I Don’t Think They Ever Even Looked for Richard Merritt, While the Victims That Testified Against Him Remain in Fear

Richard-Merritt-via-Fox-5-Atlanta

Ex-Lawyer Supposed to Be In Prison for Cheating Clients, But Now He’s Wanted in His Mom’s Murder
by Alberto Luperon | 5:51 pm, February 3rd, 2019

Disbarred lawyer Richard Merritt, 44, was due in prison Friday for swindling his clients. Yet it’s two days later and he’s now wanted for allegedly killing his mother. Cops in Dekalb County, Georgia said that officers responded to a local home on Saturday morning regarding a dead person, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They found Shirley Merritt was fatally stabbed. Cops blame this on her son.

Cops said Richard Merritt might be driving his mom’s brown 2009 Lexus RX350. It features the Georgia license plate CBV6004.

The suspect shouldn’t even be out, whether or not there was a murder. The suspect was convicted of settling lawsuits without clients’ knowledge, and keeping the cash. He was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison, to be followed by an equally long stint on probation. Prosecutors say he took advantage of the elderly, and those alleging medical malpractice. This scheme affected 17 former clients. He’d lie to them about the settlements, and claim their cases were ongoing, authorities said. Prosecutors claim he forged their signatures and checks, and notary seals.

Merritt surrendered his law license last year. From the Supreme Court of Georgia in a filing dated January 29, 2018:

In his petition, Merritt, who has been a member of the Bar since 2000, admits that in February 2017 he settled a client’s personal injury matter for $75,000, but failed to promptly disburse those funds to his client or her medical providers and failed to render a full accounting of the funds to his client.

The judge in his sentencing gave him time to prepare for prison, and turn himself in by 5 p.m. on February 1. The defendant had to deal with what was described as family medical issues before serving his sentence, according to a Fox 5 Atlanta story.

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Georgia: Disbarred Lawyer Richard Merritt Jailed on Theft, Elder Abuse Charges
http://www.barcomplaint.com/attorney-theft/georgia-disbarred-lawyer-richard-merritt-jailed-on-theft-elder-abuse-charges/

The problems of Richard Merritt have come to a head with his arrest. This has been long coming has his behavior has been in question for several years.
Georgia: Disbarred Lawyer Richard Merritt Jailed on Theft, Elder Abuse Charges
Attorney Richard Merritt was disbarred Monday for pocketing a client’s $75,000 settlement and jailed Wednesday on multiple felonies.

Richard Vinson Merritt

Former Smyrna attorney Richard V. Merritt, who was disbarred Monday after admitting to settling a client’s suit for $75,000 and then pocketing the money, woke up in the Cobb County Jail Thursday after being arrested on separate felony elder abuse, theft, exploitation and check fraud charges.

The spokesperson for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office said he had no further information on the charges, which were apparently filed by the Smyrna Police Department. The booking report includes a notation that Merritt is to be held for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, where a press liaison said they received a bench warrant for “indirect criminal attempt.”

He provided no further information, and there was no immediate response from Smyrna police.

On Friday, Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said there was little he could offer concerning Merritt’s case so far.

“We have yet to receive the complete investigative file from the Cobb Sheriff’s Department,” said Reynolds via email. “When we do, our White Collar Unit will begin the process of determining what charges we will proceed to the grand jury with. In addition, our Investigators will begin reviewing the file upon receipt to see if there are any additional victims or charges which need to be pursued.”

Merritt remained in jail on Friday afternoon.

Merritt is the subject of multiple civil suits in Cobb County, including one filed by a woman who claims he forged her name on a $150,000 settlement agreement and check without her knowledge. She claims Merritt never turned over any funds.

He also faces several legal malpractice and fraud lawsuits in Cobb County from clients claiming he agreed to handle their cases and then never filed them and never pursued any actions.

Merritt has represented himself in each of the lawsuits.

The attorney for a plaintiff in one case, Sapp & Moriarty partner Daniel Moriarty—interviewed before word of Merritt’s arrest was known—said he was surprised at the mild tone in the state Supreme Court’s disbarment opinion, which only said Merritt “settled a client’s personal injury matter for $75,000 but failed to promptly disburse those funds to his client or her medical providers and failed to render a full accounting of the funds to his client.”

“That’s a euphemism for stealing money,” said Moriarty. “I talked to an investigator who has seen his bank records and determined that he had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars. It just blows my mind what he’s gotten away with.”

According the bar complaint reviewed by the Daily Report, Merritt was retained to handle a personal injury matter in December 2016 and settled it last February, cashing the forged check Feb.7. On Feb. 10, he filed a lawsuit “and continued to lead me on until late May 2017 when I learned what he had done,” the confidential complaint said.

“I have never seen a dime of the $75,000,” said Merritt’s former client.

Another civil suit filed in Cobb County State Court last year said Merritt forged a husband and wife’s signature on a settlement and check in a medical malpractice case and never told them.

Another complaint said Merritt accepted a med-mal case and continually told his client that he was investigating it. Merritt sent emails saying “All is well and we are moving forward on your case,” and “No worries I’m on it!”

Then he stopped accepting the woman’s calls, and the filing deadline passed.

In that case, Judge Maria Golick struck Merritt’s answers and ordered a damages-only trial after finding he “willfully failed to respond” to hearing notices. Golick scheduled a show-cause criminal contempt hearing, and the decision is apparently still under advisement, according to court records.

In the case Moriarty is handling, Merritt also allegedly claimed to be conducting discovery and searching for experts, even scheduling bogus depositions for his clients, only to cancel them at the last minute.

Merritt was the principal for the Smyrna-based Merritt Firm, whose offices were the subject of several dispossessory actions between 2015 and 2017, according to court records.

Last August, Merritt sued two attorneys on behalf of spine surgeon and frequent medical expert James Chappuis. At the time, Merritt said he vice president and general counsel of Chappuis’ Orthopaedic & Spine Surgery of Atlanta.

That case settled confidentially shortly after it was filed.

Source: Professional Legal Blog
Doctor Claims Patient, Lawyers Stiffed Him After Winning $700K at Trial
The doctor, who claims he’s owed more than $200,000, also testified as an expert witness at his patient’s trial.

An Atlanta spine surgeon who sometimes works as an expert witness in personal injury cases has sued a former patient and his lawyers, claiming they stiffed him on $200,000 in medical bills after netting a $700,000 jury award.

The complaint filed Monday by Dr. James Chappuis, founder and CEO of Orthopaedic & Spine Surgery of Atlanta, said he’s owed $205,323 for more than two years of treatment provided to Shin Cho. Chappuis also testified as an expert witness at Cho’s trial.

