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Former Haitian rebel leader due in US court on drug charges
Top Legal News | 2017/01/04 12:32
A former Haitian rebel leader who was recently elected senator in Haiti has been brought to the U.S. to face longstanding federal drug trafficking charges.

Court records show that Guy Philippe is to make his initial appearance Friday afternoon in Miami federal court. Philippe was flown to the U.S. following his arrest Thursday in the Haitian capital while he appeared on a live radio show.

Philippe faces several drug trafficking charges including conspiracy to import cocaine into the U.S. He has long maintained his innocence and blamed the accusations on political enemies.

Philippe was recently elected to the Haitian Senate. A former police chief, Philippe was a key part of a 2004 uprising that ousted then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It wasn't immediately clear if Philippe is represented by a U.S. lawyer.



Ohio sheriff accused of drug theft changing not guilty plea
Top Legal News | 2016/11/22 04:58
A suspended sheriff in Ohio who has denied stealing prescription drugs and misusing office funds is due in court to change his not guilty plea.

Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer is scheduled to attend a change of plea hearing Monday in Fremont.

Overmyer had pleaded not guilty in August to six felony charges in a 43-count indictment.

The two-term sheriff was charged with stealing medications drug disposal drop boxes, deceiving doctors into giving him painkillers and misusing department funds.

A judge recently sent him back to jail after deciding he violated terms of his bond by contacting potential witnesses.

Overmyer has said the investigation was politically motivated. He was suspended but kept his sheriff's title. He lost his re-election bid about two weeks ago.



Philippine court urged to order Marcos' remains exhumed
Top Legal News | 2016/11/21 04:58
Human rights victims who suffered during the rule of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos filed petitions Monday asking the Supreme Court to order the exhumation of his remains that were buried last week at the country's Heroes' Cemetery.

They also want the court to hold officials and his heirs in contempt for carrying out the burial before the court heard final appeals against it.

Former President Fidel Ramos, who played a key role in the peaceful army-backed revolt that ousted Marcos in 1986, called the former leader's burial at the military-run cemetery "an insult" to the sacrifices of soldiers and veterans.

Left-wing former lawmaker Saturnino Ocampo and other activists urged the court to hold Marcos' widow Imelda, their three children, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and two military officials in contempt for "the hasty, shady and tricky" burial on Friday of the long-dead president at the Heroes' Cemetery.

The petition said they should be fined and detained for mocking the legal process that gave petitioners 15 days to appeal the court's Nov. 8 ruling allowing the burial.

Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman, who represents another group of petitioners, sought a court order to have the remains exhumed "because the hasty and surreptitious interment was premature, void and irregular."

He asked that the remains be examined to determine if they are not a wax replica. The secrecy-shrouded burial at the cemetery reserved for presidents, soldiers and national artists shocked democracy advocates and human rights victims, prompting street protests in Manila and other cities.

Marcos's rule was marked by massive rights violations and plunder. After being ousted in 1986, he flew to Hawaii, where he lived with his wife and children until he died in 1989.



Court gives fertilizer dealers a reprieve from policy change
Top Legal News | 2016/09/27 06:01
A court ruling has given farm fertilizer dealers a reprieve from a federal policy change that some say would unfairly burden the industry.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration policy change announced last year would regulate retail dealers of farm fertilizer such as anhydrous ammonia under the same standards as manufacturers. It came after a deadly explosion at a Texas plant in 2013.

The Agricultural Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute say the change would affect 3,800 fertilizer retailers nationwide, costing them more than $100 million. The two organizations sued a year ago.

The change was to take effect this coming Saturday. But a federal appeals court has ruled that OSHA can't implement it without going through a formal rule-making process.



High court temporarily blocks subpoena over sex ads
Top Legal News | 2016/09/08 06:58
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday temporarily blocked a congressional subpoena that seeks information on how the classified advertising website Backpage.com screens ads for possible sex trafficking.

The order came hours after Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer asked the high court to intervene, saying the case threatens the First Amendment rights of online publishers.

A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Friday that the website must respond to the subpoena within 10 days. Roberts said Backpage does not have to comply with the appeals court order until further action from the Supreme Court. He requested a response from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations by Friday.

The Senate panel has tried for nearly a year to force Backpage to produce certain documents as part of its investigation into human trafficking over the Internet.

After the website refused to comply, the Senate voted 96-0 in March to hold the website in contempt. The vote allowed the Senate to pursue the documents in federal court, marking the first time in more than two decades that the Senate has enforced a subpoena in court.

A federal district judge sided with the Senate last month, rejecting arguments that the subpoena was unconstitutional, overly broad and burdensome. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed.



Mexico's Supreme Court overturns state anti-corruption laws
Top Legal News | 2016/09/07 06:58
Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional two state anti-corruption laws that outgoing governors passed in apparent attempts to shield themselves from investigation.

Many Mexicans were outraged when the governors of the states of Veracruz and Chihuahua pushed through the laws just months before they are to leave office giving them the power to name anti-corruption prosecutors.

The federal Attorney General's Office appealed the laws, arguing they violated new federal anti-corruption standards. It said the appeals were meant to show "there is no room for tailor-made local laws."

On Monday, the Supreme court agreed, saying neither law could stand.

There have been allegations of corruption in both Veracruz and Chihuahua, and many feared the now struck-down laws would have allowed the governors to control who would investigate them.


Court considers Kansas rule that voters prove citizenship
Top Legal News | 2016/08/23 16:55
A federal appeals court will decide whether Kansas has the right to ask people who register to vote when they get their driver's licenses for proof that they're citizens, a decision which could affect whether thousands have their ballots counted in November's election.

Three judges from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case Tuesday from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the American Civil Liberties Union but didn't indicate how soon they could rule.

Kansas wants the court to overturn a ruling by a federal judge in May that temporarily blocked the state from disenfranchising people who registered at motor vehicle offices but didn't provide documents such as birth certificates or naturalization papers. That was about 18,000 people at the time. If the order is allowed to stand, the state says up to an estimated 50,000 people who haven't proven they're citizens could have their votes counted in the fall.

Since 1993, states have had to allow people to register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver's licenses. The so-called motor-voter law says that people can only be asked for "minimal information" when registering to vote, allowing them to simply affirm they are citizens.

The ACLU claims the law intended to increase registration doesn't allow states to ask applicants for extra documents. It also says that motor vehicle clerks don't tell people renewing existing licenses that they need to provide the documents, leaving them under the mistaken impression that their registration is complete when they leave the office.




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