News Roundup

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Biden climate orders address environmental justice

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed executive orders to address climate change. Biden paused oil and gas leases on federal land and created a White House office of domestic climate policy. Biden addressed environmental justice with a directive for federal agencies to invest in disadvantaged communities that historically have been overburdened by pollution. He also created a White House environmental justice interagency council and a White House environmental justice advisory council. (The Washington Post here and here, BBC News, CNN, the executive order)

Scammers impersonate Colorado law firm

Scammers impersonated a Colorado law firm to get a man to send them $8,000 in gift cards. The scammers said the man would get a package related to an inheritance worth far more than $8,000 if he provided them with the gift cards. Catherine Hammond of the Hammond Law Group said she was horrified to learn that the name of her Colorado Springs law firm had been used in the fraud. (KRDO, Hammond Law Group video)

Indiana lawyer gets prison time for tax evasion

Suspended Indiana lawyer Raymond Gupta was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for evading federal income taxes and failing to file federal tax returns. He was also ordered to pay about $1.7 million in restitution. The indictment had accused the Schererville, Indiana, personal injury lawyer of avoiding taxes by keeping money out of the banking system. He sold his $1.1 million home as part of a plea agreement to make a payment toward taxes owed. (NWI.com, the Post-Tribune, the Indiana Lawyer, the sentencing order)

Biden urged to commute federal death sentences

Nearly 100 current and former criminal justice leaders have signed a letter urging President Joe Biden to end the death penalty. The letter says Biden should commute the sentences of federal inmates on death row and encourage Department of Justice leadership to instruct federal prosecutors not to seek the death penalty. Another letter, signed by more than 40 lawmakers, encourages Judge Merrick Garland, Biden’s nominee for U.S. attorney general, to stop seeking death sentences. (Fair and Just Prosecution press release and letter, the Hill)