Belgian court rules out extradition for Spanish rapper
Headline Legal News | 2018/09/17 19:15
A Belgian court on Monday ruled that Spanish rapper Valtonyc should not be sent back to Spain, where he was sentenced to prison accused of writing lyrics that praise terror groups and insult the royal family.

The rapper, whose real name is Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran, was supposed to turn himself in voluntarily in May to authorities in Spain, where he faces prison sentences totaling three and a half years, but instead fled to Belgium.

"The judge has decided there will be no extradition and discarded all three charges," his lawyer, Simon Bekaert, told reporters near the court in the city of Ghent.

Bekaert said the judge ruled "there is no terrorism involved, there is no incitement of terrorism, so there is no question of a crime according to Belgian law." He said the judge also found that there is no crime to answer to over insulting the Spanish king and that no threat was made that could warrant extradition.

"I feel good, I am happy. But I am sad for the people in Spain, who unlucky, they don't have justice like me here," Arenas told reporters, in English."

The ruling could re-ignite tensions between Belgium and Spain over extradition demands.

Late last year, Spain dropped a European arrest warrant against former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont after it became clear that Belgian justice authorities were unlikely to recognize some of the Spanish charges against him.




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Attorney News | 2018/09/16 02:13
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Juvenile waived to adult court in Indy doctor's slaying
Legal Topics | 2018/09/15 07:42
A juvenile has been waived to adult court to face charges in the fatal shooting of an Indiana University doctor and educator last year.

Online court records say 16-year-old Tarius Blade faces three felony burglary charges in the Nov. 20, 2017, slaying of Dr. Kevin Rodgers.

Blade was arrested in December along with Ka'Ron Bickham-Hurst, then 18. Court records show Bickham-Hurst has agreed to plead guilty to three burglary charges.

Two other men were arrested last month. Eighteen-year-old Nehemiah Merriweather was charged with felony murder and two counts of burglary and 17-year-old Devon Seats was charged with murder, felony murder and two counts of burglary.

The 61-year-old Rodgers was the program director emeritus of the emergency medicine residency at the Indiana University School of Medicine.


EU backs ICC after US questions court's legitimacy
Attorney News | 2018/09/14 21:43
The European Union's top diplomat says the bloc remains a staunch supporter of the International Criminal Court despite U.S. condemnation of the tribunal.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Thursday that "we will continue to fully and strongly support the ICC and its work."

The Hague-based court was created in 2002 to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in areas where perpetrators might not otherwise face justice.

Mogherini said the ICC "has strengthened universal justice beyond power politics and beyond geopolitical interests," and added that "accountability is essential to build the foundations for peace."

U.S. National security adviser John Bolton denounced the ICC earlier this week just as a judge weighs whether to investigate allegations of war crimes against U.S. and Afghan personnel in Afghanistan since 2003.



Court: British surveillance violates European law
Legal Business | 2018/09/14 18:43
Europe's human rights court handed a partial victory Thursday to civil rights groups that challenged the legality of mass surveillance and intelligence-sharing practices exposed by American whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that some aspects of British surveillance regimes violated provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights that are meant to safeguard Europeans' rights to privacy.

Specifically, the court said there wasn't enough independent scrutiny of processes used by British intelligence services to sift through data and communications intercepted in bulk.

The ruling cited a "lack of oversight of the entire selection process" and "the absence of any real safeguards."

The court's seven judges also voted 6-1 that Britain's regime for getting data from communications service providers also violated the human rights convention, including its provisions on privacy and on freedom of expression.

But the ruling wasn't all bad for British spies. The court said it is "satisfied" that British intelligence services take their human rights convention obligations seriously "and are not abusing their powers."

The court also gave a green light to procedures British security services use to get intelligence from foreign spy agencies, saying the intelligence-sharing regime doesn't violate the convention's privacy provisions.


The Latest: New Mexico court blocks straight-ticket option
Court News | 2018/09/13 18:43
The New Mexico Supreme Court is blocking a ballot option that would have allowed voters to select candidates from one particular party in all races by marking a single box.

The court made its decision Wednesday after listening to oral arguments about a plan from the state's top elections regulator to reinstate straight-ticket voting in the November general election.

The court found that Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver did not have authority to impose such a change.

Critics of the practice say it primarily harms independent, minor-party and Republican candidates in a state dominated by registered Democrats.

They argued in court that state law doesn't clearly say whether authority to design ballot forms extends to substantive decisions about straight-party voting, and that Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver should have consulted the public through the rulemaking process.

The New Mexico Supreme Court has indicated it will decide Wednesday whether voters should be allowed to select candidates from a particular party in all races by marking a single ballot box.

At issue is a plan from the state's top elections regulator to reinstate straight-ticket voting in the November general election.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver argued she has authority over ballot forms, including the discretion to determine whether to include a straight-party voting option.

Critics questioned that authority Wednesday, saying such decisions should be made by the Legislature and should be informed by data on voting behavior. They also raised concerns that no public hearings were held before Toulouse Oliver announced the change.


Nebraska’s top court: Voters to decide on expanding Medicaid
Court Watch | 2018/09/13 04:43
The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that voters will decide in November whether to expand Medicaid in the state.

The court’s rejection of a Republican-led lawsuit Wednesday is a victory for advocates who say a vote favoring expansion would ensure coverage for about 90,000 low-income residents who earn too much to qualify for regular Medicaid but too little to be eligible for assistance under the Affordable Care Act.

Nebraska’s Republican-dominated Legislature rejected six previous attempts to expand Medicaid. Utah and Idaho have similar ballot measures pending. Maine became the first state to expand Medicaid by ballot measure last year.

The lawsuit was filed by state Sen. Lydia Brasch and former state Sen. Mark Christensen, both Republicans who helped derail similar bills in the Legislature.


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