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High court won't step into Mich. dispute over harness racing
Headline News | 2016/05/04 05:23
The Supreme Court won't step into a dispute between Michigan gaming officials and a group of harness racing drivers over allegations of race-fixing.

The drivers had refused to speak to state investigators without a grant of immunity from prosecution. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that they had a constitutional right to remain silent.

Michigan officials argued that gaming officials did not have to grant immunity before taking action against the drivers. The drivers were never charged with any crimes.

The justices on Monday left in place the appeals court ruling. Harness racing is a form of horse racing.




High court nominee praises lawyers for helping the poor
Headline News | 2016/04/21 17:08
Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland praised lawyers for their work with low-income Washingtonians Thursday in his first public remarks since his nomination last month.

Garland was on familiar turf, speaking at the federal courthouse in Washington, where he is chief judge of the appeals court.

Giving people living in poverty access to the courts is critical for society, Garland said. "Without equal justice under law," Garland said, using the phrase engraved above the entrance to the Supreme Court, "faith in the rule of the law, the foundation of our civil society, is at risk."

Garland's nomination is stalled in the Senate, where GOP leaders say the next president should choose the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. He has met with roughly 40 senators so far, with no sign that Republicans will allow hearings on his nomination, much less a vote.

At those meetings, Garland has typically said nothing for public consumption.

His appearance Thursday was part of the White House's effort to familiarize the country with the nominee by having him speak on a noncontroversial topic, free legal assistance for the poor.



Court convicts Israeli in Palestinian teenager's 2014 murder
Headline News | 2016/04/20 17:08
A Jerusalem district court has convicted the main suspect in the July 2014 murder of a Palestinian teenager.

The court convicted 30-year-old Yosef Haim Ben David on Tuesday of murder, rejecting a plea that he was not responsible for his actions. Ben David is to be sentenced next month and could face life in prison.

Two other Israelis have already been sentenced for their roles in the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in revenge for the death of three abducted Israeli teens earlier that summer. The Israelis snatched Khdeir from an east Jerusalem neighborhood, drove him to a Jerusalem forest and burned him to death.

The gruesome killing sparked deep outrage in Israel and was part of a series of events that helped spark the Gaza war later that summer.



Appeals court rules Mississippi can resume Google inquiry
Headline News | 2016/04/13 08:40
Mississippi's attorney general can resume an investigation into whether Google facilitates illegal behavior, an appeals court ruled.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a district judge who had sided with Google. U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate ruled last year that the unit of Alphabet Inc. didn't have to answer a subpoena by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.

Hood began complaining in 2012 that Google wasn't doing enough to prevent people from breaking the law. In October 2014, he sent a 79-page subpoena demanding Google produce information about a wide range of subjects, including whether Google helps criminals by allowing its search engine to lead to pirated music, having its autocomplete function suggest illegal activities and sharing YouTube ad revenue with the makers of videos promoting illegal drug sales. Instead of complying, Google sued.

The appeals court also dissolved the lower judge's injunction that had barred Hood from bringing any civil or criminal lawsuits against the Mountain View, California-based company, saying that a mere subpoena wasn't enough to rule that Hood was acting in bad faith.



US House staffers subpoenaed by federal court
Headline News | 2016/04/12 08:40
Four congressional staffers have told the U.S. House that they've been subpoenaed by the federal court in Springfield, Illinois, where a grand jury is conducting a probe into the spending of former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.

The financial chief for the House, Traci Beaubian, and three other staff members wrote letters notifying the chamber about the subpoenas that were read on the House floor Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported  based on House records noting the letters were received and video of the letters being read. The letters did not mention the subject of the subpoenas.

Schock, the one-time rising GOP star from Peoria, came under intense scrutiny in early 2015 for his spending, including redecorating his office in the style of TV's "Downton Abbey." He left office in March 2015 amid questions about congressional and campaign spending.

He has since been issued at least two grand jury subpoenas seeking campaign and congressional records. FBI agents also have removed boxes and other items from his central Illinois campaign office.




Court sends part of Wisconsin voter ID case back to judge
Headline News | 2016/04/11 08:41
A judge must consider whether Wisconsin's voter photo identification law applies to people who face daunting obstacles in obtaining identification, a three-judge federal appellate panel ruled Tuesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 challenging the law. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman struck the law down in April 2014, saying it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters who may lack such identification.

But a three-judge panel from the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ultimately reversed him and upheld the law that October, ruling Wisconsin's law is substantially similar to one in Indiana that the U.S. Supreme Court declared constitutional. The law was in effect for last week's presidential primary.

The ACLU and the national homeless center have continued to argue, however, that voters who face stiff hurdles in getting a photo ID should be allowed to vote by affidavit. They say those voters include people who can't obtain IDs because of name mismatches or other errors in birth certificates or other necessary documents; those who need a credential from another agency such as the Social Security Administration that they can't get without a state photo ID; or those who need a document that no longer exists.



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