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How a U.S. Border Patrol argent’s use of lethal force at the U.S-Mexican border implicates constitutional rights and foreign affairs dominated arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in Hernandez v. Mesa. The lawyer arguing that the agent should be held liable had a rough day in front of the justices.

Both sides agree that while standing on American soil at the border on June 7, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa fatally shot Sergio Hernandez, a 15-year-old Mexican national standing on the Mexican side. But then the factual accounts diverge.

According to Hernandez’s family, the teenager was playing with his friends near the border opposite El Paso, Texas, where the border runs through the middle of a concrete culvert. There is a fence on the U.S. side of the culvert.

According to Mesa and the federal government, Mesa was detaining one of Hernandez’s companions on the U.S. side of the border, when Hernandez and the other teenagers started throwing rocks at Hernandez. Mesa claims that the rocks posed a danger to his safety. He repeatedly ordered then to stop and back away, but they persisted. Finally Mesa fired in what he claims is self-defense, fatally striking Hernandez.

Hernandez’s family sued, and Mesa filed a motion to dismiss. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, when considering a motion to dismiss, a federal court must consider the plaintiff’s allegations as true when deciding whether to throw out the lawsuit versus letting it continue. The parties later present evidence to prove their version of the facts if the lawsuit goes forward, but when deciding whether to end the case before it gets started, judges must consider only plaintiff’s version.

Calif. analyst pleads guilty in NY insider case

•  Justice Stories     updated  2013/11/08 14:59

A California financial analyst has pleaded guilty in New York, admitting he provided insider tips to an SAC Capital portfolio manager.

Sandeep Aggarwal admitted Friday that he provided the tips to the SAC employee and others about a blockbuster deal between Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. Investigators say the information pertained to a secret, pending search engine advertising partnership between the companies.

Aggarwal has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud in Manhattan in a cooperation deal. The 40-year-old was arrested in July in San Jose, Calif.

Authorities say they had wiretap evidence from 2009.

Aggarwal told a magistrate judge he provided the tips to boost his standing as an analyst. He says he is "extremely sorry."

Once notable NJ lawyer given life sentence

•  Justice Stories     updated  2013/09/25 11:50

A defense attorney who once had a roster of celebrity clients and boasted of having tried hundreds of cases in federal court was sentenced there on Monday to life in prison without parole after his conviction on nearly two dozen counts including murder conspiracy and racketeering.

Paul Bergrin, in custody since his 2009 arrest, wore khaki prison scrubs and showed little reaction as a judge read what amounted to several life sentences Monday afternoon in a federal courtroom in Newark.

The 57-year-old former federal prosecutor once represented an Army reservist charged in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq and celebrities such as Queen Latifah, the rapper Lil' Kim and the group Naughty By Nature. He also represented reputed gang members and alleged drug kingpins from his offices in Newark.

Bergrin, formerly of Nutley, and several associates were arrested and charged in May 2009 with running his law business as a criminal enterprise. The U.S. attorney's office charged Bergrin with more than 30 counts including racketeering, setting up the murder of a witness, money laundering and drug offenses. His first trial, in which Bergrin represented himself, ended in a hung jury two years ago.

A second trial resulted in his conviction in March on 23 counts related to operating what prosecutors said was a racketeering enterprise that engaged in drug trafficking, prostitution, bribery, plotting to murder witnesses and money laundering.


The mastermind behind the 2008 bombing of a San Diego courthouse has been sentenced to 55 years in prison.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Margaret McKeown called the act despicable when she sentenced 46-year-old Donny Love on Friday.

Love denied having anything to do with the plot.

Love was convicted in 2011 of 10 counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Prosecutors say Love arranged for the placement of three pipe bombs in front of the federal courthouse in San Diego in 2008. The blast shattered glass doors but caused no injuries.

Prosecutors say Love planned to collect a $75,000 reward by turning in one of the bombers.

Two women and a man who pleaded guilty have been sentenced to about a decade in prison.

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