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An appeals court has ruled that a Florida driver can face charges for obscuring the lettering on vehicle license tags with a frame.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal decision Wednesday came in the case of a driver who was stopped in 2015 by an officer because the words "MyFlorida.com" were obscured by a tag frame. The officer later found drugs in the car and the driver was charged with a narcotics offense.

A lower court tossed out incriminating statements the driver made to the officer, concluding the tag frame didn't violate requirements of state law regarding display of license tags.

The appeals court disagreed, sending the case back for further proceedings based on the 2015 law. It was changed in 2016 so that obscuring "Florida" was not a violation.


U.S. border authorities cannot search the cellphones of travelers without having some reason to believe a particular traveler has committed a crime, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled in the case of a Turkish national who was arrested at Dulles International Airport after agents found firearm parts in his luggage.

A lower court judge refused to suppress evidence obtained from a warrantless search of Hamza Kolsuz's phone.

The 4th Circuit upheld that ruling and found that a forensic search of electronic devices requires "individualized suspicion" of wrongdoing. The court said agents had that suspicion because Kolsuz had made two previous attempts to smuggle weapons parts out of the U.S.

The Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to obtain warrants based on probable cause. But courts have made an exception for searches at airports and U.S. ports of entry, finding that the government can conduct warrantless border searches to protect national security, prevent transnational crime and enforce immigration and customs laws.

The American Civil Liberties had urged the 4th Circuit to find that the government should be required to obtain a warrant or at least a determination of probable cause that evidence of a crime is contained on electronic devices before agents can search them at airports.

Greek court releases wanted Turkish man on bail

  Politics  -   POSTED: 2018/05/08 11:02

A Greek court has released on bail a Turkish man wanted by his home country for attempted extortion, ruling that he is living in Europe legally and can be released pending an extradition hearing.

The court in the northern city of Thessaloniki ruled Wednesday that Haydar Mengi, who has said he intends to run in Turkey's June early elections as a Democrat Party candidate, could be released on 20,000 euros ($23,700) bail and a ban on leaving the country. He will also have to appear twice a month at a local police station.

Mengi, 62, was detained on the Greek-Macedonian border in April on an international arrest warrant issued by Turkey. He was sentenced in absentia in Turkey in 2005 to six years in prison for attempted extortion.


After nearly two decades of problems, Monty Python star Terry Gilliam's long-awaited film "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next week after all.

A last-minute effort to block the film failed Wednesday, as a Paris court ruled in favor of the Cannes festival and rejected a lawsuit by Portuguese producer Paulo Branco.
Branco, who initially worked with Gilliam on the film, claims he also has rights to the movie. Gilliam contests Branco's claims.

The film will close the festival May 19, after years of production problems, funding issues and legal woes. Starring Adam Driver and Stellan Skarsgard, it is loosely based on the classic novel by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes.

"For more than twenty years this film was almost buried by various obstacles and many have said on various occasions that there was a curse on this movie. Well today this curse is broken thanks to the Justice," said Gilliam's lawyer Benjamin Sarfaty, calling it a "great relief" for the ailing director.

The lawyer would not comment on reports that the 77-year-old Gilliam recently suffered a minor stroke, but said, "He will do his best to attend the screening. He is getting ready for it."

Gilliam commented on Twitter Wednesday: "After days of rest and prayers to the gods I am restored and well again. So is The Man Who Killed Don Quixote!  We are legally victorious! We will go to the ball, dressed as the closing film at Festival de Cannes!"
Cannes, too, welcomed the court decision. "Let's make this victory a great party," the festival said in a statement.


Olivia de Havilland has asked the California Supreme Court to revive her lawsuit against the FX Networks show "Feud: Bette and Joan."

Lawyers for the 101-year-old actress filed the appeal Friday, asking the court to reverse an appeals court decision in March that threw out the suit.

De Havilland objected to her depiction on the show, saying her likeness was illegally used and her character, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, came across as a vulgar gossipmonger.

The appeals court ruled that creators' First Amendment rights trump de Havilland's objections.

"Feud" creator Ryan Murphy said after the decision that it was a victory for the creative community.

De Havilland's lawyer says in a statement Friday that the rejection of the lawsuit "puts everyone at the mercy of the media and entertainment industry."



Massachusetts' highest court is set to hear arguments in a case sparked by the misconduct of a former chemist who authorities say was high almost every day she worked at a state drug lab for eight years.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the state's public defender agency will ask the Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday to order the dismissal of all convictions that relied on evidence from the drug lab during Sonja Farak's tenure.

Prosecutors already have agreed to dismiss thousands of cases tainted by Farak, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing cocaine from the lab and was sentenced to 18 months behind bars.

The ACLU and Committee for Public Counsel Services also are asking the court to establish protocols for instances of misconduct.


The Arkansas Supreme Court's decision to allow the state to enforce its voter ID law in this month's primary while justices consider whether the measure is unconstitutional sets up a test over Republican lawmakers' efforts to reinstate a law struck down four years ago. More importantly, it will show how much the state's highest court has changed since 2014.

Justices last week put a hold on Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray's decision to block the law's enforcement, meaning voters will have to show photo identification before they cast a ballot in the May 22 primary. Early voting for the primary begins Monday. Republican advocates of the law said the Supreme Court's decision to put the law on hold will avoid creating confusion.

"The stay issued this afternoon provides needed clarity for Arkansas voters and election officials," Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement shortly after the high court's ruling.

The 6-1 order from the court — only Chief Justice Dan Kemp would have denied the request to halt Gray's ruling — didn't elaborate on the reason for the stay. Both sides are set to begin filing briefs in the appeal of Gray's ruling in June, likely ensuring the legal fight will last throughout the summer.

"We are disappointed for the voters in Arkansas that the Arkansas Secretary of State and the Attorney General continue to want to enforce an unconstitutional Voter ID law," Jeff Priebe, an attorney for the Little Rock voter who challenged the measure, said after the ruling.

The decision creates a scenario similar to 2014, when a Pulaski County judge struck down Arkansas' previous voter ID law but put the ruling on hold and allowed it to be enforced in the primary that year.

The state Supreme Court ultimately came down against the 2013 voter ID law, striking it down weeks before the general election in 2014. Opponents of the law were able to point to nearly 1,000 votes in the primary that year that weren't counted because of the photo ID requirement.

The latest law is aimed at addressing a secondary reason some justices raised while striking down the previous voter ID law. The court unanimously struck down Arkansas' law, with four of the court's seven justices saying it violated the state's constitution by adding a qualification to vote. But three of the justices cited a different reason, saying the law didn't garner the two-thirds vote needed in both chambers of the Legislature to change voter registration requirements.

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