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Protests of Indian law grow despite efforts to contain them
Business Law Info | 2019/12/18 17:13
From campuses along India’s Himalayan northern border to its southern Malabar Coast, a student-led protest movement against a new law that grants citizenship on the basis of religion spread nationwide on Wednesday despite efforts by the government to contain it.

The law provides a path to citizenship for Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and other religious minorities who are in India illegally but can demonstrate religious persecution in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It does not apply to Muslims.

Critics say it’s the latest effort by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government to marginalize India’s 200 million Muslims, and a violation of the country’s secular constitution.

Modi has defended it as a humanitarian gesture, but on Wednesday, authorities tightened restrictions on protesters, expanding a block on the internet and a curfew in Assam, where protests since the law’s passage a week ago have disrupted life in Gauhati, the state capital. They also restricted assembly in a Muslim neighborhood in New Delhi where demonstrators on Tuesday burned a police booth and several vehicles.

After India’s Supreme Court postponed hearing challenges to the law Wednesday, huge demonstrations erupted in Gauhati, in Chennai, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, and in Mumbai, India’s financial capital. Protesters also rallied in Srinagar, the main city in disputed Kashmir and in the tourist mecca of Jaipur in the desert state of Rajasthan, and threw stones at buses in Kochi, the capital of the southernmost state of Kerala.


High court upholds murder conviction for Albuquerque man
Business Law Info | 2019/12/18 01:38
An Albuquerque man’s convictions in the beating and fatal stabbing of his ex-wife’s husband will stand.

Terry White is serving life in prison plus 12 years for the December 2016 death of Don Fluitt. Fluitt’s body was found in the garage of his northwest Albuquerque home amid a custody battle with his ex-wife over his then-11-year-old daughter.

White’s attorneys had argued the evidence wasn’t sufficient to convict White of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence.

The state Supreme Court disagreed in a ruling Monday, saying the evidence was overwhelming.

The justices also said the trial court properly allowed testimony from a Navajo County, Arizona, sheriff’s deputy who said he believed White was attempting to commit suicide at a truck stop in Holbrook, Arizona.

The deputy approached White after seeing a blue hose leading from the exhaust inside White’s vehicle and towels stuffed in the windows. The deputy took White into custody when he discovered White had a warrant for his arrest.

White’s attorney argued the deputy’s testimony was speculative, but the high court said the jury reasonably could have inferred that White was attempting suicide.

White was charged in Fluitt’s death after his DNA was found under Fluitt’s fingernails.


Judge criticized by abortion foes named to top Kansas court
Class Action News | 2019/12/17 01:14
Kansas' Democratic governor on Monday named a veteran trial-court judge who is opposed by the state's most influential anti-abortion group to the state Supreme Court ? an appointment that's likely to further stoke conservatives' efforts to change how such positions are filled.

Gov. Laura Kelly's selection of Shawnee County District Judge Evelyn Wilson comes with many Republican lawmakers already seeking to give the GOP-controlled Legislature power it doesn't have now to block appointments to the state's high court. Abortion opponents also are pushing for a change in the state constitution that would overturn the court's April ruling that protected abortion rights.

Kelly passed over two veteran lawyers working for Republican state Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Kansans for Life, an anti-abortion group long influential in GOP politics, opposed Wilson's appointment because of her husband's past political contributions to Kelly and other abortion-rights candidates.

“It’s my sense that Judge Wilson is more than qualified to fill this role,” Kelly told reporters during a Statehouse news conference. “Ideology was not really part of the conversation with any of the nominees. "

Kansans for Life said Wilson's selection shows the need to overturn the high court's abortion-rights ruling to protect "women and their babies." Lobbyist Jeanne Gawdun said the group is not surprised that Kelly would make an appointment to further her "vision for unlimited abortion.”

Wilson has not ruled on major abortion cases and declined to comment on the court's abortion-rights ruling declaring that access to abortion is a “fundamental” right under the Kansas Constitution. She will replace former Justice Lee Johnson, who retired in September and was a member of the 6-1 majority in that case.


Supreme Court won't disturb ruling against anti-homeless law
Employment Law | 2019/12/16 19:14
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left a lower court ruling in place that struck down a law making it a crime to sleep in public places when homeless shelter space is unavailable.

A federal appeals court had ruled that the anti-camping ordinance in Boise, Idaho, was cruel and unusual punishment, violating the Constitution's Eighth Amendment. "A state may not criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of being homeless," the appeals court said.

The Supreme Court denied Boise's appeal Monday without comment, as is its normal practice when declining to grant reviews.

Lawyers for the city argued that Boise wanted to enforce the ordinance "in the parks, foothills, and other public areas not just to keep them safe and sanitary but also to allow users to utilize the public spaces as they were intended to be used." Supporters of the law said people sleeping on the streets are unsafe and make residents feel less safe.



Kansas Supreme Court getting new member, new chief justice
Criminal Law Updates | 2019/12/14 21:37
The Kansas Supreme Court will have a new member and a new chief justice next week.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly plans to have a Monday morning news conference to name a replacement for former Justice Lee Johnson, who retired in September.

And Justice Marla Luckert is set to become the state court system's top official Tuesday when current Chief Justice Lawton Nuss retires.

Kelly's appointment Monday will be her first to the seven-member court, and she'll fill a second spot by mid-March because of Nuss' retirement.

The finalists for Kelly's first appointment are Shawnee County District Judge Evelyn Wilson, state Assistant Solicitor General Steven Obermeier and Deputy Kansas Attorney General Dennis Depew.

Johnson left the court after 12 1/2 years. Nuss is stepping down after serving on the court since 2002 and as chief justice since 2010.

Luckert is Nuss' replacement as chief justice because she's the next justice on the seven-member court with the most seniority.


Court Will Hear Trump's Pleas to Keep Financial Records Private
Business Law Info | 2019/12/14 21:36
The Supreme Court said Friday it will hear President Donald Trump's pleas to keep his tax, bank and financial records private, a major confrontation between the president and Congress that also could affect the 2020 presidential campaign.

Arguments will take place in late March, and the justices are poised to issue decisions in June as Trump is campaigning for a second term. Rulings against the president could result in the quick release of personal financial information that Trump has sought strenuously to keep private. The court also will decide whether the Manhattan district attorney can obtain eight years of Trump's tax returns as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The subpoenas are separate from the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump, headed for a vote in the full House next week. Indeed, it's almost certain the court won't hear the cases until after a Senate trial over whether to remove Trump has ended.

Trump sued to prevent banks and accounting firms from complying with subpoenas for his records from three committees of the House of Representatives and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.


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