Supreme Court to consider Louisiana's non-unanimous juries

Court Watch 2019/03/18 16:48   Bookmark and Share
The Supreme Court will consider banning non-unanimous juries in criminal cases in Louisiana, the only state that still allows them.

The justices said Monday they will hear an appeal from a man who was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury's 10-2 vote. First-degree murder charges already require a unanimous jury to convict.

Oregon voters recently approved a state constitutional amendment that ended Oregon's use of divided juries to convict some criminal defendants.

The high court also is agreeing Monday to decide whether states can eliminate the so-called insanity defense for criminal defendants without violating the Constitution.

The appeal comes from a Kansas man who has been sentenced to death for killing his estranged wife, their two daughters and the wife's grandmother. The cases will be argued in the fall.
top

Appellate judge announces run for Supreme Court seat

Court Watch 2019/02/03 11:00   Bookmark and Share
An appellate judge has announced he will run for a spot on the Kentucky Supreme Court days after Justice Bill Cunningham retired.

Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Christopher "Shea" Nickell told The Paducah Sun that he is running in November's election for the vacant seat, which represents the First Supreme Court District encompassing 24 counties in western Kentucky. The winner of the general election will serve the rest of Cunningham's current term ending in 2022.

Gov. Matt Bevin will appoint a temporary justice to the seat until November, but Nickell did not submit his name for consideration. He says that would have required him to step down from the appeals court.

Nickell practiced law for 22 years before he became an appellate judge.

top

Pakistan court to review acquittal in blasphemy trial

Court Watch 2019/01/26 11:11   Bookmark and Share
The lawyer of a Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row for charges of blasphemy vowed to secure her freedom when the country's Supreme Court meets Tuesday to reconsider an acquittal announced last year.

Aasia Bibi was released from prison in October but has been under guard in a secret location since then because of death threats from Islamic extremists. Blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death in Pakistan, and the mere rumor that someone has committed blasphemy can ignite lynchings.

If Pakistan's top court upholds its earlier ruling, Bibi will be free to leave for Canada, where her daughters have already been granted asylum.

Her attorney, Saiful Malook, who has also received death threats and fled the country after her acquittal, is back in Islamabad and will attend Tuesday's hearing.

"I am sure the review petition ... will be rejected," Malook told The Associated Press on Monday. He said he has asked authorities to provide him with personal security.

top

Guatemala court blocks president's expulsion of UN team

Court Watch 2019/01/10 15:30   Bookmark and Share
Guatemala's highest court issued a ruling Wednesday blocking President Jimmy Morales' decision to unilaterally end a U.N. anti-corruption commission.

The commission, known by its Spanish initials as CICIG, has angered Morales by investigating him, his sons and his brother on accusations of corruption, which they deny.

Guatemala's Constitutional Court overruled Morales' decision after all-night deliberations on five appeals against the president's cancellation of the agreement with the United Nations.

Morales has argued the commission had violated Guatemala's sovereignty and violated the rights of suspects.

Given the government's refusal to guarantee the commission's security, the U.N. has withdrawn the comission's members

The court has tussled with Morales before over the commission, though he has sometimes tried to ignore its rulings. The court has said the commission's mandate is valid through 2019.

Guatemala's human rights prosecutor, Jordan Rodas, said Morales' administration has to obey the new ruling.

"The government is under obligation to comply," said Rodas, who presented one of the appeals to the court. "If it doesn't obey, that is a whole other matter, and would constitute a coup, because the cornerstone of the rule of law is respect for the judicial branch."

During its 11 years operating in Guatemala, CICIG has pressed corruption cases that have implicated some 680 people, including top elected officials, businesspeople and bureaucrats. The commission said in November that it has won 310 convictions and broken up 60 criminal networks.
top

Kansas abortion foes brace for state Supreme Court decision

Court Watch 2019/01/08 15:30   Bookmark and Share
Abortion opponents in Kansas have been bracing themselves for nearly two years for a ruling from the state's highest court that protects the right to have an abortion and potentially upends politics in a state long at the center of the national debate.

The Kansas Supreme Court is relatively liberal in a state with a Republican-dominated Legislature that has strong anti-abortion majorities.

Court watchers also are asking: Why is it taking so long for the justices to rule? No one outside the court knows for sure and the justices are not saying, as is their long-standing custom. One educated guess is that they still are wrestling with the implications of declaring that the state constitution protects abortion rights.

That was the core legal issue when the court heard attorneys' arguments in March 2017 in a major abortion lawsuit . An abortion-rights decision could allow state courts in Kansas to chart their own course on abortion and invalidate restrictions that the federal courts would uphold.

top

Low-key days at Supreme Court may be ending soon

Court Watch 2019/01/01 00:33   Bookmark and Share
The Supreme Court began its term with the tumultuous confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, followed by a studied avoidance of drama on the high court bench — especially anything that would divide the five conservatives and four liberals.

The justices have been unusually solicitous of each other in the courtroom since Kavanaugh's confirmation, and several have voiced concern that the public perceives the court as merely a political institution. Chief Justice John Roberts seems determined to lead the one Washington institution that stays above the political fray. Even Roberts' rebuke of President Donald Trump, after the president criticized a federal judge, was in defense of an independent, apolitical judiciary.

The next few weeks will test whether the calm can last. When they gather in private on Jan. 4 to consider new cases for arguments in April and into next term, the justices will confront a raft of high-profile appeals.

Abortion restrictions, workplace discrimination against LGBT people and partisan gerrymandering are on the agenda. Close behind are appeals from the Trump administration seeking to have the court allow it to end an Obama-era program that shields young immigrants from deportation and to put in place restrictive rules for transgender troops.
top

◀ PREV : [1] : [2] : [3] : [4] : [5] : [6] : [7] : [8] : [9] : .. [45] : NEXT ▶








Disclaimer: Nothing posted on this blog is intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Blog postings and hosted comments are available for general educational purposes only and should not be used to assess a specific legal situation. Nothing submitted as a comment is confidential. Nor does any comment on a blog post create an attorney-client relationship. The presence of hyperlinks to other third-party websites does not imply that the firm endorses those websites.

Web Design For Small Law Firms