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January 27th, 2009
03:43 PM ET

Fact-checking Blago, Day 2

Gov. Blagojevich appeared on CNN's Larry King Live Monday night.

Gov. Blagojevich appeared on CNN's Larry King Live Monday night.

Editor’s Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on “In Session

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

Blago continues to misstate the law.

He’s a lawyer. He should know better.

Blago has steadfastly refused to answer specific questions from Larry King, CBS’s Maggie Rodriguez and others, including Jami Floyd today on In Session (is that you on the tapes? Did you say that? If it’s out of context, what was the context?) on the grounds that he is legally barred from commenting on a pending legal matter. No. Incorrect.

FULL POST


Filed under: Justice Department • Lisa Bloom • Rod Blagojevich
January 26th, 2009
03:09 PM ET

Blago CAN call witnesses, even if he complains he can’t

Editor’s Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on “In Session

Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

Over and over again, Governor Rod Blagojevich has said that the Illinois Senate impeachment hearing is unfair because he is not permitted to call witnesses.

This is the same guy who’s compared himself to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. so his credibility is strained. Nevertheless, I will strongly defend anyone’s due process rights, so I decided to look into this claim.

It is false. Illinois Senate impeachment rule 15 states: “Requests of subpoenas for witnesses, documents or other materials may be made by the Governor or his counsel in the form of a verified written motion to the Chief Justice . . . “ As far as I can tell, that did not happen.

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Filed under: Lisa Bloom • Rod Blagojevich
December 10th, 2008
07:08 PM ET

Blagojevich prosecutor oversteps?

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

Editor’s Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on “In Session

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

Disgraced former Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred last year for, among other reasons, prejudicial pretrial public comments he made about three Duke University students he accused of rape.

This jumped to mind as I watched highly respected U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald make repeated comments about the evidence against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich yesterday at Fitzgerald’s press conference.

“The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” Fitzgerald said, in a comment that was widely quoted by news organizations today. And that was just the beginning. “Governor Blagojevich has taken us to a truly new low,” he said. The Governor embarked upon “a political corruption crime spree.” His conduct, prosecutor Fitzgerald said, was “appalling,” repeated three times, for emphasis.

If the allegations are proven, clearly so. But we are only at the indictment phase, and Governor Blagojevich is, at this time, a citizen of the United States, presumed innocent. And U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald has an obligation to seek justice, not to seek a conviction by any means necessary.

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Filed under: Lisa Bloom • Raw Politics • Rod Blagojevich
November 19th, 2008
05:02 PM ET

Free the eight-year-old alleged killer

Crime scene where 8-year-old boy allegedly killed his father and one other man

Crime scene where 8-year-old boy allegedly killed his father and one other man

Editor’s Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on In Session”

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

The debate over whether the eight-year-old Arizona boy should be prosecuted as an adult or as a juvenile misses the point entirely: he should not be prosecuted at all.

Most of the civilized world recognizes that children are not criminally responsible for their actions until they reach a level of maturity such that they can clearly distinguish between right and wrong. In the United States, 37 states, including Arizona, have no minimum age at which a child can be prosecuted.

We thus treat our own children more severely than does Pakistan, Myanmar, or Sudan, which fix their age of criminal responsibility at seven. The age of criminal responsibility in France is 13; China, Germany, Italy and Japan, 14; in Scandinavian countries, 15; Brazil, Colombia and Peru, 18. And in most of these countries, young offenders are tried in juvenile courts and provided with social services upon conviction, with incarceration as a last resort.

In the United States, 25,000 young offenders are now serving time for crimes committed as minors but for which they were charged and convicted as adults. These young people are eight times more likely to commit suicide behind bars and five times more likely to become victims of sexual assault than their adult counterparts.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Lisa Bloom
November 13th, 2008
02:14 PM ET

Hate crime

Editor's Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on In Session”

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

Marcello Lucero was walking to a friend’s house last weekend to watch a movie when his life came to a brutal end. The Ecuadorean native was allegedly beaten and stabbed by a group of teenagers who police said wanted “to beat up some Mexicans.”

Lucero’s death Saturday night on Long Island, New York was quickly labeled a hate crime by authorities. Unfortunately, it’s part of an underreported spike of hate crimes against Hispanics in the last few years. According to the FBI, Anti-Hispanic hate crimes have increased 40 percent since 2003.

Hispanic advocates blame a climate of harsh rhetoric surrounding the national immigration debate, and they surely have a point.

The Justice Department says that out of all bias crimes based on ethnicity, 62 percent target Hispanics, 38 percent everyone else. 62 percent! Though Hispanics are only 14 percent of the population. Those are some scary numbers.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Hate Crime • Lisa Bloom
November 12th, 2008
08:02 AM ET

An 8 year old kills, we are to blame

Editor's Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on In Session”

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

In a new low point for the American criminal justice system, an 8-year-old boy accused of killing his father and another man living in his home faces two counts of premeditated murder in Arizona. Authorities are seeking to try him as an adult.

Police say the child confessed to shooting the two men with a .22 caliber rifle kept in his home.

The lawyer for the 8-year-old says police questioned the boy without a parent or attorney present and failed to notify the boy of his rights.

As if an eight year old would understand his Miranda rights.

Police are also investigating possible abuse of the boy, which they think may have lead to the shooting.

Hm. You think?

