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Family loses Supreme Court bid to extend boy’s life support
U.S. Legal News | 2022/08/02 18:49
Britain’s Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to prevent a hospital withdrawing life support from a 12-year-old boy with catastrophic brain damage, rejecting a bid by his parents to extend his treatment.

The parents of Archie Battersbee had aske Supreme Court justices to block a lower court’s ruling that the Royal London Hospital can turn off the boy’s ventilator and stop other interventions that are keeping him alive.

Archie’s treatment had been due to end at noon on Tuesday, but the hospital said it would await the decision of the Supreme Court.

Justices at the U.K.’s top court said Archie had “no prospect of any meaningful recovery,” and even with continued treatment would die in the next few weeks from organ and heart failure.

The judges agreed with a lower court that continuing treatment “serves only to protract his death.”

Archie was found unconscious at home with a ligature over his head on April 7. His parents believe he may have been taking part in an online challenge that went wrong.

Doctors believe Archie is brain-stem dead and say continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests. Several British courts have agreed.

The family appealed to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and wanted the withdrawal of treatment put on hold while the committee examines the case.


Moats named to temporary seat on West Virginia Supreme Court
U.S. Legal News | 2022/02/07 18:51
A circuit judge has been appointed to a temporary seat on the West Virginia Supreme Court after the resignation of Justice Evan Jenkins.

Chief Justice John Hutchison on Monday appointed Alan D. Moats to the high court. Moats has served in the judicial circuit covering Barbour and Taylor counties since 1997.

Moats will serve on the Supreme Court until Gov. Jim Justice appoints someone to the seat. That person then would serve until a election can be held for the remainder of Jenkins’ term through 2024.

Jenkins announced Friday that he is resigning to return to private law practice.

Jenkins was appointed and then elected to the seat of retired Justice Robin Davis following the Supreme Court’s 2018 impeachment scandal.


Idaho Supreme Court overturns tougher ballot initiative law
U.S. Legal News | 2021/08/27 00:39
The Idaho Supreme Court has rejected a new law designed to make it harder for voters to get initiatives on the ballot, saying the legislation was so restrictive that it violated a fundamental right under the state’s constitution.

The ruling issued Monday was a win for Reclaim Idaho, a group that successfully sponsored a Medicaid expansion initiative three years ago and that is now working to qualify an initiative for the ballot that aims to increase public education funding.

Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said in a prepared statement that members of the House Republican Caucus were disappointed by the ruling. He said the law would have increased voter involvement, “especially in the corners of the state too often forgotten by some.”

Reclaim Idaho co-founder Luke Mayville said the ruling means thousands of Idaho residents are “breathing sighs of relief.”

“Nearly every time in our history that our legislature attempted to eliminate the initiative process, either the governor or the courts stepped up to protect the rights of the people. Today’s decision adds a new chapter to that history, and future generations of Idahoans will look back on the court’s decision with gratitude,” Mayville said in a prepared statement.

The high court’s opinion written by Justice Gregory Moeller was unanimous in its main conclusion — that the law should be overturned — though two of the justices said they would have gotten at the same conclusion in slightly different ways.

“The ability of the legislature to make laws related to a fundamental right arises from the reality that, in an ordered society, few rights are absolute,” Moeller wrote. “However, the legislature’s duty to give effect to the people’s rights is not a free pass to override constitutional constraints and legislate a right into non-existence, even if the legislature believes doing so is in the people’s best interest.”

The case pitted the rights of voters to enact and repeal laws against the power of the state Legislature to shape how ballot initiative efforts are carried out. The new law, which passed earlier this year, required signature-gatherers to get 6% of registered voters in each of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts within a short time span. Opponents said it made Idaho’s initiative process the toughest in the nation, rendering such efforts virtually impossible to achieve. But supporters said the law would protect people with less popular political opinions from being overrun by the majority.


Bankruptcy proceedings can have long-term benefits
U.S. Legal News | 2021/07/23 01:07
Chicago Bankruptcy Law Firm Covers Bankruptcy in the Wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has damaged the economy, leaving many families and business owners worried about how they will pay for even the most basic expenses. In the midst of this crisis, you might be considering filing for bankruptcy or wondering how COVID-19 will affect an existing bankruptcy filing.

