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Legal marijuana sale faces challenges by banks in Uruguay

Legal marijuana sale faces challenges by banks in Uruguay

The legal sale of marijuana in Uruguayan pharmacies is facing challenges as banks refuse to deal with companies linked to the drug in order to follow international financial laws. A government official said Friday that Uruguayan banks risk running afoul of laws that ban receiving money tied to the drug. The official was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. In July, marijuana went up for sale at 16 pharmacies as part of a 2013 law that made Uruguay first to legalize a pot market covering the entire chain from plants to purchase. But one pharmacy in the capital, Montevideo, has decided not to sell it after a warning by a local branch of Spanish bank Santander. The bank said it has opted to remain out of this line of business. State-owned Banco Republica, Uruguay’s largest bank, also told pot-selling pharmacies that it must close their accounts. Some U.S. marijuana retailers in states that have legalized sales have encountered similar banking difficulties as the drug remains illegal on a federal level. Diego Olivera, secretary-general of Uruguay’s National Drugs Council, said authorities are meeting with the pharmacies to find out how many have been warned by banks. He added that officials are looking at possible solutions, but did not give details. “Without doubt, in these processes of changing paradigms, they run up against moments of difficulty,” Olivera said. “We are working on alternatives.” Sen. Jose Mujica, who was president when legalization passed in 2013, has threatened “gridlock” in parliament if authorities fail to resolve the problem for what was one the signature policy initiatives of his administration. Pharmacy lawyer Pablo Duran told Carve radio that the pharmacies selling marijuana operate within the law in “an activity that is completely regulated, licit … and controlled.” Running a business without being able to bank is tough in Uruguay. Among other things, the law prohibits cash or check payments for employees and requires that salaries be paid by direct deposit.
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Session: Sanctuary cities allow cover for violent gangs

Sessions applauded Miami-Dade’s decision to comply with Trump’s immigration orders by ordering county officials earlier this year to hold people in jail for extra time if immigration authorities requested them. Gimenez distanced himself from Trump hours before the event, which drew no other elected officials and a condemnation from a county commissioner who called the attorney general’s visit “offensive”. Despite Sessions’ praise of Miami-Dade County, earlier in the day the mayor joined other R…
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Law firm serving Navajo Nation closes 3 offices

A law firm that for years has provided free legal services to low-income people in the Southwest and won groundbreaking cases for Native Americans is closing three of its nine offices. The firm called DNA is closing New Mexico offices in Crownpoint and Shiprock, and a Utah office in Monument Valley, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported (http://bit.ly/2whxJ0l ). Santa Fe attorney Richard Hughes, who once worked for the firm, called the loss of the offices huge because DNA has “provided Native peopl…
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Charlottesville mayor calls for swift removal of Lee statue

The mayor of Charlottesville on Friday called for an emergency meeting of state lawmakers to confirm the city’s right to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a request that was swiftly rejected by the state’s governor. Mayor Mike Signer said recent clashes over race and the Confederacy had turned “equestrian statues into lightning rods” and urged Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to convene a special session of the General Assembly. Signer’s statement came nearly a week after white …
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Keidel: Does Ezekiel Elliott Deserve Six Game Suspension?

By Jason Keidel Few things are as ugly as domestic violence. But this escalating tete-a-tete between the NFL and the NFLPA over Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension is growing ugly, rancorous layers, from a basic union dispute to a referendum on domestic violence, appropriate punishment, and the appropriate power a commissioner should have to mete out said punishment. Not to mention accusations of victim-shaming, with all kinds of confidential details from the NFL’s investigation into Ellio…
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Massachusetts gov signs bill making changes to marijuana law

