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Kansas Professor Indicted for Wire Fraud and Program Fraud

University of Kansas professor, Feng “Franklin” Tao, was recently indicted on one count of wire fraud and three counts of program fraud. Assistant Attorney General Demers for National Security explained, “Tao is alleged to have defrauded the U.S. government by unlawfully receiving federal grant money at the same time that he was employed and paid by a Chinese research university.”
The indictment alleges that Tao signed a contract with Fuzhou University, located in China, in May 2018. While under the Fuzhou University contract, Tao also worked as an assistant professor at the University of Kansas’ Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, or CEBC. His research was funded through multiple grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as the National Science Foundation.
If convicted of wire fraud, Tao faces up to 20 years in prison, and up to 10 years in prison for each count of program fraud.

Indictment Following Contentious Civil Lawsuit Highlights the Dangers of Trade Secret Litigation

A federal grand jury recently indicted Google's former wunderkind, Anthony Levandowski, on 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1832. The charges relate to self-driving car technology developed by Waymo, Google's sister company. 

In January 2016, Mr. Levandowski resigned from Google. Shortly thereafter, Uber hired him to work on their autonomous car technology. The indictment states that before leaving Waymo, Mr. Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 documents related to Google's self-driving car technology. In a written statement, Mr. Levandowski's attorneys state, "This case rehashes claims already discredited in a civil case that settled more than a year and a half ago. The downloads at issue occurred while Anthony was still working at Google—when he and his team were authorized to use the information. None of these supposedly secret files ever went to Uber or to any other company.”

These alleged 14,000 documents …

Julia Jayne Recognized as Super Lawyer for 10th Year in a Row

Criminal Justice Reform in California: Five Bills That Could Dramatically Change the Golden State’s Criminal Law Landscape

In 2018, California ushered in a new era of criminal justice; both the cash bail system and the felony murder rule were abolished with the stroke of then-Governor Jerry Brown’s pen. Not to be outdone, state legislators have introduced 2,628 bills since December 2018. Here, we will focus on five criminal justice reform-related bills. 1.  Automatic sealing of criminal records - AB 1076 AB 1076 would automatically seal the criminal records of an estimated 8 million people arrested or convicted of non-violent misdemeanors and infractions. While California allows people to petition the court to seal their records, most people fail to do so. One of AB 1076’s supporters, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, observed, “The current laws allow people to get this relief” but most people are “unable to get the relief because they either don’t have the resources or they don’t have the time.”

Supporters say that automating the process will increase the educational and professional opport…

A Step in the Right Direction: A Summary of the FIRST STEP Act

Introduction

The Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act of 2018, or FIRST STEP Act, is the first criminal justice reform bill signed into law under the current administration. Long in the making, the Act brings substantial reform to federal sentencing. While this bipartisan bill is primarily focused on decreasing recidivism, which is defined as a return to "criminal behavior, re-arrest, and re-incarceration," through evidence-based programming, the Act also reduces mandatory sentencing for non-violent offenses, expands educational programming, and revises certain drug penalties. This article will provide a broad overview of the Act, as well as a brief discussion of a challenge to the Act’s good time credit provisions by federal inmate Vivek Shah.
Background

The Act includes key provisions from the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (“SRCA”). Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the bill …

The Trial Penalty

Have you heard the phrase "prosecutors will decide"? It's often used by news stations when discussing a crime and its sentence. As John Oliver pointed out on one episode of his late night show, most people have heard this phrase before, but they have heard it so much that they forget what it means. Prosecutors have the power to decide whether and what to charge against someone. They also have the power to hold crucial evidence until the last minute. Because the evidence is withheld, the case will seem to be stacked against the charged. For this reason, many of the accused choose to plead guilty and try to plead for a lower sentence instead of risking receiving a life sentence in a trial.