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A federal appeals court has upheld a contempt of court citation against an email service provider used by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled unanimously against Dallas-based Lavabit Inc. and its owner, Ladar Levinson.

Appeals court Judge Steve Agee wrote that Levinson was sanctioned for refusing to help federal authorities track the email of a target of a criminal investigation. The opinion did not name the target.

Levinson also did not mention Snowden or any particular investigation when he closed his company last August. He said he would rather go


Court arguments over Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage will center on whether voters singled out gay people for unfair treatment when they overwhelmingly defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Judges at a federal appeals court in Denver will hear arguments Thursday from lawyers representing a couple challenging Oklahoma's ban and the Tulsa County clerk who refused to grant them a license. The judges heard a similar case from Utah last week.

Oklahoma voters approved the ban in 2004 by a 3-1 margin. The Tulsa couple tried to obtain a marriage license shortly afterward.

A federal judge overturned the ban in January, saying it violated the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Lawyers for the state say voters have a right to set their own laws.


An appeals court said Wednesday that federal officials should have consulted wildlife agencies about potential harm to a tiny, threatened fish before issuing contracts for water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation violated the Endangered Species Act when it failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service in renewing 41 contracts a decade ago. The appeals court sent the case back to a trial judge for further proceedings.

The ruling arises from one of several lawsuits filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmentalists seeking to protect the Delta smelt. The ruling won't affect water flows because protections for the smelt were kept in place during the lawsuit.

"This about how we are going to manage the water in the future," said Douglas Obegi, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Water-rights holders and government lawyers argued that consultation wasn't necessary because the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was required to renew the contracts and had no discretion over terms of the agreement that would control water levels in the Delta.


General Motors revealed in court filings late Tuesday that it will soon ask a federal bankruptcy judge to shield the company from legal claims for conduct that occurred before its 2009 bankruptcy.

The automaker's strategy is in a motion filed in a Corpus Christi, Texas, federal court case, and in other cases across the nation that involve the defective ignition switches that have led GM to recall 2.6 million small cars.

The motion asks U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to delay action on the lawsuit until the bankruptcy court rules and other federal courts decide if the case should be combined with other lawsuits. But GM says it's not asking to halt action on a motion to force GM to tell customers not to drive their cars that are being recalled.

GM has said at least 13 deaths have been linked to the switch problem. The switch can unexpectedly slip out of the "run" position, shutting down the engine, knocking out power-assisted steering and power brakes, and disabling the air bags. GM admits knowing about the problem for at least a decade, but it didn't start recalling the cars, including Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions, until February.

The company's motion says GM will ask the bankruptcy court in New York to enforce an order made during the 2009 bankruptcy case that split GM into a new company and an old company. Claims from before the bankruptcy would go to "Old GM," called Motors Liquidation Co., while claims after the bankruptcy would go to the new General Motors Co.


Prosecutors want South Carolina's highest court to reinstate the conviction of a Dillon County man whose dogs attacked and killed a 10-year-old boy in 2006.

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday hears an appeal in the case of Bentley Collins. In 2012, the state Court of Appeals overturned Collins' involuntary manslaughter conviction and prison sentence, ruling a judge shouldn't have allowed prosecutors to show pictures of the boy taken before his autopsy.

The photographs showed the extent of the boy's injuries, including how the dogs mauled him so badly his bones were exposed and his ears and nose were eaten.

The judges said the pathologist testified to the injuries, so the photographs did nothing more than rile the jury's emotions.



India's top court on Tuesday issued a landmark verdict recognizing transgender rights as human rights, saying people can identify themselves as a third gender on official documents.

The Supreme Court directed the federal and state governments to include transgendered people in all welfare programs for the poor, including education, health care and jobs to help them overcome social and economic challenges. Previously, transgendered Indians could only identify themselves as male or female in all official documents.

The decision was praised as giving relief to the estimated 3 million Indians who are transgender.

The court noted that it was the right of every human being to choose their gender while granting rights to those who identify themselves as neither male nor female.

"All documents will now have a third category marked 'transgender.' This verdict has come as a great relief for all of us. Today I am proud to be an Indian," said Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender activist who, along with a legal agency, had petitioned the court.

The court's decision would apply to individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.

"The spirit of the (Indian) Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender," the court said in its order.

The Supreme Court specified its ruling would only apply to transgender people but not to gays, lesbians or bisexuals. India's LGBT communities have been protesting the court's recent decision to reinstate a colonial-era law banning gay sex, which they say will make them vulnerable to police harassment.

The court also ordered the government to put in place public awareness campaigns to lessen the social stigma against transgender people.



A western Indiana school corporation doesn't want a young woman to speak to its high schools despite it being ordered as part of her probation.

When 20-year-old Kelsey Reid of Carbon was sentenced on two counts of involuntary manslaughter Wednesday in Clay Superior Court in Brazil, her required community service included presentations to Northview and Clay City high school students on the dangers of speeding.

The Brazil Times reports (http://bit.ly/1gqQw6s ) Clay Community Schools Superintendent Kimberly Tucker wrote Akers on Friday to say it wasn't in her students' best interests of to have Reid speak. She says the April 2013 crash that killed two local young people was "too recent in the minds and hearts of many."

Reid doesn't have a published telephone listing and she couldn't be reached for comment.


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