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Nepal’s Supreme Court reinstates dissolved lower house
Court Feed News | 2021/07/12 17:19
Nepal’s Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives on Monday and upheld the leader of the opposition’s claim to be the new prime minister.

The 167-page court order removes Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli, who had been running a caretaker government until planned elections.

In May, Oli directed the president to dissolve the House of Representatives, Parliament’s lower house, and announce new elections later this year. The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court by a coalition of opposition parties that said they had the support of a majority in Parliament to form a new government.

The Supreme Court also ruled Monday that the reinstated House of Representatives should meet within a week, when the leader of the main opposition party, Sher Bahadur Deuba, is expected to call a vote of confidence.

There was no immediate comment from Oli’s office or his aides.

Hundreds of Oli’s supporters gathered outside the Supreme Court to oppose the court decision.

“We are here to protest the unconstitutional decision by the Supreme Court, which was interfering with the affairs of the Parliament and its rights,” said one of the protesters, Ramesh Acharya.

The protesters briefly scuffled with riot police who were able to push them back. There were no injuries or arrests.

More protests are likely later in the week because Oli still has significant support among the public.

It is the second time the Supreme Court has reinstated the House of Representatives this year after it was dissolved by Oli.

He had the House of Representatives dissolved in December and called for new elections in April, but that was rejected by the Supreme Court and the lower house was reinstated in February. Oli again had the president dissolve the House of Representatives in May with elections planned for November.

Oli became prime minister in 2018 after the Communist Party of Nepal won a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives. The party, however, has had two splits this year, weakening Oli’s hold on power.


Michigan court won’t extend voting redistricting deadline
Court Feed News | 2021/07/09 17:37
The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday denied a request to extend the deadline for drawing new legislative and congressional maps despite a delay in census redistricting data.

The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, whose members have been meeting since September 2020, asked the court in April to allow for more time to draw the maps.

The current deadline for an initial proposal is Sept. 17, but the U.S. Census Bureau does not expect to have tabulated data ready for the public until Sept. 30. The commission asserts that the census data is necessary to draw fair and lawful maps.

With its decision, the Supreme Court declined to protect the commission from lawsuits due to any delays. In a statement, justices acknowledged that the commission’s lawyers have already said the commission will operate on a delayed schedule, with or without permission.

The commission was established by voters in 2018 to limit gerrymandering by having randomly selected Michigan residents, representing balanced political alignments, draw voting district boundaries every 10 years instead of the Legislature. The release of census data was delayed from a March 31 deadline because of the pandemic.

The court acknowledged that it believes the commission has been working diligently and through no fault of its own has been put in a difficult position to present fair voting maps, but said there isn’t a sufficient legal reason to preemptively extend the deadline.

Lawyers for the commission and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson have said they will try to propose new maps by Dec. 11 and have them finalized by Jan. 25, three months after the original Nov. 1 deadline set by the state’s constitution.


Judge asked to dismiss lawsuit over WVa transgender ban
Court Feed News | 2021/07/07 17:55
Education officials are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging West Virginia’s new law that bans transgender athletes from competing in female sports in middle schools, high schools and colleges.

Education and athletic officials said in court documents filed last week that they can’t be held liable for the law, which they didn’t request and largely won’t be responsible for enforcing, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union and its West Virginia chapter filed the lawsuit in May on behalf of an 11-year-old transgender girl who had hoped to compete in cross country in middle school in Harrison County. The girl is seeking an injunction to prevent the law from being enforced.

The ban is set to take effect Thursday and will require the state Board of Education to establish rules to determine the means by which local athletic officials can enforce the law.

Attorneys for the West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission argued that they can’t be held responsible for the law because they aren’t responsible for enforcing it.

Attorneys for Harrison County Schools said the district “was not responsible for and did not pass” the transgender athlete ban and has not caused harm to the girl.

“(The law) was not created by the County Board, and it is not under the County Board’s control,” the response said.

The U.S. Justice Department intervened in the case last month, saying the ban was a violation of federal law.


