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Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky wins state Supreme Court race
U.S. Legal News | 2020/04/15 13:17
Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky won a dominant victory in last week’s Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race, defeating Justice Dan Kelly after more than a week of high drama over whether the election should go on amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The result was a major boost for liberals, who last year had their hopes of flipping the Supreme Court’s conservative majority in 2020 dashed when their candidate lost by a half-percentage point. They next have a chance to retake the majority in 2023 when Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, a member of the four-member conservative majority is up for re-election.

Karofsky’s win follows a flurry of executive and legal action to delay the election, which was set against a backdrop of coronavirus pandemonium and a surge in absentee voting.



Court lifts part of order blocking Texas abortion ban
U.S. Legal News | 2020/04/12 18:42
A federal appeals court on Friday partially rescinded a lower-court order that had largely blocked the enforcement of an abortion ban in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic.

By a 2-1 vote, the three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld enforcement of an executive order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that includes abortion among non-essential medical procedures banned during the state of emergency.

However, the appeals court allowed the procedure to go ahead if delays would place the pregnancy beyond the 22-week state cutoff for abortions.

The ruling was agreed to by Judges Jennifer Walker Elrod, an appointee of President George W. Bush, and Kyle Duncan, an appointee of President Donald Trump. Judge James L. Dennis, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, dissented and opposed any stay of the lower-court order.

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the new coronavirus. For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.


Ex-Phoenix area sheriff declares victory despite court loss
U.S. Legal News | 2020/03/02 04:08
Former Phoenix-area Sheriff Joe Arpaio lost a bid to erase his criminal conviction for disobeying a 2011 court order, but claimed victory Thursday after an appeal's court said the verdict no longer has any legal consequence because of President Donald Trump's pardon.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals explained Arpaio was pardoned before he could be sentenced and that the final judgment in the case ended up dismissing the contempt charge.

“They can’t use that conviction against me in a court of law,” Arpaio said. “That’s a win.”

Gabriel “Jack" Chin, a professor at the University of California, Davis School of Law, agreed. “Even though Mr. Arpaio did not get the district court's findings vacated, he still won his case.

”The Ninth Circuit clearly ruled that after the pardon there is neither a conviction for criminal purposes (say, sentencing in the future), nor a finding of fact binding in any future criminal or civil cases," Chin added. “On the other hand, the underlying facts are out there for whatever the court of public opinion wants to do with them.”

Arpaio was convicted for disobeying an order barring his traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.

The 87-year-old lawman, who was defeated for reelection in 2016 after six terms, had argued the misdemeanor contempt of court conviction should be removed from his record so it can't be raised against him in future court cases.

A 2017 lower court decision said Trump’s pardon removed his possible punishments and that pardons don’t erase convictions or the facts of cases.


NH high court rejects appeal of man convicted of planning murder
U.S. Legal News | 2020/02/16 02:48
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a man serving 43 years in prison for orchestrating the murder of someone he mistakenly believed was a police informant.

Paulson Papillon was convicted of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the 2015 death of Michael Pittman in Manchester.

Papillon argued that he shouldn't have been allowed to represent himself at trial, that there was insufficient evidence to convict him and that some of the evidence against him was illegally admitted.

The state Supreme Court agreed Friday on the last point but said the error was harmless.


EU court: ‘Active consent’ required for cookie storage
U.S. Legal News | 2019/09/24 02:43
The European Union’s top court has ruled that website operators must secure internet users’ “active consent” to their storage of so-called cookies.

The European Court of Justice’s ruling Tuesday was prompted by a dispute between German firm Planet49 and a German consumer organization over the company’s use of a pre-ticked checkbox for participants in online promotional games to secure consent to cookie storage.

Judges found that EU law’s requirement for users to consent to storage of and access to cookies on their devices isn’t covered by a pre-checked box that the user “must deselect to refuse his or her consent.”

They said specific consent must be obtained. They also said the service provider must tell users how long the information about them will operate and whether third parties may access them.


Former Nissan chairman Ghosn appears in Tokyo court
U.S. Legal News | 2019/05/24 21:53
Nissan’s former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, appeared in a Japanese courtroom Thursday for a hearing ahead of his trial on accusations of financial misconduct.

It was the first of a series of hearings to iron out logistics for Ghosn’s actual trial. The trial date has not been set, and experts say it could be months away.

Ghosn, who led the Japanese automaker for two decades, was arrested in November and charged with underreporting his income and breach of trust. He was released on bail in March, rearrested in April on fresh accusations and then released again on bail on April 25.

Ghosn insists he is innocent and says he was targeted in a “conspiracy” by others at Nissan Motor Co.

Nissan, which is allied with Renault SA of France, has seen profits nose-dive amid the fallout from Ghosn’s arrest.

Ghosn has hired a strong legal team as he fights to clear his name. One of his top lawyers, Junichiro Hironaka, was seen walking into the courtroom Thursday with Ghosn.

One of the conditions of Ghosn’s release on bail is that he is forbidden to contact his wife. Prosecutors say that’s to prevent evidence tampering.

Ghosn’s lawyers challenged that restriction, saying it is a violation of human rights, but the Supreme Court rejected their appeal Tuesday.

The lawyers can appeal again to have the restriction removed.

In a briefing Thursday, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Shin Kukimoto welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision.

“For married people to be together is important, but I feel there was enough reason for the Supreme Court to support us in this restriction,” he said.

Kukimoto declined comment on the hearing, which was closed to reporters and the public.

Kukimoto also said the maximum penalty upon conviction of all 15 counts of the charges Ghosn is facing is 15 years in prison and a fine of 150 million yen ($1.4 million).


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