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Quaid expected in Vermont court to face charge
Court News | 2015/10/10 16:00
Actor Randy Quaid is expected to be arraigned in Vermont in connection with a California vandalism case.

The 65-year-old Quaid was taken into custody Friday night while trying to cross into the United States from Canada. He was detained by troopers in Vermont after Canadian officials said he'd be deported.

Quaid and his wife, Evi, are wanted in Santa Barbara, California, to face felony vandalism charges filed in 2010 after they were found squatting in a guesthouse of a home they previously owned.

The pair skipped several court appearances and went to Canada, where Evi Quaid was granted citizenship. Randy Quaid's bid for permanent residency was denied.

Quaid is to appear in court Monday on a fugitive from justice charge. It wasn't immediately known if a hearing will be held for his wife.


Ferguson panel recommends police, court reform, transparency
Court News | 2015/09/14 18:12
A reform panel formed after the Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown is recommending the consolidation of the metro area's police departments and municipal courts, a newspaper reported Monday.

Gov. Jay Nixon and others have scheduled an afternoon news conference to release details of the Ferguson Commission report that has been 10 months in the making. But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch received a copy of the commission's 198-page report ahead of its official release.

"The law says all citizens are equal," the report's introduction states. "But the data says not everyone is treated that way."

The events in Ferguson raised concerns about police departments and municipal courts in that north St. Louis County town, but also elsewhere in the region. The departments and courts have been accused of targeting minorities to raise revenue, leading to the mistrust that was a key component of the unrest following Brown's death.

In addition to court and police department consolidation, the commission recommends changes in several other areas to address social and economic divisions highlighted since the shooting. The 16-person commission suggested establishing a statewide, publicly accessible database to track police shootings and developing a statewide plan to deal with mass demonstrations that focuses on preserving life.

It recommends establishing school-based healing centers to address behavioral and health issues.

The commission was established in November during the unrest that followed the fatal shooting in August of Brown, 18, who was black and unarmed, by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson. A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who is white, but the shooting spurred a national "Black Lives Matter" movement and led to protests and rioting in and around Ferguson.

The commission put forth 189 "calls to action," including many previously made publicly available.





German court rules against Lufthansa pilot strike
Court News | 2015/09/08 18:06
A German court issued an injunction Wednesday ordering a halt to a strike by pilots at Lufthansa, Germany’s biggest airline, that caused the cancelation of 1,000 flights.

Lufthansa welcomed the ruling by the state labor court in Frankfurt but said that a special, reduced timetable it had drawn up for the day would remain in place. It said that largely normal services would be resumed on Thursday.

The pilots’ union, Vereinigung Cockpit, has been calling regular short-term strikes in the long-running labor dispute, which comes as Lufthansa restructures to meet increasing competition from Gulf airlines. The pilots want the airline to keep making transition payments for those seeking early retirement.

The court found that the union’s aims went beyond that demand, to exerting more influence on Lufthansa’s new low-cost operation, making the strike illegal, news agency dpa reported.

Vereinigung Cockpit began its strike on long-haul flights Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of 90 flights, and extended the walk-out to medium-and short-haul flights Wednesday.

Union spokesman Markus Wahl told n-tv television after the ruling that it had told pilots to be available for work immediately. Wednesday’s ruling overturned one by a lower court on Tuesday that went in the union’s favor.



Kentucky court session planned in former women's coach case
Court News | 2015/09/07 18:06
A pretrial conference is planned in the case of a former college women's basketball coach accused of groping a player.

The session has been scheduled for Tuesday morning in a Kenton County court for Bryce McKey. McKey's attorney has entered a not-guilty plea for him on a charge of third-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor.

Hours after his arraignment Aug. 14, the University of Maryland announced that he had resigned as an assistant women's basketball coach.

According to a sworn affidavit, a player McKey coached as an assistant at Xavier said McKey asked her to come to his home in Covington, Kentucky, in May. She said during the evening, he repeatedly touched her inappropriately.

McKey has been ordered to stay away from her, and from Xavier's campus and events.




U.S. military chooses rarely-used charge for Bergdahl
Court News | 2015/09/05 18:06
Military prosecutors have reached into a section of military law seldom used since World War II in the politically fraught case against U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held prisoner for years by the Taliban after leaving his post in Afghanistan.

Observers wondered for months if Bergdahl would be charged with desertion after the deal brokered by the U.S. to bring him home. He was -- as well as misbehavior before the enemy, a much rarer offense that carries a stiffer potential penalty in this case.

Bergdahl could face a life sentence if convicted of the charge, which accuses him of endangering fellow soldiers when he "left without authority; and wrongfully caused search and recovery operations."

Observers say the misbehavior charge allows authorities to allege that Bergdahl not only left his unit with one less soldier, but that his deliberate action put soldiers who searched for him in harm's way. The Pentagon has said there is no evidence anyone died searching for Bergdahl.

"You're able to say that what he did had a particular impact or put particular people at risk. It is less generic than just quitting," said Lawrence Morris, a retired Army colonel who served as the branch's top prosecutor and top public defender.

The Obama administration has been criticized both for agreeing to release five Taliban operatives from the Guantanamo Bay prison and for heralding Bergdahl's return to the U.S. with an announcement in the White House Rose Garden. The administration stood by the way it secured his release even after the charges were announced.

The military has scheduled an initial court appearance hearing for Bergdahl on Sept. 17 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Afterward the case could be referred to a court-martial and go to trial.



Burkina Faso court rejects candidate of former ruling party
Court News | 2015/08/27 06:35
A court in Burkina Faso on Saturday rejected the chosen presidential candidate of the former ruling party, prompting threats of a boycott of the vote in October.

The presidential and legislative elections scheduled for Oct. 11 are intended to end one year of transitional rule imposed after longtime President Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising triggered by his attempt to alter rules that would have prevented him from seeking a third term.

The candidate list published Saturday included 16 of the 22 proposed candidates. The list is still provisional and appeals can be filed until Sept. 6. Most of the rejected candidates were disqualified for failing to pay the necessary fees.

But Eddie Comboigo, the chosen candidate of Compaore's Congress for Democracy and Progress, was barred under a new electoral code passed earlier this year that disqualifies candidates who supported Compaore's bid to stay in office. Earlier this week, the court rejected more than 40 candidates for the legislative vote including former ministers and lawmakers close to Compaore.

The United States has expressed concern about the code, which was denounced by a regional court. The country's interim leader, Michel Kafando, initially said the country would abide by the regional court's ruling, but transitional authorities have more recently called for the High Court's decisions to be respected.

Compaore's party will boycott the elections "and resort to civil disobedience" if its candidates are blocked from running, said Jonathan Yameogo, a communications official with the party.



Man charged with killing Memphis officer to appear in court
Court News | 2015/08/12 15:38
An ex-convict charged with fatally shooting a Memphis police officer during a struggle is scheduled to appear in county court Wednesday.

Twenty-nine-year-old Tremaine Wilbourn is being held on $10 million bond on a first-degree murder charge in the Aug. 1 death of Officer Sean Bolton. It's not clear whether Wilbourn has an attorney to contact for comment on the case.

Wilbourn's sister, Callie Watkins, told The Associated Press last week that her brother told her during a phone conversation after the shooting that he was forcibly pulled out of a car by Bolton.

Police have said that Bolton approached the 2002 Mercedes Benz on foot after pulling up in his squad car and that he interrupted a drug deal.

Police say Wilbourn took out a gun and shot Bolton multiple times. Wilbourn was arrested after a two-day manhunt.


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