Massachusetts gov signs bill making changes to marijuana law

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday he remained wary of the impact legalized recreational marijuana might have on the state, yet hopeful that revisions made in the voter-approved law would ease some of his biggest concerns. The Republican spoke after signing a compromise bill approved by lawmakers last week that raises taxes on retail pot, establishes stringent requirements for the packaging and labeling of marijuana products, and spells out procedures cities and towns must follow if they wish to ban or restrict pot shops from opening in their communities. Baker also indicated a willingness to provide more funding to marijuana regulators, if they need it, a key concern of the group that sponsored the November ballot question. “I worry terribly about what the consequences over time will be and having spent a lot of time talking to folks in Colorado and in Washington … there are a lot of pitfalls we have to avoid,” said Baker, referring to two of the first U.S. states to legalize recreational marijuana. “But, look, the people voted this and I think it’s important that we put the program in place and deliver a workable, safe, productive recreational marijuana market for them in Massachusetts, the governor added. The revised law sets a maximum 20 percent combined state and local tax rate on recreational pot, up from the maximum 12 percent combined rate in the ballot question. Medical marijuana, which was approved by voters in 2012, would remain untaxed. Under rules for packaging and labeling, all marijuana products, including edibles, would have to be sold in child-resistant packages with the concentration of THC — the psychoactive chemical in marijuana — listed on the package. “We want it to be a responsible industry that sells safe products to consenting adults and doesn’t market products to children and teenagers,” said Democratic Sen. Jason Lewis, who led a delegation of legislators on a fact-finding trip to Colorado last year and later opposed the ballot question. The revamped law would allow local elected officials in municipalities where a majority of voters rejected the ballot question to ban or limit marijuana establishments. But in communities where a majority of voters supported legalization restrictions on pot shops would require a referendum. Some legal experts have suggested the compromise language on local control could leave the law open to a constitutional challenge under the principle of equal protection. The state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1 includes only $2 million for the Cannabis Control Commission, a five-member board that must be formed by Sept. 1 to oversee both recreational and medical marijuana. State treasurer Deb Goldberg, responsible for naming the board’s chairman, has said the commission would need up to $10 million in the first year. Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the ballot question group, found the governor’s pledge reassuring. “Right now a $2 million appropriation doesn’t even cover the software that’s necessary to get this system up and running,” he said.
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FBI, tech company help cops hack iPhone in Miami reality TV star’s “sextortion case”

On Uncle Sam’s dime, an outside tech company helped state investigators finally hack into the iPhone of a Miami reality TV star accused of extorting a Miami socialite over stolen sex videos. Text messages on the phone of Hencha Voigt appear to undermine her defense. They seem to show Voigt and her then-boyfriend actively plotting to get $18,000 from a social-media celebrity known as YesJulz, in exchanging for not releasing the video clips to the Internet. “We on some Bonnie Clyde sh*t I cou…
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More than 1300 Cuban migrants are being held in detention centers across the US

They are teachers, engineers or farmers, all seeking freedom in the United States. But after an unexpected policy change and an end to special treatment that allowed the majority of Cuban migrants to remain legally in the country, more than 1,300 are now being held at detention centers across the country waiting for their fate to be decided by immigration judges. “What I heard were stories of people who felt that they literally could not live in Cuba anymore,” said Wendi Adelson, executive …
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British baby Charlie Gard dies, was center of legal battle

Charlie Gard, the terminally ill British baby at the center of a legal and ethical battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, died Friday. He was one week shy of his first birthday. Charlie’s parents fought for the right to take him to the United States for an experimental medical treatment for his rare genetic disease, mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which left him brain damaged and unable to breathe unaided. His case ended up in the courts when doct…
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Regional rights body tells Argentina to free jailed activist

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said Friday that Argentina’s government should release jailed social activist Milagro Sala. The commission said in a statement that there are many risk factors surrounding her detention, including alleged harassment, aggressions and a death threat. It granted a precautionary measure in favor of Sala stating that Argentina is obligated to fulfill a U.N. panel’s resolution last year saying she was arbitrarily detained and asked the government for her …
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Trump fires off volley of angry tweets on Russia probe

