Lawyers want Supreme Court to block Texas from executing man
Legal Topics | 2017/10/17 12:54
Attorneys for an inmate convicted in a prison guard's death are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his Thursday evening execution.

Robert Pruett's lawyers want justices to review whether lower courts properly denied a federal civil rights lawsuit that sought additional DNA testing in the case. They are also questioning whether a prisoner who claims actual innocence, as Pruett does, can be put to death.

If the execution is carried out Thursday, Pruett would be the sixth prisoner executed this year in Texas, which carries out the death penalty more than any other state. Texas put seven inmates to death last year. His execution would be the 20th nationally, matching the U.S. total for all of 2016.

Pruett avoided execution in April 2015, when a state judge halted his punishment just hours before he could have been taken to the death chamber. His lawyers had convinced the judge that new DNA tests needed to be conducted on the steel rod used to stab the 37-year-old Nagle.

The new tests showed no DNA on the tape but uncovered DNA on the rod from an unknown female who authorities said likely handled the shank during the appeals process after the original tests in 2002.

In June, Pruett's execution was rescheduled for October. Pruett's attorneys then unsuccessfully sought more DNA testing and filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in August, arguing Pruett had been denied due process. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the lawsuit last week, and Pruett's attorneys appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.




Ex-SKorea leader Park complains about extension of detention
Legal Topics | 2017/10/12 15:54
Jailed former South Korean President Park Geun-hye called herself a victim of "political revenge" in her first public remarks since her high-profile corruption trial began in May, news reports said, as her lawyers resigned Monday in an apparent protest over the court's decision to extend her detention.

The moves appeared to be aimed at applying pressure on the court and rallying her small number of conservative supporters in a development that could intensify a political divide and delay the trial.

The Seoul Central District Court said Park's seven lawyers resigned collectively Monday, three days after it approved an additional six-month arrest warrant for her. Court officials said they will appoint lawyers for Park if her lawyers do not reverse their decision or Park doesn't name a new defense.

A verdict had been expected possibly before the end of the year. If Park has new lawyers, the trial is likely to be delayed because they will need to become familiarized with a massive amount of court and investigation documents, reportedly estimated at more than 100,000 pages.

Park, who was removed from office and arrested in late March, faces a range of corruption and other charges that could lead to a lengthy prison term. Among the key charges are that she colluded with a longtime friend to take tens of millions of dollars from companies in bribes and extortion.

During a court session Monday, Park reiterated her innocence, saying she hopes she will be the last person to suffer "political revenge" orchestrated in the name of justice. She also described her past months of detention as a "wretched and miserable time," and said she had never abused her power or accepted illicit requests for favors while in office, Yonhap news agency reported.

Other South Korean media carried similar reports about Park's comments. The Seoul court said it couldn't confirm them, while calls to her former main lawyer were not answered.

Park denied most of the allegations many times before her March arrest, but Monday's comments were her first in court since her trial started.



Bosnian court acquits ex-Srebrenica commander of war crimes
Legal Topics | 2017/10/08 23:18
Bosnia's war crimes court on Monday acquitted the wartime commander of Srebrenica, who was accused of committing atrocities against Serbs during the 1992-95 Balkan conflict.

The acquittal of Naser Oric immediately prompted anger from Serbian leaders, with Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin saying the court ruling "threatens security, trust and reconciliation in the whole of the Balkans."

Oric was accused of war crimes against three Serb prisoners of war who were slain in villages around the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in the early days of the conflict. A panel of judges presiding over the trial ruled Monday the prosecution did not present evidence proving the case against Oric.
 
Oric had previously been tried by a U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, where he was also acquitted in 2008.



Supreme Court says Alabama execution can proceed
Legal Topics | 2017/10/03 23:00
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled Alabama can proceed with the execution of a man convicted of killing his estranged wife and father-in-law in 1993.

Jeffery Lynn Borden is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Thursday at a south Alabama prison. A divided court overturned a stay issued by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled this month that a judge had prematurely dismissed Borden’s challenge to the humanness of the state’s lethal injection procedure.

Three justices— Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor — indicated they would keep the execution on hold.

Borden, 56, was convicted of killing his wife, Cheryl Borden, and her father, Roland Harris, during a Christmas Eve gathering in Jefferson County in 1993. The state attorney general’s office wrote that trial testimony showed Borden, who was separated from his wife, brought their three children to the gathering at Harris’ house after a weeklong visit, and then shot her in the back of the head as she was helping to move the children’s belongings. He then shot Harris.

The 11th Circuit on Friday temporarily blocked the execution after ruling a judge had prematurely dismissed inmates’ lawsuits that argued the use of the sedative midazolam at the start of the procedure would not reliably render them unconscious before subsequent drugs stop their lungs and heart.




Man who killed NFL star's son taking case to high court
Legal Topics | 2017/10/01 23:01
The case of a man serving life in prison for killing the 2-year-old son of NFL running back Adrian Peterson in South Dakota is going before the state Supreme Court.

Joseph Patterson was convicted in September 2015 of second-degree murder in the October 2013 death of Tyrese Ruffin, the son of Patterson's girlfriend and Peterson.

Patterson appealed, and the Argus Leader reports the state Supreme Court will decide whether his jury trial was mishandled. Attorney arguments are scheduled Monday on several questions, including whether the trial court prejudiced the jury by allowing prosecutors to mention certain information.

Peterson was a longtime member of the Minnesota Vikings. He now plays for the New Orleans Saints.



Uber in London court in employment case
Legal Topics | 2017/09/27 15:34
Uber lawyers are in a London courtroom trying to overturn a ruling that its drivers are employees of the ride-hailing service — not independent contractors.

Britain's employment tribunal decided earlier this year that two drivers who brought a claim against the company were Uber employees, entitling them to paid time off and a guaranteed minimum wage.

Uber is appealing, arguing that drivers would lose the "personal flexibility they value" as a result of the decision.

Uber attorney Dinah Rose told the tribunal the company is incorrectly lumped together with "a variety of other platforms and businesses" amid debate over the so-called gig economy.

She says Uber has the same business model as taxi firms that use self-employed drivers but technology allows it to do so on a "much larger scale."



Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg is set speak in Chicago
Legal Topics | 2017/09/11 15:36
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is scheduled to visit Chicago and speak at a university conference.

She's expected to appear at Roosevelt University downtown on Monday evening as part of a program focusing on themes of law, social justice and the American Dream. The event is a conversation between Ginsburg and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ann Claire Williams.

Ginsburg is 84 and was appointed to the nation's highest court in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton. A book about her exercise routines is expected to be released next month.

In July, Ginsburg addressed a group of lawyers and judges in Sun Valley, Idaho. Last year, she spoke at the University of Notre Dame.


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