News Roundup

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Judge admonished for impatience, guilt remark

A California judge has been admonished for a “display of impatience and irritation” and a remark about an acquitted defendant’s guilt. Judge Patrick E. Connolly appeared irritated during a remote hearing because defense lawyers could not show him paperwork, according to the California Commission on Judicial Performance. In another instance, he told a defendant after a jury acquittal that he had been given “a gift from God because there’s no question in my mind that you’re guilty of this crime.” (The Los Angeles Times, the California Commission on Judicial Performance’s decision)

ABA brief says bail schedule is unconstitutional

The ABA has filed an amicus brief arguing that the cash bail system in Dallas County, Texas, violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. The system relies on bail schedules that magistrate judges treat as binding. The ABA is urging the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans to clarify that cash bail conditions, when imposed, should always consider a defendant’s ability to pay. The ABA also says money bail should be a last-resort remedy, to be used when nonmonetary conditions are insufficient, and shouldn’t result in detention merely because of an inability to pay. The ABA has filed similar briefs in other cases. The case is Daves v. Dallas County, Texas. (ABA press release, the ABA’s amicus brief)

Utah law requires biological dads to pay half of pregnancy costs

A new Utah law requires biological dads to pay half the costs of a pregnancy. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, signed the bill into law last month. Fathers won’t have to pay for abortions obtained without their consent, however, unless the procedure is needed to prevent the death of the mother or unless the pregnancy was the result of rape. Supporters say the law will decrease the financial burden of pregnancy, but opponents say it could make abusive situations more dangerous for pregnant women. (The Associated Press, the Salt Lake Tribune)

ABA welcomes rescission of ICC sanctions

The ABA welcomes a decision by President Joe Biden to rescind sanctions on personnel with the International Criminal Court, according to an April 5 statement by ABA President Patricia Lee Refo. Biden reversed economic sanctions on the court’s chief prosecutor and one of the deputies, as well as visa restrictions on ICC personnel. Former President Donald Trump had imposed the sanctions after declaring that the ICC had no legitimacy. “As the ABA said when the sanctions were first imposed,” Refo said in the statement, “punitive measures, taken against persons performing their institutional duties under international law, weaken the rule of law globally.” (ABA President Patricia Lee Refo’s statement)