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Court, regulators clash over uranium project in South Dakota
Headline News | 2018/08/13 13:33
Federal regulators recently abandoned a proposed survey of Native American cultural resources at a planned uranium mine site in the southwest part South Dakota, just days before a judge decided the survey is required by federal law.

The contradictory actions could further complicate and prolong a regulatory review process that is already nearly a decade old, the Rapid City Journal reported.

Powertech (USA) Inc., a subsidiary of Canada-based Azarga Uranium, wants to develop a mine 13 miles northwest of Edgemont, on the remote southwestern edge of the Black Hills. The project is named "Dewey-Burdock," for two old town sites in the area.

The uranium would be mined by the "in situ" method, which involves drilling dozens of wells across a wide area. A liquid solution is pumped underground to dissolve the uranium and bring it to the surface, so it can be processed for use in nuclear power plants.

Contention over the potential presence of Native American burial sites, artifacts and other cultural resources within the 17-square-mile area of the proposed mine has been ongoing since Powertech applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license in 2009. Nevertheless, the commission granted the license in 2014, even as a dispute about the lack of an adequate cultural resources survey was still pending before the commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.


Officer involved in militia leader's death named in court
Headline News | 2018/08/02 04:26
A state police officer has accidently revealed the name of one of the officers who fatally shot a militia leader who participated in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the officer's name slipped out this week during the trial of indicted FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita, who accused of lying about firing shots toward Robert "LaVoy" Finicum's truck.

Authorities have concealed the officers' names for more than two years citing concerns about threats from militias.

People who were involved in or supported the refuge occupation have circulated the officer's name and photo online. Several threats toward the officer followed.

Finicum's widow and Ammon Bundy have spoken out against these actions. The occupiers seized the refuge in 2016 to protest the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers.


US Supreme Court ruling in union dues impacts case in Oregon
Headline News | 2018/07/29 04:28
An Oregon state employee and a labor union have reached a settlement over her lawsuit seeking payback of obligatory union fees, marking the first refund of forced fees since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in late June that government workers can't be required to contribute to labor groups, the employee's lawyers said Monday.

Debora Nearman, a systems analyst with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in her lawsuit filed in April in federal court that the state's practice of forcing her to pay fees to fund union activity violated her First Amendment freedoms. She said the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, opposes her political and religious views and even led a campaign against her husband Mike when he successfully ran as a Republican candidate for the state Legislature in 2016.

Nearman is a member of a state-wide bargaining unit represented by SEIU but doesn't belong to the union. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which was involved in both the Supreme Court case and Nearman's, is handling some 200 other cases across the country, including a class-action lawsuit in California by 30,000 state employees, said Patrick Semmens, the group's vice president.

If the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the plaintiffs in the California case, they stand to be refunded more than $100 million, Semmens estimated.

Nearman said in a telephone interview the mailers sent by a political action committee funded by the union were "disgusting."

One showed a photo of her husband superimposed in front of a police car with flashing lights, giving the impression that he was a criminal, she said. Another hinted he didn't care about disabled people, said Nearman, who suffers from a progressive neuro-muscular disease. "I was just heartbroken to see that," she said.


Georgia officer charged in fatal shooting to appear in court
Headline News | 2018/07/17 22:34
A Georgia police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in a fatal shooting is scheduled to appear in court.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled Tuesday morning for Zechariah Presley in Camden County Magistrate Court. Presley worked as a police officer in the small city of Kingsland when he was charged in the June 20 shooting of 33-year-old Tony Green.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said Green was fleeing when Presley shot him following a brief altercation. The bureau said Presley had been following Green's vehicle when Green got out and ran on foot, but it has not said what prompted the pursuit.

Kingsland city officials fired 27-year-old Presley from his police job following his arrest a week after the shooting. The city is located near the Georgia-Florida state line.




India's top court calls for new law to curb mob violence
Headline News | 2018/07/16 05:34
India's highest court on Tuesday asked the federal government to consider enacting a law to deal with an increase in lynchings and mob violence fueled mostly by rumors that the victims either belonged to members of child kidnapping gangs or were beef eaters and cow slaughterers.

The Supreme Court said that "horrendous acts of mobocracy" cannot be allowed to become a new norm, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

"Citizens cannot take law into their hands and cannot become law unto themselves," said Chief Justice Dipak Misra and two other judges, A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, who heard a petition related to deadly mob violence. They said the menace needs to be "curbed with iron hands," the news agency reported.

The judges asked the legislature to consider a law that specifically deals with lynchings and cow vigilante groups and provides punishment to offenders.

India has seen a series of mob attacks on minority groups since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won national elections in 2014. The victims have been accused of either smuggling cows for slaughter or carrying beef. Last month, two Muslims were lynched in eastern Jharkhand state on charges of cattle theft. In such mob attacks, at least 20 people have been killed by cow vigilante groups mostly believed to be tied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party.

Most of the attacks waged by so-called cow vigilantes from Hindu groups have targeted Muslims. Cows are considered sacred by many members of India's Hindu majority, and slaughtering cows or eating beef is illegal or restricted across much of the country.

However, most of the mob attacks this year have been fueled mainly by rumors ignited by messages circulated through social media that child-lifting gangs were active in villages and towns. At least 25 people have been lynched and dozens wounded in the attacks. The victims were non-locals, mostly targeted because they looked different or didn't speak the local language.



Florida school shooting suspect's statement issue in court
Headline News | 2018/07/15 05:35
How much of Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz's statement to investigators should be made public is an issue going before a judge.

A hearing is set Monday on whether any or all of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting suspect's statement should be released. Attorneys for the 19-year-old Cruz want most of the statement suppressed, contending it would improperly influence jurors in his trial.

News organizations including The Associated Press want as much of the statement released as possible. Florida law requires most evidence to be made public once it is turned over by prosecutors to the defense.

Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted of killing 17 people in the Valentine's Day attack. His attorneys say he would plead guilty in exchange for a life prison sentence.


Pennsylvania court to hear objections to church abuse report
Headline News | 2018/07/07 23:40
Pennsylvania's highest court on Friday decided against immediately releasing an investigative grand jury's report into allegations of decades of child sexual abuse in six Roman Catholic dioceses, instead saying it would hear arguments from priests and others that making it public would violate their constitutional rights.

The state Supreme Court gave lawyers for those who object to being named in the nearly 900-page report and want to prevent its disclosure until Tuesday to lay out their arguments in writing, and the attorney general's office until July 13 to respond.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro has said he wants the report made public as soon as possible, noting that unindicted people who were cited in the report in a way that "could be construed as critical" were given an unrestricted right to file responses that are expected to be released along with the report. His spokesman declined comment on the court orders.

More than two dozen current and retired members of the clergy have argued to the court that the report is replete with errors and mischaracterizations that would violate their constitutional rights to due process and to protect their reputations.



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