The complaint was filed by the surgery’s vice president and general counsel, Richard Merritt, and named Cho as well as his attorneys in the personal injury action, James Rice Jr. and Thomas Schaefer.

It accuses Cho of using “pressure and misrepresentation” to convince a clinic staffer to accept just $7,500 as full payment of the debt and said the lawyers paid themselves and disbursed Cho’s net award from their trust account despite knowing Chappuis was still owed.

Even the debt Cho purportedly satisfied was “erroneous” and allegedly constituted less than a quarter of the actual sum owed to the doctor, according to the complaint.

Rice denied the suit’s allegations, pointing to a May 31 letter from Chappuis’ practice, saying Cho’s $7,500 payment satisfied his “current outstanding patient balance of $43,871.01.”

“Shortly after they sent that, they contacted us to say there was a ‘bookkeeping error’ and that Mr. Cho owed more than $205,000,” Rice said. “I retained outside counsel to get advice on what to do, and we told their office we were going to disburse the funds in two weeks, and that’s what we did.”

“I also contacted the Georgia bar, and they confirmed that that was the proper way to handle it, so we did all our due diligence before we distributed the money,” Rice said.

Rice said the doctor and his practice were already paid more than $100,000 by Cho’s insurer, and “Mr. Cho candidly feels that he doesn’t owe them anything.”

Schaefer said he was out of town and had not had a chance to review the complaint but was “not really sure why I’ve been named as a party.”

“Our official quote is that we stand by the complaint as drafted,” said Merritt, declining to discuss the case further.

On May 22, Cho was awarded $700,000 for claims that he developed back pain following a minor car wreck in Gwinnett County.

Rice told the Daily Report at the time that Cho drove away from the scene. He argued Cho, who already suffered at least three previous back injuries, was an “eggshell plaintiff” for whom even a low-impact wreck was dangerous.

Last year, Cho signed a “letter of protection” with Chappuis and his practice, agreeing to pay or have his attorneys pay “all outstanding medical bills” from funds accruing from the legal action, the complaint said.

The lawyers had previously worked with Chappuis on other cases and “knew the critical importance of the medical care being provided by [Chappuis], as it related to satisfying the burden of proof in proving causation and damages, and in the effectiveness of Plaintiff Chappuis’ testimony, as both a treating physician and a medical expert,” according to the complaint.

In fact, Rice sent Chappuis a congratulatory text message after the trial, saying the jury “liked you a lot and coming across as objective helped,” while they did not “buy” the defense expert’s “nonsense.”

But on May 31, Cho went to Orthopaedic & Spine Surgery’s main office and “through deliberate pressure and misrepresentation of the facts, convinced a clerical employee to accept $7,500 in satisfaction and payment in full of an alleged $43,871.01, which was erroneous, as the amount due and owing is $205,323.70,” according to the complaint.

The complaint said that, on June 17, Chappuis’ attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to Rice “specifically instructing him not to disburse any funds” until he and his practice had been paid. On June 30 a satisfaction of judgment was filed with the court, but Rice and Schaefer “intentionally disregarded their obligation to compensate” the plaintiffs.

The suit, filed Aug. 21, names Cho, Rice, Schaefer and the lawyers’ practices as defendants, and includes counts for fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract.

Rice said it is “unfortunate that the plaintiffs have chosen to bring both my firm and Mr. Shaefer’s firm into a matter that is moot,” and is also moot regarding Cho.

“To say the least, the lawsuit is disappointing, but in any event we will vigorously defend it, including seeking fees and costs,” Rice said.

Source: Daily Report

Name Of The Attorney: Attorney Richard Merritt
Name Of The Law Firm: Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds
State: Georgia
xyz_fbap: 1

New York’s Lawyers and Judges Behaving Badly, From New York Law Journal

https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2018/12/30/lawyers-judges-behaving-badly/
Tara-Lenich-Article-201612051956
Tara Lenich, admitted to forging judicial orders to run illegal wiretaps on a fellow prosecutor and a New York City Police Detective, sentenced to one year in prison in early 2018.

Edmund-Duffy
Edmund Duffy’s five-decade legal career, during which he rose to prominence as the former heard of the China practice at Skadden, officially ended 02/08/2018, when he was automatically disbarred after he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography.

AP-Robert-Cicale-web
A Suffolk County District Court Judge was suspended from the bench after he was arrested and charged with burglary. He was caught with women’s underwear that he allegedly stole from a private residence.

Evan-Greebel-Article-201710202147
Evan Greebel, a former partner at Kaye Scholer and Katten Muchin Rosenman, was sent to prison for working with disgraced pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli to defraud investors.

ravelo-keila-Article-201810091948
Keila Ravelo was sentenced to five years for conspiring to defraud her former law firms and clients out of $7.8 Million, using bogus litigation vendors. Prosecutors said that the former Hunton & Williams and Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner used the money to fuel a lavish lifestyle.

Frank-Aquila-Article-201809281858
Prominent M&A partner Frank Aquila deleted his Twitter account after tellling White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders she should “Rot in Hell You Bitch” for defending Sen. Lindsey Graham amid the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Aaron-Schlossberg-Article-201805171926
Manhattan attorney Aaron Schlossberg’s rant against employees speaking Spanish at a Mexican Restaurant provoked a firestorm on social media.

Anna-Lushchinskaya-Article-201812142118
Another viral video captured a second New York City lawyer who directed racially charged comments at bystanders.

Gavel-and-Book-Article-201710162142
“Egragious and outragesou” conduct by ex-Mintz Levin associate Anthony Jacob Zappin during his pro se legal war with his former wife, also an attorney, led to his disbarment.

Judicial-Robe-Article-201712011528
New York’s high court unanimously said that Civil Court Judge Terrence O’Connor’s “intemparate” and “inappropriate” behavior in the courtroom were bad enough, but his decision to not cooperate with an investigation into his actions also contributed to his removal from the bench.