Trump fires off volley of angry tweets on Russia probe

Hours before he was to help commission a new aircraft carrier at a patriotic ceremony on the Virginia coast, President Donald Trump fired off a volley of early morning tweets that again showed how furious he remains over multiple investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The tweets were unusual in their breadth and scope, even for Trump, given the wide variety of topics he touched on as Saturday dawned. His 10 tweets, all sent within two hours starting before 6:30 …
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Who’s in charge at Plant Food and Wine? Depends on who you ask

It’s business as usual for customers of Plant Food and Wine, a popular Wynwood restaurant dishing out fine vegan and raw cuisine. But behind the scenes, a nasty legal fight continues to brew. Matthew Kenney brought his brand of plant-based cuisine to Miami and the restaurant, but amid a $1.4 million lawsuit against him, the celebrity chef disputes who now controls Plant Food and Wine. Meanwhile, his legal troubles continue to simmer in Maine, California and even faraway Thailand. Kenney, who …
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Miami lobbyist’s business made $1 million profit on state anti-hazing contract

Already a subscriber, but don’t have a login? A business co-founded by a lobbyist pocketed $1 million profit from state anti-hazing program, made campaign donations, paid lobbyists. To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Educational Management Services claims it spent $660,000 of the $1.7 million it received to produce, “Hazing Solutions,” an online course that only taught 95 students at one university. Arek Sarkissian/Naples MIAMI – A b…
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Another day, another derailment in NYC subway

Another day, another derailment. And another round of finger-pointing on who is to blame for problems with New York City’s troubled transit system. On Friday, a “B” train derailed near the end of the line in Brooklyn, causing no major injuries but briefly gumming up a subway system that has seen its share of horror shows lately. “This derailment is indicative of a creaking mass transit system that needs urgent upgrades to fit the needs of a 21st century city,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams tweeted. Last month, a Harlem subway derailment tossed around riders and forced hundreds to evacuate through darkened tunnels. In another case, riders were trapped for nearly an hour on a sweltering train with no air conditioning. On Wednesday, a Long Island Rail Road train derailed. One rider tweeted Friday: “Glad no one was hurt on the derailment but the ripple effect is … can I get a note for work? Again” The subway problems aren’t even technically part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aptly named “summer of hell,” which refers instead to summer-long track work and corresponding schedule cutbacks for suburban commuter trains at Penn Station. So far, that hell hasn’t materialized, and both Cuomo and Amtrak officials have said the work to replace aging equipment and track at the nation’s busiest train station is going well. But within the five boroughs, riders haven’t been so lucky. The number of subway delays has tripled in the past five years, to 70,000 per month, and rush hour cancellations and delays on the Long Island Rail Road were at the highest level in 10 years, according to a report last month. About 5.7 million people ride the subway on an average weekday. “The summer of hell is turning into the summer of fear,” said Nick Sifuentes, Deputy Director of the Riders Alliance. And the contentious squabbling between Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio on management of the crisis boiled over again this week, mostly on whether the city or state governments should be paying more. The current five-year MTA capital plan, which covers upkeep for the subways, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North, plus other pieces of the transit system, is about $29 billion. The city has pledged $2.5 billion and the state $8.3 billion, plus Cuomo recently pledged an additional $1 billion. “The state has put in more money than ever before in the history of the state, and it’s the city’s legal obligation to be funding it, even though we stepped in on a moral level,” Cuomo told reporters Thursday. His statements prompted a fast rebuke from the mayor’s office. “New Yorkers need serious leadership at a time like this,” city spokesman Austin Finan said. “The city’s unprecedented $2.5 billion commitment in the state-run MTA capital plan is far in excess of any legal obligation. Let’s stop the diversions and obfuscation and start spending the resources the MTA has on the repairs and maintenance that will keep New Yorkers moving.” Their debate prompted a history lesson by Metropolitan Transportation Authority head Joe Lhota on how the messy ownership structure came to be. He said a 1981 law was meant to help the city during a major financial crisis, when it could not pay capital costs and the subways were in much worse shape than they are now. The state picked up the tab, but it was never meant to be permanent, he said. He said the city now has a surplus of about $4 billion, and he’s going to submit an emergency plan to deal with the crisis. And he expects the city to chip in.
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Ex-Prosecutor Goes From Seeing Cases in Black and White to Adding Shades of Gray

