Court says Baltimore police could fire officer in force case
Headline Legal News | 2018/05/13 19:39
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has ruled the Baltimore Police Department followed procedure when it fired an officer accused of excessive force.

The Daily Record of Baltimore reports Serge Marcien Antonin was fired for repeatedly slapping a detained teenager who allegedly stole a car. The court opinion filed Tuesday says Antonin was charged with assault and two counts of misconduct for the 2013 use of force.

He entered a plea on a misconduct charge in 2015 that said there was enough evidence to convict him but he maintained his innocence. He was put on probation. The other charges were dismissed.

Antonin was fired in 2016 when a police hearing board found him guilty of excessive force. The Baltimore City Circuit Court previously ruled the department didn’t follow policy.


Court rules Italy's Berlusconi can run for office again
Court News | 2018/05/13 19:34
A court in Italy has ruled that former three-time Premier Silvio Berlusconi is eligible to run for office again, nearly five years after a tax fraud conviction forced him to surrender his Senate seat and prevented him from being a candidate in national elections.

Milan daily newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Saturday that Milan's Surveillance Tribunal made the decision after reviewing a request from lawyers for the 81-year-old Berlusconi, a media mogul who founded a center-right political party a quarter-century ago.

The ban on his seeking or holding public office was due to expire in 2019. But Corriere della Sera said the tribunal ruled Friday that Berlusconi already had been "rehabilitated."

"Silvio Berlusconi can finally return to the playing field," Mara Carfagna, a leader of the ex-premier's Forza Italia party. "The 'rehabilitation' by the Milan Surveillance Court puts an end to a judicial persecution and a cavalry that didn't chip away at the strength of great leadership, that, in a profoundly changed political scenario, is today still fundamental and central."

Milan Prosecutor General Roberto Alfonso said prosecutors have 15 days to decide if they will appeal the tribunal's decision.


Program offering chance to avoid prison has 1st graduates
Areas of Focus | 2018/05/12 02:39
A program out of Chicago’s federal court building designed to give non-violent suspects a chance to stay out of prison has held its first graduation.
It’s a pretrial diversionary program emphasizing teamwork and counseling on living constructive, crime-free lives.

A statement from the U.S. District Court for northern Illinois says five participants whose alleged crimes ranged from computer fraud to drug possession graduated at a ceremony Thursday. Successful completion keeps participants out of prison. It can lead to reductions of felonies to misdemeanors and even to dismissal of charges.

Participants can’t have felony records. They attend bi-monthly court sessions for up to two years. Judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys help oversee the program. It’s called Sentencing Options that Achieve Results, or SOAR for short. It was established in 2016.


Court: Skechers shoe nearly identical to Adidas icon
Areas of Focus | 2018/05/11 02:40
A U.S. appeals court says a shoe made by American footwear giant Skechers is nearly identical to an iconic Adidas shoe and would likely confuse consumers about the manufacturers.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling blocking Skechers from selling its Onix shoe.
Adidas argued in a lawsuit that the Onix was a rip-off of its Stan Smith tennis shoe.

The 9th Circuit judges said the shoes had only minor differences, and there was evidence that Skechers intended to confuse consumers.
A spokeswoman for Skechers, Jennifer Clay, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.
The 9th Circuit allowed Skechers to sell its Cross Court shoe, saying Germany-based Adidas failed to show irreparable harm from the sale of that footwear.


Court upholds convictions of 2012 Ron Paul campaign staffers
Areas of Focus | 2018/05/10 02:41
A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the convictions of three top staffers on Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign who were found guilty of arranging for money to be funneled through a vendor to an influential Iowa state senator who dropped his support for another Republican candidate in favor of Paul.

Campaign chairman Jesse Benton, campaign manager John Tate and deputy campaign manager Dimitri Kesari were convicted in 2016 of causing false records to be filed, causing false campaign expenditure reports, engaging in a false statements scheme and conspiring to commit the offenses. Kesari was sentenced to three months in prison while the other two got probation. They have completed their sentences but are seeking to clear the felony convictions from their records.

The three argued that they broke no laws when they paid a video production company, which passed on $73,000 to then-Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson, who withdrew his support from Michele Bachmann and backed Paul six days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses. Sorenson also was convicted in the scheme and sentenced to 15 months in prison. He was released in April.


Olivia de Havilland asks court to revive "Feud" lawsuit
Attorney News | 2018/05/08 08:58
Olivia de Havilland has asked the California Supreme Court to revive her lawsuit against the FX Networks show "Feud: Bette and Joan."

Lawyers for the 101-year-old actress filed the appeal Friday, asking the court to reverse an appeals court decision in March that threw out the suit.

De Havilland objected to her depiction on the show, saying her likeness was illegally used and her character, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, came across as a vulgar gossipmonger.

The appeals court ruled that creators' First Amendment rights trump de Havilland's objections.

"Feud" creator Ryan Murphy said after the decision that it was a victory for the creative community.

De Havilland's lawyer says in a statement Friday that the rejection of the lawsuit "puts everyone at the mercy of the media and entertainment industry."



Court asked to toss more cases tied to drug lab scandal
Legal Business | 2018/05/07 01:57
Massachusetts' highest court is set to hear arguments in a case sparked by the misconduct of a former chemist who authorities say was high almost every day she worked at a state drug lab for eight years.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the state's public defender agency will ask the Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday to order the dismissal of all convictions that relied on evidence from the drug lab during Sonja Farak's tenure.

Prosecutors already have agreed to dismiss thousands of cases tainted by Farak, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing cocaine from the lab and was sentenced to 18 months behind bars.

The ACLU and Committee for Public Counsel Services also are asking the court to establish protocols for instances of misconduct.


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