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Philippine president's drug crackdown faces court challenge - 2017/1/23
Thursday to stop such operations and help him obtain police records to prove his innocence in a test case against the president's bloody crackdown. Lawyer Romel Bagares said his client Efren Morillo and other petitioners also asked the court to order police to stop threatening witnesses. More than 7,000 drug suspects have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June and ordered the crackdown, alarming human rights group and Western governments. Four policemen shot Morillo and four other men in impoverished Payatas village in metropolitan Manila in August. Morillo survived and denied police allegations that he and his friends were drug dealers or that they fought back, according to Bagares and the court petition. Morillo, a 28-year-old vegetable vendor and the four slain men, were garbage collectors who were shot with their hands bound and could not have possibly threatened police, the petition said.
Court orders Wisconsin Legislature to redraw voting maps - 2017/1/22
A panel of federal judges on Friday ordered the Wisconsin Legislature to redraw legislative boundaries by November, rejecting calls from those challenging the maps to have the judges do the work. The ruling clears the way for the state to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review an earlier decision declaring the current maps unconstitutional, but the judges rejected Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel¡¯s request to delay any work until after the Supreme Court decides whether to hear an appeal. Schimel¡¯s spokesman, Johnny Koremenos, promised the decision would be swiftly appealed to the Supreme Court. Democrats hailed the ruling and called for public hearings on new maps, but Republicans still control the drawing of district boundaries. ¡°I hope that legislative Republicans are more competent with their second chance,¡± said Democratic state Sen. Mark Miller, of Monona. A dozen voters sued in 2015 over the Republican-drawn maps, alleging they unconstitutionally consolidated GOP power and discriminated against Democrats. The three-judge panel agreed in a 2-1 ruling in November, but didn¡¯t order any immediate action. In its Friday ruling, the judges ordered the Legislature to redraw the maps by November so they could be in place for the 2018 elections. They forbid the current legislative boundaries from being in effect for any future election. They also declined to do the work themselves, as the Democrats who filed the lawsuit wanted.
Competing bills target, affirm high court water decision - 2017/1/12
Some lawmakers are taking aim at a recent Washington Supreme Court decision that put the onus on counties to determine whether water is legally available in certain rural areas before they issue building permits. One bill sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, amends parts of the state law at the heart of the ruling, known as the Hirst decision. County officials, builders, business and farm groups are among supporting the measure, while environmental groups and tribes oppose it. A competing bill sponsored by Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, supports the court decision and sets up a program to help counties find ways to meet the requirements. In October, the high court ruled that Whatcom County failed to protect water resources by allowing new wells to reduce flow in streams for fish and other uses. The court said counties must ensure, independently of the state, that water is physically and legally available before they issue building permits in certain areas. In the wake of the ruling, some counties have temporarily halted certain rural development, while others changed criteria for obtaining a building permit. At issue is a struggle to balance competing needs of people and wildlife for limited water, a challenge that has played out across the state for years.
Polish prosecutors investigate court head for abuse of power - 2016/08/15
Polish prosecutors have opened an investigation into the head of the country's Constitutional Tribunal to determine if he abused his power in not allowing judges appointed by the ruling party to take part in rulings. The investigation into Andrzej Rzeplinski, which opened Thursday, is the latest development in an ongoing conflict between the Polish government and the constitutional court, whose role is similar to the U.S. Supreme Court. The government's conflict with the court has raised international concerns about the state of democracy in Poland, and the political opposition and other critics have slammed the investigation into Rzeplinski as an attack on the separation of powers. Amid the conflict, Rzeplinski has emerged as one of the key symbols of resistance against the right-wing government, which has moved to centralize power since winning elections last year. The investigation is seen by many as an attempt to discredit him since he enjoys, at least for now, immunity from prosecution. His term as head of the court also expires in December.
2 teens killed in Atlanta suburb: Man accused due in court- 2016/08/12
A man accused of killing two teenagers near Atlanta is set to appear in court for a preliminary hearing. Jeffrey Hazelwood is scheduled to appear Friday morning in Fulton County Magistrate Court. The 20-year-old is charged with murder and theft in the killings of Carter Davis and Natalie Henderson in Roswell. The 17-year-olds were shot in the head. An autopsy report says their bodies were found behind a grocery store and had been placed in distinct poses. Police have declined to discuss a possible motive for the slayings, or whether Hazelwood knew the teens. Hazelwood's attorney, Lawrence Zimmerman, has said he'll provide a vigorous defense. Henderson and Davis, who used to live in Rapid City, South Dakota, would have been seniors this year at their Georgia high schools.
'Whitey' Bulger asks US Supreme Court to hear his appeal - 2016/08/11
James "Whitey" Bulger has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal of his racketeering convictions for playing a role in 11 murders and committing a litany of other crimes. It is unclear if the high court will take up the Boston gangster's case. The court generally agrees to hear only a small percentage of the thousands of cases it's asked to review each year. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bulger's 2013 convictions in March. A three-judge panel of the court found that Bulger had not shown that his right to a fair trial was violated when a judge barred him from testifying about his claim that a now-deceased federal prosecutor granted him immunity. The trial judge said Bulger had not offered any hard evidence that such an agreement existed. Bulger, now 86, led a notoriously violent gang from the 1970s through the early 1990s. He fled Boston in 1994 after an FBI agent tipped him that he was about to be indicted. Bulger remained a fugitive until 2011, when he was captured in Santa Monica, California. He is now serving a life sentence.
