosecution fought to keep from them.
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11 Nov
The defense just called Black, a self-defense and use of force expert. It is a wise choice.Keep in mind that Wisconsin has a very favorable self-defense standard for the defense. Once Rittenhouse claims that he acted to repel an attack, they have the burden to disprove that claim
...Black can reinforce Rittenhouse's subjective testimony with objective standards that apply to law enforcement and private citizens in the use of force.
...Frankly, the prosecutors must feel like they are feverishly moving around the deck chairs on the Titanic. This prosecution began to sink when it collided with its first key witness who contradicted their theory of the case.
Read 5 tweets
10 Nov
The defense just turned over Rittenhouse to the prosecutors for cross examination. The cross began by confronting him that he wanted to kill these people.
...Rittenhouse admitted that he used deadly force but refused to say that he wanted to kill them. He insisted he was trying to stop attacks upon him.
The judge just stopped the questioning. The judge just warned that the prosecutor is "right on the borderline and better stop." That admonishment may be due to the prosecutor referring to Rittenhouse not previously giving his story.
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10 Nov
Kyle Rittenhouse just broke down on the stand. The defense has done a strong job on direct. Defense attorneys often do not want to risk such testimony. However, this is clearly a strategy for acquittal not just a hung jury...
...Prosecution witnesses imploded earlier. It would have been tempting to just minimize risk and not put Rittenhouse on the stand. However, such a move could left lingering doubts in jurors if you want to nail an acquittal...
...As a criminal defense attorney, I have been critical of the tendency to hold back defendants in high-profile cases.…
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4 Nov
The indictment circles around an unnamed figure called PR-Executive-1 who was a close Clinton adviser who held high positions in the Democratic party and prior Clinton campaigns...
...Most embarrassing are references to the Clinton adviser meeting with possible Russian intelligence figures and other Russian sources, including this line...:
...PR Executive-! gifted to
Russian Sub-Source-1 an autobiography of Hillary Clinton, which he signed and inscribed with
the handwritten message, "To my good friend [first name of Russian Sub-Source-1], A Great
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