From Our Friends at Livinglies, Neil Garfield

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/95852/posts/2112751964

How to Use and Oppose Judicial Notice

One of the biggest bluffs used by claimants in foreclosure and eviction proceedings is the request for judicial notice. If unopposed, this results in myths being propagated as facts. Just because a document exists or has been uploaded to SEC.GOV or any other site doesn’t mean the source or the content is credible or reliable.
If I manage to record a deed purporting to transfer title that doesn’t mean that title is transferred nor that my ownership is to be presumed. The same is true if I upload the same fabricated deed to SEC.gov or any other site on the internet.
Judicial notice is erroneously applied as a vehicle for shifting the burden of proof. The basic rule of evidence is simple: the proponent of evidence must prove the truth, credibility and reliability of that evidence, even if it is admitted into evidence. Otherwise the evidence is admitted with zero weight.
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Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult or check us out on www.lendinglies.com.
I provide advice and consultation to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key required elements of a scam — in and out of court. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM.
A few hundred dollars well spent is worth a lifetime of financial ruin.
PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION. OUR PRIVACY POLICY IS THAT WE DON’T USE THE FORM EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH YOU OR PERFORM WORK FOR YOU. THE INFORMATION ON THE FORMS ARE NOT SOLD NOR LICENSED IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE OR FORM. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345 or 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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Most states essentially have the same statute in their laws of evidence, like this one from Florida:

90.202 Matters which may be judicially noticed.A court may take judicial notice of the following matters, to the extent that they are not embraced within s. 90.201:

(1) Special, local, and private acts and resolutions of the Congress of the United States and of the Florida Legislature.

(2) Decisional, constitutional, and public statutory law of every other state, territory, and jurisdiction of the United States.

(3) Contents of the Federal Register.

(4) Laws of foreign nations and of an organization of nations.

(5) Official actions of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the United States and of any state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States.

(6) Records of any court of this state or of any court of record of the United States or of any state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States.

(7) Rules of court of any court of this state or of any court of record of the United States or of any other state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States.

(8) Provisions of all municipal and county charters and charter amendments of this state, provided they are available in printed copies or as certified copies.

(9) Rules promulgated by governmental agencies of this state which are published in the Florida Administrative Code or in bound written copies.

(10) Duly enacted ordinances and resolutions of municipalities and counties located in Florida, provided such ordinances and resolutions are available in printed copies or as certified copies.

(11) Facts that are not subject to dispute because they are generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. (e.s.)

(12) Facts that are not subject to dispute because they are capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot be questioned. (e.s.)

(13) Official seals of governmental agencies and departments of the United States and of any state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States.

History.s. 1, ch. 76-237; s. 1, ch. 77-77; s. 1, ch. 77-174; ss. 3, 22, ch. 78-361; ss. 1, 2, ch. 78-379.

A quick review of this statute, essentially the same as all others, reveals that it is not intended to be used as proof of contested facts. The fact that a document obviously exists may not be subject to contest unless the objection is that the document was prepared expressly for trial and not as part of whatever transaction is being contested.

Courts often overstep by becoming the lawyer for the claimant in foreclosure or eviction. As an example of the court stepping into the shoes of the claimant, there is the issue of judicial notice. You should research this. Because judicial notice is intended to be used as follows:
  1. For judicial economy — i.e., acceptance of facts that are virtually incontrovertible and not requiring proof. VERSUS your objections to the content of those documents. The requirement of absolute credibility is essential for judicial notice. There is no prejudice to any party by requiring actual proof of the documents and its contents. Judicial economy does not trump the rules of evidence which are designed to ferret out the truth not to assume facts that are untrue or that could easily be untrue because they came from an interested party.
  2. For documents, the only application of the judicial notice doctrine is that the documents exist and are maintained on a completely trusted site and not that what is written on them is true.
  3. In the case of government documents prepared by government with no interest in making any claims or defending any claims but simply in the ordinary course of record keeping, the record is subject to judicial notice and the content is generally presumed to be true unless disproven by the the opposing party.
  4. Judicial notice is completely inappropriate where the documents were prepared by parties with an interest in the outcome of litigation and claims and are not inspected, reviewed or scrutinized as to accuracy.
  5. Verifying facial validity of a document is NOT the same as verifying the statements contained on the document.
  6. For documents the source must be an independent third party source with no interest in the outcome. So if a fabricated assignment of mortgage is recorded in the county records, then the the existence of the document may be judicially noticed without any presumptions of the veracity or sufficiency of the statements contained in the assignment.
  7. Failure to object to the introduction of the document MIGHT be grounds for admission of both the document and its contents. The ability of the opposing party to present evidence that the document had been fabricated and that the statements contained within it are untrue or misleading is not barred by failure to object.
  8. The fact that it is admitted in evidence does not mean that should be given great weight by the trial court. Any evidence submitted by a party who has a direct interest in the outcome of litigation is to be viewed skeptically and requiring corroborative proof.
  9. Judicial notice is NOT appropriate for the PSA or anything else if the request for notice directs the court’s attention to SEC.GOV. This is an effort at misdirection.
  10. SEC.GOV is merely a repository for uploading documents with no more official capacity than box.com or dropbox.com. The fact that a document is there is NOT an indication that the document is an official document. The SEC has not reviewed it or approved it in any way, manner shape or form.
  11. BEST Evidence: Only the original document produced in court would be sufficient evidence of the document’s existence and then only if it was complete and signed — which means that the mortgage loan schedule is attached as the original mortgage loan schedule attached the trust instrument, the prospectus and the servicing agreements when they were originally executed.
  12. It is a common ploy to upload documents to SEC.Gov and then request judicial notice. This is wrong.
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Wells Fargo Employees Are Said to Improperly Alter Documents By Hannah Levitt


Wells Fargo Employees Are Said to Improperly Alter Documents
By Hannah Levitt
May 17, 2018, 10:06 AM EDT
Updated on May 17, 2018, 2:57 PM EDT

Wells Fargo & Co. found that employees in its wholesale unit added information to internal customer records without the clients’ knowledge, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The bank discovered the improper activity and reported it to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter hadn’t been publicly disclosed. The employees altered the documents in 2017 and earlier this year as they sought to satisfy regulatory demands related to anti-money-laundering controls, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported the issue earlier Thursday.

Wells Fargo has struggled to move past a wave of scandals, which led to a Federal Reserve ban on increasing assets until the lender fixes missteps. The bank’s first-quarter results were marred by a charge of $800 million tied to a settlement with U.S. regulators. Earlier this month, the bank rolled out a new marketing campaign built around its efforts to regain customers’ trust.

Bryan Hubbard, an OCC spokesman, declined to comment. Wells Fargo spokesman Alan Elias said in an emailed statement that the bank can’t comment on regulatory matters, but that it takes “swift action to correct” any behavior that violates the firm’s values.

“This matter involves documents used for internal purposes,” Elias said. “No customers were negatively impacted, no data left the company, and no products or services were sold as a result.”

The bank’s shares dropped 1.6 percent at 2:40 p.m. in New York trading, the biggest decline in the 24-company KBW Bank Index.

