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Brandon Judd: Border wall critics are ‘absolutely incorrect,’ calls court ruling ‘a great win’


Critics of President Trump’s border wall are “absolutely incorrect” and a drop in illegal immigration and drug smuggling proves it, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said Saturday.

Judd, appearing on “Fox & Friends,” said the administration has developed a system that allows authorities to have better control of the border, preventing illegal crossings.

“Al of this new wall that we’re building is a huge deterrent and, frankly, it stops illegal drugs and criminal aliens from coming into the country,” he said.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION MARKS 100 MILES OF BORDER WALL, VOWS ‘MANY MORE’ TO COME

The administration Friday marked the 100th mile of wall construction along the southern border, describing it as a “milestone achievement.”

Building a border wall was a major Trump campaign promise in 2016. He is now pledging to build 450 miles of new wall by the end of this year.

Those efforts were boosted Wednesday by a decision from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which allows the administration to use $3.6 billion in military funds for border wall construction.

The court reversed a lower court order that had stopped Trump, who declared a national emergency along the southern border in February 2019, from diverting the Defense Department money.  Opponents argued that pulling money that was approved by Congress to pay for the border wall is an abuse of power.

“Breaking News: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision & gave us the go ahead to build one of the largest sections of the desperately needed Southern Border Wall, Four Billion Dollars,” the president tweeted Thursday. “Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!”

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“It’s a great win.” Judd said Saturday. “But, what’s interesting is we knew this was going to happen. We know that the lower courts are full of judicial activism. We know that the lower courts are constantly trying to stymie President Trump and all of his directives.”

Judd said that since border wall construction began illegal immigration and drug smuggling has declined. He challenged critics to go down to the border and see the progress for themselves.

“President Trump refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer,” he said. “He continues to push forward with his agenda.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.



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Court writes down Laois woman’s mortgage by almost €175,000


The High Court has granted a Co Laois woman a debt write-down of almost €175,000 on her Bank of Ireland mortgage after her husband’s business collapsed and he was declared bankrupt.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald approved a personal insolvency arrangement for Rebecca Forde Egan, who has total debts of €639,000, that will see the mortgage on her four-bedroom home in Ballymorris, Portarlington – a property valued at €410,000 – written down to €451,000.

It is proposed that €40,651 would be paid to the bank during the six-year arrangement, leaving the bank facing a €133,000 write-off over the course of the financial rescue plan.

Ms Forde Egan, a mother of three daughters, told the court her husband Larry Egan filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after the failure of his business where she was employed.

She said her husband was out of regular employment for several years and she was unable to return to her job in the public service after taking a six-year career break to work for her husband.

She now works for the HSE in Dublin, while her husband works as a regional sales manager.

The judge rejected Bank of Ireland’s objection to the arrangement that it would be unfairly prejudiced by not being permitted to realise Mr Egan’s 50 per cent share in the family home.

Market value

Mr Justice McDonald pointed out that the bank would be paid €451,000 on its mortgage – a significant increase on the market value of the home – and that it would receive the dividend of €40,651 over the six-year arrangement, amounting to a return of 72 cent for every euro owed.

In contrast, it is estimated that the bank would receive €369,000 in the event of Ms Forde Egan being declared bankrupt, amounting to a lower return of 60 cent for every euro owed. “It is therefore impossible to see how the bank will be unfairly prejudiced,” the judge said.

Ms Forde Egan, who was represented by Keith Farry BL and personal insolvency practitioners McCambridge Duffy, disputed the bank’s claim that it had originally loaned money to the couple to buy a property in France.

She claimed the bank’s “own lending officer put forward the ‘story’ about the French property to ease the application process.”

The money was used solely for the purpose of renovating and improving the family home in Co Laois.

Mortgage write-downs through court-approved personal insolvency arrangements were introduced in legislation in 2012 to deal with the large amount of unpaid mortgage debt across the country in the wake of the property crash and economic crisis.

The legislation was changed in 2015 to create a court appeals mechanism to overrule the “bank veto” blocking the write-down of debt in the arrangement.

Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank appealed a Circuit Court ruling of December 2018 approving Ms Forde Egan’s arrangement.



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Supreme Court Won’t Hear Case On Ban Against Homeless Sleeping In Public Spaces : NPR


San Francisco police officers wait while homeless people collect their belongings in San Francisco. Nearly a quarter of the country’s homeless population lives in California.

Ben Margot/AP


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Ben Margot/AP

San Francisco police officers wait while homeless people collect their belongings in San Francisco. Nearly a quarter of the country’s homeless population lives in California.

Ben Margot/AP

Updated at 1:40 p.m ET

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal in a case originating from Boise, Idaho, that would have made it a crime to camp and sleep in public spaces.

The decision to let a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stand is a setback for states and local governments in much of the West that are grappling with widespread homelessness by designing laws to regulate makeshift encampments on sidewalks and parks.

The case stems from a lawsuit filed nearly a decade ago. A handful of people sued the city of Boise for repeatedly ticketing them for violating an ordinance against sleeping outside. While Boise officials later amended it to prohibit citations when shelters are full, the 9th Circuit eventually determined the local law was unconstitutional.

In a decision last year, the court said it was “cruel and unusual punishment” to enforce rules that stop homeless people from camping in public places when they have no place else to go. That means states across the 9th Circuit can no longer enforce similar statutes if they don’t have enough shelter beds for homeless people sleeping outside.

Los Angeles attorney Theane Evangelis, who is representing Boise in the case, argued the decision ultimately harms the people it purports to protect because cities need the ability to control encampments that threaten public health and safety.

“Cities’ hands are tied now by the 9th Circuit Decision because it effectively creates a Constitutional right to camp,” Evangelis told NPR in an emailed statement.

In court documents, lawyers for Boise said, “Public encampments, now protected by the Constitution under the Ninth Circuit’s decision, have spawned crime and violence, incubated disease, and created environmental hazards that threaten the lives and well-being both of those living on the streets and the public at large.”

Major west coast cities and counties with soaring homeless populations had backed Boise in its petition, including Los Angeles County, where the number of people without a permanent place to live has jumped by 16% in the last year.

As NPR reported, California is where nearly a quarter of the country’s homeless population live.

The homeless and their advocates say ticketing homeless people does nothing to solve the bigger housing crisis.

“Paying lawyers six figures to write briefs is not really going to build any more housing,” said Howard Belodoff, a Boise civil rights attorney.

Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, added: “housing, not handcuffs, is what ends homelessness.”

The center, which was one of three groups to file the case in 2009, hailed the decision as being essential to encouraging cities to propose constructive alternatives to homelessness.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development found that more than 550,000 people experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2018. Of those, nearly 200,000 were unsheltered.

The case now returns to the 9th Circuit. The city of Boise says it’s evaluating its next steps.



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Supreme Court Lets Block On Federal Executions Remain



The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday against the Trump administration and upheld a lower court’s preliminary injunction blocking the Justice Department from carrying out federal executions.

The decision halts the pending executions of four men, which the Justice Department had scheduled for December and January. 

It’s been more than 16 years since the death penalty was last used at the federal level.

In July, Attorney General William Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to resume the federal death penalty so that he could schedule executions for five men: Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois, Dustin Lee Honken and Lezmond Mitchell. (In Mitchell’s case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in October to stay his execution pending resolution of his appeal.) 

In November, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in the District of Columbia imposed a preliminary injunction, placing a temporary hold on federal executions while the four inmates legally challenged the Justice Department. The death row inmates have alleged that the Justice Department’s new lethal injection protocol ― which uses one drug instead of a three-drug combination it previously used ― isunlawful. 

Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously rejected Barr’s motion to lift the injunction, sending the case up to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling, saying: “While we are disappointed with the ruling, we will argue the case on its merits in the D.C. Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court. The Department of Justice is committed to upholding the rule of law and to carrying forward sentences imposed by our justice system.” 





