Joyce Alene Profile picture
@UALawSchool Prof |Legal analyst @MSNBC @NBCNews |Podcasts #SistersInLaw & Cafe Insider|Obama US Atty |25 year fed'l prosecutor |Wife & Mom of 4 |Knits a lot
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Nov 24, 2021
Travis McMichael, guilty of malice murder, the most serious charge Greg McMichael is found not guilty of malice murder but guilty of 4 counts of felony murder, which carries essentially the same potential penalty.
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Nov 11, 2021
1/ Before deliberation, the judge in the Rittenhouse case will instruct the jury on the law, incl' Wisconsin's self-defense law. A few key points: you can use force to stop "interference with your person" but there are limits on how much force you can use… You can only use the amount of force/threat you reasonably believe is needed to stop the threat you're defending yourself against. You can't intentionally use force that will cause death/great harm unless you reas believe it's necessary to prevent death/threat harm to yourself.
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Nov 5, 2021
In opening statement in the trial of #AhmaudArbery’s killers, the prosecution is doing a masterful job of laying out the evidence to reduce any suggestion the defendants were protecting the neighborhood from burglaries (not a defense to murder btw) to the mere pretext it is The prosecution has videotape of law enforcement telling the McMichael defendants that the owner of the construction site (where some items may have been stolen from a boat) has been using motion activated security cameras & Mr. Arbery never stole anything from his property.
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Oct 22, 2021
A few links for those of you who want to get up to speed on New Mexico homicide (the killing of a person by another) law. Criminal homicide can be murder or manslaughter & typically, it's the killers state of mind that distinguishes the crimes 1/ Criminal law is statutory law. Different state codes are different so you have to start by reading the law. 1st degree murder in New Mexico can be premeditated, felony murder or "depraved mind" (think back to George Floyd).…
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Oct 7, 2021
In DOJ’s challenge to Texas’ anti-abortion law, The judge has just temporarily enjoined the law which means that, at least until the defendants can get on appeal to the 5th Circuit, the law and its ban on abortion after 6 weeks are no longer in force.… The law has a confusing provision that purports to provide 4 years from the time a person has an abortion for vigilantes to file suit & to apply to procedures while the law is temporarily enjoined. That provision seems questionable, but that's SB8 in a nutshell.
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Oct 4, 2021
Anyone who’s studied our founding, hopefully all of us, understands how essential this principle, enshrined in the 1st Amendment, is. We must reject the imposition of Christian or other religious beliefs as vigorously as fearmongers have reacted to even a hint of other practices. Remember Roy Moore? He was always worried about the imposition of Sharia law (even though it wasn’t actually being imposed).…
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Sep 11, 2021
The 5th Circuit, which kept the trial court from considering Texas' abortion leading to the SCOTUS ruling issued an opinion: SB 8 emphatically precludes enforcement by any state, local, or agency officials. The defendant officials..are not amenable to suit… Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the 5th Circuit stayed the district court from acting in order to protect the defendants (judge, court official, person who wants to sue under SB8), without any concern for the women whose Constitutional rights it denied?
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Sep 10, 2021
1/ The win in @NAACP_LDF’s Florida challenge to a law that blocked exercise if 1st amendment rights show how Texas abortion case should have worked - the district judge should have been able to hold a hearing to determine if the statute was such a clear violation of rights that 2/ it should be blocked from going into effect to preserve the status quo while litigation continued. NAACP won that motion-bad law blocked. In Texas, the 5th Circuit Court took the case away from the trial court before their could be a ruling or even an evidentiary hearing.
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Sep 9, 2021
1/ When the AG & Solicitor General at DOJ sign off on a challenge to a state statute, they are very careful to ensure their theories are both legally valid (not a time to throw spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks & also to avoid doing harm to other rights. Case in point,... 2/when we challenged Alabama’s immigration law in 2011 we focused on developing challenges to specific parts of the law that were legally objectionable (not just a blanket demand that the law be expunged). Being smart meant we couldn't challenge everything…
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Sep 1, 2021
Abortion & the right to control one’s own body once galvanized a generation of women & it will happen again. But my heart breaks for the girls & women who will suffer along the way. And while this may be a bad, hot take in a moment of anger that the courts failed us, it feels like there’s now a bounty on women’s heads, just like there used to be on escaped slaves.
