TIME Courts

Customer Says He Found Meth in a Milkshake From In-N-Out Burger

The customer says he found two capsules at the bottom of his cup

A customer has sued In-N-Out Burger because he says he got sick from meth he found in his milkshake.

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the customer, Fred Maldonado, states that he bought a burger and a milkshake from In-N-Out in Downey, Calif. in March of 2014. He brought the food back to his motel room and ate it. The next morning, the suit states, he woke up and found a napkin and two capsules in the bottom of his milkshake cup. When he went back to the restaurant to complain, the manager apologized and gave him a free burger.

According to the suit, later testing revealed that the capsules contained methamphetamine. Maldano claims to have felt nausea and mental distress as a result of consuming the beverage.

“At In-N-Out Burger, we have always served the freshest, highest quality burgers, fries, and drinks and customer safety is one of our highest priorities,” In-N-Out Burger executive vice president Arnie Wensinger told City News Service.“We will vigorously defend these baseless claims.”

TIME India

Almost 1 in 3 Lawyers in India Are ‘Fake,’ Claims Top Bar Official

A television journalist sets his camera inside the premises of the Supreme Court in New Delhi
Anindito Mukherjee—Reuters A television journalist sets his camera inside the premises of the Supreme Court in New Delhi on Feb. 18, 2014

“Fake lawyers and nonpracticing law graduates are degrading the standards of the profession”

Nearly a third of all lawyers in India are “fake,” the head of the country’s legal regulator has said.

Manan Kumar Mishra, the chairman of the Bar Council of India (BCI), made the startling revelation during speech in Chennai, the capital of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, on Saturday, the Press Trust of India reports.

“Thirty percent of all lawyers are fake, who either hold fraudulent degrees or are nonpracticing persons and 20% of those who sport lawyers’ robes do not have proper degrees,” Mishra said. “Fake lawyers and nonpracticing law graduates are degrading the standards of the profession.”

The spread of “fake” lawyers, Mishra added, was also causing disruptions in the legal system. “Strikes on petty issues have become a regular phenomenon due to such persons,” he said, “We are serious about this and will take stiff action.”

Mishra’s statement comes on the heels of the arrest last month of a former law minister in the provincial government in New Delhi following a BCI complaint alleging that he had falsely claimed to be a law graduate.

And earlier this year, police in Tamil Nadu busted an elaborate scam to sell counterfeit certificates for legal and engineering courses. The illegal operation only came to light when three would-be lawyers applied to register with the state’s bar association, which discovered that their credentials were in fact fake.

TIME Courts

Why the New Case Against Bill Cosby Is Different

He may be forced to testify about the molestation of a 15-year-old girl

After facing years of sexual abuse accusations from dozens of women, comedian Bill Cosby may be forced to give a deposition under oath next month in a case that will put him under unprecedented scrutiny, in which he is alleged to have molested a 15-year-old girl.

Cosby’s lawyer tried to get the case dismissed on procedural grounds, but on Wednesday the California Supreme Court declined to hear the petition, paving the way for the case to go forward, if Cosby’s lawyers aren’t able to stop it.

Gloria Allred, the attorney representing the alleged molestation victim, who is now in her 50s, told TIME her team plans to ask Cosby not just about the specifics of the case but also about the similar claims made by dozens of other women, who have detailed encounters in which Cosby plied them with drugs or alcohol and then assaulted them. She hopes to depose Cosby in August and will seek permission to videotape the proceeding.

“We have wide latitude in the deposition to ask any question of Mr. Cosby that is relevant or will lead to discovery,” Allred told TIME. “I believe it is relevant to inquire about accusations of other accusers, in order to establish pattern and practice, as well as a motive.”

Cosby’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

The details of the case

Judy Huth was 15 when she and a 16-year-old friend met Cosby in 1974 at a Los Angeles park where he was filming a movie, according to a December 2014 court filing. The girls both told Cosby how old they were, the filing says.

Cosby invited Huth and her friend to his tennis club the following Saturday. They met him there and the trio played billiards. Cosby also gave them alcohol, playing a game with Huth that involved her drinking a beer every time he won a game of billiards. Afterwards, he took the girls to the Playboy Mansion, where Huth said he invited her to sit beside him in a bedroom suite and molested her, according to the filing.

Why this case is different

Huth’s case is unique among the many other claims against Cosby because she was so young when the alleged abuse occurred—it is currently the only civil case pending against Cosby that involves child abuse. The statute of limitations has expired on other sexual assault claims against Cosby, leaving three women who say they were assaulted by Cosby in the 1970s to sue him for defamation instead, because he called them liars when they recently came forward. But Allred is arguing that the statute of limitations on sexual abuse should be extended for Huth, because she is an “adult survivor” of child abuse.

