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How Hillary Clinton at age 27 came to defend an accused rapist in rural Arkansas has suddenly become a contested piece of history in a case otherwise decided 40 years ago.
In 1975, Thomas Alfred Taylor was charged with raping a 12-year-old girl in his pickup truck off a highway in Arkansas’ Washington County. Details of that night and the subsequent court proceedings were painstakingly reconstructed in 2008 by Glenn Thrush, then a reporter for Newsday and now with Politico.
While the girl willingly went for a ride with Taylor, she said she did not consent to sex and was later admitted to a hospital with injuries consistent with rape.
At his court hearing, Taylor asked for a woman to represent him. According to Thrush’s report, the county had just a “half-dozen” female attorneys available. A judge appointed Clinton, new to the South and looking to establish the University of Arkansas’ fledgling legal aid clinic, to the task.
Clinton mounted a vigorous defense that included discrediting the child victim’s story by writing in an affidavit that the girl was “emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men” and had made “false accusations” in the past. The victim told Thrush in 2008 and the Daily Beast that Clinton made that up. But investigators in the case also found inconsistencies in the victim’s story, according to Thrush’s reporting.
Those details didn’t make it into Clinton’s memoir Living History or her recollections of the case in the newly released interview. She does note that the defendant passed a lie-detector test – “which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs,” she said in the 1980s – and she said the prosecution botched one of the most important pieces of evidence, Taylor’s blood-stained underwear. She called it a “terrible case.”
Taylor, charged with first-degree rape, ultimately pleaded guilty to unlawful fondling of a minor. He died in 1992.
“A prosecutor called me years ago, and said that he had a guy who was accused of rape and the guy wanted a woman lawyer,” Clinton said. “Would I do it as a favor to him?”
Washington County prosecutor Mahlon Gibson “called to tell me an indigent prisoner accused of raping a twelve-year-old girl wanted a woman lawyer. Gibson had recommended that the criminal court judge, Maupin Cummings, appoint me. I told Mahlon I really don’t feel comfortable taking on such a client, but Mahlon gently reminded me that I couldn’t very well refuse the judge’s request.”
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Legal aid lawyers and community organizers may work with the same client groups, but their strategies and perspectives may not always align. Can lawyers and organizers ever work together? Can such a community lawyering practice benefit clients?
Bread for the City in Washington, DC, would answer those questions with a resounding “YES.” Its lawyers and organizers are seeing real results from Bread for the City’s Community Lawyering Project.
We talked with Taylor Healy—a Bread for the City attorney—and Aja Taylor—a Bread for the City organizer—about their community lawyering practice.
Be sure to read their new Clearinghouse article, Making the Case for Community Lawyering: http://povertylaw.org/article/communitylawyering Video Rating: / 5
This video describes how to file a case in small claims court. It is brought to you by the Superior Court of California of Contra Costa and Orange Counties. The Legal Aid Society of Orange County hosts the Small Claims Advisory Program for the County of Orange. For more information, please visit www.ocsmallclaims.com or www.legal-aid.com. Video Rating: / 5
While everyone would love for the relationship between a landlord and a tenant to be amicable, the unfortunate reality is that sometimes landlords must seek to evict tenants in order to maintain a safe and profitable property. Many landlords who are fed up with a tenant but are unaware of the proper legal process run the risk of committing an unlawful eviction, which can expose the landlord to significant liability and possible criminal charges.
An unlawful eviction is any form of eviction that is not performed in accordance with the established legal process. When people think of an unlawful eviction, the most obvious scenario that comes to mind involves the use or threat of physical force with the purpose of making the tenant leave. This can open the landlord up to criminal charges as well as civil liabilities, and like the rest of the examples we will discuss, is an inappropriate way to try to resolve a conflict with a tenant.
A lesser known type of unlawful eviction is when the landlord engages in a course of conduct which attempts to interfere with or disturb the comfort of the tenant in their use of the unit in order to encourage the tenant to leave. Examples of this include cutting off essential services like hot water or electricity in the hope of making the tenant’s stay in the unit unbearable. These types of evictions are known as “constructive evictions” since the tenant is not physically removed, but the tenant’s right to the undisturbed use and enjoyment of the premises has been violated. If the landlord withholds an essential service that they have a legal duty to provide, and thereby make the property uninhabitable, the tenant may terminate the lease and be entitled to seek damages.
An unlawful eviction can also exist when a landlord takes steps or threatens to take steps which would prevent the tenant from occupying the unit or attempting to force them to vacate, such as changing the locks on the tenant’s unit without providing them with a new key. However, this can also include tampering with the locks, removing the tenant’s door or removing their possessions from the unit.
If an unlawful eviction does occur, then the tenant may call the police and bring criminal charges against the landlord. It is also possible that the tenant can seek an order from the Court directing the landlord to allow the tenant to return to the premises. In some cases, the landlord may be liable for up to three times any damages suffered by the tenant.
The only way a landlord may lawfully evict a tenant is by going to court and obtaining a judgment and warrant of eviction to be executed by a local marshal’s office or another authorized enforcement officer.
James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C. is well versed in the area of landlord and tenant law. If you have any questions about what you need to do as a landlord to secure the legal eviction of a tenant, or if you think you may have been the victim of an unlawful eviction, please visit our web site at www.dibbinilaw.com or contact our office to discuss your situation and schedule a meeting.
Our office also provides legal services in the areas of:
-Cooperative Apartment & Condo Representation
-Property Management Company Support and Representation
-Commercial & Residential Real Estate Closings
-Landlord & Tenant Law
-General Business Law
-Zoning Issues and Variances
-Housing and Building Code Violation Matters Video Rating: / 5