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August 3 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 4, 2016

Should the DMV suspend licenses of people too poor to pay fines?

Advocates for the poor are demanding that the California Department of Motor Vehicles stop suspending the driver licenses of people who fail to pay traffic fines or appear in court. Monday’s letter from Bay Area Legal Aid, the ACLU of Northern California, Western Center on Law and Poverty and others alleges that the DMV lacks the authority to suspend licenses at the request of court officials. By Jim Miller — The Sacramento Bee


A deputy public defender is suing a veteran prosecutor who allegedly orchestrated a retaliation-driven smear campaign against the plaintiff after she became romantically involved with the defendant's estranged husband. Deputy Public Defender Christina Behle's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, filed Friday against Deputy District Attorney Lisa Tanner, seeking unspecified damages. — City News Service

The Delaware Supreme Court has ruled the state's death penalty law is unconstitutional – and the only chance at fixing it is to punt the issue to the already-divided General Assembly. The top court released its ruling Tuesday that said Delaware's current capital punishment statute violates the U.S. Constitution by giving judges, and not juries, the final say to impose a death sentence. By Jessica Masulli Reyes — The News Journal

A Clark County district judge on Tuesday overturned the contempt finding against Zohra Bakhtary, a deputy public defender who was handcuffed in court on the orders of Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen. Bakhtary, who moved to Las Vegas as a teenage refugee from Kabul, Afghanistan, later said she was relieved to have the controversial hearing behind her, but the “shock” of being handcuffed in court was something she will never forget. By David Ferrara — Las Vegas Review-Journal

Factions are again forming in the battle over the American Bar Association’s bar-passage standard for law schools, with diversity and consumer advocates at odds over a proposal to strengthen the rule. The proposal now under consideration by the ABA would jeopardize the accreditation of many schools with large numbers of minority students and would discourage schools from admitting them, according to diversity advocates and the deans of all six law schools housed at historically black colleges and universities. By Karen Sloan — ABA Journal

Canada will change the way it fills vacancies on its top court, letting qualified lawyers and judges nominate themselves for Supreme Court openings and using a nonpartisan advisory board to recommend candidates, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday. There is a looming vacancy on the nine-member Supreme Court, with Justice Thomas Cromwell announcing he will retire in September, giving Trudeau his first chance to appoint a member of the court since becoming prime minister last November. By Ethan Lou — Reuters

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