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Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz is due back in court for more motions from defense lawyers.

Cruz's lawyers want Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer on Friday to hold the Broward Sheriff's Office in contempt of court for improperly providing the suspect's medical records to a state commission investigating the shooting.

They say only certain authorized investigators and prosecutors should get access to such records in a criminal case, and the commission is not included.

The 20-year-old Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted in the Valentine's Day shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. His lawyers have offered a guilty plea in exchange for life in prison, but prosecutors reject that.



India's Supreme Court on Thursday paved the way for the reopening of Mumbai's dance bars, which had been a nightlife staple in the country's entertainment capital until they were outlawed six years ago.

The court ruled that the bars featuring young women paid to wear sexy clothing and dance to Bollywood music no longer need to be more than a kilometer (half a mile) from religious sites, schools and colleges. It also scrapped plans to force the bars to have security cameras and a partition between bar rooms and dance floors.

There were some 700 dance bars in Mumbai and another 650 in other parts of Maharashtra state, employing 75,000 dancers, before the state government ordered them closed in 2012 on the grounds they corrupted young people.

The state government framed a new law in 2016 imposing stiff restrictions, but the hotel and restaurant owners found them to be unacceptable and petitioned the top court.

The court, however, accepted the state government's plea that the dance bars be allowed to stay open in Maharashtra state between 6:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. every day and not until 1:30 a.m. as demanded by the Bar Owners Association.

People at these bars can tip the dancers, but can't throw money at them as in the past, the court ruled.


The head of the Iowa court system says technology and the need to ensure justice for everyone demands increased spending.

Speaking Wednesday in his annual speech to the Legislature, Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady told lawmakers “we simply can no longer proceed into the future thinking it will be a modest linear extension from where we are today.”

The judicial branch is requesting nearly $185 million, a 4 percent increase from the current year’s budget. Gov. Kim Reynolds is proposing nearly $183 million.

Among the new programs Cady proposes is a $1.6 million rural courts initiative to secure courthouses and upgrade services to ensure court services in all 99 counties.

He also proposes a $2.5 million digital upgrade that would allow judges to send search warrants electronically to investigators, improve an internet-based telephone system and upgrade technology to allow for remote video appearances for witnesses, parties in cases and court reporters.

Cady also seeks $1.9 million to pay for a proposed 4 percent increase in pay for judiciary officers.


Aasia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian acquitted of blasphemy, still lives the life of a prisoner, nearly three months after her release from death row, awaiting a final ruling on her fate.

She spends her days in seclusion for fear of being targeted by angry mobs clamoring for her death. In her hideout, she longs for her children who were taken to Canada for their safety.

Pakistani security forces guarding the 54-year-old Bibi prevent her from opening a window in her hiding place, let alone go outside, a friend said.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is weighing a petition by Islamist extremists and right-wing religious parties that rallied against her acquittal and demand her execution.

Her case goes to the core of one of Pakistan's most controversial issues — the blasphemy law, often used to settle scores or intimidate followers of Pakistan's minority religions, including minority Shiite Muslims. A charge of insulting Islam can bring the death penalty.

Just making an accusation is sometimes enough to whip up vengeful mobs, even if the courts acquit defendants. A provincial governor who defended Bibi was shot and killed, as was a government minority minister who dared question the blasphemy law.

Bibi's ordeal began on a hot day in 2009, with a row with fellow farmworkers after two Muslim women refused to drink water from the same container as a Christian. They demanded she convert, and she refused. Five days later, a mob accused her of blasphemy. She was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.


Millions of American women are receiving birth control at no cost to them through workplace health plans, the result of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, which expanded access to contraception.

The Trump administration sought to allow more employers to opt out because of religious or moral objections. But its plans were put on hold by two federal judges, one in Pennsylvania and the other in California, in cases that could eventually reach the Supreme Court.

The judges blocked the Trump policy from going into effect while legal challenges from state attorneys general continue.

Here's a look at some of the issues behind the confrontation over birth control, politics and religious beliefs:

Well into the 1990s many states did not require health insurance plans to cover birth control for women.

"Plans were covering Viagra, and they weren't covering birth control," said Alina Salganicoff, director of women's health policy with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

By the time President Barack Obama's health law passed in 2010, employers and insurers largely began covering birth control as an important part of health care for women.

The ACA took that a couple of steps further. It required most insurance plans to cover a broad range of preventive services, including vaccinations and cancer screenings, but also women's health services. And it also required such preventive services to be offered at no charge.

