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under investigation by the judicial branch.

Julie Introcaso, a Bedford judge who was suspended in October, was charged Thursday with two felony counts of falsifying physical evidence and three misdemeanors alleging tampering with public records or information and unsworn falsification.

The attorney general’s office said Introcaso will be arraigned at a later date. It wasn’t immediately known if she had a lawyer, and a number could not be found for her.

The attorney general’s office began an investigation last fall after the state Judicial Conduct Committee released a document alleging that Introcaso violated the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct.

That complaint alleges that Introcaso oversaw a child custody case for about six months despite having a friendship with a lawyer who was serving as a guardian ad litem in the matter. She approved rulings on the guardian’s fees and method of payment.

She eventually recused herself, citing a conflict of interest, but a party in the case made a complaint about her to the committee, which started an investigation. The committee alleges she altered the court orders during the investigation.



The Louisiana Supreme Court has a new chief justice. John Weimer, 66, of Thibodaux, took the oath of office this month as the state’s 26th chief justice. A ceremony marking his investiture was held in New Orleans on Thursday. Weimer fills the seat vacated by Bernette Joshua Johnson, who retired Dec. 31 after serving 26 years on the high court.

“I feel a profound sense of humility and the recognition of the obligation of service,” Weimer said. “I have served with three chief justices who have made their mark on the judiciary in special ways … I have learned much from each of them, and I promise to work hard to be dedicated to the principles of impartiality, independence and fairness while pursuing justice and acting with integrity just as my predecessors did.”

The Courier reports that Gov. John Bel Edwards, who spoke at Thursday’s ceremony, said Weimer is becoming Louisiana’s highest jurist during one of history’s most difficult periods, with a global pandemic raging.

“John Weimer is the right person to lead this court during these challenging times,” the Democratic governor said.

The new chief justice rose quickly through judicial ranks. Weimer became a state district judge for the 17th District in Thibodaux in 1995, before being elected to Louisiana’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal in 1998. He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 2001 during a special election. He was re-elected to 10-year terms without opposition in 2002 and 2012.

Weimer ran as a Democrat through 2002, but without party affiliation in 2012.

His Supreme Court district includes Terrebonne, Lafourche, Assumption, Iberia, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes and part of Jefferson Parish.



Shirley Abrahamson, the longest-serving Wisconsin Supreme Court justice in state history and the first woman to serve on the high court, has died. She was 87.

Abrahamson, who also served as chief justice for a record 19 years, died Saturday after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, her son Dan Abrahamson told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement that Abrahamson had a “larger-than-life impact” on the state's legal profession and her legacy is defined “not just by being a first, but her life’s work of ensuring she would not be the last, paving and lighting the way for the many women and others who would come after her.”

Long recognized as a top legal scholar nationally and a leader among state judges, Abrahamson wrote more than 450 majority opinions and participated in more than 3,500 written decisions during her more than four decades on Wisconsin’s highest court. She retired in 2019 and moved to California to be closer with her family.

In 1993, then-President Bill Clinton considered putting her on the U.S. Supreme Court, and she was later profiled in the book, “Great American Judges: An Encyclopedia.”

She told the Wisconsin State Journal in 2006 that she enjoyed being on the court.

“It has a mix of sitting, reading and writing and thinking, which I enjoy doing. And it’s quiet. On the other hand, all of the problems I work on are real problems of real people, and it matters to them, and it matters to the state of Wisconsin. So that gives an edge to it, and a stress,” she said.

The New York City native, with the accent to prove it, graduated first in her class from Indiana University Law School in 1956, three years after her marriage to Seymour Abrahamson. The couple moved to Madison and her husband, a world-renowned geneticist, joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty in 1961. He died in 2016.

She earned a law degree from UW-Madison in 1962, then worked as a professor and joined a Madison law firm, hired by the father of future Gov. Jim Doyle.

Appointed to the state's high court by then-Gov. Patrick Lucey in 1976, Abrahamson won reelection four times to 10-year terms, starting in 1979. She broke the record for longest-serving in justice in 2013, her 36th year on the court.

