Legal Individual – Monster Beats Kopfhorerde http://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/ Fri, 13 May 2022 19:29:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-2.png Legal Individual – Monster Beats Kopfhorerde http://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/ 32 32 SEC sues Florida firm that raised $410 million over IPO-related fraud filings https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/sec-sues-florida-firm-that-raised-410-million-over-ipo-related-fraud-filings/ Fri, 13 May 2022 19:29:00 +0000 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/sec-sues-florida-firm-that-raised-410-million-over-ipo-related-fraud-filings/

NEW YORK, May 13 (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday sued a Florida company that allegedly raised at least $410 million by fraudulently promising investors access to private companies that might proceed to IPOs.

In a civil complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, the SEC also requested an asset freeze against StraightPath Venture Partners LLC and its three founders, and the appointment of a receiver to stop “ongoing fraud” within the company. ‘business.

The SEC said StraightPath touts its investment vehicles as a way for ordinary investors to hold “coveted” and hard-to-find pre-IPO shares in companies such as plant-based burger maker Impossible Foods and the Kraken cryptocurrency exchange.

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But the SEC said the Jupiter, Fla.-based company often ran out of stock to back investments, made “Ponzi-like” payments to certain investors and improperly mixed investor and company assets.

He also said that StraightPath charges “exorbitant and undisclosed fees”, allowing founders Michael Castillero, Francine Lanaia and Brian Martinsen and fund manager Eric Lachow to pay themselves around $75 million and their sales agents nearly $48 million. of dollars.

StraightPath says it charges investors a one-time “due diligence” fee of 5%, plus a 2% management fee and 1% expense fee.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, StraightPath attorneys called the SEC’s requests “completely unwarranted,” citing the firm’s years of cooperation and saying StraightPath presented a danger “contrary to credulity.”

Lawyers for StraightPath also said the SEC “apparently prompted” the US Department of Justice to open a grand jury investigation into the company, and that the asset freeze could interfere with individual defendants’ defenses against that investigation. criminal.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to court documents, StraightPath raised $410 million from more than 2,200 investors in at least 14 countries between November 2017 and February 2022, when it agreed with the SEC to stop soliciting new investments.

The SEC said StraightPath funds held more than $200 million in securities, but were short $14 million in pre-IPO stock for seven companies, including Impossible Foods and Kraken.

The case is SEC v StraightPath Venture Partners LLC et al, US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-03897.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis, Barbara Lewis and Chizu Nomiyama

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Let It Grow: Why More Law Schools Should Teach Cannabis Law – JURIST – Commentary https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/let-it-grow-why-more-law-schools-should-teach-cannabis-law-jurist-commentary/ Thu, 12 May 2022 02:36:20 +0000 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/let-it-grow-why-more-law-schools-should-teach-cannabis-law-jurist-commentary/

Douglas A. Berman and Jana Hrdinová, executive director and administrative director, respectively, of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, discuss their center’s recent report on courses and curriculum in drug law. cannabis in law schools across the United States. …

California’s 1996 ballot initiative protecting medical marijuana users from state criminal prosecution launched the era of modern marijuana reform in the United States. Partly as a result of federal prohibition, state medical marijuana laws have raised an array of interesting and complex legal issues. Some questions concerned the scope of federal law after state reforms. Could doctors be punished by federal authorities for recommending marijuana to patients under state law? Could groups supplying marijuana to patients raise a defense of medical necessity if they face federal prosecution? Other issues have arisen at the intersection of new drug laws and other state laws. Could an employer legally fire an employee with a valid medical recommendation simply for testing positive for marijuana? Could cops legally search a car based on the smell of marijuana?

Lawyers and courts have grappled with these and countless other legal issues across the country as an ever-increasing number of states have legalized marijuana for various uses. Numerous constitutional questions about potential conflicts between federal and state authority and individual rights have occupied the federal courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court. A wide range of state law issues have not only occupied state courts, but also state administrative bodies and legal ethics committees, all seeking to determine when and how attorneys can advise. or even play a role in the development of the marijuana industry.

A quarter century after California’s first state-level reform, three dozen states have now joined California in legalizing marijuana for a range of medical uses, representing more than 70% of the US population. And 18 states plus the District of Columbia, representing more than 40% of the US population, have also legalized cannabis for recreational use. A large and new cannabis industry has come with a number of complex regulatory and political issues. State policymakers and public advocates now face the challenge of developing licensing regimes and regulatory rules to protect public health and safety, designing effective tax rates and business structures, and to advance equitable goals ranging from expunging old convictions to helping disadvantaged communities participate in the industry. Private attorneys helping marijuana businesses must figure out how to raise capital, navigate licensing requirements, and structure acquisitions in the face of various state laws and the ongoing federal ban. Lawyers are also called upon to review and revise workplace rules on the use of marijuana, advise landlords, hospitals and other locations regarding the use of marijuana on their properties, and resolve a myriad other new issues in this dynamic field.

And yet, with so many new legal issues to tackle and such rich policy areas to debate, remarkably few law schools are cultivating a modern curriculum by offering courses in cannabis law and policy to the next generation of lawyers. Beginning in 2018, our center (The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law) conducted an annual survey of law school curriculum to track the evolution of teaching in the field of cannabis law and policy. We surveyed law school online class schedules and contacted Registrar’s offices via email. We were initially surprised that barely one in ten law schools offered even a single course in this area; in the 2018-2019 academic year, only 21 of 201 accredited law schools offered 24 cannabis-specific courses to their students. This number grew to 29 schools offering 33 courses in 2019-20, and the growth continued with 35 schools offering 35 courses in 2020-2021 and finally 37 schools offering 38 courses in our last count in 2021-2022. But even though the number of courses offered has increased over the past four years, law schools still lag considerably behind the rapid pace of cannabis legalization. While nearly 75% of US states now have some form of marijuana legalized, less than 20% of law schools in the US offer courses in cannabis law.

Notably, even schools offering courses in this area do not do so consistently: only eight schools offered a course on cannabis in the four years we examined the programs and 23 schools offered a course on cannabis. cannabis only once during this period. Coverage of this topic is limited even in law schools located in medical or adult use states. In the 2021-2022 academic year, there were 86 law schools located in states that had legalized marijuana for adult use, but just over a quarter of schools (24) offered courses on the law cannabis. Of the 57 law schools located in medical-use-only states, only eight offered courses on cannabis law or policy. In total, of the 143 law schools located in states that have legalized cannabis for medical or adult use, only 32 offered courses on cannabis policy and legislation. Of the 18 states that have legalized cannabis for adult use, eight states do not have law schools offering cannabis law courses, and neither does the District of Columbia. Of the 19 medical marijuana states, 12 had no law schools offering cannabis law courses in the 2021-2022 academic year. In other words, 20 out of 37 states that have legalized adult or medical use of marijuana do not have law schools that offer classes in cannabis law.

