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Court in Russia-annexed Crimea bans Tatar assembly
Breaking Legal News | 2016/04/26 10:16
The Supreme Court in the Russia-annexed peninsula Crimea on Tuesday banned a Crimean Tatar group in the latest step to marginalize the minority.

Crimea's prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya who personally lodged the lawsuit welcomed the ruling against the Mejlis, an assembly of Tatar community leaders.

"This decision aims to ensure stability, peace and order in the Russian Federation," she told Russian news agencies after the hearing.

Crimean Tatars, who suffered a mass deportation at the hands of Soviet authorities in 1944, seemed to be the only organized force within Crimea to oppose Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014. Tuesday's ban follows months of persecution, expulsions and jailing of prominent Tatar leaders as well as rank-and-file protesters.

Six people are now on trial in the city Simferopol on charges of rioting dating back to fist fights between rival rallies of a pro-Russian party and Crimean Tatars on Feb. 26, 2014 which preceded the hastily called referendum to secede from Ukraine. Not a single pro-Russian protester has faced charges.

Russia's Justice Ministry earlier this month ruled the Mejlis was an extremist group, paving the way for the outright ban of the group that represents up to 15 percent of the Crimean population.


JetBlue attendant pleads not guilty to cocaine charge
Court Watch | 2016/04/25 10:17
A JetBlue flight attendant accused of trying to sneak a suitcase full of cocaine through Los Angeles International Airport has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge.
 
City News Service says Marsha Gay Reynolds entered the plea Friday to possessing cocaine with intent to distribute.
   
Authorities say during a random security screening at LAX in March, the former Jamaican beauty queen left her carry-on luggage, kicked off her Gucci high heels and bolted down an upward-moving escalator.

Authorities found about 70 pounds of cocaine in her luggage. Reynolds, who lives in Queens, later surrendered in New York. If convicted, she faces 10 years in prison.




Stoddard firefighter charged with arson due in court
Business | 2016/04/24 10:17
A volunteer firefighter charged with arson in connection with a brush fire that burned 190 acres in New Hampshire and prompted the evacuation of 17 homes is due to make his first court appearance.
 
David Plante is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Keene.

The 31-year-old Stoddard man was charged Friday with one count of arson, but more charges are expected. He remains in custody after refusing to meet with a bail commissioner.

The fire started Thursday in Stoddard, about 40 miles west of the state capital of Concord. No injuries were reported.

Police have not said what evidence led them to Plante. It's unclear if he has an attorney.



Arkansas funeral home pleads guilty over stacked bodies
Court Watch | 2016/04/23 10:18
The company that owns an Arkansas funeral home where bodies were found stacked on top of each other in unrefrigerated areas pleaded guilty Friday after felony charges were dropped against the father and son who own the business.
 
Arkansas Funeral Care pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court to five felony counts of abuse of a corpse after 13 abuse of corpse charges were dismissed against LeRoy Wood and Rod Wood. The plea agreement finalized days before a trial scheduled for Monday also dropped eight corpse abuse charges against the Jacksonville funeral home.
   
The company faces up to $100,000 in fines during a sentencing hearing scheduled for May 19.

LeRoy Wood's attorney, Dustin McDaniel, said "none of it was on purpose" and his client "hopes the families of the loved ones who were involved in this know how deeply sad he is that any of this had happened."

"We are at the same time deeply gratified that the state has dropped the charges against them individually," McDaniel said.

The funeral home's license was suspended last year after the state licensing agency investigated complaints by a former employee and found a cooler "filled beyond capacity with bodies" and bodies "stacked on top of each other." Investigators removed 31 bodies and 22 cremated remains from the business.



High court nominee praises lawyers for helping the poor
Law Promo News | 2016/04/21 10:18
Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland praised lawyers for their work with low-income Washingtonians Thursday in his first public remarks since his nomination last month.

Garland was on familiar turf, speaking at the federal courthouse in Washington, where he is chief judge of the appeals court.

Giving people living in poverty access to the courts is critical for society, Garland said. "Without equal justice under law," Garland said, using the phrase engraved above the entrance to the Supreme Court, "faith in the rule of the law, the foundation of our civil society, is at risk."

Garland's nomination is stalled in the Senate, where GOP leaders say the next president should choose the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. He has met with roughly 40 senators so far, with no sign that Republicans will allow hearings on his nomination, much less a vote.

At those meetings, Garland has typically said nothing for public consumption.

His appearance Thursday was part of the White House's effort to familiarize the country with the nominee by having him speak on a noncontroversial topic, free legal assistance for the poor.



Despite court ruling, China gay rights movement makes gains
Law Center | 2016/04/17 00:50
For years, Chen Tiantian could only read about the gay rights movement in faraway places. She knew that there were activists in Beijing and a vibrant community in Shanghai, and that in San Francisco, a distant mecca, gay pride parades took up entire streets.
 
But on Wednesday, the 20-year-old English major sat on the steps of a courthouse and spoke fervently about how the struggle for equality had arrived in her central Chinese hometown — and how she planned to take part.

"It's hard to believe, but we're right in the middle of this," said Chen, who is lesbian and came with several friends to support a local couple who had challenged the city's civil affairs bureau after they were denied a marriage certificate. "It's like I'm finally entering the struggle myself."

Though it was dismissed by the court in Changsha, China's first legal challenge to a law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples has galvanized many of the hundreds of young Chinese gay rights supporters who gathered at the courthouse, some of them waving small rainbow flags. The hearing's sizable public turnout and coverage by usually conservative Chinese media appeared to reflect early signs of shifting social attitudes in China on the topic of sexual orientation.

The lawsuit that was dismissed was brought by 26-year-old Sun Wenlin against the civil affairs bureau for refusing to issue him and his partner, Hu Mingliang, a marriage registration certificate. The judge's ruling against the couple came down after a three-hour hearing — but that didn't dampen the mood of many of the hundreds of young Chinese who gathered outside the courthouse hoping for a chance to "witness history," in the words of one supporter.



Court sides with Argentina, speeding along bond settlements
Court Watch | 2016/04/16 00:50
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.

The creditors went to court in New York after Argentina in 2001 defaulted on $100 billion in bonds. Argentina invited all its bondholders to swap their bonds at steep discounts for new bonds in 2005 and 2010.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa had issued orders banning Argentina from paying interest through U.S. banks to 93 percent of its bondholders, who agreed to exchange their bonds for new bonds worth 25 percent to 29 percent of their original value.



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Class action or a representative action is a form of lawsuit in which a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court and/or in which a class of defendants is being sued. This form of collective lawsuit originated in the United States and is still predominantly a U.S. phenomenon, at least the U.S. variant of it. In the United States federal courts, class actions are governed by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule. Since 1938, many states have adopted rules similar to the FRCP. However, some states like California have civil procedure systems which deviate significantly from the federal rules; the California Codes provide for four separate types of class actions. As a result, there are two separate treatises devoted solely to the complex topic of California class actions. Some states, such as Virginia, do not provide for any class actions, while others, such as New York, limit the types of claims that may be brought as class actions. Medicare fraud advanced prosthetic devices
 
 
 
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