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‘Deeply disturbing’: New York Supreme Court judge rules protesters can be detained indefinitely

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A New York State Supreme Court judge on Thursday rejected a petition seeking the immediate release of hundreds of protesters who had been held by the New York Police Department for more than 24 hours, ruling that extraordinary circumstances justify indefinite detention.

“It is a crisis within a crisis,” wrote Justice James Burke in his ruling. “All writs are denied.”

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Burke’s decision was met with alarm by New York lawmakers and activists who immediately condemned the ruling as an unlawful suspension of the right of habeas corpus, which requires the government to justify detention of a person before a court. Hundreds of New Yorkers have been arrested in recent days during mass protests over the May 25 killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

“The NYPD has no excuses with its 38,000 police officers and the best technology in the world, with all the money they are being given. They have no excuse to not process them in a timely manner.”
—Marlen Bodden, Legal Aid Society

“Civil liberties protect ourselves from governments using ‘crises’ and ’emergencies’ as justification to dismantle our rights,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). “This is suspension of habeas corpus, it is unconstitutional, and it is deeply disturbing that both NYPD is seeking it and a judge rubber stamped it.”

The Legal Aid Society (LAS), a non-profit organization that sued (pdf) the NYPD on Tuesday over the prolonged detention of protesters, accused the department of violating New York’s “24 hour arrest-to-arraignment requirement.”

But Burke ultimately agreed with the NYPD’s claim that arraignment delays are justified “because we are in a crisis caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic which prevents live arraignments, which in turn causes virtual arraignments.”

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Marlen Bodden, senior staff attorney with LAS, rejected that argument during a court hearing Thursday.

“The NYPD has no excuses with its 38,000 police officers and the best technology in the world, with all the money they are being given,” said Bodden. “They have no excuse to not process them in a timely manner.”

In a tweet late Thursday, LAS said it “strongly” disagrees with Burke’s ruling.

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“As of 6 pm tonight, 160 NYers citywide remain in custody 24+ hours after their arrest, which is some progress, but 160 NYers too many,” the group said. “We’ll continue to monitor this situation and we are ready to appeal if necessary.”


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Pence claims on coronavirus second wave ‘proved wrong in nearly every way’ less than a month later: analysis

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Vice President Mike Pence's claims about a second wave of coronavirus has been proven completely wrong less than a month later.

The vice president argued in a Wall Street Journal editorial June 16 that no second wave of the deadly pandemic would emerge, but the Washington Post's Philip Bump found only that claim to be accurate -- and only on a technicality.

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Couple arrested after being caught on video brutally attacking female Black hotel employee

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Two people who were caught on surveillance video in a suspected racially-motivated assault of a Black woman at a hotel in Connecticut have been arrested, WFSB reports.

Philip Samer and Emily Orbay were arrested in Brooklyn, New York, by U.S. marshals and will be extradited to Connecticut. Sarner was charged with second-degree assault, third-degree assault and "intimidation based on bigotry and bias." Orbay was charged with two counts of third-degree assault and intimidation based on bigotry and bias.

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High stakes in Johnny Depp libel hearing

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Hollywood star Johnny Depp wrapped up five days of gruelling testimony Monday in a libel trial that has exposed the dark underbelly of the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise hero is suing the publisher and executive editor of Britain's The Sun tabloid newspaper over a 2018 story branding him a "wife beater".

The 57-year-old denies abusing actress Amber Heard -- now 34 and the global face of French cosmetics firm L'Oreal -- during a rocky two-year marriage that ended in a messy 2017 divorce and several lawsuits.

But he has admitted a debilitating drug habit and allowed the defense to air graphic details of 14 assault allegations that made headlines around the world.

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