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A woman charged in a Wisconsin murder plans to argue that she is not guilty because she was a coerced victim of human trafficking — after the state Supreme Court ruled in July that such a defense could be used in homicide cases.

Tanya Stammer is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and armed robbery in connection with the March 2021 death of Brian Porsche in Kaukauna. She is scheduled to stand trial next summer.

WLUK-TV reports that Stammer’s attorneys have said they intend to offer evidence that shows Stammer was a victim of human trafficking. That comes after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in July that a 2008 law that absolves trafficking victims of criminal liability for offenses committed as a direct result of being trafficked extends to first-degree intentional homicide. However, to use that as a defense, defendants must show that the crime was connected to being a victim of trafficking.

On Thursday, Stammer’s attorneys submitted copies of the law to the court. They said in a previous court filing that the “events described in the allegations were only possible because of her role as a victim of human trafficking.”

A trial date has not been set for Stammer’s co-defendant, Dontae Payne. According to the criminal complaint, Payne and Stammer targeted Porsche, with Payne allegedly shooting Porsche. The two then tried to make the scene look like a robbery, and tossed his phone & keys into Lake Winnebago.

Nearly 40 states have passed laws that give trafficking victims at least some level of criminal immunity, according to Legal Action of Wisconsin, which provides legal help for low-income people.


An man granted a new trial in the murders of three men in Ohio more than a decade and a half ago has been released after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Stoney Thompson, 43, was originally sentenced in Lucas County to three consecutive life terms in the October 2006 slayings of Todd Archambeau, 44, Kenneth Nicholson, 41, and Michael York, 44, who were found shot and stabbed in a boarded-up house in Toledo.

Thompson, originally convicted of complicity to commit murder, was resentenced on involuntary manslaughter convictions under the plea agreement, The (Toledo) Blade reported. He submitted an Alford plea, in which a defendant does not acknowledge guilt but concedes that prosecutors have sufficient evidence for conviction.

Judge James Bates sentenced Thompson to six years for each involuntary manslaughter count to be served consecutively for a total of 18 years. The judge allowed his release but ordered him to remain on probation for the remaining two years of the sentence.

The Sixth U.S. District Court of Appeals in July had ordered a new trial for Thompson, citing evidence not turned over to the defense by prosecutors that included other potential suspects, recorded testimony of other parties, and a photo of a bloody shoe print that didn’t match Thompson’s own shoes. Thompson’s brother, Goldy, was acquitted in the same case following a separate trial in which the evidence hadn’t been withheld, the newspaper reported.

The appeals court judges also cited a lack of physical evidence tying the defendant to the crimes and noted as “strange” the jury’s decision to acquit Thompson of firearms specifications in each death, given that the victims were all shot and one died of a gunshot wound.


The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the state Department of Environmental Quality illegally issued a Clean Water Act permit for the proposed Resolution Copper Mine, which is being opposed by the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

The decision overturns a Maricopa County Superior Court ruling and orders ADEQ to restart the permit process.

San Carlos Apache officials say the mine will destroy Oak Flat, a sacred tribal religious site on the Tonto National Forest.

Meanwhile, a group called Apache Stronghold that is authorized by the San Carlos Apache tribe to protect Oak Flat, said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will rehear the case in front of a full panel of 11 judges.

The court previously ruled that the federal government could give Oak Flat to a foreign-owned mining company that wants to construct a massive underground copper mine in Superior, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) east of Phoenix.

Resolution Copper company officials say the mine could produce up to 40 billion pounds of copper over 40 years, making it the largest copper mine in North America.

The state appeals court ruled that ADEQ improperly issued an Arizona Pollution Discharge Elimination Permit to Resolution Copper before it set pollution limits on what Resolution Copper could release into Queen Creek.


The Supreme Court is wrestling with a challenge to a federal law that gives preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings of Native children.

The justices are hearing several hours of arguments Wednesday over the Indian Child Welfare Act, enacted in 1978 to address concerns that Native children were being separated from their families and, too frequently, placed in non-Native Homes.

It has long been championed by tribal leaders as a means of preserving their families, traditions and cultures. But white families seeking to adopt Native children are among the challengers who say the law is impermissibly based on race, and also prevents states from considering those children’s best interests.

Early in arguments several justices — both conservatives and liberals — suggested Congress acted appropriately in writing the law and also underscored its purpose. “Congress understood these children’s placement decisions as integral to the continued thriving of Indian communities,” Justice Elena Kagan said.

