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Court sides with teacher fired for sex with 18-year-old
U.S. Legal News | 2017/09/13 23:51
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld a decision that would allow a teacher fired for having sex with an 18-year-old on her graduation night to return to teaching.

The Lebanon Daily News reports the court ruled against the Cornwall-Lebanon School District, which fired social studies teacher Luke "Todd" Scipioni in 2014 after learning details of the sexual relationship that occurred a decade earlier.

An arbitrator said there was no accusation of a sexual relationship prior to the student's graduation and Scipioni was not culpable for any relationship that occurred after that.

The arbitrator said Scipioni should be reinstated after a one-year suspension for not being truthful. A lower court reversed the arbitrator but was overruled by an appeals court. The supreme court upheld the appeals court's decision.


Challenge to $225M Exxon settlement to be heard in court
U.S. Legal News | 2017/09/11 01:12
Environmental groups arguing New Jersey's $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil short-changed taxpayers are getting their day in appeals court.

The Appellate Court is set to hear arguments on Monday in Trenton.

New Jersey sued Exxon Mobil for natural resources damages at sites across the state in 2004.

A New Jersey judge approved the deal between Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration and the petroleum company in 2015.

The idea was to hold the company responsible for cleaning up polluted areas, including two oil refineries in Bayonne and Linden and other sites and retail gas stations and to compensate the public for the alleged harm to groundwater and other resources.

Environmental groups say the state settled for pennies on the dollar after earlier estimating the cost at $8.9 billion.



France: Court finds topless photos violated royal’s privacy
U.S. Legal News | 2017/09/04 01:15
A French court ruled Tuesday that photographers and gossip magazine executives violated the privacy of Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge by taking and publishing photographs of the former Kate Middleton sunbathing topless.

The court in a Paris suburb fined two executives of French gossip magazine Closer — owner Ernesto Mauri and executive editor Laurence Pieau — each the maximum of 45,000 euros ($53,500) for such an offense.

The Closer executives, along with two photographers for a celebrity photo agency, were collectively ordered to pay 50,000 euros ($59,500) in damages to Kate and the same amount to her husband, Prince William.

The damage award was substantially below the figure that the magazine’s lawyer said the royals had requested, but the timing of the court’s finding of privacy invasion had particular resonance in Britain.

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the death of William’s mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a Paris car accident that occurred while she was being pursued by paparazzi.

The royal couple did not attend the hearing where the verdict was announced. Their office at Kensington Palace said they were pleased the court ruled in their favor and now consider the matter closed.

Kate and William “wished to make the point strongly that this kind of unjustified intrusion should not happen,” the palace said in a statement.



Court file: Michigan girl who killed toddler heard voices
U.S. Legal News | 2017/08/21 15:35
Court documents say an 8-year-old girl accused of killing a toddler at a home daycare in western Michigan earlier this year suffers from "serious mental health" issues, including hearing a demon's voice.

The Department of Health and Human Services filed a petition in Muskegon County Family Court saying the girl, who was also cared for at the home daycare, killed 14-month-old Korey Landon Brown on April 14.

The petition filed last month asks the court to make the girl a temporary ward of the state and to make a decision regarding the girl's placement that protects her brother and other children. The petition says the best placement is Hawthorn Center, a state-run residential psychiatric facility in Northville for children and adolescents.

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Maat tells MLive the petition was the result of an investigation conducted by multiple agencies.

Korey's mother said that when she went to the daycare to take her children home, she found the boy unresponsive in a playpen and covered with bite marks. His death was ruled a homicide due to multiple injuries, including trauma to his head, other blunt force trauma and possible asphyxiation, according to the petition.


Kentucky judge announces bid for state Supreme Court
U.S. Legal News | 2017/07/25 23:41
A circuit court judge in Kentucky says he will run for an open seat on the state Supreme Court.

Judge David Tapp will run for the 3rd Supreme Court District that spans 27 counties in south-central Kentucky. Justice Daniel Venters holds the seat now and says he will not seek re-election.

Tapp has been a circuit court judge for Pulaski, Rockcastle and Lincoln counties since 2005. He has received national attention for his drug court program, which relies on medically assisted treatment for some addicts. In May, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell appointed Tapp to a national juvenile justice advisory board.

Kentucky judicial races are nonpartisan, and their political affiliations do not appear on the ballot.



Court ends hearing into corruption charges against PM
U.S. Legal News | 2017/07/21 20:12
Pakistan’s supreme court on Friday concluded its hearing into a high-profile case involving allegations of corruption against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, but it wasn’t immediately clear when a verdict would be announced, defense lawyers and attorneys for petitioners said.

According to attorneys involved in the case, the court heard arguments from both the government and opposition after a court-ordered investigation found “significant disparity” between declared wealth and known sources of income of Sharif and his family.

Under Pakistani law, the court has the power to disqualify Sharif if he is found guilty. Sharif denies allegations he misused his office to enrich himself.

“The Supreme Court today concluded the hearing of this case and it will set a date for announcing the judgment later,” said Salman Akram Raja, the lawyer for Sharif’s family.

Fawad Chaudhry, one of the lawyers for opposition leader Imran Khan who led the fight to have the prime minister investigated, said Sharif faced a serious challenge and “we hope Nawaz Sharif will be disqualified” for concealing his assets.

Opposition lawmakers have been fighting a legal battle to disqualify Sharif as prime minister since 2016 when leaked documents from a Panama-based law firm disclosed his family’s offshore accounts.

Sharif’s political fate has been hanging in the balance since April. The Supreme Court, acting on petitions from opposition lawmakers, decided to establish a six-member Joint Investigation Team to delve into the allegations corruption involving his family, including his daughter and two sons.

Two of the five supreme court judges opposed setting up an investigation team preferring to hand down a verdict based on the information they already had in its possession.

However the team was established and on July 10 it submitted its voluminous report to the court to support its conclusion that a “significant disparity” existed between the Sharif’s declared wealth and its known sources of income. The report suggested the Supreme Court take action against Sharif and his family in accordance with a 1999 accountability law intended to help stamp out corruption. Sharif has sought to discredit the investigators, accusing them of bias.


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