Cannabis reform states without a cannabis law course

These data suggest that many law schools, including those in states that have legalized cannabis for medical or adult purposes, have been slow to adapt their curriculum by adopting courses that will help prepare the next generation of lawyers. to work in this difficult and never known field. -changing legal and political environment. Given the growth of the cannabis industry as well as the complex nature of state-specific laws and regulations, the failure of schools in states that have legalized cannabis for medical or adult purposes could be seen as an important omission in the overall training of future legal professionals.

By emphasizing its educational value, the field of cannabis law can serve as a terrific capstone course for graduate students that provides a bridge between the teachings of law school and the practice of law by presenting an application practical and understandable for complex legal issues. But there can also be great professional value for students. The Fall 2021 issue of The National Jurist put “Cannabis Law” on its list of “20 Hottest Legal Jobs for the Next Decade,” no doubt because the number of law firms and other employers seeking young legal talent with a knowledge base in this area is sure to grow as more and more states legalize and develop recreational and medical cannabis regimes. Given the relative newness of this industry, its complicated regulatory environment, and its continued growth, students familiar with cannabis laws may have special career opportunities and chances for rapid advancement in a dynamic and interesting field. . Notably, the legal press has pointed out that an increasing number of large law firms are beginning to form large cannabis practice groups. It will be worth watching whether an increasing number of large law firms developing cannabis-related practices will in turn lead to an increasing number of law schools adding courses in this area.

Douglas A. Berman is the Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Jana Hrdinová is the administrative director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Suggested quote: Douglas A. Berman and Jana Hrdinová, Let It Grow: Why More Law Schools Should Teach Cannabis Law, JURIST – Academic Commentary, May 11, 2022, https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2022/05/douglas-berman – jana-hrdinova-law-schools-cannabis-curriculum/.


This article was prepared for publication by Katherine Gemmingen, Associate Co-Editor of JURIST. Please direct your questions or comments to him at commentary@jurist.org


The opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of JURIST’s editors, staff, donors, or the University of Pittsburgh.

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Defending the Outsider – Harvard Law Today https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/defending-the-outsider-harvard-law-today/ Tue, 10 May 2022 11:21:57 +0000 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/defending-the-outsider-harvard-law-today/

If life itself is our greatest teacher, then a student who can apply lived experience to classroom learning benefits from a superior education.

William Greenlaw ’22 not only has these tools, but he already applies them to the law. Growing up in what he describes as a working-class Indiana family, Greenlaw once provided legal services to a labor union and co-founded (with Abraham Barkordar ’22) the Plaintiffs Law Association at Harvard Law School, of which he was also co-president.

“Life cannot just be seized, greed and gain. Instead, we should do our best to focus on the least, the lost and the left behind,” Greenlaw said, paraphrasing his pastor ( “among other things,” he noted.) At Harvard Law, his goal was to “find out how best I could do it.”

Greenlaw has long championed the underdog. As a data analyst in the New York State Attorney General’s office before joining Harvard Law School, he helped fight wage theft and anti-competitive corporate mergers, identifying criminals in col white “who used their power and privilege in society to take advantage of people who didn’t have these things.

But after starting law school, the 2017 Harvard College grad struggled to figure out how to replicate that kind of experience. “There were a lot of opportunities in the general law, but there weren’t a lot of opportunities to work in plaintiff firms – or firms adjacent to plaintiffs – that would do the kind of work we envisioned,” did he declare. That work, he explained, is often “cases that people are concerned about, whether it’s holding big tech accountable for privacy violations or big industry accountable for antitrust violations.”

Such efforts don’t just help individual customers with their suits, he noted. Ultimately, “through strategic litigation, we can compel bad actors to change systems of their own design.”

The idea of ​​a plaintiff-focused law school had immediate appeal. “Many students were unaware that there was a gap in the type of legal opportunities available. They didn’t know that a plaintiffs’ firm was an opportunity.

My interests are always aligned with the value of trying to work on behalf of workers. …To use the incredible privilege and benefits that I have received in my life, whether from my family, my community, my friends, my mentors, and to project that outward.

The organization has worked hard to make these opportunities a reality, holding two job fairs so far and placing a number of students on internships. “I think there’s a lasting appeal to that, once we make it known that these opportunities are available,” Greenlaw said.

“My interests are always aligned with the value of trying to work on behalf of workers,” he continued. “To use the incredible privilege and benefits that I have received in my life, whether from my family, my community, my friends, my mentors, and to project that outward.”

The sense of fairness at the heart of Greenlaw’s work stems from personal tragedy. A first-generation college graduate, Greenlaw describes his Harvard experience, in the words of poet Langston Hughes, as “a dream carried forward for my family.” His mother had enrolled in an institution that was later purchased by a for-profit college and closed “under mysterious circumstances”, leaving her without recourse, he said. A 16-year-old army veteran, her mother had left the service when she was placed in a position she deemed unsafe. After her release, she found her benefits “completely opaque” – a common complaint among veterans – and difficult to access. The situation was aggravated by depression and difficulty in finding gainful employment. A black woman, she also found her complaints of chest pains ignored when she sought medical help, he said. Due to an undiagnosed blood clot, she died of a heart attack during Greenlaw’s freshman year.

“At each of those times, there was an aggravated disadvantage to my family,” Greenlaw explained. “If government policy was different, she could have stayed until she retired. If the veteran’s benefits were clear, she could have gotten them sooner. If there had been law enforcement to stop employers from abusing their employees, she wouldn’t have jumped from job to job. If doctors were more sensitive to systemic racism, she would have received better care.

Despite these systemic failures, Greenlaw sees both reason for hope and a call to action. “I think the law is becoming more and more aware of this,” he said. “But we are not there yet.”

The drive to embrace such change also has roots in Greenlaw’s family. Driven in part by his father’s history as a steelworker and his stepmother’s as a United Steelworkers (USW) union organizer, he won a Peggy Browning summer scholarship and spent the summer last with USW in Pittsburgh. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard,” he said, of the time he spent researching labor issues, free speech, as it relates to organizers and employees, collective bargaining strategies. “I’m learning more and more about how to enforce the law on behalf of the workers the best I can,” he said.