— With assistance by Laura J Kelle

Attorneys of the Month for January thru March 5th, 2018.


The following Georgia attorneys were disciplined and/or disbarred for the month Of March, 2018:

March 5, 2018
S18Y0348. IN THE MATTER OF SAM LOUIS LEVINE

Sam L. Levine
S18Y0350. IN THE MATTER OF CHRISTOPHER AARON CORLEY
S18Y0383. IN THE MATTER OF ANDRE KEITH SANDERS
S18Y0559. IN THE MATTER OF WALTER LINTON MOORE

Februry 19, 2018:
S18Y0315. IN THE MATTER OF NATALIE DAWN MAYS
S18Y0434. IN THE MATTER OF CHERYL JOYCE BRAZIEL
S18Y0511. IN THE MATTER OF DONALD EDWARD SMART

February 5, 2018:
S18Y0484. IN THE MATTER OF ADAM LORENZO SMITH

Adam L. Smith

January 29, 2018:
S17Y1329. IN THE MATTER OF RICKY W. MORRIS, JR.
S17Y1918. IN THE MATTER OF CLARENCE R. JOHNSON, JR.
S17Y2016. IN THE MATTER OF CAMERON SHAHAB
S18Y0142. IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT JUTZI HOWELL
S18Y0256. IN THE MATTER OF LARRY BUSH HILL
S18Y0264. IN THE MATTER OF CHRISTOPHER MARK MILLER
S18Y0269. IN THE MATTER OF LORNE HOWARD CRAGG
S18Y0387. IN THE MATTER OF RICHARD V. MERRITT

Rich Merritt

If you want to know more, go to Supreme Court of Georgia, 2018 Opinion sand Summaries
The number on the left hand side above, is the case number for the attorney. The Attorney discipline is at the end of each section. If you click the case number, you can read the Order,

LEO HOHMANN: NOW WE KNOW HOW MANY ILLEGAL ALIENS REALLY IN U.S. More than 100,000 granted legal status every year

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2016/10/immigrants-in-u.s.-1.jpg

immigrants in u.s.
A new study on immigration underscores that immigration – legal and illegal – is adding 8.3 million people to the U.S. population every four years and that some of the fastest rates of migration are coming from countries hostile to American values of freedom and democracy.

For instance, the sending country with the largest percentage increase in immigrants living in the U.S. during the four years from 2010 to 2014 was Saudi Arabia, with a 93 percent increase, followed by Bangladesh at 37 percent and Iraq at 36 percent.

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2016/10/legals-illegals-in-pie-chart.jpg
legals illegals in pie chartAbout one-fourth of the 42.4 million foreign-born people living in the United States are illegal immigrants – this amounts to roughly 10.5 million, according to the study by Center for Immigration Studies.While many immigration hawks might dispute that number and say it’s actually much higher, the facts don’t bear it out, says Steven Camarota, director of research for CIS and co-author of the report with demographer Karen Zeigler.

“You can easily have a situation where 400,000 new people settle in the U.S. every year by overstaying their visas or sneaking across the border and that doesn’t mean you’re adding to the overall illegal immigrant population,” Camarota told WND.

Read the entire study and view all the charts at CIS.com.

Obama in November 2014 issued a series of executive orders that granted amnesty to about 5 million illegals, or nearly half of the estimated 10.5 million to 11 million now in the country. The federal courts have thus far blocked his actions as unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court, which deadlocked on the issue previously, ruled Monday that it will not re-hear the case.

Meanwhile, illegal-alien crime sprees continue to rock the country, including a series of M-13 gang-related killings on Long Island. The most recent case involved the murder of two teenage girls.

On Sept. 13, Nisa Mickens, 15, and her best friend, Kayla Cuevas, 16, were murdered, their battered bodies found near an elementary school in Brentwood on the island, the New York Times reports.

A week later and just two miles away, the remains of two more teenagers – Oscar Acosta, 19, and Miguel Garcia-Moran, 15 – were discovered in the woods near a hospital.

For nearly two decades, MS-13, an El Salvadoran gang, has been “terrorizing” the town, especially its young people, according to the Times report. Since 2009, its members have been accused of at least 14 murders.

So the problems of illegal immigration are not to be downplayed. But the problems of legal immigration are many times greater, according to the CIS study, which analyzed Census data.

“You could have half-a-million every year come illegally, and in that same year some go home, every year some will die, and some who were illegal become legal,” Camarota said.

He said there are more than 100,000 illegals given legal status every year.

“They marry an American, they find employment with a company that gives them a visa, they win the visa lottery, or they get a ‘cancellation of removal’ order from a judge that essentially gives them asylum status,” he said.

Ann Coulter’s back, and she’s never been better than in “Adios, America!: The Left’s Plan to Turn our Country into a Third World Hellhole.”

“Some get deported, and some go home voluntarily every year on their own. We can calculate death rates by age, and that’s why the overall illegal population can be stable even if 400,000 come in every year,” he added.

“You also have to remember that there are no illegal-immigrant births in the United States, because everybody born here is automatically a U.S. citizen,” Camarota added. “Now you can bemoan that and say it’s wrong, but for these purposes we can’t add them into the illegal population. We can only add those coming from abroad.”

Legal immigration has roughly four times the impact of illegal immigration, Camarota says.

“So the bottom line is, illegal immigration is dwarfed by legal immigration. The impact on our schools and on our welfare system is much bigger, and also the political impact.”

When states do apportionment and redistricting, they draw the lines for seats in Congress and state legislatures based on total population, regardless of immigration status.

“There are at least three legal immigrants for every illegal immigrant,” Camarota said. “And while the illegals do vote fraudulently, sometimes it’s the legal immigrants who vote in much larger numbers and have the big political impact on our system.”

Legal immigrants are also more dangerous in terms of their propensity to commit acts of Islamic terrorism, a lesson that should have been learned from the 9/11 attacks in which the hijackers were here largely on student and tourist visas.

Refugees connected to acts of terror

More recently, the stabbing attacks on a St. Could, Minnesota, mall that injured 10 and the pipe bombings in New York city that injured 29 were carried out by refugees, meaning they were legal immigrants. The Chattanooga shooting of five U.S. servicemen and the mass shooting in San Bernardino in 2015, as well as the attack on an Orlando gay nightclub in June 2016, were all carried out by second-generation Americans born to Muslims who legally migrated to the U.S.

The study also found some surprising facts on jobs.

