Category Archives: Supreme Court

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Civil rights groups sue Oakland County Jail for immediate release of people during pandemic

Advocates warn outbreak is imminent inside county jail

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – On Friday, several civil rights and racial justice groups filed a federal lawsuit calling for the release of medically vulnerable people inside the Oakland County Jail, arguing that county officials are risking the lives of everyone inside and the community at large.

Naming Oakland County, its Sheriff, Michael Bouchard, and Commander of Corrective Services Curtis D. Childs, the lawsuit filed by Advancement Project National Office, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU), Civil Rights Corps (CRC), LaRene & Kriger P.L.C. and the Law Firm of Pitt, McGhee, Palmer and Rivers in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, argues that Oakland County officials are violating the constitutional rights of people in the jail by exposing them to an unnecessary risk of infection, illness or death during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine released early from prison due to coronavirus; Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, other celebs want out, too

While most everyone in America is sheltering in place in fear of coronavirus, some celebrities behind bars, such Bill Cosby and R. Kelly, are pressing to be released from lockups where they fear the killer virus is raging or soon will be.

On Wednesday, the 23-year-old Brooklyn rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine (real name Daniel Hernandez), who suffers from asthma and once was hospitalized for bronchitis, was released from a federal prison to serve the remaining four months of his two-year racketeering sentence in home confinement, according to Nicholas Biase, spokesman for the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

“The government did not oppose counsel’s motion for compassionate release because the defendant’s medical condition placed him at high risk during the coronavirus outbreak,” Biase said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.

Dawn Florio, one of his lawyers, confirmed his release to USA TODAY and said the rapper and his legal team were “super excited – ecstatic” about the news.

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U.S. taxpayers already paid for COVID-19 treatments — we cannot let Big Pharma make us pay again

U.S. taxpayers have already paid for the research and testing of the most promising treatments

There’s much we don’t yet know about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. We don’t know how long the pandemic will last, when a vaccine will be developed, or how many lives antiviral medications can save. But there’s one thing we know for sure: U.S. taxpayers have already paid for the research and testing of the most promising treatments.

These treatments should be available to everyone who needs them at no cost. But the Trump administration’s drug policy is led by two former pharmaceutical executives, and that is having devastating consequences for potential access to treatments and vaccines for the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’ve been watching Donald Trump’s daily press briefings, that might come as a surprise. During his 2016 campaign, Trump loved to talk tough on pharma and say he would fight for lower drug prices. But then he put Alex Azar, a big pharma CEO infamous for doubling the price of insulin, in charge of regulating health care. Several weeks ago, Azar refused to guarantee that a coronavirus vaccine will be affordable for all, citing the need to protect big pharma’s profits.

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ACLU-MN lawsuit claims ICE illegally held Minnesota man, U.S. citizen for 11 months

ST. PAUL — The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is suing the federal government for holding a U.S. citizen living in Minnesota in Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) custody for 11 months.

According to a Thursday, March 26, news release from the nonpartisan litigating group, Ali Abdalla sought refuge in the United States from Somalia, and was granted citizenship in 2003. Fourteen years later in 2017, ICE arrested him and threatened deportation despite Abdalla’s citizenship status.

ACLU-MN alleges that ICE broke the law by holding Abdalla for 11 months in three different jails, and never properly investigating whether he was a citizen. They also allege that one Minnesota county jail failed to give Abdalla his necessary anxiety medication, causing additional distress.

ACLU-MN claims immigration officials violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, and falsely arrested and imprisoned Abdalla. The lawsuit says that what happened to Abdalla was a “consequence of official policies, patterns, practices, and customs that manifest not only intentional discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and religion as well as disregard of basic principles of due process, but also a reckless disregard for human life and liberty.”

While he was in detention, the ACLU-MN said an immigration judge ruled that Abdalla was a citizen and moved to terminate his removal proceedings. But ICE appealed the ruling and held onto Abdalla for five more months.

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ACLU questions Rhode Island cops stopping NY cars

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is questioning the constitutionality of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s directive allowing state police to stop vehicles with New York license plates.

The Democratic governor on Thursday called the measure extreme but pointed out New York City is the epicenter of the disease in the United States.

Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU of Rhode Island, says while Raimondo has the authority to suspend some state laws and regulations to address a medical emergency, she cannot suspend the Constitution.

He says under the Fourth Amendment, having a New York state license plate “simply does not, and cannot, constitute ‘probable cause’ to allow police to stop a car and interrogate the driver, no matter how laudable the goal of the stop may be.”

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