At that time he was 33, Harvard-educated and a rising star in the legal … launch his own Miami law firm, Rivero Mestre, with partner Jorge A. Mestre.
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AP Explains: Unrest as Venezuelan constitution rewrite nears

AP Explains: Unrest as Venezuelan constitution rewrite nears

As Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite the troubled nation’s constitution approaches, the opposition is vowing to intensify near-daily demonstrations to voice dissent. Nearly 7.2 million Venezuelans voted in a symbolic referendum Sunday rejecting Maduro’s push for the July 30 election of a special assembly that could reshape the country’s government and consolidate his power. HOW DID VENEZUELA’S TURMOIL BEGIN? The oil-rich nation was once one of Latin America’s most prosperous…
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Cooper vetoes bill for electronic notices in urban county

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed legislation Monday that would have allowed local governments and attorneys in an urban county to stop posting legal notices in newspapers and put them on government websites instead. The legal notice changes would have applied only to Guilford County, the home of a state senator who for years has led the push for county and municipal governing boards statewide to have the option. Opponents of the current measure, approved in the final days of the General Assembly session, consider it a financial attack on Guilford-area newspapers, which generate advertising revenues from the notices. The Democratic governor said the measure marked another instance of the Republican-controlled legislature using “levers of big government to attack important institutions in our state who may disagree with them from time to time.” “Unfortunately, this legislation is another example of that misguided philosophy meant to specifically threaten and harm the media,” Cooper said in his written veto message. “Legislation that enacts retribution on the media threatens a free and open press, which is fundamental to our democracy.” The measure also could make it harder for newspapers to keep carriers identified as independent contractors, rather than actual employees subject to workers’ compensation benefits, when the designation is formally challenged. Had Guilford County agreed to the pilot program, the law would have created a county website where attorneys could post notices like foreclosures and estate sales for a fee, instead of buying newspaper ad space. Half of the government revenue would have gone to higher teacher salaries in Guilford County. Local governments also could have avoided newspaper filings by agreeing to post public hearing and meeting notices on their own websites. Sen. Trudy Wade, a Guilford County Republican and a top proponent of electronic notices, blasted Cooper for the veto, which “makes it clear his No. 1 priority is brown-nosing those who cover him.” Cooper’s veto, Wade said in a release, is “to the detriment of the newspaper employees being denied workers compensation coverage, the taxpayers currently being forced to subsidize newspapers, the citizens who want to access public information for free and the public school teachers he’s denying raises to.” The veto is Cooper’s eighth since taking office and stands a chance of getting upheld in an override vote. The House passed the bill 60-53 — well short of a veto-proof majority, with more than a dozen Republicans voting no. The General Assembly reconvenes for an override session Aug. 3. Supporters of broad electronic notice legislation argue it would save taxpayers money, but press groups have been worried it could make it hard for small newspapers to survive and for rural residents with poor internet service to access information. North Carolina Press Association attorney John Bussian said in a phone interview the group “wholeheartedly supports the veto … for all the reasons North Carolina newspapers have long argued — that the bill would seriously damage the public’s right to know.” Cooper said he did support a portion of the bill addressing workers’ compensation coverage for prisoners who produce goods and asked lawmakers to pass a separate bill containing the provision. Legislators overrode Cooper’s first five votes, while two more issued after the legislature adjourned June 30 have yet to be reconsidered. More than 80 bills sat on Cooper’s desk as of Monday. He has until July 30 to sign them, veto them or let them become law without his signature.
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Marijuana deal calls for up to 20 percent tax on pot sales

State House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Monday on a revamped version of Massachusetts’ voter-approved marijuana law that would allow retail pot sales to be taxed at a maximum 20 percent rate. The deal was struck following closed-door negotiations by a six-member conference committee tasked with reconciling sharply different approaches to marijuana regulation and taxation. The talks had dragged on well past the June 30 deadline legislative leaders originally set for crafting a co…
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Marijuana deal calls for up to 20 percent tax on pot sales

