Court records: Apple's help sought in another iPhone case

Topics in Legal News 2016/02/24 14:40   Bookmark and Share
A federal magistrate in Chicago last November ordered Apple to help federal prosecutors access data on an iPhone in a personal bankruptcy and passport fraud case, one of more than a dozen cases around the country similar to the legal battle over the telephone of one of the San Bernardino shooting suspects.

Court records show U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon filed a November 2015 motion saying law enforcement needed Apple's help to bypass the passcode to search, extract and copy data from an iPhone 5S owned by Pethinaidu and Parameswari Veluchamy, the Chicago Tribune reported.

An affidavit filed Nov. 13 said text messages, phone contacts and digital photos might help confirm wrongdoing. It also said data on the phone "may also provide relevant insight into the cellphone owner's state of mind as it relates to the offense under investigation."

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Rowland's order said Apple should provide authorities "reasonable technical assistance to enable law enforcement agents to obtain access to unencrypted data" She added Apple "may provide a copy of the encrypted data to law enforcement, but Apple is not required to attempt to decrypt, or otherwise enable law enforcement's attempts to access any encrypted data."

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Romania's outgoing PM appears at court for corruption trial

Topics in Legal News 2015/11/04 14:53   Bookmark and Share
Romania's outgoing prime minister has appeared at the high court where he's on trial for tax evasion, money-laundering, conflict of interest and making false statements.

Victor Ponta arrived at the High Court for Cassation and Justice Friday, declining comment saying he was now "a private citizen."

Ponta and his Cabinet resigned Wednesday after mass protests following a nightclub fire that killed more than 30. Protesters have staged mass rallies demanding better governance.

The charges Ponta faces refer to a period when he was working as a lawyer. He denies wrongdoing.

Prosecutors say Ponta, who is still a lawmaker, forged expense claims worth at least 181,000 lei ($45,000) from the law firm of political ally. Prosecutors say he pretended he worked as a lawyer to justify getting money from the firm.

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Court: Therapy dog didn't sway jury against sex offender

Topics in Legal News 2015/10/27 09:34   Bookmark and Share
A therapy dog used to calm a testifying young victim did not influence the jury during the trial of an Ohio man who was convicted of having sex with a minor and providing drugs to another, an appeals court ruled.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports the ruling on Michael Jacobs' complaint to the 9th District Court of Appeals is considered important in Ohio because it was the first time a state appellate court heard a case challenging the use of therapy dogs during trial.

Jacobs was convicted in 2014 of having sex with a minor and providing drugs to another. He's serving a four-year prison sentence.

He argued that the Labrador-golden retriever mix brought in by county prosecutors, named Avery II, was a distraction in the Summit County courtroom.

Prosecutors contended that the dog was out of the view of jurors as it sat by the child's feet.

The court ruled that judges are permitted to allow "a variety of special allowances" for young victims of sexual abuse who testify during a trial, including therapy dogs.

"One of my main objectives as Summit County prosecutor is to fight for the rights of victims, especially children. Avery plays a vital role in how my office focuses on the needs of crime victims," prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said.

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Chile appeal court upholds convictions in Americans' killing

Topics in Legal News 2015/09/07 18:08   Bookmark and Share
A Chilean appeals court has upheld the conviction of a retired brigadier general and a former civilian air force employee in the killing of two Americans shortly after the 1973 military coup that overthrew democratically elected President Salvador Allende.

The Appeals Court of Santiago on Saturday confirmed the 7-year sentence given to retired Gen. Pedro Espinoza Bravo as the mastermind in the killings of documentary filmmaker Charles Horman, 31, and journalist Frank Teruggi, 24. The court also ratified the 2-year sentence for retired civilian air force employee Rafael Gonzalez Berdugo for his complicity in Horman's death.

The Americans' deaths were the subject of the 1982 film "Missing" by Constantin Costa-Garvas, with Jack Lemmon playing Horman's father.

Espinoza Bravo and Gonzalez Berdugo are currently behind bars in other criminal cases.

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Alaska Supreme Court won't block Medicaid expansion

Topics in Legal News 2015/09/01 14:17   Bookmark and Share
Thousands of lower-income Alaskans will become eligible for Medicaid after the Alaska Supreme Court on Monday refused to temporarily block the state from expanding the health care program.

The win capped a big day for Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, who earlier flew with President Barack Obama from Washington, D.C., to Anchorage.

"The Alaska Supreme Court's ruling today brings final assurance that thousands of working Alaskans will have access to health care tomorrow," Walker said in a statement issued Monday evening.

Walker earlier this summer announced plans to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage after state legislators tabled his expansion legislation for further review.

The Legislative Council, acting on behalf of lawmakers, sued to stop expansion.

Thirty other states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, or plan to do so, to include all adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

The federal government agreed to pay all costs for the new enrollees through 2016, but it will begin lowering its share in 2017. States will pay 10 percent of the costs by 2020.

Some Alaska legislators have expressed concern with adding more people to a system they consider broken. Administration officials have acknowledged the current Medicaid program isn't sustainable, but they see expansion as a way to get federal dollars to help finance reform efforts.

On Friday, Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner denied the request from lawmakers to halt expansion while a lawsuit moves forward. The Alaska Supreme Court on Monday agreed, saying lawyers for the lawmakers failed to show Pfiffner erred when denying the motion for a preliminary injunction.

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Brother of murder victim attacks defendant in court

Topics in Legal News 2015/02/04 09:44   Bookmark and Share
The brother of a murder victim has been arrested after authorities say he attacked his sister's killer in Onslow County court.

Authorities say 26-year-old Alfonso Law of Acworth, Georgia, has been charged with contempt of court, assault on a government official, simple assault, and disorderly conduct.

News outlets report that Law charged at 26-year-old Pernell Jones on Monday as Jones pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 15-year-old Anita Law.

After Jones admitted to killing the teenager, Law rushed at him and both men ended up on the floor before deputies pulled them apart,

Jones was sentenced to between 16 and 20 years in prison.

Alfonso Law goes before Judge Charles Henry on the contempt charge Thursday. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney.
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