Judge won’t halt execution over intellectual disability

Court News 2022/03/29 16:21   Bookmark and Share
A judge on Tuesday dismissed a motion to declare a Tennessee death row inmate intellectually disabled, a move that would have prohibited his upcoming execution.

Senior Judge Walter Kurtz wrote that federal courts had previously determined Byron Black was not intellectually disabled and therefore was ineligible to have the decision considered once again. The 45-page decision comes despite agreement between Nashville’s district attorney and Black’s lawyers that he is intellectually disabled and should not be put to death.

Black is scheduled to be executed on Aug. 18 for his murder convictions in the April 1988 killings of his girlfriend and her two young daughters.

Black’s attorneys had argued the 65-year-old should be spared under a 2021 law that made Tennessee’s prohibition against executing people with intellectual disability retroactive, pointing out there is a different standard in place now than in 2004 — when the court found that Black didn’t meet the now-obsolete definition of “mental retardation.” Previously, Tennessee had no mechanism for an inmate to reopen a case to press an intellectual disability claim.

However, Kurtz ultimately concluded that the new state law does not apply to death row inmates who had previously received a ruling from a prior court.

“This Court fails to see how the federal courts’ resolution of petitioner’s intellectual disability claim can be seen as anything other than an adjudication on the merits under the legal and medical principles which are embodied in the most recent version of (Tennessee law),”Kurtz wrote. “Given the above, the Court finds that Mr. Black had a full and fair previous adjudication on the merits of his intellectual disability claim.”

Black was convicted by a Nashville court in the deaths of girlfriend Angela Clay, 29, and her daughters Latoya, 9, and Lakesha, 6. Prosecutors said he was in a jealous rage when he shot the three at their home. At the time, Black was on work release while serving time for shooting and wounding Clay’s estranged husband.

Earlier this month, District Attorney Glenn Funk — Nashville’s lead prosecutor — announced that he agreed with Black’s legal team that the inmate was intellectually disabled and should instead face a sentence of life in prison.

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Retired judges will hear divorce cases to clear backlog

Legal Insight 2022/03/25 16:22   Bookmark and Share
The Maine court system will assign retired judges to divorce proceedings to clear a growing backlog of more than 6,000 cases that have been delayed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The program began last week and will assign the former judges as referees to divorce cases where both sides involved have lawyers. The referees would work to resolve the cases without a trial, The Bangor Daily News reported Tuesday.

“The goal is to add capacity in the short term to allow us to address the backlog without adding work to existing personnel,” Chief Justice Valerie Stanfill said.

Judges who volunteer as referees will be paid the same full-day $350 stipend amount as other active retired judges who work in the court system.

According to Alyson Cummings, an employee for the administrative office of the courts, the cost of the program and the number of cases the judges will handle have not been determined yet.
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Nicholas C. Minshew, Attorney - Minshew & Ahluwalia LLP

Court Watch 2022/03/23 16:22   Bookmark and Share
Nicholas C. Minshew, Attorney at Law, concentrates his practice in the area of Family Law including divorce, separation, child support, child custody, alimony, division of property, separation agreements, domestic violence, prenuptial agreements, and child support enforcement & modification. Mr. Minshew provides legal services to clients in Washington, D.C., and throughout Maryland, including Montgomery County, Frederick County, and Prince George’s County.

Mr. Minshew obtained his Juris Doctorate degree from the American University, Washington College of Law in 2000, where he worked as an editor for the Administrative Law Review. After receiving his law degree, Mr. Minshew worked as an attorney for the global law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and for Leonard Street & Deinard LLP representing companies in Federal proceedings. During that time, Mr. Minshew redirected his focus to provide legal services directly to individuals and families.

In February, 2010, Mr. Minshew open his law firm to focus on obtaining favorable results for his clients while providing individualized and cost-effective legal representation, and to pursue his legal interests by devoting his practice to Family Law.

