Here is some of the legal news making the headlines this week:
A panel of federal judges struck down Alabama’s congressional map, which the court said the Republican-majority legislature had drawn in defiance of a recent Supreme Court decision.
- In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the state’s congressional map, which only had one district comprised of a majority of Black voters, improperly diluted the power of Black voters in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The justices directed Alabama to redraw its map to create a second majority-Black district in the state. In defiance of that order, the Republican-led Alabama legislature issued a new congressional map in July that still contained only a single district with a majority of Black voters.
- A three-judge panel in federal district court in Alabama ruled that the new map defied the Supreme Court’s mandate and violated the Voting Rights Act. The judges wrote: “The law requires the creation of an additional district that affords Black Alabamians, like everyone else, a fair and reasonable opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The 2023 plan plainly fails to do so.”
- The court will now appoint an independent special master to draw a new map that conforms with the Supreme Court’s ruling because the judges “have no reason to believe that allowing the Legislature still another opportunity to draw yet another map will yield a map that includes an additional opportunity district.”
Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, the longest sentence yet for charges related to January 6.
- In May, a jury convicted Tarrio on a number of charges, including seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. Tarrio was not present at the Capitol on January 6 because he was banned from D.C. as a result of a prior plea deal, but prosecutors presented evidence at trial to show that Tarrio was instrumental in planning the violence and that he took credit for the mayhem on social media.
- Tarrio’s 22-year sentence is the longest for any January 6 defendant, but prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly to impose a 33-year sentence. At the sentencing hearing, Tarrio for the first time appeared to apologize for his conduct and said that the police officers who defended the Capitol “deserve nothing but praise, respect and to be honored as the heroes they are. I am extremely ashamed and disappointed they were caused grief and suffering.” Later in the hearing, Judge Kelly said, “I’m glad he’s sorry for what happened to the law enforcement officers that day. But…I don’t have any indication that he is remorseful for the actual things that he was convicted of…There’s only so much that statement can go toward assuring me that deterrence is not warranted.”
- Tarrio was tried with several other Proud Boys members, all of whom were convicted. Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola were all sentenced to between 10-18 years in prison.
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