“There really are no jobs Americans won’t do,” Camarota said. “Pretty much every job category is at least half American, even farms, because there are still a lot of family farms.”

In the area of entrepreneurship, Camarota found that immigrants do start businesses, but overall their rates of employment versus self-employment are about the same as native-born Americans. “So entrepreneurship is not lacking among immigrants but nor is it a distinguishing characteristic.”

Promoters of refugee resettlement use ‘stupid’ arguments not supported by data

This refutes one of the main arguments used by mayors trying to promote refugee resettlement and mass immigration in their cities.

“The way in which refugee resettlement gets sold sometimes is so stupid,” Camarota said. “We could all say that the idea that they are fleeing for their life is probably not true in most cases, but the idea is that they are in desperate circumstances and we’re taking them as a humanitarian gesture. But we know from lots of data that refugees use welfare in large amounts and for very long periods of time. We know that about this population, so it’s reasonable for them to struggle financially.

“Resettlement, if we’re going to do it, should be done as part of an honest discussion. We have the data on this, but we don’t [have an honest discussion].”

Welfare usage rates extremely high

Rates of welfare usage are not only high among refugees but also among immigrants from Latin America.

“Sixty percent of families from Mexico use at least one welfare program,” Camarota said. “Roughly half the Mexicans in the U.S. are illegal. But more importantly, what you see here if you pull out the illegals from Mexico and Latin America and you see that they sign their kids up for lots of programs. And those kids were born here, many of them. Even if they were not born here and are illegal, they can get free school, WIC and Medicaid. A pregnant woman can get Medicaid too if she is illegal.”

This is something that was not a problem during earlier waves of immigration in the 1880s, 1920s and 1950s. Immigrants were required to be self-supporting.

“Lots of immigrants come to America now and can’t support their own kids,” Camarota said. “They have to turn to the taxpayer. That’s the question to ask. Depends how you feel about that.”

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2016/10/welfare-usage-among-various-immigrant-categories.jpg

welfare usage among various immigrant categories

Copyright 2016 WND

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/10/now-we-know-how-many-illegal-aliens-really-in-u-s/#AiCxWYKTVYZVBtSz.99

OPINION: The heightened pleading standard established in 2009 is based on faulty propositions. Arthur H. Bryant, The National Law Journal


National Law Journal
http://www.nationallawjournal.com/printerfriendly/id=1202758245088

‘Iqbal’ Brings Seven Years of Bad Luck for Plaintiffs

OPINION: The heightened pleading standard established in 2009 is based on faulty propositions.
Arthur H. Bryant, The National Law Journal
May 23, 2016

The seventh anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal was May 18. It’s a date that should live in infamy.
A 5-4 decision, Iqbal ignored reality — and the fact that truth is stranger than fiction. It flouted the process for amending the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. And it particularly limited access to justice for civil rights, employment discrimination and individual plaintiffs.
Seventy years before Iqbal, in 1938, the Federal Rules were adopted to get rid of “fact” pleading, which the rule-makers thought “led to wasteful disputes about distinctions that … were arbitrary or metaphysical, too often cutting off adjudication on the merits.” Under the new Rule 8, to start a lawsuit, the plaintiff had to file a complaint with “a short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief.”
As the court later explained in Conley v. Gibson, the complaint did not have to “set out the facts in detail.” It just had to give the defendant “fair notice of what the plaintiff’s claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” A motion to dismiss would only be granted if “it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Then, the plaintiff could take discovery, to find out what the defendant and other relevant people knew and when they knew it. After that, the court would determine whether there was sufficient proof to require a trial.
In Iqbal, the court rejected a complaint alleging that high-level U.S. officials had a Pakistani Muslim and thousands of other Arab men illegally arrested and detained after the 9/11 attacks because of “their race, religion, and national origin … and not because of any evidence” of their “involvement in supporting terrorist activity.”
To do so, the court changed the rules. It held that, from now on, to “survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Dismissal no longer turned on whether the complaint provided “fair notice” to the defendant; it turned on whether the claim was “plausible on its face.” How were judges to determine that? By drawing on their “judicial experience and common sense.”
Motions to dismiss were immediately filed throughout the federal courts. Judges’ and lawyers’ workloads increased enormously. The lower courts and lawyers are still struggling to figure out how the new system is supposed to work — and, if they can, make it fair.
For three reasons, however, it’s become increasingly clear that Iqbal was a mistake.
First, whatever one thinks about the allegations in the case, the Iqbal pleading standard is based on a proposition — allegations probably aren’t true if they’re not plausible on their face — that is false. Reality keeps teaching us that. None of us, including federal judges using their “judicial experience and common sense,” would have believed that any of the following was plausible a few years ago:
• Donald Trump would be the presumptive Republican Party nominee for president of the United States of America.
• A prominent candidate for president would propose banning all Muslims from entering America or call women “fat pigs,” “dogs” and “disgusting animals.”
• Same-sex marriage would be legal nationwide.
• The U.S. government would obtain and be able to search virtually all Ameri­cans’ phone records.
• Olympic champion Bruce Jenner would become a woman, Caitlyn Jenner.
• Federal, state and local governments would battle over what kind of bathroom people such as Caitlyn Jenner could use.
Similar implausible things happen every day.
Second, Iqbal effectively rewrote the Federal Rules without following the legally established rules for amending them. Under the Rules Enabling Act, before rules are changed, detailed procedures must be followed involving the Advisory Committees to the U.S. Judicial Con­ference’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure; the Standing Committee itself; notice to and comment from lawyers, judges and the public; the U.S. Judicial Conference; the Supreme Court; and Congress — so the changes are fully considered and fair.
In 2002, the court unanimously rejected a company’s plea for a heightened pleading standard in employment discrimination cases, saying that result “must be obtained by the process of amending the Federal Rules, and not judicial interpretation.” It should have said that in Iqbal, too.
Third, Iqbal is especially harmful to civil rights, employment discrimination and individual plaintiffs. Last year, the most comprehensive study of Iqbal’s effects, “Measuring the Impact of Plausi­bility Pleading,” was published in the Virginia Law Review. It found that Iqbal increased dismissals of most cases by 10 percent, but employment discrimination and civil rights cases much more (16 percent and 19 percent, respectively). Cases filed by individuals were also dismissed far more often (18 percent), but not cases filed by corporations.
In theory, this could mean that only bad cases were dismissed more promptly. But, if that were true, a higher percentage of the cases remaining in court would succeed. They didn’t. These plaintiffs were just disproportionately denied a chance to prove their claims.
The high court should reverse the Iqbal decision. Whether cases proceed should turn on the facts and the law, not on whether judges think the allegations are plausible.
Arthur H. Bryant is the chairman of Public Justice, a national public interest law firm dedicated to advancing and preserving access to justice. His practice focuses on consumers’ rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, environmental protection, and corporate and government accountability.

