Man accused of killing Orlando officer defiant in court
Legal Interview | 2017/01/19 06:54
A man suspected of fatally shooting a Florida police officer spoke out of turn and was defiant in an Orlando courtroom where he made an initial appearance on charges of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Forty-one-year-old Markeith Loyd told the judge Thursday morning that he plans to represent himself and said the charges against him were made up. The judge ordered Loyd held without bond.

Loyd's eye was bandaged and two officers flanked him as he stood at the podium wearing a bullet-proof vest. He was injured during his arrest Tuesday night following a weeklong manhunt.

Loyd faces multiple charges including first-degree murder, unlawful killing of an unborn child and attempted murder in the December death of Sade Dixon. He hasn't been charged in the death of Lt. Debra Clayton who was gunned down while she searched for him outside a Wal-Mart store Jan. 9.



Court says convicted killer Skakel's defense was adequate
Legal Interview | 2017/01/03 02:14
Convicted killer Michael Skakel could be headed back to prison after the Connecticut Supreme Court reinstated his 2002 conviction for the gruesome murder of his 15-year-old neighbor Martha Moxley.

Moxley was killed — bludgeoned with a golf club belonging to the Skakel family and stabbed in the neck with the broken-off handle — the night before Halloween in 1975 in the driveway of her Greenwich home. No physical evidence tied Skakel to the crime, but he was convicted because of incriminating things he said to friends and a weak alibi he gave investigators.

Skakel, the now 56-year-old nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, served a decade of his 20-to-life sentence until he was released in 2013 when an appeals court ruled he didn’t get an adequate legal defense from his lawyer Mickey Sherman.

Connecticut’s highest court rejected that ruling yesterday in a divided 4-3 decision that found Sherman “rendered constitutionally adequate representation” — setting in motion a series of last-ditch efforts by Skakel’s appellate attorneys to keep him from heading back to the lock-up.


Delaware County creates domestic violence court
Legal Interview | 2016/11/16 20:57
The Indiana Supreme Court has approved the creation of a domestic violence court in Delaware County.

Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold tells The (Muncie) Star Press all felony domestic battery cases now will be filed in Delaware Circuit Court 1, where Judge Marianne Vorhees presides.

Arnold says the judge volunteered to create the domestic violence court. He says when one judge brings a lot of expertise to a legal area, it creates consistency.

Arnold recently has added a deputy prosecutor, an investigator and a victim advocate to deal exclusively deal with domestic violence cases.

Arnold says Vorhees will continue to preside over other types of criminal cases.


Grassley: GOP can't stonewall a Clinton Supreme Court pick
Legal Interview | 2016/10/21 03:01
Republicans "can't just simply stonewall" nominees to the Supreme Court even if the president making the choice is Democrat Hillary Clinton, says the GOP chairman of the Judiciary Committee in a reaffirmation of the Senate's advise-and-consent role on judicial picks.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley's comments on Tuesday was a response to fellow Republican Sen. John McCain, who a day earlier vowed that Republicans would unite against any nominee Clinton puts forward if she becomes president. That unprecedented pledge raised the possibility that the Supreme Court would have to operate for four years of a Clinton term with one or more vacancies, rather than nine justices.

The court has had one vacancy for months since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. Republicans have refused to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland, arguing that the next president should fill the opening.

"I think we have a responsibility to very definitely vet — if you want to use the word vet — whoever nominee that person puts forward," Grassley told radio reporters in Iowa. "We have the same responsibility for (Donald) Trump. We know more the type of people Trump would nominate because he's listed 20. They fall into the category of strict constructionists. As I heard about Hillary on the last debate, the type of people she's going to appoint, I would say they're judicial activists."

He added that the new president should make the choice and "if that new president happens to be Hillary. We can't just simply stonewall."

McCain's comments came in an interview with Philadelphia talk radio host Dom Giordano to promote the candidacy of Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., one of the more vulnerable GOP incumbents as Republicans scramble to hold onto their Senate majority.



Appeals court orders judge to expunge woman's convictions
Legal Interview | 2016/09/16 21:01
A state appeals court has overruled a western Indiana judge and ordered him to expunge a woman's convictions despite his disgust for her crimes.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 last week that Jay Circuit Judge Brian Hutchison must expunge the convictions of 35-year-old Mindy M. McCowan of Dunkirk for forgery in 2003 and for dealing methamphetamine in 2004.

The ruling said McCowan was released from prison in 2007 and completed probation in 2010. She has since maintained employment and earned an associate's degree and professional certifications.

The Star Press reports Hutchison declined to expunge the convictions last November, saying he has drug cases before him every day and he wasn't "doing favors for people who are causing these problems in Jay County."


High court temporarily blocks subpoena over sex ads
Legal Interview | 2016/09/09 05:56
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday temporarily blocked a congressional subpoena that seeks information on how the classified advertising website Backpage.com screens ads for possible sex trafficking.

The order came hours after Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer asked the high court to intervene, saying the case threatens the First Amendment rights of online publishers.

A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Friday that the website must respond to the subpoena within 10 days. Roberts said Backpage does not have to comply with the appeals court order until further action from the Supreme Court. He requested a response from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations by Friday.

The Senate panel has tried for nearly a year to force Backpage to produce certain documents as part of its investigation into human trafficking over the Internet.

After the website refused to comply, the Senate voted 96-0 in March to hold the website in contempt. The vote allowed the Senate to pursue the documents in federal court, marking the first time in more than two decades that the Senate has enforced a subpoena in court.

A federal district judge sided with the Senate last month, rejecting arguments that the subpoena was unconstitutional, overly broad and burdensome. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed.




Justice Kagan says court doesn't feel political pressure
Legal Interview | 2016/09/01 16:59
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan says the political pressure surrounding President Obama's stalled high-court nominee doesn't affect her fellow justices when it comes to handing down rulings.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that during a talk at the University of Arizona Wednesday, Kagan said the opinions of the president or members of Congress are "utterly irrelevant to us when we decide cases." Senate Republicans have said they won't confirm Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland before the presidential election.

Kagan says the court could use more geographical diversity, noting that many justices spent a large part of their lives on the East Coast.

She says a lack of diversity affects how the public views the court.

Kagan became the high court's fourth female justice when she was appointed in 2010.


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