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A Los Angeles attorney has been appointed to defend a ruling by a lower court judge who refused to erase the criminal record of former metro Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio after he was pardoned by President Trump.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday picked Christopher G. Caldwell to argue in support of the ruling that dismissed the lawman's case but refused to expunge his record.

The appointment in the appeal came after President Donald Trump's Justice Department refused to handle the case.

Caldwell worked for the Justice Department in the 1980s and, in private practice since then has focused on cases involving the entertainment industry, intellectual property and other areas.

After the six-term sheriff was defeated in late 2016, he was convicted of criminal contempt of court for his acknowledged disobedience of a judge's 2011 order that barred his traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. Arpaio was accused of prolonging the patrols for 17 months to boost his successful 2012 re-election campaign.

The pardon of the misdemeanor conviction spared Arpaio — an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign — a possible jail sentence.

Arpaio is appealing the ruling that refused to expunge his criminal record.

Lawyers for the Justice Department won the conviction. But after the pardon, it sided with Arpaio, arguing that the conviction should be expunged because he was pardoned before it became final.


The Texas Supreme Court will consider a challenge to the state's retroactive sex offender laws that some say unfairly stack new punishments on those convicted in plea deals.

More than 2,800 sex offenders remain on the Texas registry despite being no longer required to register under terms of their probation, according to an Austin-American Statesman analysis of the list.

Every qualifying sex offender was ordered onto the registry in 2005 after Texas expanded its sex offense laws. But that included some defendants who were promised in deals with prosecutors that they wouldn't have to be on the list after a certain amount of time.

Donnie Miller struck a deal with Travis County prosecutors after he was charged with sexual assault against a woman outside an Austin gentleman's club in 1993. A jury couldn't agree on a verdict at his trial, forcing Miller to face a second trial and more than $20,000 in legal fees.

He made a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty and in exchange, his record would be cleaned if he stayed out of trouble for 10 years. But Miller received a call a year after successfully completing his probation telling him that Texas had changed the rules and that he'd be on the sex offender registry for life, contrary to the terms of his plea deal.

"If I'd known, why would I have taken a plea deal?" said Miller, 48. "I would have borrowed the money for the retrial."

In a lawsuit before the Texas Supreme Court regarding another similar case, San Antonio attorney Angela Moore argues that undoing plea bargains makes the agreements worthless. About 94 percent of criminal convictions are disposed of with pleas, she said.

Texas Department of Public Safety attorneys warn that the lawsuit could relieve many "other sex offenders of their duty to register."

Texas was among several states to expand state law to include offenders from old cases. The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 2003 that Alaska's law retroactively requiring old sex offenders with completed sentences to register was legal because the registry wasn't intended to be punitive.

But recent studies show that public lists can have severe consequences, such as public shaming and limiting job opportunities. Since the Alaska decision, new research has emerged that disproves what policymakers previously thought to be true about sex offenders and the effectiveness of such laws.

The updated findings are appearing in court cases across the country. Rulings in Maryland, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Alaska eliminated their retroactive sex offender clauses.



A Spanish court ruled Monday that a doctor stole a newborn child nearly five decades ago, one of the many abducted during Spain's 20th-century dictatorship, but cleared him because the statute of limitations had expired.

The Madrid court said 85-year-old gynecologist Eduardo Vela could not be punished because one of those who were stolen, plaintiff Ines Madrigal, did not make her complaint until 2012, more than a decade after the gravest crime had taken place.

The court did find, however, that Vela was responsible for abducting Madrigal in 1969, faking her birth by her adoptive parents and forging official documents.

Monday's verdict is Spain's first in relation to the wide-scale child trafficking that took place from the onset of the country's Civil War in 1936 to the death of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975.

The right-wing regime waged a campaign to take away the children of poor families, prisoners or political enemies, sometimes stripping women of their newborns by lying and saying they had died during labor. The children were then given to pro-Franco families or the church, who educated the children on the regime's ideology and on Roman Catholicism.

Vela, the director of a Madrid clinic considered to be at the epicenter of the scandal, denied the accusations during this year's trial.



A defense lawyer says two people who have been arrested are victims because they had no idea a package delivered to their home in South Carolina had more than 2,000 grams of marijuana inside.

Defense Attorney J. Stephen Grooms tells The Sun News that 49-year-old William Boeving and 45-year-old Marion Barnhill were arrested by Myrtle Beach police on Tuesday and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Grooms says the package with more than 2,300 grams of pot arrived on Tuesday. He says Boeving closed the package and marked it return to sender after seeing what was inside. The package was not addressed to anyone at the home. Grooms says he believes Boeving and Barnhill will be cleared of the charges.



Massachusetts' highest court is set to consider whether to throw out the involuntary manslaughter conviction of a woman who as a teenager encouraged her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself in dozens of text messages.

Lawyers for 22-year-old Michelle Carter will urge the Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday to reject a judge's finding that she caused Conrad Roy III's death when she told him to get back in a truck filled with toxic gas.

Carter was sentenced to 15 months in jail last year but has remained free while she pursues her appeal. Prosecutors say Carter could have stopped Roy, who was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2014.

Her lawyers say her conviction criminalizes free speech and that Carter's words didn't cause Roy's death.


The Supreme Court is refusing to hear an appeal from a California billionaire who doesn't want to open a road on his property so that the public can access a beach.

The justices said Monday that they will not take up Vinod Khosla's appeal of a California appeals court decision. The case had the potential to upend California's longstanding efforts to keep beaches open to the public.

Khosla bought the property in the San Francisco Bay Area for $32.5 million in 2008 and later blocked the public from accessing it. That prompted a lawsuit by the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation.

A state appeals court ruled last year that Khosla needed to apply for a coastal development permit before denying public access.

Khosla — a venture capitalist who co-founded the Silicon Valley technology company, Sun Microsystems — closed a gate, put up a no-access sign and painted over a billboard at the entrance to the property that had advertised access to the beach, according to the appellate ruling.

The secluded beach south of Half Moon Bay, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of San Francisco, is only accessible by a road that goes over Khosla's land.

The previous owners of the property allowed public access to the beach for a fee. But Khosla's attorneys say the cost to maintain the beach and other facilities far exceeded revenue from the fees.

The government cannot demand that people keep their private property open to the public without paying them to do so, Khosla's attorneys said in their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state appeals court ruling would "throw private property rights in California into disarray," the appeal argued, saying other property owners along California's coast would prefer to exclude the public.

The Surfrider Foundation said Khosla's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was premature because he had not yet applied for a permit and received a decision from the state.

"This win helps to secure beach access for all people, as is enshrined in our laws," said Angela Howe, legal director of the foundation. "The Surfrider Foundation will always fight to preserve the rights of the many from becoming the assets of the few."


Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan declined to talk Thursday about the confirmation process that could seat Brett Cavanaugh and tip the nation's highest court to a conservative majority.

"I think given the events of today that's the one question I'm not going to answer," Kagan told law students during an appearance at the University of California, Los Angeles. "We're right in the middle of events that are swirling around and I just want to leave it at that and make no news with respect to anything I say."

Kagan spoke as the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the California psychology professor who contends that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago.

The committee was expected to vote Friday on whether to recommend that the full Senate confirm Kavanaugh, who has repeatedly denied the allegations.

For the moment, the Supreme Court is one member short. Justice Anthony Kennedy retired earlier this year.

Kagan told the students that the justices worked "super hard" to find consensus after the death of Antonin Scalia in 2016 temporarily left the panel with only eight judges.

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