State House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Monday on a revamped version of Massachusetts’ voter-approved marijuana law that would allow retail pot sales to be taxed at a maximum 20 percent rate. The deal was struck following closed-door negotiations by a six-member conference committee tasked with reconciling sharply different approaches to marijuana regulation and taxation. The talks had dragged on well past the June 30 deadline legislative leaders originally set for crafting a co…
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The Leading Music Law Schools of 2017

Behind the success of every artist — from the industry mainstays and chart-toppers to rising stars — is a lawyer fielding the deals and disputes that are a constant part of today’s ever-evolving music business. With the rise of new business models and the growing dependence on brand licensing and streaming, attorneys are more important than ever. The scope of their legal expertise is also wider, moving beyond issues of contract law to questions of intellectual property in the digital age a…
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It's over! Joanna Krupa officially files for divorce from Romain Zago after ending marriage earlier …

It’s over! Joanna Krupa officially files for divorce from Romain Zago after ending marriage earlier …

It was revealed they separated back in May.   And now it appears Joanna Krupa, 38, is moving forward with her divorce from Romain Zago.  The Real Housewives of Miami star filed legal documents claiming the marriage is ‘irretrievably broken,’ according to TMZ.  The couple have already figured out all the details and have signed a marital settlement agreement.  According to the site, both parties have agreed not to seek spousal support from one another and the couple filed the petition togeth…
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Jeffrey Loria nears Marlins sale decision, sues another fan

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is nearing a decision on who he will sell the team to — for real this time, it seems. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday in a town-hall meeting with fans that the three groups bidding for the team are “prepared to meet the Marlins’ price.” “All three of those groups are in the process of doing the legal work, the financing work, the diligence work that I referenced,” Manfred said. “And when that’s complete the Marlins, Mr. Loria, will have t…
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Former North Miami police chief sues to get his job back

Former North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene, who was initially suspended, then fired last Friday, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city, the city manager and a City Council member seeking to get his job back. Eugene’s lawsuit says the city violated due process by forcing him to resign, and later be fired, without giving a clear reason and without allowing him a chance to make a case before the city. He is seeking a jury trial, unspecified financial damages and reinstatement. The compla…
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Correction: Border Jail-Federal Inmates story

In a story July 9 about debate over the Texas border city of El Paso holding hundreds of prisoners on federal charges for entering the country illegally, The Associated Press failed to include the first name and title of El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles. A corrected version of the story is below: Texas border city considers helping US jail immigrants The Texas border city of El Paso supports immigrant rights and opposes measures like a new law targeting so-called sanctuary cities By NOMAAN …
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Low-key FBI director pick would lead agency through tumult

The attorney selected to replace James Comey as FBI director is described by those close to him as admirably low-key, yet he’d be taking over the law enforcement agency at a moment that’s anything but tranquil. Christopher Wray would inherit an FBI that lost its popular leader in an unceremonious firing in May and that has spent the last year investigating whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to win the presidency. During this most consequential probe in decades, he’d be serving u…
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We Robot: Conference on Legal and Policy Issues Relating to Robotics

We Robot: Conference on Legal and Policy Issues Relating to Robotics

Founded by University of Miami School of Law Professor A. Michael Froomkin, We Robot is the most exciting interdisciplinary conference on the legal and policy questions relating to robots.  The increasing sophistication of robots and their widespread deployment everywhere—from the home, to hospitals, to public spaces, and even to the battlefield—disrupts existing legal regimes and requires new thinking on policy issues. (See Miami Law Magazine article from the 2013 conference, “Robots at…
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Holland & Knight Real Estate Attorney Lives for the Deal

But the self-proclaimed deal junkie pushed on, making her mark in a male-dominated legal sector by helping developers etch their mark on Miami’s …
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‘Must black death be broadcast and consumed to be believed?’