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Jul 14, 2021
A victim tweeted: “Had the FBI done their job I never would have been put in the position of having to relinquish every shred of privacy to stop the abuse and coverup”… I’m not even out of the executive summary, but already incensed. Nasser kept working, including at a HS, b/c FBI Indianapolis failed to take action or even report the allegations to local law enforcement. Here’s a link to the IG report:…
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Jun 25, 2021
DOJ will sue Georgia over it's new restrictive voting laws. Cases like this are rare & this action signifies resolve on the part of DOJ's new leadership to aggressively exercise its authority in this critical area.… AG Garland says this is the “first of many steps” DOJ will take to guarantee voting rights.
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Jun 23, 2021
Last but not least, it’s the cursing cheerleader case where the 1st amendment has won the day. We discussed this case on #SistersInLaw when it was argued. I confess, she’s my kind of cheerleader.… Not last, I failed to check for the R number, assuming we’d just get 3. Sorry about that.
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May 25, 2021
DOJ is appealing a judge's order that required it to release a memo that appears to shed light on Bill Barr's handling of the release of the Mueller Report. You may recall he was not exactly candid. This is only a notice of appeal, not a brief that conveys DOJ's reasoning. The appeal may be limited to certain redactions in the memo that DOJ believes are legitimately privileged or it could be something else. We won't know the basis for the appeal until briefs are filed.
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May 10, 2021
1/ We have a broody hen named Pepper (that means she wants to sit on eggs & hatch them, even if they aren’t her own) so I ordered her some fertile eggs since we don’t have a rooster & I feel bad taking eggs from her every day. 2/ This is what she did with the first egg I put in with her
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Apr 11, 2021
1/ Today in chickens, a play in three acts. First, preparing to lay an egg. 2/ An egg 🥚
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Mar 29, 2021
In opening, prosecutors say that when an EMT who was a bystander approached to try & check George Floyd’s pulse & render aid, Chauvin refused her & pointed his mace at her. Prosecution: “Chauvin does not let up & he does not get up.” Watching 9:29 of excruciating video, Chauvin keeps grinding his knee on George Floyd’s neck, ignoring all efforts to get him to care for Floyd & ultimately even an EMT bystander demanding he check for a pulse.
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Mar 24, 2021
If you’re eligible to vote it should be easy to vote. As GOP-led state legislatures consider pass bills to restrict your rights, ⁦@amyklobuchar⁩ takes up the For the People Act in a Senate hearing today. Listen in & tell your Senators to vote yes.… * consider & pass, but you knew that 😎
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Feb 22, 2021
Merrick Garland: Willing to step away from lifetime appointment as a federal judge because of the importance of DOJ and the rule of law. Garland calls family separation policy "shameful" & commits to cooperating with Congressional oversight hearings on this issue as well as annual oversight hearings. "Of course" he says, "I will cooperate" after Durbin notes there was no such participation over the last 3 years.
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Feb 11, 2021
Mike Lee is claiming some of the evidence presented is not supported by the record and should be stricken, referencing in particular, the call to Alabama's freshman Senator Tuberville to ask him to delay confirmation of Biden's win. Lee clarifies that statements about him are not true, says he is the only witness, and vehemently demands that they be stricken.
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Jan 2, 2021
If there is any line Mitch McConnell can’t permit Trumpers cross it’s this: direct incitement to violence. Sure it’s a low bar, but honestly, so are our expectations for him to protect democracy. But at some point, this draws perilously close to the legal definition of sedition. Having spent a fair bit of my career as a prosecutor on domestic terror & white supremacist groups, I know how important it is for a society to unequivocally condemn violence & commit to justice if it occurs. No responsible leader can ignore the obligation to condemn violence.
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