Abrahamson was in the majority when the court in 2005 allowed a boy to sue over lead paint injuries even though he could not prove which company made the product that sickened him — undoing decades of precedent and opening paint companies to lawsuits seeking damages.

But Abrahamson found herself in the minority on several high-profile cases later in her career, including in 2011, when the court upheld the law championed by Republican then-Gov. Scott Walker effectively ending public employee union rights, and again in 2015, when the court ended a politically charged investigation into Walker and conservative groups.

Abrahamson’s health began to fail in 2018, and she frequently missed court hearings. That May, she announced she wouldn’t run again in 2019, and in August, she revealed she has cancer.

Doyle, a former Wisconsin attorney general and two-term governor, called Abrahamson a pioneer and said he sought her advice when he first ran for Dane County district attorney in the 1970s. Doyle's father, who was a federal judge, gave Abrahamson her first job out of law school, Doyle said Sunday.


President Donald Trump has lost his latest legal challenge seeking to overturn Georgia’s election results, with the state Supreme Court’s rejection late Saturday of a case from Trump’s campaign and Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer.

The suit - similar to other Trump team legal challenges, which made baseless allegations of widespread fraud in Georgia’s presidential election - was initially filed Dec. 4, then rejected by the Fulton County Superior Court because the paperwork was improperly completed and it lacked the appropriate filing fees.

The case was subsequently appealed directly to the state Supreme Court, asking justices to consider the case before Monday’s meeting of the Electoral College. In a brief order, justices wrote that “petitioners have not shown that this is one of those extremely rare cases that would invoke our original jurisdiction.”

It’s the latest legal setback in the president’s efforts to overturn the election results. On Friday  the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit backed by Trump seeking to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory, a move that ended a desperate attempt to get legal issues rejected by state and federal judges before the nation’s highest court.

Even as lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies have been rejected around the country, the president has continued to make repeated baseless claims of widespread fraud. In Georgia, he has rained criticism on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, both fellow Republicans.

Raffensperger has been steadfast in his defense of the integrity of the election in the state, and Kemp has said he has no power to intervene in elections.

Results certified by Raffensperger last month showed that Biden led by a margin of 12,670 votes, or 0.25% of the roughly 5 million ballots cast. An audit involving a hand count of the paper ballots also showed Biden won.

Last week, Raffensberger again recertified the state’s election results after a recount requested by Trump confirmed once again that Biden won the state, and the governor then recertified the state’s 16 presidential electors.

“We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged,” Raffensperger said during a news conference at the state Capitol.


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg  lay in state Friday at the U.S. Capitol as the first woman ever so honored, making history again as she had throughout her extraordinary life while an intensifying election-year battle swirled over her replacement.

The flag-draped casket of Ginsburg, who died last week at 87, drew members of Congress, top military officials, friends and family, some with children in tow, to the Capitol’s grand Statuary Hall, paying respect to the cultural icon who changed American law and perceptions of women’s power.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, joined other invited guests. His vice presidential running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris said that “RBG,” as she is known by many, cleared a path for women like her in civic life.

“She, first of all, made America see what leadership looks like -- in the law, in terms of public service -- and she broke so many barriers,” Harris told reporters at the Capitol. “And I know that she did it intentionally knowing that people like me could follow.”

Biden, who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Ginsburg was confirmed 27 years ago this month, said he was brought back to when he met her back then. “Wonderful memories,” he said.

Mourners gathered to honor Ginsburg under coronavirus distancing restrictions with the nation in political turmoil.

President Donald Trump is to announce a conservative nominee to replace her on Saturday, just weeks before the election. White House officials have indicated to congressional Republicans and outside allies that the nominee will be Indiana’s Amy Coney Barrett  but are maintaining a semblance of suspense to let Trump announce her.

His third justice, if confirmed, would be sure to move the court rightward on health care, abortion and other pivotal issues. A Senate confirmation vote would be expected in late October.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was with “profound sorrow” that she welcomed Ginsburg and opened the private service.

