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US Department of Justice Investigates Louisiana State Police for Excessive Force and Racial Discrimination – JURIST

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The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday that it was investigating the Louisiana State Police (LSP) for a pattern of “racially discriminatory policing.” Among the incidents being investigated is the fatal beating of Ronald Greene, a black motorist, in 2019. There is an ongoing murder investigation into Greene’s death separate from the new civil rights investigation. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division stated: Based on a thorough review of publicly available information and information provided to us, we find significant justification to investigate whether the Louisiana State Police use excessive force and engages in racially discriminatory policing activities against black residents and other people of color. The Department of Justice is ready to use every tool in our arsenal to confront allegations of misconduct and ensure legitimacy during law enforcement encounters. An Associated Press (AP) report brought to light many of the allegations under investigation. The AP found extensive body camera footage of alleged police brutality, disproportionately targeting Black and Hispanic Louisiana residents. They also found that LSP repeatedly failed to include their use of force in official incident reports. The AP also uncovered a chain of text messages between PBL officers rudely discussing the beating of Antonio Harris, a black man arrested after a high-speed chase. Greene’s death in particular has been the subject of intense scrutiny. LSP initially claimed that Greene was killed in a head-on collision with a tree; however, later evidence showed that Greene was beaten to death by several LSP officers while he was handcuffed. The Louisiana Senate Select Committee on State Police Oversight heard testimony from an LSP officer who claimed he was harassed into participating in the cover-up, saying, “I said I’m being investigated because I won’t participate in a cover-up, I won’t hide evidence and I will not lie.” The Justice Department has been criticized for taking too long to open the investigation. The ACLU of Louisiana first brought the allegations to the Justice Department’s attention in June 2021 through a letter to the Attorney General Merrick Garland, but the investigation was not opened for another year. However, neither the LSP nor its union have responded to the investigation at the time of this writing. The International Union of Police Associations has previously criticized leaders of the LSP for lack of staff and liberal use of internal investigations.

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US Supreme Court Adds Controversial Election Case to October 2022 Docket – JURIST

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The US Supreme Court announced Thursday that it will hear a controversial election case dealing with an emerging legal theory based on the election clause of the US Constitution. The theory claims that, under the election clause, State legislatures have unlimited power to determine electoral policy and implementation, and that state courts or state constitutions cannot control that power. map, which was previously struck down by state courts and replaced with a court-ordered map to be used for the 2022 midterm elections. The court found that the original map violated the clause in the state constitution that protects the fairness of the election by giving Republicans an unfair advantage. The court previously declined to hear the emergency case, but Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas signaled a willingness to consider the new legal theory in their dissent. Judge Alito, writing in the dissent, said: Both sides make serious arguments, but based on the report we have received, my opinion is that the petitioners’ argument is stronger. The question being presented is one of federal and not state law because the state legislature, in enacting rules for congressional elections, is acting pursuant to a constitutional mandate under the Electoral Clause. Carolyn Shapiro, a law professor and founder and co-director of the Chicago-Kent College of the US Supreme Court Law Institute, took issue with the Justice’s interpretation, saying that “legislatures are created by constitutions. Their powers are defined by the constitutions. How those powers interact with other branches of state government is defined by state constitutions. The limitations of those powers are defined by state constitutions.”

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Trump Affiliated Businessman Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison for Political Donation Crimes – JURIST

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The Justice Department said Wednesday that Lev Parnas, a businessman involved in the Trump-Ukraine affair, was sentenced to 20 months in prison on multiple counts related to soliciting donations from a foreign national. Parnas was convicted on charges of “conspiring to make political contributions of a foreign national in conjunction with soliciting and aiding and abetting the making thereof, conspiracy to make fictitious donations, participation in a wire fraud conspiracy, and making false statements and falsifying records. Parnas will also pay more than $2 million in restitution. The charges of making political contributions by a foreign national stem from events that occurred in March 2018. Parnas and other associates wanted to launch a business to obtain retail marijuana licenses in the US. The group turned over hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions before the 2018 election to curry favor with anyone who could help Parnas and his associates obtain these licenses. Parnas and an associate made a donation of $325,000 and falsely claimed that the donation was from Global Power Producers (GEP). Parnas also lied about the fact that he was receiving bogus donations and the contributions were not his own money. The fraud guarantee charges are from between 2012 and 2019. Parnas planned to defraud several people by convincing them to invest in his company. He said the contributions would be used solely for his business. Instead, the payments were withdrawn in cash, placed in personal bank accounts, and used for personal expenses. Damian Williams, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, stated: “Parnas also defrauded the American public by pumping Russian money into US elections and lying about the origin of funds for political contributions. My office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who put their personal and financial benefit above their country and their investors.” The office’s Public Corruption Unit is handling the Parnas case.

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Indonesian parliament passes law to create more provinces in Papua amid fears of government crackdown – JURIST

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The Indonesian People’s Representative Council on Thursday approved legislation to establish three new provinces in the Papua region. The decision was made during the 26th plenary session when all members unanimously agreed to pass three bills that established the new provinces. Currently, the easternmost region of Indonesia is divided into two regions, Papua and West Papua. However, it will now be divided into five provinces. The three new provinces have been named, South Papua Province with Merauke as its capital, Central Papua Province with Nabire as its capital, and Papua Mountains Province with Jaya wijaya as its capital. Ahmad Doli Kurnia Tandjung, Chairperson of the Council Commission, stated that: The purpose of partitioning Papua is to speed up equitable development, speed up the improvement of public services, speed up community welfare and uplift the dignity of the indigenous people of Papua. Papua. Taking into account political, administrative and legal aspects, socio-cultural unity, human resource preparation, basic infrastructure, economic capacity, future developments and aspirations of the Papuan people. Veronica Koman of Amnesty International Australia expressed concern about how the legislation would affect Papuans. She said that by “cutting and dividing Papua into smaller administrative units, [the Indonesian government] hopes to divide and conquer Papuan identity and resistance.”

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