News Roundup

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At least 3 lawsuits target Georgia voting restrictions

Voting rights, civil rights and civil liberties groups are among those filing challenges to Georgia’s new voting restrictions. The new law, called the Election Integrity Act of 2021, limits ballot drop boxes, allows state takeovers of county election offices, imposes ID requirements for absentee ballots and reduces early voting. The suits claim that the law uses racial discrimination to achieve a partisan result in violation of the Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The first suit was filed Thursday by Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias on behalf of Black Voters Matter and other groups. A second suit was filed Sunday by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP and other groups. The third suit was filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of Women Watch Afrika and other minority groups. (CNN, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law press release, Lawyers’ Committee lawsuit, American Civil Liberties Union press release, ACLU lawsuit)

Judge is charged with terroristic threats

A probate judge in Dougherty County, Georgia, has been charged for allegedly making a threat of violence against a court employee. Judge Leisa Blount, 56, is charged with one count of terroristic threats and one count of violation of oath by a public officer. (The Albany Herald, Georgia Bureau of Investigation press release)

Boy, 7, is charged with rape

A 7-year-old boy in Brasher Falls, New York, was charged last week with third-degree rape as a juvenile. Lawyer Anthony Martone, felony youth defense unit director of Queens Defenders, told WWNY the charge is “absurd.” (WWNY, the Watertown Daily Times)

Environmental lawyer must remain in home confinement

Disbarred environmental lawyer Steven Donziger must remain in home confinement pending a contempt trial for refusing to turn over his electronic devices to Chevron, according to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New York. The oil company is seeking to collect an $800,000 judgment against Donziger for allegedly using bribery and fraud to obtain a $9.5 billion Ecuadorian civil judgment against the company for environmental damage. Donziger has been in home confinement for about 20 months. He has contended that the Ecuadorian judgment is legitimate, and Chevron’s case is “bogus.” (Law360, Reuters Legal, the Guardian)