This was true throughout his time at Harvard Law School, said the professor Ruth L. Okediji LLM ’91 SJD ’96, professor of contract law at Greenlaw, whom he describes as a mentor. “William was always on the lookout for people, issues, or insights that were invisible in the doctrines and jurisprudence he studied,” said Okediji, the Jeremiah Smith. Jr, professor of law and co-director of the Berkman–Klein Center. “He didn’t want to wait until graduation to tackle tough issues or shine a light on the darkest places in society. From the first day of class as 1L, William intended to use his legal training to “turn mirrors into windows”, enabling him to see, hear and act on the silence of those who were too tired to speak – like union members. where his father was also a member.

After graduating on May 26, this journey will take him back to Indiana, where he will clerk at the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Bloomington, followed by a clerkship at the District Court. of the United States for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis. After that, he plans to become general counsel with the aim of eventually working for the Department of Justice.

“My ultimate goal is to use the law to the benefit of workers who don’t necessarily have that voice,” he said.

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Protecting the identity of minors in court records is key to rehabilitation https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/protecting-the-identity-of-minors-in-court-records-is-key-to-rehabilitation/ Sun, 08 May 2022 19:01:00 +0000 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/protecting-the-identity-of-minors-in-court-records-is-key-to-rehabilitation/

Many of the fundamental principles that we hold dear are in tension with each other. Courts are often called upon to resolve such conflicts between competing values.

Our Constitution and our long legal tradition require the courts to dispense justice openly and without delay. While openness is a core value in our state, that value is not absolute. Our Constitution and our long legal tradition also enshrine privacy as a fundamental right. These legal traditions require a balancing act to ensure that both are implemented to the greatest extent possible.

Jury deliberation is a simple example of a procedure in our legal system that is not openly administered. Despite the public interest in transparency in the administration of justice, jury deliberations are confidential to ensure the safety and privacy of jurors. This balancing act is indicative of the decisions courts must make when implementing such policies.

The principles of open justice and respect for privacy are often in tension. The courts have overcome this tension, in part, by using our inherent power to seal court records or limit access when necessary to protect fundamental interests, such as trial fairness, children’s privacy and victims of crime, personal data of individuals that could be exploited by third parties such as those found in family law cases, and trade secrets that could be misappropriated.

Over the past 20 years, our courts have struggled to catch up with the digital age where information is shared at lightning speed and is accessible on every device imaginable. We celebrate these advancements because they actually provide greater access to knowledge and information. This expansion of access is a worthy goal that our courts have supported and many counties have succeeded in digitizing all records. Access to court records is an important value that promotes transparency and accountability. However, digitized records also challenge us to recalibrate this balance between individual privacy and open records. The fact is that our current laws do not allow free access to all information contained in a court file such as medical records, certain mental assessments and personal identifiers. As this open technology develops, access to sensitive court records requires a re-examination of this balance between privacy and open access.

The issue that emerged as the subject of the Seattle Times’ recent editorial board editorial concerns children’s records in our juvenile justice system and involves two changed court rules. One is to maintain our current policy of not posting these children’s records on the Internet. We simply codify in a court rule the policy of the court information system. It is important for the public to know that the court file remains open and searchable at the courthouse where the file is kept and that our courtrooms where these cases are tried are open to the public. Again, I emphasize the necessary balance and the attempt to limit the wide distribution of these records on the Internet with the commitment to open the courts.

A majority of states provide more protection for children than we do in Washington. We have learned that most children who do bad things can and will, if given the opportunity, rehabilitate. Having recordings of their worst days widely available on the internet makes rehabilitation more difficult. This can limit their access to employment, housing, credit and education. This damage is significant and lasting.

The second rule at issue is a change in a court rule that would require the use of initials for children in court documents. Initials correspond to dates of birth and in many counties, to a person’s unique identifier. The court’s rule does not change any state law or limit information, including the full name that is available to criminal justice agencies in databases used nationwide. The content of this database of criminal persons is not affected by this rule.

Both rules were proposed by the Office of Public Defense and the Minorities and Justice Commission. These rules were adopted after being formally proposed and published for comment; and the ordinary and customary process used in our rule-making. Many stakeholders provided comments. Some objected to the rules. After consideration, this court adopted the rules.

Last week, the court voted to suspend implementation of the new rules because several courts and justice system partners raised concerns about how implementation is expected to occur.

Some object to the policy behind the new rules and others simply say it will take longer to rewrite the software used to track certain information in court. We have heard these concerns and given them time to consider next steps by delaying the effective date of the amendments until further court order. We referred the matter to our Supreme Court Rules Committee for a recommendation on how to proceed.

I remain in favor of the policy underlying the amendments to provide a chance for hope and rehabilitation while holding children accountable for their actions.

As we allow more time for discussion, it is critical for all of us in the legal community to dispel any misinformation about the rule, the process, and the intentions of others. Sometimes we are asked to do difficult tasks, but difficult is not impossible. I hope our rules committee will carefully consider the issues raised and recommend a way forward.

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Policy on Bagga’s arrest process: Why it may set a bad precedent https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/policy-on-baggas-arrest-process-why-it-may-set-a-bad-precedent/ Sat, 07 May 2022 01:17:09 +0000 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/policy-on-baggas-arrest-process-why-it-may-set-a-bad-precedent/ Process of prevailing over politics – this is at the heart of the dispute over arrest of Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga. Interstate arrests are common and require cooperation between the local police where the arrest is made and the police where the offense is believed to have occurred. Cooperation, as the courts have indicated, extends to prior denunciation and participation in the arrest.

The CrPC guides both the letter and the spirit.

But the Bagga case has shown how bitter politics turns routine litigation into a full-fledged interstate dispute and sets a disturbing precedent for states that prevent arrest by another state or the Center.

Article 22 (2) of the Constitution stipulates that “Anyone arrested and taken into custody must be brought before the nearest magistrate within twenty-four hours of such arrest, excluding time necessary for the trip from the place of arrest. in the court of first instance, and none of these persons may be detained beyond the said period without the authorization of a magistrate.

Normally, the “nearest magistrate” is assumed to be the magistrate in whose jurisdiction the FIR is registered if the individual can be presented within 24 hours. The crucial 24-hour rule allows police to avoid obtaining a transit referral from a local magistrate where the arrest is being made.