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Lisa Bloom
November 6th, 2008
12:08 PM ET

Creature comforts

Editor's Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on In Session”

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

In this week of inspiring change, I want to give three cheers for a new California law that’s just been passed on a subject near and dear to my heart.

In what the Humane Society calls the most ambitious ballot measure for animals in this country’s history, California passed Prop 2 with 62 % of the vote. Prop 2 requires factory farmers to give animals a little extra room to stretch their limbs and to move like animals should. It’s cruel to force a hen to be confined with a half-dozen other birds in a tiny cage for her whole life.

It’s cruel to force a sow to live in a crate so small she can’t turn around. It’s cruel to chain a calf tightly inside a pen. Any pet owner knows that animals experience fear and suffering. This measure will provide them with some minimal creature comforts.

I’ve been a vegetarian nearly all my life because I can’t support an industry that causes so much suffering to animals. But you don’t have to be vegetarian to take a stand against cruelty, as millions of California voters demonstrated. Conditions in factory farms have to change, and it’s in our power to make it happen. Cruelty is out; compassion is in. Let’s hope this is a start of a nationwide trend.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Lisa Bloom
November 5th, 2008
03:13 PM ET

Remembering the millions of Americans who just lost their rights

Editor's Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on In Session”

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

YES WE DID!, I wrote in giant letters on my Facebook page on election night, tears in my eyes as I watched Barack Obama’s inspiring acceptance speech. Every moment of it was so moving. And when I heard my African-American friends talk about the symbolism of this day, that they can look into their children’s eyes and honestly say that we are all now truly equal – well, as a lifelong civil rights activist, I thought, it has happened. We shall overcome, not someday, but today.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said the night before he was assassinated, “And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land.” Hallelujah, I thought, we have arrived. Free at last, free at last.

Then I remembered my gay friends, who faced ugly ballot measures in four states. The California Supreme Court just last May issued a landmark ruling that gay people were entitled to equal marriage rights. My mother, Gloria Allred, was one of the lead attorneys in that case. I remembered Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons, together for 55 years, who were the first couple married after that decision, one in a wheelchair, the other walking slowly to the altar. “At our age,” they said, “we don’t have the luxury of time.” I remembered that on the day of that decision, citizens of San Francisco’s Castro District took down their rainbow flags and flew American flags. “For the first time in my life,” they told me, “I feel like a full citizen. I can tell my children that in the eyes of the law I am just as worthy as anyone else.” I remembered riding in Santa Monica’s gay pride parade alongside my mother in June, getting mobbed by thousands of ordinary people who were grateful that she had won for them the extraordinary privilege of simple respect.
FULL POST

September 8th, 2008
12:55 PM ET

OJ Simpson: The final chapter?

O.J. Simpson arrives for the first day of jury selection

O.J. Simpson arrives for the first day of jury selection

Editor's Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on In Session”

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

O.J. Simpson walked out of court a free man after acquittals in his 1995 double murder trial and his 2001 Florida road rage case. Today jury selection begins in his Las Vegas robbery trial, where he faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted. Will he be 3-0?
Based on what we know now, it’s going to be a close call. The prosecution case is built on the testimony of a colorful band of O.J. cronies, including a stalker, an arsonist, a thief, and an alleged pimp. Notice that I have to say “alleged” only as to the maybe-pimp. The stalker also has a criminal history that includes receiving stolen property, assault and battery, and he’ll be hauled in from prison to testify. And he is one of the two alleged victims.

This caper may be the most-taped alleged crime in history. There are three secret audiotapes of the planning of the caper, a tape of the incident itself (sold immediately to TMZ.com for over $100,000, reportedly), recordings of phone messages after the incident, and a surreptitious audio recording of OJ and one of the co-conspirators at a bar that night. Even the “You Ring We Spring” bail bondsman had the presence of mind to stick a recorder in his pocket and capture O.J.’s words as he transported him. O.J. Simpson should buy stock in Radio Shack.

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Filed under: Lisa Bloom • O.J. Simpson Trial
August 26th, 2008
02:37 PM ET

The machine’s flattening of Michelle Obama?

Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, speaks during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Monday.

Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, speaks during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Monday.

Editor's Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on In Session”

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

The pundits applaud and cheer for the newly softened Michelle Obama after her speech. Flattened, more like it, by the American political machine’s insistent steamrolling of intelligent, accomplished women into one dimensional wifeys, apparently still the only mold of First Lady palatable to the electorate.

She came to us in last night’s speech, she said, as a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother: identities in which she exists only in relation to family members, identities which have defined women for centuries. The first two require only birth. The third and fourth define women solely in relation to our husbands and children.

Are these identities important to strong women? Of course, just as they are for men. Our identities as children and siblings and parents and spouses are key parts of who we all are. But can we imagine a successful man introducing himself on a national political stage as a son, a brother, a husband, a father, and devoting his speech exclusively to these roles? Can we imagine him omitting his work entirely?

There was one drumbeat in Michelle’s speech, surely carefully vetted by the campaign strategists: family, family, family. Breaking news: she loves her daughters, she loves her husband, she loves her mother and her deceased father. Family values are important to her. Of course they are.

When she talked about work at all, it was Barack’s, not her own. She waxed eloquent for hundreds of words about her husband’s work on the South Side of Chicago, but not about her own career in the Chicago mayor’s office, or in public interest programs. There was just one brief throwaway line about how she left a big law firm job for community service, and how she loves America because a working class girl like her got into law school (just as girls are accepted in law schools now around the globe).

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