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Supreme Court rejects states' challenge to Colorado pot law
Court Watch | 2016/03/20 22:58
The Supreme Court has rejected an effort by Nebraska and Oklahoma to have Colorado's pot legalization declared unconstitutional.
 
The justices are not commenting Monday in dismissing the lawsuit the states filed directly at the Supreme Court against their neighbor.
   
They argued that Colorado's law allowing recreational marijuana use by adults runs afoul of federal anti-drug laws. The states also said that legalized pot in Colorado is spilling across the borders into Nebraska and Oklahoma, complicating their anti-drug efforts and draining state resources.

The Obama administration had sided with Colorado, despite the administration's opposition to making marijuana use legal.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito would have heard the states' lawsuit.



White S.C. trooper pleads guilty in shooting of unarmed black man
Law Center | 2016/03/20 22:58
A white South Carolina trooper pleaded guilty Monday to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in the 2014 shooting an unarmed black driver seconds after a traffic stop.

Trooper Sean Groubert, 32, faces up to 20 years in prison. The shooting captured on dash-cam video from the trooper's patrol car shocked the country, coming during a wave of questionable police shootings.

Levar Jones was walking into a convenience store in September 2014 when Groubert got out of his patrol car and demanded Jones' driver's license.

Jones turned back to reach into his car and Groubert fired four shots. Jones' wallet is seen flying out of his hands.

Groubert's boss, state Public Safety Director Leroy Smith, fired Groubert after seeing the video.

Jones was shot in the hip and survived. He walked into the courtroom Monday with a noticeable limp and played with a Rubik's Cube before the hearing started.

Video of the encounter was played in the courtroom and showed Groubert pulling up to Jones without his siren on, and the trooper asking Jones for his license after he also was out of his car.

As Jones turns and reaches back into his car, Groubert shouts, "Get outta the car, get outta the car." He begins firing and unloads a third shot as Jones staggers away, backing up with his hands raised, and then a fourth.

From the first shot to the fourth, the video clicks off three seconds.



Lawyer: US citizen charged in UN case to plead guilty
Law Center | 2016/03/18 22:58
A defense lawyer says a U.S. citizen charged in the United Nations bribery case will plead guilty Wednesday to charges.

Attorney Brian Bieber said Monday that Francis Lorenzo will plead guilty to three charges. Lorenzo is a suspended ambassador from the Dominican Republic who was arrested in the fall.

The plea comes in a case that resulted in the arrest of a former president of the U.N. General Assembly and a billionaire Chinese businessman.

Bieber says Lorenzo will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering and filing a false tax return.

Bieber says his client decided to plead guilty after reviewing the government's evidence. He says it led him to "accept responsibility for his role in the criminal conspiracies committed by him and his co-defendants."



RNC launches campaign to oppose Obama's Supreme Court pick
Court Watch | 2016/03/17 22:59
The Republican Party is launching a campaign to try to derail President Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, teaming up with a conservative opposition research group to target vulnerable Democrats and impugn whomever Obama picks.

A task force housed within the Republican National Committee will orchestrate attack ads, petitions and media outreach to bolster a strategy that Senate Republicans adopted as soon as Justice Antonin Scalia died last month: refusing to consider an Obama nominee out of hopes that the next president will be a Republican.

The RNC will contract with America Rising Squared, an outside group targeting Democrats that's run by a longtime aide to GOP Sen. John McCain. GOP chairman Reince Priebus said it would be the most comprehensive judicial response effort in the party's history.

Priebus said the RNC would "make sure Democrats have to answer to the American people for why they don't want voters to have a say in this process."

Obama is expected to announce his pick as early as this week, touching off a heated election-year battle as Obama and Democrats try to pressure Republicans into relenting and allowing hearings and a vote. Advocacy groups on both sides are primed to unleash an onslaught of activity aimed at rallying public support, and a number of former top Obama advisers have been drafted to run the Democratic effort.

