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South Carolina court questions transportation tax spending
Class Action News | 2018/03/07 12:01
The South Carolina Supreme Court is questioning how a county is spending transportation tax money.

The court said Wednesday the state revenue department did not have the authority to withhold payments to Richland County.

But the justices also said the revenue department's request for an injunction preventing the county from spending the money should have been approved.

The Supreme Court said a lower court judge should require the county to establish safeguards to make sure the money is spent only on transportation-related projects and some administrative costs.

The high court said the lower court judge could also order the county to repay any previous improper spending.

A county spokeswoman said the ruling is being reviewed by its attorneys.



Specialist prosecutor for Kosovo court standing down
Class Action News | 2018/02/14 15:02
The American prosecutor working to bring to justice former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army accused of crimes against ethnic Serbs in Kosovo's war for independence is stepping down at the end of next month.

Specialist Prosecutor David Schwendiman issued a statement Thursday, saying he will leave the post at the end of March because his three-year term as a U.S. State Department foreign service officer is coming to an end and cannot be extended. -

Schwendiman says he issued the statement to make clear he was not resigning or being fired from his post.

His investigations aim to indict suspects who would then be put on trial at the Hague-based court known as the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. Schwendiman has not yet issued any indictments.


Northern Indiana man 3rd generation caring for court clock
Class Action News | 2018/01/01 13:55
Out of habit, as the Elkhart County Courthouse clock struck 11 on a recent morning, Blake Eckelbarger took out his cellphone and compared the time.

The century-and-a-half-old mechanism in the middle of Goshen trailed the timekeeping of his GPS satellite-aided phone by a minute. Thankfully it's an easy fix, he explained as he tinkered with the brass-colored gears and pins of the green-painted machine his grandfather and great-grandfather once cared for - a minute fast would mean advancing the hands through 11 hours and 59 minutes to set it right.

It's not the time it takes that's the hassle, since that's only 20 minutes, but the fact that he has to stop and wait for the bell to ring as an hour goes by every 10 seconds. It's the same story when he has to advance it one hour along with everyone else's clocks one

"Now it should be OK for another couple months," he remarked, before going into the usual weekly routine of oiling and inspecting the mechanism. It's a job he's had since 2000, when he happily took the offer to bring it back into the Eckelbarger family.

Eckelbarger's great-grandfather, Zena Eckelbarger, took care of the clock from 1923 until his death in 1941. Eckelbarger's grandfather, Dan Eckelbarger Sr., then held the duty for the next 50 years, into his 80s.

He remembers going up there with his grandfather on occasion, but didn't really learn how the clock works until he trained for a couple years under Hosea Jump, who held the contract since 1991 and who asked if he wanted the job. He still had to rely on Jump's expertise for another four or five years whenever an issue needed troubleshooting.

His duties, in addition to the weekly checks, include periodically making sure the clock faces are free of things like leaves or dead birds and that the bell and hammer are in good shape. Once a year, he spends a whole day disassembling the clockworks so he can lubricate the shafts and polish the gears.


Elliott's fast start fades with Cowboys as court looms again
Class Action News | 2017/09/28 23:38
Ezekiel Elliott pretended to wipe his face with a towel following his signature "feed me" gesture to celebrate his first touchdown.

The star Dallas running back got to hand the ball to his mother twice on his second score after the original TD ruling was reversed, with his mom kissing his facemask on the exchange that counted from her spot on the front row of a field-level box behind the end zone.

Those happy moments were gone after a 35-30 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, the day before a federal appeals court hearing that could result in the lifting of an injunction that is allowing Elliott to play as he fights the NFL's six-game suspension stemming from a domestic case in Ohio.

Elliott said he wasn't sure if he would attend Monday's arguments before the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. If the three-judge panel moves quickly and grants the NFL's emergency request to overrule a Texas judge's injunction, he could be sitting as early as next weekend at home against Green Bay.

"I'm not talking about it," Elliott said when asked how the looming hearing might affect his upcoming week.

In the first half against the Rams (3-1), it sure looked as if Elliott would have plenty of reasons to smile despite the looming hearing. He had a 10-yard scoring catch and a 1-yard plunge after the initial sprint for the pylon from the 2 was called a score and overruled on replay.

Last year's NFL rushing leader had 56 yards at halftime and another 41 yards receiving. The Cowboys led 24-16 and had scored on all four possessions.


Supreme Court Backs Dayton Veto of Legislature Budget
Class Action News | 2017/09/09 01:12
The Minnesota Supreme Court says Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of the Legislature’s budget was constitutional.

The ruling Friday is counter to a lower-court ruling this summer that Dayton had acted unconstitutionally, but is not the last word in the case. The high court ordered the two sides to hire a mediator, by Tuesday, to resolve the dispute outside the courts.

The months-long legal battle arose this spring when Dayton line-item vetoed lawmakers’ $130 million operating budget. Dayton says he wanted to force lawmakers to rework costly tax breaks and other measures he signed into law, but the Legislature instead sued.

The state’s highest court was tilted firmly in Dayton’s favor. He had appointed four of the six justices presiding in the case.



Raise drives justices to slash funding for advisory council
Class Action News | 2017/08/22 13:54
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has decided to quit funding a council that helps justices revise legal procedures across the state after the council's attorney got a raise of more than $22,000.

The 21-member council includes judges, legislators and attorneys. The group studies court practices and make recommendations to the Supreme Court on how to improve the system. The Supreme Court provides the council with $111,400 each year, with $59,600 going to pay the council's only employee, attorney April Southwick.

Council minutes indicate the panel's four-person executive committee voted via teleconference in June to give Southwick the title of executive director and raise her salary from $59,600 to $82,326. The committee decided that salary level was consummate with other similar positions in the judicial branch.

The Supreme Court notified the DOA by letter on Aug. 17 that the justices were concerned about the raise and had decided to stop funding the council by the time Gov. Scott Walker signs the 2017-19 state budget. The letter called the size of the raise "extraordinary" and said justices were concerned about the process used to award it.

Director of State Courts Randy Koshnick sent an email to the state Department of Administration on Aug. 1 alleging that under state law the executive committee couldn't authorize the raise. He pointed out that state law requires a quorum of at least 11 council members to take action.

Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Shirley Abrahamson, who make up the court's liberal-leaning minority, dissented. Bradley wrote that the court didn't have a thorough discussion about defunding the council and called the decision "ill-advised." She said the council has served the court well for more than 60 years, helping craft evidence rules, civil and criminal procedures and appellate practices.


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