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Court of Appeal overturns convictions 47 years after four men jailed – Channel 4 News


Nearly 50 years after being found guilty of stealing handbags at a London tube station – three men had their names cleared today at the Old Bailey.

They were convicted on the evidence of a corrupt police officer in 1972. Winston Trew, Sterling Christie, George Griffiths alongside another man, Constantine Boucher, who’s not been traced became known as “The Oval Four”.

Their convictions rested on evidence given by a British Transport Police  Detective Sergeant named Derek Ridgewell whose career ended in disgrace.

Winston Trew who’s now 69, has always maintained his innocence.

He served eight months of a two year prison sentence back then.



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Court directs banks to provide Trump financial records to House Democrats


By Brendan Pierson and Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday handed President Donald Trump another defeat in his bid to keep his financial records secret, directing Deutsche Bank AG <DBKGn.DE> and Capital One Financial Corp <COF.N> to comply with subpoenas from congressional Democrats demanding the material.

A three-judge panel of the Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against Trump’s bid to block two House of Representatives committees from enforcing subpoenas issued in April to the two banks seeking the documents. Trump is expected to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 2nd Circuit rejected Trump’s arguments that Congress lacked a valid purpose for seeking his records and that disclosure of the material would compromise his and his family’s privacy and distract the Republican president from his duties.

The material sought by the committees include records of accounts, transactions and investments linked to Trump, his three oldest children, their immediate family members and several Trump Organization entities.

“The Committees’ interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest than whatever public interest inheres in avoiding the risk of a Chief Executive’s distraction arising from disclosure of documents reflecting his private financial transactions,” Judge Jon Newman wrote in the ruling.

Trump had sued the two banks in an effort to prevent the disclosure of his financial records. U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled in May that the subpoenas could be enforced, prompting Trump to appeal.

“We believe the subpoenas at issue are not invalid,” said Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump. “In light of the 2nd Circuit decision, we are evaluating our next options including seeking review at the Supreme Court of the United States.”

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 conservative majority includes two justices appointed by Trump.

In separate legal cases, Trump also has sought to block House Democrats from obtaining his tax and financial records from his long-time accounting firm.

The subpoenas involved in Tuesday’s ruling were issued months before House Democrats began an inquiry in September into whether there were grounds to impeach Trump over his request to Ukraine to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

A PRINCIPAL LENDER

Germany’s Deutsche Bank has long been a principal lender for Trump’s real estate business. A 2017 disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million of liabilities to the bank.

The House Financial Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records related to Trump, three of his children and the Trump Organization. Lawmakers have said the requests are part of a wider investigation into money laundering and foreign influence over U.S. politics.

The Financial Services Committee subpoenaed Virginia-based Capital One, seeking records related to the Trump Organization’s hotel business.

The two banks have said the records involved in the case do not include Trump’s tax returns.

Congressional investigators have already identified possible failures in Deutsche Bank’s money laundering controls in its dealings with Russian oligarchs, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

Trump, running for re-election in 2020, has fought hard to keep his financial and tax records private. He broke with tradition by not releasing his tax returns as a candidate in 2016 and as president.

Judge Debra Ann Livingston dissented from the ruling, saying Trump and his family raised “serious constitutional questions” about congressional authority to enforce “deeply troubling” subpoenas seeking “voluminous” financial records, and deserved a chance to object to disclosure of more sensitive materials.

Livingston said the entire case should be sent back to Ramos to review Congress’ motives and the need for disclosure, as well as privacy and separation of powers issues.

Newman was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, while Livingston was appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican. Newman was joined in the ruling by Judge Peter Hall, a Bush appointee.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Capital One did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court as soon as Dec. 13 will decide whether to hear Trump’s appeal of lower court rulings that directed Mazars LLP, his accounting firm, to provide local prosecutors in New York Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns from 2011 to 2018 as part of a criminal investigation.