Court rejects Cosby's attempt to reseal testimony on affairs - 2016/08/10
A federal appeals court on Monday rejected Bill Cosby's effort to reseal his deposition testimony about extramarital affairs, prescription sedatives and payments to women, saying the documents are now a matter of public knowledge. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that the comedian's appeal was moot. "The contents of the documents are a matter of public knowledge, and we cannot pretend that we could change that fact by ordering them resealed," the court wrote in an opinion. Cosby's attorneys hoped a ruling in their favor could help them keep the documents from being used in the criminal case against him in Pennsylvania and in the many lawsuits filed around the country by women who accuse him of sexual assault or defamation. Cosby gave the testimony in 2005 as part of a lawsuit brought against him by Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee who said he drugged and molested her at his home. She later settled for an undisclosed sum, and sensitive documents in the file remained sealed. In the nearly 1,000-page deposition, the married comic once known as "America's Dad" for his beloved portrayal of Dr. Cliff Huxtable on his top-ranked 1980s TV show, "The Cosby Show," admitted to several extramarital affairs and said he obtained quaaludes to give to women he hoped to seduce.
Ex-officer charged in death of black motorist back in court - 2016/08/05
A white former police officer charged in the shooting death of a black motorist is returning to a federal courtroom in South Carolina..S. District Judge David Norton has set a Friday hearing on the civil rights charges brought against former North Charleston officer Michael Slager. It's Slager's first appearance in federal court since his arraignment in May. The federal charges stem from the shooting death of Walter Scott, 50, in April of 2015. Scott, who was unarmed, was fleeing a traffic stop when he was shot. A bystander's video recording of Scott's shooting reignited the national debate about the treatment blacks face at the hands of white police officers. Slager faces a murder charge in state court in a trial set to begin in October. The federal indictment charges that Slager, while acting as a law officer, deprived Scott of his civil rights. A second count says he used a weapon, a Glock Model 21 .45-caliber pistol, while doing so. The third count, charging obstruction of justice, alleges Slager intentionally misled state investigators about what happened during the encounter with Scott.
Court upholds net neutrality rules on equal internet access - 2016/06/15
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the government's "net neutrality" rules that require internet providers to treat all web traffic equally. The 2-1 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a win for the Obama administration, consumer groups and content companies such as Netflix that want to prevent online content from being blocked or channeled into fast and slow lanes. The rules treat broadband service like a public utility and prevent internet service providers from offering preferential treatment to sites that pay for faster service. The Federal Communications Commission argued that the rules are crucial for allowing customers to go anywhere on the internet without a provider favoring its own service over that of other competitors. The FCC's move to reclassify broadband came after President Barack Obama publicly urged the commission to protect consumers by regulating internet service as it does other public utilities. Cable and telecom opponents argue the new rules will prevent them from recovering costs for connecting to broadband hogs like Netflix that generate a huge amount of internet traffic. Providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T say the rules threaten innovation and undermine investment in broadband infrastructure. But Judges David Tatel and Sri Srinivasan denied all challenges to the new rules, including claims that the FCC could not reclassify mobile broadband as a common carrier. That extends the reach of the new rules as more people view content on mobile devices.
Spain court orders Operation Puerto blood bags released - 2016/06/14
A Spanish court ruled Tuesday that blood bags that are key evidence in one of Spain's worst doping scandals should be handed over to authorities for investigation. The Madrid Provincial Court said bags containing blood samples and plasma should be handed over to the Spanish Cycling Federation, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Cycling Union and Italy's Olympic Committee. The announcement came 10 years after Operation Puerto revealed a doping network involving some of the world's top cyclists when police seized coded blood bags from the Madrid clinic of sports doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. The decision backed an appeal by lawyers for prosecuting parties against a 2013 court ruling that the bags should be destroyed for privacy reasons. The court said Thursday's ruling "took into account that the goal is to fight against doping, which goes against sport's ethical values." Not ordering the bags to be made available would have "generalized the danger of other sports people being tempted to dope themselves and sent a negative social message that the end justifies the means," the court said. The 2013 order to destroy the blood bags outraged the sports community. Spain's anti-doping agency, the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency were among the entities that appealed.
Court says Bank of America must disclose communications - 2016/06/09
New York's highest court ruled Thursday that Bank of America must disclose to an insurer communications it had with Countrywide Financial six months before the bank bought the mortgage lending company in 2008. The insurer, Ambac Assurance Corp., claims in a lawsuit that Countrywide illegally misrepresented its mortgage-backed securities. The Court of Appeals ruled attorney-client privilege doesn't shield hundreds of communications between the two institutions and their lawyers from Ambac as it collects evidence for its fraud lawsuit. The court reinstated the order of a judge in Manhattan, where the fraud case is pending. Ambac guaranteed payments on securities issued by Countrywide subsidiaries between 2004 and 2006.
Israel court frees wanted Australian woman from house arrest - 2016/06/05
An Israeli court has set free from house arrest an Australian woman wanted by her country for multiple sexual abuses. Tuesday's ruling says former principal Malka Leifer is mentally unfit to stand trial. She'll get psychiatric care instead. Leifer, who ran a school for ultra-Orthodox Jewish girls in Melbourne, fled to Israel in 2008. Australia accuses her of abusing the children in her care and has sought her extradition. She was arrested by Israeli police in 2014 at the request of Australian authorities. Australia's deputy ambassador to Israel, James McGarry, says his country still "retains a strong interest" in her extradition. Child welfare advocate Shana Aaronson called the ruling "devastating," saying many victims now live in Israel and fear bumping into their former abuser on the street.