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MC&A Newsletter  June 2014
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Midwin Charles will be featured on the How to Become A TV Expert panel at the National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention on
August 2, 2014
in Boston, Massachusetts.
For more info go to www.nabj.org.

Read Midwin's latest article in Huffington Post
Jay Z's 100th Problem!


Midwin recently supported the Studio Museum in Harlem by attending their annual Luncheon at Mandarin Oriental Hotel in May 2014.

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Midwin appeared on WLNY's Live from the Couch on April 29 to discuss comments made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling and other legal issues.

Midwin recently appeared on 
The Bill Cunningham Show
as an expert.

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Midwin recently made appearances on Live from The Couch to discuss the
latest legal hot topics!

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law school
Midwin spoke at The Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice, Lunch with Lawyers Series, in Brooklyn, New York on March 11, 2014.

Empowering You To Pursue Your Passion

Follow Midwin on Twitter for #MondaysWith Midwin, a live Twitter chat
every Monday at 2:00PM ET
about pursuing your passion, entrepreneurship, and women-owned businesses.
Infinite Possibilities of the Law Degree (IPLD) 2014 
We are in the process of planning an amazing event for you. In the meantime, watch our video from IPLD 2013 with our featured speaker Lisa Bloom.
Midwin Charles & Associates Presents: Infinite Possibilities of the Law Degree
Midwin Charles & Associates Presents: Infinite Possibilities of the Law Degree

Sterling Turns Down Gold

Since April of this year, Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has been making headlines. After a June 4th announcement by his attorney that he was selling the NBA team for a cool $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Sterling is now refusing to move forward on the sale. Instead, he says he will continue to pursue his lawsuit against the NBA.

Sterling first came under scrutiny in April 2014 when his girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, released a recording of Sterling making racist comments. In the recording, he chastised Stiviano for bringing African-Americans to the games. He also specifically told her not to post pictures of herself with former NBA superstar Magic Johnson and to abstain from bringing Johnson to any of the Clippers' games.

On April 29, 2014, just days after the release of the recordings to the public, NBA commission Adam Silver banned Sterling from the NBA for life and ordered him to pay a $2.5 million fine to the organization. The lifetime ban required that Sterling leave the team's business entirely and sell the Clippers to remove himself from any affiliation with the NBA.

In retaliation, Sterling filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA and Silver on May 30, 2014, seeking over $1 billion in damages. The complaint stated that Sterling's ban from the NBA for his comments was arbitrary and unreasonable, and further alleged that Stiviano's recording was made illegally and in violation of his right to privacy. In the complaint, Sterling demanded that the ban and $2.5 million fine be revoked.

To add to the plot twist, Sterling and his wife, Shelly, own the team jointly in the Sterling Family Trust, of which Shelly made herself the sole trustee. As the sole trustee, Shelly engaged in negotiations with the NBA to sell the Clippers to Ballmer. Initially, Sterling was not in support of the sale; however, on June 4, 2014, Sterling's attorney announced that an agreement to sell had been reached. With the price tag of $2 billion, Sterling stood to make an enormous profit off the team that he bought in 1981 for $12 million.

Days later, on June 9, 2014, Sterling made an about-face. Maxwell Blecher, Sterling's attorney, told the press that Sterling would not sign off on the sale of the team and that Blecher had instructions to continue forward with Sterling's lawsuit against the NBA. "I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights," said Sterling. We will have to wait and see what the coming weeks will bring in this ongoing legal saga.

Sources: "Donald Sterling Says No Deal; Suit Is On," by Tami Abdollah, June 9, 2014, Associated Press; "Attorney: Donald Sterling agrees to sell Clippers," by Associated Press, June 4, 2014, nba.com; "Donald Sterling's antitrust suit against NBA adds new wrinkle to saga," by Nathan Fenno, Mike Bresnahan, & Harriet Ryan, May 30, 2014, The LA Times; "NBC News: Donald Sterling to file $1 billion antitrust lawsuit against NBA," by Kurt Helin, May 30, 2014, NBC Sports; "Here's what you need to know about Donald Sterling's lawsuit against the NBA," by Matt Bonesteel, June 10, 2014, The Washington Post; "NBA commissioner bans Clippers owner Sterling, pushes to 'force a sale' of team," by Greg Botelho, Matt Smith & Amy Fantz, April 29, 2014, CNN

Slender Man Inspires Stabbing

Two 12-year-old girls were arrested on May 31, 2014 for the stabbing of their friend, another 12-year-old girl, in the woods of Wisconsin. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier allegedly stabbed the victim 19 times after luring her into the woods to play a game of hide-and-seek. Due to the brutality of the attack, the two suspects are being charged as adults in a Wisconsin court for attempted first-degree intentional homicide, a crime that in adult court carries a 65 year prison sentence.

