2 teens killed in Atlanta suburb: Man accused due in court

Lawyer Blog Post 2016/08/19 16:10   Bookmark and Share
A man accused of killing two teenagers near Atlanta is set to appear in court for a preliminary hearing.

Jeffrey Hazelwood is scheduled to appear Friday morning in Fulton County Magistrate Court.

The 20-year-old is charged with murder and theft in the killings of Carter Davis and Natalie Henderson in Roswell. The 17-year-olds were shot in the head. An autopsy report says their bodies were found behind a grocery store and had been placed in distinct poses.

Police have declined to discuss a possible motive for the slayings, or whether Hazelwood knew the teens.

Hazelwood's attorney, Lawrence Zimmerman, has said he'll provide a vigorous defense.

Henderson and Davis, who used to live in Rapid City, South Dakota, would have been seniors this year at their Georgia high schools.
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'Whitey' Bulger asks US Supreme Court to hear his appeal

Lawyer Blog Post 2016/08/18 16:10   Bookmark and Share
James "Whitey" Bulger has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal of his racketeering convictions for playing a role in 11 murders and committing a litany of other crimes.

It is unclear if the high court will take up the Boston gangster's case. The court generally agrees to hear only a small percentage of the thousands of cases it's asked to review each year. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bulger's 2013 convictions in March.

A three-judge panel of the court found that Bulger had not shown that his right to a fair trial was violated when a judge barred him from testifying about his claim that a now-deceased federal prosecutor granted him immunity. The trial judge said Bulger had not offered any hard evidence that such an agreement existed.

Bulger, now 86, led a notoriously violent gang from the 1970s through the early 1990s. He fled Boston in 1994 after an FBI agent tipped him that he was about to be indicted. Bulger remained a fugitive until 2011, when he was captured in Santa Monica, California. He is now serving a life sentence.

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Spain court orders Operation Puerto blood bags released

Lawyer Blog Post 2016/06/14 12:47   Bookmark and Share
A Spanish court ruled Tuesday that blood bags that are key evidence in one of Spain's worst doping scandals should be handed over to authorities for investigation.

The Madrid Provincial Court said bags containing blood samples and plasma should be handed over to the Spanish Cycling Federation, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Cycling Union and Italy's Olympic Committee.

The announcement came 10 years after Operation Puerto revealed a doping network involving some of the world's top cyclists when police seized coded blood bags from the Madrid clinic of sports doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

The decision backed an appeal by lawyers for prosecuting parties against a 2013 court ruling that the bags should be destroyed for privacy reasons.

The court said Thursday's ruling "took into account that the goal is to fight against doping, which goes against sport's ethical values."

Not ordering the bags to be made available would have "generalized the danger of other sports people being tempted to dope themselves and sent a negative social message that the end justifies the means," the court said.

The 2013 order to destroy the blood bags outraged the sports community. Spain's anti-doping agency, the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency were among the entities that appealed.
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Court Vacates $1.8M Ventura Award in 'American Sniper' Case

Lawyer Blog Post 2016/06/13 12:47   Bookmark and Share
A federal appeals court on Monday threw out a $1.8 million judgment awarded to former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who says he was defamed in the late author Chris Kyle's bestselling book "American Sniper."

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the jury's 2014 award of $500,000 for defamation and $1.3 million for unjust enrichment against Kyle's estate. Kyle, a former SEAL who was the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills, died in 2013.

The majority of the three-judge panel reversed the unjust-enrichment award, saying it fails as a matter of law. The majority also vacated the defamation award, but sent that portion of the case back to court for a new trial.

Messages left with Ventura's publicist and attorney were not immediately returned Monday. A message left with an attorney for Kyle's estate also did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Kyle claimed in a subchapter called "Punching Out Scruff Face," to have decked a man, whom he later identified as Ventura, during a fallen SEAL's wake at a California bar in 2006. He wrote that "Scruff Face" had made offensive comments about the elite force, including a remark that the SEALs "deserve to lose a few" in Iraq.

Ventura, a former Underwater Demolition Teams/SEAL member and ex-pro wrestler, testified at trial that Kyle's story was a fabrication. Ventura said he never made the comments and that the altercation never happened. He said the book ruined his reputation in the tight-knit SEAL community.

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Tribunal: India, Italy should agree on Italian marine's bail

Lawyer Blog Post 2016/05/04 10:48   Bookmark and Share
India and Italy should work toward an agreement to allow an Italian marine to return home while an arbitration process continues in the fatally shootings of two Indian fishermen in 2012, a tribunal said Tuesday.

The two countries should present their arguments over relaxing the marine's bail conditions to India's Supreme Court, the tribunal in The Hague said.

The case against Salvatore Girone and another Italian marine, Massimiliano Latorre, has strained relations between the two countries, which disagree on the facts of the case and who has jurisdiction. Italy has also complained bitterly about the fact that, in four years, India has never formally charged the two with a crime.

An arbitration tribunal is hearing the dispute over jurisdiction, and in the ruling announced Tuesday said the two countries should approach India's Supreme Court about changing Girone's bail terms to allow him to return to Italy. Latorre has been in his home country since September 2014 on medical treatment after suffering a stroke in India.

Both India and Italy welcomed the tribunal's ruling, which had been shared with officials from the two countries on Monday. India was happy that the ruling confirmed its jurisdiction to decide bail, while Italy found relief in the possibility of Girone's return.

"We see the tribunal's order not just as a recognition of India's consistent positions and key arguments but also as an affirmation of the authority of the Supreme Court of India," Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, speaking Tuesday in Parliament on behalf of the foreign affairs minister.

In Rome, the defense minister expressed confidence that Italy would be proven right through the arbitration process.

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Court sides with Argentina, speeding along bond settlements

Lawyer Blog Post 2016/04/16 01:19   Bookmark and Share
A federal appeals court cleared the way Wednesday for Argentina to settle its debts and strengthen its ability to maneuver in worldwide markets.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned away creditors who wanted to keep in place court-ordered protections, though Circuit Judge Christopher Droney said a lower-court judge should take steps to determine whether Argentina has met conditions he required be fulfilled before court orders against the republic are permanently lifted. The conditions include completing settlement payments.

A three-judge panel announced its decision after hearing oral arguments for more than an hour. It found a judge was within his rights to conclude that circumstances surrounding the decadelong court battle changed dramatically when Argentina's new president, Mauricio Macri, decided to let the nation negotiate deals with bondholders after he took office Dec. 10.

Since January, Argentina has reached agreements to pay more than $8 billion to creditors, mainly U.S. hedge funds.

Argentine Economy Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay, who is in New York ahead of Argentina's first international bond sale in more than a decade, said, "This is a step toward achieving normality and the kind of development that Argentina deserves."

His country is expected to sell up to $15 billion in bonds, and he said the holdout funds will be paid on April 22.
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