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Maryland’s highest court has agreed to take up the case of Lee Boyd Malvo, who is serving life in prison for his role in the 2002 sniper spree that terrorized the Washington, D.C., region.

Malvo’s lawyers argue that his punishment goes against a 2012 Supreme Court ruling barring mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders and Malvo should benefit from Maryland’s new law enabling prisoners convicted as juveniles to seek release once they’ve served at least 20 years.

The state Court of Appeals granted a “bypass” review in Malvo’s case and that of two others serving life sentences for crimes committed as youths, news outlets report. The order issued Wednesday scheduled oral arguments to begin in January.

Malvo was 17 when he and John Allen Muhammad embarked on a killing spree that left 10 people dead and three wounded in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Others were killed as the pair made their way to the D.C. region from Washington state. Muhammad was executed in 2009.

Malvo has claimed that the six life-without-parole terms he received in Maryland are illegal in light of U.S. Supreme Court decisions saying mandatory life-without-parole sentences are unconstitutional for juveniles except in rare cases.

His case may have new standing after Maryland’s General Assembly abolished life without parole for youths, overriding a veto by Gov. Larry Hogan. Virginia passed similar legislation last year. That change prompted Malvo to drop a legal appeal that had gone to the Supreme Court to determine if his life sentence should be rescinded.


Several suspects are in custody after a shooting Thursday morning at the county courthouse in the northern Illinois community of Kankakee, authorities said.

Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey told WGN TV that the shooting happened at about 9:45 a.m. near the courthouse and the county jail. Downey had no other details.

David Guzman, an assistant to Mayor Christopher Curtis, said Kankakee Police made at least one arrest and that there is no longer any danger to the public. Kankakee Police Chief Robin Passwater said several people were in custody, according to the Daily Journal of Kankakee.

Guzman said he had no information on casualties, but a photo carried by the Daily Journal showed a body being loaded into an ambulance.

Kankakee is a community of about 26,000 located 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Chicago.


The North Dakota Supreme Court will allow a man accused of drunken driving to withdraw his guilty plea to the charge.

The court recently reversed a North Central District Court judge’s refusal to suppress some evidence in the DUI case against defendant Michael Anthony Boger.

He was stopped by a Minot police officer in November 2019 who said Boger failed to have his rear license plate illuminated. Boger argued in court the officer’s own body camera footage showed the license plate was actually illuminated, the Minot Daily News reported.

The officer claimed that it only looked illuminated because of the reflection of the lights from the police squad car and a nearby gas station.

Judge Doug Mattson denied Boger’s motion to suppress evidence in the case and Boger then entered a conditional guilty plea to driving under the influence, his third offense within seven years. The conditional plea was with the understanding that he would be able to withdraw his plea if the Supreme Court ruled in his favor on appeal.

The high court ruled the body camera video clearly shows that Boger’s license plate was illuminated and the officer did not have probable cause to stop the vehicle, so the evidence must be suppressed.

The case will be sent back to the district court to allow Boger to withdraw his guilty plea.


The Idaho Supreme Court has rejected a new law designed to make it harder for voters to get initiatives on the ballot, saying the legislation was so restrictive that it violated a fundamental right under the state’s constitution.

The ruling issued Monday was a win for Reclaim Idaho, a group that successfully sponsored a Medicaid expansion initiative three years ago and that is now working to qualify an initiative for the ballot that aims to increase public education funding.

Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said in a prepared statement that members of the House Republican Caucus were disappointed by the ruling. He said the law would have increased voter involvement, “especially in the corners of the state too often forgotten by some.”

Reclaim Idaho co-founder Luke Mayville said the ruling means thousands of Idaho residents are “breathing sighs of relief.”

“Nearly every time in our history that our legislature attempted to eliminate the initiative process, either the governor or the courts stepped up to protect the rights of the people. Today’s decision adds a new chapter to that history, and future generations of Idahoans will look back on the court’s decision with gratitude,” Mayville said in a prepared statement.

The high court’s opinion written by Justice Gregory Moeller was unanimous in its main conclusion — that the law should be overturned — though two of the justices said they would have gotten at the same conclusion in slightly different ways.

“The ability of the legislature to make laws related to a fundamental right arises from the reality that, in an ordered society, few rights are absolute,” Moeller wrote. “However, the legislature’s duty to give effect to the people’s rights is not a free pass to override constitutional constraints and legislate a right into non-existence, even if the legislature believes doing so is in the people’s best interest.”

The case pitted the rights of voters to enact and repeal laws against the power of the state Legislature to shape how ballot initiative efforts are carried out. The new law, which passed earlier this year, required signature-gatherers to get 6% of registered voters in each of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts within a short time span. Opponents said it made Idaho’s initiative process the toughest in the nation, rendering such efforts virtually impossible to achieve. But supporters said the law would protect people with less popular political opinions from being overrun by the majority.


