Prison for Papadopoulos?

Mueller Asks for Jail Time for Papadopoulos: (“The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has told a judge that a former adviser to the Trump campaign repeatedly lied about his contacts with Russian operatives and ’caused damage’ to the government’s inquiry. * * * In a document filed Friday evening, the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said that the former adviser, George Papadopoulos, misled investigators about the ‘timing, extent and nature’ of the meetings. During one of them, Mr. Papadopoulos was told that Russia had damaging information about Hillary Clinton in the form of ‘thousands of emails.'”

Judicial Bias in the Manafort Trial

The Extraordinary Bias of the Judge in the Manafort Trial: (“It is not unusual for judges to intervene in court proceedings from time to time — to direct the lawyers to move the case along or to admonish them that evidence is repetitive. The judge’s role is to act not as a “mere moderator,” as the Supreme Court noted in Herron v. Southern Pacific in 1931, but as the “governor of the trial” responsible for ensuring the proper conduct of all participants. * * * The performance of U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III in the trial of Paul Manafort on bank fraud and tax evasion charges has been decidedly unusual.”)

GOP Reshaping the Federal Judiciary

With Little Fanfare, Trump and McConnell Reshape the Nation’s Circuit Courts: (“As the Senate moves toward confirming Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are leading a lower-key yet deeply consequential charge to remake the entire federal judiciary. * * * The Senate already has installed 24 appellate judges since Trump was sworn in, the highest number for a president’s first two years in office. * * * While much of the focus has been on Kavanaugh and Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, the Senate’s rapid approval of appellate judges is likely to have its own broad impact on the nation, as the 13 circuit courts will shape decisions on immigration, voting rights, abortion and the environment for generations.”)

FBI Fires Strzok

FBI Agent Peter Strzok Fired over Anti-Trump Texts: (“The FBI has fired Agent Peter Strzok, who helped lead the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election until officials discovered he had been sending anti-Trump texts. * * * Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday — even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI’s repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process. * * * ‘This isn’t the normal process in any way more than name,’ Goelman said.”)

Innocent Defendants Plead Guilty to Avoid Longer Prison Sentences After Trial

Are Innocent People Pleading Guilty? A New Report Says Yes: (“Defendants in federal cases face life changing choices once they have been charged, plead guilty and take a less severe penalty, or exercise their right to a trial and risk years (decades) in prison.  It is no wonder that some have pondered whether innocent people are pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit. * * * A new paper published by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) “The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right to Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How to Save It.”  We may not know every amendment to the Constitution, but we all embrace the fact that in the U.S. everyone is entitled to a fair trial by a jury of our peers.  However, going to trial can be a gamble with one’s life.  One conclusion reached by the NACDL was that ‘[t]here is ample evidence that federal criminal defendants are being coerced to plead guilty because the penalty for exercising their constitutional rights is simply too high to risk.’“)