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Cancer the latest health woe for resilient Justice Ginsburg
Criminal Law Updates | 2018/12/24 04:09
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is resting in a New York hospital following surgery to remove two malignant growths in her left lung, the third time the Supreme Court’s oldest justice has been treated for cancer and her second stay in a hospital in two months.

Worries over Ginsburg’s health have been a constant of sorts for nearly 10 years, and for liberals, particularly in the last two. Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s liberal wing and known to her fans as the Notorious RBG, has achieved an iconic status rare for Supreme Court justices.

If she did step down, President Donald Trump would have another opportunity to move a conservative court even more to the right. “Wishing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg a full and speedy recovery!” Trump tweeted after the court’s announcement Friday.

But Ginsburg has always bounced back before, flaunting her physical and mental fitness. After past health scares, she has resumed the exercise routine popularized in a book written by her personal trainer and captured in a Stephen Colbert video. Weeks after cracking three ribs in a fall at the Supreme Court in November, the 85-year-old Ginsburg was asking questions at high court arguments, speaking at a naturalization ceremony for new citizens and being interviewed at screenings of the new movie about her, “On the Basis of Sex.”

Ginsburg will remain in the hospital for a few days, the court said. She has never missed arguments in more than 25 years as a justice. The court next meets on Jan. 7.

While it’s hard to refer to good luck and cancer diagnoses in the same breath, this is the second time for Ginsburg that cancerous growths have been detected at an apparently early stage through unrelated medical tests.

The nodules on her lung were found during X-rays and other tests Ginsburg had after she fractured ribs in a fall in her Supreme Court office on Nov. 7, the court said. In 2009, routine follow-up screening after Ginsburg’s colorectal cancer 10 years earlier detected a lesion on her pancreas. Doctors operated and removed the growth they’d previously spotted, plus a smaller one they hadn’t seen before. The larger growth was benign, while the smaller one was malignant.



A Colorado man of missing Colorado woman in court
Criminal Law Updates | 2018/12/23 04:11
A Colorado man suspected of killing his fiance has made his first court appearance. Patrick Frazee appeared by teleconference at a Teller County District Court hearing. Frazee was arrested earlier Friday in the disappearance of 29-year-old Kelsey Berreth. Authorities say the 32-year-old Frazee faces charges of first-degree murder and solicitation of murder.

Berreth was last seen in the Colorado town of Woodland Park on Thanksgiving Day. KOAA-TV reports a public defender was appointed for Frazee.

Officials say the daughter of woman her fiance is suspected of killing will live with the woman's family. Woodland Park police Chief Miles de Young said the family of 29-year-old Kelsey Berreth does not want to comment.

He told reporters Friday that Berreth's cellphone was found in Idaho and that investigators are working to recover it. The fiance, Patrick Frazee, was charged with the murder of Berreth and solicitation to commit murder.

The two lived separately and De Young says authorities have evidence suggesting the killing happened at Berreth's home in Woodland Park, in central Colorado.


Spain court grants $1.7 billion compensation for oil spill
Criminal Law Updates | 2018/12/21 04:13
Spain's Supreme Court has ruled that the captain and the insurer of the Prestige oil tanker must pay more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in compensation for Spain's biggest environmental disaster, when the vessel sank in 2002.

The court said in a statement Thursday that captain Apostolos Mangouras and The London Owners Mutual Insurance Association shall pay the damages to Spain, France and authorities in Spain's Galicia region, as well as to another 269 companies, communities and individuals affected by the spill.

The tanker sprang a leak and sank off northwest Spain, polluting a long stretch of coastline and ruining the area's rich fishing grounds. Years of legal challenges slowed the compensation process.


Man accused of killing tourist appears in New Zealand court
Criminal Law Updates | 2018/12/08 03:08
A man accused of killing 22-year-old British tourist Grace Millane made his first appearance in a New Zealand court Monday.

The 26-year-old man stared at the ground while a judge addressed him during the brief appearance at the Auckland District Court. The man has not yet entered a plea on murder charges and the court has temporarily blocked his name from being published.

Millane's father, David Millane, traveled to New Zealand last week after his daughter vanished, and Judge Evangelos Thomas addressed him and other family members.

"I don't know what to say to you at this time, but your grief must be desperate," he said, according to television station Three. "We all hope justice will be fair and swift and ultimately bring you some peace."

The case has riveted people both in Britain and New Zealand.

Described by her father as fun-loving and family-oriented, Millane had been traveling in New Zealand as part of a planned yearlong trip abroad that began in Peru. She went missing Dec. 1 and failed to get in touch with her family on her birthday the next day, or on the days that followed, which alarmed them.

Before she vanished, Millane had been staying at a backpacker hostel in Auckland and left some of her belongings there. Detective Inspector Scott Beard said she met a man for a couple of hours in the evening before surveillance cameras showed them entering the CityLife hotel at about 9:40 p.m.



High court seems to lean against West Virginia in tax case
Criminal Law Updates | 2018/12/04 17:41
The Supreme Court seemed inclined Monday to side with a retired U.S. marshal who argues West Virginia is discriminating against former federal law enforcement officers like him by giving a more generous tax break to former state law enforcement officers.

James Dawson says West Virginia currently exempts the vast majority of state law enforcement retirees — including police and firefighters — from paying income tax on their retirement benefits. But retired U.S. Marshals Service employees like him don't get that perk. Dawson has to pay income tax on his retirement benefits except for the first $2,000 annually, which is tax free.

Dawson says federal law prohibits West Virginia from taxing his retirement income more heavily than it taxes the retirement income of those who did a similar job working for the state.

During arguments before the Supreme Court on Monday, both conservative and liberal justices seemed more willing to side with Dawson. Justice Neil Gorsuch asked West Virginia's attorney Lindsay See why looking at the text of the federal law wasn't "game over," ending the case in Dawson's favor. And Justice Stephen Breyer listed a number of those getting better tax treatment than Dawson.

"It's not just the state police. It's also the local police. It's everybody in law enforcement almost. And they can get into it and the feds can't. Why isn't that just the end of it?" Breyer said.



Supreme Court to hear Virginia GOP's districting appeal
Criminal Law Updates | 2018/11/16 04:57
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear an appeal by Virginia Republicans who are trying to preserve state legislative districts that have been struck down by a lower court as racially discriminatory.

The case involves 11 districts in the Virginia House of Delegates. Democratic voters accuse Republicans, who hold the majority, of packing black voters into certain districts to make surrounding districts whiter and more Republican.

A three-judge federal court in Virginia ruled 2-1 in June in favor of the Democratic voters and has appointed a redistricting expert to draw a new legislative map with a Dec. 7 deadline. Kirk Cox, the Republican speaker of the Virginia House, said he is weighing whether to ask the lower court to delay the issuance of a new map until after the Supreme Court rules.

Arguments probably will take place in late February, with a ruling likely by late June. The next round of elections for the state House is 2019, and candidates would normally have to register in the spring and run in primaries in the summer.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's office and House Democratic leader David Toscano did not immediately return requests for comment. Marc Elias, a lawyer representing the voters, predicted on Twitter that the justices would rule in his clients' favor.


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