In 2018, the Delhi High Court, ruling in Anand Agarwal v Union of India, upheld the CBI’s decision not to obtain a transit referral for the arrest of an individual in Raipur “as the CBI had no not anticipated that more than 24 hours after his arrest would be required to produce the petitioner in the Delhi Magistrates Court.”

A remand is an order by a magistrate to transfer or grant custody of an arrested person so that the police can move the person in custody from the place of arrest to where the case may proceed. subject to investigation and trial. A transit remand hearing before a magistrate allows the arrested person to apply for bail and challenge the transfer before it occurs. By contrast, appearing before a magistrate in a new state, even within 24 hours, could make it difficult for the arrested person to hire an attorney and seek bail.

From the arrest of Disha Ravi in ​​Bengaluru in 2021 to the arrest of Jignesh Mevani in Gujarat last month, several arrests, both publicized and unreported, have been made without pre-trial detention.

Delhi BJP Chairman Adesh Gupta hands sweets to party spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga at the latter’s residence in New Delhi on Friday evening, May 6, 2022. (PTI Photo)

The Indian Express spoke to several legal experts who questioned whether local police cooperation could extend to resisting or denying the arrest itself.

“The power to arrest derives from the FIR, meaning it rests with the police in whose jurisdiction the offense is committed. If it is an offense subject to criminal penalties, the person can be arrested without a warrant, provided they are brought before a magistrate within 24 hours,” a lawyer said.

“Arrest without intimidating local police is irregular at best but not illegal if the person is brought before a magistrate,” a veteran lawyer said.

A legal question to be decided will be whether the local police can compel the police of another state to present the arrested person before a local magistrate before his transfer. Ultimately, the determination of whether or not an arrest is valid rests with a magistrate, not the police.

What also raises questions is the unusual way in which the Haryana police intercepted the police convoy from another state and took the arrested individual into custody, all without the intervention of the police. ‘a magistrate.

The blocking of the Punjab Police convoy also violates the law which states that a public official cannot be detained or detained for carrying out his official duties when he is presumed to have done so in good faith. Delhi police recording a kidnapping case, after being informed of an arrest by Punjab police, also raises issues of overstepping the law.

Legal experts have expressed concern that the Bagga case could set a new precedent for states to prevent arrests by opposition-led states, raising questions about a state’s powers in a federal structure in a difficult political environment.

Most of the central agencies such as the Directorate of Law Enforcement and the CBI already regularly file cases involving people in the opposition led states in Delhi, not the respective states, to ensure that an arrest is not risky.

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The Legal Psychedelic Industry: Drug Capitalism | Medications https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/the-legal-psychedelic-industry-drug-capitalism-medications/ Thu, 05 May 2022 12:12:39 +0000 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/the-legal-psychedelic-industry-drug-capitalism-medications/

On April 19, the Hotel Fontainebleau Miami Beach hosted the inaugural Benzinga Psychedelics Capital Conference, billed as “bringing together the leaders of the LARGEST publicly traded psychedelic companies with investors from across North America.” General admission was $697, plus a $26.86 fee. Attendees were promised a “chance to be in the room with the leaders who will take the psychedelics industry to the next level.”

Indeed, capitalism is already tripping over itself to trip people over legal psychedelics. The estimated market opportunity hovers around hundreds of billions of dollars, according to conference keynote speaker Kevin O’Leary of the hit reality show “Shark Tank.” The industry includes a range of products beyond LSD, including psilocybin – the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms – as well as mescaline, MDMA and the hallucinogen DMT, found in Amazonian ayahuasca.

Psychedelics are still illegal under US federal law, in keeping with the longstanding US “war on drugs” that has so easily served elite corporate interests and militarization agendas overseas. and in the country – and which has historically criminalized, among others, black Americans and anti-Vietnam War protesters. But just as criminalization benefits the powers that be, legalization can also pay off. And as venture capitalists, investors, Silicon Valley tech bros and Big Pharma players currently rush to kick down the doors of perception in the realm of decriminalized psychedelics, capitalism’s latest hallucination is about to take place. to become reality.

To that end, the Visual Capitalist website offers a “Practical Visual Guide to Investing in Psychedelics,” surveying issues such as psychedelic capital flows, global psychedelic drug market forecasts, and research and development and clinical trials by various companies aimed at using psychedelics to treat conditions like anxiety, depression, and addiction.

Entrepreneurs are no doubt right to detect a gargantuan market in the United States and elsewhere for effective mental health treatments, but it is no less mind-boggling to argue that the very capitalist system that is responsible for generating vast alienation and mental disorders should now be in the business of rectifying the situation with the same approach of profiteering on people.

After all, the globalized brand of American capitalism is predicated on gross socio-economic inequality and the tyranny of the rich – hardly an arrangement that discourages depression and anxiety. Poverty and other societal ills are presented as a failure of the individual rather than of the system of racist patriarchy, which only allows the “success” of a privileged minority.

To be sure, it’s not to rain down on the whole parade of psychedelics – which potentially promises significant relief for many humans (or at least those who can afford treatment). A recent Washington Post dispatch by Maryland oncologist Manish Agrawal, for example, praises evidence that psychedelics can “reduce the anxiety of death that many cancer patients feel.” Psychedelics aren’t new either; in its deepening March 2022 report for The Nation, titled “The Brave New World of Legalized Psychedelics Is Already Here”, Zoe Cormier notes that “before we got our hands on it, Indigenous cultures used psychedelics for thousands of years as ritual sacraments”.

Now, however, the soulless rush to extract individual profit by twisting, commodifying and patenting these “old compounds” is depressing enough in itself – even before we get into the details.

Among the ground covered by Cormier: bankrupt or non-operating Canadian mining companies that spontaneously converted into psychedelic sets, thanks to the fact that the companies continued to “exist[ence] as a legal entity … allows instant access to the stock market and the ability to raise abundant funds without the scrutiny that an IPO would entail”.

For example, Vancouver-based psychedelic company Numinus Wellness Inc was created through a reverse takeover of Rojo Resources Ltd, a mining exploration company. In April, Numinus Wellness announced the acquisition of Novamind Inc – the world’s first major psychedelic fusion.

