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India's top court on Tuesday upheld the corruption conviction of the head of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu state, ending her chances of becoming the southern state's next chief minister.

The Supreme Court set aside a lower court order that had cleared Sasikala Natarajan of corruption charges.

India's politics are often dominated by outsized personalities and their friends and relatives, creating an environment where corruption is endemic.

Sasikala was the personal assistant to Jayaram Jayalalitha, a former movie star who became Tamil Nadu's top politician, or chief minister. Jayalalitha died in office in December triggering a succession battle within her AIADMK party.

Jayalalitha inspired intense loyalty among her political supporters who called her "Mother." Some of that charisma rubbed off on Sasikala, who was hailed as "Little Mother."

The corruption case, filed in 1996, accused Jayalalitha, Sasikala and two of Sasikala's kin of possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. It was moved to neighboring Karnataka state due to fairness concerns, and the defendants were found guilty in 2014, but nine months later, were acquitted by the Karnataka high court following an appeal. That decision was challenged in the Supreme Court.

Jayalalitha died before the top court could give its decision, but on Tuesday, the judges ordered Sasikala and the two remaining co-defendants to complete their four-year jail terms.

The conviction means Sasikala is barred from contesting an election for six years after completing her jail sentence, thus removing her from the political scene for the next 10 years.



A Russian court on Wednesday found opposition leader Alexei Navalny guilty in the retrial of a 2013 fraud case, which formally disqualifies him as a candidate for president next year.

However, the first time Navalny was convicted, his sentence was suspended and he was allowed to be a candidate for mayor of Moscow. An associate said Navalny will carry on with the presidential campaign he announced in December.

In a webcast hearing in Kirov, a city nearly 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of Moscow, Judge Alexei Vtyurin found Navalny guilty of embezzling timber worth 16 million rubles ($270,000) and gave him a five-year suspended sentence. The previous guilty verdict was overturned by the European Court of Human Rights which ruled that Russia violated Navalny's right to a fair trial.

During a break in the proceedings, Navalny told reporters that he and his lawyers were comparing this verdict with the text of the 2013 verdict and found them to be identical.

"You can come over and see that the judge is reading exactly the same text, which says a lot about the whole trial," Navalny told reporters, adding that even the typos in the names of companies were identical in both rulings.

Navalny, the driving force behind massive anti-government protests in Moscow 2011 and 2012, had announced plans to run for office in December and had begun to raise funds.

Navalny's campaign manager, Leonid Volkov, insisted that the campaign goes on even though the guilty verdict formally bars Navalny from running.



A survivor of a Philippine police raid that killed four other drug suspects asked the Supreme Court Thursday to stop such operations and help him obtain police records to prove his innocence in a test case against the president's bloody crackdown.
 
Lawyer Romel Bagares said his client Efren Morillo and other petitioners also asked the court to order police to stop threatening witnesses.

More than 7,000 drug suspects have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June and ordered the crackdown, alarming human rights group and Western governments.

Four policemen shot Morillo and four other men in impoverished Payatas village in metropolitan Manila in August. Morillo survived and denied police allegations that he and his friends were drug dealers or that they fought back, according to Bagares and the court petition.

Morillo, a 28-year-old vegetable vendor and the four slain men, were garbage collectors who were shot with their hands bound and could not have possibly threatened police, the petition said.



Britain's Supreme Court will rule Tuesday on whether the prime minister or Parliament has the right to trigger the process of taking Britain out of the European Union.

The 11 justices will either uphold an earlier ruling giving Parliament a direct role in invoking Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty or reject that ruling in favor of the government's claim it can do so without a vote in Parliament. Article 50, which has never been used before, starts the formal process of taking Britain out of the 28-nation EU. Here are answers to some key questions about the case.

Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to start the Article 50 process, which is expected to last two years, by the end of March. European leaders want to get talks underway, and some British voters who backed Brexit in a June referendum are getting impatient.

Having Parliament play a direct role could slow the process down. Although the leader of the opposition Labour Party says its legislators will back Brexit out of respect for the referendum result, the process could easily be delayed in the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

May's ministers have prepared several draft pieces of legislation that could be introduced in Parliament. The goal is to craft a very short, limited bill that would give May the authority to invoke Article 50, but would be difficult to amend or tamper with.



Greece's Supreme Court has started extradition hearings for the last four of eight Turkish servicemen who fled by military helicopter to Greece after last year's failed coup.

In separate sessions this week, Greek prosecutors have recommended rejecting neighboring Turkey's extradition demand for the other four, saying none of the men would receive a fair trial in Turkey.

Ahead of Friday's hearings, the eight cited threats they had received from Turkish officials, and spoke of the dire conditions in Turkish prisons.

In a joint statement to The Associated Press, the men said their families back in Turkey have been victimized, with their wives losing their jobs and health care access and having their bank accounts seized.

All eight deny Turkish allegations they were involved in the July 15 failed coup attempt.



Gambia's outgoing President Yahya Jammeh is criticizing foreign pressure for him to step down and calling on Gambians to wait for a Supreme Court decision to determine the credibility of the Dec. 1 elections that he lost.

On Tuesday, thousands of supporters of Jammeh's Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction gathered around a Supreme Court hearing, pushing for the annulment of the election outcome. The Supreme Court, with only one sitting member, adjourned until Monday but said it likely cannot hear the petition filed by the party until May, when the Nigeria and Sierra Leone judges appointed by Jammeh are available.

The delay creates uncertainty that many fear could turn to violence. Jammeh at first conceded defeat to opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow but later called for a new vote, saying the Dec. 1 elections had irregularities.

The coalition has said it plans to move forward with Barrow's inauguration on Jan. 19, at the end of Jammeh's mandate, and the United Nations, European Union and West African bloc have called on Jammeh to respect the election and step down from power.

"Only the Supreme Court can declare anyone a president. So I ask anyone of us to respect the supreme law of the republic and await the Supreme Court review on the election result," said Jammeh in a late Tuesday address on state-run TV.

The incumbent criticized interference from other countries, including those of the Economic Community of West African States, which on Friday will send a delegation to try to persuade Jammeh to step down.




Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik made a Nazi salute as he walked into a courtroom at a high-security prison where judges on Tuesday began reviewing a ruling that his solitary confinement is inhumane.

Dressed in a dark suit, the bearded Breivik stared briefly at reporters while making the salute but didn't speak.

Judge Oystein Hermansen asked him not to repeat the salute, saying it insulted the dignity of the court.

"It also disturbs what we are dealing with here," Hermansen said, brushing aside attempts by Breivik to defend his action.

The 37-year-old right-wing extremist, who killed 77 people in a bomb and shooting rampage in 2011, sued the government last year. He argued that his solitary confinement, frequent strip searches and the fact that he was often handcuffed during the early part of his incarceration violated his human rights.

But lawyers representing the government said that he enjoys better prison conditions than some inmates in Norway. They also warned that he remains a threat and should continue to be held in solitary confinement.

The government is appealing a surprise decision in April by the Oslo District Court, which sided with Breivik's claims that his isolation in the maximum-security Skien prison breaches the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ruling said "the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment represents a fundamental value in a democratic society. This applies no matter what — also in the treatment of terrorists and killers." It also ordered the government to pay Breivik's legal costs of 331,000 kroner ($41,000).

However, it dismissed his claim that his right to respect for private and family life was violated by restrictions on contacts with other right-wing extremists.


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