No matter your situation, the Chicago Bankruptcy Law Firm of Daniel J. Winter is here to help give you the answers and assistance that you need. We are more than happy to explain to anyone in financial distress exactly what their options are.

What Is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a Federal system of laws, rules, and procedures designed to help legal residents of the U.S. deal with their debts, which, for whatever reason, individuals or businesses cannot pay as they are due. The most common types of Bankruptcy are for people (called Consumer Bankruptcies).

Two major types of Consumer Bankruptcy are Chapter 7 (liquidation or debt elimination), Chapter 13 (wage-earner reorganization for individuals or people running unincorporated businesses).

Chapter 11 is a type of Corporate Bankruptcy (reorganization for businesses and certain individuals with extremely large amounts of debt). Chapter number refers to the section of the Bankruptcy law, called the Bankruptcy Code (which is in Title 11 of the U.S. Code).

Bankruptcy cases almost exclusively fall under federal law, though states may pass laws governing issues that federal law doesn’t address. Special bankruptcy courts nationwide handle only debtor-creditor cases. Generally, any bankruptcy-related claim must be filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.


British lawyer Karim Khan sworn in as ICC’s chief prosecutor
U.S. Legal News | 2021/06/16 17:44
British lawyer Karim Khan was sworn in Wednesday as the new chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, pledging to reach out to nations that are not members of the court in his quest to end impunity for atrocities and to try to hold trials in countries where crimes are committed.

Khan, a 51-year-old English lawyer, has years of experience in international courts as a prosecutor, investigator and defense attorney. He takes over from Fatou Bensouda of Gambia, whose nine-year term ended Tuesday.

“The priority for me, and I believe that’s the principle of the Rome Statute, is not to focus so much on where trials take place, but to ensure that the quest for accountability and inroads on impunity are made,” Khan said, referring to the treaty that founded the court, in his first speech after taking his oath of office.

“The Hague itself should be a city of last resort,” he said. “Wherever possible, we should be trying to have trials in the country or in the region.”

Khan said he wanted to work with countries that are not among the court’s 123 member states to achieve justice. World powers the United States, Russia and China are not members and do not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.

“My conviction is that we can find common ground in the quest and in the imperative to ensure we eradicate genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,” Khan said.

Most recently, Khan led a United Nations team investigating atrocities in Iraq, telling the Security Council last month that he uncovered “clear and compelling evidence” that Islamic State extremists committed genocide against the Yazidi minority in 2014.

In the past, he has defended clients at international courts including former Liberian President Charles Taylor and Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto. ICC prosecutors dropped charges against Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta of involvement in deadly post-election violence in their country.


Court: Local Wisconsin heath departments can’t close schools
U.S. Legal News | 2021/06/11 17:08
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday that local health departments do not have the authority to close schools due to emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic, delivering a win to private and religious schools that challenged a Dane County order.

The conservative majority of the court, in a 4-3 decision, also ruled that a school closure order issued last year by Public Health Madison & Dane County infringed on constitutional religious rights.

The ruling is another victory for conservatives who challenged state and local orders issued during the pandemic to close businesses and schools, limit capacity in bars, restaurants and other buildings and require masks to be worn. All of those restrictions have either expired or been rescinded by courts.

Friday’s ruling will have no immediate impact because the 2020-21 school year has ended, but it will limit the powers of health departments in the future by preventing them from ordering school closures.

“Even as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, the court’s decision provides a critical correction that ought to prevent future abuses of power in an emergency,” said Rick Esenberg, president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. That group brought the lawsuit on behalf of five private schools and eight families in Dane County, School Choice Wisconsin Action and the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools.

Dane County Health Director Janel Heinrich said the ruling “hinders the ability of local health officers in Wisconsin to prevent and contain public health threats for decades to come.”

The lawsuit targeted an order issued in August by the county health department prohibiting in-person instruction for grades 3-12 at any public or private school. The Supreme Court in early September put that order on hold while it considered the case.

While many private and public schools in the county resumed in-person classes, Madison’s school district remained entirely virtual until March. Its school year ended this week.

The law in question allows local health departments to do what is “reasonable and necessary” to suppress a disease outbreak. It does not specifically grant authority to close schools. There is a law giving that power to the state Department of Health Services secretary.


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