Trump also is due to file by Thursday his appeal of a court ruling in Washington directing Mazars to turn over his financial records to the House Oversight Committee. The Supreme Court last week put the lower court ruling on hold to give Trump time to appeal.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York and Lawrence Hurley in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham and Chizu Nomiyama)



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Court rejects federal government’s bid to put Indigenous child welfare ruling on hold


OTTAWA — The Federal Court has rejected a request from Ottawa to press pause on a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling ordering compensation for First Nations children who were unnecessarily removed from their families and communities due to underfunding of the on-reserve child welfare system.

The decision means the federal government will have to submit a plan to the tribunal by Jan. 29, 2020 detailing how compensation could be paid out. However, Ottawa will continue to fight the tribunal’s ruling in court, arguing there are flaws in its decision.

The government maintains it does want to compensate First Nations children who suffered due to underfunding of child and family services. On Monday, federal ministers announced Ottawa is looking to negotiate compensation through a separate class-action lawsuit that would cover a larger number of people than the tribunal ruling.

“Nothing changes our strong belief that we must compensate First Nations children harmed by past government policies,” Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller’s office told the National Post in a statement on Friday. “We will continue to seek a solution that will provide comprehensive, fair and equitable compensation for First Nations children in care.”

The case concerns a human rights complaint initially filed in 2007 by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations. In September, the tribunal found the government wilfully and recklessly discriminated against First Nations children by underfunding child and family services on reserve and in the Yukon, which created an incentive to remove Indigenous children from their homes and communities. It found each child who was unnecessarily taken into care starting on Jan. 1, 2006 is entitled to $40,000 in compensation.

It also ruled the government should pay compensation to parents and grandparents and to Indigenous children who were denied essential services covered under Jordan’s principle, which states that the needs of First Nations children should take precedence over jurisdictional disputes about who should pay for them.

The government filed a legal challenge of the decision in October, and also asked the Federal Court to stay the ruling pending the outcome of that judicial review.

We will continue to seek a solution that will provide comprehensive, fair and equitable compensation

A hearing on the motion to stay was held in Ottawa earlier this week. On Friday, Federal Court Justice Paul Favel denied Ottawa’s request to put the process on hold, finding there would be no harm in the government discussing a compensation plan with the other parties. He pointed out that Canada doesn’t yet have to pay out compensation — it just has to make a plan.

“I’m pleased with it, because it allows the tribunal to continue with its work on the compensation process, so that’s the most important thing,” said Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the Caring Society, in an interview.

She said the decision brings First Nations children one step closer to receiving compensation, but added that Canada continues to throw up roadblocks. “Are they going to stop fighting and do the right thing for kids, or are they going to continue to fight?” she said. “In which case, we will meet them in every courtroom.”

The tribunal originally ordered the parties to submit a compensation plan by Dec. 10, but this week pushed that deadline back to Jan. 29. In a letter on Wednesday, the tribunal wrote that the approaching deadline and Canada’s refusal to enter into discussions left it feeling “cornered.” There is no set date when Ottawa would have to start paying compensation.


Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.

Codie McLachlan/Postmedia/File

During the hearing on Monday, a Justice Department lawyer argued the tribunal’s decision was flawed in part because it ordered the government to pay each child the same amount — the maximum $40,000 in compensation the tribunal is allowed to award. Robert Frater argued the decision took a “one-size-fits-all” approach that didn’t make distinctions “based on harms actually experienced.” He estimated the ruling would require payment of at least $5 or $6 billion.

Frater also argued the decision forces Canada to “take a piecemeal approach to settling,” because the ruling only affects Indigenous people who were involved in the child welfare system since 2006.

In contrast, the class-action lawsuit the government wants to settle covers children affected by the underfunding of child and family services dating back to 1991, but not their parents.

However, the Caring Society argues the children covered by the tribunal ruling shouldn’t have to wait longer simply because others also suffered. “If we wait for perfection, we’ll be back here again and again and again and again, and we’ll never have a solution,” said Barbara McIsaac, a lawyer for the Caring Society, during Monday’s hearing.

The Caring Society had sought to have the judicial review put on hold until the tribunal has issued another order with details about the compensation process. But Favel denied that motion as well, meaning both the tribunal process and the legal challenge seeking to have it overturned will proceed simultaneously.

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