Judicial Corruption at its Finest

Reprimanded judge says presiding over his own divorce case for several months ‘made no difference’


Reprimanded last month for presiding over his own divorce case for four months after it was randomly assigned to his own court, a Texas judge told a local newspaper that doing so did no harm.

“This was my personal divorce,” said 383rd District Judge Mike Herrera to the El Paso Times on Tuesday, explaining that there was “no rush” to transfer the case to another judge because he and his wife were trying at the time to work things out.

Hence, “the fact that it was in this court made no difference. It stayed there,” Herrera said of the divorce case. “I wasn’t actively doing anything. Me and my former spouse were working on everything. She and I were working on everything carefully.”

The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct noted that Herrera had filed motions in the case while it was in his own court. The commission said that the judge “failed to comply with the law, demonstrated a lack of professional competence in the law, and engaged in willful and persistent conduct that was clearly inconsistent with the proper performance of his judicial duties,” the newspaper reports.

In addition to reprimanding Herrera, the commission ordered him to get six hours of training.

2016 STATE OF THE JUDICIARY ADDRESS THE HONORABLE CHIEF JUSTICE HUGH P. THOMPSON SUPREME COURT OF GEORGIA January 27, 2016, 11 a.m. House Chambers, State Capitol

016 STATE OF THE JUDICIARY ADDRESS
THE HONORABLE CHIEF JUSTICE HUGH P. THOMPSON
SUPREME COURT OF GEORGIA
January 27, 2016, 11 a.m.
House Chambers, State Capitol

Lt. Governor Cagle, Speaker Ralston, President Pro Tem Shafer, Speaker Pro Tem Jones, members of the General Assembly, my fellow judges and my fellow Georgians:
Good morning. Thank you for this annual tradition of inviting the Chief Justice to report on the State of Georgia’s Judiciary. Thanks in large part to your support and the support of our governor, as we move into 2016, I am pleased to tell you that your judicial branch of government is not only steady and secure, it is dynamic; it has momentum; and it is moving forward into the 21st century with a vitality and a commitment to meeting the inevitable changes before us.
Our mission remains the same: To protect individual rights and liberties, to uphold and interpret the rule of law, and to provide a forum for the peaceful resolution of disputes that is fair, impartial, and accessible to all.
Our judges are committed to these principles. Each day, throughout this state, they put on their black robes; they take their seat on the courtroom bench; and they work tirelessly to ensure that all citizens who come before them get justice.


Our Judicial Council is the policy-making body of the state’s judicial branch. It is made up of competent, committed leaders elected by their fellow judges and representing all classes of court. They are assisted by an Administrative Office of the Courts, which is under a new director – Cynthia Clanton – and has a renewed focus as an agency that serves judges and courts throughout Georgia.
A number of our judges have made the trip to be here today. Our judges are here today because the relationship we have with you is important. We share with you the same goal of serving the citizens of this great state. We could not do our work without your help and that of our governor.
On behalf of all of the judges, let me say we are extremely grateful to you members of the General Assembly for your judicial compensation appropriation last year.


Today I want to talk to you about Georgia’s 21st century courts – our vision for the future, the road we must travel to get there, and the accomplishments we have already achieved.
It has been said that, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
Since a new state Constitution took effect in 1983, our population has nearly doubled to a little over 10 million, making us the 8th most populous state in the country. We are among the fastest growing states in the nation, and in less than four years, our population is projected to exceed 12 million.
Because it is good for our economy, we welcome that growth. Today, Georgia ranks
among states with the highest number of Fortune 500 companies, 20 of which have their global headquarters here; we have 72 four-year colleges and universities; we have the world’s busiest airport and we have two deep-water ports. Georgia is a gateway to the South, and for a growing number of people and businesses from around the world, it is a gateway to this country.
All of this growth produces litigation – increasingly complex litigation – and just as our state must prepare for this growth by ensuring we have enough roads and modes of transportation, enough doctors and hospitals, and enough power to reach people throughout the state, our courts also must be equipped and modernized for the 21st
century.
While our population has nearly doubled since 1983, the number of Georgia judges has
grown only 16 percent. We must work together to ensure that our judicial system has enough judges, staff and resources in the 21st century to fulfill the mission and constitutional duties our forefathers assigned to us.
A healthy, vibrant judiciary is absolutely critical to the economic development of our state. Thanks to many leaders in the judiciary, as well as to our partnership with the governor and to you in the legislature, we are well on our way to building a court system for the 21st century.


This time next year, with your support, we will have put into place an historic shift in the types of cases handled by the Georgia Supreme Court – the highest court in the state – and by the Court of Appeals – our intermediate appellate court. Thanks to Governor Deal’s Georgia Appellate Jurisdiction Review Commission, this realignment will bring the Supreme Court of Georgia in line with other state Supreme Courts, which handle only the most critical cases that potentially change the law. Serving on the Commission are two of my colleagues – Justice David Nahmias and Justice Keith Blackwell – as well as two judges from the Court of Appeals – Chief
Judge Sara Doyle and Judge Stephen Dillard.
I thank you, Justices and Judges, for your leadership.
Under the Georgia Constitution, Supreme Court justices collectively decide every case that comes before us. Currently the state’s highest court hears divorce and alimony cases; we hear cases involving wills; we hear cases involving titles to land; and we hear disputes over boundary lines.
But the Governor’s Commission, and a number of reports by other commissions and
committees issued since 1983, have recommended that such cases should be heard by our intermediate appeals court, not by our highest court.
Both of our courts are among the busiest in the nation. But unlike the Supreme Court, which sits as a full court with all seven justices participating in, and deciding, every case, the Court of Appeals sits in panels of three. With your approval last year of three new Court of Appeals judges, that court will now have five panels, so it will have the capacity to consider five times as many cases as the Supreme Court.
Modernization of the Supreme Court makes sense. In a 19th century court system, when
most of the wealth was tied up in land, maybe title to land cases were the most important. Maybe they had the greatest implications for the public at large. But as we move into the 21st century, that is no longer true.
In answer to questions such as who owns a strip of land, what does a will mean, and who should prevail in a divorce settlement or an alimony dispute, most judicial systems believe that three judges are enough to provide the parties with a full and fair consideration of their appeal. It no longer makes sense to have seven – or nine – justices collectively review these types of cases.
There is no doubt these cases will be in good hands with the Court of Appeals.
Let me emphasize that all these cases the Commission recommended shifting to the Court of Appeals are critically important to the parties involved.
Let me also emphasize that the purpose of this historic change is not to lessen the burden on the Supreme Court. Rather, the intent is to free up the state’s highest court to devote more time and energy to the most complex and the most difficult cases that have the greatest implications for the law and society at large.
We will therefore retain jurisdiction of constitutional challenges to the laws you enact, questions from the federal courts seeking authoritative rulings on Georgia law, election contests, murder and death penalty cases, and cases in which the Court of Appeals judges are equally divided.
Significantly, we want to be able to accept more of what we call “certiorari” cases
which are appeals of decisions by the Court of Appeals. The number of petitions filed in this category during the first quarter of the new docket year is nearly 14 percent higher this year over last. Yet due to the amount of appeals the law now requires us to take, we have had to reject the majority of the petitions for certiorari that we receive.
These cases are often the most complex – and the most consequential. They involve
issues of great importance to the legal system and the State as a whole. Or they involve an area of law that has become inconsistent and needs clarification.
Businesses and citizens need to know what the law allows them to do and what it does
not allow them to do. It is our job at the highest court to reduce any uncertainty and bring consistency and clarity to the law.
Under the Commission’s recommendations, our 21st century Georgia Supreme Court will
be able to accept more of these important appeals.