RNC officials said that in addition to scouring the nominee's history for anything that can be used against him or her, the party will also work to portray Democrats as hypocritical, dredging up comments that Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats made in previous years suggesting presidents shouldn't ram through nominees to the high court in the midst of an election.



Man accused of terrorism charge with fiancee pleads guilty
Bankruptcy | 2016/03/17 22:59
In fresh details provided as a young Mississippi man pleaded guilty to a terrorism-related charge, federal prosecutors said his fiancee led him toward a plan to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.

Muhammad Dakhlalla, 23, pleaded guilty Friday in Aberdeen to providing material support to terrorism and faces up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 fines and lifetime probation. U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock hasn't set his sentencing date yet.

His fiancee, Jaelyn Delshaun Young, is set for trial June 6 before Aycock. Plea agreements typically require cooperation with federal prosecutors, so Dakhlalla's plea makes it likely that he would testify against Young if a trial proceeds.

Both remain jailed without bail in Oxford.

A five-page statement of facts added new details about Young's conversion to Islam and her influence on Dakhlalla, who had been raised as a Muslim. The pair at one point planned to claim they were going on their honeymoon while traveling to Syria.

Young, a sophomore chemistry major at Mississippi State University at the time of her arrest, is the daughter of a school administrator and a police officer who served in the Navy reserve. She was a former honor student, cheerleader and homecoming maid at Vicksburg's Warren Central High School.


Teen changes plea to guilty in deaths of mother, stepfather
Court Watch | 2016/03/16 22:59
A northern Wisconsin woman changed her plea to guilty Friday in the slaying of her mother and stepfather in a deal that has prosecutors recommending a 40-year prison sentence.

Ashlee Martinson, who was 17 at the time of the March 2015 killings, faces two counts of second-degree homicide, USA Today Network-Wisconsin reported. She had earlier pleaded innocent by reason of insanity in the killings at the family's home near Three Lakes.

According to court records filed Friday, Martinson told police she shot her stepfather, 37-year-old Thomas Ayers, in the neck and head. She then went to her mother, 40-year-old Jennifer Ayers, for solace, but her mother first tried to aid her husband, then armed herself with a knife to confront Martinson.

Martinson wrestled the knife from her mother and stabbed her more than 30 times. She then went downstairs and turned the family TV to show cartoons to her three sisters, ages 2 to 9. After showering, Martinson confined the younger girls in a room before fleeing to Indiana with her boyfriend, documents show.

Court documents say the Ayerses were killed the same day they warned Martinson's 22-year-old boyfriend to stay away from her because she was a minor.

Martinson told authorities she had been mentally and verbally abused by her stepfather and had seen him physically abuse her mother and siblings, according to court records.

The assessment also said Martinson had suffered from depression on and off since age 8, gaining in intensity at age 15. Martinson's sentencing is set for June 17.


Pound: Sharapova guilty of 'willful negligence' in drug test
Court Watch | 2016/03/15 23:00
Maria Sharapova was guilty of "willful negligence" for using meldonium, and international tennis officials were aware that many players were taking the drug before it was banned this year, former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound said Wednesday.

Pound told The Associated Press that Sharapova could face a ban of up to four years unless she can prove mitigating circumstances to explain her positive test for meldonium at the Australian Open in January.

Meldonium, a Latvian-manufactured drug designed to treat heart conditions, was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list on Jan. 1 after authorities noticed widespread use of the substance among athletes.

In announcing her positive test at a news conference in Los Angeles on Monday, Sharapova said she had been using the drug for 10 years for various medical issues. The five-time Grand Slam champion and world's highest-earning female athlete said she hadn't realized meldonium had been prohibited this year, taking full responsibility for her mistake.

"An athlete at that level has to know that there will be tests, has to know that whatever she or he is taking is not on the list, and it was willful negligence to miss that," Pound said. "She was warned in advance I gather. The WADA publication is out there. She didn't pay any attention to it. The tennis association issued several warnings, none of which she apparently read."



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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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