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Roberts will tap his inner umpire in impeachment trial
Lawyer Blog News | 2019/12/24 01:38
America’s last prolonged look at Chief Justice John Roberts came 14 years ago, when he told senators during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing that judges should be like baseball umpires, impartially calling balls and strikes.

“Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire,” Roberts said.

His hair grayer, the 64-year-old Roberts will return to the public eye as he makes the short trip from the Supreme Court to the Senate to preside over President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. He will be in the national spotlight, but will strive to be like that umpire ? doing his best to avoid the partisan mire.

“He’s going to look the part, he’s going to play the part and he’s the last person who wants the part,” said Carter Phillips, who has argued 88 Supreme Court cases, 43 of them in front of Roberts.

He has a ready model he can follow: Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who never became the center of attention when he presided over President Bill Clinton’s Senate trial.

As Roberts moves from the camera-free, relative anonymity of the Supreme Court to the glare of television lights in the Senate, he will have the chance to demonstrate by example what he has preached relentlessly in recent years: Judges are not politicians.


Saudis sentence 5 people to death for Khashoggi’s killing
Criminal Law Updates | 2019/12/24 01:37
A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death Monday for the killing of Washington Post columnist and royal family critic Jamal Khashoggi, whose grisly slaying in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul drew international condemnation and cast a cloud of suspicion over Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Three other people were found guilty by Riyadh’s criminal court of covering up the crime and were sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison, according to a statement read by the Saudi attorney general’s office on state TV.

In all, 11 people were put on trial in Saudi Arabia over the killing. The names of those found guilty were not disclosed by the government. Executions in the kingdom are carried out by beheading, sometimes in public. All the verdicts can be appealed.

A small number of diplomats, including from Turkey, as well as members of Khashoggi’s family were allowed to attend the nine court sessions, though independent media were barred.

While the case in Saudi Arabia has largely concluded, questions linger outside Riyadh about the crown prince’s culpability in the slaying.

“The decision is too unlawful to be acceptable,” Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said in a text message to The Associated Press. “It is unacceptable.”

Agnes Callamard, who investigated the killing for the United Nations, tweeted that the verdicts are a “mockery” and that the masterminds behind the crime “have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial.” Amnesty International called the outcome “a whitewash which brings neither justice nor truth.”


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.



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