As we move into the 21st century, plans are being discussed to build the first state Judicial Building in Georgia’s history that will be dedicated solely to the judiciary. We are grateful for the Governor’s leadership on this. The building that now houses the state’s highest court and the Court of Appeals was built in 1954 when Herman Tallmadge was governor. Back then, it made sense to combine the state judicial branch with part of the executive branch, by locating the Law Department in the same building.
But the world has changed since 1954, and the building we now occupy was not designed with visitors in mind. It was not designed with technology in mind. And it surely was not designed with security in mind. Indeed, it was designed to interconnect with neighboring buildings that housed other branches of government.
A proper Judicial Building is about more than bricks and mortar. Outside, this building will symbolize for generations to come the place where people will go to get final resolution of civil wrongs and injustices; where the government will go to safeguard its prosecution of criminals; and where defendants will go to appeal convictions and sentences to prison for life.
Inside such a building, the courtroom will reinforce the reality that what goes on here is serious and solemn; it is a place of great purpose, in the words of a federal judge. The parties and the lawyers will understand they are all on equal footing, because they are equal under the law.
There is a majesty about the law that gets played out in the courtroom. It is a hallowed place because it is where the truth must be told and where justice is born. The courtroom represents our democracy at its very best.
No, this building is not just about bricks and mortar. Rather it is a place that will house Georgia’s highest court where fairness, impartiality, and justice will reign for future generations.


We are no longer living in a 1950s Georgia. The courts of the 21st century must be
equipped to handle an increasingly diverse population. Living today in metropolitan Atlanta alone are more than 700,000 people who were born outside the United States. According to the Chamber of Commerce, today some 70 countries have a presence in Atlanta, in the form of a consulate or trade office. We must be ready to help resolve the disputes of international businesses that are increasingly locating in our state and capital. Our 21st century courts must be open, transparent and accessible to all. Our citizens’ confidence in their judicial system depends on it. We must be armed with qualified, certified interpreters, promote arbitration as an alternative to costly, courtroom-bound litigation, ensure that all those who cannot afford lawyers have an avenue toward justice, and be constantly updating technology with the aim of improving our courts’ efficiency while saving literally millions of dollars. For all of this, we need your help.


When I first became a judge, we had no email, no cell phones, no Internet. People didn’t Twitter or text, or post things on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram. The most modern equipment we had was a mimeograph machine.
This past year, by Supreme Court order, we created for the first time a governance
structure to bring our use of technology into the 21st century. Chaired by my colleague Justice Harold Melton, and co-chaired by Douglas County Superior Court Judge David Emerson, this permanent Judicial Council Standing Committee on Technology will lead the judicial branch by providing guidance and oversight of its technology initiatives.
Our courts on their own are rapidly moving away from paper documents into the digital age. At the Supreme Court, lawyers must now electronically file all cases. This past year, we successfully launched the next phase by working with trial courts to begin transmitting their entire court record to us electronically. The Court of Appeals also now requires the e-filing of applications to appeal, and this year, will join the Supreme Court in accepting electronic trial records.

Our goal is to develop a uniform statewide electronic filing and retrieval system so that lawyers and others throughout the judiciary can file and access data the easiest way possible.
Using a single portal, attorneys will be able to file documents with trial courts and appellate courts – and retrieve them from any court in the state. This is the system advocated by our partner, President Bob Kaufman of the State Bar of Georgia, and by attorneys throughout the state.
Such a system will not only make our courts more efficient at huge savings, but it will make Georgia safer. When our trial judges conduct bond hearings, for example, they often lack critical information about the person before them. They usually have reports about any former convictions, but they may not have information about cases pending against the defendant in other courts. The technology exists now to ensure that they do.
Also on the horizon is the expanded use of videoconferencing – another electronic
improvement that will save money and protect citizens’ lives. After a conviction and sentence to prison, post-trial hearings require courts to send security teams to pick up the prisoner and bring him to court. Without encroaching on the constitutional right of confrontation, we could videoconference the inmate’s testimony from his prison cell. Again, the technology already exists.
Our Committee on Technology will be at the forefront of guiding our courts into the 21st century.


As Georgia grows, it grows more diverse.
Our Georgia courts are required by the federal government to provide language services free of charge to litigants and witnesses, not only in criminal cases but in civil cases as well.
Even for fluent English speakers, the judicial system can be confusing and unwelcoming.
My vision for Georgia’s judiciary in the 21st century is that every court, in every city and every county in Georgia, will have the capacity of serving all litigants, speaking any language, regardless of national origin, from the moment they enter the courthouse until the moment they leave. That means that on court websites, signs and forms will be available in multiple languages, that all court staff will have the tools they need to assist any customers, and that court proceedings will have instant access to the interpreters of the languages they need.
Chief Magistrate Kristina Blum of the Gwinnett County Magistrate Court has been
working hard to ensure access to justice for all those who come to her court, most of whom are representing themselves.
Recently her court created brochures that provide guidance for civil trials, family
violence matters, warrant applications, garnishments, and landlord-tenant disputes. These brochures provide basic information about each proceeding – what to expect and how best to present their case in court.
Judge Blum, who is in line to be president of the Council of Magistrate Judges and is a member of our Judicial Council, has had the brochures translated into Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese. Such non-legalese forms and tutorial videos that our citizens can understand go a long way toward building trust in the judicial system, and in our entire government.
The Supreme Court Commission on Interpreters, chaired by Justice Keith Blackwell, is
making significant strides in ensuring that our courts uphold the standards of due process. With the help of Commission member Jana Edmondson-Cooper, an energetic attorney with the Georgia Legal Services Program, the Commission is working around the state to educate judges,court administrators and lawyers on the judiciary’s responsibilities in providing language assistance.
The essence of due process is the opportunity to be heard. Our justice system is the envy of other countries because it is open and fair to everyone seeking justice. By helping those who have not yet mastered English, we reinforce the message that the doors to the best justice system in the world are open to everyone.
Our law demands it. Our Constitution demands it.


