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Grassley: GOP can't stonewall a Clinton Supreme Court pick
Lawyer News | 2016/10/15 20:30
Republicans "can't just simply stonewall" nominees to the Supreme Court even if the president making the choice is Democrat Hillary Clinton, says the GOP chairman of the Judiciary Committee in a reaffirmation of the Senate's advise-and-consent role on judicial picks.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley's comments on Tuesday was a response to fellow Republican Sen. John McCain, who a day earlier vowed that Republicans would unite against any nominee Clinton puts forward if she becomes president. That unprecedented pledge raised the possibility that the Supreme Court would have to operate for four years of a Clinton term with one or more vacancies, rather than nine justices.

The court has had one vacancy for months since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. Republicans have refused to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland, arguing that the next president should fill the opening.

Suspected people smuggler charged in Australian court
Lawyer News | 2016/09/30 12:41
An Iranian citizen extradited from Indonesia was charged in a Sydney court on Thursday with attempting to smuggle 73 asylum seekers by boat to Australia.

Mohammad Naghi Karimi Azar, 56, on Wednesday became the eighth suspected people smuggler to be extradited from Indonesia to Australia since 2008, a government statement said.

Azar was charged in Sydney Central Local Court with 43 counts of people smuggling, an offense that carries a minimum five-year sentence and a maximum of 20 years.

He appeared by video from a Sydney police station.

Court documents allege Azar facilitated the passage of 73 men, women and children between 2011 and 2013. His lawyer, Archie Hallas, told the court that Azar had spent the last two and a half years in an Indonesian jail.

Azar did not apply for bail. Hallas told the court his client needed time to read the 100-page prosecution case against him. Azar is to appear in court next on Oct. 5.

Outside the court, another lawyer for Azar, Sayar Dehsabzi, told reporters his client intended to plead not guilty.

Dehsabzi said Azar told him he was a refugee registered with the United Nations and had fled Iran in fear of persecution because he was a member of an ethnic minority.

Court cites racial profiling in tossing gun charge
Lawyer News | 2016/09/27 22:23
The highest court in Massachusetts on Tuesday threw out a gun conviction against a Boston man in a ruling that says black men who flee when approached by police may be reacting to racial profiling rather than trying to hide criminal activity.

In its ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court found that Boston police had "far too little information" to stop Jimmy Warren after seeing him and another black man walking in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood about 30 minutes after they received a report of a home break-in in 2011.

Police had received only a vague description of three black males wearing dark clothing and hooded sweatshirts seen leaving the home. Warren ran when police approached him. After a foot chase, an officer arrested him in a backyard. He was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm after a handgun was found on the front lawn.

The SJC found that police did not have a reasonable suspicion to stop Warren and his friend, noting that an officer's hunch is not enough. The court cited a report by the Boston Police Department that found black men were disproportionately stopped and frisked by Boston police between 2007 and 2010. The court said black men in Boston who flee when approached by police does not necessarily indicate that they are guilty of a crime.

Court rules against White House science office in email case
Lawyer News | 2016/07/03 12:23
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that work-related emails from a private account used by the White House's top science adviser are subject to disclosure under federal open records laws.

The ruling from the three-judge panel is a win for government watchdog groups and media organizations concerned that public officials may be skirting public disclosure requirements by relying on private email.

The court sided with a conservative think tank that had filed a lawsuit seeking emails from John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The decision overturns a lower court judge that said Holdren's office did not have to comply with the Freedom of Information Act request from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Spain court orders Operation Puerto blood bags released
Lawyer News | 2016/06/14 11:18
A Spanish court ruled Tuesday that blood bags that are key evidence in one of Spain's worst doping scandals should be handed over to authorities for investigation.

The Madrid Provincial Court said bags containing blood samples and plasma should be handed over to the Spanish Cycling Federation, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Cycling Union and Italy's Olympic Committee.

The announcement came 10 years after Operation Puerto revealed a doping network involving some of the world's top cyclists when police seized coded blood bags from the Madrid clinic of sports doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

The decision backed an appeal by lawyers for prosecuting parties against a 2013 court ruling that the bags should be destroyed for privacy reasons.

The court said Thursday's ruling "took into account that the goal is to fight against doping, which goes against sport's ethical values."

Not ordering the bags to be made available would have "generalized the danger of other sports people being tempted to dope themselves and sent a negative social message that the end justifies the means," the court said.

The 2013 order to destroy the blood bags outraged the sports community. Spain's anti-doping agency, the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency were among the entities that appealed.

British court gives 22 life sentences to pedophile
Lawyer News | 2016/06/06 23:53
A court in Britain has sentenced a former schoolteacher to 22 life sentences for child abuse after using his position teaching English in Malaysia to gain access to victims.

Judge Peter Rook sentenced 30-year-old freelance photographer Richard Huckle on Monday to serve a minimum of 25 years for 71 offenses against children aged between six months and 12 years from 2006 to 2014.

The National Crime Agency arrested Huckle in 2014 and found 20,000 indecent images on his computer, 1,117 of which showed him raping and abusing children in his care. Huckle also created a 60-page "how to" guide for other pedophiles seeking to evade getting caught. He also kept a scorecard tallying the number of children abused.

Huckle groomed children while posing as a Christian English teacher and philanthropist.

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