For months, Joseph R. Biden Jr. campaigned in part on a simple promise: Elect him, and the chaos and confusion, hirings and firings and the unending stream of derisive tweets would end. And in the first workday of the transition, the dichotomy in style between President-elect Biden and President Trump came once again into stark relief.Just minutes after Mr. Biden held a news conference to address his plans for confronting the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that he had fired his defense secretary. And he continued to be active on his favorite social media platform on Monday, offering more unsubstantiated and false claims of election fraud, as news broke of additional coronavirus cases within his inner circle, including Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development.- Advertisement – Even as Mr. Biden pressed ahead with his transition plans, the Trump campaign and its allies were continuing their frenetic fight to challenge the results of the election, which Mr. Trump has lost. On Monday, the Trump campaign announced it had filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania asserting that ballots cast in person there were scrutinized more closely than those sent by mail. – Advertisement – And by the end of the evening, Attorney General William P. Barr had issued a memo authorizing federal prosecutors to investigate some allegations of voter fraud — a move that broke with the Justice Department’s longstanding policies intended to prevent law enforcement from affecting the outcome of an election. The move also prompted the Justice Department official who oversees investigations of voter fraud, Richard Pilger, to step down from his post within hours.The leadership of the Republican Party also joined Mr. Trump in refusing to concede defeat, signaling the potential for a continued struggle in the days and weeks ahead.In his first comments since Mr. Biden was declared the winner of the election, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, argued that the president was “100 percent within his rights” to challenge its outcome.- Advertisement – Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, followed Mr. McConnell on the floor and stated simply: “Joe Biden won this election fair and square.” – Advertisement – By contrast, Mr. Biden and his team continued to offer measured statements as they began to sketch out their transition plan and build their team. The president-elect unveiled a 13-person virus-task force while continuing to urge Americans to wear masks and seeking to temper expectations about a virus vaccine that has shown positive early results.“It’s clear that this vaccine, even if approved, will not be widely available for many months yet to come,” Mr. Biden said about a vaccine made by Pfizer. “The challenge before us right now is still immense and growing.”
Stuff co.nz 27 July 2016The laws covering murder and manslaughter in New Zealand need reform, writes Massey University law professor Chris Gallavin for the Faces of Innocents series.Reform is required to ensure fairness to defendants, to avail the Crown of more options when charging (and plea bargaining), and to support judges when sentencing.Murder is broadly defined under New Zealand law. It is not limited to intentional killing. It also covers reckless killing when inflicting injury or committing an offence and includes death as a result of inflicting grievous bodily harm, stupefying or wilfully stopping the breath of a person all when related to particular crimes.Manslaughter covers all other culpable killings save for infanticide. Add to this the related offence of aiding and abetting suicide and we can see the complexity building.Still, holes exist. First, we need a mature discussion about euthanasia.Second, we have no corporate manslaughter provision. Health and safety prosecutions, when they happen, are insufficient. There should be serious criminal sanction for work-related and public death at the hands of corporations.(See the 2015 private prosecution of forestry companies and the dismissal of health and safety charges against Pike River Mine boss Peter Whittall on payment of $3.41 million “blood money”.)Third, there are insufficient defences. In 2009 the partial defence of provocation was abolished in the aftermath of the conviction of Clayton Weatherston for the murder of Sophie Elliott (note, he failed to establish the defence).The defence was replaced by a sentencing discretion that places pressure on judges to soften convictions of murder when they believe life imprisonment is not in the interests of justice, that is, when they recognise that not all murders are murders. There is no diminished responsibility in New Zealand for those situations where, for example, intruders may be killed by a homeowner who suffers from paranoia.We have no partial defence to murder in the case of excessive self-defence where some force is reasonable but too much is used; see many intruder cases, shopkeeper defence cases, or defence of theft of property on remote farms cases.Further, our ability to deal with victims of domestic violence who kill is woeful both in terms of charging and the defences available, with suggested reform representing an ad hoc patch on an already bloody quilt.Finally, so antiquated are our laws that we still retain the ridiculous requirement that victims die within one year and one day of the infliction of their injuries. If they do not there is no homicide.And now the case of young Moko. It is important to note that with our broad definition of murder a conviction was more easy to secure here than in most other countries. However, in light of the fact plea bargaining is now part of our prosecution system, the Crown was ill served by the law as it stands.Manslaughter is our only alternative to murder. This despite its availability to a jury in lieu of murder.So what is needed? I suggest a system of degrees of murder could prove helpful. My colleague Dr Bill Hodge has suggested that such a system could give rise to more appeals as defendants argue the margins between degrees.That is definitely possible.However, I contend that the possibility of an initial influx of appeals is preferable to the current state, which more often shortchanges victims, labels the Crown as the villain and paints judges as detached from reality.http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/faces-of-innocents/82267619/faces-of-innocents-why-our-murder-and-manslaughter-laws-need-overhauling
With the number of sports that a school offers today and with the limited number of faculty members willing or able to coach, it has become quite common to hire lay coaches. Many people worry about who a school might hire to coach their child. In schools the size of Batesville almost all the lay coaches are local and most have attended Batesville High School. Thus, it is easy to do background checks. Most of these coaches bring enthusiasm and expertise that cannot be found in most school staffs these days. Schools that seem to get into trouble with lay coaches are those that do wide spread recruiting, and thus, sometimes hire candidates who know one in the system or community know. As far as who might not be a good coach for your child, no one can predict how someone might act when placed with impressionable young students–whether certified or lay. For my part, the most likely trouble spots come in large city schools where someone can easily con the system because no one really knows them. If you look at the lay coaches in our area, most are your neighbor, members of your church, or run in the same circles as you. I wouldn’t get too upset over the hiring of these coaches. Batesville has been very fortunate–just check the records of the ones Batesville has used.