What could ever motivate two young girls to carry out such an attack? The girls claim, according to court documents, that they began plotting to kill their friend in December of 2013 in the hopes that they would please the online fictional character known as "Slender Man." Slender Man is featured on a horror website and is depicted as a tall, wiry, ghost-like man who preys on children in the woods of suburban areas. Geyser and Weier told police that they planned to win Slender Man's favor by killing someone, and then were going to run away to his mansion, which they believed was located somewhere in Wisconsin.

Miraculously, despite the 19 stab wounds to her legs, arms and torso, the victim survived. After the attack, Geyser and Weier left their friend in the woods, where she was able to crawl to a road. A passing cyclist saw her and called 911. The victim reported to police that during the attack, one of the suspects told the other to "go ballistic, go crazy."

The suspects first appeared before a Waukesha County judge on June 2, 2014, and thus far the courts have declined to send the case to juvenile court. While 12 years is considered young to be treated as an adult in court, Wisconsin law dictates that any person over 10 years of age who is charged with homicide or attempted homicide is to be tried as an adult. Most states across the nation have similar laws, but none provide an age below 13 years for qualification to be tried as an adult. The girls' attorneys will continue to argue for a transfer to the juvenile court but District Attorney Brad Schimel fully plans to push back against such a move. "It's troubling when a person lashes out in anger," stated Schimel. "It's more troubling when they lash out in cold blood."

The attorney for Geyser believes his client is mentally ill and on June 11th, a judge granted his request for a mental evaluation. The examiner will have 15 days to file a report advising whether Geyser is mentally competent to undergo a trial. Up until the attack, neither of the girls had any known behavioral issues, and the principal of their school told authorities that both are good students. Weier's attorney has made no such request for any mental exams but may do so in the future.

Sources: "Girls Accused in 'Slender Man' Stabbing Appearing in Court," by Alex Perez & Andy Fies, June 11, 2014, abcnews.com; "Two 12-Year-Old Girls Stabbed Friend 19 Times In Planned Attack, Police Say," by David Lohr, June 2, 2014, The Huffington Post; "Lawyer of Slender Man Stabbing Suspect to Ask for Mental Evaluation," by Daniel Arkin, June 10, 2014, nbcnews.com; "Wisconsin 12-year-old accused in 'Slender Man' stabbing to have mental evaluation," by Sasha Goldstein, June 11, 2014, New York Daily News

Supreme Court Fires a Blow to Gun Lobby

On June 16, 2014, the United States Supreme Court upheld a federal law banning the use of "straw purchasers" for guns - that is, those persons buying guns for another person. The Court held in a 5-4 decision a person purchasing a gun on behalf of another must disclose the name of the intended owner at the time of purchase. This mandatory disclosure is required even where both the purchaser and the intended owner are eligible for gun ownership.

The federal law in question is the Gun Control Act of 1968, which in relevant part, requires a gun dealer to verify the identity of any person receiving a gun and submitting that information to a national database to undergo a background check. This is to prevent those with criminal records from being able to purchase a firearm. Additionally, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), created a form that a gun purchaser must fill out and provide to the dealer. That form specifically states that a dealer can only transfer a firearm to an "actual buyer" and a person acquiring a firearm on behalf of another is not considered an "actual buyer."

The case was brought to the Court by Bruce Abramski, a former police officer who was charged with making a false statement to a registered gun dealer. Abramski had bought a handgun for his uncle with the hopes that being a former police officer would provide a discounted price. At the time of purchase, he completed the mandatory information form and stated within that form that he was the "actual buyer." Abramski then gave the gun to his uncle in exchange for his uncle paying him the purchase price. Both Abramski and his uncle were legal gun owners at the time.

Abramski argued to the Court that his statement that he was the "actual buyer" on the form was immaterial to the lawfulness of the sale since his uncle could have legally purchased the gun on his own. Scalia, writing the dissent, agreed with Abramski and accused the majority of making it "a federal crime for one lawful gun owner to buy a gun for another lawful gun owner." He further ridiculed the majority when he noted, "if I give my son $10 and tell him to pick up milk and eggs at the store, no English speaker would say that the store 'sells' the milk and eggs to me." Joining Scalia's dissent was Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Alito.

However, as the saying goes, majority rules. Authoring the majority opinion was Justice Elena Kagan. "Abramski's reading would undermine - indeed, for all important purposes, would virtually repeal - the gun law's core provisions," she wrote. The core provisions are, according to the opinion, those meant to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms, and assisting law enforcement in investigating gun crimes. The opinion also pointed out that any person wanting to own a gun illegally would simply go through a straw man, entirely defeating the purpose of the law.

Gun control advocates are happy with the ruling, seeing it as a step in the direction of tighter restrictions on gun use. Meanwhile, opponents of gun control find the decision stifling. Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, says "the government's out of control, and all three branches are united against the people and the Constitution."

Sources: "Supreme Court rules against 'straw purchasers' of guns," by Richard Wolf, June 16, 2014, USA Today; "Supreme Court Rules Against Gun 'Straw Purchasers'," by Nina Totenberg, June 16, 2014, NPR; "Supreme Court Rules Against 'Straw' Purchases of Guns," by Adam Liptak, June 16, 2014, The New York Times
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