Missouri death row inmate appeals to US Supreme Court
Legal Topics | 2017/02/04 15:28
A Missouri man convicted of killing a woman and her two children almost 20 years ago asked the U.S. Supreme Court to spare his life on Monday, a day before his scheduled execution.

Mark Christeson, 37, is set for lethal injection Tuesday evening at the state prison in Bonne Terre. Investigators said he raped and killed Susan Brouk, and killed her 12-year-old daughter and her 9-year-old son near their rural south-central Missouri home in 1998.

The nation's highest court halted Christeson's execution in 2014, just hours before it was scheduled. Monday's appeal focuses on the same main issue that Christeson's attorneys cited then: His trial lawyers were so inept that they missed a 2005 deadline to file a federal court appeal, which is standard practice in death penalty cases.

His lawyers have also argued that Christeson has an IQ of 74 and was therefore mentally incapable of understanding his legal rights during his original trial.




Greek court rejects extradition for Turkish servicemen
Legal Topics | 2017/01/25 04:51
Greece's Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an extradition request for eight Turkish servicemen who fled their country by helicopter after a coup attempt.

Presiding judge Giorgos Sakkas, reading out the decision, said the servicemen were unlikely to face a fair trial if returned to Turkey.

The eight officers fought extradition in a six-month legal battle, arguing that they face mistreatment in prison if returned.

Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis earlier this week had said he would respect the court decision and not make use of executive powers in the extradition case.

Lower courts issued mixed decisions on the return of the officers in a series of separate hearings.

The extradition case has further complicated ties between neighbors and NATO allies Greece and Turkey, which remain at odds over war-divided Cyprus and boundaries in the Aegean Sea.

Hours ahead of Thursday's decision, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu said he expected the servicemen to be returned.

"Our greatest expectation is for the coup plotters to be delivered to the Turkish judicial (authorities). We shall be following the results of this case," he said. "These coup plotters should not go unpunished."



Kyrgyz court confirms life sentence for journalist
Legal Topics | 2017/01/23 04:51
A court in Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday upheld a life sentence for an ethnic Uzbek journalist in a case that has drawn international criticism.

Azimzhan Askarov was convicted in 2010 for stirring up ethnic hatred, a charge related to ethnic unrest in the south of Kyrgyzstan in 2010 when more than 450 people, mostly ethnic Uzbeks, were killed and tens or even hundreds of thousands were displaced.

The majority of those convicted for taking part in the deadly clashes have been ethnic Uzbeks.

Askarov, who can appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court, shouted out after Tuesday's decision that he would go on hunger strike in protest.

Askarov's case was sent for review last year after the U.N. Human Rights Committee in April urged Kyrgyzstan to release him, finding that he had been arbitrarily detained, tortured and denied his right to a fair trial.

Askarov's lawyer, Tolekan Ismailov, told reporters that his client would appeal the ruling, which he dismissed as unlawful.

Askarov had been documenting human rights violations by the police and prison authorities in his hometown near the Uzbek border for more than 10 years before he was arrested in 2010.



Circus operator agrees to plea deal in tent collapse
Legal Topics | 2017/01/08 18:13
Court records show a Florida-based circus operator has agreed to a plea deal following a tent collapse in New Hampshire in 2015 that killed two people and injured dozens.
 
The Caledonian-Record in Vermont reports details of the plea deal involving Sarasota-based Walker International Events weren't made available.

The company had previously pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of operating without a license and to misdemeanor counts alleging it hadn't complied with state standards. Corporations can face fines and sanctions on criminal convictions.

The company, now out of business, agreed to pay federal safety fines and settled some lawsuits.

Forty-one-year-old Robert Young and his 6-year-old daughter, Annabelle, of Concord, Vermont, died when a storm with 75 mph winds blew through the Lancaster Fairgrounds, toppling the tent.


South Korean executives jailed for humidifier cleaner deaths
Legal Topics | 2017/01/08 18:12
A South Korean court sentenced the former head of Oxy Reckitt Benckiser to seven years in prison Friday after the company's disinfectant for humidifiers killed scores of people and left hundreds with permanent lung damage.

The Seoul Central District Court ruled that Shin Hyun-woo, Oxy chief from 1991-2005, was guilty of accidental homicide and falsely advertising the deadly product as being safe even for children. Seven years is the maximum prison term the court could issue.

Choi Chang-young, chief judge of the case, said the disaster could have been prevented if Shin and others in the company, a subsidiary of British consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, had tried to ensure the chemicals' safety.


Court: Star Chinese investor pleads guilty in stock case
Legal Topics | 2016/12/06 16:36
A Chinese court says a star securities trader who was arrested following last year's stock market collapse has pleaded guilty to insider trading and manipulating share prices.

The court in the eastern city of Qingdao said in a statement Tuesday that Xu Xiang and two co-defendants pleaded guilty at the start of a trial but no verdict had been issued.

Xu was arrested in November after a rapid rise in Chinese share prices collapsed. Top executives of China's biggest state-owned securities firm also were arrested in a separate case.

The court statement said Xu and his co-defendants were accused of conspiring with executives of 13 companies from 2010 to 2015 to inflate their share price and then sell.


Turkey: court asked to drop case against Israeli officials
Legal Topics | 2016/11/27 21:06
Turkey's state-run news agency says a prosecutor has asked that a case against Israeli military officials accused over the deaths of 10 Turkish activists be dropped, citing a reconciliation pact between Turkey and Israel.

Under a deal reached this year, Israel agreed to pay $20 million in compensation to the victims of a 2010 Israeli naval raid on a Turkish aid ship trying to reach Gaza. In return, Israeli nationals would not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.

The Israeli military officials, including the former military chief, were on trial in absentia in Istanbul, held responsible for the deaths of nine activists. A tenth victim died in a hospital in 2014.

Anadolu Agency said the prosecutor requested during a hearing on Friday that the case be dropped.


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