Arkansas court denies request for new execution law hearing
Attorney News | 2016/07/19 15:36
Arkansas' highest court has denied a request to reconsider its June ruling upholding the state's execution secrecy law, but justices issued a stay that prevents the state from setting new execution dates as some inmates appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Arkansas Supreme Court issued an order Thursday denying a rehearing request by attorneys representing nine inmates who challenged the law that requires the Department of Correction to conceal the maker, seller and other information about the drugs. The inmates have argued the law could lead to cruel or unusual punishment and reneges on an earlier pledge by the state to share information.

The order also grants a request to delay putting the ruling into effect so the inmates can appeal the drug protocol to the U.S. Supreme Court.



Maryland high court issues opinion in Gray case
Attorney News | 2016/05/19 16:43
Maryland's highest court has released an opinion explaining its recent decision to force an officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray to testify against his colleagues.

The Maryland Court of Appeals issued its opinion Friday. Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbara writes that compelling Officer William Porter to testify while he awaits retrial is not a violation of his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. The judge says there are ways to ensure that the testimony, which is protected by immunity, doesn't make it into his retrial. Porter's trial ended in a hung jury in December.

Gray died April 19, 2015, a week after his neck was broken in a police van. Six officers were charged in his death. One of them, Officer Edward Nero, is currently on trial.



Florida's high court urged to throw out death sentences
Attorney News | 2016/05/06 03:22
Former judges and top legal officials are calling on the Florida Supreme Court to impose life sentences on nearly 400 people now awaiting execution on death row.

The group, which includes three former state Supreme Court justices and two former presidents of the American Bar Association, filed a legal brief Tuesday in a case that could determine the fate of Florida's death penalty.    

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Florida's death penalty sentencing law unconstitutional, prompting the state Supreme Court to halt two executions. The Florida Legislature responded by overhauling the law.

But the Florida Supreme Court still hasn't decided what should happen to those sentenced to death under the previous sentencing scheme. The court will hear arguments from lawyers this week on what should be done.




Iran's president slams US court ruling on frozen assets
Attorney News | 2016/05/05 03:22
Iran's president said Wednesday that a U.S. court ruling that allows for the seizure of Iranian assets amounts to theft and indicates continued "hostility" toward his country.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that the families of victims of a 1983 bombing in Lebanon and other attacks linked to Iran can collect nearly $2 billion in frozen funds from Iran as compensation.

Rouhani was quoted by state TV as warning that the United States would have to face up to "all the consequences of this illegal action," without elaborating. "The move indicates Washington's continued hostility against the Iranian nation," Rouhani added, speaking during a Cabinet meeting.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet tasked a group of top officials with examining the court decision and defending Iran's "rights."

The U.S. court's ruling directly affects more than 1,300 relatives of victims, some who have been seeking compensation for more than 30 years. They include families of the 241 U.S. service members who died in the Beirut bombing.


California court mulls whether employers must offer seating
Attorney News | 2016/04/04 17:32
California's Supreme Court is set to clarify the state's rules for determining when employers must provide workers with a place to sit.

The court's opinion, expected Monday, stems from lawsuits brought by cashiers at the CVS drugstore chain and tellers at Chase Bank who said they were wrongly not provided with seats while working. The companies face millions of dollars in potential penalties depending on the California Supreme Court's interpretation of the rules. The court's opinion would affect other similar cases in the state.

Employers in California must provide employees with "suitable seats" when the nature of the employees' work reasonably permits the use of seats.

The CVS and Chase Bank lawsuits are now before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That court asked the California Supreme Court to determine whether each task employees perform must be evaluated to determine whether it qualifies for a seat. The 9th Circuit also asked whether the employer's judgment about whether the employee should stand and the physical layout of the workplace must be taken into consideration.

CVS and Chase Bank say the seat rules require a holistic approach that determines the nature of employees' work by considering the entire range of tasks they perform, according to the 9th Circuit.

In CVS' case, cashiers also stock shelves and perform other tasks that require them to stand. The companies also say the employees' job descriptions, the layout of the workplace and the business' judgment about whether employees should stand must be considered, according to the 9th Circuit.



Supreme Court will hear Samsung-Apple patent dispute
Attorney News | 2016/03/21 07:23
The Supreme Court has agreed to referee a pricy patent dispute between Samsung and Apple.
 
The justices said Monday they will review a $399 million judgment against South Korea-based Samsung for illegally copying patented aspects of the look of Apple's iPhone.
   
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, and Samsung are the top two manufacturers of increasingly ubiquitous smartphones.

The two companies have been embroiled in patent fights for years.

The justices will decide whether a court can order Samsung to pay Apple every penny it made from the phones at issue, even though the disputed features are a tiny part of the product.

The federal appeals court in Washington that hears patent cases ruled for Apple.

None of the earlier-generation Galaxy and other Samsung phones involved in the lawsuit remains on the market, Samsung said.

The case involved common smartphone features for which Apple holds patents: the flat screen, the rectangular shape with rounded corners, a rim and a screen of icons.

The case, Samsung v. Apple, 15-777, will be argued in the court's new term that begins in October.



White S.C. trooper pleads guilty in shooting of unarmed black man
Attorney News | 2016/03/17 07:24
A white South Carolina trooper pleaded guilty Monday to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in the 2014 shooting an unarmed black driver seconds after a traffic stop.

Trooper Sean Groubert, 32, faces up to 20 years in prison. The shooting captured on dash-cam video from the trooper's patrol car shocked the country, coming during a wave of questionable police shootings.

Levar Jones was walking into a convenience store in September 2014 when Groubert got out of his patrol car and demanded Jones' driver's license.

Jones turned back to reach into his car and Groubert fired four shots. Jones' wallet is seen flying out of his hands.

Groubert's boss, state Public Safety Director Leroy Smith, fired Groubert after seeing the video.

Jones was shot in the hip and survived. He walked into the courtroom Monday with a noticeable limp and played with a Rubik's Cube before the hearing started.

Video of the encounter was played in the courtroom and showed Groubert pulling up to Jones without his siren on, and the trooper asking Jones for his license after he also was out of his car.

As Jones turns and reaches back into his car, Groubert shouts, "Get outta the car, get outta the car." He begins firing and unloads a third shot as Jones staggers away, backing up with his hands raised, and then a fourth.

From the first shot to the fourth, the video clicks off three seconds.



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