13 entries in 'Opinions'
2017/07/28   Court: Indiana layoffs of older workers not discrimination
2017/01/06   Ohio Supreme Court delays serial killer's execution date
2016/09/15   Court rules man treated for mental illness can have a gun
2016/07/10   Candidate filing begins Monday for appeals court seat
2016/05/03   High court seems poised to overturn McDonnell conviction
2016/04/09   US House staffers subpoenaed by federal court
2016/03/18   Lawyer: US citizen charged in UN case to plead guilty
2016/03/13   Man accused of terrorism charge with fiancée pleads guilty
2016/02/02   High court to hear arguments in Va. redistricting case
2015/12/09   EU court dismisses Barcelona football trademark case
2015/11/24   Lawyer: Don't judge Chicago officer based on shooting video
2015/09/12   Starting Up: The Balanced Approach
2011/07/01   Terms & Conditions


Court: Indiana layoffs of older workers not discrimination
Opinions | 2017/07/28 03:43
A federal appeals court has ruled against 20 former Lake County employees who claimed their layoffs were driven by age discrimination.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled Wednesday that the plaintiffs, many of whom are now in their 70s and 80s, weren't victims of deliberate discrimination.

The Northwest Indiana Times reports  falling tax revenues prompted county officials to terminate or send into early retirement employees older than 65 with promises that included a Medicare supplemental insurance plan.

But they later learned that insurance plan was only for retirees and opted to terminate the older workers in 2013 rather than buy another plan.

The court found the county wasn't practicing unlawful age discrimination because it retained a larger group of older employees not covered by that insurance.


Ohio Supreme Court delays serial killer's execution date
Opinions | 2017/01/06 02:13
The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to delay the execution date for a Cleveland man convicted of killing 11 women and hiding the remains in and around his home.

The court on Thursday granted the request from attorneys for serial killer Anthony Sowell.

The execution had been set for Nov. 18, 2010. The court said the execution would be delayed until Sowell had exhausted all his appeals, most likely through the federal courts.

The court's action was similar to its approach to other death penalty cases. It regularly sets initial execution dates after upholding death sentences, then delays them on request.

Jurors found Sowell guilty of killing 11 women from June 2007 to July 2009.


Court rules man treated for mental illness can have a gun
Opinions | 2016/09/15 21:01
A Michigan man who can't buy a gun because he was briefly treated for mental health problems in the 1980s has won a key decision from a federal appeals court, which says the burden is on the government to justify a lifetime ban against him.

The Second Amendment case was significant enough for 16 judges on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to participate. Cases usually are heard only by three-judge panels.

Clifford Tyler, 74, of Hillsdale said his constitutional right to bear arms is violated by a federal law that prohibits gun ownership if someone has been admitted to a mental hospital.

In 1985, Tyler's wife ran away with another man, depleted his finances and filed for divorce. He was deeply upset, and his daughters feared he was a danger to himself.

Tyler was ordered to a hospital for at least two weeks. He subsequently recovered, continued working for another two decades and remarried in 1999.

"There is no indication of the continued risk presented by people who were involuntarily committed many years ago and who have no history of intervening mental illness, criminal activity or substance abuse," Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote in the lead opinion.

The court on Thursday sent the case back to the federal court in Grand Rapids where the government must argue the merits of a lifetime ban or the risks of Tyler having a gun.

Gibbons suggests Tyler should prevail, based on his years of good mental health.





Candidate filing begins Monday for appeals court seat
Opinions | 2016/07/10 16:40
Another election will be on the November ballot in North Carolina because an appeals court judge recently resigned to take a job in private practice.

The candidate filing period for the seat on the state Court of Appeals vacated by Martha Geer begins at noon Monday at the State Board of Elections and continues until midday Friday.

Every candidate who files will appear on the fall ballot. Since Geer left her seat a couple of months ago, there won't be a primary.

The candidate with the most votes will win an eight-year term on the court, which is comprised of 15 judges who hear intermediate appeals while sitting in panels of three. Candidates already are determined for three other Court of Appeals elections set for November.



High court seems poised to overturn McDonnell conviction
Opinions | 2016/05/03 03:22
The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed poised to overturn the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on political corruption charges and place new limits on the reach of federal bribery laws.

Justices across the ideological spectrum expressed major concerns that the laws give prosecutors too much power to criminalize the everyday acts that politician perform to help constituents.

Chief Justice John Roberts said it was "extraordinary" that dozens of former White House attorneys from Democratic and Republican administrations submitted legal papers saying that upholding McDonnell's conviction would cripple the ability of elected officials to do their jobs.

"I think it's extraordinary that those people agree on anything," Roberts said.

Justice Breyer said the law presents "a real separation of powers problem" and "puts at risk behavior that is common."

"That's a recipe for giving the Department of Justice and prosecutors enormous power over elected officials," Breyer said.

McDonnell, who was in the courtroom with his wife Maureen to watch the arguments, was convicted in 2014 of accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting a dietary supplement.

At issue is a federal law that bars public officials from accepting money or gifts in exchange for "official acts." The court is expected to clarify what distinguishes bribery from the routine actions that politicians often perform as a courtesy to constituents.

But the justices struggled over how to draw that line. Both Roberts and Breyer suggested the bribery law could be considered unconstitutionally vague.


US House staffers subpoenaed by federal court
Opinions | 2016/04/09 06:43
Four congressional staffers have told the U.S. House that they've been subpoenaed by the federal court in Springfield, Illinois, where a grand jury is conducting a probe into the spending of former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.

The financial chief for the House, Traci Beaubian, and three other staff members wrote letters notifying the chamber about the subpoenas that were read on the House floor Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported  based on House records noting the letters were received and video of the letters being read. The letters did not mention the subject of the subpoenas.

Schock, the one-time rising GOP star from Peoria, came under intense scrutiny in early 2015 for his spending, including redecorating his office in the style of TV's "Downton Abbey." He left office in March 2015 amid questions about congressional and campaign spending.

He has since been issued at least two grand jury subpoenas seeking campaign and congressional records. FBI agents also have removed boxes and other items from his central Illinois campaign office.



Lawyer: US citizen charged in UN case to plead guilty
Opinions | 2016/03/18 07:24
A defense lawyer says a U.S. citizen charged in the United Nations bribery case will plead guilty Wednesday to charges.

Attorney Brian Bieber said Monday that Francis Lorenzo will plead guilty to three charges. Lorenzo is a suspended ambassador from the Dominican Republic who was arrested in the fall.

The plea comes in a case that resulted in the arrest of a former president of the U.N. General Assembly and a billionaire Chinese businessman.

Bieber says Lorenzo will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering and filing a false tax return.

Bieber says his client decided to plead guilty after reviewing the government's evidence. He says it led him to "accept responsibility for his role in the criminal conspiracies committed by him and his co-defendants."



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