The Law Firm of Minshew & Ahluwalia is located near the District and Circuit Courts for Montgomery County, Maryland and within walking distance to the Rockville Metro Station on the Red Line.
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Naturopathic doctor sentenced for selling misbranded drugs

Press Release 2022/03/22 16:22   Bookmark and Share
A former Port Angeles naturopathic physician was sentenced to eight months in prison and one year supervised release after being found guilty of selling products he claimed could prevent numerous serious diseases, including COVID-19.

Richard Marschall, 69, was convicted in 2021, after a four-day trial, of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, his third conviction, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The jury found that his marketing was false or misleading and because his products were not listed with the FDA.

At the sentencing hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said, “It is extremely dangerous during the COVID epidemic for people to be engaged in conduct that would lead other people to defer and wait to receive medical care.”

Marschall was convicted previously and sentenced in federal court for distributing misbranded drugs, both in 2011 and again in 2017.

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California DWI & DUI Laws

Court News 2022/03/19 16:21   Bookmark and Share
Per California's driving under the influence (DUI) laws, it's illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any of the following blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentages:

0.08% or higher― 21 years old or older operating a regular passenger vehicle.
0.04% or higher―operating a commercial vehicle.
0.01% or higher―younger than 21 years old.

The state's DUI laws include medications, too. You can't legally drive if you've consumed illegal drugs or:

Excessive amounts of drugs with alcohol in them (such as cough syrup).
Prescription medication.
Over-the-counter medication.

DUI convictions stay on your driving record for 10 years.
Understand Your DUI Penalties

Not all DUI penalties or charges are the same. Depending on your age, license type, and any previous convictions, you could face:

Admin Per Se license suspension.
Criminal license suspension
Fines.
Jail time or community service.
DUI school.
Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).
SR-22 filing.

Admin Per Se Penalties

An Admin Per Se suspension occurs when the officer takes your license after you fail or refuse a chemical test. This action is taken by the CA Department of Motor Vehicles, under Admin Per Se laws and is in addition to any criminal charges given when refusing or failing a BAC test.

The officer will issue an Order of Suspension and possibly a temporary license. The officer's report, your license and any other information is then sent to the DMV. The DMV then will conduct a review. This review can set aside the suspension. You also have the right to request a hearing if you believe the suspension is unjustified.

You face harsher Admin Per Se license suspension penalties if you refuse to submit to a chemical test upon being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving.

Victorville California DUI Attorneys

Younger than 21 years old

First Offense: Suspended for 1 year.
Second Offense: Revoked for 2 years.
Third Offense: Revoked for 3 years.

21 years old or Older

First Offense: Suspended for 1 year.
Second Offense: Revoked for 2 years.
Third Offense: Revoked for 3 years.
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Courts, BMV act after license retained after fatal crash

Law Firm News/West Virginia 2022/03/14 15:44   Bookmark and Share
The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles and court officials have scrambled to close a gap in tracking and sharing information about criminal convictions that should result in license suspensions.

The problem surfaced when a man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter following a fatal crash during a police pursuit was arrested for causing another crash while being chased by police. Two others were injured, one of them critically, in the crash on March 4 in Paris, Maine.

The man being chased by police shouldn’t have had a license after pleading guilty last summer to the earlier crash that killed a 70-year-old driver.

A one-page document that would have allowed the BMV to process his suspension was never sent by court staff despite the BMV’s requests, and court officials suggested it was not their duty to send the paperwork because the conviction was not technically considered a driving offense under state law, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The state court’s response hinged on a technicality — he was convicted not of a driving offense but manslaughter. In Maine, there’s no separate conviction for “vehicular manslaughter.”

On Friday, officials including Secretary of State Shenna Bellows and Valerie Stanfill, chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, came to an agreement on correcting the problem, the newspaper reported.

But the Portland Press Herald reported that representatives of the courts and secretary of state declined to discuss specifics.

The agreement with the courts will encompass convictions connected to use of a vehicle but not specifically included in the driving statute, said Emily Cook, spokesperson for Bellows.
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