And yet, North American mining companies aren’t the only entities that have seemingly decided to move from toxic earth operations to conquering, you know, consciousness itself. Right-wing billionaire Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir – the firm that helped the US National Security Agency “spy on the world”, like The Intercept Put the – has invested heavily in ATAI Life Sciences, a self-proclaimed “clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company aiming to transform the treatment of mental health disorders”.

ATAI was co-founded by billionaire Christian Angermayer, who swears tripping over mushrooms allowed him to “finally” understand the super sketchy cryptocurrency Bitcoin – a moment of enlightenment that apparently took his billions to the next level. In November 2021, ATAI increased his shares in Compass Pathways, which bills itself as a pioneer in psilocybin therapy for mental illnesses and in which Thiel also invests heavily.

It’s the same Thiel, of course, who prompted headlines like “Peter Thiel Wants to Inject Young Blood,” a 2016 Vanity Fair report that also cited the drug addict’s views on death: “You You can accept it, you can deny it, or you can fight it. Thiel himself has pledged to be “frozen” in case he eventually perishes – a hardline capitalist approach that sees death as the ultimate defeat.

Meanwhile, Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk, CEO of rocket company SpaceX and self-proclaimed “Technoking” of electric vehicle company Tesla, has also intermittently weighed in on the “benefits of psychedelics.” Last year, the president of Field Trip Health – a psychedelic therapy company created, as Cormier explains, through a lucrative reverse takeover of Newton Energy Corporation, a Canadian oil and gas company – told him asked to explain the “role” of psychedelics. by “addressing some of humanity’s most destructive tendencies”.

This, of course, is a hell of a question to ask a megalomaniac who intends to destroy not only this planet but others as well – thus effecting an eternal bad trip for humanity. And as human “tendencies” remain destructive and the ruling class remains excited, all is far from far away.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.

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Various Bills That May Impact Schools Lee | News, Sports, Jobs https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/various-bills-that-may-impact-schools-lee-news-sports-jobs/ Tue, 03 May 2022 16:01:03 +0000 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/various-bills-that-may-impact-schools-lee-news-sports-jobs/


The Lee County School District received an update on recent state legislation this week along with a notice that there is an avalanche of legal issues with many bills passing.

Ashley Stacell, a legislative consultant for Capital Strategies Consulting Inc., reviewed six bills this week that she says are likely to impact education.

Among them was House Bill 7, Individual Liberties or Critical Race Theory, a bill that generated much debate.

According to Capital Strategies Consulting’s 2022 Legislative Final Report, “The bill clarifies that instruction and curricula may not be used to indoctrinate or persuade students to adopt a particular viewpoint inconsistent with the principles of individual liberty or the academic standards of the state.”

Stacell said it was hotly debated in the House and all Democrats stood up and spoke out against it.

“It was just enacted this week. It comes into the curriculum with students talking about history, especially African American history and how teachers can approach those topics and what they can and can’t say,” she says. “When it comes to hardware, there is language in the bill. The State Board of Education must have inspiring curriculum stories for them to develop.

These stories “must consist of stories from American history that demonstrate important life skills and the principles of individual freedom that have enabled individuals to thrive in the most difficult of circumstances”, says the report.

There has been a new trend during legislative sessions.

“What happened in the Senate is that they are going to take the bill back from the House. They take legislation from the House and debate this bill without their own legislation that has been approved,” she says.

The debate becomes the process, said Carole Green, legislative consultant for Capital Strategies Consulting, Inc., which takes the real debate away from the bill.

Council counsel Kathy Dupuy-Bruno said the bill would certainly be challenged.

“This is definitely a whole new area that hasn’t been tested yet,” she says. “We know there will be tests of this specific law. We will ensure staff are fully informed and understand the changes and minimize risk as much as possible. This is going to be extremely impactful and we are monitoring the legal landscape. »

Dupuy-Bruno said at this point staff and the district should assume they are still on camera.

“These are major legal issues that we are going to have to deal with. An avalanche of legal problems is sure to await us. Let us not lose sight of the magnitude of this bill. He talks about education, work, employment and training. It is a huge bill. We have to move forward with caution,” she says.

There was also discussion of House Bill 497, which is for an elected, as opposed to appointed, superintendent of schools in Lee County. Stacell said there were members against the bill because they feared it would impact their school district.

“There was a debate in the House” Green said, adding that because there was pressure that it was a local bill, it passed. “There is a referendum during the general elections. The referendum coin helped him pass. The local people decide. This is where the education, if you will, of the electorate becomes a very important issue for individuals.

Dupuy-Bruno said the bill would not change the obligations of the superintendent and the school board.

“What changes is that the elected superintendent has a political office. The only person who can impeach an elected official is the governor.“, she said, adding that there would be no term limit for the superintendent.

Another bill, Senate Bill 1048, Student Assessments, was also discussed as it changes standard Florida assessment tests into coordinated screening and progress tracking tools for ELA classes. third to 10th grade and mathematics from third to eighth grade. Stacell said there will be smaller tests throughout the year as benchmarks.

“They give a one-year transition. The changes begin in 2023-2024,” she says.

House Bill 1557, Parental Rights in Education, Stacell said, is the bill banning classroom instruction about gender identity from kindergarten through third grade.

“My children have never heard of sexual orientation or gender identity,” she says of her four children. “My twins are in fifth grade. I went online and looked for material and it was mostly about puberty and showering. Nothing about gender identity.

The report also indicated that the “The bill requires each district school board to adopt procedures to notify a student’s parent if there is a change in services or supervision related to mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being. of the pupil.”

If the Governor approves this bill, the provisions will take effect on July 1, 2022.

Dupuy-Bruno said that there is a creation of legal recourse, in particular for bills 7, 1557 and 1467. She said that the legal team is meeting with academic services and proposing guidelines to provide them with a path to move forward.

House Bill 1467, K-12 Education, includes items such as term limits for school board members and public participation in the educational materials review process.

“Staff are concerned about this, and rightly so. We will refer to sister districts, see where everyone is,” said Dupuy-Bruno. “The legal is definitely on top of that. We know the law is there and we work with staff and guide the district as best we can. Our legal recommendation is to always follow the law and, as the law changes, make sure we follow it.

She said there are a lot of fact patterns that they are going to have to tread carefully in this minefield.

“Before the Parents’ Bill of Rights, there was probably an absence in the law where there was an obligation to inform a parent of certain things”, said Dupuy-Bruno. “Specifically, the legislation addresses LGBTQ, gender identity and transgender issues. The Parents’ Bill of Rights has come into force. Some felt it was not strong enough. 1557 speaks a lot about the responsibility of parents to educate their child. It talks about well-being, emotional and physical. Parents are the ultimate decision maker in terms of morality and certain things taught.

