2020 has been an unprecedented year because of COVID-19 and the global pandemic has impacted virtually every part of our lives. While divorce rates have been on the rise in the United States for the last few decades, coronavirus has increased the number of divorce cases for lawyers across the country.
Michelle C. Thomas is a divorce lawyer in Washington D.C. and says she has never been busier.
“It’s been nuts for the past few months. Divorce filings have skyrocketed since the reopen following the quarantine,” said Thomas, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “It’s sort of like the pandemic created a perfect storm for couples who were already contemplating divorce. Marriage is hard enough and with COVID-19, it’s that much harder for so many families. Think about it, you’re locked in a house for months on end. It’s brought a lot of the issues that were previously swept under the rug to the surface. Couples who may have been able to tolerate each other for a few hours were stuck and all of the social outlets were taken away from us.”
Thomas believes the financial issues brought along by the pandemic have put additional strains on many marriages. The lawyer said she saw a huge spikes in calls to her office in July when courts began to reopen. Thomas had clients who wanted to have a consultation as soon as possible.
“The last data and statistics I’ve seen said there’s been a 30% increase in divorce filings post-quarantine and that definitely sounds about right,” said Thomas. “We have been bombarded. We meaning divorce practitioners. This was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. The courts are backlogged and unless you have some urgent, emergency situation, you should expect to wait to get your case back on the docket. All the cases from March-June that were cancelled have to be rescheduled. You should expect to wait, which is why I encourage people to settle the legal issues they have. If you do get to court, it’s so weird doing these trials by Zoom on child custody and alimony.”
Convicted Killer Scott Peterson Appears Virtually In San Mateo Court
SCOTT PETERSON UPDATE ON APPEAL FOR PUNISHMENT
Convicted killer Scott Peterson made an appearance in a San Mateo County Court on Friday.
Peterson appeared virtually from San Quentin State Prison. His defense team had previously filed a motion for San Mateo County to take over his appeal case immediately. Peterson had a hearing scheduled in Stanislaus County that has been vacated and moved to San Mateo County.
After having his death sentence overturned, Peterson will be retried for the penalty phase of his 2002 murder case.
Last month, Peterson also appeared remotely from San Quentin State Prison for a hearing in Stanislaus County Court. It was decided in that hearing that the penalty phase will be retried.
Earlier in October, the California Supreme Court ordered for Peterson’s 2004 conviction of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn son to be reexamined.
Further, back in August, the California Supreme Court also ruled to overturn Peterson’s death sentence over questions brought up over a juror. However, the court rejected Peterson’s argument that he couldn’t get a fair trial due to the publicity of the case.
The court did decide to uphold Peterson’s murder conviction but left open the possibility for prosecutors to try again for the same sentence.
While Peterson was originally given the death sentence, California hasn’t executed any death row inmate since 2006. Further, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium on executions for as long as he is in office.
Pelosi launches formal bid for Speaker in next Congress
PELOSI MOVES TO KEEP SPEAKERSHIP IN HOUSE
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday formally launched her bid to keep the gavel for another two years, sending a letter to fellow Democrats seeking their support.
Pelosi has led the caucus since 2003, and had made it no mystery in recent weeks that she intended to retain that position in the next Congress.
While voters on Tuesday maintained the Democrats’ majority in the lower chamber, it was a bruising cycle for Pelosi and party leaders, who had promised to pick off vulnerable Republicans and expand their numbers advantage in 2021. Instead, Democrats lost at least seven incumbent seats, and as of Friday morning they had not knocked off a single Republican seeking reelection.
The dispiriting results have sparked plenty of finger-pointing within the diverse and divisive caucus, with moderates and liberals trading barbs over who bears the blame, and lawmakers of all stripes criticizing their leadership’s messaging strategy heading into the polls.
In her letter, Pelosi alluded to those tensions, noting the “diverse viewpoints of our Democratic Caucus” and “the urgency of the challenges ahead.” The Speaker said she’ll be contacting members individually “to get the benefit of your thinking fresh from your campaign trail.”
PELOSIR TRIED TO SCHMOOZ THE REPRESENATIVES.
“Our Caucus is blessed with many diverse and entrepreneurial perspectives,” she wrote.
But Pelosi largely focused on the Democrats’ legislative plans for the next Congress, promising to move quickly – with the help of a potential President Joe Biden – on efforts to tackle climate change, boost health care access, launch a massive infrastructure initiative, provide coronavirus relief and reform the election system, which has come under fire this year for inefficiencies exposed by the pandemic.
“Our vision for the next two years must be to build on the success of the Democratic House Majority in the 116th Congress, and to harvest the extraordinary vision, values and vibrancy of our Caucus to secure the progress that the American people deserve,” she wrote in the letters, which she signed individually to each lawmaker.