The law gives people who were assaulted as minors more time to file a suit, said Anne Bremner, an attorney in Seattle who is representing another Cosby victim in a case she has not yet filed. “It takes [minors] longer to put together, what happened to them,” Bremner told TIME.

In a countersuit, Cosby has argued that Huth tried to sell her story to the tabloids a decade ago, meaning that she would have realized the psychological damage back then, so the statute of limitations is up.

Why the deposition matters

If Cosby is deposed under oath next month, as Allred plans, the results could be damaging for the comedian, adding to the firestorm that has built as many women have come forward and stated their cases publicly. In a deposition Cosby gave in 2005 in a different civil case, which only recently came to light, he admitted to purchasing quaaludes with the intent to give the drug to women he wanted to have sex with. In subsequent court filings, Cosby’s attorneys have argued that quaaludes were a popular drug in the 1970s clubbing scene and that Cosby’s admission was not proof of wrongdoing.

But the deposition excerpts were damaging nonetheless, and Cosby’s attorney’s are likely to do everything in their power to stop Cosby from answering Allred’s questions. Robert Shapiro, a Los Angeles-based litigator who has represented O.J. Simpson but is not involved in the Cosby case, said Cosby can avoid responding to tough questions by settling the case or pleading his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

“His lawyers are going to do every single thing to block him answering any questions regarding the drugging or sexual assault of any victims,” Shapiro told TIME. If Cosby decides the plead the Fifth, Shapiro added, “then the matter will go before a judge to see if he can be compelled to answer those questions.”

If Cosby is compelled or chooses to answer questions, it is unlikely that he would be able to keep the deposition under seal to stop it from becoming public, which would have to be done by court order in California. “The courts in recent years moved away from the sealing of anything. You have to have really substantial compelling reasons to seal anything these days” Bremner said. “The fact of the matter is, he’s a public figure. It’s a civil case, and generally civil depositions can be given to anybody.”

Cosby’s lawyers, Monique Pressley and Patrick O’Connor, and his public relations representative, David Brokaw, did not respond to requests for comment. Allred wouldn’t speculate on whether Cosby would cooperate with the deposition, saying only: “We’ll see what his next move is.”

Read next: Bill Cosby Forced to Testify on Sexual Assault

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TIME Courts

Appeals Court Upholds Former Virginia Governor’s Convictions

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. on May 12, 2015.
Steve Helber—AP Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. on May 12, 2015.

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was convicted of bribery

(RICHMOND, Va.) — A federal appeals court upheld former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s public corruption convictions Friday.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was unanimous.

“Appellant received a fair trial and was duly convicted by a jury of his fellow Virginians,” Judge Stephanie Thacker wrote in the 89-page opinion. “We have no cause to undo what has been done.”

A jury in September found McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, guilty of doing favors for former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans. Williams was seeking state-backed research for his company’s nutritional supplements.

“I am greatly disappointed with the court’s decision today,” McDonnell said in written statement. “During my nearly 40 years of public service, I have never violated my oath of office nor disregarded the law. I remain highly confident in the justice system and the grace of our God that full vindication will come in time.”

The former governor, once widely considered a possible running mate to former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was sentenced in January to two years in prison. His wife was sentenced in February to one year and one day in prison. Both are free on bond while they pursue appeals.

McDonnell could appeal the panel’s ruling to the full appeals court or to the U.S. Supreme Court. His attorneys said in a written statement that they are examining their options.

“The fight for justice for our client is far from over,” the attorneys said.

The appeals court has not yet scheduled oral arguments in Maureen McDonnell’s case.

McDonnell claimed in his appeal that his convictions on 11 counts were based on an overly broad definition of what amounts to an “official act” under federal bribery law. His lawyers argued that McDonnell provided only routine “ingratiation and access” that courts have upheld as legal.

Federal prosecutors described the case as one of clear-cut bribery.

TIME Courts

Why Bill Cosby Admitted Under Oath to Getting Drugs to Have Sex With Women

Experts address how someone with access to the best legal advice could have made such an explosive admission

The revelation this week that Bill Cosby admitted under oath to buying quaaludes to give to young women to have sex rocked the entertainment world and added fuel to the allegations that the comedian had drugged and sexually assaulted several women. But it also raised the question: Why would Cosby, who had the ability to hire the best legal counsel money could buy, make such a damning admission in the first place?

It turns out that Cosby’s disclosure about the quaaludes—which came during a 2005 deposition— may not have been as legally explosive then as it appears now.