The courts of the 21st century will symbolize a new era. A turning point in our history occurred when we realized there was a smarter way to handle criminals.
Six years ago, my colleague and then Chief Justice Carol Hunstein accompanied
Representative Wendell Willard to Alabama to explore how that state was reforming its criminal justice system. Back in Georgia, Governor Deal seized the reins, brought together the three branches of government, and through extraordinary leadership, has made criminal justice reform a reality. Georgia is now a model for the nation.
Today, following an explosive growth in our prison population that doubled between
1990 and 2011 and caused corrections costs to top one billion dollars a year, last year our prison population was the lowest it has been in 10 years. Our recidivism rate is the lowest it’s been in three decades. And we have turned back the tide of rising costs.
For the last five years, the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform – created by the governor and your legislation – has been busy transforming our criminal justice system into one that does a better job of protecting public safety while holding non-violent offenders accountable and saving millions in taxpayer dollars. I am extremely grateful to this Council and commend the steady leadership of co-chairs Judge Michael Boggs of the Court of Appeals and Thomas Worthy of the State Bar of Georgia.
Throughout this historic reform, Georgia’s trial court judges have been in the trenches.
Our number one goal in criminal justice reform is to better protect the safety of our citizens.
Central to that goal is the development of our specialty courts – what some call accountability courts.
These courts have a proven track record of reducing recidivism rates and keeping our
citizens safe. Nationwide, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain free of arrest two years after completing the program, and the most conservative analyses show that drug courts reduce crime as much as 45 percent more than other sentencing options. Last year, these courts helped save Georgia more than $51 million in prison costs.
From the beginning, you in the legislature have steadfastly supported the growth in these courts, most recently appropriating more than $19 million for the current fiscal year.
Georgia now has 131 of these courts, which include drug courts, DUI courts, juvenile and adult mental health courts, and veterans courts. Today, only two judicial circuits in the state do not yet have a specialty court, and both are in the early stages of discussing the possibility of starting one. In addition to those already involved, last year alone, we added nearly 3500 new participants to these courts.
Behind that number are individual tales of lives changed and in some cases, lives saved.
Our judges, who see so much failure, take pride in these success stories. And so should you.

Chief Judge Richard Slaby of the Richmond County State Court, speaks with great pride of Judge David Watkins and the specialty courts that have grown under Judge Watkins’ direction. Today the recidivism rate among the Augusta participants is less than 10 percent.
The judges who run these courts are committed and deserve our thanks. We are grateful to leaders like Judge Slaby, who is President-Elect of the Council of State Court Judges and a member of our Judicial Council; to Judge Stephen Goss of the Dougherty Superior Court, whose mental health court has been recognized as one of the best mental health courts in our country; to Chief Judge Brenda Weaver, President of the Council of Superior Court Judges and a member of our Judicial Council. Judge Weaver of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit serves on the Council of
Accountability Court Judges of Georgia, which you created last year by statute. Its purpose is to improve the quality of our specialty courts through proven standards and practices, and it is chaired by Superior Court Judge Jason Deal of Hall County. Judge Deal’s dedication to the specialty court model in his community, and his guidance and encouragement to programs throughout the state, are described as invaluable by those who work with him.


We may not have a unified court system in Georgia. But we have judges unified in their commitment to our courts. Among our one thousand four hundred and fifty judges, Georgia has many fine leaders. I’ve told you about a number of them today. In closing, I want to mention two more.
When the United States Supreme Court issued its historic decision last year on same-sex marriage, our Council of Probate Court Judges led the way toward compliance. Three months before the ruling was issued, the judges met privately at the behest of the Council’s then president, Judge Chase Daughtrey of Cook County, and his successor, Judge Don Wilkes of Emanuel County. Together, they determined that regardless of what the Supreme Court decided, they would follow the law. Both Governor Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens also publicly announced they would respect the court’s decision, despite tremendous pressure to do otherwise.
These men are all great leaders who spared our state the turmoil other states endured. The bottom line is this: In Georgia, we may like the law, we may not like the law, but we follow the law.


The day-to-day business of the Georgia courts rarely makes the news. Rather judges,
their staff and clerks spend their days devoted to understanding the law, tediously pushing cases through to resolution, committed to ferreting out the truth and making the right decision. It is not easy, and they must often stand alone, knowing that when they sentence someone to prison, many lives hang in the balance between justice and mercy.
So I thank all of our leaders, and I thank all of our judges who are leading our courts into the 21st century.
May God bless them. May God bless you. And may God bless all the people of Georgia.
Thank you.

The Daily Sheeple: “FUKUSHIMA? 10,000 DEAD SQUID WASH UP ON CHILE BEACH”


FUKUSHIMA? 10,000 DEAD SQUID WASH UP ON CHILE BEACH
JANUARY 18, 2016 | MELISSA DYKES | THE DAILY SHEEPLE | 4,008 VIEWS
http://www.thedailysheeple.com/fukushima-10000-dead-squid-wash-up-on-chile-beach_012016

It is being referred to as Cthulhu-geddon.
Squid have washed up on Santa Maria Island off Chile this week in what some have described as biblical proportions. Thousands of dead and dying squid are piled up on the shore. While some squid normally do wash up this time of year, it’s never been in this large of a quantity.

Exact reason for this die-off is unknown, but some experts claim it might be a sudden drop in oxygen content in the water or an increase in water temperatures. They just really don’t know.

Of course, just like all the other mass die-offs up and down the Pacific coast in recent years, no one in any official capacity is pointing to the Fukushima disaster, still dumping tons of radioactive water into the sea as it has been for the last half a decade now just across the globe from Chile.


Screenshot 2016-01-18 at 8.08.59 AM

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