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Afternoon Briefs: Donor says law school not…

News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Donor says law school not honoring wishes; Justice Thomas says judges aren't 'mass media icons'

By Debra Cassens Weiss and Stephanie Francis Ward

February 12, 2020, 3:17 pm CST

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Attorney disputes his University of Michigan Law School gift

Lance J. Johnson, a Minnesota lawyer who had donated $150,000 to the University of Michigan Law School and had planned to leave it $2 million more in his estate, now claims that the school is not honoring his wishes. Johnson, who graduated from the law school in 1965, said he wanted his money to fund a study about appointing independent counsel for children in custody disputes. The law school has a workshop about children and the law named in his honor, which Johnson claims is hosted “sporadically.” According to a University of Michigan spokesperson, Johnson signed a gift agreement in 2007 to give the school $200,000, which would be used to establish the Lance J. Johnson Fund. His money was used appropriately, according to the school, and there’s no legally binding agreement in regard to Johnson including a gift for the school in his estate. (MLive.com)

Justice Thomas says judges aren’t ‘mass media icons’

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said Tuesday judges “should not be driven by a desire to be revered.” Speaking at a dedication ceremony for a new Georgia judicial center, Thomas said judges have to be willing to apply the law even when it will not garner popular approval. “We are not mass media icons,” Thomas said. “We are judges. Nothing more and nothing less.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Daily Report Online)

Virginia House votes to repeal ban on sex before marriage

Virginia’s House of Delegates has voted to repeal a law that makes it illegal for people to have consensual sex outside marriage. The Virginia Supreme Court had ruled the law unconstitutional in 2005, but it remains on the books. “How is Virginia for lovers, if lovers can’t love each other?” said Mark Levine, the Democratic delegate who introduced the repeal bill. (The Associated Press, CNN)

Actor Jussie Smollett is indicted again in alleged hoax attack

Actor Jussie Smollett, who was on the TV show Empire, is once again facing charges that he staged a hate crime attack on himself and lied to police about it. A special grand jury indicted Smollett on Tuesday after the appointment of a special prosecutor. He is charged with disorderly conduct. When the Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropped charges against Smollett last March, it issued a press release saying the case was resolved in accord with previous, similar cases. But the special prosecutor said the office was unable to provide prior case files that would back up that claim. (The Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, NBC Chicago, the indictment)

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