July 30, 2021
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Late-Breaking Legal News
The District of Columbia Superior Court has been balancing coronavirus-related safety concerns as it works to resolve cases, Chief Justice Anita Josey-Herring said in response to Mayor Muriel Bowser's statements that the processing of criminal cases is lagging and "creating its own public safety crisis" in D.C. Associate Judge Juliet McKenna said the court's criminal division has closed more than 7,000 cases in 15 months, and Josey-Herring noted that the court has shifted to virtual proceedings and that Congress still needs to fill several judicial vacancies that predate the pandemic.
Full Story: WTOP-FM (Washington, D.C.) (7/30),  DCist (Washington, D.C.) (7/29) 
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The latest remote bar exams were administered in several jurisdictions this week, and test-takers reported frozen screens and other technical glitches similar to previous exams. ExamSoft said it is working with test-takers who have reported problems with the company's software, and the National Conference of Bar Examiners says its February exam will be administered only in person.
Full Story: Bloomberg Law (7/30),  Legaltech News (7/28) 
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D.C. reviving requirement for wearing masks indoors
Bowser (Pool/Getty Images)
An order taking effect Saturday will require anyone over age 2 in the District of Columbia to wear masks in gyms, restaurants and other indoor settings. The order does not provide an exception based on coronavirus vaccination status, and it does not include any capacity or travel restrictions.
Full Story: DCist (Washington, D.C.) (7/29),  WRC-TV (Washington, D.C.) (7/30) 
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The House and Senate have voted in favor of a bill that would provide $2.1 billion for the US Capitol Police, and the measure now advances to President Joe Biden. As the Capitol Police risk depleting their funding next month, the bill would include money for overtime, training and mental health services as well as the relocation of Afghans who assisted the US in their home country.
Full Story: National Public Radio (7/29) 
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Technology
Amazon says it plans to appeal a fine of about $885 million imposed by Luxembourg's data protection authority over allegations that the company's handling of data runs afoul of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The fine, which stems from the company's targeting of ads, represents a record high GDPR fine.
Full Story: Politico (7/30),  Bloomberg (7/30),  The Wall Street Journal (7/30) 
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Israel-based NSO Group has suspended the use of its spyware by several governmental agencies amid concerns of improper use of the company's Pegasus technology, an NSO employee said, declining to specify which clients are affected by the temporary bans. Reports have emerged that Pegasus has been used to target human rights activists, heads of state, journalists and others.
Full Story: National Public Radio (7/29) 
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Global Outlook
Three Hong Kong judges have handed down a nine-year prison sentence for protester Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be convicted of violating the country's national security law. The court's sentencing of Tong does not appear to "leave guardrails as far as clarifying some safe space for expressing political opinions that are different from that of the Hong Kong government and Beijing," said Seton Hall University law professor Maggie Lewis.
Full Story: CNN (7/30) 
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Weekly Poll Results
Is the debate over alternative paths to the legal profession likely to intensify in the near future?
Yes
 67.08%
No
 21.95%
Not sure
 10.97%
Laws, Cases and Regulations
The US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has held that the US Marine Corps must face North Carolina's lawsuit over an unpaid $8,000 air pollution fine and $472 in additional fees. The Marine Corps argued that it had sovereign immunity with regard to the fine, which stems from the release of metallic pollutants at an air station in North Carolina.
Full Story: Courthouse News Service (7/29),  Reuters (7/30) 
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D.C. Bar News
Aug. 3 CLE: Is That Defamation? Using the Law to Fight Defamatory Attacks
(iStock)
As social media and internet news expand their influence, defamation law is more relevant than ever. Get an overview of the topic as well as common defenses to defamatory actions in this D.C. Bar CLE. Our expert faculty will offer practical advice on how to assess whether an attack is potentially actionable as defamation, what to do when you learn a media outlet is about to publish a hit piece about your client, how to get false and misleading stories corrected or retracted, and how to plead and prove actual malice.
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David A. Sinclair,
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