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Spain’s Supreme Court refused Monday to suspend a government decision allowing a former Venezuelan spymaster to be extradited to the United States.

Lawyers for Gen. Hugo Carvajal, who for over a decade was late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez’s eyes and ears in the Venezuelan military, asked the court to put the Spanish government decision — taken 18 months ago — on hold.

But the Supreme Court said in its written decision that Carvajal had presented no new arguments against the government decision, which he had already opposed at the court in May last year.

Carvajal’s extradition procedure is currently on hold at the National Court, after he filed a request for asylum in Spain.

Nicknamed “El Pollo,′ or “The Chicken”, Carvajal was arrested Sept. 9 in a small apartment in Madrid, where he had been holed up for months. His arrest came nearly two years after Carvajal defied a Spanish extradition order and disappeared.

In the United States, he faces federal charges for allegedly working with guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to “flood” the U.S. with cocaine.


In a win over FIFA at sport’s highest court, Empoli midfielder Nedim Bajrami won the right Monday to switch national teams from Switzerland to Albania.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said its panel upheld an appeal by Bajrami and the Albania soccer federation against a FIFA judge rejecting their request in May.

The urgent ruling clears the 22-year-old Bajrami to be selected for Albania in World Cup qualification games this week against Poland and Hungary. Its group is currently led by England.

Bajrami has Albanian family roots but grew up in Switzerland and represented its teams from youth level through to the Under-21s.

“The panel considered that Nedim Bajrami never played with the Swiss (senior) national team and already held Albanian nationality,” the court said.

Bajrami split with Switzerland in March when he declined selection for the U21 European Championship.



Cruz Reynoso, a son of migrant workers who worked in the fields as a child and went on to become the first Latino state Supreme Court justice in California history, has died. He was 90.

Reynoso died Friday at an elder care facility in Oroville, according to his son Rondall Reynoso. The cause of death was not disclosed.

In a legal career that spanned six decades, Reynoso played a prominent role in the movement to uplift the poorest workers in California, especially farmworkers from Mexico like his parents, and guided many minority students toward the law.

As director of California Rural Legal Assistance — the first statewide, federally funded legal aid program in the country — in the late 1960s he led efforts to ensure farmworkers’ access to sanitation facilities in the fields and to ban the use of the carcinogenic pesticide DDT.

One of the biggest cases won by CRLA while Reynoso was its director centered on Spanish-speaking students who were incorrectly assessed by their schools and placed into classes for the mentally challenged when, in reality, they were simply new English learners. The 1970 class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Latino students in the Monterey County town of Soledad ended the practice of giving Spanish-speaking students IQ tests in English.

After leaving CRLA in 1972, Reynoso taught law before he was appointed to the state’s 3rd District Appellate Court in Sacramento. In 1982, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Reynoso to the state Supreme Court, the first Latino to be named to the state’s high court.

He earned respect for his compassion during his five years on the state Supreme Court but became the target of a recall campaign led by proponents of the death penalty who painted him, Chief Justice Rose Bird, and Associate Justice Joseph Grodin as being soft on crime. The three were removed in 1987.

After leaving the bench, he practiced and taught law at the University of California in Los Angeles and in Davis and served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 2000.

“Cruz Reynoso was a giant for the judiciary and the legal profession in California and across the country,” Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, a justice on the California Supreme Court, said in a statement.

“His accomplishments were as remarkable as his humility. His memory and deeds will continue to inspire so many of us across California and the rest of our country.”

Born in Brea on May 2, 1931, Reynoso was one of 11 children and spent summers with his family working the fields of the San Joaquin Valley.

After graduating from Pomona College in 1953, he served two years in the Army before attending law school at UC Berkeley.

He was married to Jeannene Reynoso for 52 years until her death in 2007. He married his second wife, Elaine Reynoso, in 2008. She died in 2017. He is survived by four children and two stepchildren.


Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett won crucial backing Saturday when one of the last Republican holdouts against filling the seat during an election season announced support for President Donald Trump’s pick ahead of a confirmation vote expected Monday. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, declared her support during a rare weekend Senate session as Republicans race to confirm Barrett before Election Day. Senators are set Sunday to push ahead, despite Democratic objections that the winner of the White House on Nov. 3 should make the choice to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Barrett’s nomination  already appeared to have enough votes for confirmation from Senate Republicans who hold the majority in the chamber. But Murkowski’s nod gives her a boost of support. Only one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, is now expected to vote against the conservative judge.

“While I oppose the process that has led us to this point, I do not hold it against her,” Murkowski said. The fast-track confirmation process is like none other in U.S. history so close to a presidential election. Calling it a “sham,” Democrats mounted procedural hurdles to slow it down. But the minority party has no realistic chance of stopping Barrett’s confirmation, which is set to lock a 6-3 conservative court majority for years to come.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., noted the political rancor, but defended his handling of the process. “Our recent debates have been heated, but curiously talk of Judge Barrett’s actual credentials or qualifications are hardly featured,” McConnell said. He called her one of the most “impressive” nominees for public office “in a generation.” Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York warned Republicans the only way to remove the “stain” of their action would be to “withdraw the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett until after the election.”

With the nation experiencing a surge of COVID-19  cases, Democrats made several unsuccessful attempts to force the Senate to set aside the judicial fight Saturday and instead consider coronavirus relief legislation, including the House-passed Heroes Act that would pump money into schools, hospitals and jobless benefits and provide other aid.  Majority Republicans turned aside those efforts and kept Barrett’s confirmation on track.


The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Republican-authored lame-duck laws that stripped power from the incoming Democratic attorney general just before he took office in 2019.

The justices rejected arguments  that the laws were unconstitutional, handing another win to Republicans who have scored multiple high-profile victories before the court in recent years.

The 5-2 ruling marks the second time that the court has upheld the lame-duck laws passed in December 2018, just weeks before Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats, took office. The actions in Wisconsin mirrored Republican moves after losing control of the governors’ offices in Michigan in November 2018 and in North Carolina in 2016. Democrats decried the tactics as brazen attempts to hold onto power after losing elections.

The Wisconsin laws curtailed the powers of both the governor and attorney general, but the case decided Thursday dealt primarily with powers taken from Kaul.

The attorney general said in a statement that Republican legislators have demonstrated open hostility to him and Evers and made it harder for state government to function. Evers echoed that sentiment in a statement of his own, saying Republicans have been working against him “every chance they get, regardless of the consequences.”

Thursday’s ruling involved a case filed by a coalition of labor unions led by the State Employees International Union. The coalition argued that the laws give the Legislature power over the attorney general’s office and that this violates the separation of powers doctrine in the state constitution.

The laws prohibit Evers from ordering Kaul to withdraw from lawsuits, let legislators intervene in lawsuits using their own attorneys rather than Kaul’s state Department of Justice lawyers, and force Kaul to get permission from the Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee before settling lawsuits.

Republicans designed the laws to prohibit Evers from pulling Wisconsin out of a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and to ensure that they have a say in court if Kaul chooses not to defend GOP-authored laws.



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A California appeals court ordered the dismissal of a criminal case Tuesday against a Mexican megachurch leader on charges of child rape and human trafficking on procedural grounds.

Naasón Joaquín García, the self-proclaimed apostle of La Luz del Mundo, has been in custody since June following his arrest on accusations involving three girls and one woman between 2015 and 2018 in Los Angeles County. Additional allegations of the possession of child pornography in 2019 were later added. He has denied wrongdoing.

While being held without bail in Los Angeles, García has remained the spiritual leader of La Luz del Mundo, which is Spanish for “The Light Of The World.” The Guadalajara, Mexico-based evangelical Christian church was founded by his grandfather and claims 5 million followers worldwide.

It was not clear when he would be released. The attorney general’s office said it was reviewing the court’s ruling and did not answer additional questions.

García’s attorney, Alan Jackson, said he and his client are “thrilled” by the decision.

“In their zeal to secure a conviction at any cost, the Attorney General has sought to strip Mr. Garcia of his freedom without due process by locking him up without bail on the basis of unsubstantiated accusations by unnamed accusers and by denying him his day in court,” Jackson said in a statement.

La Luz del Mundo officials in a statement urged their followers to remain respectful and pray for authorities.

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