The law’s fate is in the hands of a court that has made race a focus of its current term, in cases involving the redrawing of congressional districts and affirmative action in college admissions. Two members of the court, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett, also are the parents of adopted children.

The full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down parts of the law last year, including preferences for placing Native children with Native adoptive families and in Native foster homes. It also said Congress overstepped its authority by imposing its will on state officials in adoption matters.

But the 5th Circuit also ruled that the law generally is based on the political relationship between the tribes and the U.S. government, not race.

The tribes and the Biden administration appealed some parts of the lower court ruling, while the white families and Texas, allied with those families, appealed others.

More than three-quarters of the 574 federally recognized tribes in the country have asked the high court to uphold the law in full, along with tribal organizations. They fear widespread impacts if the court attempts to dismantle the tribes’ status as political sovereigns.


An Ohio law that prevents cities from implementing their own gun control measures cannot be enforced in Columbus, a county judge ruled.

The law is an “unconstitutional infringement upon municipal home-rule,” Franklin County Judge Stephen L. McIntosh said in his ruling Wednesday temporarily blocking the law in the state’s capital and largest city.

The ruling “upholds the city’s constitutional rights to protect its community from gun violence,” City Attorney Zach Klein said. He applauded the ruling as a “first step” toward helping quell gun violence in the city.

As the case continues, the city plans to argue the court should make the temporary injunction permanent.

The state plans to appeal the Wednesday ruling, which affects only Columbus, a city of just over 900,000 people in a state of nearly 12 million.

“The city of Columbus remains part of the State of Ohio and subject to its laws,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in an emailed statement.


A federal appeals court late Friday issued an administrative stay temporarily blocking President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel billions of dollars in federal student loans, throwing the program into limbo just days after people began applying for loan forgiveness.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay while it considers a motion from six Republican-led states to block the program. The stay ordered the Biden administration not to act on the program while it considers the appeal.

It’s unclear what the decision means for the 22 million borrowers who already applied for the relief. The Biden administration had promised not to clear any debt before Oct. 23 as it battled the legal challenges, but the soonest it was expected to begin erasing debt was mid-November.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre encouraged borrowers to continue to apply for the relief, saying the court’s temporary order did not prevent applications or the review of applications.

“We will continue to move full speed ahead in our preparations in compliance with this order,” she said in a statement. “And, the Administration will continue to fight Republican officials suing to block our efforts to provide relief to working families.”

The crucial question now is whether the issue will be resolved before Jan. 1, when payments on federal student loans are expected to restart after being paused during the pandemic. Millions of Americans were expected to get their debt canceled entirely under Biden’s plan, but they now face uncertainty about whether they will need to start making payments in January.

Biden has said his previous extension of the payment pause would be the final one, but economists worry that many Americans may not have regained financial footing after the upheaval of the pandemic. If borrowers who were expecting debt cancellation are asked to make payments in January, there’s fear that many could fall behind on the bills and default on their loans.


A judge is allowing prosecutors to move forward with their criminal case against an analyst who provided key details for a flawed dossier on ex-President Donald Trump, although the judge called his decision “an extremely close call.”

Lawyers for Igor Danchenko asked a judge Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to dismiss all five charges against him. He’s accused of lying to the FBI about how he obtained the information that ultimately made its way into the “Steele dossier,” a report that purported to detail connections between Trump and Russian intelligence and helped fuel a full-fledged FBI investigation called “Crossfire Hurricane” in the months leading up to the 2016 election.

The dossier famously suggested that Russians had compromising information on Trump regarding salacious sexual activity he allegedly engaged in at a Moscow hotel.

The indictment alleges Danchenko lied about the credibility of his sources when in reality his primary source was actually a Democratic operative named Charles Dolan with ties to Trump’s opponent in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton.

The indictment says the FBI could have better judged the veracity of the Steele dossier had it known that a Democratic operative who volunteered for Clinton was the source of much of the dossier’s information.

Danchenko’s lawyers argued Thursday that all the charges should be dismissed because Danchenko’s answers to the FBI were technically true, if not necessarily illuminating.

Specifically, Danchenko denied that he “talked” to Dolan about the allegations in the dossier. In reality, Danchenko had discussed the accusations in an email with Dolan, but never spoke with him in an oral conversation.

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