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A judge has ordered the U.S. government to ban imports of seafood caught by Mexican fisheries that use a net blamed for killing off the vaquita, the world's smallest and most-endangered porpoise.

Judge Gary Katzmann, of The U.S. Court of International Trade, on Thursday granted a motion after three environmental groups filed a lawsuit seeking a ban on seafood caught with gillnets in part of the Gulf of California, where the vaquita live.

Some scientists estimate that there could be as few as 15 of the vaquita — Spanish for "little cow" — left. The court noted that experts believe they could be extinct by 2021 without intervention.

Their numbers have been severely reduced illegal fishing and by the gillnets, which are used to catch a variety of shrimp and fish.

The nets are hung in the water to catch seafood. The Mexican government has banned their use in some areas and for some species, but allows it for other species.

There also is illegal fishing in the vaquitas habitat for the Mexican totoaba fish, which goes for high prices because its swim bladder is considered a delicacy in China and reputed to boost fertility.

The Justice Department, which had opposed the ban, did not immediately answer an email seeking comment.

The groups that filed the suit are the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Animal Welfare Institute.


for a hearing in their divorce case.

They're due in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Thursday. Vanessa Trump filed for divorce in March. Afterward, they issued a joint statement saying they will "always have tremendous respect for each other."

The 2007 birth of the couple's first child made Donald Trump Sr. a grandfather a decade before he became president.

The Trumps were married in 2005 and have five children. Former Fox News Channel personality Kimberly Guilfoyle recently left the network amid news that she's dating Donald Trump Jr. She has joined a super PAC supporting the president. The divorce, initially listed as uncontested, is now contested.



Social media posts can represent a violation of a protection order, the state's highest court ruled on Tuesday, affirming the conviction of a man who made threats on Facebook.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court rejected Richard Heffron III's arguments that his Facebook comments were a protected form of speech, that the posts didn't constitute direct or indirect contact, and that he wasn't told that his posts represented a violation.

In its ruling, the court concluded Heffron's social media comments violated the court-approved no-contact order and were outside the realm of constitutional protections.

"The court correctly determined that Heffron's communications with the protected person fell short of those that deserve constitutional protection," Justice Jeffrey Hjelm wrote, noting that the conviction "did not place his First Amendment rights at risk."

Heffron and the woman with whom he'd had a relationship were no longer Facebook friends but still had friends in common. In the posts, Heffron referred to the woman by name and threatened to harm her. A friend brought the comments to the woman's attention.

James Mason, Heffron's attorney, said courts in other states have reached different conclusions but that the facts didn't perfectly align with the Maine case.

"Obviously I'm disappointed," Mason said. "I think that there was no evidence that he ever intended to have these comments reach her."

After being convicted, Heffron was ordered to serve 21 days in jail, which was the length of time he was jailed before posting bail. He also was sentenced to a year of probation.

Mason said the ruling served as a cautionary tale. "It lets people know that they do need to be careful about what they post on the internet," he said. "It makes it clear that you have limited First Amendment protections on the internet, especially on Facebook."



An appeals court says news organizations are entitled to obtain surveillance video showing the law enforcement response to the Valentine's Day mass shooting at a Florida high school.

The 4th District Court of Appeal on Wednesday upheld a lower court's ruling that the video is public record that must be disclosed. News organizations including The Associated Press are seeking the video to better understand the actions of law enforcement and first responders during the shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Authorities say the school had 70 operating video cameras that day. The media organizations are not seeking any footage depicting the massacre or any victims.

Broward County prosecutors and its school board opposed the video release. Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz faces murder charges in the shooting.


A dozen audio recordings seized by the FBI from President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, were forwarded to federal prosecutors after lawyers dropped challenges on attorney-client privilege grounds, a former judge revealed Monday.

The recordings were among millions of files taken from Cohen in April as part of a criminal probe of his business practices.

Barbara Jones, a court-appointed lawyer and former Manhattan federal judge helping to decide which of the seized files are protected by privilege, said in a court filing that prosecutors received the recordings on Friday after attorneys for Trump, Cohen and the Trump Organization dropped privilege claims.

The same day, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said Cohen had recorded a conversation in which the president had discussed a potential payment to squash the story of a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump.

Giuliani said the brief recording shows Trump did nothing wrong.

"The transaction that Michael is talking about on the tape never took place, but what's important is: If it did take place, the president said it has to be done correctly and it has to be done by check" to keep a proper record of it, Giuliani said.

In a weekend tweet, Trump called Cohen's practice of recording conversations "totally unheard of & perhaps illegal."

Attorney Lanny Davis, speaking on Cohen's behalf, has said what is on the tape will not harm Cohen.

Jones has been providing periodic updates on the privilege review of over four million items, mostly electronic, that were found on numerous computer storage devices and cellular phones seized from Cohen.


Apart from the Hyderabad High Court, there is a heavy pendency of cases in the district and subordinate courts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as well. While in Telangana at least 4.9 lakh cases — both civil and criminal — are pending, in Andhra Pradesh 5.2 lakh cases are yet to be disposed of.

According to a reply given by the minister of law and justice on July 18 in the Lok Sabha, around 2.7 lakh crore cases, both civil and criminal, are pending in the various district and subordinate courts across the country. The highest number of pendency of around 66 lakh cases is reported from Uttar Pradesh. This is followed by Maharashtra at 34 lakh and then West Bengal, Bihar and Gujarat. However, the good news for Telangana is that among all southern states, it has the lowest number of cases pending

Lack of judges in lower courts and the high court has been attributed as the significant cause for pendency of cases. In Telangana and AP there are 75 judicial officers’ vacancies in district and city courts.

In Hyderabad High Court, out of the sanctioned strength of 61 judges, there are 32 vacancies, according to the Union government. Overall, in the country, 417 posts of high court and Supreme Court judges are vacant. In Hyderabad High Court, 3.5 lakh cases are pending, which includes writs, civil and criminal appeals. Across the country, in all the high courts put together, around 43 lakh cases are pending.

PP Chaudhary, minister of state for law and justice, in an answer to the question in Lok Sabha, said, “While existing vacancies of judges in the high court are filled up, further vacancies arise due to retirement, resignation or elevation of judges and due to increase in the strength of judges. Selection and appointment of judges in the subordinate courts is the responsibility of the high courts and state gover nments.”

In 2015, 24 high courts set up arrears’ committees to clear the backlog of pending cases. District judges hold monthly meetings of all judicial officers to monitor progress in reduction of long pending cases. Supreme Court also constituted an arrears committee to formulate steps to reduce pendency of cases in high courts and district courts.



Lawyers for an Ecuadorean immigrant who was detained while delivering pizza to a Brooklyn Army installation will ask a federal judge to stop his deportation.

A hearing is scheduled Tuesday afternoon in the case of Pablo Villavicencio (vee-uh-vih-SEHN'-see-oh).

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement saying the federal government has "cruelly" kept Villavicencio from his wife and two young daughters "for no legitimate reason."

Villavicencio was detained on June 1 after a routine background check revealed an arrest warrant for immigration law violations.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says an immigration judge granted Villavicencio voluntary departure in March 2010 but he failed to leave as ordered.

The U.S. District Court judge already temporarily blocked his deportation but he has remained in ICE custody in New Jersey.

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