Benjamin Brafman, a prominent New York criminal defense attorney, who does not represent Cosby, said the partial transcript of the deposition released by the Associated Press does not show that Cosby violated a law. Cosby apparently obtained quaaludes through a prescription, the AP reported.

In the deposition, which stemmed from a sexual abuse case against Cosby filed by a former Temple University employee, Cosby was asked by a lawyer, “When you got the quaaludes [in the 1970s], was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” Cosby answered, “Yes.”

Brafman said the transcript is damaging to Cosby and “will haunt him for the rest of his life,” but it does not show that he committed a crime.

“There is no acknowledgement that he gave the quaalude to someone underage, or to a woman who wasn’t consenting,” Brafman told TIME. “Quaalude was the love drug of choice in those years. Doctors were lawfully prescribing it in those years.”

Brafman pointed out that Cosby could have been court-ordered to give the deposition, and it would have been worse if he had lied under oath.

“You don’t know what prompted the lawyer to ask the question,” Brafman said. “They may have had copies of prescriptions or testimony of doctors. For Cosby, making the admission under oath, even though it is damaging, it is preferable to perjury.”

Brafman added: “From a public relations standpoint, it is a disaster, but I’m not sure it necessarily advances the ball in terms of any legal proceedings.”

But lawyers representing women who say Cosby sexually assaulted them disagree, saying Cosby’s admission adds weight to their accusations. “The women have been saying they’ve been drugged and abused, and these documents appear to support the allegations,” lawyer Joe Cammarata, who represents Therese Serignese, one of the women who says she was sexually assaulted by Cosby, told the AP.

Quaaludes, the brand name for methaqualone, were a popular sleeping pill in the 1960s and were used in the 1970s and ’80s as a club drug, particularly to help people come off of a cocaine high. In 1973, they were classified as a Schedule 11 federal narcotic, which means doctors could still prescribe quaaludes but it was illegal to abuse them (Adderall is a Schedule 11 drug today). In 1984 President Ronald Reagan signed a law banning the production of the drug, making it illegal. Cosby’s admission concerns a period during the 1970s, when quaaludes would have been legal with a prescription.

Philip Jenkins, a professor of history at Baylor University and the author of Decade of Nightmares: The End of the Sixties and the Making of Eighties America, who spoke generally about the use of quaaludes in the ’70s and not specifically about how Bill Cosby may have used them, said that drug was indeed believed to be an aphrodisiac that consenting adults could use to have sex. “Quaaludes were something that was meant to send you to sleep,” Jenkins told TIME. “But it was also supposed to be the world’s greatest aphrodisiac. It was meant to knock you out, but also give you an overpowering sense of sexual urge.”

In 1980, Shel Silverstein, the children’s book author, penned a song popular in the era’s dorm rooms called “Quaaludes Again,” featuring a stanza about the sexual urges Quaaludes elicited:

She’s doin’ quaaludes again.

She fumbles and stumbles
And falls down the stairs,
Makes love to the leg of the dining room chair.
She’s ready for animals, women or men.

She’s doin’ quaaludes again.

But Jenkins cautioned that though quaaludes could be used to enhance sex, just like ecstasy in a later era, they have also played a role in sexual assaults against women. Director Roman Polanski was accused of giving a 13-year-old quaaludes and champagne before raping her in the late 1970s, according to the accuser’s account.

In the deposition, the question of how Cosby used the quaaludes goes unanswered.

“Did you ever give any of those young women the quaaludes without their knowledge?” Cosby was asked.

Before Cosby could respond, his lawyer intervened, saying, “Object to the question.”

TIME Courts

Woman Who Got 153 Robocalls Awarded $230,000 by Judge

Charter Time Warner Cable
Mark Lennihan—AP The Time Warner Cable corporate logo is displayed at a company store in New York on May 26, 2015

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan ordered Time Warner Cable Inc. to make the $229,500 payment

(NEW YORK) — It wasn’t a robocall, but a federal judge left a message anyway for companies Tuesday when he awarded nearly $230,000 to a Texas woman, finding that a cable company crossed the line when it harassed her with 153 robocalls even after she complained about the wrong numbers.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan ordered Time Warner Cable Inc. to make the $229,500 payment to Araceli King of Irving, Texas, citing the New York-based company’s “particularly egregious” behavior as it violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.

King sued last year, saying she had repeatedly asked the company to stop making the calls.

Susan Leepson, a Time Warner spokeswoman, said the company is reviewing its options and determining how to proceed.

