05 25 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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The Oregon Cannabis Association will host a legal clinic Nov. 5 offering assistance in filing expungement petitions for those with marijuana convictions in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas Counties.

The group has set up a website at newdayoregon.com where interested parties can fill out a form detailing the nature of their conviction, so staff can determine whether or not they are eligible and sign them up for the clinic. Not all marijuana-related convictions are eligible for expungement – just those lined out in Senate Bill 844, which was cosponsored by Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) and Rep. Ann Lininger (D-Portland) and signed into law in August.

That bill, an omnibus bill addressing marijuana legalization issues, is the surviving version of a policy change initially proposed by Rep. Lew Frederick (D-Portland). That bill died in the legislature earlier this year.

Cannabis Association spokesperson Karynn Fish told The Skanner News so far, Amy Margolis – who leads the association – plans to staff the clinic on a pro bono basis with colleagues from Emerge Law Firm, where Margolis also works,. The association has been in conversation with other firms and will engage them if they see a high volume of applications for the event.

In addition, Fish said, while the November clinic is specifically for people in the Portland metropolitan area, the association is open to holding clinics for people outside the metro area.

The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation estimates that as many as 50,000 Oregonians – 20,000 of them in the Portland metro area – have marijuana-related convictions on their record.

“It’s not clear whether all those people would qualify under the law,” Fish said, since the new legislation only addresses marijuana-related offenses that are now legal under Measure 91. Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is still illegal for those without a medical dispensary license, and licensing for recreational-only dispensaries is still in process, so distribution-related offenses may also not qualify. In addition, the upcoming clinic is for marijuana offenses only. (Metropolitan Public Defenders conducts weekly expungement clinics for offenses of all types.)

“I think this is a really critical next step,” Fish said. “Oregon did something really special with passing these laws, bringing these laws into sync with how voters feel about marijuana.”

Neither the press release nor the website list a specific location, but both note the clinic will take place in North Portland, in part to reach out to communities who were disproportionately likely to face arrest or prosecution for drug-related offenses. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, African Americans are twice as likely as Whites to be arrested for marijuana-related offenses, though according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, Whites are more likely to have used the drug.

“This is an issue of equity,” Fish said.

Fish said the Oregon Cannabis Association – an advocacy group representing those in the marijuana industry – is holding this clinic in the last months before the Oregon Liquor Licensing Commission begins accepting applications to process and distribute recreational marijuana, to help ensure diverse communities have a chance to enter the industry. On Oct. 1, medical dispensaries began selling to recreational customers, but aspiring recreational dispensary operators sit in a regulatory limbo, with applications not being accepted until January.

According to OLCC’s website, the agency may reject applications from anyone who “hasbeen convicted of violating a general or local law of this state or another state, or of violating a federal law, if the conviction is substantially related to the fitness and ability of the applicant to lawfully carry out activities under the license.”

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