She and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer stood under gray skies as Ginsburg’s casket made the short procession from the court’s steps where it had been on public view for several days to the East Front of the Capitol.


A daughter of Cuban exiles who has had a swift rise as a lawyer and judge is on President Donald Trump’s short list to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The president said Monday that he does not personally know Barbara Lagoa, but praised her as “terrific.” Barely veiled was the fact that, as a Cuban-American from South Florida’s city of Hialeah, her selection could benefit Trump in the Nov. 3 election, when Florida could be the ultimate kingmaker. Lagoa grew up in a heavily Hispanic suburb of Miami.

“She’s excellent. She’s Hispanic. She’s a terrific woman from everything I know. I don’t know her. Florida. We love Florida. So she’s got a lot of things — very smart,” Trump said in a call-in interview with “Fox and Friends.”

Asked whether politics would play a role in the decision, Trump responded: “I try not to say so. I think probably automatically it is. Even if you’re not wanting to do that it becomes a little automatic.”

Speaking to reporters at the White House later Monday, Trump said he might meet Lagoa when he travels to Florida on Thursday for a campaign rally in Jacksonville. “She has a lot of support,” said Trump, who added he held calls on Sunday and Monday with some of the candidates he’s considering. “I don’t know her but I hear she is outstanding.”

After the death Friday of 87-year-old Ginsburg, a liberal icon, Trump said he would name a woman as a replacement — possibly by Saturday. Trump said Monday he has about five top prospects.

At 52, Lagoa would become the youngest member of the U.S. Supreme Court if nominated and confirmed. Lagoa, an only child, once joked that after graduating from Florida International University leaving her close-knit Cuban-American family for New York to obtain her law degree from Columbia University “was not a popular decision in my house.”

When she was picked for the Florida Supreme Court, Lagoa said her father gave up his dream of becoming a lawyer and that both her parents worked long hours while she rode her bike and roller skated down the streets of Hialeah where she was cared for by her grandmother.

“My parents sacrificed to send me to Catholic school further instilling in me an abiding faith in God that has grounded me and sustained me through the highs and lows of life,” she said.

Lagoa is currently a judge on the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump appointed her to that post in 2019 and the Senate confirmed her on an 80-15 vote.


A divided federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered the dismissal of the criminal case against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, turning back efforts by a judge to scrutinize the Justice Department’s extraordinary decision to drop the prosecution.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said in a 2-1 ruling that the Justice Department’s move to abandon the case against Flynn settles the matter, even though Flynn pleaded guilty as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to lying to the FBI.

The ruling, a significant win for both Flynn and the Justice Department, appears to cut short what could have been a protracted legal fight over the basis for the government’s dismissal of the case. It came as Democrats question whether the Justice Department has become too politicized and Attorney General William Barr too quick to side with the president, particularly as he vocally criticizes, and even undoes, some of the results of the Russia investigation.

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday centered on another unusual move by Barr to overrule his own prosecutors and ask for less prison time for another Trump associate, Roger Stone. Barr has accepted an invitation to testify before the panel on July 28, a spokeswoman said Wednesday, and he will almost certainly be pressed about the Flynn case.

Trump tweeted just moments after the ruling became public: “Great! Appeals Court Upholds Justice Departments Request to Drop Criminal Case Against General Michael Flynn.”

Later, at the White House, Trump told reporters he was happy for Flynn.

“He was treated horribly by a group of very bad people,” Trump said. “What happened to Gen. Flynn should never happen in our country.”

Flynn called into conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh’s radio show and said the ruling was a good development for him and his family. But he also called it “great boost of confidence for the American people in our justice system because that’s what this really comes down to — is whether or not our justice system is going to have the confidence of the American people.”

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had declined to immediately dismiss the case, seeking instead to evaluate on his own the department’s request. He appointed a retired federal judge to argue against the Justice Department’s position and to consider whether Flynn could be held in criminal contempt for perjury. He had set a July 16 hearing to formally hear the request to dismiss the case.

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