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Indiana officials have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a death penalty case stemming from a 1998 triple homicide in Mishawaka.

Wayne Kubsch, 49, was twice convicted of three counts of murder and sentenced to death for the brutal killings of his wife, Beth Kubsch, her ex-husband, Rick Milewski, and her 10-year-old son, Aaron Milewski, the South Bend Tribune reported.

A series of appeals failed, but a federal appeals court reversed the convictions in September, ruling that Kubsch's second trial in 2005 violated his right to a defense because the court barred evidence that might have cast doubt on his guilt.

That evidence was a videotaped statement by a young girl who seemed to undermine the alleged timeline of the incident in her interview with police four days after the killings. She later said she didn't remember making the statement.

The U.S. Court of Appeals ordered Indiana officials to release Kubsch or give him another trial.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill's office filed a petition this week that asks the Supreme Court to intervene, arguing that the appeals court misinterpreted the law. Officials from the attorney general's office said in the petition that previous Supreme Court decisions allowed for state trial courts to bar such recorded statements from evidence if the person who made the statement can't vouch for its reliability.

The petition asks the Supreme Court to possibly hand down a "summary reversal" of the lower appellate court's decision without accepting oral arguments or written briefs on the case.



The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with California-based Life Technologies Corp. in a patent infringement case that limits the international reach of U.S. patent laws.

The justices ruled unanimously that the company's shipment of a single part of a patented invention for assembly in another country did not violate patent laws.

Life Technologies supplied an enzyme used in DNA analysis kits to a plant in London and combined it with several other components to make kits sold worldwide. Wisconsin-based Promega Corp. sued, arguing that the kits infringed a U.S. patent.

A jury awarded $52 million in damages to Promega. A federal judge set aside the verdict and said the law did not cover export of a single component.

The federal appeals specializing in patent cases reversed and reinstated the verdict.

Patent laws are designed to prevent U.S. companies from mostly copying a competitor's invention and simply completing the final phase overseas to skirt the law. A violation occurs when "all or a substantial portion of the components of a patent invention" are supplied from the United States to a foreign location.

Writing for the high court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the law addresses only the quantity of components, not the quality. That means the law "does not cover the supply of a single component of a multicomponent invention," Sotomayor said.

Only seven justices took part in the ruling. Chief Justice John Roberts heard arguments in the case, but later withdrew after discovering he owned shares in the parent company of Life Technologies.




A South African court has ruled that the government's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court was unconstitutional.

A judge in the North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday instructed the government to revoke its notice of withdrawal from the human rights tribunal based in The Hague, Netherlands.

South Africa's main opposition party had gone to court, saying the government's notice was illegal because the South African parliament was not consulted.

South Africa's withdrawal announcement followed a 2015 dispute over a visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. Al-Bashir was allowed to leave South Africa even though a local court ordered authorities to stop him.


Court election changes considered by NC House

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2017/02/22 20:18

Some Republicans are set on returning all North Carolina state judicial elections to being officially partisan races again.

A law quickly approved in December during a special election directed statewide races for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals to become partisan starting in 2018. Now the state House scheduled floor debate Wednesday on legislation extending that to local Superior Court and District Court seats next year, too.

Having partisan races means candidates run in party primaries to reach the general election. Unaffiliated candidates could still run but would have to collect signatures to qualify.

Judicial races shifted to nonpartisan elections starting in the mid-1990s in part as an effort to distance judicial candidates from politics. But Republicans today say party labels help give voters some information about the candidates.



A decision by Bosnia's Muslim leader to revive a wartime genocide lawsuit against Serbia at the United Nations' top court has rekindled divisions that led to the 1992-95 war, the top leaders of Serbia and Bosnian Serbs warned on Wednesday.

The bid to appeal a 2007 ruling by the International Court of Justice that cleared Serbia of committing genocide in Bosnia, also dealt a major blow to postwar reconciliation and Bosnia's survival as a multi-ethnic state, Serb officials said.

"Our relations have been pushed backward 25 or 22 years," Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said. "The little trust we built over the years ... is now gone."

Bakir Izetbegovic, the Muslim Bosniak member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency, has initiated the appeal despite a lack of consent from his Croat and Serb counterparts in the presidency.

"Izetbegovic closed the door for Bosnia and its perspective and switched the lights off," said Milorad Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska, the Serb mini-state within Bosnia.

Bosnian Serb leaders have threatened to walk out of joint Bosnian institutions in protest, which would further fuel tensions in the fragile, ethnically divided state.



Britain's Supreme Court says the government is entitled to set a minimum-income threshold for people wanting to bring foreign spouses to the country, a measure introduced to ensure immigrants won't draw on public welfare funds.

But the court says the way the rules have been implemented is unlawful.

Since 2012, Britons who want to bring spouses from outside the European Union to the U.K. must earn at least 18,600 pounds ($23,000) a year.

Several people who were rejected under the rules took the government to court, arguing the law breached their right to a family life.

The judges ruled Wednesday that the income requirement was lawful but had been implemented in a "defective" way.

They said authorities must consider the welfare of children and whether applicants have other funding sources.



A Missouri appellate court has ruled that the state's prison officials aren't obligated to publicly reveal the source of the drug used to execute prisoners.

The appellate court's Western District decided Tuesday to overturn a 2016 trial court ruling that found the state wrongly withheld documents that would identify pharmaceutical suppliers, The Kansas City Star reported.       

The appeals court agreed with the state that a law that protects the identity of the state's execution team applies to those who supply the execution drug pentobarbital.

Major drug companies for the past several years have refused to allow their drugs to be used in executions. Missouri and many other active death penalty states refuse to disclose the source of their drugs, though the sources are widely believed to be compounding pharmacies — organizations that make drugs tailored to the needs of a specific client. Those pharmacies do not face the same approval process or testing standards of larger pharmaceutical companies.

The appeals court ruling said that disclosing the identities of "individuals essential to the execution process" could hinder Missouri's ability to execute the condemned.

Several states also are facing legal challenges to lethal injection practices. Just last month, a federal judge found Ohio's latest lethal injection procedure unconstitutional while Texas sued the Food and Drug Administration over execution drugs that were confiscated in 2015. In Oklahoma last year, a grand jury criticized state officials charged with carrying out executions, describing a litany of failures and avoidable errors.

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