Appellate judge announces run for Supreme Court seat
Court News | 2019/02/05 02:10
An appellate judge has announced he will run for a spot on the Kentucky Supreme Court days after Justice Bill Cunningham retired.

Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Christopher "Shea" Nickell told The Paducah Sun that he is running in November's election for the vacant seat, which represents the First Supreme Court District encompassing 24 counties in western Kentucky. The winner of the general election will serve the rest of Cunningham's current term ending in 2022.

Gov. Matt Bevin will appoint a temporary justice to the seat until November, but Nickell did not submit his name for consideration. He says that would have required him to step down from the appeals court.

Nickell practiced law for 22 years before he became an appellate judge.


NC high court sidesteps decision on tracking sex offenders
Court News | 2019/02/03 02:21
The North Carolina Supreme Court is brushing aside a rapist's appeal that he shouldn't be forced into a lifetime of electronic monitoring after serving his 41-year prison sentence.

The state's highest court on Friday let stand without comment that 50-year-old Darren Gentle must submit to GPS monitoring after his release, projected for 2048. Gentile was convicted in Randolph County in 2016 of violently raping a 25-year-old pregnant woman with whom he'd been taking drugs.

The court is still considering a separate case on whether forcing sex offenders to be perpetually tracked by GPS-linked devices is justified or is unreasonable search and violates the Constitution. The pending decision in Torrey Grady's case comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandating GPS ankle monitors for ex-cons is a serious privacy concern.




North Carolina Supreme Court to examine Smithfield payments
Court News | 2019/01/26 02:40
North Carolina's highest court will weigh in on whether money paid by the world's largest pork producer for environmental restoration projects should go to public schools instead.

The state Supreme Court announced Friday it would hear appeals in a lawsuit involving a 2000 agreement between Smithfield Foods and then-Attorney General Mike Easley. Smithfield has paid $2 million annually for 25 years. Easley's successors enforce the agreement and distribute funds.

A conservative activist and later the New Hanover County school board sued, contending Smithfield's payments are civil penalties for past environmental violations, so the state constitution requires they go to schools.

A trial judge dismissed the lawsuit, but the Court of Appeals resurrected it last September. Current Attorney General Josh Stein and other parties asked the justices to step in.



Congress to Probe Report that Trump Directed Lawyer to Lie
Court News | 2019/01/21 03:22
The Democratic chairmen of two House committees pledged Friday to investigate a report that President Donald Trump directed his personal attorney to lie to Congress about negotiations over a real estate project in Moscow during the 2016 election.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said “we will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true.” He said the allegation that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie in his 2017 testimony to Congress “in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date.”

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, said directing a subordinate to lie to Congress is a federal crime.

The report by BuzzFeed News, citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, says that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen regularly briefed Trump and his family on the Moscow project — even as Trump said he had no business dealings with Russia.



Low-key days at Supreme Court may be ending soon
Court News | 2018/12/31 21:55
The Supreme Court began its term with the tumultuous confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, followed by a studied avoidance of drama on the high court bench — especially anything that would divide the five conservatives and four liberals.

The justices have been unusually solicitous of each other in the courtroom since Kavanaugh's confirmation, and several have voiced concern that the public perceives the court as merely a political institution. Chief Justice John Roberts seems determined to lead the one Washington institution that stays above the political fray. Even Roberts' rebuke of President Donald Trump, after the president criticized a federal judge, was in defense of an independent, apolitical judiciary.

The next few weeks will test whether the calm can last. When they gather in private on Jan. 4 to consider new cases for arguments in April and into next term, the justices will confront a raft of high-profile appeals.

Abortion restrictions, workplace discrimination against LGBT people and partisan gerrymandering are on the agenda. Close behind are appeals from the Trump administration seeking to have the court allow it to end an Obama-era program that shields young immigrants from deportation and to put in place restrictive rules for transgender troops.


Myanmar court hears appeal of convicted Reuters journalists
Court News | 2018/12/24 15:45
A court in Myanmar has heard an appeal filed by lawyers for two Reuters journalists sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of illegal possession of official documents, a case that has drawn worldwide criticism and attention to the crisis that drove members of the Muslim Rohingya minority to flee the country.

The court announced a ruling would be issued next month after submissions were made Monday by both the prosecution and lawyers for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who said they were framed by police but were convicted in September.

The journalists had been reporting last year on the brutal crackdown by security forces on the Rohingya in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Some 700,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh to escape the violence of a government counterinsurgency campaign.



Spain court grants $1.7 billion compensation for oil spill
Court News | 2018/12/20 17:23
Spain's Supreme Court has ruled that the captain and the insurer of the Prestige oil tanker must pay more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in compensation for Spain's biggest environmental disaster, when the vessel sank in 2002.

The court said in a statement Thursday that captain Apostolos Mangouras and The London Owners Mutual Insurance Association shall pay the damages to Spain, France and authorities in Spain's Galicia region, as well as to another 269 companies, communities and individuals affected by the spill.

The tanker sprang a leak and sank off northwest Spain, polluting a long stretch of coastline and ruining the area's rich fishing grounds. Years of legal challenges slowed the compensation process.



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