Hellerstein said he tripled the $1,500 penalty for each call because Time Warner’s actions were “particularly egregious” since it continued making the calls even after King complained in a seven-minute phone conversation in October 2013 with a company representative that the calls to her phone were apparently meant for a customer she did not know. The judge noted that 74 of the calls were made after Time Warner received a copy of King’s lawsuit in March 2014.

The company’s “recurring theme” in its legal arguments was that it was an unwitting victim of an unpredictable federal law that was not intended to turn an innocuous call to a wrong number into large damages, the judge said.

“The responsible company will reduce its exposure dramatically by taking proactive steps to mitigate damages, while its competitor, who unthinkingly robo-dials the same person hundreds of time over many months without pausing to wonder why it cannot reach him, cannot complain about much higher liability,” the judge wrote.

King’s lawyer, Sergei Lemberg, said his client is delighted. He said the decision sends a message to consumers to “stop taking it on the chin” when robocalls don’t stop and a message to companies that it’s necessary to pay attention to human beings, even when technology is used to make repeated calls.

“Millions of U.S. consumers get robocalls. Only a few of them take it a step forward and get a lawyer,” the Stamford, Connecticut, attorney said.

TIME justice

Colorado Baker Appeals Ruling Over Same-Sex Wedding Cake

Jack Phillips Wedding Cake
Brennan Linsley—AP Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips decorates a cake inside his store, in Lakewood, Colorado, on March 14, 2010.

"I'll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies. I just don't make cakes for same-sex weddings."

A Colorado baker is appealing a ruling from the state’s Civil Rights Commission that he either make cakes for same-sex weddings or face fines.

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, refused to bake a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins in July of 2012, when the now-married same-sex couple came into his store while planning a reception.

“I’ll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies,” Phillips allegedly told the couple, citing religious beliefs as the reason for his refusal. “I just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings.”

Attorneys representing Phillips, who hasn’t made any wedding cakes since the ruling, argued Tuesday in the Colorado Court of Appeals that he has the right to refuse to make a same-sex wedding cake according to the First Amendment, the Associated Press reports. “Mr. Phillips has the same First Amendment right as the cake artist who doesn’t want to create a Confederate flag cake,” said Jeremy Tedesco, one of Phillips’ attorneys.

Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union representing Craig and Mullins, meanwhile, say that a victory for Phillips would pave the way for future discrimination.

The case highlights what is quickly becoming a nationwide tug-of-war between gay rights and religious freedom. An Oregon bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2013 was forced to pay $135,000 in damages last week, while a florist in Washington state faces an ongoing legal battle after refusing to serve a same-sex couple married in 2013.

An attorney representing Mullins and Craig said they would consider taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if Phillips’ appeal succeeds.

TIME Religion

The Fight Over Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments Monument Rages On

Oklahoma Capitol Ten Commandments
Sue Ogrocki—AP The Ten Commandments monument is pictured at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Oklahoma’'s Supreme Court says the monument must be removed because it indirectly benefits the Jewish and Christian faiths in violation of the state constitution.

State officials are calling for amendments to the state constitution

Oklahoma lawmakers are considering a measure that would amend the state’s constitution after a court ruled that a Ten Commandments monument at the State Capitol violated a ban concerning religious symbols on public property.

Republican leaders in Oklahoma’s House of Representatives said Wednesday they will work to pass a resolution that will let voters decide whether to repeal part of the state’s constitution that bans faith-based monuments from state grounds.

“The state Supreme Court misapplied an archaic and progressive section of our state Constitution and used that to apply a ruling that goes against the belief structure of the majority of Oklahomans,” Republican state Rep. Jon Echols said, according to The Oklahoman.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that a 6-foot Ten Commandments granite monument had to be removed, calling it “obviously religious in nature.”

State officials have said that the monument is historical and similar to one in Texas that was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court.

“Quite simply, the Oklahoma Supreme Court got it wrong,” Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt saud in a statement. “The court completely ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law.”

The controversial monument was installed in 2012 and funded by a Republican representative, who donated it to the state. The monument has been the subject of numerous debates over the separation of church and state in Oklahoma. Other religions, including the Satanic Temple, have argued that monuments symbolizing their faiths should be included as well. Last year, a man smashed his car into the monument, saying Satan made him do it.

TIME Courts

Supreme Court Ruling Won’t Stop Search for Execution Drugs

Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 file photo
Sue Ogrocki—AP The death chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla., shown on Oct. 9, 2014. The Supreme Court upheld the state's lethal injection protocol on June 29, 2015

States still have problems with controversial sedative

The search for more-effective lethal-injection drugs and execution methods won’t end following the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday upholding Oklahoma’s use of a controversial sedative, legal experts and death-penalty opponents say.

