Woman Convicted for Laughing at Jeff Sessions Gets New Trial

Desiree Fairooz, 61, was arrested for laughing during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January in response to a lawmaker's assertion that Sessions treated all Americans equally.

REUTERS

(Reuters) — A peace activist found guilty of laughing during Attorney General Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing early this year had her conviction thrown out on Friday and will be retried, her lawyer said.


Desiree Fairooz, 61, a member of the anti-war group Code Pink, was arrested for laughing during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January in response to a lawmaker's assertion that Sessions, then a Republican U.S. senator from Alabama, treated all Americans equally.

Fairooz, a children's librarian, shouted, "This man is evil, pure evil" as police led her out. A jury found Fairooz guilty in May of disrupting a session of Congress and demonstrating on Capitol grounds. She had been due to be sentenced on Friday.

But Chief Judge Robert Morin of the District of Columbia Superior Court overturned the guilty verdict and ordered a new trial. In his ruling, Morin said it was unclear whether Fairooz had been convicted for laughter or for speaking out as she was removed, her lawyer, Samuel Bogash, said by telephone.

"The government's position was that laughing alone was enough to convict. But the judge made it clear that he didn't think it was," Morin said.

Code Pink, which often stages protests against politicians, said on its Facebook page that Fairooz denounced a retrial as a waste of taxpayers' money.

"The only thing more ridiculous than being tried for laughing, is being tried twice for laughing," Code Pink quoted her as saying.

Morin did not set a trial date and scheduled a status hearing for Sept. 1. Fairooz had faced up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each of her two convictions.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said two other Code Pink activists who were convicted for disrupting the hearing, Lenny Bianchi and Tighe Barry, were sentenced to 10 days in jail.

The sentences were suspended on condition that Barry and Bianchi complete six months of unsupervised probation, he said.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

Attorney General Tells Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty in Drug Cases

The call for greater use of the death penalty in federal drug cases has already sparked a backlash from criminal justice reform groups.

REUTERS

(Reuters) — U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III instructed federal prosecutors on Wednesday to seek the death penalty in drug-related cases whenever it is "appropriate," saying the Justice Department must boost efforts to counter America's epidemic of opioid abuse.

Read More Show Less

Racist Professor Who Calls Blacks, Hispanics More Violent Than Whites Appointed to Trump's Sentencing Commission

William Otis will fit right in with Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

Bill Otis / SCREENSHOT VIA PBS NEWSHOUR

A former federal prosecutor who once said Blacks and Hispanics are more violent than whites has been tapped to join President Donald Trump's sentencing commission.

Read More Show Less

Republican Lawmaker Clashes with Sessions over Sentencing Reform Bill

Sessions is a champion of mandatory minimum sentences that many say disproportionately affect minority communities and wrongfully incarcerate low-level offenders for lengthy sentences.

REUTERS

(Reuters) — The top Republican lawmaker on the powerful U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee accused President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday of meddling with efforts to pass bipartisan legislation to reduce prison sentences for nonviolent offenders.

Read More Show Less

U.S. Attorney General Opposes Plan to Reform Prison Sentencing

Sessions slammed a bill that aims to lessen prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders and would also do away with the three-strike mandatory life provision.

REUTERS

(Reuters) — Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III on Wednesday warned the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to not approve a draft criminal sentencing reform bill that he claims would reduce sentences for "a highly dangerous cohort of criminals."

Read More Show Less

Sessions to Put the 'Dis' in Disability

AG plans to revoke 10 ADA guidance documents.

REUTERS

Alarms are going off throughout the disability advocacy world over Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III's decision to repeal 25 documents, including ten of which are very important Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidance, which he deemed are "outdated, used to circumvent the regulatory process, or that improperly goes beyond what is provided for in statutes or regulation should not be given effect." This decision came after President Trump ordered each agency to go through their regulations and find things to modify, replace or eliminate.

Read More Show Less

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III's Move to Stop States from Legalizing Marijuana Is Racist

The Trump administration and the Trump party continue to demonstrate that racism is their chief value.

REUTERS

Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 18 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.

Read More Show Less

U.S. Attorney General Calls for Efficient Review of Immigration Cases

The Trump administration has so far brought on 50 new immigration judges, and the Justice Department plans to hire 60 more in the next six months.

REUTERS

(Reuters) — U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III on Wednesday called on the nation's immigration courts to decide cases more efficiently, amid a burgeoning backlog that is hampering the Trump administration's efforts to deport more undocumented immigrants.

Read More Show Less