A federal judge has found that a part of Georgia’s sweeping new election law that broadly prohibits the photographing of a voted ballot is likely unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee on Friday granted a preliminary injunction on that section of the law, meaning it cannot be enforced for now. In the same order, he declined to block a number of other provisions that mostly have to do with monitoring or photographing parts of the election process.

The judge’s order came in a lawsuit filed by the Coalition for Good Governance, an election integrity group, and others. Boulee wrote that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit “have shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim” that the broad ban on photographing a voted ballot in both public and nonpublic places violates their First Amendment rights.

The new law, known as SB 202, also adds a voter ID requirement for mail ballots, shortens the time period for requesting a mail ballot, results in fewer ballot drop boxes available in metro Atlanta and gives the State Election Board new powers to intervene in county election offices and to remove and replace local election officials.

There are currently eight federal lawsuits challenging parts of the 98-page law enacted earlier this year, including one filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The Court’s striking of the Photography Ban was an important first step in demonstrating that SB202 is an overreach by lawmakers who prefer ballots to be counted behind closed doors, blocking the important oversight of the press and public,” Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance said in a statement.

The office of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who’s a defendant in the lawsuit along with the members of the State Election Board, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. But he has previously said he’s confident the new law will withstand court challenges.

While the lawsuit filed by the Coalition for Good Governance challenges many aspects of the law, including the part that allows the State Election Board to remove county election superintendents, the request for preliminary injunction that was the subject of Boulee’s ruling was relatively narrow.


A British judge ruled Monday that songs by punk trailblazers the Sex Pistols can be used in a forthcoming TV series despite the opposition of former frontman John Lydon.

Ex-Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook sued the singer, once known as Johnny Rotten, after he tried to block the music’s use in “Pistol,” a Disney-backed series based on a memoir by Jones.

Lydon said during hearings at the High Court last month that he “heart and soul” opposed the music’s use in a show he considered to be “nonsense.” He has previously expressed concerns the series will show him in a negative light.

Lydon said the songs could not be licensed without his consent, but Cook and Jones claimed that an agreement dating from 1998 allowed a majority decision.

Judge Anthony Mann agreed the pair were entitled to invoke “majority voting rules” as outlined in the band agreement. He said Lydon’s claim that he was not aware of the details or implications of the agreement that he had signed was “a convenient contrivance.”

“I reject the suggestion made by him that he did not really know or appreciate its effect,” the judge said.

Cook and Jones welcomed the ruling. They said the court battle “has not been a pleasant experience, but we believe it was necessary to allow us to move forward and hopefully work together in the future with better relations.”

“Pistol” is being made for Disney subsidiary FX and is directed by Danny Boyle, the Academy Award-winning director of “Trainspotting” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Formed in London in 1975, the Sex Pistols energized and scandalized the British music scene with songs such as “God Save the Queen” and “Anarchy in the U.K.”

The band split up in 1978 after releasing one album, and bassist Sid Vicious died the following year. The surviving members have reunited for several concerts, most recently in 2008.

“Mr. Lydon has not shrunk from describing his difficult relationships with the other members — difficult in different ways with different members — and that has persisted even through their comeback tours in the 1990s and 2000s,” the judge said. “It persists today.”


A judge Friday struck down a California ballot measure that exempted Uber and other app-based ride-hailing and delivery services from a state law requiring drivers to be classified as employees eligible for benefits and job protections.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled that Proposition 22 was unconstitutional.

Voters approved the measure in November after Uber, Lyft and other services spent $200 million in its favor, making it the most expensive ballot measure in state history.

Uber said it planned to appeal, setting up a fight that could likely end up in the California Supreme Court.

“This ruling ignores the will of the overwhelming majority of California voters and defies both logic and the law,” company spokesman Noah Edwardsen said. “You don’t have to take our word for it: California’s attorney general strongly defended Proposition 22’s constitutionality in this very case.”

He said the measure will remain in force pending the appeal.

The judge sided with three drivers and the Service Employees International Union in a lawsuit that argued the measure improperly removed the state Legislature’s ability to grant workers the right to access to the state workers’ compensation program.

“For two years, drivers have been saying that democracy cannot be bought. And today’s decision shows they were right,” said Bob Schoonover, president of the SEIU California State Council.

Proposition 22 shielded app-based ride-hailing and delivery companies from a labor law that required such services to treat drivers as employees and not independent contractors, who don’t have to receive benefits such as paid sick leave or unemployment insurance.

Uber and Lyft threatened to leave the state if voters rejected the measure.

Labor spent about $20 million to challenge the proposition.

The state Supreme Court initially declined to hear the case in February — mainly on procedural grounds — but left open the possibility of a lower court challenge.

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