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Indiana governor names Judge Goff to state Supreme Court
Attorney Blogs | 2017/06/13 13:43
Indiana's next state Supreme Court justice, Wabash County Superior Court Judge Christopher Goff, said Monday his appointment to the state's highest court is humbling beyond words and something he never would have imagined at the start of his legal career.

Goff's selection to fill the vacancy created by Justice Robert Rucker's retirement was announced by Gov. Eric Holcomb. The governor said Goff, 45, "will bring his unique voice and experiences" from his years in rural Indiana to the five-member court when he becomes its youngest member.

"Judge Goff grew up in a working class neighborhood and has spent most of his life living in a rural county, which will complement his colleagues on the bench with their own deep roots in other urban and suburban regions of the state," Holcomb said at his Statehouse announcement.

He selected Goff over the two other finalists for the vacancy chosen by Indiana's Judicial Nominating Commission: Boone Superior Court Judge Matthew Kincaid and Clark Circuit Court Judge Vicki Carmichael. Twenty people had applied for the vacancy.

Donnelly facing doubts from Indiana liberals over court vote
Attorney Blogs | 2017/04/04 13:14
A small protest by liberals outside Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly's downtown Indianapolis office this week could signal trouble for his 2018 re-election hopes.

Some of those who protested against Donnelly's decision to break with his party and to support Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court said they were uneasy about voting for him next year. That liberal pushback against the moderate Donnelly comes as he's already being targeted by national Republicans in a state that President Donald Trump carried by 19 percentage points.

Pamela Griffin, a retired Indianapolis elementary school teacher, said she was going to think "long and hard" about supporting Donnelly in next year's election, while acknowledging it was "kind of a fluke" he was elected in the Republican-dominated state in 2012.

"He's rubber-stamped some stuff that he shouldn't have for Trump," Griffin said. "I'm disappointed in him that he's not really doing what his party would want him to do."

Donnelly won his first Senate term in 2012 with just over 50 percent of the vote and is now the sole Indiana Democrat holding statewide office.

The National Rifle Association ran campaign-style ads in the past week questioning Donnelly's pro-gun stance if he wasn't willing to support Gorsuch, which he did on Thursday, joining three other Democrats who voted to end his party's filibuster. Two Republican U.S. House members, Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, have signaled they may challenge Donnelly for his seat next year.

US appeals court upholds Maryland assault weapons ban
Attorney Blogs | 2017/02/24 08:40
Maryland's ban on 45 kinds of assault weapons and its 10-round limit on gun magazines were upheld Tuesday by a federal appeals court in a decision that met with a strongly worded dissent.

In a 10-4 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said the guns banned under Maryland's law aren't protected by the Second Amendment.

"Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war," Judge Robert King wrote for the court, adding that the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller explicitly excluded such coverage.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who led the push for the law in 2013 as a state senator, said it's "unthinkable that these weapons of war, weapons that caused the carnage in Newtown and in other communities across the country, would be protected by the Second Amendment."

"It's a very strong opinion, and it has national significance, both because it's en-banc and for the strength of its decision," Frosh said, noting that all of the court's judges participated.

Judge William Traxler issued a dissent. By concluding the Second Amendment doesn't even apply, Traxler wrote, the majority "has gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms." He also wrote that the court did not apply a strict enough review on the constitutionality of the law.

Greek court rejects extradition for Turkish servicemen
Attorney Blogs | 2017/01/27 06:50
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."

Greece court cancels TV license overhaul; blow to government
Attorney Blogs | 2016/10/24 23:58
A high court has canceled a television license auction in Greece, dealing a blow to the country's left-wing government which carried out the sale as part of an anti-corruption drive.

Judges from the Council of State court ruled 14-11 late Wednesday that the auction in September was unconstitutional because the process bypassed an independent media regulator.

The ruling means the government will have to pay back money it has received from the 246 million euro ($275 million) sale. And its plans to reduce the number of national private broadcasters from seven to four will be canceled.

The auction triggered a major political spat over corruption and control of the news media.

Opposition parties accused Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras — whose left-wing Syriza party is a relative newcomer to mainstream politics — of trying to gain influence over the news media.

Tsipras had made the auction the centerpiece of his reforms. He argued it would sever a corrupt relationship between traditionally powerful political parties and industrialists who used media ownership to seek lucrative state contracts — a relationship the government said created decades of financial mismanagement and was a cause of Greece's crippling financial crisis.

In weekend speech to party members, Tsipras had promised to defend the license overhaul.

California Supreme Court to consider suit over Yelp review
Attorney Blogs | 2016/09/24 05:03
The California Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to consider a lawsuit that warns could lead to the removal of negative reviews on the popular website.

The seven-member court voted unanimously Wednesday to take up an appeal by Yelp of a lower court ruling upholding an order requiring Yelp to remove posts against a San Francisco law firm.

Yelp wants the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling, saying that if it's allowed to stand, it will open the door for businesses to force the company to remove critical reviews.

Dawn Hassell, the law firm's managing attorney, says the business review website is exaggerating the stakes of her legal effort. She says it aims only to remove from Yelp lies by a former client that a judge determined were defamatory, not just negative.

Hassell referred comment Wednesday to her attorney, Monique Olivier, who said in a statement she was not surprised the Supreme Court has taken up the case given the "amount of attention" it has received.

"This case is not one of a 'bad review' " she said. "It is a case where a court adjudicated statements to be defamatory after receiving and reviewing evidence about the falsity of those statements."

Aaron Schur, Yelp's senior director of litigation, said the company looked forward to explaining to the court "how the lower court's decision is ripe for abuse, contradicts longstanding legal principles, and restricts the ability of websites to provide a balanced spectrum of views online."

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