Employers and insurers were required to cover at least one of each class of birth control approved by the Food and Drug Administration. That included costly long-acting contraceptives, generally more effective than birth control pills.

It's estimated that 55 million to more than 62 million women now receive birth control at no cost, with only a small share paying for contraception.

"The irony I find about this battle is that in the period of time this policy has been in effect, teen pregnancies have gone way down and the number of abortions has gone way down," said Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services secretary under Obama.

While those rates were already going down before the health law, the trend does continue.


The Colorado Supreme Court said Monday that state law does not allow oil and gas regulators to make health and environmental protection their top priority, prompting Democrats who control the Legislature to call for changing the law.

In a victory for the energy industry, the court said Colorado law requires regulators to "foster" oil and gas production while protecting health and the environment. But the justices said regulators must take into account whether those protections are cost-effective and technically feasible.

The unanimous ruling was an endorsement of the way the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission operates. It was the latest in a series of wins for the industry, both in the courts and at the ballot box, against opponents who say the state is too lenient with energy companies.

But Democrats now control both houses of the Legislature as well as the governorship, and they appear ready to embrace tougher restrictions. House Speaker KC Becker said Monday that she is already working on a measure for the Legislature, which started work on Jan. 4.

"How do we make health and safety an earlier consideration or a more prominent consideration in siting and permitting?" she said. "This is really what we're hearing in the community."

Colorado's new governor, liberal Democrat Jared Polis, also said change is in the works.

"It only highlights the need to work with the Legislature and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to more safely develop our state's natural resources and protect our citizens from harm," Polis said in a statement.

Oil and gas drilling has long been contentious in Colorado, which ranks fifth nationally in crude oil production and sixth in natural gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration .

The Wattenberg oil and gas field — the most productive field in Colorado and one of the top 10 nationally — overlaps fast-growing communities north of Denver, triggering frequent disputes over the proximity of wells to neighborhoods. In 2017, two people were killed in a home explosion and fire blamed on a severed pipeline from a nearby gas well.

Monday's ruling came in a lawsuit filed by six young people who argued state law requires regulators to ensure energy development does not harm people's health or the environment. They asked the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in 2013 to require those protections before issuing any drilling permits.

The commission refused, saying the law required it to balance health and environmental concerns with other factors. Those include the rights of energy companies and the people who own the oil and gas reserves as well as a mandate from lawmakers to foster drilling.


Doug and Mary Ketchum chose Memphis, Tennessee, as a place to live with their disabled adult daughter because it has clearer air than their former home in Utah.

That was the easy part. Their decision to support themselves by buying a liquor store has been considerably more complicated, and it is at the heart of a Supreme Court case that is being argued Wednesday.

The Ketchums say Tennessee makes it almost impossible for someone to break into the liquor business from out of state. They contend, and lower courts have agreed, that Tennessee law forcing people to live in the state for two years to get a license to sell alcohol and 10 years to renew a license is unconstitutional because it discriminates against out-of-state interests.

The state's association of liquor sellers, backed by 35 states and the District of Columbia, relies on the constitutional amendment that actually ended the Prohibition era in the United States to defend the two-year residency requirement. The 21st Amendment also left states with considerable power to regulate the sale of alcohol. Tennessee itself has essentially stopped defending the residency requirements and not even the retailers' group is defending the longer renewal provision.

The arguments at the court will focus on provisions of the Constitution. To the Ketchums, however, the case is more personal.

Thirty-two-year-old Stacie Ketchum has cerebral palsy. She suffered a bad case of pneumonia in 2015 that doctors attributed to the air quality where they were living in Utah, her father said. A cold air "inversion" holds all the smog in the valley where they lived, he said.

One of her lungs collapsed and filled with fluid, he said.

"We thought we were going to lose her a couple of times during that six weeks she was in the hospital," Doug Ketchum said. "The doctors told us she needed a better environment. We needed to get her someplace where there was clearer air, clearer water, probably a warmer climate, if we expect her to live another year or so."

The family looked for a new place to live. Ketchum, a network engineer, sent out resumes but received few responses. He did come across a broker on the internet who finds businesses for people. He did some research and found Kimbrough Wines & Spirits, a liquor store located on the ground floor of an apartment building in a commercial area east of downtown Memphis. The store is in a good location on a heavily traveled street and boasts a steady, diverse local clientele.

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