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Alaska Supreme Court hears youth climate change lawsuit
Criminal Law Updates | 2019/10/14 03:01
An Alaska law promoting fossil fuel development infringes on the constitutional rights of young residents to a healthy environment, a lawyer told Alaska Supreme Court justices on Wednesday.

A lawsuit filed by 16 Alaska youths claimed long-term effects of climate change will devastate the country’s northernmost state and interfere with their constitutional rights to life, liberty and public trust resources that sustain them.

The state’s legislative and executive branches have not taken steps to lower greenhouse gas emissions and adopted a policy that promotes putting more in the air, said attorney Andrew Welle of the Oregon-based Our Children’s Trust group.

“This is an issue that is squarely within the court’s authority,” Welle said.

Assistant Attorney General Anna Jay urged justices to affirm a lower court ruling rejecting the claims. Ultimately, the climate change issues raised by Alaska youth must be addressed by the political branches of government, she said.

“The court does not have the tools to engage in the type of legislative policy making endeavor required to formulate a broad state approach to greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.

The 16 youths sued in 2017 and claimed damages by greenhouse gas emissions are causing widespread damage in Alaska. The lawsuit said the state has experienced dangerously high temperatures, changed rain and snow patterns, rising seas, storm surge flooding, thawed permafrost, coastal erosion, violent storms and increased wildfires.


Trial begins Monday in Kansas abortion stalking lawsuit
Criminal Law Updates | 2019/09/29 02:43
A federal jury will decide whether the operator of a Wichita abortion facility had reasonable grounds to seek a protection-from-stalking order against an abortion protester.

Jury selection begins Monday in the federal lawsuit filed by anti-abortion activist Mark Holick against clinic operator Julie Burkhart.

The lawsuit stems from anti-abortion protests in 2012 and 2013 in front of Burkhart's home and in her neighborhood. She subsequently got a temporary protection-from-stalking order against him that was dismissed two years later.

U.S. District Judge John Broomes has already thrown out some of the lawsuit's claims, but left it to a jury to decide whether the facts constituted malicious prosecution.

Kings coach Walton focused on team, not lawsuit

Sacramento Kings first-year coach Luke Walton says he is focused on his team and not worried about a lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault.

Walton spoke publicly Friday at Kings media day for the first time since a former sportscaster filed a civil suit against him in April accusing him of the assault.

"I'm here to do my job and focus on the Kings," Walton said. "The rest will take care of itself."

Walton was hired by the Kings in April, soon after being fired following three seasons as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He was sued shortly after being hired by Kelli Tennant, a former host on Spectrum SportsNet LA, who accused him of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2014 when he was an assistant with the Golden State Warriors and harassing her after that during his tenure with the Lakers.

The Kings and the NBA investigated the charges but took no action against Walton when "investigators determined that there was not a sufficient basis to support the allegations." Tennant did not participate in the investigation.

Walton still faces a civil suit but has said in a court filing that the allegations aren't backed up in facts. He said the suit is not a distraction to his job.

"My focus is on the Kings and what we're doing to get this group to the next level," he said.

Walton is trying to get the Kings back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the longest current postseason drought in the NBA. He takes over a young team featuring emerging stars like De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III.

The Kings hold their first practice Saturday before leaving next week for a trip to India, where they will play two exhibition games. That puts more emphasis on the early days of practice.


Egypt court asks religious figure to weigh in on sentences
Criminal Law Updates | 2019/09/24 02:44
An Egyptian court has referred the case of seven defendants facing terrorism charges to the country's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding opinion on whether they can be executed as the prosecution seeks.

The Cairo Criminal Court says Saturday the defendants are members of a local affiliate of the Islamic State group spearheading an insurgency in northern Sinai.

The men are part of 32 defendants accused of killing eight police, including an officer, when they ambushed a microbus in Cairo's southern suburb of Helwan in May 2016.

The verdict is set for Nov. 12, and the presiding judge may rule independently of the Mufti.

Egypt has battled an insurgency for years in the Sinai Peninsula that has occasionally spilled over to the mainland.


Supreme Court: Trump can use Pentagon funds for border wall
Criminal Law Updates | 2019/07/25 10:58
The Supreme Court cleared the way for the Trump administration to tap billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to build sections of a border wall with Mexico.

The court’s five conservative justices gave the administration the green light on Friday to begin work on four contracts it has awarded using Defense Department money. Funding for the projects had been frozen by lower courts while a lawsuit over the money proceeded. The court’s four liberal justices wouldn’t have allowed construction to start.

The justices’ decision to lift the freeze on the money allows President Donald Trump to make progress on a major 2016 campaign promise heading into his race for a second term. Trump tweeted after the announcement: “Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”

The Supreme Court’s action reverses the decision of a trial court, which initially froze the funds in May, and an appeals court, which kept that freeze in place earlier this month. The freeze had prevented the government from tapping approximately $2.5 billion in Defense Department money to replace existing sections of barrier in Arizona, California and New Mexico with more robust fencing.

The case the Supreme Court ruled in began after the 35-day partial government shutdown that started in December of last year. Trump ended the shutdown in February after Congress gave him approximately $1.4 billion in border wall funding. But the amount was far less than the $5.7 billion he was seeking, and Trump then declared a national emergency to take cash from other government accounts to use to construct sections of wall.

The money Trump identified includes $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $2.5 billion in Defense Department money and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund.


Man in A$AP Rocky case allegedly hit with bottle, kicked
Criminal Law Updates | 2019/07/23 11:00
The man allegedly assaulted by American rapper A$AP Rocky and two other men in Stockholm was kicked while on the ground and hit with a bottle, Swedish prosecutors said in court documents obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

The 500 pages of documents also included allegations that Rocky pushed the man to the ground and photos of the alleged victim's cuts, bruises and blood-stained clothes.

The Grammy-nominated rapper and the two others "deliberately, together and in agreement" attacked the man, identified as Mustafa Jafari, on June 30, prosecutors said in the Stockholm District Court documents.

Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has said he acted in self-defense. He has been in custody since July 3 and faces charges that carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

A lawyer for Jafari, Magnus Stromberg, said the alleged beating started when one of A$AP Rocky's guards "grabbed him by the neck and dragged him away." Jafari didn't provoke the assault, and "this situation has been very stressful for him," Stromberg said.


San Francisco police chief: Journalist ‘crossed the line’
Criminal Law Updates | 2019/05/22 04:50
The San Francisco police chief said Tuesday that he respects the news media, but a freelance journalist whose home and office were raided by officers had “crossed the line” by joining a conspiracy to steal a confidential report.

Chief William Scott addressed reporters hours after police agreed in court to return property seized from Bryan Carmody in raids aimed at uncovering the source of a leaked police report into the unexpected death of the city’s former elected public defender, Jeff Adachi.

Tensions are high in the case, which has alarmed journalism advocates and put pressure on elected leaders in the politically liberal city to defend the press.

Authorities believe a police department employee was involved and had contact with Carmody.

“We believe that that contact and that interaction went across the line. It went past just doing your job as a journalist,” Scott said.

He added: “This is a big deal to us, as well it should be. It’s a big deal to the public. It’s a big deal to you all.”

Scott said the primary target of the ongoing investigation is the employee, whose identity investigators do not know. He said the secondary focus is on Carmody, who may have been motivated by profit or a desire to tarnish Adachi’s reputation, or both.


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