Protests continue at Spanish court over secession arrests
Legal Business | 2017/09/24 22:36
Thousands of protesters stood firm outside a Spanish court in Barcelona after night fell Thursday, continuing to shout demands for the release of a dozen regional officials arrested in connection with a planned vote on Catalan independence.

Spanish authorities maintain the referendum scheduled for Oct. 1 is illegal and are challenging its constitutionality. But Catalan pro-independence groups also are digging in their heels as they fight for what they say is their right to vote.

The demonstrators who spent the day outside the Catalan Superior Court of Justice, a branch of the Spain’s national legal system, answered a call by pro-independence civic groups to stage long-term street protests against the surprise crackdown by police the previous day.

As the sun set, a large crowd sang, waved pro-independence flags and held banners proclaiming “Democracia!” (Democracy!) Unlike the previous night, when there were scuffles with police and patrol cars were vandalized, the mood remained festive.




Chicago's lawsuit over sanctuary city threat goes to court
Legal Business | 2017/09/11 15:36
Chicago is asking a federal judge to block President Donald Trump's administration from following through on its threat to withhold public safety grants to so-called sanctuary cities.

Attorneys for the city will be in court Monday to argue their case. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said Chicago won't "be blackmailed" into changing its values as a city welcoming of immigrants.

Trump's policy stands to withhold public safety grants unless cities agree to tougher enforcement of immigrations laws. Chicago is among several cities refusing to cooperate.

Chicago sued the U.S. Department of Justice last month, arguing the new federal requirements are unconstitutional.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has warned that Chicago would forfeit its rights to the federal funds if it insists on violating the "rule of law."




Supreme Court's Kagan says Scalia death forced compromises
Legal Business | 2017/09/07 22:37
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death forced the rest of the court to learn how to work together to avoid ties, Justice Elena Kagan said during a stop Friday at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kagan spoke for about an hour with UW Law School Dean Margaret Raymond as scores of law students, attorneys and judges listened. Raymond asked Kagan what role the high court can play in mending a politically polarized country and improving civil discourse.

Kagan acknowledged that many people see the court as mirroring the nation's political differences and the court ultimately must decide cases, not provide an example for how other governmental institutions should function. But she said Scalia's death in 2016 forced the remaining eight justices to work together more closely.

Justice Neil Gorsuch replaced Scalia earlier this year, but before he joined the court the justices worked hard to avoid 4-4 ties out of fear they'd been seen as incapable of doing their jobs, Kagan said.

"None of us wanted that to happen," she said. "It forced us to keep talking to each other. ... I'm actually hopeful that the effects of it will continue. All of us will remember not to stop the conversation too soon and all of us will remember the value of trying to find a place where we can agree or more of us can agree."

She didn't offer any specific examples of compromises on any cases. Raymond didn't ask Kagan about any cases pending before the court and Kagan didn't offer any comments about any specific issues.

She did joke that she was glad she wasn't the court's junior justice anymore now that Gorsuch is on board. She said the junior justice has to open the door during the justices' conference and deliver any coffee or files other justices have requested from their clerks. Earlier this year she had injured her foot and was in a walking boot but her colleagues still made her get up and open the door.



Dispute over rights to Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan goes to court
Legal Business | 2017/08/30 06:05
Tom Clancy's widow wants a court to rule that the author's estate is the exclusive owner of the rights to his famous character Jack Ryan.

News media outlets report that Alexandra Clancy's lawsuit says that the author's estate should be the sole beneficiary of any posthumous books featuring the character who was first introduced in "The Hunt for Red October."

Alexandra Clancy is suing the personal representative of Clancy's estate, J.W. Thompson Webb, for allowing other entities to profit from posthumous book revenues. Clancy's first wife, Wanda King, is a partial owner of those other entities.

The lawsuit says: "Tom Clancy made Jack Ryan; and in a sense, Jack Ryan made Tom Clancy."

The lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court in Baltimore. Tom Clancy died in 2013.



Court file: Michigan girl who killed toddler heard voices
Legal Business | 2017/08/20 18:27
Court documents say an 8-year-old girl accused of killing a toddler at a home daycare in western Michigan earlier this year suffers from "serious mental health" issues, including hearing a demon's voice.

The Department of Health and Human Services filed a petition in Muskegon County Family Court saying the girl, who was also cared for at the home daycare, killed 14-month-old Korey Landon Brown on April 14.

The petition filed last month asks the court to make the girl a temporary ward of the state and to make a decision regarding the girl's placement that protects her brother and other children. The petition says the best placement is Hawthorn Center, a state-run residential psychiatric facility in Northville for children and adolescents.

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Maat tells MLive the petition was the result of an investigation conducted by multiple agencies.

Korey's mother said that when she went to the daycare to take her children home, she found the boy unresponsive in a playpen and covered with bite marks. His death was ruled a homicide due to multiple injuries, including trauma to his head, other blunt force trauma and possible asphyxiation, according to the petition.



Kentucky governor, attorney general clash before high court
Legal Business | 2017/08/18 08:27
Kentucky's Democratic attorney general warned the state's highest court on Friday that the accreditation of the state's public colleges and universities would be at risk if they don't take his side against the Republican governor.

But an attorney for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin called Andy Beshear's argument "poppycock." He told the justices they should dismiss Beshear's lawsuit and vacate a lower court's judgment that the governor broke the law when he abolished the University of Louisville's board and replaced its trustees with an executive order last year.

What was supposed to have been a 30-minute hearing stretched more than an hour in a courtroom packed with political aides from both parties as two of Kentucky's top politicians faced off before the Supreme Court for the second time in a year.

Ultimately, Bevin got his wish for a new board at the university after the legislature convened and the Republican majority approved his choices under a new law. That's why a ruling from the Kentucky Supreme Court in this case likely won't affect the new board.

But Beshear is asking the court to declare Bevin's original order illegal and to prevent him from doing it again. If he's successful, it would be his second legal victory against Bevin and would be likely fodder for a potential campaign for governor in 2019.

If Bevin wins, it would bolster the governor's argument that Beshear has wasted time filing frivolous lawsuits against him.

Bevin replaced the board because he said the university needed a "fresh start" after a series of scandals and because the board violated state law by not having proportionate representation of racial minorities and political parties.

In issuing his executive order, Bevin relied on a state law, KRS 12.028 , that lets the governor make temporary changes when the legislature is not in session. The legislature then reviews those changes when they reconvene. If they don't act on them, the changes expire.


Wyoming raises court fees for courtroom technology updates
Legal Business | 2017/08/14 01:54
An increase in court automation fees approved by the state Legislature aims to provide Wyoming courtrooms with adequate technology.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports people using Wyoming courts since July 1 have had to pay $15 more in automation fees than they did before. The fees are for filing probate and civil matters in district court, filing civil matters in circuit court and filing petitions in the state Supreme Court.

People also have to pay $25 instead of $20 if they have been found guilty in a criminal case or are placed on probation.

State agencies that are parties in a legal proceeding are exempt until July 2018.

Wyoming Court Administrator Lily Sharpe says the money will primarily help update audio and visual systems in 69 courtrooms across the state.


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