I wasn’t going to write this. On this subject, I felt I had already spilled enough outrage onto enough pages to last a lifetime. I needed a break from the emotional carnage. Then I saw the dashcam video that was released last week. Granted, it told me nothing I didn’t already know. I knew how a black man named Philando Castile was pulled over last year in a Minneapolis suburb. I knew how he politely informed the police officer that he had a legal firearm in the car. I knew how the officer p…
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Governor: Opponents hope Mississippi is hurt by LGBT law

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said Friday that opponents are “desperately hoping” Mississippi will be hurt by a law that would let business people and government workers cite religious beliefs to deny some services to same-sex couples. His comments came a day after a federal appeals court lifted an injunction that has blocked the state’s “religious objections” law from taking effect for nearly a year. Speaking of the law’s opponents, Bryant said: “They hope something bad will happen to the state …
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6-member panel named to negotiate on marijuana bill

A six-member House-Senate conference committee has been selected to try and come up with a compromise bill to revamp the voter-approved recreational marijuana law. Legislative leaders assigned the panel Friday after the House formally rejected the Senate version of the bill. The House conferees are Democrats Mark Cusack and Ron Mariano, the House Majority Leader, and Republican Hannah Kane. The Senate negotiators are Democrats Patricia Jehlen and William Brownsberger, and Republican Vinny deMac…
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The Rossdale Group, LLC v. Walton

The Rossdale Group, LLC v. Walton

Miami Legal, filing under the Rossdale name, opposed the motion, supported by a declaration from Susan Lunden (Lunden), who identified herself as …
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Excommunicating mobsters? Vatican eyes new legal doctrine

The Vatican is looking to develop a new doctrine that calls for excommunicating Catholics for mafia association and corruption. That’s the decision reached this week after the Vatican hosted its first-ever conference on fighting corruption and organized crime. The meeting gathered 50 prosecutors, bishops, victims and U.N. officials for a day of talks. In a statement Saturday, the Vatican said the need had come to develop a new legal doctrine for the Catholic Church about “excommunication for co…
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Laws would make aspiring Australians pledge to share values

Laws would make aspiring Australians pledge to share values

Aspiring Australian citizens will have to make a pledge to share Australian values under proposed new laws introduced to Parliament on Thursday. The law would give Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton power to write and revise an Australian Values Statement and it would reduce avenues to appeal his decisions on citizenship cases. The bill does not spell out what Australian values are and critics argue that getting Australians to agree on what values they share is difficult. D…
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Judge faces legal quagmire in teen texting suicide trial

Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III are both sad figures in a teenage tragedy that ended with Roy killing himself and Carter charged with manslaughter. A juvenile court judge now finds himself at the center of a legal quagmire: Should he set a legal precedent in Massachusetts by convicting Carter of manslaughter for encouraging Roy to take his own life through dozens of text messages? Or should he acquit her and risk sending a message that Carter’s behavior was less than criminal? Judge Lawrence…
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Czechs to take legal action against EU weapon directive

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says his country is taking legal action against a new European Union directive on holding weapons. Sobotka says his government agreed on the move on Wednesday because it considered the directive, approved as a reaction to a recent wave of terrorism, too restrictive. The government is set to file the complaint at the European Court of Justice by Aug 17. The EU directive bans some kinds of semiautomatic weapons that are popular among the 300,000 holders of a …
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California firms up marijuana rules, will allow deliveries

California would set standards for organic marijuana, allow pot samples at county fairs and permit home deliveries under legislation set to be considered by lawmakers Thursday as the state prepares for next year’s start of legal marijuana sales. Lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration are working to merge California’s new voter-approved recreational pot law with the state’s longstanding medical marijuana program. They have settled on an array of regulations to protect consumers and publ…
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State court filing: Law on meaning of words does nothing new