She said part of the bill says the district must encourage parent-student conversations when LGBTQ issues arise. The absolute requirement of what it looks like is still under discussion.

“The big problem is when you have a student who goes to school and passes on information about gender identity and where they fit in and ask for help,” said Dupuy-Bruno. “There are some things we never had to divulge.”

She gave the example of a student who goes to a counselor and says that’s where he belongs, what his gender identity is, while saying in the same sentence that I don’t want my parents to know because “My father is going to kill me. It went unreported, and then the child turns 18 and graduates and finally reveals to the parents what his gender identity is.

“The kid is in intensive care for two weeks because the father beats him. That’s the dilemma,” said Dupuy-Bruno.

They will present a legal and factual fairness guide to the council on May 24, Dupuy-Bruno said.


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When are book bans unconstitutional? A First Amendment scholar explains https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/when-are-book-bans-unconstitutional-a-first-amendment-scholar-explains/ Sun, 01 May 2022 16:28:09 +0000 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/when-are-book-bans-unconstitutional-a-first-amendment-scholar-explains/

By Erica Goldberg

The United States has become a nation divided over important issues in K-12 education, including the books students should be able to read in public school.

Erica Goldberg

Efforts to ban books school programsremove books from libraries and keeping lists of books that some find inappropriate for students increases as Americans become more polarized in their opinions.

These types of actions are called “book bans”. They are also often referred to as “censorship”.

But the concept of censorship, and the legal protections against it, are often very misunderstood.

A 2021 campaign ad for Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin focuses on a book containing what one mother called “explicit material.”

Banning of books by the political right and left

On the right side of the political spectrum, where most book bans take place, the bans are taking the form school boards » remove books from classroom programs.

Politicians have also proposed legislation banning the books which are what some lawmakers and parents consider too mature for school-aged readers, like “Not all boys are bluewhich explores queer themes and topics of consent. The classic from Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison”The bluest eyewhich includes themes of rape and incest, is also a frequent target.

In some cases, politicians have proposed lawsuits librarians in public schools and libraries to keep these books in circulation.

Most books targeted for ban in 2021, says American Library Association, “were by or about black or LGBTQIA+ people.” State lawmakers have also targeted books they say make students feel guilty or anxious. based on their race or imply that students of any race or gender are inherently bigoted.

There are also some attempts from the political left to engage in book banning as well as withdrawal from school programs books that marginalize minorities or use racially insensitive language, such as the popular “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Define censorship

Whether any of these efforts constitute unconstitutional censorship is a complex question.

The First Amendment protects individuals against “restrict freedom of expression.” However, government actions that some may view as censorship – particularly in relation to schools – are not always clearly classified as constitutional or unconstitutional, as “censorship” is a colloquial term, not a legal.

Certain principles can shed light on whether and when banning books is unconstitutional.

Censorship does not violate the Constitution unless the government does.

For example, if the government tries to ban certain types of demonstrations solely on the basis of point of view demonstrators, it is an unconstitutional restriction on freedom of expression. The government cannot create laws or authorize lawsuits that prevent you from having particular books on your shelf unless the substance of those books fits within a narrowly defined framework. category of unprotected speech such as obscenity or defamation. And even these unprotected categories are precisely defined and still very protective of speech.

However, the government may make reasonable regulations that restrict “time, place or mannerof your speech, but generally it should be neutral in content and point of view. The government therefore cannot restrict an individual’s ability to produce or listen to a speech based on the subject of the speech or the ultimate opinions expressed.

And if the government tries to restrict free speech in this way, it likely constitutes unconstitutional censorship.

What is not unconstitutional

In contrast, when individuals, companies, and organizations create policies or engage in activities that prevent people from speaking up, those private actions do not violate the Constitution.

A teenager reads a book titled
In February 2022, a Tennessee school board ordered the removal of the award-winning 1986 Holocaust graphic novel, “Maus,” by Art Spiegelman, from local student libraries. (Picture by Maro Siranosian/AFP via Getty Images)

The Constitution’s general theory of liberty views liberty in the context of governmental restriction or prohibition. Only the government has a monopoly on the use of force which compels citizens to act in one way or another. On the other hand, if private companies or organizations restrict speech, other private companies may experiment with different policies that allow people to have more choices to speak or act freely.

Yet private action can have a major impact on a person’s ability to express themselves freely and on the production and dissemination of ideas. For example, book engraving or the actions of private universities in ability to punish because the sharing of unpopular ideas thwarts free discussion and the unfettered creation of ideas and knowledge.

When schools can ‘ban’ books

Whether the current incidents of book bans in schools are constitutional or not is hard to say for sure. The reason: Decisions made in public schools are analyzed by courts differently from censorship in non-governmental settings.

Control of public education, in the words of the Supreme Court, is largely given to “state and local authorities.” The government has the power to determine what is appropriate for students and therefore their school’s curriculum.

However, students retain certain First Amendment rights: Public schools cannot censor student speech, whether on or off campus, unless it would cause a “substantial disturbance.”

But the officials can exercise control above study programme of a school without violating the free speech rights of K-12 students or educators.

There are exceptions to the government’s power over the curriculum: the Supreme Court ruled, for example, that a state law barring a teacher from covering the subject of evolution was unconstitutional because it violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the state from endorsing any particular religion.

School boards and state legislators usually have the final say on what school curriculum is taught. Unless state policies violate another provision of the Constitution –possibly protection against certain types of discrimination – they are generally authorized by the Constitution.

Schools, with limited resources, also have discretion in determining which books to add to their libraries. However, several members of the Supreme Court have written that the removal is only constitutionally permitted if it is done based on the educational relevance of the book, not because it was intended to deny access to students books that school officials disagree with.

The book ban is not a new problem in this country – neither vigorous public criticism of such movements. And even though the government has the discretion to control what is taught in schools, the First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech to those who want to protest what happens in schools.

The conversation

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Brits fend off lawsuits that ‘gag’ critics of oligarchs https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/brits-fend-off-lawsuits-that-gag-critics-of-oligarchs/ Sat, 30 Apr 2022 05:08:48 +0000 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/brits-fend-off-lawsuits-that-gag-critics-of-oligarchs/

British book publishers, newspapers and journalists have complained for many years about “lawfare” – the legal dispute that the super-rich start to avoid scrutiny, usually of their financial affairs.

