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Court fight over lost dog survives after dog's owner dies
Court Feed News | 2020/02/10 03:07
A federal appeals court has ruled that a legal fight over a lost dog could continue in Mississippi, even after the dog's owner has died.

The dispute is over a German shepherd named Max who jumped out a window and escaped from his owner's Hattiesburg home in 2015. Max got loose when people were providing medical help to his owner, Charles Holt, who had fallen and could not get up.

Holt was more than 90 years old at the time. He was hospitalized after the fall. Max was captured weeks after he escaped, and he was impounded in an animal shelter. More weeks passed before Holt was notified that his dog was in the shelter, according to court papers. When Holt tried to reclaim his dog, the shelter refused, based on orders from the city.

A city court judge ordered the shelter to keep Max because the dog allegedly posed a threat to the people taking care of Holt. A county court judge later agreed with that decision.

Holt then filed a federal lawsuit saying the city had deprived him of his property, Max, without due process. A district court judge threw out his claim, and Holt appealed.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that although Holt has died, questions about his property claim survive. The appeals court sent it back to a district court for the possibility of further consideration.


WADA asks sports court to open Russia case to public hearing
Court Feed News | 2020/02/05 11:09
The World Anti-Doping Agency wants a rare public hearing for sport’s highest court to judge a four-year slate of punishments faced by Russia for persistent cheating.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is preparing a hearing expected within weeks for the blockbuster case in Switzerland.

“It is WADA’s view and that of many of our stakeholders that this dispute at CAS should be held in a public forum to ensure that everybody understands the process and hears the arguments,” the Montreal-based agency’s director general, Olivier Niggli, said in a statement.

Urged on by President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, is formally challenging a WADA ruling in December to declare it non-compliant after key data from the Moscow testing laboratory was corrupted.

The CAS panel of three judges will have power to enforce WADA-recommended sanctions including a ban on Russia’s team name, flag and anthem at Olympic Games and world championships.

WADA also wants Russian athletes to compete as neutrals at the Olympics and major events only if they pass a vetting process which examines their history of drug testing and possible involvement in lab cover-ups of positive tests.

CAS hearings can be opened to media and public observers in some cases when both parties consent.

The court held its first public hearing for 20 years in November when WADA appealed a ruling by swimming’s world body not to ban China’s three-time Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang for alleged doping rule violations.



Dutch court throws out case against Israeli military chiefs
Court Feed News | 2020/01/28 03:08
A Dutch court threw out a civil case Wednesday brought by a Dutch-Palestinian man seeking damages from two former Israeli military commanders for their roles in a 2014 airstrike on a Gaza house that killed six members of his family.

The Hague District Court ruled that the case filed by Ismail Zeyada can't proceed because the commanders, including high profile former military chief Benny Gantz, have immunity.

Zeyada was attempting to sue Gantz, who is now a prominent Israeli politician, and former Israeli air force commander Amir Eshel. Neither Gantz nor Eshel was in court for the decision.

Zeyada, who lives in the Netherlands, brought the case in The Hague because he argued he can't successfully hold Israeli military leaders accountable in Israeli courts.

But presiding judge Larisa Alwin said the court can't hear the case because the commanders “enjoy functional immunity from jurisdiction” as their actions were part of a state-sanctioned military operation.

Zeyada said he and his lawyers would study the ruling with a view to appealing. “I owe it to all the Palestinians who have suffered and continue to suffer the same fate, to continue this struggle to achieve what is denied to them: Access to independent justice and accountability for the unspeakable crimes committed against them,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.

The court agreed with the arguments of Dutch lawyers representing the men who said last year they should reject the case for lack of jurisdiction because the commanders have immunity because their actions in the 2014 Gaza conflict were part of an Israeli military operation and that Zeyada was free to sue them in Israel.



Supreme Court rejects appeal in texting suicide case
Court Feed News | 2020/01/14 18:07
The Supreme Court on Monday left in place the conviction of a Massachusetts woman who sent her boyfriend text messages urging him to kill himself.

Michelle Carter is serving a 15-month sentence after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III. A judge determined that Carter, who was 17, caused the death of the 18-year-old Roy when she ordered him in a phone call to get back in his carbon monoxide-filled truck that he’d parked in a Kmart parking lot.

The phone call wasn’t recorded, but the judge relied on a text Carter sent her friend in which she said she told Roy to get back in. In text messages sent in the days leading up to Roy’s death, Carter also encouraged Roy to follow through with his suicide plan and chastised him when he didn’t, Massachusetts courts found.

The case has garnered national attention and sparked legislative proposals in Massachusetts to criminalize suicide coercion.

Carter’s lawyers argued in their Supreme Court appeal that the conviction should be thrown out because it was an “unprecedented” violation of her free speech rights that raised crucial questions about whether “words alone” are enough to hold someone responsible for another person’s suicide.

The lawyers also argued there was simply not enough evidence to prove Carter urged Roy to to get back in his truck to die, or that he would have lived if she had called for help or taken other actions to try and save his life.

Joseph Cataldo, one of Carter’s lawyers, said Monday’s decision was an “injustice” and that the legal team is weighing its next steps. He didn’t elaborate.

“The Court passed on the rare chance to clarify an outdated and confusing exception to the First Amendment, which has divided courts around the country,” said Daniel Marx, another one of Carter’s lawyers. “It also missed an invaluable opportunity to address the toxic combination of mental illness, adolescent psychology, and social media that was at the heart of this suicide case and will likely lead to additional tragedies in the future.”

The court’s decision was welcomed by Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn III, whose office prosecuted the case.

“The US Supreme Court’s decision today brings closure to the family of Conrad Roy for his tragic death. I hope that the finality of this decision brings some solace to them,” he said in a statement.



Afghanistan probe appeal begins at Hague international court
Court Feed News | 2019/12/04 12:40
The International Criminal Court opened a three-day hearing Wednesday at which prosecutors and victims aim to overturn a decision scrapping a proposed investigation into alleged crimes in Afghanistan’s brutal conflict.

Fergal Gaynor, a lawyer representing 82 Afghan victims, called it “a historic day for accountability in Afghanistan.”

In April, judges rejected a request by the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban, Afghan security forces and American military and intelligence agencies.

In the ruling, which was condemned by victims and rights groups, the judges said that an investigation "would not serve the interests of justice" because it would likely fail due to lack of cooperation.

The decision came a month after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo banned visas for ICC staff seeking to investigate allegations of war crimes and other abuses by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

“Whether the two events are in fact related is unknown, but for many ? victims as well as commentators ? the timing appeared more than coincidental,” said lawyer Katherine Gallagher, who was representing two men being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

The United States is not a member of the global court and refuses to cooperate with it, seeing the institution as a threat to U.S. sovereignty and arguing American courts are capable of dealing with allegations of abuse by U.S. nationals.


Ohio Supreme Court keeps camera challenge alive
Court Feed News | 2019/11/20 03:21
Ohio’s Supreme Court has rejected Toledo’s motion to dismiss a challenge to how the city handles appeals of citations related to camera-captured traffic violations.

The high court recently rejected the motion to dismiss a challenge by Susan Magsig, of Woodville.

The Toledo Blade reports  Magsig received a citation alleging a camera held by a police officer caught her vehicle traveling 75 mph in a 60 mph-zone. Magsig argues Toledo violates state law by considering such appeals through an administrative hearing rather than through municipal court.

The city argues the case shouldn’t continue because a lower court’s preliminary ruling prevents enforcement of a state law giving local courts jurisdiction over all traffic violations. Magsig’s attorney says she isn’t bound by that ruling involving a legal dispute between the city and state.


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