Court refuses appeal of ex-Cleveland cop who shot Tamir Rice
Court Feed News | 2021/07/06 17:39
The Ohio Supreme Court announced on Tuesday it would not consider an appeal over the firing of a white police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice outside a Cleveland recreation center in 2014.

The appeal was filed in April by the Cleveland Police Patrolment’s Association on behalf former officer Timothy Loehmann. Cleveland fired Loehmann in 2017 not for killing Tamir, who was Black, but for providing false information on his job application. An arbitrator and a county judge upheld his firing.

A state appellate court earlier this year dismissed Loehmann’s appeal, citing the union’s failure to serve notice on outside attorneys hired by the city.

Loehmann, a rookie, shot Tamir within seconds of a cruiser skidding to a stop near a gazebo where the child had been sitting. Officers responded to a call from a man who said someone was waving a gun around. The man also told a dispatcher the gun could be a fake and the person might be a juvenile.

A state grand jury declined to indict Loehmann in Tamir’s shooting and, in December, federal authorities announced they would not bring federal criminal charges.

“I am glad that Loehmann will never have a badge and gun in Cleveland again,” Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

A message seeking comment was left with the Loehmann’s union attorney, Henry Hilow.


Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction overturned by court
Court Feed News | 2021/06/30 20:23
Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction Wednesday after finding an agreement with a previous prosecutor prevented him from being charged in the case.

Cosby has served more than two years of a three- to 10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia. He had vowed to serve all 10 years rather than acknowledge any remorse over the 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand.

The 83-year-old Cosby, who was once beloved as “America’s Dad,” was convicted of drugging and molesting the Temple University employee at his suburban estate.

He was charged in late 2015, when a prosecutor armed with newly unsealed evidence — Cosby’s damaging deposition from her lawsuit — arrested him days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired.

The trial judge had allowed just one other accuser to testify at Cosby’s first trial, when the jury deadlocked. However, he then allowed five other accusers to testify at the retrial about their experiences with Cosby in the 1980s.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that testimony tainted the trial, even though a lower appeals court had found it appropriate to show a signature pattern of drugging and molesting women.

Cosby was the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo era, so the reversal could make prosecutors wary of calling other accusers in similar cases. The law on prior bad act testimony varies by state, though, and the ruling only holds sway in Pennsylvania.

Prosecutors did not immediately say if they would appeal or seek to try Cosby for a third time.

The justices voiced concern not just about sex assault cases, but what they saw as the judiciary’s increasing tendency to allow testimony that crosses the line into character attacks. The law allows the testimony only in limited cases, including to show a crime pattern so specific it serves to identify the perpetrator.

In New York, the judge presiding over last year’s trial of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose case had sparked the explosion of the #MeToo movement in 2017, let four other accusers testify. Weinstein was convicted and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He is now facing separate charges in California.


Supreme Court won’t revive school’s transgender bathroom ban
Court Feed News | 2021/06/28 17:38
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Virginia school board’s appeal to reinstate its transgender bathroom ban.

Over two dissenting votes, the justices left in place lower court rulings that found the policy unconstitutional. The case involved former high school student Gavin Grimm, who filed a federal lawsuit after he was told he could not use the boys bathroom at his public high school. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas voted to hear the board’s appeal.

The Gloucester County, Virginia, school board’s policy required Grimm to use restrooms that corresponded with his biological sex — female — or private bathrooms.

Seven years ago, Grimm was barred from using the boys restroom when he was a 15-year-old student at Gloucester High School. He sued a year later, and his case has worked its way through the courts ever since.

After learning that the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, Grimm, now 22, said that his long court battle is over. “We won,” he tweeted. “Honored to have been part of this victory,” he added.

David Corrigan, an attorney for the school board, did not immediately respond to email and voice mail messages seeking comment.

In its petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the case, the school board argued that its bathroom policy poses a “pressing federal question of national importance.”

The board argued previously that federal laws protect against discrimination based on sex, not gender identity. Because Grimm had not undergone sex-reassignment surgery and still had female genitalia, the board’s position has been that he remained anatomically a female.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Grimm in his years long lawsuit against Gloucester, argued that federal law makes it clear transgender students are protected from discrimination.


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