Russian oligarchs with ties to the UK have been particularly active in this area. They have often hired the UK’s most expensive lawyers to close investigations into the precise origins of their wealth. But the war in Ukraine has shone a spotlight on this business and changes may be on the way.

“I just don’t understand how we got ourselves into the mess we’re in now,” lawmaker Bob Seely told Britain’s parliament shortly after the invasion of Ukraine. “Why have we come to the position in our society where we have kleptocrats, criminals and oligarchs bullying free media? Oligarchs, Putin’s henchmen, teaming up with amoral lawyers.

Seely was attacking what he saw as an abuse of UK libel laws by oligarchs and other super-rich people to deter journalists, authors and campaign groups from delving too deeply into their financial and public affairs. other matters of public interest. Specifically, the legislator was attacking SLAPPs. The term, coined in the United States, stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.

“Gags are a form of litigation abuse that are not used to right a wrong but to drain as much time, energy and money as possible,” said Policy and Campaigns Manager Jessica Ní Mhainín at the Index on Censorship, which campaigns for free speech.

“This power imbalance is particularly effective in the UK,” said Jessica Ní Mhainín of the Index on Censorship. (Courtesy Censorship Index)

Ní Mhainín said that this dispute usually involved an imbalance of power: a fabulously wealthy individual faced off against a much less wealthy publisher, author or journalist.

‘This power imbalance is particularly effective in the UK,’ she said, ‘because of the very high cost associated with building a defense in a libel case, which typically exceeds £1 million. . [$1.24 million].”

It’s a very effective deterrent to unrestricted reporting, according to author and journalist Catherine Belton. His bestseller, “Putin’s People” exposed the corruption of the Russian regime and prompted a number of oligarchs, including Roman Abramovich, to launch five libel suits in the UK last year. At a conference of Swedish investigative journalists in the fall, Belton spoke about the pressure of facing a legal attack.

“It can deter anyone from writing anything controversial if you’re faced with the prospect of millions of pounds. Even if it’s the insurance that pays. It’s draining your time, it’s draining your resources. You end up with higher insurance premiums. So of course those are big threats,” Belton said.

Her publisher, HarperCollins, has spent nearly $2 million fighting claims against her book. Faced with even greater costs, they settled with Abramovich agreeing to what appeared to be minor changes to the text. HarperCollins, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., was able to defend itself financially. But many authors and journalists do not benefit from this level of protection.

Swedish journalist Annelie Ostlund.
“They’re chasing us in London because they couldn’t have chased us in Sweden,” says Swedish journalist Annelie Östlund. (Courtesy of Östlund)

Take Swedish journalist Annelie Östlund, for example. She and two colleagues, who work for a small financial and business publication in Sweden called Realtid, are being sued in the UK over certain articles they published in 2020.

The articles focused on a group of companies owned by Swedish businessman Svante Kumlin. Östlund told Marketplace that she, her two colleagues and Realtid were being sued for the equivalent of around $16 million, a sum well beyond their means.

“The publication would go bankrupt and the three of us would be put into personal bankruptcy if Kumlin won,” Östlund said.

She insisted the articles were accurate, the subject matter was of obvious public interest and the lawsuit was a gag order. Twenty-four press freedom organizations – including Index on Censorship – agree and have strongly condemned the lawsuit. Marketplace approached the UK law firm handling the case on Kumlin’s behalf, but no one from the firm responded to our request for comment.

Östlund thinks the fact that she is being prosecuted in the UK is significant. “The articles were written by Swedish journalists, for a Swedish publication, in Swedish, for Swedish readers. We think they’re suing us in London because they couldn’t have sued us in Sweden.

The UK seems to be making life easier for litigants satisfied with SLAPP.

Caroline Kean.
“People need to discuss these things, they shouldn’t be slapped,” said anti-SLAPP lawyer Caroline Kean. (Courtesy of Kean)

Caroline Kean, one of the lawyers defending Catherine Belton, said UK libel litigation is very favorable to claimants.

“The plaintiff here does not have to prove that the statements are false and in particular does not have to prove that he suffered financial damage. The entire burden of defense is on the defendant, the publisher,” Kean said.

If the defendant proves that he published the truth, the trial will fail. But lawmaker Bob Seely worries that journalists and authors are being sorely tested, harassed and intimidated when the case against them has no merit. Speaking in parliament, Seely named some of the lawyers representing the oligarchs in defamation cases and then shamed them.

“They have no moral idea what they are doing, but just take huge sums of money that these people are willing to pay to prevent justice being served.”

US Representative Steve Cohen intensified the pressure on these British lawyers by requesting their ban from entering the United States.

The lawyers all insisted they acted within the law and did nothing wrong. But media lawyer Kean said it was clear that while everyone should have the right to defend their reputation, the UK must no longer allow private litigation to hide the truth about matters of public interest , such as bribery and other wrongdoing.

“People need to discuss these things,” Kean said. “They shouldn’t be slapped and people are afraid to discuss them, spread them and write stories about them because of our defamation laws.”

Kean believes a judge should step in at an early stage in a defamation case – before the costs pile up – and decide if the matter is serious enough to be in the public domain. “If so, then the defamation case should be stopped,” she said.

The UK government has promised to take action against SLAPPs and is currently consulting with all interested parties. In a statement for Marketplace, the Law Society, one of Britain’s leading bodies representing the legal profession, pledged its support for “sense-minded” reform of libel litigation.

“We welcome the government’s initiative to strengthen and clarify the rules surrounding this kind of trial,” he said, adding that he regretted “having publicly named lawyers and threatened to penalties without due process”.

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Outrageous libel laws protected Jimmy Savile. Finally, change is on the cards | Meirion Jones https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/outrageous-libel-laws-protected-jimmy-savile-finally-change-is-on-the-cards-meirion-jones/ Thu, 28 Apr 2022 15:30:00 +0000 https://www.monsterbeatskopfhorerde.com/outrageous-libel-laws-protected-jimmy-savile-finally-change-is-on-the-cards-meirion-jones/

AAnyone who’s watched Netflix’s new film Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story will wonder how Savile got away with abusing children for decades – and why he wasn’t exposed sooner. As someone who has spent years trying to expose it myself, I believe there are four main reasons.