In a narrow 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court found that Oklahoma’s use of midazolam did not violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, finding that a group of three Oklahoma death-row inmates failed to prove that the sedative leads to a significant risk of severe pain. The sedative has been a drug of last resort for many states under pressure to carry out lethal injections, and it will likely still carry the stigma of being involved in three executions widely considered botched.

“Right now, if somebody offered something other than midazolam, states would jump on it,” says Richard Dieter, senior program director at the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death-penalty organization. “They will definitely be looking around at other drugs, but the question is whether they’ll find anything.”

For years, states used barbiturates such as sodium thiopental and pentobarbital in lethal injections that would render an inmate unconscious before additional drugs were administered. But a nationwide drug shortage and pressure on overseas pharmaceutical companies supplying states with drugs led to a search for alternatives and combinations that had never been used before. Last year, the prolonged executions of Dennis McGuire in Ohio, Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma and Joseph Wood in Arizona all experienced serious problems involving proper sedation following the use of midazolam. Lockett’s execution was at the heart of the Supreme Court case, Glossip v. Gross.

Four states currently use midazolam, which has come under scrutiny from anesthesiologists for not being strong enough to knock out an inmate before other drugs that cause severe pain are injected.

“I think many states will still shy away from it,” Dieter says, referring to the sedative. “Most states don’t want to use it.”

There is some precedent for states tinkering with their protocols even after the Supreme Court upheld specific drug combinations. In 2008, the court ruled in Baze v. Rees that Kentucky’s three-drug protocol at the time was constitutional. But the court’s Justices also wrote that it was possible for a lethal-injection method to be deemed unconstitutional if there were alternatives available that were considered more humane. That pushed states to continue their search for other drugs and methods, something that could happen again following Monday’s ruling.

“Legally, the court has given its stamp of approval,” says Deborah Denno, a Fordham University law professor who studies capital punishment. “But as an ethical issue, there still appears to be problems in using it. All of its problems were discussed in the case. Many states just have to use it out of desperation.”

Following the ruling, Oklahoma announced that it would resume lethal injections, which were put on hold pending the Supreme Court’s decision. Florida has also lifted its stay of execution.

“I think this ruling will make states feel a little more comfortable moving forward with different drugs and different methods,” says Doug Berman, a law professor at the Ohio State University. “But states will still have their own challenges securing the drug, even though the constitutional issue is out of the way.”

Death-penalty opponents, however, found one thing to applaud on Monday. In a lengthy dissent written by Justice Stephen Breyer and joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Justices called into question the entire death-penalty system and whether it violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Breyer wrote that the delays involved in actually executing death-row inmates along with the arbitrariness of sentences over the past few decades may have led to the practice of capital punishment in the U.S. to be unconstitutional.

Thanks to lawsuits and difficulties states have had obtaining drugs, the U.S. last year executed the fewest inmates in almost two decades. Only 35 death row inmates were executed in 2014, compared with 98 in 1999, and at least one anti-death-penalty group looked to Monday’s decision as a potential harbinger.

“Justice Breyer asked, ‘How long are we going to have this conversation?’ By any measure, we’ve essentially abandoned the death penalty as a society,” says Diann Rust-Tierney, the executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, referring to the few executions that are now carried out in the U.S. “Some are clinging to this practice, but I’m convinced that the public won’t continue to support this.”

TIME Courts

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Affirmative Action in Colleges

Abigail Fisher
Charles Dharapak — AP Abigail Fisher, who sued the University of Texas when she was not offered a spot at the university's flagship Austin campus in 2008.

Abigail Fisher, who is white, was denied admission at the University of Texas

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to a second hearing of a major affirmative action case next term about a public university that uses race as a factor in its admissions process.

Brought by Texas woman Abigail Fisher, the challenge targets the admissions policies at the University of Texas at Austin. High school seniors in Texas who graduate in the top 10% of their class are automatically admitted to any Texas state university, but race is considered as one factor among applicants not in the top 10% as part of a drive to increase racial diversity on campus.

Fisher, who is white and was not in the top 10% of students, applied to the University of Texas and was denied admission. The Court should “strike down UT’s unjustified use of race,” Fisher’s lawyers said in Court briefs.

The Supreme Court heard the same case in 2012, but remanded it back to the lower court with the university’s admissions policies unchanged.

Justice Elena Kagan, who dealt with the case in her former job as Solicitor General, took no part in considering the petition. That raises the possibility of the justices splitting evenly, resulting in no precedence over whether race can be considered by colleges in admissions.

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