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The Supreme Court is declining to take the case of a 1960s black militant formerly known as H. Rap Brown who is in prison for killing a Georgia sheriff’s deputy in 2000.

As is usual, the justices didn’t comment Monday in turning away Brown’s case. Brown had argued his constitutional rights were violated at trial.

Brown converted to Islam and now goes by the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. He gained prominence more than 50 years ago as a Black Panthers leader and was at one point the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

In 2002, Al-Amin was convicted of murder in the death of Fulton County sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Kinchen and the wounding of Kinchen’s partner, Deputy Aldranon English. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Al-Amin had argued that a prosecutor violated his right not to testify by directly questioning him during closing arguments in a sort of mock cross-examination.


The U.S. Supreme Court has once again postponed oral arguments scheduled for this spring, but this time the court seemed to hint it might not hear arguments in most cases until next term.

Following postponement of arguments scheduled for the last two weeks of March, the court on Friday announced that it would delay another round of oral arguments--its last for the term-- scheduled for the second half of April.

In a press release, the court said it would "consider a range of scheduling options and other alternatives if arguments cannot be held in the courtroom before the end of the court term," which usually is, for all practical purposes, at the end of June when the court completes its work and recesses for the summer.

The wording of the press release would seem to suggest, however, that the justices may postpone some cases until next term and extend the current term to hear a few particularly pressing cases.

Among them are three cases involving subpoenas for President Trump's financial records: two involving congressional subpoenas, and another involving a New York grand jury subpoena for financial records relating to alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and another woman during the 2016 presidential campaign.


Washington’s Supreme Court has denied Seattle’s bid to reinstate an income tax on wealthy households.

In a majority decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday declined to review the city’s request to overturn rulings against the tax by a King County Superior Court judge and the state Court of Appeals, The Seattle Times reported.

Without issuing an opinion, Supreme Court dismissed Seattle’s petition for review and a petition written by the Economic Opportunity Institute, a Seattle-based progressive think tank.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman declined to report the tally and how each justice voted.

The ruling means Washington and its cities will remain barred from enacting graduated income taxes, with different rates based on wealth. But some advocates may still see a way to move forward, because the Supreme Court let stand a decision by the Court of Appeals last year to void a state law that banned taxes on net income.

“Seattle has the authority to adopt an income tax, and I believe we can craft a proposal that can help make our tax system less regressive,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement Friday.

“We are once again confronted with the reality that in times of crisis, those same residents that earn or have the least are the first to feel economic stings of job loss and instability,” Durkan added. “As we emerge from this emergency all of us need to rebuild a city that is more just and equitable.”

Washington is one of the few states without an income tax, and its system has been labeled by tax reformers as the most regressive, meaning poor residents pay a much higher percentage of their earnings than do rich residents.


West Virginia says a ban on elective medical procedures during the coronavirus pandemic will reduce abortions but will be upheld in an eventual legal challenge.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Thursday said the executive order “will be upheld because it’s designed to protect the public health and applies to all elective procedures and all elective facilities.”

The order went into effect this week and mirrors directives in other Republican-controlled states that have been temporarily blocked by federal judges.

Officials say at least 217 people in West Virginia have the virus after 5,493 tests.




Utilities cannot charge customers who produce some of their own energy more than other customers, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday in a decision that strikes down proposed rates from two companies.

The state's highest court found the proposals by Westar and Kansas Gas and Electric constitute price discrimination against residential customers who use solar panels or windmills to generate some or all of their electricity.

The opinion, written by Justice Caleb Stegall, said such price discrimination undermines the policy preferences of the Legislature. It notes lawmakers codified into state law the goal of incentivizing renewable energy production by private parties.

Calling the utility companies' proposal unlawful, the state Supreme Court reversed a lower appeals court ruling that had upheld it and ruled the Kansas Corporation Commission erred in approving the discriminatory rate. It sent the matter back to the commission for further proceedings.




A Pakistani court on Thursday overturned the murder conviction of a British Pakistani man found guilty of the 2002 kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Instead, the court found Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh guilty of the lesser charge of kidnapping and sentenced him to seven years in prison.

Pearl disappeared Jan. 23, 2002 in Karachi while researching links between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, who became known as the “shoe-bomber” after he was arrested on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes. Prosecutors said Saeed lured Pearl into a trap by promising to arrange an interview with an Islamic cleric who police believed was not involved in the conspiracy.

One of Saeed’s lawyers, Khwaja Naveed, said Saeed could go free unless the government chooses to challenge the court decision. Faiz Shah, prosecutor general for southern Sindh province, said the government will appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement expressing disappointment at the court decision and supporting an appeal.


The Kentucky Supreme Court issued a new order closing judicial facilities to in-person services and postponing eviction filings.

The changes strengthen the court's order a couple of weeks ago and restrict dockets, jury trials and jury service during the coronavirus pandemic, the court said in a news release.

“As difficult as these restrictions may be, the Judicial Branch must do its part to practice stringent social distancing while providing essential, constitutionally mandated services,” Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said.

The new order says all parties to proceedings and attorneys must be allowed to participate remotely.

Judicial facilities were closed to in-person services as of Wednesday with some exceptions.

Eviction filings will not be accepted until 30 days after the order expires “pursuant to federal and state moratoriums on evictions and public health and safety concerns,” the release said. The changes are in effect through May 1.


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