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Missouri court lets redistricting initiative go to voters
Attorneys News | 2018/09/19 09:59
could shake up of the state Legislature by requiring districts to be drawn to achieve "partisan fairness" and imposing new lobbying limits.

The ruling overturned a decision issued a week ago by a state judge who said the so-called Clean Missouri initiative violated the state constitution by addressing multiple topics.

The Western District appeals panel disagreed, ruling that the "multiple provisions all relate to a single central purpose: regulating the legislature to limit the influence of partisan or other special interests."

Republican-aligned attorneys for those opposing the measure said they would appeal to the state Supreme Court. But time is running short. Missouri law sets a Tuesday deadline to make changes to the Nov. 6. ballot. The state's high court previously turned down a chance to hear the case in place of the appeals panel.

As it stands, the measure would appear on the ballot as Constitutional Amendment 1.

"We hope this brings an end to it and that the people can vote in November on whether they want to adopt these changes," said attorney Chuck Hatfield, who represents Clean Missouri.

The initiative has been opposed in court by the president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a Republican voter who was represented by the law firm of Missouri Republican Party Chairman Todd Graves.




EU backs ICC after US questions court's legitimacy
Attorneys News | 2018/09/12 18:32
The European Union's top diplomat says the bloc remains a staunch supporter of the International Criminal Court despite U.S. condemnation of the tribunal.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Thursday that "we will continue to fully and strongly support the ICC and its work."

The Hague-based court was created in 2002 to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in areas where perpetrators might not otherwise face justice.

Mogherini said the ICC "has strengthened universal justice beyond power politics and beyond geopolitical interests," and added that "accountability is essential to build the foundations for peace."

U.S. National security adviser John Bolton denounced the ICC earlier this week just as a judge weighs whether to investigate allegations of war crimes against U.S. and Afghan personnel in Afghanistan since 2003.



Appeals court won't block ruling on candidate party label
Attorneys News | 2018/08/25 00:37
North Carolina Republicans have been dealt another setback in their efforts to remove a state Supreme Court candidate's party affiliation from the ballot.

The state Court of Appeals declined Monday to hear the request of GOP legislative leaders to block a lower court's order that candidate Chris Anglin be listed as a Republican on the November ballot.

A trial court judge this month halted enforcement of a new law removing party designations next to the names of Anglin and a few other judicial candidates because they had switched their affiliation too close to filing.

Anglin was a registered Democrat until three weeks before he filed to run. He says the law unfairly targeted him.

The state Supreme Court could still step in, but time is dwindling before ballots must be printed.


Supreme Court examines Kentucky's medical review panels
Attorneys News | 2018/08/09 13:34
After Ezra Claycomb was born with severe brain damage and cerebral palsy, his mother considered filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. But in 2017, Kentucky's Republican-controlled legislature passed a law requiring all such lawsuits first be reviewed by a panel of doctors.

The law gave the panel nine months to issue an opinion on whether the lawsuit is frivolous — yet section 14 of Kentucky's Constitution says every person has access to the courts "without ... delay."

Claycomb's parents sued to block the new law, making Kentucky the latest state to have its medical review panels challenged in court.

A circuit judge agreed the law was unconstitutional. But Republican Gov. Matt Bevin appealed that decision to the state Supreme Court, which heard arguments Wednesday.

"This is a modern day version of the poll tax," said attorney J. Guthrie True, who represents Claycomb in a lawsuit he says has class action status to represent all patients. "This has one purpose, and that is to obstruct the courthouse door."

Matthew Kuhn, an attorney for the governor, said the state Constitution's ban on delaying access to the courts only applies to the court system itself. It does not apply to the legislature, which he says has the power to impose rules on the court system. He noted Kentucky has other laws that limit when people can file lawsuits. For example, heirs wanting to sue the executor of an estate must wait at least six months after the executor has been appointed before they can do so. Kuhn says that law has never been challenged.

Kuhn said the medical review process is helpful because it gets the two sides talking before a lawsuit is filed, which could jumpstart settlement discussions. It also makes sure both sides have all the evidence collected before they go to a judge.



SC Supreme Court to decide if elected sheriff is qualified
Attorneys News | 2018/08/04 04:25
Clarke Stearns has been working as sheriff for more than 18 months in McCormick County, but it's still up in the air whether he is qualified to be the county's top lawman.

Stearns' Democratic opponent in the 2016 election, J.R. Jones, sued him within a month after his victory, saying Stearns never served as a law officer in South Carolina and therefore didn't meet the requirement of being a certified officer in the state.

Stearns' lawyers have successfully argued so far that his 30 years certified as a law enforcement officer in Virginia are more than enough to cover the qualification to be sheriff and he also got his certification in South Carolina after the election.

After a lower court judge ruled against Jones, the lawsuit is now going before the state Supreme Court. Jones' lawyer Charles Grose, told The Index-Journal of Greenwood the Supreme Court has expedited the case.

Stearns, a Republican, received 57 percent of the vote in the 2016 election.

Both sides said they have sent their briefs to the South Carolina Supreme Court and are ready for the justices either to rule or set a time for arguments.

Under South Carolina law , sheriffs must be at least 21 years old, a citizen of the United States, a registered voter and have a year of experience as a certified officer if they have a four-year college degree.


City attorney criticizes law used to arrest Stormy Daniels
Attorneys News | 2018/07/19 13:56
An Ohio city attorney has recommended that the state law police cited to arrest porn actress Stormy Daniels should not be enforced.

In a memo to the city's police chief, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein says Wednesday that future charges filed under that law will not be prosecuted. Klein has also dismissed charges brought against two other employees arrested with Daniels.

The law states dancers at "sexually oriented" businesses are prohibited from touching customers and vice versa.

Klein says the law is "glaringly inequitable" because its applicability depends on how regularly the employee performs. He also says employees who touch police are not in violation because on-duty public officials are not legally considered patrons.

Daniels' lawyer says he applauds Klein's decision. Messages seeking comment were left Wednesday for Columbus police.


Suspect in 1988 killing of Indiana girl, 8, appears in court
Attorneys News | 2018/07/14 05:35
A judge has given prosecutors until Thursday to formally charge a man who's being held in the 1988 slaying of an 8-year-old Indiana girl.

Fifty-nine-year-old John D. Miller of Grabill was arrested Sunday on preliminary murder, child molesting and criminal confinement charges in the abduction, rape and killing of April Marie Tinsley.

The Fort Wayne girl's body was found three days after her April 1988 abduction in a ditch about 20 miles (32 kilometers) away.

Court documents say Miller's DNA matches DNA recovered from Tinsley's underwear. WANE-TV reports Miller appeared Monday morning before an Allen County judge, who gave prosecutors 72 hours to formally charge Miller in the killing.

He's being held without bond. It wasn't clear if Miller has a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.


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