Legal Briefs: What’s Happening in the Law

November 24, 2014

Each week, we bring you updates on the legal world.

Looking ahead…

New York is just starting to implement a new program in eleven courts across the state that treats women accused of prostitution not as criminals, but as victims. The goal of the program is to pair the women with rehabilitation resources so that they can end the cycle. Whether it will be successful is unknown at this point. Local groups are planning to track the progress of the first cohort of women handled through this alternative legal system. (New York Times)

The controversy around Bill Cosby’s past continues to make the news. Several women have filed civil suits against the comedian for alleged sexual assault and harassment. More women may speak out soon, and we should start seeing preliminary motions in these pending cases. (USA Today)

The grand jury in the Ferguson shooting case have not come to a decision yet on whether to allow prosecutors to move forward with charges against the officer accused of shooting an unarmed young man. The jury is expected to convene today with a decision on an indictment. (Kansas City Star)

And in case you missed it…

Every year, neo-Nazi groups travel to a small Germany town to visit the gravesite of a Hitler deputy. This year the town, Wunsiedel, which has about 1,000 residents, decided it had had enough. It asked local businesses to secretly sponsor the Nazi group’s march, turning the event into charity fundraiser for a group committed to helping people leave extremist organizations. The neo-Nazi group exercised its right to free speech, and the town exercised its right to make the best of it. (Vice)

A former prosecutor pled guilty to criminal contempt in a Texas court this past week. His crime? Wrongfully prosecuting and imprisoning a man for 25 years. As part of his penalty, he will have to perform 500 hours of community service and spend 10 day sin jail. This is the first time a prosecutor has been charged and convicted of criminal contempt for sending an innocent person away. (Huffington Post)

Uber just hired a lawyer to handle its internal data-privacy policies. The company has come under fire for comments made by one of its executives about tracking a journalist’s whereabouts without her permission. (Bloomberg)

Addressing rape and sexual assault has been a tough issue for campus administrators across the country. Some schools handle the cases internally, while other push for police involvement. The University of Virginia is taking a different step. The President has suspended all sororities and fraternities until further review is taken in early January. (Washington Post)