There appears to be no threat to Pelosi’s bid to retain the gavel. The Speaker has the overwhelming support of her caucus, and won widespread praise over the last two years for her confrontational dealings with President Trump, including his impeachment, and her handling of the pandemic. Heading into the elections, she was not expected to face a challenger.
Yet a small group of restless moderates, frustrated with Tuesday’s election results, is already in talks to recruit a Democrat to take her on.
With many race’s results still outstanding, it’s unclear if that effort gains steam. Pelosi had faced a revolt from a similar group of rebellious lawmakers after the 2018 cycle, but they were unable to find a candidate willing to challenge her, and Pelosi won the gavel this Congress with votes to spare.
Dems Disagree in Leaked Caucus Call, Rep. Tlaib Says Progressive Wing is Not to Blame for Losses
DEMOCRATS ODDS AND ENDS (VIDEO)
A leaked caucus call between congressional Democrats on Thursday has revealed growing tension between the more progressive wing of the party and moderate lawmakers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a strong message to her colleagues that swinging too left will cost the party their chances should the Georgia Senate races advance to runoffs, an opportunity that could give Democrats a tie with Republicans in the Senate if both Democratic candidates won seats in the state. To obtain a Senate majority, Democrats would need to pick up a seat in either Alaska or North Carolina, though should the election result in a 50-50 split, Kamala Harris or Mike Pence would be the deciding vote as vice president.
But messages that some Democrats are “too” progressive, faced pushback from members of Congress who hope to see sweeping changes.
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib said on the call that the party needs “to do a real autopsy and dig through it” before attacking each other.
Tlaib, who was re-elected this year, is a member of four progressive congresswomen dubbed ‘The Squad.’
During the call, Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger blamed more progressive lawmakers for races the party did lose in the general election.
“Don’t blame myself and others who are fighting for issues that matter to our communities,” Tlaib said.
Tlaib was elected in the 2018 midterm elections alongside fellow ‘Squad’ members Reps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley. All four won re-election on Tuesday.
THE GROUP HAS PROGRESSIVE AGENDA
The group has been known to push for more progressive policies, such as the Green New Deal, and support defunding the police amid the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer.
“No one should say ‘defund the police’ ever again,” Spanberger yelled on the leaked call. “Nobody should be talking about socialism.”
Spanberger, who won re-election by a narrow margin of 0.2 percentage points, called the election results “a failure” and told other Democrats, “We lost races we shouldn’t have lost.”
She added that if progressives continue to use this rhetoric, “We will get f—–g torn apart in 2022.”
Tlaib urged other Democratic lawmakers to wait for all the numbers to be tallied before making statements that appeal to certain people.
“They called Obama worse. They called him a Muslim, a socialist, you can blame these words but if it wasn’t on BLM would’ve been something else,” the Michigan congresswoman said.
Pelosi chimed in to disagree with Spanberger, noting that Democrats did keep the House on Tuesday night and are likely to take the presidency from President Donald Trump once all the ballots are counted.
PELOSI WANTS ISSUE TO BE BROUGHT STRAIGHT TO HER
Pelosi told members to raise any complaints to her directly.
“I hope any of you who have something to report or feedback will come to me,” she said on the call.
House Democrats did not do as well as they had expected on Election Day, losing seven seats in battleground districts, including in Florida, North Carolina, New Mexico and Iowa.
Rep.Mucarsel-Powell, who lost her race in Florida’s 26th congressional district, teared up on the call as she told Democrats to remain unified and not attack each other over Twitter.
Rep. Donna Shalala, the other congresswoman who was unseated in South Florida, said she did not blame top Democrats for her loss, saying “Leadership has been excellent and I have no complaints.”
Shalala had not been expected to lose her race against Republican Maria Salazar.
Three progressive Representative-elects, Cori Bush of Missouri, Jamaal Bowman of New York and Marie Newman of Illinois, will join Democrats in Washington D.C. in January.
In 2018, we helped elect @AOC, @AyannaPressley, @IlhanMN, and @RashidaTlaib.
In 2020, we elected @JamaalBowmanNY, @CoriBush, and @Marie4Congress.
We’re creating a Democratic Party that fights back and delivers for working people.
The Squad is here to stay — and it’s growing. pic.twitter.com/yeuEmLy2pj
Justice Democrats (@justicedems) September 28, 2020
DEMS NOT PLEASED WITH LEAKED CALL
As information from the call was leaked to the press, California Rep. Jared Huffman urged his fellow Democrats to stay quiet.
“Some of my colleagues are literally live-leaking our internal Dem Caucus call right now to CNN, The Hill, NBC, Politico, etc,” Huffman tweeted. “I’ve gotten texts from 3 different reporters asking me to live-leak juicy details to them. No. We (Dems and the media) need to stop this nonsense.”