First, the institutions turned a blind eye because Savile was worth more to them than the victims. Second, he forged ties with the most powerful people in the country – Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Prince Charles – who gave him protection. Third, it targeted vulnerable victims whose testimony would not hold up in court.

But the final – and least discussed – reason is how our murky defamation laws protect bad guys.

Since first high-profile libel casewhen history’s most famous pirate, Captain Morgan, won £200 in damages (£40,000 today) in the 17th century for being accused of being a cruel buccaneer, our libel laws protected evildoers.

I can reveal that in 2008 the Sun was about to expose Savile. They had affidavits from women who had been abused by him as children at the infamous Haut de la Garenne children’s home, which was at the center of the Jersey child abuse scandal. Reporters and editors were confident in their testimonies. Then came the time when the story had to go through the in-house lawyers.

We imagine the conversations. Who are our witnesses who will testify if Savile sues us for defamation? They were children at the time – can we trust their memories? Some of them might have a criminal record or be involved in drugs. Remember, Savile deliberately targeted the institutions where his victims might not be believed in court. They would face the best QC money could buy, representing a man who could potentially call Prince Charles, Margaret Thatcher, heads of charities, the head of the BBC and the Pope as character witnesses.

The lawyers’ best guess was that a libel claim could cost a million pounds and the Sun would be the loser for good. The story was canned and reporters and story editors were furious. But it wasn’t the first or last time Savile got away with it because of our defamation laws, which rewarded his deliberate targeting of vulnerable victims.

Unofficially, journalists told me of multiple attempts to expose Savile from the 1960s that failed because newspapers could not afford the legal risks involved. Brian Hitchen, who was editor of the Daily Star and the Sunday Express in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said he knew Savile was a pedophile at the time, but thought the combination of his fame and our libel laws would make it impossible to publish the story.

In 1994 the Sunday Mirror attempted to publicize Savile’s story. The editor, Paul Connew, was convinced but he knew Savile would win if he comes to court. Perhaps part of the calculation was that Savile would be represented by the formidable QC George Carman.

In the end, the Sun in 2008 published a photo of Savile at Haut de la Garenne with a group of young children. ‘Sir Jimmy had no idea of ​​the horrors at the orphanage,’ the copy read, but it was obvious to me at the time what the Sun wanted to reveal but could not publish.

The photo became part of our evidence dossier at Newsnight in 2011 when journalist Liz MacKean, researcher Hannah Livingston and I began gathering evidence that Savile had abused children, not just at Duncroft (the school that my aunt ran) but in every institution. he was associated, from Stoke Mandeville to the BBC, and Broadmoor to Haut de la Garenne.

Even the soft version of the story and the follow-ups that were published by the Sun prompted Savile’s lawyers to write to the publication. “We are acting for Sir James Savile and have been consulted on the above items,” the letter read. “As your publication will know, our client has campaigned tirelessly for underprivileged and sick children. His charity work over many years has raised huge sums which have benefited many projects and hospitals… Linking our client to events at home has caused untold embarrassment and upset.

As always, Savile trumpeted his chivalry, and therefore his powerful connections, and hid behind his charitable fundraising and work with children.

His attorneys have asked The Sun to remove the articles, pay compensation for “damage to his feelings and reputation” and, of course, his legal costs. Above all, all this must remain confidential. To their credit, at least one Sun reporter sued Savile, but without success.

If the media were in the same position now, with a prolific offender with powerful friends, ample resources, and vulnerable victims, I suspect the legal advice would be the same: don’t publish. Every investigative reporter can tell you about the getaways – the outright bad guys who got away because the legal risks were too high.

But there is a chance to reset this. Our defamation laws have come under renewed scrutiny after a succession of cases brought by oligarchs and big business trying to curb journalistic reporting. Russian energy company Rosneft and billionaires Roman Abramovich and Mikhail Fridman sued Catherine Belton for defamation over her book Putin’s People, resulting in £1.5m legal costs for its publishers (the claim was eventually settled, with several changes made to the book). Last month, the High Court dismissed a longstanding claim by controversial Kazakh mining company ENRC against the Financial Times and its journalist Tom Burgis.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the government is about to take over our libel courts. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab is currently consulting on changes to the Libel Act 2013 to make it harder for powerful individuals and organizations to use the courts to harass journalists and stop them saying the truth about their wrongdoings. The government is considering a number of measures to discourage so-called strategic litigation against public participation lawsuits, or Slapps.

Law firms play an important role in protecting criminals in Britain. As MP Bob Seely said in the Commons: “The oligarchs, Putin’s henchmen, team up with amoral lawyers. Defamation scholars sometimes make the argument that it’s like the right to counsel in a criminal trial – that no matter how serious the allegations, the individual must be defended – but there is no basis legal for it.

At best, they seem indifferent to whether the allegations are true. After Connew had to withdraw the child molestation allegations against Savile, he spoke to Carman, who told him, “I suspect you’re right.” Carman had previously succeeded in destroy a child abuse criminal case against another celebrity who later had to admit he was guilty.

One of the ideas is to strengthen the defense of the public interest in item 4 of the act – this is crucial. It’s hard to think of anything that is more in the public interest than exposing an individual who is a prolific child molester. We need to ensure that any changes to the law help journalists expose wrongdoing, whether by oligarchs or prolific pedophiles, or other criminals.

In the Netflix documentary, Andrew Neil says: “As a profession, as journalists, we have let the country down. We should have had this guy. It’s fair that we blame ourselves – but the UK’s restrictive libel litigation is a key part of that failure.

Savile would have been exposed decades earlier – dozens would not have been raped, hundreds would not have been assaulted – if not for our senseless libel laws.

At the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, I receive dozens of letters from law firms defending the indefensible, making false claims, and threatening legal action. Recently, one of the largest companies sent a letter to a newspaper that was co-publishing an article with us. The letter was wrong about what happened in court – even though it was in the public domain. It arrived on schedule and the newspaper had no time to reflect and removed the key allegation from the story.

The House of Lords is pressuring the Solicitors Regulation Authority to crack down on law firms representing the oligarchs. We have to go further than that. A culture has developed in which it is normal for some lawyers engaged in “reputation management” to knowingly lie on behalf of their clients in an effort to protect them from damaging revelations by journalists. This should not be acceptable to the regulator.

Thus, Savile’s British horror story should fuel the discussion launched by Slapps about rebalancing the law in favor of public interest journalism – rather than allowing powerful individuals and corporations to escape scrutiny. justice.

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