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Legal News Roundup: December 30

Here’s a roundup of recent legal stories in the news.

Justice Department Declines To Prosecute Cleveland Officers In Death Of Tamir Rice

NPR – The U.S. Department of Justice will not charge any of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a Black 12-year-old boy who was killed by police in Cleveland in 2014. The department has closed its investigation

The Justice Department announced it found insufficient evidence to “support federal criminal charges against Cleveland Division of Police Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback.”

The department said it notified Rice’s family attorneys about the decision on Monday “and [Tuesday] sent a letter to Mr. Rice’s family explaining the findings of the investigation and reasons for the decision.”

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Victory for Ohio Police and Firefighters

Journal-News – Police and firefighters won a long-fought legal battle with the passage of House Bill 308.

The bill creates a new state fund to pay lost wages and medical expenses for public safety officers suffering from PTSD as a result of their jobs. It also prohibits employers from penalizing workers who file a claim with the fund.

Ohio has more than 30,000 police and firefighters.

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A cheerleader’s vulgar message prompts a First Amendment showdown

The New York Times – A high school cheerleader’s vulgar Snapchat message expressing her dissatisfaction with the school and cheerleading after not making the varsity squad sparked a First Amendment showdown that could go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Another student took a screenshot of the message and showed it to her mother, a coach. The school suspended the student from cheerleading for a year, saying the punishment was needed to “avoid chaos” and maintain a “teamlike environment.”

The student sued the school district, winning a sweeping victory in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Philadelphia. The court said the First Amendment did not allow public schools to punish students for speech outside school grounds.

Next month, at its first private conference after the holiday break, the Supreme Court will consider whether to hear the case.

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No Bail for Ghislaine Maxwell

Reuters – A U.S. judge denied bail to Ghislaine Maxwell, citing the risk the British socialite might flee from charges she assisted in the late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking of girls.

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom girls as young as 14 years old for sex in the mid-1990s, and not guilty to perjury for denying her involvement under oath.

She has been jailed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn following her July 2 arrest at her New Hampshire home, where prosecutors said she was hiding out.

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