A new law that’s been criticized as discriminatory against same-sex couples actually does “nothing new at all,” Tennessee’s attorney general contends in a legal filing. Attorney General Herbert Slatery made that argument last week in a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by four married lesbian couples expecting children through artificial insemination. The law requires using the “natural and ordinary meaning” of words in state law. Gay rights groups have contended that the requirement offers a s…
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Costs rise in suit over immigration patrols in metro Phoenix

Costs rise in suit over immigration patrols in metro Phoenix

A racial profiling case involving former Sheriff Joe Arpaio that has already cost taxpayers in metropolitan Phoenix nearly $66 million over the last nine years is about to get more expensive. Officials gave preliminary approval Monday to $26 million in additional spending to cover the costs of complying with a court-ordered overhaul of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which in 2013 was found to have found Latinos were profiled during the former sheriff’s immigration patrols. The overhaul w…
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Miami Official Who Compared Weed to Pedophilia Cited for Sex Harassment in 2011

Barnaby Min, Miami’s deputy city attorney, was widely ridiculed last week for comparing legalizing weed to pedophilia at a meeting at city hall. But it turns out he’s an even worse messenger for that offensive claim than most anyone knew. Min himself was caught sexually harassing a female city auditor by emailing her the word “penis” multiple times in 2011, according to emails New Times obtained via a records request. Yet he kept his job as the city’s then-zoning administrator and later rose through the ranks in the city attorney’s office. The previously unreported case calls into question whether Min should be the person making decisions about whether children with cancer or elderly Alzheimer’s patients are able to receive medicine. In 2011, Min was working as the city’s zoning director. That January, he sent multiple emails spelling out the word “penis” to a young, female city auditor whom Min had previously asked out to lunch and to “social events,” according to city documents. The auditor then filed a complaint about Min, and in February the city’s office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs (EODP) sustained allegations of sexual harassment against him. The EODP forwarded the findings to Min’s supervisor, Orlando Toledo, who was then the director of the building department. It is unclear, however, if Min received discipline for his actions. According to his LinkedIn profile, he began working as an assistant city attorney in 2008 before moving on to serve as the city’s zoning administrator in 2010. He kept his job until February 2013, when he was “forced out” due to “mounting conflicts over his strict interpretation of the city zoning code,” according to a Miami Herald article from that year. He then worked as the director of contract management at Jackson Health Systems for eight months before he was hired as deputy city attorney in October 2013. Min and city spokesperson Diana Gonzalez did not respond to New Times’ calls and emails sent Friday requesting comment about Min’s harassment case. Via email Sunday, City Attorney Victoria Mendez vouched for Min’s judgment as a lawyer. “Mr. Min was hired as a deputy city attorney based on his legal skills and qualifications,” she said. “I am unaware of what discipline, if any, was imposed against Mr. Min by his prior zoning supervisor, when he was in the zoning department and not this office. I am confident in his legal acumen and demeanor as a deputy city attorney.” The 2011 ordeal began when the auditor was assigned to audit a series of impact fees for a building permit that she believed had been incorrectly refunded. In the chain of emails, which were attached as exhibits to the complaint, Min responded privately to the woman’s claims by asking, “Why do you sound so mean in your emails?” The co-worker wrote to the EODP that she thought the response was inappropriate. “Spare me,” she wrote back to Min. “I don’t understand why we are still on this issue??? I am very much over impact fees… for now! You are an attorney, can you please explain to your staff the difference between the old and new Impact Fee Ordinance and how each has certain requirements and a developer can just pick and choose which parts to apply to their development.” “People are reading your emails,” Min responded. “Penis.” He then added a smiley-face emoticon. The auditor wrote in her EODP complaint that she then called Min and told him to stop. “After receipt of the inappropriate email, I called Mr. Min and told him not to send emails of this nature to me,” she wrote. “He did not appear to be concerned and veered the conversation towards other city zoning business.” Three days later, on January 21, Min sent a blank email that contained nothing but a lowercase letter “p.” He then sent another email with an “e.” Then an “n,” an “i,” and an “s.” “I began receiving the first of five emails from Mr. Min,” the victim later wrote to the EODP. “Each email contained one letter, spelling out a distasteful and inappropriate word. I did not reply to any of the emails nor did I make any attempt to contact Mr. Min. The emails were very upsetting and I left the office shortly after.” The complaint says that the next Monday, the auditor emailed her supervisor and asked to have a meeting about the messages. “I want this inappropriate behavior to stop,” the victim wrote to the EODP. Last week, Min made headlines after bizarrely relating medical marijuana to pedophilia in a meeting of the city’s Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board. Despite the fact that Florida voters overwhelmingly legalized medical cannabis in a constitutional referendum last year, Min and City Attorney Victoria Mendez claim the city should ban dispensaries outright because marijuana remains federally illegal. In an attempt to defend this position, Min claimed that the city allowing marijuana would be akin to legalizing child rape, because — bear with Min for a second — if the city or state tried to legalize something that was federally illegal (i.e., pedophilia), the feds could still arrest people for it. Both Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado and Commissioner Francis Suarez have since said they disagree with Min’s position and support dispensaries coming to the city. But as with the sexual harassment case six years ago, it’s unclear whether Min will face repercussions for his actions. The victim whom Min harassed asked to be kept anonymous, out of fear that publishing her name would lead to re-victimization or retaliation from the city.
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Texas adoption agency ‘religious refusal’ closer to law

