The Latest: Spain asks for jailing of Catalonia police chief
Headline Legal News | 2017/10/19 15:54
A Spanish prosecutor is asking for Catalonia's regional police chief to be jailed in a sedition case related to the staging of Catalonia's banned Oct. 1 secession referendum.

Maj. Josep Lluis Trapero testified for about two hours at Madrid's National Court on Monday, following which the court prosecutor recommended he be sent to prison provisionally without bail. The judge will decide on the request after 6 p.m.

Trapero, another regional police offer and the leaders of two pro-independence associations are under investigation for sedition for their roles in Sept. 20-21 demonstrations in Barcelona as Spanish police arrested several Catalan officials and raided offices in a crackdown on referendum preparations.



High court to hear appeal in Newtown gun maker lawsuit
Headline Legal News | 2017/10/18 15:53
The appeal of a decision to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used in the 2012 Newtown school shooting is headed to Connecticut's highest court next month.

The state Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments Nov. 14 in the civil case brought against North Carolina-based Remington Arms by some of the Newtown victims' families.

A Superior Court judge dismissed the case last year. At issue were exceptions to a federal ban on most lawsuits against gun makers. The judge rejected the families' argument that the suit is allowed under the exceptions.

Newtown shooter Adam Lanza used a Remington-made, AR-15-style rifle to kill 20 children and six educators.


Indiana courts see changes with new e-filing system
Headline Legal News | 2017/10/06 23:19
Electronic filing is transforming the way Indiana's judicial system works.

Fifty-five of the state's 92 counties have adopted mandatory electronic filing for most new criminal and civil lawsuits over the past 15 months, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported. The state's appellate division has also adopted the electronic system.

The Supreme Court's Office of Court Technology says more than 2.1 million documents have been electronically filed in the state since July 1, 2016.

E-filing makes judges and lawyers more efficient and improves court services for Indiana residents, said Justice Steven David. Non-confidential court documents are also available online.

E-filing has been adopted quickly through the state because may counties are using the same case management system called Odyssey, said Justice Mark Massa.

The system is paid for by a $20 automated record keeping fee that's attached to every case filed in Indiana court.

"It's the best deal for counties," Massa said. "It carries with it state funding of that technology and that support, and we're getting closer and closer to that complete statewide coverage with each passing year."

The system also allows the judicial branch to generate comprehensive data about crimes, courts, dispositions, children in need of services, protection orders and other information that the legislative and executive branches need when enacting new laws, David said.

"In the old days, you might get data from one court and try to extrapolate, or determine if that court is representative of the rest of the state or not, and that's no longer the case," David said.


Indian court sentences 2 men to death in 1993 Mumbai blasts
Headline Legal News | 2017/09/15 09:25
An Indian court on Thursday sentenced two men to death and two others to life in prison for a series of bombings that killed 257 people in Mumbai in 1993. A fifth man was given 10 years in prison.

The five men were convicted earlier of criminal conspiracy and murder in the planting of 12 powerful bombs in cars, scooters and suitcases around India's financial capital.

The sentencing ended a second trial related to the bombings. An initial trial ended in 2007 with more than 100 people convicted, of whom 11 were sentenced to death and the rest to various terms in prison.

Ujjwal Nikam, the main prosecutor, said he could not ask for a death sentence for Abu Salem, a prime suspect, because he was extradited from Portugal to India in 2005 after the Indian government pledged he would not be given the death penalty, a key requirement in extradition proceedings in Europe.

He fled India after the bombings and was later arrested by police in Portugal.

The Mumbai court sentenced Salem to life in prison after finding him guilty of transporting weapons from Gujarat state to Mumbai ahead of the blasts. These included AK-56 assault rifles, ammunition and hand grenades.

Prosecutors said the bombings were an act of revenge for the 1992 demolition of a 16th century mosque by Hindu nationalists in northern India. That triggered religious riots in parts of India, leaving more than 800 dead, both Hindus and Muslims.

The blasts targeted a number of prominent sites in Mumbai, including the stock exchange, Air India building, hotels, a cinema and shopping bazaars.

Prosecutors said the attack was masterminded by underworld kingpin Dawood Ibrahim. India accuses Pakistan of sheltering Ibrahim, a charge Islamabad denies. India says he has been living in Karachi, Pakistan's financial hub, after fleeing from Mumbai, and has asked Pakistan to hand him over to face trial in India.



EU court rejects Hungary, Slovakia appeal in refugee case
Headline Legal News | 2017/09/06 15:46
The European Union's top court on Wednesday rejected legal action by Hungary and Slovakia to avoid accepting refugees under an EU scheme, a decision seen as a victory for countries bearing the greatest burden of Europe's migrant wave.

In a long-awaited ruling, the European Court of Justice said that it had "dismissed in its entirety the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary."

EU countries agreed in September 2015 to relocate 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy over two years, but only around 27,700 people have been moved so far. Hungary and Slovakia were seeking to have the legally binding move annulled.

Hungary and Poland have refused to take part in the scheme, while so far Slovakia has accepted only a handful of refugees from Greece.

The refugee scheme was adopted by the EU's "qualified majority" vote — around two thirds — and the ECJ held that this was appropriate, saying the EU "was not required to act unanimously" on this decision.

The court also noted that the small number of relocations so far is due to a series of factors that the EU could not really have foreseen, including "the lack of cooperation on the part of certain member states."

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said he respected the court decision, but that his government still does not like the relocation scheme, which some see as a system of quotas imposed on countries by unelected EU bureaucrats in Brussels.

"We fully respect the verdict of the European Court of Justice," Fico told reporters, adding that his country's negative stance on the relocation plan "has not changed at all."

Fico said the scheme was a temporary solution. He says he believes his country doesn't face any sanctions from the EU over its stance. EU officials say the relocation of eligible asylum-seekers in Greece and Italy will continue even after the scheme ends.


Military parts dealer guilty in plot to steal Army equipment
Headline Legal News | 2017/09/03 09:00
A military equipment dealer was convicted Thursday of scheming with soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to steal sensitive material for sale to buyers in Russia, China and Mexico.

John Roberts, of Clarksville, Tennessee, was found guilty of conspiracy to steal and sell government property, two counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act and 10 counts of wire fraud. Prosecutors said he faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy and up to 20 years for each count of arms export violations and wire fraud.

More than $1 million in weapons parts, body armor, helmets, gun sights and other equipment was stolen and sold in a vast black market, prosecutors said. Six soldiers and another civilian pleaded guilty. One testified that Roberts was given a tour of the base to see items to be stolen. Eventually, they brought equipment back from Afghanistan and sold it by the truckload.


Supreme Court Overturns Billings Police Back-Pay Ruling
Headline Legal News | 2017/08/27 06:06
The Montana Supreme Court has overturned a judge's ruling that the City of Billings owes 27 current and former police officers $2.7 million in back pay, costs and penalties in a dispute over how longevity pay should be calculated.

District Judge Nels Swandal ruled in 2011 that the contract awarded longevity pay from the beginning of an officer's employment. The city and union officials said longevity pay was earned based on completed years of service.

The Billings Gazette reports that because the contracts could be interpreted both ways, the Supreme Court sent the case back to District Court for a trial to determine the parties' intent in the longevity pay portion of the contract.


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