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The California Supreme Court declined to review a lower court's ruling striking down sex-offender restrictions in Orange County that were among the strictest in the state.

Wednesday's move means that local bans in dozens of California communities are trumped by state law and invalidated, as the 4th District Court of Appeal found in January.

"We're obviously disappointed," Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for Orange County's district attorney, told City News Service. "We put our heart and soul in every brief and every argument to protect the children of Orange County from dangerous sex offenders. ... We still believe it was the right thing to do."

Some 30 cities statewide, half of them in Orange County, have passed sex-offender ordinances that the Supreme Court's action effectively invalidates. To revive them, state law would have to be changed to allow for different local restrictions.

Orange County's restrictions passed in 2011 barred offenders from parks and beaches unless they had written permission from the sheriff.

But in 2012, a county court overturned the misdemeanor conviction of a sex offender, Hugo Godinez, for going to a company picnic at a Fountain Valley park and asked the appeals court to rule on the case and the legality of the regulations.

The appeals judges found that the rule conflicts with laws passed by the state that already provide a "comprehensive statutory scheme regulating the daily life of sex offenders." It struck down a similar ordinance in the city of Irvine.



Bankruptcy proceedings have begun for Mt. Gox, a move that was widely expected after the Tokyo District Court decided earlier this month that the bitcoin exchange would not be able to resurrect itself.

An administrator will try to sell the company's assets, but many creditors, including those who had bitcoins with the exchange, might not get their money back.

After Mt. Gox went offline in February, its CEO said tens of thousands of bitcoins worth several hundred million dollars were unaccounted for.

Mt Gox has suggested the bitcoins were stolen. The company has not been able to confirm the bitcoin balances of its users.

Bitcoins, created in 2009, are used for transactions across borders without third parties such as banks and have become a popular investment.



The Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday revived a lawsuit challenging Gov. Jan Brewer's expansion of the state's Medicaid insurance plan for the poor, ruling that Republican lawmakers have the right to sue over their contention that a hospital assessment that funds the expansion is a tax requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

Republicans in the House and Senate sued last year, saying only a simple majority last June passed the expansion bill that included the assessment. A Maricopa County judge in February dismissed the case, saying lawmakers were suing over a lost political battle because the Legislature itself decides whether a supermajority vote is needed.

But the appeals court rejected that decision and sent the case back to Judge Katherine Cooper for more action. In an 11-page ruling, the unanimous three-judge panel said the 36 Republican lawmakers who sued could have defeated House Bill 2010 if the supermajority vote was required, so it was proper for Cooper to decide if the Arizona Constitution required that vote.

The ruling was a major loss for Brewer, who pushed the Medicaid bill through the Legislature by cobbling together a coalition of minority Democrats and 14 Republicans.

She is one of only a handful of Republican governors who embraced Medicaid expansion, a key part of President Barack Obama's health care law. In all, 25 states plus Washington, D.C., are moving ahead with the expansion, while 19 states have turned it down. An additional six states are weighing options.


Supreme Court considers juice label dispute

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2014/04/22 08:43

The Supreme Court seems likely to rule that juice maker Pom Wonderful can bring false advertising claims against the Coca-Cola Co. over a competing juice product.

Several justices indicated during argument at the high court Monday that allowing Pom's lawsuit to go forward under federal trademark laws would not interfere with government regulation of food labels.

Pom alleges the label on a "Pomegranate Blueberry" beverage offered by Coke's Minute Maid unit is misleading because 99 percent of the drink consists of apple and grape juice. Coke claims the lawsuit should be thrown out because the label complies with Food and Drug Administration regulations.

Lower courts had ruled in favor of Coke. The food and beverage industry is concerned that a ruling for Pom could subject food makers to more litigation.



The Supreme Court is taking up a dispute between broadcasters and an Internet startup company that has the potential to bring big changes to the television industry.

The company is Aereo Inc. and the justices are hearing arguments Tuesday over its service that gives subscribers in 11 U.S. cities access to television programs on their laptop computers, smartphones and other portable devices.

The broadcasters say Aero is essentially stealing their programming by taking free television signals from the airwaves and sending them over the Internet without paying redistribution fees. Those fees are increasingly important to the broadcasters and were estimated at $3.3 billion last year.

The case involving Internet innovation is the latest for justices who sometimes seem to struggle to stay abreast of technological change.


Thirty years ago, big media companies failed to convince the Supreme Court of the threat posed by home video recordings.

Now they're back — and trying to rein in a different innovation that they say threatens their financial well-being.

The battle has moved out of viewers' living rooms, where people once marveled at their ability to pop a cassette into a recorder and capture their favorite programs or the sporting event they wouldn't be home to see.

The new legal fight shifts to the Supreme Court Tuesday with arguments against a startup business using Internet-based technology to give subscribers the ability to watch programs anywhere they can take portable devices.

Aereo takes free television signals from the airwaves and sends them over the Internet to paying subscribers in 11 cities.


Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday declined to temporarily block a lower court ruling that opens the world's best-selling multiple sclerosis drug to competition from generic rivals next month.

The decision is a victory for rivals challenging the patents of Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., maker of the drug Copaxone.

Teva claims the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit wrongly overturned five of its patents for the drug. That ruling allows rivals Mylan Inc., Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sandoz, Inc., to start selling cheaper generic versions in May instead of September 2015.

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider the case, but arguments won't take place until its new term begins in October and it could be next year before a decision is reached. Teva said it would suffer irreparable harm if the appeals court decision was not postponed. Copaxone brought the company $3.2 billion in U.S. sales last year.

In a one-page ruling, Roberts said he was not convinced Teva would suffer such harm. If Teva ultimately prevails in the case, Roberts said, the company would be able to recover damages from the generic rivals for past patent infringement. He acknowledged that Teva has "a fair prospect" of ultimately winning the case at the high court.

Roberts oversees emergency appeals from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears appeals in patent cases.

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