Texas Republicans pushed the state closer to a law that allows publicly-funded foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to place children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay prospective parents because of religious objections. The Senate gave final approval early Monday, sending it to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for his consideration. The “Freedom to Serve Children Act” has received a late push in the Republican-dominated Legislature ahead of the May 29 end of the session. Conservatives hav…
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Mail Clerk/Admin Assistant Needed for Growing Miami Law Firm

Pacin Levine, P.A. is a rapidly expanding South Florida Law Firm. We are seeking a Full-Time Mail Clerk/Administrative Assistant for its Miami location.
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Counsel Juan Azel Joins Hunton & Williams LLP’s Global Banking Practice in Miami

MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE )–Hunton & Williams LLP announces the expansion of its global banking and corporate practice with the arrival of Juan Azel as counsel in Miami. For nearly 20 years, Azel has represented financial institutions as general counsel or as outside counsel on regulatory and compliance, financial crime risk management, and internal investigations and enforcement matters, with an emphasis on the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), anti-money laundering (AML), and economic sanctions l…
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Supreme Court will avoid the fight over North Carolina's voter law

Supreme Court will avoid the fight over North Carolina’s voter law

Opponents of strict voter-ID laws won a closely watched, but perhaps temporary, victory Monday, as the Supreme Court declined to revive a four-year-old North Carolina measure. Rejecting an unusual plea from the North Carolina General Assembly, the court said it would not hear the North Carolina case in the term that will start in October. It leaves intact an appellate court ruling striking down the North Carolina law, though it also leaves unsettled some crucial issues that are likely to come b…
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Supreme Court rejects appeal over NC voter ID law

The Supreme Court shut the door Monday on North Carolina Republicans’ effort to revive a state law that mandated voter identification and scaled back early voting, provisions that a lower court said improperly targeted minority voters. The justices left in place last summer’s ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the law’s photo ID requirement to vote in person, which the court said targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.” The measure, approved in 201…
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Rhode Island could study, delay legal marijuana debate

Rhode Island lawmakers who aren’t ready to legalize marijuana might try to study it instead. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a bill that would create a legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing pot for recreational use. The 15-member commission would review how marijuana legalization has affected residents of states such as Colorado and Washington and how it’s affected fiscal conditions in those states. The group would report its recommendations bac…
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Recreational marijuana would be legal in NJ under new bill

Marijuana could be grown, sold and used in New Jersey under new legislation introduced Monday in the state Senate. Democratic state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, the bill’s sponsor, said at a news conference that the measure has little chance of being enacted under Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who opposes legalization efforts. But Scutari said he’s introducing the measure now as a way to lay the groundwork for it to be enacted by the next governor. He pointed to states like Colorado that have succe…
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