High court rejects anti-Clinton movie case
Legal Topics | 2008/03/25 16:28

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has rejected aconservative group's legal fight to air commercials promoting a moviecritical of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal in a case involving ads for a movie critical of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The case, rejected on jurisdictional grounds, was appealed after afederal District Court refused to issue a preliminary injunctionclearing the way for the promotions.

At issue was whetherbroadcast ads promoting the 90-minute documentary "Hillary: The Movie"are subject to strict campaign finance laws on political advocacy, orwould be considered a constitutionally protected form of commercialspeech.

Citizens United, a Washington-based advocacyorganization, had urged the justices to accept its appeal on anexpedited basis this spring, in time for the ads to have an impact onthe election season.

Clinton is in a tight race for the Democratic presidential nomination with Sen. Barack Obama.



Supreme Court overrules Bush, OKs Texas execution
Legal Topics | 2008/03/25 16:26

WASHINGTON-- The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday thatTexas can execute a Mexican murderer being held on its death row. Thecase pitted President Bush against his home state in a dispute overfederal authority, local sovereignty and foreign treaties.

The case decided by the Supreme Court on Tuesday pitted President Bush against his home state, Texas.

The man at the center of the case, Jose Ernesto Medellin, faces execution for two slayings.

At issue was whether the state must give in to demands by the presidentto allow the prisoner new court hearings and sentencing.

Bushmade that demand reluctantly, after an international court concludedMedellin was improperly denied access to his consulate before hisoriginal prosecution -- a violation of a treaty signed by the UnitedStates decades ago.

The Supreme Court justices voted 6 to 3 in favor of the state's position.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority that theinternational court's ruling "is not domestic law," so Bush's authorityto demand a new hearing for Medellin is limited.

Medellin was 18 when he participated in the June 1993 gang rape andmurder of two Harris County, Texas, girls -- 14-year-old JenniferErtman and 16-year-old Elizabeth Pena. He was later convicted of thecrimes and sentenced to death.



Use of MySpace May Violate Court Order
Legal Topics | 2008/03/24 20:20

In one of the first rulings of its kind, a Staten Island judge has said that a teenage girl could be charged with violating a restraining order by using MySpace.com to reach out to people she was told not to contact.

The girl, Melisa Fernino, 16, of West Brighton, Staten Island, was charged with three counts of criminal contempt in September after she was accused of sending a MySpace "friend request" to Sandra Delgrosso and her two daughters on August 23. The order was put in place after Fernino made several violent threats against Delgrosso, who had dated her father, and against her two daughters, said a Staten Island official who insisted on anonymity because the case originated in Family Court, where proceedings are private.

On Wednesday, Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. of Staten Island Criminal Court turned down Fernino's request to dismiss the contempt charges, ruling that MySpace was a form of contact just like speaking in person or by telephone and that the order of restraint had barred any sort of contact with the Delgrossos. The judge's decision was reported in The Staten Island Advance.



Icahn Plans More Legal Action Against Motorola
Areas of Focus | 2008/03/24 20:07

Carl Icahn and his affiliates on Monday said it is filing a lawsuit in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware seeking a court order requiring Motorola to make certain materials demanded by Icahn from Motorola available for inspection.

The materials that Icahn is seeking include are any board and committee minutes and documents relating to the service and selection of Motorola's senior officers, the prospects or strategy of Motorola's Mobile Devices business and the realignment of its business regarding Mobile Devices, including the potential spinoff of the Mobile Devices business.

Icahn also seeks to include documents, if any, provided to Motorola's Board of Directors regarding matters disclosed in certain of Motorola's press releases and conference calls concerning the performance of Motorola and documents showing the use of Motorola's aircraft and other property by members of senior management, the board of directors and their families.

In addition, Carl Icahn and his affiliates released a letter to stockholders of Motorola, Inc., requesting stockholders to elect Frank Biondi, William Hambrecht, Lionel Kimerling and Keith Meister as directors of Motorola at the 2008 annual meeting of stockholders of Motorola.



Feds Open Criminal Probe Into Alcoa
Legal Topics | 2008/03/23 22:28
The U.S. Justice Department has begun a criminal investigation into whether aluminum maker Alcoa Inc. participated in bribery in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain.

In documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, federal prosecutors asked a judge to halt a federal civil lawsuit that accused Pittsburgh-based Alcoa of bribing officials through overseas shell companies to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments.

"The United States has a direct and substantial interest in this case, as the subject matter giving rise to this case is also the subject of an ongoing federal criminal investigation," prosecutors in the Justice Department's fraud section said in court filings.

Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C., also known as Alba, in which the Bahrain government holds a 77 percent stake, is seeking more than $1 billion in damages from Alcoa and other affiliated defendants, according to a federal lawsuit filed last month.

"The Alba complaint alleges numerous facts which, if true, could be relevant to the government's criminal investigation and a potential criminal trial," prosecutors said in court filings.



2 Held in Millionaire Developer's Death
Areas of Focus | 2008/03/23 22:27
A chauffeur and his cousin are being charged in the 2006 stabbing death of a millionaire developer accused of real estate fraud, police said Saturday.

Andrew Kissel, 46, was found tied up and stabbed to death in his Greenwich mansion just days before he was to plead guilty in a multimillion-dollar fraud case.

Carlos Trujillo, who was Kissel's driver, and his cousin, Leonard Trujillo, have been arrested in connection with the developer's death, Greenwich Police Chief David Ridberg said Saturday.

"There is still a lot of information to be gathered and facts to be discerned," Ridberg said in a written statement announcing the arrests.

The arrest warrants are sealed. The chief said more information would be released Monday.

Leonard Trujillo, 21, is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder, police said. Carlos Trujillo, 47, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Attorney Lindy Urso, who represented Carlos Trujillo shortly after Kissel's death could not be reached late Saturday. Information was not immediately available on whether Leonard Trujillo had an attorney.



Doubt Arises over Breathalyzer Source Code
Areas of Focus | 2008/03/21 20:22
An attorney for a Minnesota man accused of drunken driving says he doesn't think the manufacturer of a breathalyzer will meet a court-imposed deadline of August 17 to turn over its source code. If that happens, his client could go free.

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled late last month that source code for the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, made by a Kentucky-based company called CMI, must be handed to defense attorneys for use in a case involving charges of third-degree DUI against a man named Dale Lee Underdahl.

In this case, the high court concluded that language in the contract between CMI and the state indicates the source code belongs by extension to Minnesota, rejecting the state public safety commissioner's earlier argument that the state was not entitled to the code because of its confidential, copyrighted and proprietary nature. The decision effectively means it's now up to the state to do what it takes to enforce that contract--including suing the company, if necessary.

But as for when the code would be turned over, "I guess the answer is probably never," attorney Jeffrey Sheridan said in a telephone interview Friday. That's because state officials, he added, "haven't given me any indication that the manufacturer has changed its mind."

It remains unclear what steps Minnesota officials plan to take, as representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment. CMI also did not return calls for comment on Friday.



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