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Supreme Court takes up case over quick deportations
Headline News | 2019/10/22 03:52
The Supreme Court will review a lower court ruling in favor of a man seeking asylum and which the Trump administration says could further clog the U.S. immigration court system.

The justices said Friday they will hear the administration's appeal of a ruling by the federal appeals court in San Francisco that blocked the quick deportation of a man from Sri Lanka.

The high court's decision should come by early summer in the middle of the presidential campaign. It could have major implications for those seeking asylum and administration efforts to speed up deportations for many who enter the U.S. and claim they'll be harmed if they are sent home.

The court's intervention comes in the case of Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam. He is a member of the Tamil ethnic minority who says he was jailed and tortured for political activity during the civil war between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

He fled the country in 2016, after he was tortured again by intelligence officers, he said in court papers. He crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on Feb. 17, 2017 where he was arrested by a Border Patrol agent 25 yards into the U.S.

He requested asylum. But he did not pass his initial screening, a "credible fear" interview where he had to show a well-founded fear of persecution, torture or death if he were to return to his home country. Nearly 90 percent of all asylum seekers pass their initial interview, and then are generally released into the country where they await court proceedings.


Analysis: Louisiana figures in 2 major Supreme Court cases
Headline News | 2019/10/12 10:46
Among cases on the U.S. Supreme Court docket for the term that began this month, two Louisiana cases stand out ? one because of its implications for criminal justice in the state, the other because of what it portends for abortion rights and access nationwide.

And, both, in part, because they deal with matters that, on the surface, might appear to have been settled.

Yes, voters approved a constitutional amendment requiring unanimous jury verdicts in felony cases ? following Pulitzer Prize winning reporting by The Advocate on the racial impacts of allowing 10-2 verdicts. But sometimes lost amid celebrations of the measure’s passage is its effective date: it applies to crimes that happened on or after Jan. 1 of this year.

No help to people like Evangelisto Ramos, who was convicted on a 10-2 jury vote in 2016 of second-degree murder in the killing of a woman in New Orleans. Ramos is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole.


Alaska Supreme Court to Hear Youths’ Climate Change Lawsuit
Headline News | 2019/10/10 05:23
The Alaska Supreme Court will hear arguments in a lawsuit that claims state policy on fossil fuels is harming the constitutional right of young Alaskans to a safe climate.

Sixteen Alaska youths in 2017 sued the state, claiming that human-caused greenhouse gas emission leading to climate change is creating long-term, dangerous health effects.

The lawsuit takes aim at a state statute that says it’s the policy of Alaska to promote fossil fuels, said Andrew Welle of Oregon-based Our Children’s Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting natural systems for present and future generations.

“The state has enacted a policy of promoting fossil fuels and implemented it in a way that is resulting in substantial greenhouse gas emissions in Alaska,” Welle said in a phone interview. “They’re harming these young kids.”

A central question in the lawsuit, as in previous federal and state lawsuits, is the role of courts in shaping climate policy.


Transgender woman in Supreme Court case 'happy being me'
Headline News | 2019/10/02 02:09
Aimee Stephens lost her job at a suburban Detroit funeral home and she could lose her Supreme Court case over discrimination against transgender people. Amid her legal fight, her health is failing.

But seven years after Stephens thought seriously of suicide and six years after she announced that she would henceforth be known as Aimee instead of Anthony, she has something no one can take away.

The Supreme Court will hear Stephens' case Oct. 8 over whether federal civil rights law that bars job discrimination on the basis of sex protects transgender people. Other arguments that day deal with whether the same law covers sexual orientation.

The cases are the first involving LGBT rights since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court's gay-rights champion and decisive vote on those issues. They probably won't be decided before spring, during the 2020 presidential campaign.

The 58-year-old Stephens plans to attend the arguments despite dialysis treatments three times a week to deal with kidney failure and breathing problems that require further treatment. She used a walker the day she spoke to AP at an LGBT support center in the Ferndale suburb north of Detroit.


Activist loses UK court case on police facial recognition
Headline News | 2019/09/10 22:31
A British court ruled Wednesday that a police force's use of automated facial recognition technology is lawful, dealing a blow to an activist concerned about its implications for privacy.

Existing laws adequately cover the South Wales police force's deployment of the technology in a trial, two judges said , in what's believed to be the world's first legal case on how a law enforcement agency uses the new technology.

The decision comes amid a broader global debate about the rising use of facial recognition technology. Recent advances in artificial intelligence make it easier for police to automatically scan faces and instantly match them to "watchlists" of suspects, missing people and persons of interest, but it also raises concerns about mass surveillance.

"The algorithms of the law must keep pace with new and emerging technologies," Judges Charles Haddon-Cave and Jonathan Swift said.

Ed Bridges, a Cardiff resident and human rights campaigner who filed the judicial review, said South Wales police scanned his face twice as it tested the technology - once while he was Christmas shopping in 2017 and again when he was at a peaceful protest against a defense expo in 2018.

"This sinister technology undermines our privacy and I will continue to fight against its unlawful use to ensure our rights are protected and we are free from disproportionate government surveillance," he said in a statement released by Liberty, a rights group that worked on his case.


Florida high court set to clarify voting rights for felons
Headline News | 2019/09/02 05:22
The Florida Supreme Court waded into the legal wrangling over the voting rights of felons, agreeing Thursday to examine whether the state can continue restricting voting privileges to felons who have unpaid fines and fees.

Voters last year overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to as many as 1.4 million felons who have completed their sentences.

But the Republican-controlled Legislature then stipulated that to complete sentences, felons must pay all fines and fees before getting their voting rights restored. DeSantis signed the bill into law.

Voting rights groups immediately sued in federal court and likened the requirement to an illegal poll tax.

Gov. Ron DeSantis then asked the state Supreme Court for an advisory on the issue, which the court has agreed to consider.

“The Governor has the duty to implement both the amendment and the law, which must be done appropriately,” said the governor’s spokeswoman, Helen Aguirre Ferre. “That is why he is asking the Florida Supreme Court to provide an opinion on this matter and he is pleased that they have agreed to do so.”


Suspect in Norway mosque attack bruised but smiling in court
Headline News | 2019/08/14 16:27
A suspected gunman accused of an attempted terrorist attack on an Oslo mosque and separately killing his teenage stepsister appeared in court on Monday looking bruised and scratched, but smiling.

The suspect did not speak, and his defense lawyer Unni Fries told The Associated Press he “will use his right not to explain himself for now.”

Philip Manshaus, 21, was arrested Saturday after entering a mosque in Baerum, an Oslo suburb, where three men were preparing for Sunday’s Eid al-Adha Muslim celebrations. Police said he was waving weapons and several shots were fired but did not specify what type of weapon was used. One person was slightly injured before people inside the Al-Noor Islamic Center held the suspect down until police arrived on the scene.

Police then raided Manshaus’ nearby house and found the body of his 17-year-old stepsister. He is also suspected in her killing, police said, but did not provide details.


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